Helping Small Businesses survive and thrive
1871’s Small Business Initiative (SBI) provides free resources and mentorship to “non-digital native” small businesses across Chicagoland and the Midwest. Developed in response to COVID-19, SBI helps small business owners tackle challenges, implement new ideas, and evolve for today’s digital marketplace and beyond.
A Message From Our CEO
Welcome to the Small Business Initiative! We are incredibly excited to have you here.
At 1871, we believe that technology can help strengthen and grow small businesses, but you should not have to be a tech whiz to take advantage of its capabilities. That is why we created the Small Business Initiative, a free resource for you, the small business owner who is looking to explore how you can best leverage tech to support and grow your business.
Before you jump in, I would like to take a moment to highlight what you will find within the Small Business Initiative. Below, you will find a resource guide with articles and videos chosen to help you navigate the wide variety of options you have for getting your business online, managing sales, and connecting with customers. New content will be added to this guide regularly and, as such, we hope you revisit it to check up on tips and trends.
Additionally, we know that running your own business can sometimes feel like living on an island. That is why we created a mentoring program where you can connect one-on-one with entrepreneurs and experts in fields like strategy, marketing, and e-commerce to bounce around ideas, get advice, and talk through ways to take your business to the next level.
We hope that exploring the guides, tutorials, and resources below, leaves you inspired.”
SBI is your hub for small business support
JOIN FOR RESOURCES & PERKS
Own a restaurant, barbershop, franchise, manufacturing facility, convenience store, dry cleaner, or are you a service provider?
BECOME AN SBI MENTOR
We’re looking for mentors to help support hard-working small businesses with expertise in subjects like:
Browse all resources >
What Is An Acceptable B2B Conversion Rate?
Perhaps you’ve been tasked to go find what are acceptable or average B2B lead conversion rate benchmarks? It’s a tough question to answer, but hopefully we can help break this down for you so that you can help frame the right conversations in your next presentation.
Creating Real Buyer Personas
For any great marketing strategy to catch fire, one must first put their target user personas (aka customers or buyers) front and center. Getting to an accurate understanding of what the customer looks like and needs is a lot harder than it looks.
How To Create A Website Project Plan
Getting to the heart of what a new website will be (and do) is key to a successful project. The first step on how to plan a website project is to commit to proper planning.
Which Loan Is Right For Your Small Business?
FIND THE BEST LOAN FOR YOUR BUSINESS There are many loans available to small business owners – maybe more than you think – depending on your credit score, the amount of time you’ve been in business, and your desired loan amount.
Ask The Right Questions
ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS Before you walk into a bank or apply online, it’s important that you’re prepared to have the important conversations that will help you secure financing for your small business. Here are a few questions you might want to consider ahead of your big chat.
Credit Score IQ
IDENTIFY YOUR CREDIT SCORE IQ So many factors affect your credit score, and figuring out how to boost your score can get pretty complicated. It takes more than on-time payments to build your score, and our Credit Score IQ resources can help you understand how to make the credit changes you need.
LEARN ABOUT THE LENDING WORLD Overwhelmed by the small print and endless details of the lending process? Venturize puts the power in your hands to understand your loan options, access responsible capital, and discover possibilities you didn’t know existed. Get confident in your loan options with our glossary, news articles, and other resources.
Loan Application Checklist
GET ORGANIZED You’re the CEO of your small business – the Chief Everything Officer. You understand that time = money, and being prepared can shorten the time it takes to get a small business loan. Even when you’re on the go, our mobile friendly, easy-to-use digital checklist can help you get prepared, and stay organized, during your loan application process."
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Are you interested in 1871’s Small Business Initiative, but not sure where you fit in? Leave us a message and we will get in touch with you as soon as possible.