Tag Archives: SBA loan

Skipping Over Financial Start-Up Maze in College

By Lyle Johnson

College is a time for education, inspiration and maybe a bit of partying. It’s also one of the prime times of your life to consider starting a business, as many students don’t have a great deal of financial responsibilities, either from parents footing the bill, or taking out loans. Sure, you’ll have to pay those loans back after you’re out of school.

At the same time, you don’t have the pressure and burden of finding a part-time job that can work around school hours to pay your bills. You’ll simply have time to create a business that might make you independently wealthy while you’re still studying. According to Small Biz Trends, the average amount of business financing given to new upstarts was $325,000. Avoid these financial pitfalls to set you on the right path to hitting it big, and make the best use of your financing.

Why Make a College Startup

Outside of the lessened responsibilities that typically come with being a college student, the real world experience you gain by starting a business is invaluable. If you’re worried about getting stuck in the need-experience-to-get-a-job, need-a-job-to-get-experience trap after graduating, running your own business can fill that gap. Even if you don’t make the next big company, you can at least get some supplemental income to start paying your student loans back early, or eat something other than ramen.

Financing Your Business With Personal Assets

While you might not have many personal assets as a college student, you will probably have to leverage your savings and any property to finance a new startup. It takes time to secure small business financing, especially as a student with few assets. Crowdsourced financing may help tap into your network to back a great idea. Small Business Administration loans and sites such as annuity.org may provide financing options that leverage other resources that may be available to you, which are some of the easier routes, as opposed to seeking out individual investors.

Create a Budget

You have to spend a lot of cash to get your business off the ground, especially if you’re dealing with physical inventory and locations. Create a strict business budget, and don’t be tempted to spend money on non-business expenses. Once you’re making a profit, you can indulge a bit, but not before you reach that point.

Pay Yourself

Once you have reached that magical point of getting out of the red with your business, the SBA recommends you pay yourself some sort of salary. That makes your business feel like a real, proper job, and it also gives you money separate from your business, so you don’t feel bad about spending it. It might take some time, even years, to get your business profitable, but every step of the way is valuable experience.

About the author: Lyle Johnson runs a small roofing business and studies marketing at his local community college. He writes about small business, marketing and how to leverage social media.

Share This Twitter LinkedIn Digg Reddit StumbleUpon Email This Post Email This Post

Got the Next Great Small Business Idea? Launch a Startup

by Sara Miller

Many of us have that sure-fire business idea mulling in the back of our minds. That doesn’t make us entrepreneurs, however. Entrepreneurship demands action—one step after another, until your business is launched and thriving. Whether you’re just setting out on the journey toward entrepreneurship or well down the path, take the next step to make your dream a reality.

Stage 1 – You Have an Idea

Every good business starts with an idea. Maybe you want to launch a vegetarian taco truck or start a virtual personal assistant firm. Your next step is to develop a business plan that outlines your first three to five years of business. SBA.gov suggests the following outline for business plans:

• Executive summary – A quick snapshot of your business
• Company description – Who you are, who you serve and what you do
• Market analysis – Who your competitors are and what separates you from them
• Organization and management – What organizational structure best suits you
• Service or product – What you sell and what your product lifestyle is
• Marketing and sales – How will you market your business
• Funding request – Who will fund your business and how will you ask for money
• Projected finances – What do you hope to make per year
• Appendix – Additional information relevant to your business, such as licenses and permits

Stage 2 – You’ve Completed Your Business Plan, Now What?

Your next step is to work toward the achievable goals outlined in your business plan. Many young businesses need capital to invest in equipment and infrastructure. A business credit card can help you make these initial purchases at a time when your cash flow may be limited. According to the Better Business Bureau, a new business credit card can actually help you establish good credit and may even have a reward or loyalty component.

Stage 3 – You’re Hiring Your First Employee

That credit card and business plan helped fuel initial growth, and now you need to hire an employee to work toward launch. As DailyMuse.com notes, having an employee dedicated to reaching your goal can help you get there that much faster. The site suggests hiring as soon as you can afford to do so and investing in the potential of a passionate employee rather than choosing someone with demonstrated experience who may not be passionate about your business. If you have multiple stakeholders, have everyone on the team interview that person to ensure a strong cultural fit before hiring.

Stage 4 – You’re Ready to Launch

All your initial goals have been accomplished, and you’re ready to launch your business. Your next step is getting the word out about your products and services.

As a small business, you probably don’t have a marketing maven on hand. Take advantage of social media to connect with other local businesses in your field of expertise, find potential clients or customers and expand brand awareness. Marketing Land suggests that you pick a metric you’re interested in measuring—for example, customer service or brand awareness—and find ways to measure your marketing and social media outreach to see if you’re increasing your target metric. Track how quickly you gain Twitter followers or Facebook fans to see what tactics help expand your reach.

Stage 5 – Steps Toward Stability

After the initial buzz of a grand opening dies down, your business’ success will depend on regular patronage and stability. If you can’t imagine your business failing, taste this grain of salt: half of small business will fail within the first year, according to Smallbiztrends.com, and a staggering 95 percent will close shop within five years.
Ups and downs are inevitable. The businesses that survive struggles usual have a stable base of clients, customers and partners who help keep the lights on. As you embark on small business ownership, build relationships that result in continual business.

A tip: The little things make a difference. Remember your customers’ names, ask about their families and do the other things larger competitors can’t.

Sara Miller
From first grade through graduate school, “B” was never in Sara’s vocabulary. In addition to being a perfectionist, she has always been fascinated by the anatomy of successful start ups.

Share This Twitter LinkedIn Digg Reddit StumbleUpon Email This Post Email This Post

Avoid risks using your credit cards for your business

In the US many people use personal credit cards to finance their business transactions. Business people are eager to use credit card accounts because their higher credit limits enable the business to access more cash toward business objectives.

An owner can avoid investing their own money while setting up a business by opting to use a credit card to tap into extra funds. But they should be cautious and exercise discipline to pay back the full monthly charge amounts otherwise face an insurmountable level of debt for the young enterprise.

Here are a few other risks involved with using credit cards that you should be aware of:

Accumulated debt: When using credit cards for business transaction, the owner risks spending money they may otherwise avoid if relying solely on cash. Therefore it’s advisable to track all your expenses and be aware of which ones were spent from credit accounts. Limit them to what you believe you will be able to repay in the next 30 days. If you will dedicate subsequent income receipts to be applied toward paying off your credit charges, then you avoid accumulating long term debt.

Fraud and Theft: Identity theft and credit card fraud are two serious risks associated with credit card usage, so be careful as to who you provide your account information to. Also be aware of the charges you make and confirm that your monthly statements do not contain others Charles that you did not make. Don’t pay for charges you did not make, which you are not legally responsible, but rather report them immediately to the lender.

Never disclose your credit card PIN number to anyone – it’s designed only to be used either at an ATM, through the telephone keypad or online.

Avoid prepaid credit cards (if you qualify): Apply for a regular credit card to avoid the risk of loss from misplacing or theft of a prepaid card. You can cancel a regular account card with a maximum $50 loss, but the prepaid account balance will be irretrievably lost.  

Credit History: Avoid the adverse consequences to your credit history by paying all bills, especially credit card accounts on time or even ahead of schedule. Be aware that some low-interest accounts have a zero tolerance for your payments being received even being one day past the due date. Schedule it and all bills to arrive safely ahead of time to build and protect a good credit rating.    

High interest rate: Late payments, poor credit histories and using the accounts for “cash advances” rather than purchases raise the interest rate charged by lenders. Payoff these sums as quickly as possible to lower borrowing cost and work toward performing better on your credit accounts to improve your score.

Christina Jones is a contributing writer to many financial publications and has written several articles on debt relief programs and Chapter 7 and 13c bankruptcy. Her expertise is in debt finance.

Charles H. Green is Executive Director of Small Business Finance Institute that educates business owners about finance. He is the author of The SBA Loan Book, 3rd Edition (Adams Media).        




Share This Twitter LinkedIn Digg Reddit StumbleUpon Email This Post Email This Post

Did You Know Your Lender Is Also a Borrower?

Businesses seeking borrowed funds need to be cognizant of the cost of  leveraged money. Understanding how lenders determine and assess borrowing costs, or interest, gives the owner a tool with which to further evaluate the feasibility of borrowing money. Read More More
Share This Twitter LinkedIn Digg Reddit StumbleUpon Email This Post Email This Post

Be Interested in the Interest Cost

Businesses seeking debt financing need to be cognizant of the cost of leveraging money. Understanding how lenders determine and assess borrowing costs, or interest, gives the owner a tool with which to further evaluate the feasibility of borrowing money.  

Knowing how interest rates are determined is also useful for developing strategies to lower interest costs where possible and for knowing when the best rate has been negotiated for your situation. Read More More

Share This Twitter LinkedIn Digg Reddit StumbleUpon Email This Post Email This Post

Let’s Face It, It’s A Different World

In the today’s globalized world, ease of movement has never been greater, and it is sometimes difficult for persons of different origins to communicate effectively. America has always had a multicultural social fabric, with the historic swelling ranks of immigrants growing our population since the very founding of the 13 colonies.  

Today our cultural mix continues to be a blur of a faces with many different features. Distinguishing Burmese from Vietnamese, Austrian from German, or Nigerian from Ghanaian can be challenging for the average American without practiced interaction. Read More More

Share This Twitter LinkedIn Digg Reddit StumbleUpon Email This Post Email This Post

It Comes Down To Your Character

Lenders have many criteria to consider when deciding whether to provide financing for your business operations, and all start with the traditional examination of capacity, capital, credit, collateral, and character. But, make no mistake. Regardless of the other relative strengths you may possess, it all comes down to character.

Lenders have to be assured that prospective borrowers have the ability to perform well enough to generate profits to repay their financing. They will ensure that the borrower has a vested interest in the operation with their own money, and that there is always a secondary source of repayment from which they can ultimately get out of a deal. Read More More

Share This Twitter LinkedIn Digg Reddit StumbleUpon Email This Post Email This Post

Make Good Decisions For Yourself


Judgment day may be anti-climactic, since a large number of decisions are going to be made in the process; many by the business, many by the lender, and many through compromise. Diligence and purpose must be the focus of your efforts for every decision leading ultimately for the money to run your business.

An important attribute to hold onto through these processes is the perspective of your purpose, and the limitations of your business. It is all about money, but money is still only money.

The process of finding business capital is a sales challenge. You establish needs, find prospects, qualify, and try to close. It is one of dozens of challenges any small business faces every day, but it is not the only one. And solving the money problem does not solely insure success.

Money is the currency in which you operate, but there is a greater challenge in establishing a way to making it flow regularly through your business. Money doesn’t end the list of challenges.

You need to establish some limits as to what your business agree to do, agree not to do, and what it will pay for the financing it is seeking. If your lender asks too much, more than your self-established limit, walk away from the deal.

Remind yourself why you established that limit, and keep looking.

Share This Twitter LinkedIn Digg Reddit StumbleUpon Email This Post Email This Post

Don’t Be Stupid

Many lenders have had the unfortunate experience of negotiating loans with a borrower who was using false, exaggerated, or misleading information to obtain credit. Whether or not the ploy succeeded, the effects are often felt by legitimate borrowers, whose applications are scrutinized with even more suspicion due to the experience. While under normal circumstances there is a natural inclination toward trusting people, be prepared to confirm everything.

Unless actual loan losses have been incurred, many lenders may be hesitant to prosecute loan applicants found to have used false information to obtain their loan. But when they do, they may get assistance from the federal government, who insures depositors and regulates banks. Read More More

Share This Twitter LinkedIn Digg Reddit StumbleUpon Email This Post Email This Post

Set Your Sights on Reality

Starting a new business is one of the riskiest, yet exciting decisions you will make in your life. While over sixty percent of the new jobs in the United States are created by small businesses annually, a significant number of them are not sustained due to failure.

There are relatively low barriers to entry for starting up many businesses: adopt a name, maybe incorporate, get a business license and away you go. Dreams and schemes are cheap, but before you get too far down the road, you need to set your sights on reality. Read More More

Share This Twitter LinkedIn Digg Reddit StumbleUpon Email This Post Email This Post