Small Business Administration Background

The Small Business Administration(SBA) was established in 1953. Since that time the agency has dispensed huge amounts of money in loans and loan guarantees, contracts, consulting assistance and other programs for business across the United States.

The seeds of the formation of the SBA were sown within the challenges of the Great Depression and World War I and grew due to numerous predecessor organizations.

Earlier Small Business Administration Agencies

In 1932 Herbert Hoover instituted the Reconstruction Finance Corporation. The agency sought to ameliorate the consequences of the Great Depression.It sought to achieve this through the establishment of a loan program to support businesses adversely effected by the Great Depression. It had been adopted as the personal project of Hoover’s successor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

The need to assist small business intensified with the onset of World War II, when they were placed at a competitive disadvantage vis-a-vis larger concerns. The Smaller War Plants Corporation was formed in 1942 to help with minor businesses, enhance their financial strength and enable them to more fully take part in the war effort. The Smaller War Plants Corporation accomplished this through providing loans directly to private entrepreneurs, providing incentives to large financial institutions to increase lending to small enterprises and acting as an advocate for small business in the federal procurement process.

After the war the SWPC was absorbed into the Reconstruction Finance Corporation. In addition to the services offered by the RFC the Commerce Department also had an Office of Small Business. The charter of the Office of Small Business was primarily educational, predicated on the stance that the lack of success of many business was insufficient access to information of operating a business and business skills. The Office focused its offerings on pamphlets and management consulting to individual entrepreneurs.

Through the Korean War the Congress created yet one more agency focusing on small business, the Small Defense Plants Administration. It carried a portfolio just like its predecessor Smaller War Plants Corporation with the exception that small business lending authority remained with the Reconstruction Finance Corporation. The Small Defense Plants Administration performed initial screening and provided counseling services to small businesses and provided certification that they were qualified to receive government contracts. The businesses then entered the loan process of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation.

The Founding of SBA

To streamline government support for minor business President Eisenhower proposed the organization of the Small Business Administration and it was developed by Congress in July 1953.” The charter also stipulated that SBA would ensure minor businesses a “fair proportion” of government contracts and sales of surplus property.

Initially the SBA concentrated on providing direct loans to small businesses, guaranteeing bank loans and making loans to victims of natural disasters. The Administration also provided help to small businesses to obtain government contracts and provided management consulting and technical assistance.

The Investment Company Act of 1958 established the Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) Program, under which SBA licensed, regulated and helped provide funds for privately operated and operated venture capital investment firms. They specialized in providing long-term debt and equity investments to high-risk minor businesses. Its creation emerged as the result of a Federal Reserve study that discovered, in the basic form, that these businesses cannot get the credit they needed to keep pace with technological advancement.

In 1964 the SBA expanded its portfolio to join the War on Poverty, with the Equal Opportunity Loan Program (EOL). The Equal Opportunity Loan Program presented citizens living below the poverty level with the chance to receive credit with reduced collateral and application requirements. This enabled businesses with sound employment opportunities to obtain the financing that they needed to pursue them.

SBA Today

The breadth and scope of programs offered by the SBA has never been more extensive than it is today. The SBA helps and is an advocate for all U.S. businesses in every enterprise category and every State and Territory. Whether its providing procurement assistance for federal contracts, management consulting, or outreach to women, minorities and veterans, the SBA is an able partner. SBA also provides loans to victims of disasters and specialized advice and assistance in international trade.

Small Business Administration Loan Requirements and Opportunities

The Small Business Administration is currently accepting loan applications for a wide range of commerce-related undertakings. SBA financing works in a few different ways to provide prospective borrowers with the necessary means to not only stay afloat, but to thrive in a competitive commerce environment as well.

Whether just getting started or looking to expand existing operations, applying for government loans of this nature requires a certain degree of business savvy and the will to succeed, yet the loan approval process in its entirety entails a bit more than sheer determination. Small Business Administration loan specifications are put in place to ensure that all applicants are fully aware of both the advantages and drawbacks of what lies ahead.

SBA lending practices are designed for entrepreneurs who aspire to either increase their bottom line in one location or build additional facilities; either way, the application process remains relatively the same. In order to increase the chances of attaining approval, all SBA financing applicants will need to provide a series of financial documents; for starters, constructing a portfolio that stands out in a crowd is highly recommended. The Small Business Administration urges all interested parties to find an experienced commercial lending broker who will be able to help tighten up any loose ends that may exist.

Paying attention to the details from a pan perspective often works well when seeking approval. While some SBA loan requests have been denied for lack of organization in terms of shoddy and/or incomplete paperwork; those who’ve paid close attention to all of the SBA loan checklist specifications have been largely successful. When it comes to government loans regarding commercial proceedings, the Small Business Administration pulls no punches when screening applications.

The SBA financing checklist will include personal background info, such as current and past addresses, highest level of education, character references, and criminal records, if at all. A solid industry plan is also required, as well as personal and business bank statements.

Three years worth of tax returns and credit history information is also mandatory; other documents include commercial business licenses and related signed agreements. Having all of these things in place will then allow an experienced broker to shop the loan to a number of Small Business Administration affiliated commercial lending institutions.

At this stage, prospective borrowers will be asked a series of questions by whichever lending entity is involved in the process. How the SBA financing will be used in general, as well as what assets need to be acquired will be two very important questions. Your existing and proposed intended personnel will also enter the fold, which is standard operating procedure for most every commercial lending institution.

This two-tiered process will eventually weed out those who may be in over their heads, while the meticulous and more determined Small Business Administration loan applicants can move closer to getting approved.

The benefits of actuating newly acquired SBA loan funding initially include the obvious: small business owners can set up shop in a timely fashion and be open for business shortly thereafter. Other perks involve having the working capital to expand, improve upon, and eventually refinance when the time comes.

SBA financing is designed for business proprietors to take advantage of any or all of the above options. These are just a few of the pluses when it comes owning a successful business. The Small Business Administration is ready to come through for those who are serious about getting started as soon as possible.

Getting Small Business Administration Loans With Recent Changes

In early 2013, getting small business administration loans became easier when the government streamlined the lending process and changed some features of the SBA’s popular loan programs. After complaints that the average SBA loan application was too complex and lengthy, the government decided to reduce the paperwork required to help expand upon the number of businesses with access to a loan or commercial mortgage. Some of the most difficult financing steps a business will face are the loans necessary at the startup phase. Getting initial funding for small business administration loans has been nearly impossible for some business owners, particularly because of the collateral and credit history requirements used in the past.

One of the biggest changes to the SBA 7(a) and 504 loan programs has been the elimination of the personal resource test. Before this change, applicants would need to undergo a complex process to determine how much collateral might be required for a particular loan application. This change has benefited businesses seeking the commercial loan rates offered through SBA loans, particularly when conventional loans have been out of reach. In addition, the rule changes surrounding business affiliation have made it possible for certain companies to qualify for small business administration loans despite having a financial connection to larger companies with significant revenue.

One of the biggest hurdles for qualifying for SBA loans has been the size requirement. The reason why the rules on affiliation were changed is because a large company with ties to a small company that was applying for an SBA loan wouldn’t benefit from trying to get a government-backed loan. Large companies have been able to qualify for conventional loans with rates lower than traditional SBA loan rates. However, loan limits were changed in 2010 to accommodate larger small business administration loans, as well as businesses with net income up to $5 million. This means that a company with $100 million in sales with only $5 in net income could actually satisfy SBA loan requirements.

The recent changes were made to help small businesses, but overall the modifications have made it easier for larger businesses to get SBA loans, too. One of the ways in which SBA loans haven’t changed is the requirement for collateral. Despite changes to the personal resource test, business owners have still had the opportunity to put their personal assets into the application as collateral. Placing a personal home up as collateral for an SBA loan has remained a standard part of building a business from the ground up. Fortunately, the SBA has allowed applicants to use collateral not owned by the business to satisfy SBA loan requirements.

Before deciding upon which loan to apply for with a local lender, a business borrower should figure out which SBA loan program would offer appropriate funds. Different loan programs available through lenders include CDC/504 loans for real estate and equipment, general SBA loans through the 7(a) program, and micro loans. The government even offers disaster loans that homeowners and renters can use. The variety of available small business administration loans ensures most small business owners can find an appropriate type.

The economic recovery has helped make it easier to qualify for small business loans, and with the rule changes in effect, it has been the government’s hope that there would be additional businesses applying for SBA loans. When seeking a small business loan, it’s important for business applicants to research a variety of lenders to determine which offers the best opportunity for approval. Small business administration loans do have some eligibility requirements, but many businesses can meet those requirements by finding a lender who specializes in small business loans.

The Boon That Is The Small Business Administration

If you’re looking to start your very own business and are on the market for a loan, then you should thoroughly understand and consider all of the services rendered by the Small Business Administration. So, what really is the Small Business administration (SBA)? It is an agency which was first established in 1953 and it works without any interference from the federal government. It has the responsibility of providing assistance to American small businesses in the following four areas:

Management
Advocacy
Procurement
Financial aid.

It provides these services through its business loan programs, investment programs, disaster loan programs and even bonding (though just for contractors). Out of all these programs, the most significant one is the business loan program.

If you are looking for finance and funding for your business, then one of your best options is the SBA, they have a variety of programs, to suit the needs of every businessman.

Debt Financing

If you own a small business, then the SBA will not provide you with a direct loan, they’ll go one step ahead and give you all the guidelines for the loans you apply for. You can subsequently approach partners, microfinance institutions etc, for the loan. The SBA will vouch for you, that the loan will indeed be repaid.

Thus, when you are applying for a loan to the SBA, you are in fact, applying for a commercial loan, custom made according to the requirements of the SBA and of course, with a seal of approval from the SBA. But, there’s a catch, you won’t be able to get these loans if you have some other source of financing on reasonable conditions and terms. The policies of the SBA are subject to change in case the Government decides to change its fiscal policy.

Equity Financing

Everyone is a bit wary of the term Venture Capital funding, but with the Small Business Administration by your side, you can be rest assured that you won’t be venturing into troubled waters. The SBA provides venture funding (by means of a partially public, partially private investment partnership) to small businesses. The funds are basically privately owned, but are managed by the SBA as well as licensed and regulated by them. The terms and conditions are reasonable, unlike other venture capital firms, but the SBA may choose to limit its investments to only legitimate small businesses.

Surety Bonds

The Bonding Program of the SBA is specifically designed with the aim of helping small venture contractors acquire surety bonds; often these business contractors cannot acquire them through the conventional channels. What is a surety bond? It is basically a bond signed between three parties – the contractor, a surety (someone who guarantees that the debt will be paid back) and of course, a project owner.

If the contractor is, for some reason, not able to see the contract through its successful completion, the surer takes on all of his responsibilities. So, the Small Business Administration is really a boon, and has helped many small businesses flourish over the years, so do consider approaching it for kick starting your business venture.

Small Business Marketing Hacks Every Business Owner Should Use

There’s a lot that’s changed recently with online marketing. Most people now go straight to Google to search for something they want. The phone book is out and Google, or search traffic is in. If you are a small business owner you can benefit from the internet as a source of business. What’s even better is that you can tap into this resource for free if you have a physical business.

Google Places

Google Places lets you advertise your local business for free in the search results. When someone searches for a local business in your area, your results will come up first for many searches. This is a simple cost effective strategy you should definitely be employing in your business. With Google Places, you list your local business and Google will send you a confirmation postcard with a Google verification code on it. Once you have verified your listing with this code, Google knows you actually reside at this address, or run a business from it.

Google Places works wonders for small business owners who work from a certain location. If you’re not on it you are definitely missing out on business. Plus, your competitors could be using it which means they could be taking your potential customers. To use Google Places just do a quick search for it on Google and it will take you through the setting up process.

Bing Places

Bing also offer this same listing on their own search engine. It’s just like Google Places so not much to add here really. Simply fill out your details on the online platform and verify your listing when you receive a code in the post. When you create your listing you will have to list your business within a certain category, or two. Look through the existing categories and find the one or ones which are the best fit for your business. This is the same as Google Places. By listing in more than one category, if the platform allows, you can benefit from a number of searches within your local area.

Other Listings For Free

Yell and Yahoo also offer free listings for businesses too. Also do a ‘Google search’ for local directories and free listings and you will find a range of sites which offer free business listings in your area. In some cases even the extra links back to your website can make a difference to your ranking, even if the link itself doesn’t bring you more business.

Blogging

You may well not have the time or inclination to start a blog. However, in some business areas blogging is a good way to increase your business reach online in a fairly cost effective way. Depending on your business, and whether it opens itself to a blog, you can get some good results by targeting some keywords in your business niche, or simply writing compelling content and sharing on social media.

Keyword Research

You can use Google’s free keyword planner to search for terms which are already getting hits on the search engine. By finding long tail keywords in your business niche and writing good content for them, you stand more chance of being listed on the search engine. If you can find untapped keywords which bring in customers to your business, you can write articles which will bring in customers for free for years to come for free.

Paid Advertising

After you have exhausted the free methods of advertising, you can start looking at paid advertising methods. Many business owners try and fail with paid advertising. This is why it is worth learning properly the do’s and don’ts of paid advertising.
Pay per click advertising can make a massive impact on your business. But you should also be very careful. Make sure you start out with a small budget and get properly educated on how to create adverts and which keywords to choose. In particular look at the different types of keyword matches. Get this wrong and you can easily burn through your budget and list your advert for entirely the wrong audience.
However, paid advertising is remarkably scalable. Once you have a campaign which works you can easily increase your budget and you are in a position to pay for new customers.

Return On Investment

When I started with pay per click I didn’t understand return on investment. I ‘dipped my toe in’ and dabbled very tentatively. If I didn’t see an immediate profit, I stopped altogether. This is a mistake. Initially there is a lot of testing and measuring to do with paid advertising. After a while you get an advert which successfully brings you customers. However, knowing the return on investment from successful doing this is a game changer. If your customer goes on to purchase again and again, how much are they worth to your business over a year, or 10 years? Knowing this is a huge key to having the confidence to put money into an advertising campaign. Even if you lose money in the short term, your new customers will bring you new business over the long term. Learn the average spend from each customer over a year and then 10 years. Then decide what each customer is worth in terms of advertising. Does this change your view on what you can afford?

Paid Advertising Methods

There are various paid advertising methods available to use for small businesses online. Start with one method and become good at that before moving on to the next. Facebook advertising lets you target potential customers down to their interests, location and other variables. Pay per click advertising lets you target intent driven adverts. With pay per click you start with the keyword your visitor is looking for online. Once you have tested and measured an advertising method and you have a profitable model, you can leave it running and scale it easily. Then move on to the next one.

Even if you only use a couple of the methods suggested in this article, you can dramatically improve your business with only a small amount of effort. Once you have learned all these methods, you will know how to scale up your business and increase your profits. You can then invest in other forms of advertising, testing and measuring as you go. Whether these are on the internet or offline, using the same strategy (which lets you measure the response of a customer) means you can gradually improve all your advertising methods over the long term, increase profits and grow your business.