Everybody knows that the Small Business Administration can be a huge help when it comes to securing a loan to start a new business. The SBA has been helping small businesses get started since 1953.
It guarantees loans made by lending institutions to small businesses that would not otherwise be able to obtain financing. For those who are eligible and cannot obtain conventional financing with reasonable rates and terms, the SBA guarantee reduces a lender’s risk of loss in the event of a default on the loan.
But the SBA offers a heck of a lot more than just a leg-up on a business loan. Through its extensive network of field offices they can also help you create a viable business plan, complete with market analysis, organizational summary, goals, financial projections-the whole shebang. In fact, they have programs to help you do a lot more than just launch a business-they can also help you manage and grow your business as well (www.sba.gov).
Additionally, the SBA also offers assistance with disaster loans for businesses of all sizes, nonprofits, homeowners and renters (https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela). The SBA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and other organizations work together to provide assistance to those affected by a disaster. An SBA disaster loan is a direct loan from the government.
In addition, the SBA’s Office of Advocacy provides an independent voice for small businesses trying to navigate the federal government-advancing the views and concerns of small business before Congress, the White House, federal agencies, the federal courts and state policy makers. Find your regional advocate at sba.gov/advocacy.
Then there’s SBA’s Emerging Leaders Program for business executives looking for their next challenge and the opportunity to take their business to the next level (sba.gov/emergingleaders). Graduates of this intense seven-month entrepreneurship program are able to grow their businesses and drive economic development within their communities-there is already a network of 5,000 alumni nationwide.
SBA also supports numerous other business-related resources, such as the SCORE Association (Service Core of Retired Executives), the nation’s largest network of volunteer, expert business mentors, with more than 10,000 volunteers in 300 chapters (www.score.org).
The Small Business Development Center is another SBA supported resource where you have access to free one-on-one counseling and low-cost training that can help your business remain competitive in an ever-changing global economy (sba.gov/sbdc).
The bottom line is that there are lots of ways the SBA can be of service to your business, and it might be high time that you took full advantage. Okay, back to work.