Entrepreneurial

7 tips for landing an SBA loan

– Rachel Zippwald is the vice president of California Bank & Trust, a major SBA lender. The views expressed are her own. –

Small businesses seeking financing are in for a bit of good luck these days.

Special Small Business Administration incentives, such as the waiver of certain fees, are still available until the end of the year, so now is the time to apply for financing. There are, however, a few caveats.

While SBA loans are available, it may take a bit more work to obtain one and banks are requiring more information than they have in the past. The following are a few tips to facilitate getting your SBA loan approved.

1. Provide details on exactly how much financing you need and how you will use it. Banks like specifics, so be prepared to provide a precise dollar amount and give details of how you will use the funds. For example, if you’re seeking $125,000 to expand your business, explain to your lender how you will use the funds, such as you need $75,000 for working capital to support three months of expenses, and another $50,000 for seven networked computers and a server. Banks are impressed with research, so provide a written quote for the equipment. If you’re planning to consolidate debts and refinance for a longer term, provide copies of your promissory notes and state how much you think you can save with the refinance. Detailed loan amounts with copies of bids, promissory notes or proposals can help strengthen your loan package because your lender can understand the facts backing up the request.

2. Provide information about company management. When banks lend money, they like to understand who runs the company and to be familiar with their backgrounds. This is a key factor in presenting your loan for approval. Help your lender by providing a resume for each owner or key employee and describe their functions and responsibilities. If certain key positions have not yet been filled, include a thorough job description of the type of person you are seeking. This will confirm for the lender that you have analyzed your needs and have determined the requirements of the position.

Microsoft-i4i fight has big patent implications

What has been an interesting side show over the last few years, has taken on a much greater significance with the latest news that Microsoft’s appeal of a patent win by software minnow i4i will be heard by the Supreme Court.

When the two combatants eventual square off in Washington, D.C. sometime next spring, tech companies large and small will be closely following every legal punch thrown.

In the Microsoft camp will be heavyweights Google and Yahoo and trade groups such as the Computer & Communications Industry Association.

What entrepreneurs can learn from Taylor Swift

– Ashley Bodi is the founder of Business Beware. This article originally appeared on Under30CEO. The views expressed are her own. –

When Taylor Swift was 11 she would go up and down Music Row knocking on producers’ doors telling them “Hi, I’m Taylor and you should listen to me sing. Call me!” And of course nobody ever did. Without getting discouraged she used that rejection as rocket fuel and was determined to turn some heads.

Starting out you have to know that you are going to get rejected by some or maybe everyone but don’t think for a second that it means you don’t have something that’s worth taking a look at. Just imagine how many of those people that turned her down are now thinking to themselves “why did I not give her the time of day?”

Why America isn’t lending to small businesses

– Jeff Stibel is the chairman and CEO of small business credit rating agency Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp. The views expressed are his own. –

The “Great Recession” – the longest since World War Two – will have an even more prolonged effect on the economy if one trend continues: small businesses are unable to secure capital.

Despite significant government stimulus to banks and lending institutions, small business lending is actually down over the past few years. So why isn’t the banking industry lending to small businesses during a period in our history when it’s absolutely essential? The answer has a lot to do with credit-worthiness.

Why America’s small businesses are becoming like banks

By Terra Terwilliger
The opinions expressed are the author’s own.

Over two years after the start of the Great Credit Crisis, banks are still not lending money. But big businesses know exactly where to go for a quick, interest-free loan … the little guy. Even as corporate profits recover, big companies continue to squeeze their small vendors, stretching out payment terms and writing late checks. Unfortunately, this blatant exploitation is damaging the small business economic engine that drives half of US GDP.

A friend who owns a small consulting company recently received notice from a Fortune 500 client that henceforth their payment terms would be extended from 90 to 120 days. No discussion, no recourse, just a fancy legalese version of “we’re going to start paying you later because it’s better for us, so get used to it.”

That’s as if your employer casually one day sent you a letter saying that they were going to start paying you 30 days late. Unfortunately, you wouldn’t be able to tell your landlord, the gas company and the supermarket the same thing. Your bills still have to be paid on time.

Small businesses cheer midterm results

– George A. Cloutier is the founder and CEO of American Management Services and the author of the bestselling book, “Profits Aren’t Everything, They’re the Only Thing”. The views expressed are his own. –

Last week’s midterm elections have provided an emotional boost for many small businesses, according to a survey conducted by American Management Services.

About 73 percent of small business owners said they felt more optimistic about the future of their company due to the Republican gains, in a survey of more than 300 small business owners in 25 states following the Congressional elections. The participating companies all employ at least 25 employees and are considered the job-drivers most likely to hire new workers.

Exclusive: Survey says small businesses upbeat about 2011

Small businesses are feeling better about the economy and are looking to grow in 2011, according to a new survey released this week by online marketing firm Constant Contact.

Of the more than 1,400 small business owners that responded to the survey (view full results), 73 percent expected their companies to grow over the next 12 months and nearly 40 percent felt “positive” about the economy over the course of the next year.

“They see the darkness behind them and looking forward they see some light,” said Eric Groves, Constant Contact’s senior vice president of global market development. He added the survey is a “followup” to the Waltham, Massachusetts-based company’s larger spring polling of roughly 4,000 small businesses. Groves said Constant Contact has more than 400,000 clients, predominantly small to medium-sized businesses.

Four wheels and style to burn

– By Regina Schrambling. This article originally appeared on SecondAct.com. –

First food trucks gave eager young chefs a route into the restaurant world. Now a new fleet of entrepreneurs is close behind with seriously cool mobile retail.

On weekends, one of the hippest places to shop in SoHo In New York sits at the corner of Broadway and Prince, with street artists to the west, trendy stores all around and an endless stream of tourists and shoppers flowing past on the sidewalk. Danceable music pulses out of speakers to stop the human stream long enough for it to notice a show window with graphic T-shirts and collectible toys on display. And every few minutes, a passerby becomes a patron, handing over $35 in cash for a tee and providing a smiling photo op – everyone who buys is snapped with a Canon digital camera, his/her visage to be posted on a website.

Cloud technology lifts “accidental” entrepreneur

– Cindy Bates is vice president of Microsoft’s U.S. SMB organization where she is responsible for the company’s end-to-end SMB sales and marketing efforts. The views expressed are her own. –

Recovery from the recession has been frustratingly slow for many whose jobs disappeared as companies shrank or even vanished.  Many have decided to take the plunge and start their own businesses.

This generation of business executives has become known as “accidental entrepreneurs.”  But a recent Microsoft survey discovered their ability to launch and succeed in a business was no accident – it was made possible to a great extent by technology.

from Reuters Money:

1099 tax rule may bring big pain to small business

The new rules on 1099 forms, which were attached to the health care bill and are set to go into effect in 2012, call for all businesses, no matter how small, to file 1099 forms for goods as well as for services. That sounds like a technicality, but it’s got small business up in arms.

Here’s why it matters, and what you need to know.

rWhat exactly is the rule, anyway?

The new rule requires all business to file 1099 forms for goods as well as services, if those goods cost over $600 annually (the current threshold). It also gets rid of the distinction between corporations, which previously did not need to receive 1099s, and unincorporated entities, which did. The rule is slated to go into effect in 2012.

Who will it affect?

It will affect all businesses, including sole proprietors, consultants, self-employed people and freelancers, who are considered businesses for tax purposes, but may not think of themselves that way. It also will apply to charities and other tax-exempt organizations. The National Taxpayer Advocate, based on Internal Revenue Service data, figures that it will affect 26 million sole proprietorships, 4 million S corporations, 2 million C corporations, 3 million partnerships, 2 million farms, 1 million charities and other tax-exempt organizations, and likely more than 100,000 federal, state and local government entities. All told, that’s more than 38 million taxpayers and taxpaying entities.

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