Whether you are new to business ownership or you have decades of entrepreneurship under your belt, there are several programs available to small business owners. Before your buy a business or start browsing the Business FSBO directories, it pays to investigate which local and federal assistance programs are available to you.
Here is a sampling of what the SBA can do to help you with your new business:
Getting certified as woman-owned or minority-owned business
Becoming a certified women-owned or minority owned business can draw a lot of new clients to your doorstep. In order to become certified as minority-owned, the business must be owned and at least 51% controlled by one or more minorities. Women-owned businesses are self-certifying, so no paperwork needs to be filed. Find out how your state and local government regulates this process by visiting their web site. The SBA offers a Business Development Program to assist small businesses with owners who are socially or economically disadvantaged.
Getting a small business loan
SBA offices throughout the country offer assistance in preparing the documents required for a small business loan. These documents include the purpose of the loan, financial statements (for existing businesses) or a projected opening-day balance sheet (for new businesses), details of the lease, the business owner’s investment, and projections of income and expenses. If for some reason your loan is not approved, the SBA may ask the lender to reconsider under the SBA’s loan guaranty program. While this process may take up to 10 days, but your business must be for profit and not exceed the SBA’s business size guidelines.
Finding an investor for your business
The Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) is a venture capital fund made up of privately owned investment companies who make capital available for small businesses. SBICs are licensed and regulated by the SBA and they are incented by the ability to share in the success of the small businesses they fund. Contact your local SBA office for more information about these programs.
Finding the right businesses to buy
If you are looking to acquire an existing small business, consider searching on a “Businesses for Sale by Owner” (FSBO) directory. Here, you can learn first-hand from the existing owner about any SBA programs they already use. Plus, you can be one of the first to find out about new business opportunities in your area.