Financing Your Expanding Business with the SBA
If your business is part of the small minority of businesses who successfully maneuver those challenging early years, then you might be thinking, “what’s next?” If you are fortunate enough–or strategic enough–to generate multiple streams of business income, the need for additional staff or plans to construct a brick and mortar, you will need money.
When your business is experiencing growth, a slowdown in cash flow can negatively impact short and long term financials and goals. How can a small business keep up with the demands as it slowly begins to morph into a mid-size company?
Before you begin to panic, think of how the Small Business Administration can help you! Depending on the trajectory and maturity of your business, as well as how much debt you have on the books, you can consider a variety of loans from the SBA. Prior to applying for any loans, take the time to answer a list of questions to evaluate your business if you are financing growth. Review the following situations to learn how the SBA can help finance your future:
Under CDC/504 loans, the SBA offers money for businesses to purchase real estate, new machinery and equipment, or make improvements like landscaping. Additionally, if you need to renovate your existing office or facility, these fund can help.
The SBA microloan program helps small businesses and qualified non-profit groups start and expand their businesses. Loan amounts are capped at $50,000 and can support new equipment, supplies, future or be used as working capital. Each micro lender has its own qualifications and requirements for their loans.
Though there are special prerequisites, the most common SBA loans are through the 7(a) Loan Program. There is no minimum loan amount but there is a $5 million maximum. The average loan amount in the 2015 fiscal year was over $300,000. Learn about eligibility for 7(a) loans.
The SBA does not lend the money directly to entrepreneurs to grow a business, but sets certain stipulations for loans made by its partners (lenders, community development organizations and micro-lending institutions). The SBA helps to eliminate some of the risk to lenders by guaranteeing that these loans will be repaid.
Spend time reviewing your past few quarters and make projections for the next six months to two, or even five, years. Think of best and worst case scenarios, particularly if your business relies on a specific demographic, technology or season. Get your trusted staff members, advisors and accountant involved in the process for support.
Financing a growing business is a good problem to have, if you are equipped with what your options are and how they can help your situation. Remember, the SBA is champions small businesses and wants to help them thrive. For more information about SBA loan programs, click here.
Whatever you decide, do not go it alone. Consult a professional or a SCORE mentor and be as informed as possible to make the best decision for your business success
About the Author:
Ijeoma S. Nwatu is a digital strategy and communications consultant. She is the Communications Manager for ColorComm, an organization that aims to uplift women of color in the communications field. When not working with clients, Ijeoma can be found speaking about career transitioning and social media marketing. Follow her on Twitter: @ijeomasnwatu.
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