Business Loans – Getting a Term Loan

The Reality of the Small Business

This seems to be the age of the entrepreneur, with small startups such as Facebook and Twitter proving that small businesses can grow – potentially exponentially with the right resources. Unfortunately, success stories like Facebook are rare in the small business world, with over half of small businesses failing within five years of their startup, mainly due to lack of funding.

As any small business or entrepreneur knows, funding is one of the most difficult parts of starting a business. Banks are especially hesitant in giving out business loans to small and start-up companies, especially with the economical downslide of 2008. Crowdfunding is a great idea, but is only successful part of the time. Getting a business credit card is a great option… until the debt costs outweigh the business income.

The fact of the matter is, it is nearly impossible to get a business started without money, and it is nearly impossible to get the funding needed without an established business. This catch-22 is what sets most businesses down the path to financial hardship. However, there is now a new way to fund smaller businesses in the form of a microloan.

The SBA Microloan Program

The U.S. Small Business Administration has begun a program which provides funds to intermediary non-profit community oriented lenders to administer microloans to eligible businesses. Unlike a bank loan, which can range anywhere from $150,000 to $250,000, microloans range from $10,000 to $50,000, providing small businesses enough funding to cover basic costs for their start-up without the risk of crushing debt.

An SBA micro business loan cannot be used to pay off existing debt or purchase new real estate, but it can be used toward the purchase of supplies and machinery, working capital, inventory and supplies, and furniture and fixtures for the space. The payback plan of the micro business loan also varies in regards to the business’ planned use of the funds, the loan amount, and the needs of the business owner. Unlike large bank loans, a microloan is tailored specifically for the small business owner to succeed.

Micro business loans can make a macro-difference for your small or start-up business. These loans are designed to help you launch and expand your small business with a maximum six year payback plan, and interest rates spanning between eight and thirteen percent. Money lenders who offer microloans are beginning to become more prominent, making entrepreneurial start-ups less financially daunting.

In Conclusion

If you are a small company interested in a micro business loan, there is a comprehensive list of SBA approved lenders on their website. The list is broken down by state, so no matter where your business is located, you can speak to a local microloan lender here to get your business financed. There are also online lenders such as trustleaf.com and PayPal’s Working Capital program. However, it is important that you do significant research and ensure you are getting the best microloan offer from these companies.

Family Business, Non-Family Business

After 20 years of working with Senior Executives across the world it’s interesting to see the mistakes when appointing Senior Executives. There can be many reasons why, but one reason is not understanding the differences of working in a Family Business and a Non-Family Business. I’ve recently met several Senior Executives who are unhappy with their employment because of this lack of knowledge and understanding and I’m meeting Business owners who didn’t realise there was a difference. These Business Owners feel that money and title is enough and stick to the Mantra of “Surely experienced ‘C’ level Executives can work in any company?”

Due to the change of economy, I have become more involved with assisting Family Businesses rather than just the corporates in finding ‘C’ level people. To do this successfully I believe that everyone in the process of hiring Senior Executives must understand the differences that separate the two entities. Having worked for an English and Indian Family Business in a past life this has helped me at first hand to see the ups and downs of these Businesses; this with a theoretical base has helped with running my own companies or advising others with theirs.

One recent company I have been involved with was run and founded by a successful New Zealand Entrepreneur. He does not have anybody in his immediate family to hand the reins over to. He has tried (outside the family) executives to fill his ‘C’ level roles and has had three people in three years! What is the problem? Was this a real Family Business? Was the Problem his, or the Executives?

We discussed the reasons for the failures but in terms of assisting the owner I got him to firstly look at where his people came from. All three had been ‘C’ level people in corporates and had done an excellent job in their corporate environment. They all returned to corporate life and continued to do well in their new roles. Why did they fail then in this successful company?

What I needed the owner to do was to identify a “Family Business”. I don’t normally use dictionary definitions but feel that in this instance Wikipedia gives a satisfactory explanation of a Family Business;

“A commercial organization in which decision-making is influenced by multiple generations of a family-related by blood or marriage-who are closely identified with the firm through leadership or ownership. Owner-manager entrepreneurial firms are not considered to be family businesses because they lack the multigenerational dimension and family influence that create the unique dynamics and relationships of family businesses” Wikipedia 2014.

We looked at his company and although he didn’t have anyone in the immediate family to take over the reins he had people who owned the company in minor leadership roles. We both agreed he did in fact have a Family Business.

He thought that buying in top salaried ‘C’ level Executives from corporates would enhance growth and sustain his business. He had not seen any differences between Family and Non-Family Business.

Urban Myths for Family Businesses;

All are unstable Small to Midsize businesses’.
As an Executive I don’t want to baby sit the junior family members so they can take over my job.
A non-family member will never run the company.
Mother and Father Companies, the only people that matter in the company are family members.
Emotional hard to work places due to family disagreements/arguments.
Incompetent family members in positions of authority.
Are these statements true or are they just Urban Myths?

Family businesses are one of the fastest growing sectors of the world economy and now merit serious consideration by Senior Executives looking to advance their careers. This is an amazing turnaround from 25 years ago when nobody wanted to work for a family-owned business. There now seem to be many positives;