Understanding How Business Loans Work

Loans come in various types and are being used for different reasons – can either be for personal or business purposes. There are lots of lending firms in the market that specialize in giving out loans to big and small enterprises. If you are a small business owner, below are some points for you to ponder before making the final decision:

As with personal loans, small business loans must be paid back within a specific time period. The amount of money you can get can be utilized to purchase new or additional equipment, buying supplies and raw materials, employing and training new workers, and other purposes.

Keep in mind that as a borrower, it is your duty and obligation to repay the loan according to your chosen lender’s repayment terms. It is easy to apply for a large amount but do not forget to consider your monthly obligations later on. You might have a hard time keeping up with your bills particularly if your loan has a high interest rate. Hence, it is sensible for a business owner to create a business plan which includes a detailed calculation of the expected costs. This will definitely help you avoid applying for a very large loan amount than what you need and eventually getting yourself into a lot of trouble due to debts.

Try asking the following questions to yourself and evaluate the answers. Have you taken time thinking how you plan to use the cash you borrow? Have you just started the business or are you in the stage of expansion? Have you looked over other financing methods before obtaining a loan? Do you think getting a loan is the best option for you?

It is also wise to consider the possible risks when it comes to managing your own business. If you borrow such a huge amount of cash in the form of a loan in the beginning of the business, have you studied the consequences well? What if the business does not go as well as you planned? What if you do not make ample profit as you expected? Having a back-up plan just in case things get bad is always recommended.

Other Factors to Consider

Apart from the traditional financial institutions and loan providers, you may also think about applying for government business loan programs. Application process will take longer with this type of loan but the good thing is that the loan you will get come with a much lower interest rate and more flexible repayment terms. Check out the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (www.sba.gov) website for more information about how you can qualify and apply for this type of business loan.

No matter what type of business loan you choose, always remember that the Federal State Laws safeguard small businesses from loan companies that will demand very high interest rates on business loans. Therefore, do your research well particularly with regards to the rates and costs that are associated with the loan and pick out the lending company whose program not only matches your needs today, but can help grow your company in the future.

About the Author:

For years, Irish Taylor. a business loan consultant with http://www.startupbusinessloans.com , has been providing consumers and business owners with startup business financing. Since 1992, she has helped people with credit and loan problems especially pertaining to Start Up Business Loans, SBA loans and Unsecured Business Loans.

Do You Have the Courage of an Entrepreneur?

Years ago, I heard the statement “the fastest way to personal growth is to open your own business.” Thirteen years after opening my first business, I can promise that statement is true. Like many people who are self-employed, I came out of the corporate world, where I was used to having support staff, creative people around me to bounce ideas off of, and the big bosses over me to handle the heat. I also had janitorial staff to clean the office and technical support staff to handle an errant computer.

When I left all that to open my own business, I soon discovered that my support staff, creative people, big bosses, janitorial staff and technical staff was the person I saw when I stared into my mirror. My business was brand new and very small, one room in an office building. I had to handle everything, whether I was “trained” to handle it or not. I had to discover what I did well, what I enjoyed the most, what I hated to do, when I could afford to hire help, and what help I needed to hire first. I had to stretch and grow quickly.

Fortunately, because I had solid experience in growing a business, the Touch Therapy Center built itself quickly. Within the year, I could hire help for cleaning and laundry service. Next came a bookkeeper. Now, 13 years later, I manage the business while other staff do most of the therapeutic massage, I’m in a medical office building with multiple treatment rooms, and I have a practice manager to handle the front desk, errands, and most administrative tasks.

What I want to point out is the rocky path of personal growth it takes to get from year one to year thirteen, turning a profit the whole way. Here are some of the things I had to learn or consider.

1. Watch my operating costs and bottom line – I had to remain profitable even if I was spending more money on getting help with cleaning, laundry service, and so forth. Watching my weekly financial statements was critical, or I could have worked myself crazy and not made a dime.

2. Know myself well enough to figure out what I liked to do and was good at versus what I am not so good at and am not fond of doing. One of these in the massage business is laundry. I didn’t enjoy dragging home loads of sheets and spending my evenings sorting, washing, drying, and folding them. And I wasn’t particularly great at it, either. On the other hand, I’m very practiced and skillful at attracting clients. I didn’t need or want to pay anyone to handle marketing for me, other than getting help with a design for my business card. It was easy for me and saved me money to develop my own brochures and press releases.

3. I had to find out about my willingness to take risk and how to handle the good and bad that came from that risk. Should I move into larger office space and increase my rent? If so, how much more business would I need to generate to remain at my same level of profit? Could I get larger space, spend more money, and at the same time make even more money? Could I negotiate new lease terms that were favorable to me?

Before long, I had a very busy practice and was ready to hire other staff. Now, I could draw on my past experience as an Executive Director and use my past hiring skills. This time, if I made a bad decision, it was mind and mine alone to deal with, for better or for worse. After about 8 years, I had to make a decision about opening my second business, The Confident Marketer. Other entrepreneurs had been asking me for several years how I’d built my business, how I knew what to do when, and how I got profitable. I found that I absolutely loved helping other self-employed people be successful. So, about 5 years ago, The Confident Marketer was born. And with it, a whole new level of personal growth and challenge was necessary. It’s one reason I keep myself always working with top coaches who can help me face up to the personal growth and new business skills I need to keep my business successful and innovative.

The point to my story is that it takes courage to be an entrepreneur. You have to be willing to find out what you don’t know, get help with those things you don’t do well, and become expert at a few things that are yours and yours alone. You have to be willing to step up to intimately knowing and watching your financial statements (something I find many new entrepreneurs don’t want to do). You have to make decisions using both the facts and figures AND your gut feelings — your intuitive skills. And when there is a problem, you have to be willing to meet it and work it through, taking time to consider whether and how much it affects your customer service and your bottom line. All this takes a great deal of courage and a willingness to grow both personally and professionally.

A great business takes three things – a solid business plan, a creative and well-thought-out marketing plan, and a willingness to engage in personal growth. Behind those three vital things is courage. Step right up, and see how quickly your business becomes unstoppable!

Sue Painter is a marketing therapist whose expertise is finding the dark and murky under-places that keep your business from succeeding. She develops business plans that work, and strategic marketing plans that take dead aim at your target market. You can subscribe to her Marketing Tips e-zine at http://www.confidentmarketer.com

How To Combine Offline and Online Networking Effectively

There’s been a debate brewing around the net as to whether using sites like Facebook and Twitter is more effective than good ol face to face, belly to belly networking.

To me, the debate is as silly as saying whether a ground game or a passing game is more important in football. The team with a ground game that can’t pass will lose and the team with a passing game that can’t run will lose. The team that is merely above average at both (assuming they also have a decent defense) will win every single time.

The same thing applies with networking. I’ve had online businesses where I didn’t know the people on my email lists. I’ve also had offline businesses where I didn’t use a lot of social media. The results from both were mediocre and frustrating.

Recently, with Dayton SEO Services, I combined the two worlds. Wow, when you truly, truly get this, you will be amazed at what you will find.

Here is my process now when I meet someone….

  1. Attend events, meet people and get their business card
  2. Enter their contact information into an Excel spreadsheet
  3. Upload the spreadsheet into SendOutCards and send my new friend a card
  4. Upload the spreadsheet into my email autoresponder and invite them to join my email list. Make sure to get your new friend’s permission by using double opt in. I use Get Response, but I hear Constant Contact is better. It’s a royal pain to move an email list so I just haven’t done it yet.
  5. Import the Excel list into Facebook, Plaxo and LinkedIn to add them to my friends list
  6. Paste the email addresses from Excel into Twitter and follow them
  7. Blog on a regular basis and automatically sync it with Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn
  8. Send emails to the autoresponder list on a regular basis to invite people to read the blog. Constant Contact even has a way to automatically sync this with the blog through the blog’s RSS feed. Once it’s set up, you dont even need to log into your Constant Contact account. It just goes out automatically every time you update the blog.
  9. Get people’s birthday from Facebook and Plaxo and add that info into SendOutCards so I can send them a birthday card. Facebook has a really cool calendar app (I think it’s called Hallmark Calendar) that does this. SendOutCards has a very slick set it and forget it feature called campaigns where I can set it up once in under 10 minutes and birthday cards go out to everyone on the right date.
  10. Schedule one on one appointments to get to know my most important contacts. I just go to meet and learn more about them. I’m NOT there to sell anything.

I hope these tips help you out. If they do, please leave a comment below. I certainly didn’t make this stuff up. I want to thank Kody Bateman and the team at SendOutCards for teaching me this at their very powerful Treat Em Right Seminar. I also want to thank Tony Scelzo, Larry Kevin Adams and all members of the amazing Rainmakers team. I’ve learned so much in just the short time that I’ve been with them. If you haven’t checked out Rainmakers yet, what are you waiting for?

Five Reasons to Check Out Dahle’s Small Office Shredders

If you have a small business, you’re probably used to feeling like you are being overlooked in the world of office machines. Dahle has come to the rescue, however with its line of office shredders that are specifically designed to fit the needs of the smaller business. These machines are intended to be centrally located within a small office and to be used by a few people in the course of a typical day. Here are some of the great features of this innovative line from Dahle.

  • Four different security levels. Depending on which of these machines you choose, you can have anywhere from Level 2 strip cut (best suited for non-sensitive, general office documents) to Level 3 (adheres to the federal regulations regarding the destruction of the confidential information of employees and clients) to Levels 4 and 5 (information crucial to the survival of your business and required in order to work with many government agencies, respectively).
  • Capacity. Also depending on the model you choose, Dahle’s small office shredders are designed to give you the ability to shred between 100 to 400 sheets per day, every day. The strip cut models can handle up to 20 sheets at a time, while even the extra high security Level 5 machine can still handle a pretty impressive 6 sheets at once. The cutting heads are made of solid bars of the finest German steel and are guaranteed for the life of the machine. That is the kind of capacity and dependability that any small business can use.
  • Safety and Ease of Use. With their single toggle switch operation, the Dahle small office shredder line could not be easier to use. All you have to do is to choose between continuous run, automatic on/off (controlled by an electric sensor that detects the shred load) and reverse (in the event of a paper jam). Also, the machine lets you know when the shred bag is full and shuts itself off if the cabinet door is opened for any reason. Emptying the shred bin is a piece of cake too, just open the cabinet door and slide out the shred box. You can make the emptying process even easier by lining the box with Dahle’s disposable shred bags.
  • Feed Width. Designed to easily accept legal and letter sized sheets, all of Dahle’s small office shredders come with a feed width of 9.5 inches, which will see you through the vast majority of shredding jobs with ease. It is this sort of attention to detail that make these small office shredders some of the most productive machines on the market for your small business.
  • Good Looks and Charm. Though its not something you will often hear said about an office machine these days, the Dahle small office shredders are just plain attractive machines. That will be the only distraction they cause, however, because Dahle designed these machines with the powerful cutting heads encased and placed on rubber shock mounts, leading to much less cabinet vibration and remarkably quiet operation.