Looking for capital to start or grow your business? Sometimes, even with a solid idea and business plan, finding third party financing can be a challenge for many small business owners. So where are startups and growing businesses finding the funds they need? According to a Kauffman Firm Survey, one-third of young firms do not use capital injections. Instead, they rely on owner investment or nonbank sources of funds, with the most frequently used source of startup dollars being owners’ and relatives’ savings (source). But...
Is the marketplace squeezing your margins? Do your customers have less disposable income to spend? Are market forces making it harder for you to stay profitable? Making money is a perennial challenge for small business owners, and simply increasing your prices or selling more products or services – often at compromised margins – isn’t always the answer. So, what sustainable strategies can you use to maintain and grow your margins? There’s no one-size-fits-all silver bullet, but here are some suggestions that might pay...
Alongside home ownership, early retirement is a long-held American dream. But in recent years, planning for retirement itself, let alone an early one, isn’t getting any easier. In 1991, half of all American workers planned to retire before they reached the age of 65. Today, that number has plunged to just 23 percent. And that’s not the only alarming statistic. A study conducted by Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research reported that American workers are $6.6 trillion short of what they need to retire comfortably....
When cash flow is tight and times are tough, one of the first areas to cut back on is your marketing budget. But how do you measure the worth of your existing activities and what should you cut? Here are some ideas: Retire Products and Services Do you have any products or services that simply aren’t generating a profit, despite concerted efforts to fix sales? Are your lower margin products outselling their higher margin counterparts in similar product lines? Consider retiring these lines, although be sure to look at incremental sales as...
So, you filed your small business tax return and are breathing a sigh of relief that tax season is finally over – only to find that the IRS has just dropped a letter in your mailbox. While some tax mistakes can carry serious penalties and result in an audit, not all notices from the IRS indicate that an audit is coming your way. It’s quite possible that the IRS needs more information or you may have made an unwitting error when you filed. On the flipside, what if your filing error is to your benefit? After all, one of the most...
Just filed your taxes and wished you’d had the help of an accountant? Unhappy with your current accountant? Here are some tips for finding and choosing an accountant you can trust with your small business numbers and rely on for solid financial advice throughout the year. Why Hire an Accountant An accountant can save you time and clear up much of the confusion you experience when it comes to managing your finances and taxes, but a trusted accountant can provide other benefits, too. Act as a Trusted Advisor – More than just a...
The idea of starting a business during a recession or growing a business during tough times may sound like the ultimate challenge for any entrepreneur or small business owner. Yet, time and time again, small businesses prove that with agility, planning, and the right resources, tough times aren’t just survivable – they can spur growth. Take for example SBA’s 2011 National Small Business Person of the Year, Rick Cochran, whose Vermont-based Mobile Medical International (MMI), provides advanced medical care to underserved areas...
Contractors and surety bond providers: Did you know the SBA guarantees surety bonds? For both small business contractors and surety agents alike, working with SBA to secure a surety bond guarantee can offer valuable benefits. What’s more, applying for the program is fast – the average application is reviewed in under 2 days – and contractors and agents can upload application documents online through the e-Apps system. SBA is working to make the online application even faster and more convenient....
Are you a surety bond company or authorized surety agent? Do you underwrite contract surety bonds? If so, SBA may be a valuable partner to you. SBA guarantees surety bonds for small businesses unable to secure a surety bond through other means – and both small businesses and surety companies can benefit from working with SBA. This, the third blog in our series, helps surety companies and agents understand the benefits of SBA’s Surety Bond Guarantee Program. For contractor-specific surety bond information,...
SBA Surety Bonds, Pt. 2: Applying is Easier than You Think Are you a small contractor bidding on work that requires a surety bond? Or, do you have questions about what a surety bond is, why you might need one, and how to get one? If so, SBA may be able to help. SBA guarantees surety bonds for small contractors that might not qualify otherwise – and the process of getting a guarantee is easier and faster than you might think. In fact, SBA’s Office of Surety Guarantees usually reviews applications for bonds within 2...
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