It’s been nearly 20 years since Congress established Financial Literacy Month, and in that time, April has served as an annual reminder of the importance of understanding finances. Having a working knowledge of budgeting, saving, earning, borrowing, and investing is essential for individuals, and it’s even more vital for entrepreneurs. On top of all the other hats they wear, small business owners should know their way around bookkeeping, taxes, projections, and other financial aspects. And while the majority of Americans are considered financially literate, a substantial minority — 36% are not. That’s according to a recent report by Ipsos.
Among its many objectives, the SBA strives to increase the financial literacy of small business owners across the U.S. through a number of programs and resources.
SBA Resource Partners
Local business advisers can provide insight in many areas, including finances. From workshops and online trainings to one-on-one sessions, SBA resource partners are there for small business owners with a variety of low- or no-cost services. A SCORE mentor, for example, can walk you through budgeting basics. Your local Small Business Development Center can help you access capital and more. If you’re a veteran interested in started or growing your business, a Veterans Business Outreach Center can assist you with your financial plan, among other things. For women entrepreneurs, Women’s Business Centers are your go-to for help in managing your finances.
SBA Learning Platform
There are many useful small business topics the SBA’s Learning Platform covers. Finance-related material is no exception. Entrepreneurs are encouraged to browse the full list of courses, which includes Financing Your Business. Loans, grants, venture capital, and crowd funding are some of the key topics covered in the course, which concludes with a downloadable worksheet for assessing your own financing needs. There is also Money Smart for Small Business, a curriculum designed in partnership with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).
SBA-Guaranteed Loans and Lender Match
More than a quarter of small business owners fear that cash flow will be their greatest challenge moving forward. SBA-guaranteed loans are designed to alleviate such concerns. Here’s how it works: The SBA coordinates with participating lenders to reduce their risk, increasing the likelihood your loan will be approved with the terms that work best for you. The SBA makes it easy for you to access lenders via Lender Match, a free online referral program that connects small businesses with more than 800 participating SBA-approved lenders.
Financial literacy is about developing good money management habits and skills to ensure long-term sustainability. If you’re seeking a more thorough understanding of your finances, the SBA is here for you. Learn more at sba.gov.