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SBA is committed to helping small businesses, which are the backbone of the nation’s economy, thrive. Working closely with a wide range of lending partners across the country, SBA has developed a number of financial programs that address the various needs of small businesses.
Before seeking financial assistance, ask yourself the following questions to evaluate your business’s financing needs:
- Do you need more capital or can you manage existing cash flow more effectively?
- How do you define your need? Do you need money to expand or as a cushion against risk?
- How urgent is your need? You can obtain the best terms when you anticipate your needs rather than looking for money under pressure.
- How great are your risks? All businesses carry risks, and the degree of risk will affect cost and available financing alternatives.
- In what state of development is your business? Needs are most critical during transitional stages.
- For what purposes will the capital be used? Any lender will require that capital be requested for very specific needs.
- What is the state of your industry? Depressed, stable, or growth conditions require different approaches to money needs and sources. Businesses that prosper while others are in decline will often receive better funding terms.
- Is your business seasonal or cyclical? Seasonal needs for financing generally are short term. Loans advanced for cyclical industries, such as construction, are designed to support a business through depressed periods.
- How strong is your management team? Management is an important element assessed by lenders.
- How does your need for financing mesh with your business plan? If you don't have a business plan, make writing one your first priority. All capital sources will want to see your business plan for the start-up and growth of your business.
Banks and other lending institutions offer a number of SBA guaranteed loan programs: (7(a) Loans, CDC/504 Loan, Microloan) to assist small businesses. While the SBA itself does not make loans, it does guarantee loans made to small businesses by private and other institutions, encouraging these loans to qualify more applicants for loan approval.