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When and Why Should You Stick to the Plan?

By Tim Berry, Guest Blogger
Published: February 24, 2014

There was a time, a few decades ago, when I thought sticking to the plan was a good for business. “Because that’s the plan” seemed like a good thing. But I’ve changed my mind.wall and ladder istock.com

Having a plan is absolutely a good thing. And sticking to the planning process — which means regularly checking results, evaluating progress, and revising a plan — is absolutely a good thing too. But sticking to a plan? Just because it’s supposedly something people do? No.

Years ago, I was one of four friends taking a two-week road trip in Europe. We were young, single and having fun. Three of us were fairly flexible about things, so if we liked one spot we’d want to stay there longer; if we didn’t like another, we’d want to take off early. But the fourth always wanted to stick to the plan. And that was such a pain. We’d made the plan before we left, and our trip meant learning. I remember the arguments: he’d say “but we have a plan” and we’d say “but when we made the plan we didn’t know what we do now.”

Fast forward to today and the first thing we can all see is that business time frames have changed. Business moves faster than it used to. And the business landscape has changed too. There’s still a lot of consolidation at the top, and those huge enterprises need to manage longer-term plans in order to be able to steer. But there’s also huge fragmentation at the bottom, too, with more than 20 million U.S. companies having no employees, and six or so small businesses, and they move faster. They have to.

So assumptions change very quickly. And that, to my mind, is the key to managing a business plan and keeping it useful.

First, do a plan that has concrete specifics you can track. Include not just the obvious numbers for sales, costs, and expenses, but also other manageable numbers like web traffic, visits, leads, presentations, calls, downloads, likes, mentions, updates, and whatever else drives your business.

Second, set a regular schedule for reviewing plan vs. actual results. Have a monthly task to look at progress and identify problems.

Third, learn to distinguish problems of execution from changed assumptions. If assumptions have changed, then the plan should change. If assumptions still hold true, then the difference between plan and actual results is a matter of execution. React to surprises according to what direction they go and what cause and effect you see. Usually, unexpectedly good results are a good reason to look at shifting resources towards the positive; unexpectedly bad results are a good reason to shift resources to correct a problem.

And that’s what I call the good side of sticking to a plan: have a plan, review it regularly, and revise it as needed. It’s way easier to correct your course if you have a plan than if you’re just reacting to whatever happened yesterday. 

(Image courtesy of stockphoto.com)

About the Author:

Tim Berry
Tim Berry

Guest Blogger

Founder and Chairman of Palo Alto Software and bplans.com, on twitter as Timberry, blogging at timberry.bplans.com. His collected posts are at blog.timberry.com. Stanford MBA. Married 46 years, father of 5. Author of business plan software Business Plan Pro and www.liveplan.com and books including his latest, 'Lean Business Planning,' 2015, Motivational Press. Contents of that book are available for web browsing free at leanplan.com .

5 Payroll Tax Mistakes to Avoid

By BarbaraWeltman, Guest Blogger
Published: February 20, 2014

If you have at least one employee, you’re responsible for payroll taxes. These include withholding federal (and, where appropriate, state) income taxes and FICA tax from employees’ wages as well as paying the employer share of FICA tax and federal and state unemployment taxes. The responsibility is great and the penalties for missteps make it essential that you do things right.

1.    Misclassifying workers
Perhaps the hottest audit issue today is misclassifying workers. There’s incentive to treat workers as independent contractors rather than employees because payroll taxes and employee benefit costs are high; a company’s only tax responsibility for an independent is issuing a Form 1099-MISC if payments in the year are $600 or more.

You don’t have the freedom to select the label for the worker; classification depends on whether you have sufficient control over the worker. This essentially means having the right to say when, where, and how the work gets done. Having an independent contractor agreement is helpful in showing that you and the worker do not intend any employer-employee relationships, but it doesn’t bind the IRS, who is not a party to the agreement.

Find information about worker classification from the IRS. When in doubt, consult your tax advisor.

2.    Not using an accountable plan for employee reimbursements
If you normally pay for travel, entertainment, tools or other business costs for employees, you’re wasting employment tax dollars if you don’t use an accountable plan. With this arrangement, you deduct the expenses but avoid all payroll taxes on reimbursements; employees do not have any income from reimbursements.

To be an accountable plan, the employer must formalize the arrangement and set reasonable times for action (the following times are reasonable to the IRS but you can adopt shorter time limits for action):

  • The reimbursable expense must be business related.
  • Advances cannot be made before 30 days of the expense.
  • Employees must account for the expenses within 60 days of the expense.
  • Employees must return excess reimbursements to the employer within 120 days of the expense.

Find details on accountable plans from the IRS.

3.    Failing to keep payroll records
You are required to maintain payroll records and have them available for IRS inspection. These include time sheets, expense accounts, copies of W-2s and other payroll records. Usually, you should keep information for at least four years.

You should also retain copies of Forms I-9, which shows an employee’s eligibility to work in the U.S. States may also have certain hiring forms that should be retained (e.g., E-verify forms). Details about retaining I-9s can be found at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Department.
 
4.    Choosing to pay creditors before the IRS
When a business gets into a cash crush, it may be tempting to pay the landlord, vendor, or utility company before the IRS; don’t! As a business owner, you are a “responsible person” who remains 100% personally liable for “trust fund” taxes (amounts withheld from employees’ wages). This is so even if your business is incorporated or is a limited liability company.

Best strategy: Set aside cash to cover payroll taxes so you won’t use these funds for any other purpose. Find more information about the trust fund recovery penalty from the IRS.

5.    Failing to monitor payroll company activities
Many small businesses use outside payroll companies to handle the job of figuring withholding as well as transferring funds to the U.S. Treasury to cover payroll taxes. However, some of these companies may not do their job, by error or intentionally. As an employer, even if you use an outside payroll company you remain responsible for payroll taxes.

Best protection: Monitor your tax account to see that funds are being deposited on time and in the correct amount. If deposits are made electronically using EFTPS.gov, you can easily see activities in your account.

Conclusion
Stay on top of your employer responsibilities to avoid any penalties or entanglements with the IRS, the Department of Labor, or your state’s agencies.
 

About the Author:

BarbaraWeltman
Barbara Weltman

Guest Blogger

Barbara Weltman is an attorney, prolific author with such titles as J.K. Lasser's Small Business Taxes, J.K. Lasser's Guide to Self-Employment, and Smooth Failing as well as a trusted professional advocate for small businesses and entrepreneurs. She is also the publisher of Idea of the Day® and monthly e-newsletter Big Ideas for Small Business® and host of Build Your Business Radio. She has been included in the List of 100 Small Business Influencers for three years in a row. Follow her on Twitter: @BigIdeas4SB or at www.BigIdeasforSmallBusiness.com

Celebrating Your Small Business Accomplishments

By kmurray, Contributor and Moderator
Published: February 19, 2014

Have you celebrated your small business’ accomplishments lately? In a few weeks, we’ll be tuning in to watch the Oscars – the Academy Awards – an occasion that acknowledges the finest achievements in the film industry in the last year. If you haven’t had the chance to step back and celebrate what you’ve achieved, here are a few ways this popular event can inspire you.

From the movie business to small business…

The Oscars feature categories that award many aspects of films – from the costumes that each filmgoer can easily see to the “behind-the-scenes” work that may not be as apparent to viewers once a film hits theatres. The same can go for your small business.

Think about the parts of your business, for instance, that are readily apparent to customers – like your website or store displays; then there are those elements that are just as crucial to success – like HR or the finance department – that may operate in a “behind-the-scenes” fashion.

And the award goes to…

Here are a few ideas about translating popular award categories to your business.

  • Best Supporting Actress/Actor – Acknowledge your team and the roles they’ve had in helping the business achieve success and reach goals. Maybe there was one project that stands out where someone went above and beyond what was required. Or perhaps another employee took on a task that didn’t involve his primary skillset, but he stepped up and got it done. These are great supporting actors to have – and they should be celebrated!
  • Best Foreign Language Film – Language is tough – even when you’re speaking the same one! Take this award as a chance to make note of achievements when your business faced communication challenges, either internal or with a customer, and overcame them. Misunderstood client made happy? Tension among a project team mediated? Translating those challenges into successes and learning opportunities is a great accomplishment.
  • Best Visual Effects – Did your agency deliver some stunning creative pieces to a client? Did your landscaping business create yard art from a formerly dead patch of grass? Think back to what you’ve made possible over the last year thanks to your and your team’s creativity and vision.
  • Best Costume Design – Costumes are extensions of characters, conveying who they are with a unique look and feel, accessories, etc. Similarly, your storefront or website does the same for your business – a visual representation of what your business is. Have you had a favorite window display over the year that attracted a lot of customers? Did you redesign your website or freshen it up? Here’s your chance to really make note.
  • Best Picture – Ah! The coveted Best Picture Award ultimately celebrates how well everyone collaborated – from directors, producers, writers, actors – to produce the best possible product. Take a look at the big picture of your business. How well do you think you fared? How well did your team come together to deliver and succeed? Did you connect with your target audience as you hoped? It’s a great opportunity to reflect on a job well done, so congratulations!

“I’d like to thank the Academy…”

Well, you probably don’t – but thank the people who’ve made your business successes possible by celebrating some of these achievements and acknowledgements with them. Maybe you can make an evening out of it, which could also be a great team-building occasion. If not, a spirited email or presentation over morning coffee can help you get your message across and jazz people up. After all, you’re celebrating not only a great year that’s just gone by – but a bright future built on a solid foundation of success.

About the Author:

kmurray
Katie Murray

Contributor and Moderator

I am an author and moderator for the the SBA.gov Community. I'll share useful information for your entrepreneurial endeavors and help point you in the right direction to find other resources for your small business needs. Thanks for joining our online community here at SBA.gov!

In A Franchise, When Does The Money Start Rolling In?

By FranchiseKing, Guest Blogger
Published: February 18, 2014 Updated: September 13, 2016

You need to know how long it’s going to take to start recouping your investment in the franchise concept you’ve chosen. You certainly shouldn’t have to guess how long it’s going to take for you to see some green.

If you’d like to find out when the money will start rolling in, keep reading. I’m going to show you how to get that money question answered.

Open For Business

The day you open your franchise business up, you should see some money rolling in.

That day…Grand Opening Day should be a day to remember, especially if the marketing department at franchise headquarters did its job. Customers should be everywhere. Wallets should be out. Money should be rolling in. And, when word gets out that there’s a new business in town, you should see a good amount of foot traffic (if it’s a retail or food franchise) going in and out of your new business.

Money will be flowing in. It will feel good. You’ll feel like a million bucks. Enjoy that feeling. Savor it like a fine wine or a corn-fed steak.

The Money Can’t Roll Into Your Pocket Yet   

The money that’s rolling into your new business can’t go into your pocket. Not yet. It needs to go back into your business. You’ll have expenses to cover…things like rent, inventory, advertising and utilities. Of course there’s payroll. And don’t forget that you have to repay the small business loan you received.

That probably won’t leave much…and it’s not supposed to. You own a brand-new business…a startup business. Before you can pocket some of the money that will be coming in, you need to get your franchise business to break-even.* That should be your short-term goal.

What Is Break-Even?

That’s the point in which your revenue pays your business expenses. Only then can you start thinking about pocketing some of the money that’s coming in.

But, you knew that.

That’s because you took the time to write a proper business plan. One that included your sales forecast. A good business plan will include projections. You’ll have an idea of when you’ll be breaking even, what your sales will have to be to get there.   

Franchise Ownership Is A Long-Term Thing

You’ve got to be in it for the long haul.

If you’re looking to replace your salary quickly, it probably won’t happen. You’re going to have to be patient. Your family will have to be patient too. Hopefully, you’ve set aside some funds to get you through those first few months…or longer.

I know you want to see the money rolling in.

Choose a franchise that’s a good match for your skills. Make sure it’s well within your means. Talk to a lot of existing franchisees, and chose one or two to visit in-person. Write a formal business plan. Consult with a franchise attorney.

If you do enough right things, the money may well roll in.

I’m pulling for you.

*Non-US Government link 

 

About the Author:

FranchiseKing
Joel Libava

Guest Blogger

The Franchise King®, Joel Libava, is the author of Become a Franchise Owner! and recently launched Franchise Business University.

Developing a Content Marketing Strategy

By smallbiztrends, Guest Blogger
Published: February 13, 2014

While some of online marketing is trendy and will inevitably fade away, there’s no disputing that content marketing is here to stay. If you’ve heard this buzzword, but aren’t really clear on what it includes, that’s probably because its definition is expanding as marketers find new ways to provide content to their audience.

In general, content marketing includes:

  • Blogs

  • Videos

  • Infographics

  • Whitepapers/Ebooks

How to Get More Readers (and Thereby Customers)

 

The point of content marketing is to attract new potential customers to your site. You’re providing useful information to them (in whatever format you choose), and ultimately, you’re working to build trust. Once they feel they can trust you, that relationship moves into the sales funnel.

 

But first you want to get as many readers or viewers of your content as possible, since they won’t all buy from you. Here’s how.

 

Share Content on Social Media

 

Each blog post, video, infographic or ebook you create should be trumpeted through your social network. And not just once! Schedule several updates -- across all channels -- encouraging your followers to click to view the content you have created. Ask your followers to also share the update with their followers to reach a wider audience.

 

So what’s the ideal number of times to share? There is none. Just be mindful of your audience, and don’t alienate them by posting multiple updates every day begging them to read your content. A few times a week is a good place to start.

 

Post Content to Bookmarking Sites

 

For many people, social bookmarking sites like Stumbleupon and BizSugar are where they get their content. The benefit of doing so is that the content has already been vetted, so to speak. The most popular content has the most votes, so a quick skim through the top links should net the best content.

 

For you, social bookmarking sites offer fabulous opportunity to connect to readers you wouldn’t otherwise have found. The more places you can pick up new readers, the more customers you’ll get.

 

Set Up an RSS Feed

 

It needs to be stupidly simple for visitors to your blog to easily get updates every time you post a new article. That’s where RSS feeds come into play. When a visitor signs up to get your blog updates, she can either read them in an RSS feeder with her other favorite blogs, or get your updates via email. That way, she doesn’t have to remember to check back on your blog for new content.

 

Set Up a Success Measurement Plan

 

All this hard work in developing and sharing your content will be for naught if you don’t measure results! Paying attention to how many visitors you’re attracting with your content can help you know if you’re doing a good enough job in marketing and sharing that content. And knowing which topics people are reading or viewing the most can help you generate future content ideas.

 

Google Analytics is the easiest tool to provide data on all of this. Plus, it’s free to use. With Analytics, you can also look at traffic over time and make sure it’s steadily rising the way you want it to. You can also look at conversions, if you sell products online. In other words: is the traffic that’s arriving on your blog converting into paying customers? If not, you should analyze your site to determine the disconnect.

 

These days, it's not enough to throw blog content out into cyberspace. You need a plan for your content marketing strategy so you draw in the right people with your content and turn them into loyal customers.

About the Author:

smallbiztrends
Anita Campbell

Guest Blogger

My name is Anita Campbell. I run online communities and information websites reaching over 6 million small business owners, stakeholders and entrepreneurs annually, including Small Business Trends, a daily publication about small business issues, and BizSugar.com, a small business social media site.

Build Business Credit Reports You Can Be Proud About Having

By Marco Carbajo, Guest Blogger
Published: February 11, 2014

Business credit reports play an integral role in credit risk assessment and company research. Access to detailed information about a business such as background info, financial data, payment trends, company size, payment history and public filings provide the necessary details lenders, suppliers, investors and potential business partners need. build business credit

Your company credit reports and scores are constantly changing based on a variety of factors, including payment history, number of trade lines and outstanding balances. It’s essential to keep a close eye on your reports and watch out for changes that could affect your ability to acquire credit.

It’s vital to build and maintain business credit reports you can proud of. Did you know potential business partners and investors may evaluate your company credit files to acquire background information on your business, evaluate financials and review what other companies you're working with?

Building and improving the depth and diversity of your business credit reports will have lasting benefits financially and provide greater financing opportunities. While it may take time to build business credit that has depth and diversity, it’s equally important to take the time to manage and protect the good credit your company has already established. To accomplish this you should monitor your reports on a regular basis.

Here are five reasons to build strong business credit reports:

  1. Creditworthiness - Lending institutions, creditors and suppliers will check your business credit reports prior to extending or increasing your company’s line of credit. Additionally, they monitor your reports routinely to assess your company's ability to pay and may adjust credit terms prior to financial difficulties emerging.
  2. Customer acquisition - It’s not uncommon for potential customers to check a business's credit record to see if a company is a legal and credible business before working with them. This is not an unusual practice in today's business environment.
  3. Partnerships & joint ventures - Various other companies could evaluate your reports if they are thinking about collaborating with you. For example, by recognizing one of the most creditworthy companies, a business could supply first-time consumers a line of credit at very little risk.
  4. Insurance premiums - Company insurance policy costs are based upon information acquired from your company reports. Insurance companies make use of business credit reports for underwriting insurance policies. Factors that play a role in just how they forecast danger include industry classification, payment trends, trade experiences, and debt to credit ratios.
  5. Government contracts - Federal government departments also assess company credit records for companies wanting to do business with the government, collecting taxes, and fulfilling government deals. For instance, in order to obtain a federal contract your company must be registered to start marketing to government agencies. This registration process includes getting a DUNS number from Dun & Bradstreet.

It's crucial to keep track of the health of your business credit reports as it is the basis for decisions other businesses, lenders, suppliers, government agencies, insurance firms and consumers make concerning your company. Monitoring your reports is important so you should regularly check and ensure details regarding your company are accurate and up to date.

About the Author:

Marco Carbajo
Marco Carbajo

Guest Blogger

Marco Carbajo is a business credit expert, author, speaker, and founder of the Business Credit Insiders Circle. He is a business credit blogger for Dun and Bradstreet Credibility Corp, the SBA.gov Community, About.com and All Business.com. His articles and blog; Business Credit Blogger.com, have been featured in 'Fox Small Business','American Express Small Business', 'Business Week', 'The Washington Post', 'The New York Times', 'The San Francisco Tribune',‘Alltop’, and ‘Entrepreneur Connect’.

How Your Small Business Can Spread the Love to Your Community

By kmurray, Contributor and Moderator
Published: February 10, 2014

Valentine’s Day is upon us, and we know that businesses large and small incorporate this holiday of love into sales and marketing efforts with the hope that customers will spread a little more love their way. But another great way to acknowledge this amorous day is to spread a little love yourself – back to the community that supports your business. Read on for insight about making the most of your volunteer efforts.

Giving back through volunteering is a great way to show the value you place on your community – and your business can benefit as well. Alyssa Gregory, an entrepreneur and small business expert, points out a few potential returns when you lend a hand to others:

  • Networking: Getting out into your community gives you the chance to develop new relationships and strengthen existing ones.
  • Marketing: Representing your business is a surefire way to send a message about what you’re all about. You have the opportunity to make a positive, memorable impression that will stay with people.
  • Skill development: If you’re volunteering services that are a regular part of your offerings, you may have a unique opportunity to strengthen them in a different context. If you’re giving your time for a different activity, it’s a chance to learn something new and potentially translate those lessons into your business practices.

So, how can you make the most of your efforts to spread the love this Valentine’s Day – and beyond?

  • Find a cause that speaks to your passion! We all want to spend time doing what we love. And as a small business owner, you may not think you have much time to spare – that’s why you should find something that complements your existing business efforts or draws on a passion for you and your team. VolunteerMatch can help you find opportunities specific to your interests – from animals to board development ­– and your availability.
  • Pump up your team! Are you hoping to get others to join you? Get them excited and make it easy for them to participate. If you can afford it, order matching t-shirts or gather everyone for a meal afterward to discuss. It’ll serve as a great team-building activity and provide an opportunity for conversation about future efforts.
  • Get the word out! Press releases, Facebook updates, tweets and more. Let people know that you’re getting out there to help your community. If the organization you’re volunteering with also has a social media presence, don’t forget to tag them or use their handle – they’ll appreciate the additional publicity as well.  

Lending a hand to the less fortunate or providing your product or service to an organization in need are great ways to show you care about the community that makes it possible for you to do business. And the support you’re able to show for your community is sure to be appreciated.

So this Valentine’s Day, skip the box of chocolates and share the sweetness of the holiday with the deserving people and causes in your neighborhood. 

About the Author:

kmurray
Katie Murray

Contributor and Moderator

I am an author and moderator for the the SBA.gov Community. I'll share useful information for your entrepreneurial endeavors and help point you in the right direction to find other resources for your small business needs. Thanks for joining our online community here at SBA.gov!

SBA Learning Center

SBA Disaster Assistance Program

In the wake of a disaster, SBA provides low-interest disaster loans to homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes and private, nonprofit organizations. Watch this short video to learn more about SBA's Disaster Assistance Program.

Focusing Your Business’s Social Media Strategy

By bridgetwpollack, Guest Blogger
Published: February 6, 2014 Updated: February 6, 2014

You’ve heard time and again that social media marketing is the key to your business’s success. But, do you know where the corresponding lock is? Or how to use it? Social media can seem like a behemoth of a marketing strategy sucking up all your time with results that trickle in at first. Well, fear not; we’re here to set you on a clear, strategic path of the right ways to make social media work for your particular enterprise.

Start with the Big Picture

Is anyone on Google+? Will all these social media efforts even make a dent in my bottom line? What time of day should I post to get maximum exposure? You’ve got questions and we’ve compiled the answers. The new infographic, “2013 Small Business Social Media Trends” answers all the questions you’ve been pondering regarding social media’s effectiveness for small businesses, recommended posting frequency, emerging social networks and tips to keep in mind to get the biggest bang for your social buck.

Just “Be Likeable”

Sounds easy enough, right? Today's consumers are looking for businesses to display certain qualities on social media: accessibility, responsiveness, value, authenticity, adaptability and more. In his recent SCORE LIVE webinar, “Why it Pays to Be Likeable - 7 Simple Social Media Concepts To Drive Results” best-selling author & CEO of Likeable Local, Dave Kerpen, shared his 7 tips for harnessing these traits to become more likeable and ultimately see greater business results.

  1. 1. Listen
  2. Be Responsive
  3. Tell, Don’t Sell
  4. Be Transparent
  5. Be Authentic
  6. Be a Team
  7. Be Grateful

Listen in as Dave shares examples, anecdotes and quotes explaining why each of these 7 concepts is critical to your business achieving social media success.

Handle Negative Comments

You’ve tried your best to be likeable but somehow it’s happened: the dreaded negative comment! It’s not the end of your social media efforts and definitely isn’t the end of your business. In her recent blogpost, co-founder of IgnitorDigital.com, Carrie Hill, walks you step-by-step through dealing with negative comments on your business’s social media pages. As Carrie says, “The benefits of being online and active in social media far outweigh the negative aspects – but when the negative does rear its ugly head – you need to be ready with a solid strategy that your whole team is aware of.”

In the end, you’ve probably come to realize that the social realm is a place your business needs to be. Like really needs to be in order to survive. As with all initiatives in your business, your best bet is to make a plan, follow through, get everyone on the same page, analyze and revise....and get a SCORE business mentor to help you!

About the Author:

bridgetwpollack
Bridget Weston Pollack

Guest Blogger

Bridget Weston Pollack is the Vice President of Marketing and Communications at the SCORE Association. She is responsible for all branding, marketing, PR, and communication efforts. She focuses on implementing marketing plans and strategies to facilitate the growth of SCORE’s mentoring and trainings services. She collaborates with SCORE volunteers and develops SCORE’s online marketing strategy.

SBA Disaster Assistance During FY 2013

By James Rivera, SBA Official
Published: February 5, 2014 Updated: February 5, 2014

Fiscal year 2013—the period between October 1, 2012 and September 30, 2013—was one of the busiest in recent memory for SBA’s disaster assistance program.

SBA approved a total of 46,817 disaster loans for $2.8 billion during FY 2013.  The majority of those loans were made to homeowners and renters recovering from the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy, which hit the Atlantic coast on October 29, 2012—nearly a month after the beginning of the new fiscal year. 

Here are some interesting stats:

  • For Hurricane Sandy alone, SBA approved more than 36,500 disaster loans for a total of $2.4 billion by the end of FY 2013
  • Of those, more than 32,000 loans went to homeowners and renters for a total of $1.9 billion
  • The number of business disaster loans approved was 4,082, for a total of $478 million.
  • In terms of SBA disaster loan volume, Hurricane Sandy is the third largest natural disaster in U.S. History
  • The bigger disasters were the Gulf Coast Hurricanes of 2005 (Katrina, Rita and Wilma), with 169,900 loans approved for $11 billion, and the Northridge (CA) earthquake of 1994 (124,262 loans approved for $4 billion)

Meanwhile, 89 percent of the number of loans approved (41,698), and 80 percent of the dollars in disaster lending ($2.2 billion) went to homeowners and renters. 

About 10 percent of the number of loans approved (5,119) and 19 percent of the dollars ($550 million) in loans made went to businesses.

SBA quickly increased its staffing to support the Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts.  In October 2013, prior to Sandy, there were 1,100 SBA disaster personnel.  By January the number had grown to more than 2,400.

The number of disaster survivors using SBA’s Electronic Loan Application (ELA) increased from 36 percent in FY 2012 to 55 percent during FY 2013. Marketing outreach and a simplified application process made the ELA more attractive to users.

In the aftermath of natural or man-made disasters, the SBA provides recovery assistance in the form of low-interest, direct loans to homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes and private non-profit organizations.  Visit the website for more information about SBA’s disaster loan program.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About the Author:

James Rivera
James Rivera

SBA Official

James Rivera was named Associate Administrator for SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance in November 2009 after serving for several months as Acting Associate Administrator. In a typical year, his office approves about 20,000 loans totaling about $1 billion. This is the SBA’s sole direct lending program.

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