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The Small Business Administration: A Valuable Tool

The Small Business Administration (SBA) is a wonderful and indispensable resource for every small business. Its purpose is to foster the growth of small business in America.

The agency accomplishes this task by offering education and training programs, general business information, and even loan guarantee programs.

SBA guaranteed loans

While the SBA does not actually loan money, it guarantees major portions of loans made to small businesses by its lending partners. Without this kind of assurance, such funding might not be available to many small businesses.

SBA–backed loans are available to eligible businesses in every state, the District of Columbia, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Guam. It'simportant to note that the agency does not offer grants or low interestloans, as many people believe. In short, the SBA pledges to the lender thatif a business can't repay a loan, the agency will.

The way it works is the small business applies to a lending institution,which then decides if the loan needs some additional support with a SBAguarantee. (Most banks or lenders can handle most or all the paper work.)The SBA does charge a fee for the guarantee of up to 3.5% of the loan. Theinterest rates are generally between 2.25% and 2.75% above the prime rate.

Investors

If you are looking for investors for your business, the SBA also offers a referral program through the Office of Advocacy that can help you find an angel investor — someone or some company that looks to help newer businesses with great ideas get started. They then can share in the profits. This program is referred to as Ace–Net program.

The Small Business Administration is a definite resource for every business, regardless of size. Before you start to spend any of your money, at least check out this resource or you will be missing a wonderful FREE opportunity!

Information and education

The real value of the SBA comes in the form of information and education. The SBA offers many different ways of disseminating knowledge and information about every aspect of starting, staying, and expanding a business. The Web site for the SBA has really become your road map for all of the services that the SBA offers. The site is www.sba.gov.

The SBA Web site offers a great downloadable, small business start–up kit. The kit details important issues, such as what type of legal entity you should create. Even if you're paying an attorney or accountant to help you with this process, it's always good to get an objective point of view.

The Agency also offers training classes, online seminars, conferences, and even celebrates Small Business Week. But three of the best reasons to go to the Small Business Administration are:

  1. The Service Corp of Retired Executives better known as SCORE. The organization offers free one–on–one consulting services that harness the power of experience from retired executives. The beauty of this program is that you get sincere, honest advice without a meter running.

  2. Doing business with the government. The SBA Web site offers information to help you through the maze of regulation and confusion that can be associated with hooking up with the government division that may be interested in your products or services.

  3. Regulations, licenses, and taxation. When you aren't sure where to go, the SBA is the place. The Web site and local offices provide information about copyrights, patents, and trademarks.


The Small Business Administration is a definite resource for every business, regardless of size. Before you start to spend any of your money, at least check out this resource or you will be missing a wonderful FREE opportunity!


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