The one thing that keeps people from having the dream of their own business is fear, said Sue Malone, director of marketing for Superior Financial.
“But if you don’t do it, somebody else will,” Malone told the clients who came to listen to her give a class on getting small business loans Wednesday.
One of these folks was Holly Payne, who is hoping to start her own business in counseling. She knew she would need some start up money, so, when the opportunity presented itself, she signed up for a class on how to get a business loan.
Ronald Coleman was another potential entrepreneur who took the class. He is hoping that when he retires, he might be able to start his own business or maybe even team up with his daughter in a joint venture.
“I never want to stop working,” he said.
Others that attended this same loan class as Payne and Coleman were hoping to start various other types of businesses, as well as maybe buy an existing business.
For most in this class, it certainly was the first step in the direction of owning their own business.
Are you ready to start your own business?
Or, are you looking to expand your current business?
Or, do you have your eye on an existing business you’d like to own?
But, do you need a small business loan to make it all happen?
Well, according to lending expert Malone, there has never been a better time than now to start your own business. Sixty-five percent of these new business loans are for startups, Malone said. And, contrary to what you may have heard, money is still available to help budding entrepreneurs, she added.
“I’m all about the money,” Malone said. “You need money to start a business and/or to expand a business. Good looks only carry you so far ... Capital is still available for small businesses. Don’t believe the talking heads on T.V.”
And Malone is confident she has all the expertise necessary to help because her company is a small business itself that helps entrepreneurs get small business loans and also is one of the largest SBA licensed lenders in the country. In fact, her company, Superior Financial, has been the largest SBA lender in Tennessee for the past six years, according to Malone, as well as being one of the largest lenders to veterans.
“We are a Small Business Administration-licensed lender currently making loans. We have funded over 30,000 loans and would love to help,” Malone told clients who took her recent loan class through the Tennessee Small Business Development Center on the Cleveland State Community College campus “Our loans are simple and easy.”
This specific loan program is called the SBA Express, Patriot Express Loan, Export Express Loan and the new SLA v. 2 Loan Program Workshop. These loans are available for for-profit businesses, both full-time and part-time, as well as home-based businesses.
These are not credit card loans. These are SBA guaranteed loans.
Some of these SBA loan program highlights include: no collateral necessary; no prepayment penalty required; no hidden fees involved; affordable payments available; the establishment of credit in the business’ name; Patriot Express loans available specifically for veterans, reservists and the spouse and/or widow of the vet or reservist; as well as a rapid response to the loan application.
“And you can use these loans any way you want,” Malone said. But Malone also said she cannot get a loan for a non-profit business, for any type of gambling business, for illegal narcotics, nor for any type of “hootchy-kootchy” business.
In order to apply and/or qualify for up to a $25,000 loan, several items and/or information and/or preparations are required. The loan application needs to be filled out by anyone who has at least a 20 percent interest in the business. An official business name must exist because this loan is only for a business. A brief description of the product and/or a business plan is required, including projected sales, as well as a designation of the type of business (i.e., sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, or corporation), and how much industry experience the business owner has, etc.
A working email address and working cell phone number is crucial. And, if you list a website, it must be up and running at the time of the loan application. Also, any additional income that is coming in is important to list.
Four situations, however, will disqualify a person from getting this type of loan approved — defaulting on student loans; owing taxes; being behind in child support payments; and being behind in home loan payments.
In addition, a person must have good credit, but don’t let that scare you away, Malone advised. She can — and often has — helped people establish a better credit rating, enough to get approved for this loan.
Malone recommends starting off by getting a credit report from the three big credit companies — for free — at annualcreditreport.com, as well as their FICO score. She may be able to get a tentative answer in as little as two business days on whether or not the loan is approved in some cases.
After six months, it may be possible to apply for another loan, again up to $25,000, if it can be proven the loan is again required and the business has been making progress.
Having a business plan, which consists, in essence, of the various aspects of your business to give a clearer understanding of what your business is all about, is an important part of the application. A business plan, in brief, needs to include a description of the business structure, what product is being sold, how the product will be marketed, what’s involved in producing the product, who will be responsible for the finances, and who will be working at the business, etc. Business plans will vary according to the business and are necessary even when not applying for a loan, but are extremely important in getting approved for a business loan, Malone advised. And, the business projections must match with the specific projections of the business plan.
The TSBDC can help potential business owners write this business plan.
And as for Payne and Holly, two of the clients that took this loan class, they both agreed: It was very good. Very informative. Very worthwhile. They now have a good place to start, a very good place, a direction in which to head, and a lot more hope about making their dreams come true, they both said.
This class, as are most of the others through TSBDC, are free, but registration is required. The TSBDC will continue offering this new class off and on throughout the year. But, although Malone taught the loan class through TSBDC recently, she also can be reached at Superior Financial at 925-381-8409 or 800-995-9434 or by email at email@example.com and for individual help as well.
To register online for this workshop, go to https://www.tsbdc.org/workshop.aspx?ekey=25320027 or call the TSBDC offices at 478-6247. To see other available classes online, and/or to register, students can also visit www.tsbdc.org. Some are given at specific sites and others are online.
The center’s office is open Mondays through Fridays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and is located in the Technology Building at CSCC in room 126. TSBDC is located at CSCC at 3535 Adkisson Dr., N.W.