4322705955_dd4f810a9c_z-min

Resources for Women Small Business Owners

Conference

Women who want to be small business owners may have questions about how to open a business (or grow one). This article points to some websites with answers.
Women who plan to own their own businesses in the United States might wonder how to get started in opening a new business or growing an existing business to be even stronger. There is much advice to sift through on the web. So where is a woman to start? Here are several websites that provide good starting points in the search for information about business opportunities for women.

Office of Women’s Business Ownership
The U.S. Small Business Administration provides the Office of Women’s Business Ownership to support women business owners. This office oversees a national network of Women’s Business Center across the United States and it territories. These centers offer training and counseling for women who are starting up a small business or trying to grow an existing business. They have a special focus on providing business opportunities for women who are economically or socially disadvantaged.

Womenbiz.gov
For women who are starting up a small business and they want to bid on government contracts, the womenbiz.gov website can be a helpful resource. There is detailed information about starting up a small business, learning what the federal government buys, registering the business, and learning how to find the contracting opportunities.

Business.gov
For anyone starting a new business, obtaining the necessary financing is a key piece of the puzzle. The business.gov website list organizations that offer grants and loans to women who are looking for help in getting a business loan. The business.gov website also has a detailed checklist of the steps women can follow in opening a small business.

SCORE
SCORE is a nonprofit association that offers help to people who are starting small businesses. They partner with the U.S. Small Business Administration. The SCORE website provides a list of resources for minority entrepreneurs. Among the information provided for any minority business owners, there is specific information for Asian, black, Hispanic, and Indian women who are working to start and grown their own businesses.

SCORE also provides a list of resources for women entrepreneurs. This list provides focused, detailed resources, such as information for women interested in international trade, for women who are looking to buy a franchise, for women running home-based businesses, for women who seeking ways of financing a business, or for women who are inventors.

MORE ON THIS TOPIC
Women New Business Owners Can Get Loans, Not Government Grants
Government Funding for Women in Small Businesses
Small Business Start-Up Financing
Information is readily available for women business owners. The websites suggested here are good starting points for any women starting up a small business or needing guidance in growing the business they already have.

For more information about starting a small business, see the following article:

Steps for Starting a Business

References:

sba.gov, “Office of Women’s Business Ownership”

womenbiz.gov, “Five Steps to Government Contracts”

 

4322705955_dd4f810a9c_z-min

Tips to Find Small Business Loans for Minorities

4322705955_dd4f810a9c_z-min

This article provides readers with tips to find small business loans for minorities and small business loans now.

Small business loans are something most business owners consider when starting a new business. Since most individuals aren’t able to fund the things needed to start a business on their own, loans or grants are one of the first issues that come up. Minorities should know that there are a plethora of opportunities offered to them, which can help with starting a small business.

Check the Small Business Administration

The Small Business Administration or SBA is a great place for minorities to start searching for small business loans. This is a highly reputed government organization that helps entrepreneurs and small business owners succeed. Since small businesses are the backbone of a community, the SBA offers many different types of funding solutions. From grants to low and no interest loans, the SBA can help minorities find funding solutions that fit their business needs without breaking the bank. The SBA has local chapters in each state as well as a website where individuals can find information at the SBA.

Draft a Business Plan

One thing that can help small business owners and minorities obtain business loans are business plans. A business plan is a guide to the business which conveys many important points of information, including but not limited to the products or services the business will offer, the target market, the mission and goals of the company, the expected costs, and projected income. Many entrepreneurs hire professional writers to handle business plans for them, but any individual can learn to write one as well. Find out more information about business plans at Bplans.

Check Your Credit

One of the most important things minorities should do when seeking new small business loans is monitoring their credit report. By ensuring that the credit report is in good shape, such as above average or excellent, individuals can increase their chances of receiving a small business loan. Each individual is entitled to a free credit report every year, and this is a good place to start checking a credit rating. The three major credit bureaus are TransUnion, Experian and Equifax. By contacting these three companies, one can get a copy of their credit report free.

Look into Minority Organizations and Foundations

Minorities can find funding opportunities from organizations and foundations as well. There are a number of organizations that support minorities of all types. Individuals should seek organizations and foundations that support minorities in business such as the NAWB or National Association of Women in Business, or the AABA (African American Business Association.) These organizations typically keep individuals updated on the kinds of grants or low-interest loans that are available for small business owners. Network with others who follow the organizations and find out what kinds of business funding they used and how you can get more information on it.

By using the information and tips above, business owners and entrepreneurs can easily find small business loans for minorities that will help them succeed with their new businesses and achieve their dreams.

 

4322705955_dd4f810a9c_z-min

Grant Funding Solutions for Female Entrepreneurs

This article provides female readers with tips on finding grant funding solutions and grants for women entrepreneurs.

Deciding to become a business woman is an admirable act, but can also be very difficult as women ponder where to get the startup funds and other needed funds for their businesses. In situations like this, business grants for women are a valuable resource- helping women obtain the needed things in order to make their businesses flourish and grow. Examine grant funding solutions to help women to better understand what they are and how to obtain them.

The Small Business Administration is one grant funding solution

The Small Business Administration (SBA) can be a great friend to women entrepreneurs. With tons of information, suggestions and tips on running a business, this is a valuable resource to all entrepreneurs. The SBA also keeps up with the different government grants offered to small business owners. While the SBA doesn’t offer grants directly, they do offer low-interest funding solutions and other business funding solutions that can help women immensely. Most states have local chapters of the SBA and they can also be located on their website at SBA.gov.

Learn to Write a Grant Proposals

When seeking government grants for women, it’s important to learn how to write grant proposals. These are similar to essays which are included with the grant application and let grant review panels understand the need for the grant money as well as conveys the benefits of giving the grant to a particular woman. Writing grant proposals can be tricky, as they need to speak directly to what the grant review panel is searching for. They should also be organized well, free of errors and easy to read. Research and read about how to write grant proposals.

Determine Important Places to Look for Grants for Women Entrepreneurs

There are many different places to look for grant funding solutions, but there are a few important ones that business women should bookmark. Both Grants.gov and Business.gov offer up to date lists on grants offered by the government. Use the keyword search tool and other options for finding related business grants. These are really great resources that should be checked often since information changes, old grants are taken down and new ones are posted. Applications and details on grants can also be obtained at these websites.

Network to find grants for women entrepreneurs

Using the internet to network with other women in business can offer individuals some really great opportunities to learn about grant funding solutions. There are organizations and associations dedicated to women in business, such as the National Association of Women Business Owners and the American Business Women’s Association. These are really great ways to get information. By speaking to others who have gone through the issues of finding funding for their businesses, women can learn from the experience and tips. Also, check out the information offered at WomensNet for more information on grant funding solutions.

By using the information above, women entrepreneurs can find grant funding solutions that meet their business needs and help them launch and grow the businesses dreams they have for themselves.

4322705955_dd4f810a9c_z-min

Funding Sources Are Not Confined To Equity And Loans

Borrowing from friends and relatives, and advance payments from customers are other possible sources. Not all of these finance sources might be appropriate or available in all cases. For example, venture funding might be available only for innovative businesses that can achieve market leadership with their offerings, and command premium prices and profits. And new small businesses might find financing a difficult proposal unless they have some solid collateral security to offer.

Small Business Funding Problems

Startup funding and loans is usually difficult to find because new businesses do not have a track record of past successful operations that can provide confidence among prospective investors and lenders. The main sources of finance for small business will typically be owner’s capital and the money that the owner can raise from friends and relatives.

Large businesses are obliged by law to publish a lot of financial information, audited by independent auditors, and investors and lenders will feel greater confidence in these cases. While small businesses are freed of the bother of such disclosure requirements, the non-disclosure itself stands in the way of easier funding.

Banks consider small and medium enterprises a greater risk not only on the above grounds. Unlike large companies with substantial budgets, SMEs cannot usually afford to hire highly paid talent in such key result areas as marketing.

Only those small businesses that can offer collateral security such as owner’s residence or business premises will usually be able to raise bank loans with comparative ease. If their business plan is approved, government small business support agencies might also provide loan guarantees or even outright loans.

Raising Small Business Capital

Small businesses have to be ready with convincing details such as:

  • A complete business plan that describes how they will handle the different aspects such as marketing, technology, staffing and profitability
  • Resumes of their directors and managers showing that these key persons have relevant experience and records of success
  • List of tangible assets that shows the firm will have the facilities needed to run the business and also offer some kind of security for the loans
  • Other information such as the unique prospects of the business owing to an innovative product or business model

The very exercise of providing realistic and detailed information is likely to create a good impression in the minds of prospective investors and lenders. The qualification “realistic” is the key issue here. Unless the assumptions, computations and projections appear convincing to the audience, they are unlikely to accept it. And conviction can be generated best if the planner has done the homework to gather relevant facts on the ground and can answer any questions about the realistic nature of the plans.

Financing a Business

A brief look at the different sources of funding businesses can help the entrepreneur generate ideas for financing his or her small business.

  • Own Savings: Any money that the entrepreneur might have accumulated is the primary source of funding business projects
  • Borrowing from Relatives and Friends: Relatives and friends who wish the person well and also have confidence in the person’s ability to run a business might be willing to help
  • Partnerships: The entrepreneur can associate a partner who might be able to invest funds or bring in expertise that makes obtaining finance from other sources easier
  • Leasing and Hire Purchase: Where the business needs a lot of tangible facilities such as premises, equipment or vehicles, the option of obtaining these on lease or hire purchase can be considered
  • Trade Credit: Raw materials and other supplies can be bought on credit, and it might even be possible to convert them into cash (or discountable invoices) by the time payment is due to suppliers
  • Factoring and Invoice Discounting: There are specialist financiers who buy or discount invoices drawn on creditworthy customers of the business
  • Angel Investors: Angel investors are rich individuals who might be interested in funding new entrepreneurs to earn a higher return on their money and/or because they feel good helping new entrepreneurs
  • Venture Capital Companies: These are similar to angel investors except in that they are more professional and business like, and are not likely to be motivated by sentiments like helping newcomers
  • Bank Loans: Bank loans can be fixed amount loans lent for the short or long term, or an overdraft facility under which the borrower can draw funds as needed and also deposit funds coming in to reduce outstanding (and interest bearing) borrowings
  • Government Loans and Grants: Governments might seek to encourage development of backward regions or disaster-struck areas by extending business loans or grants to businesses coming to these regions and areas
  • Internal Generation of Funds: Successful businesses will typically be generating profits and if these are not fully paid out as dividends, will be available for operating and expansion needs
  • Equity Issue: Once a business has grown to a certain size, it might be practicable to go to the securities market and issue equity shares (or even interest-bearing bonds that do not dilute ownership)
  • Sale of Surplus Assets: Where a business has idle or insufficiently productive assets, it can consider selling these to raise funds for expansion or promising new projects

Business funding sources are varied, ranging from owner’s savings through private business investors and banks to trade credit and invoice factoring. Entrepreneurs who take the trouble to prepare a detailed and realistic business proposal can usually find needed business finance.

 

4322705955_dd4f810a9c_z-min

Funding a Small Business Start-up

Many new start-ups require financing of some kind. Identify all your start up costs. You, then, must have a strong business plan.

 Whenever you are looking into starting a small business, you have to look at how much it is going to cost and where you will get the business financing you need to be successful. It is important that you consider all of the costs of starting your business, as well as what costs you will encounter after opening your business before you begin pulling in a profit. This will allow you to come up with approximately how much money you will need before you start your business. Business financing is sometimes necessary for new businesses, although smaller start-ups can sometimes be funded with savings and by liquidating investments.

Typical Start-up Costs

There are typical costs that every small business will encounter as a start-up. Unless you will be working out of your home, you will need to have a certain amount of money for a building or to lease office or retail space. It is customary to pay your first six to twelve months of rent upfront if you are leasing, so that you don’t have to worry about that expense while you are struggling to get your doors open and make a profit. If you are buying a building, you will need to have about twenty percent down in order to get financing for the building.

In addition, you may need financing for other things. You may want to consider six months’ worth of overhead such as utilities or inventory in your calculations for start-up costs so that you can give yourself the highest chance of success in the first year. You also want to consider initial start-up costs such as marketing and advertising, to make the public aware of your new company.

Finally, you will want to make sure you have the money to buy any equipment you might need for manufacturing inventory, computer equipment, and other office equipment, such as copiers and printers. All of these expenses should be added up to determine the amount of money you should have before you start your business. If you don’t have the money to fund this venture, you will need to look into financing and loans.

Getting the Funding You Need

The easiest way to get the funding you need is to contact local lenders. There is a lengthy application process that will require an in-depth look into your personal finances and credit. It will also take into consideration your experience in the industry you will be entering, and look at other risk factors. If you find that you are having trouble getting a loan from a lender because of tough credit markets, you can always try the Small Business Administration for business financing avenues. The SBA does not actually loan money, but will guarantee a loan making it easier to get approval from lenders. This is also a lengthy process and is in addition to the process you go through with the lender. So it might take longer to get the funding you need if you have to go that route.

The Importance of a Business Plan

In order to convince lenders or the SBA that you should be approved for a loan, you should really have a solid business plan. The business plan should include all of the information about your experience in the industry, and the experience of other key players in the company. You should also include your marketing plan, market research, and projections for profit and loss. You should also be able to include financial statements as to your own personal finances, as well as the projected expenses and income of the business once it opens. All of this information is required to qualify for financing for a new company, and it is a good idea for every small business to have a plan in place anyway to make sure that you have a goal in mind.