Starting a Business FAQs
How do I get a Small Business Loan?
You should prepare a business plan, including your loan proposal, and submit it to a local lender. If the lender is unable to approve your loan, you may request that your application be submitted, by the lender, to the SBA. The SBA can guarantee up to 80% of a small business loan; however, the lender must agree to loaning the money with the SBA guarantee. The lender will then forward your loan application and a credit analysis to the nearest SBA District Office. If the lender needs SBA applications and/or guidance it may contact the nearest SBA District Office by going to SBA. Upon SBA approval, the lending institution closes the loan and disburses the funds.
How do I get a Small Business Grant?
At this time, Congress has not set aside any monies for grants to start and/or expand a small business. SBA does provide a loan guarantee program for loans made by your local lender. The SBA guarantees loans that the lender could not normally approve. However, all funding is handled through your local lender.
How do I get Started in a Business?
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) provides a wealth of information on starting a business at the SBA home page sba.gov under "Small Business Planner." You will find information on writing a business plan as well. You may take advantage of SBA’s resource partners. The Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) and the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) provides free one-on-one counseling to those interested in starting and expanding a business. This includes critiquing your business plan, legal requirements, marketing, and licenses needed for your business.
How do I get a Business License?
Licensing is generally handled through your state or local government. You will need to consult your local telephone directory in the "Government" section for an office that will assist you with a license or permit.
How do I Write a Business Plan?
If you go to SBA's home page sba.gov and select "Writing a Business Plan" under “Small Business Planner.” You will find information on starting a business and writing a business plan. Under "SBA local resources" you can find local contacts such as the Service Corps of Retired Executives and the Small Business Development Center that provide FREE one-on-one counseling in the area of starting and expanding a small business. They can assist you by critiquing your business plan and your business ideas. You can locate a center by selecting "Local Resources" under sba.gov as well.
What Type of Collateral do I need for a Loan?
Repayment ability from the cash flow of the business is a primary consideration in the SBA loan decision process but good character, management capability, collateral, and owner's equity contribution are also important considerations. All owners of twenty percent (20%) or more of the business are required to personally guarantee SBA loans. The SBA does not deny approval for a SBA Guarantee Loan solely due to lack of collateral; however, it can be used as a reason in addition to other credit factors.
Is there any Business Assistance available in my Area?
Yes. There are 12,400 Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) chapters and approximately 1,000 Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) nationwide. SCORE provides free expert advice based on many years of firsthand experience and shared knowledge on virtually every aspect of business. The SBDC provides a variety of management and technical assistance services to small businesses and potential entrepreneurs.