Tag Archives: startup

Do I Need a Small Business Loan?

Applying for a loan to start a small business can be a good option if you have a solid business plan and the ability to repay the loan. However, it is important to consider all of your financing options and carefully evaluate the terms of the loan before applying. It’s also a good idea to consult with a financial advisor or accountant to ensure that you are making the best decision for your business.

The process for getting a loan can vary depending on the lender and type of loan. Here is a general overview of the steps involved in the loan application process:

  1. Prepare your application materials: This may include a business plan, financial statements, and personal financial information.
  2. Choose a lender: Research different lenders to find the one that best meets your needs. Consider factors such as interest rates, repayment terms, and fees.
  3. Submit your application: Fill out the loan application and submit it along with your application materials.
  4. Underwriting process: The lender will review your application and credit history to determine your ability to repay the loan. They may also request additional information or documentation.
  5. Approval or denial: The lender will either approve or deny your loan application. If approved, you will receive the loan funds and will have to sign a loan agreement.
  6. Repayment Plan: You will have to repay the loan according to the terms and conditions agreed upon with the lender.

A financial advisor can help you during the process of applying for a loan by evaluating your financial situation and determining whether you are ready to take on a loan. They can also review your business plan and provide feedback on the financial projections and overall feasibility of your business idea. Some good financial advisors can suggest different lenders and help you in the process of researching.

In general, having a financial advisor can be very beneficial during the process of applying for a loan, they can help you understand and navigate the process, and they can also help you make better financial decisions for your business.

It’s important to consider all options and evaluate the pros and cons of each lender before making a decision. Banks may offer lower interest rates, but the application process may be more rigorous. At the same time, online lenders and alternative lenders may have a faster process, but the interest rates may be higher.

here are some examples of lenders that may be suitable for small business loans:

  • Banks: Many traditional banks, such as Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and JPMorgan Chase, offer small business loans. They may have more strict credit and income requirements than other lenders, but they also tend to have lower interest rates.
  • Online lenders: There are many online lenders that specialize in small business loans, such as Kabbage, OnDeck, and BlueVine. These lenders may have a more streamlined application process and faster approval times than traditional banks, but the interest rates may be higher.
  • SBA-approved lenders: The Small Business Administration (SBA) guarantees loans made by approved lenders to small businesses. Some examples of SBA-approved lenders include Wells Fargo, U.S. Bank, and PNC Bank. SBA-approved lenders typically have more favorable loan terms, such as lower interest rates and longer repayment periods, but the application process may be more complex.
  • Microfinance organizations: Microfinance organizations, such as Accion and Opportunity Fund, provide small loans to entrepreneurs who may not qualify for traditional bank loans. These organizations typically focus on helping underserved communities and may have more flexible lending criteria.
  • Angel investors and venture capital firms: Angel investors and venture capital firms provide equity financing in exchange for a share of the business. They can be a good option for businesses with high growth potential, but the requirements for this type of financing are usually more demanding, and the business needs to have a solid business plan and a good track record.

It’s important to shop around and compare the terms and conditions of different lenders to find the one that best meets the needs of your business. It’s also a good idea to consult with a financial advisor or accountant to ensure that you are making the best decision for your business.


What is a Business Plan

It’s essential for every business, no matter its size, to have a business plan. This document serves as a blueprint for your business, outlining your goals, strategies, and potential outcomes.

I remember working with three college classmates who wanted to start an electronic service company. They had lots of ideas and aspirations of becoming wealthy quickly, but when I asked them to explain in one sentence what their company would offer to customers, they struggled to do so. This difficulty in clearly defining what your business will offer to customers is a common issue for startups and highlights the importance of the “Business Mission Statement.” This statement serves as the foundation of your business and helps ensure that you have a clear understanding of what you want to offer to your customers.

According to David Andrew, the founder of Interbrand Pacific and a marketing expert, Apple Computer Inc.’s first mission statement in 1977 was:

“Apple is dedicated to the empowerment of man—to making personal computing accessible to each and every individual so as to help change the way we think, work, learn, and communicate.”

It wasn’t a clear, straightforward, and meaningful mission statement. Still, it was powerful enough to be the foundation of, later on, the most successful technology company in the world.

Having a clear understanding of your business’s mission allows you to build a more successful business around it. This concept is known as the “Vision Statement,” which is the second most important part of your business plan.

The Vision Statement outlines your long-term goals for the business and describes “where you’re going” with your company. It allows you to look into the future, perhaps five or more years after establishing your business, and consider what you hope to achieve. For example, you might have a vision of expanding your product line to five items within the first two years of business, opening three additional branches in your hometown by year four, and establishing your first out-of-state branch in Colorado by year five while also increasing your product line to ten items.

While it is possible to find pre-made business plans online, I highly recommend creating your own rather than using a template. These templates may have unintended effects on your ideas and alter the direction of your business. There are four main components of a business plan: the Executive Summary, which explains the solution you are offering to address a problem; the Mission Statement, which defines your company’s fundamental goals and values; the Vision Statement, which outlines your short and long-term goals; and the General Execution, which is a detailed description of the steps you will take to achieve your business goals.

Self-Confidence Improvement and Entrepreneurship

Don’t Panic, Just Start Your Business

Before starting a new business, it’s important to work on your confidence. If you have many ideas but don’t know how to start, it’s not because you lack business skills or courage. It’s often because of a lack of confidence.

My sister is an artist who can paint on almost any surface, from stone to t-shirts to sneakers. But she has never sold her art because she doesn’t feel ready to start her own craft business. We all have areas where we lack confidence and may avoid them as a result. For example, someone might not feel confident driving and therefore not apply for a driver’s license, or not feel confident in their ability to memorize things and choose a math-based major in college, or not feel confident in their dancing skills and decide not to go to the prom.

If you have similar thoughts or experiences, it’s important to take action and work on increasing your self-confidence. Don’t waste time complaining about your life or feeling like you could have been more successful or talented in a particular area. Remember that you won’t be able to make changes if you are still afraid of failure or lack belief in yourself.

I can relate to this personally. Nine years ago, I left my job, my home, and the familiar place where I lived and worked to start a new life in the US with my son. I didn’t know where to begin and used all my courage to say goodbye to my possessions. When it came time to finding a job and starting over, I had no confidence left. The first two years of my new life felt like I was sleepwalking through a foggy nightmare.

It was only my son’s joyful smile that motivated me to keep going on this new path. I started reading motivational books and knew that I needed to regain my trust in myself. One helpful book that I recommend is “The Self-Confidence Handbook: 15 Easy Ways to Boost Your Confidence, Self-Esteem, and Overall Happiness” by Dan Johnston. In this book, the author explores the principles that can help anyone become more confident, including mastering the four key influencers of self-confidence, using goal-setting to dramatically increase confidence levels, and embracing your flaws and using them as fuel for success.

You can also download Dan Johnston’s toolkit to practice improving your self-confidence. In it, he introduces ten techniques, including my favorite, “Learning to Be Outrageous and Not Care What Others Think.”

Be a little outrageous from time to time and share your true personality with the world. You’ll end up feeling more confident and attracting people who will like you for who you really are.

Dan Johnston: The Self-Confidence Handbook