IRVINE, Calif. - On Sept. 27, President Barack Obama signed the $30 billion Small Business Lending Funding Act, which provides a $30 billion government loan fund available through community banks and $12 billion in tax breaks for small businesses.
While the ink is drying on this bill, many growing and emerging entrepreneurs are planning a trip to their community bank in hopes for a cut of the available cash.
In the new fifth edition of the bestselling startup book Start Your Own Business, released Oct. 1, experts offer the following tips to small business owners fighting for funding in their own community:Develop Relationships
The difference between big commercial banks and community banks is that smaller banks tend to give more weight to personal attributes. If you have done your personal banking at the same place for 20 years and know the people with authority there, it makes sense to target that bank as a potential lender. If you do not have that kind of relationship at your bank, start to get to know bankers now. Visit chamber of commerce meetings; go to networking events; take part in community functions that local bankers or other movers and shakers are part of. A banker with a personal interest in you is more likely to look favorably on your loan application.Do Some Background Research
Boost your chances of getting a loan by finding a lender whose experience matches your needs. Talk to friends, lawyers or accountants and other entrepreneurs in the same industry for leads on banks that have helped people in your business. Pound the pavement and talk to banks about the type and size of loans they specialize in. Put in the work to find the right lender, and you'll find it pays off.Avoid Hype
While many entrepreneurs tend to be gamblers who believe in relying on their gut feelings, financial types are likely to go "by the book." If your business plan praises your idea with superlatives like "one of a kind," "unique" or "unprecedented," your readers are likely to be turned off. Wild, unsubstantiated promises or unfounded conclusions tell financial sources you are inexperienced, naive and reckless.
Banks are in the money-lending business. To lend money they need evidence of security and stability.