By Ariele Vaccaro
No one said starting a small business was easy. It’s a risky endeavor. However, there are steps business owners and entrepreneurs can take to minimize the risk of failure.
One of those is to make the most of the resources offered by the Small Business Administration.
Eric Ness is District Director for SBA’s Madison and Milwaukee branches. He outlines the “three C’s” that SBA offers those who seek its help.
Capital: a small business can hardly start up without it. SBA offers loans through local that minimize risk factors.
The payments are smaller because SBA can extend the term in which a loaned is paid. According to Ness, typical lenders give clients three to five years to pay back their loans. SBA can allow up to seven.
That means more expendable income and increased cash flow.
Until the month of September, business owners can take out a loan free of a “guarantee fee”. That fee is two percent of the loan amount. It’s a program SBA has tried before. At the end of it, the organization had covered $729,000 in guarantee fees for its clients.
The second “C” is contracting. According to Ness, nearly a quarter of all federal contracts are specifically for small business to take.
“We’ve seen businesses be very successful with these contracts,” said Shirah Apple, Public Information Officer at SBA.
“Once you have one, you have potential to bring in steady income.”
On May 8, SBA will try to connect its clients with opportunities like those contracts via a networking event. A number of federal agencies, city representatives, Milwaukee’s Housing Authority, Veteran’s Affairs, and a number of other guests will be on hand.
The third “C” is counseling, one of SBA’s unique offerings. Business owners can find counselors at four year universities.
The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s School of Continuing Education offers help through its Small Business Development Center at 161 W. Wisconsin Ave.
Small business owners can receive advice during SBA’s Emerging Leaders program as well.
The 26-week training course, taught by MSOE instructor Gene Wright, will cover how to hire employees, grow in a desired market, financials, marketing, website development, contracting, and a number of other subjects.
At the end of the program, participants will walk away with a growth plan for their own businesses.
A number of small business owners have seen success after seeking out help from SBA.
Apple pointed out Northwest Funeral Chapel, which turned to SBA for help when deciding to expand to a banquet facility. Nisha Group, LLC provides security services around Milwaukee after taking advantage of SBA’s services. It began as a maintenance service.
Able Access Transportation LLC offers transport and assistance to handicapped individuals.
The company took advantage of SBA’s Emerging Leaders course.
To learn more about events and services at SBA, visit its website at https://www.sba.gov/.