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SBA Show Savings on Fees Waived on Small Business Loans

Small businesses start with passion and ideas. But they need funding to get off the ground. The Small Business Administration (SBA) has been a primary resource used by Veterans and civilians for obtaining loans to fund their startups and existing businesses. While the SBA doesn’t directly loan money to business owners, the SBA does guarantee loans made by participating lending institutions.

The basic program utilized by the SBA for small businesses is the 7(a) loan. The 7(a) loan is the most utilized loan by the SBA because it can be used for a multitude of business purposes. Additionally, it is more easily approved, a plus for business owners who may otherwise have difficulties procuring loans directly from lenders. Small business owners, especially those who are just starting their companies, may not have the cash flow that independent lenders require. The SBA serves to provide lenders with an increased guarantee against a defaulted loan. The 7(a) loans are capped at a maximum of $2 million.

In an effort to promote entrepreneurship, the SBA has also taken the initiative to waive fees on smaller loans. On loans under $150,000 guaranteed through the SBA after October 1, 2013, the fees have been set at 0%.

The SBA recently announced that small business borrowers who have or will receive SBA 7(a) guaranteed loans of $150,000 or less during Fiscal Year 2014 (October 1, 2013 – September 30, 2014) will have saved more than $6.3 million. The SBA contends that this number includes fees that were eliminated on the agency’s smallest loans, including approximately $142,000 in savings to 179 borrowers in the Santa Ana, CA District.

The waived fees are part of the SBA’s initiative to make it more cost effective to originate smaller loans.  In addition to the fees that borrowers typically pay based on the amount guaranteed by the government, the ongoing monthly fee paid by SBA lenders will be eliminated for the entire life of 7(a) loans of $150,000 or less made while the initiative is in effect.

The SBA still includes fees on loans greater than $150, 000. On any loan greater than $150,000 with a maturity of one year or shorter, the fee is 0.25 % of the guaranteed portion of the loan. On loans with maturities of more than one year, the fee is 3% of the SBA-guaranteed portion on loans of $150,000 to $700,000, and 3.5 % on loans of more than $700,000. There is also an additional fee of 0.25 % on any guaranteed portion of more than $1 million.

The SBA believes that fees collected from larger loans are expected to offset any losses sustained from the smaller loans.

To participate in the 7(a) Loan Program, a lender must meet requirements that are indicated in the Code of Federal Regulations.

Active duty military, Veterans and any civilian interested in starting a small business should utilize the SBA’s website, www.sba.gov as a valuable resource.

HCC

In the military, new personnel are often trained by following the example of those who came before them. Competent corporals, sergeants and petty officers are usually paired with new privates, airmen and seaman to show them how things are done. Once these military members complete their service, they are often left to their own devices and forced to find their own way. Many new Veterans wish they had a mentor to show them how things are done in the civilian world. For Veterans wishing to venture into small business ownership, your experienced comrades are making themselves available to you–– to learn from their battle-hardened example in Veteran entrepreneurship.

Honor Courage Commitment (HCC) is a non-profit organization based out of Dallas, Texas that “recruits, educates, mentors, and guides high caliber military Veterans into becoming socially responsible entrepreneurs and community leaders.” HCC was started in 2011 and provides free training, education and mentorship for Veteran entrepreneurs.

HCC’s programs function with a focus on education, entrepreneurship, social responsibility through community service, health and fitness, and job placement. The organization partners with other entrepreneurs, organizations and companies to provide Veteran entrepreneurs with expert guidance and training for starting and running their own business.

Honor Courage Commitment was founded by Andrew Nguyen. Nguyen is a Veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, where he was a staff sergeant. After his completion of active duty in 2006, Nguyen obtained a Bachelor’s degree in  Business Administration and Master’s degree in Entrepreneurship, before attending an entrepreneurship development program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). In 2008, Nguyen launched his own company, WSI Search, a digital marketing and web development firm.

Nguyen and his company found success, despite launching right at the start of a major economic downturn in the country. The former staff sergeant accredits much of his success to following the Navy and Marine Corps’ core values of “Honor, Courage and Commitment.”

According to the history portal on HCC’s website, Nguyen believes that, “America is fighting a domestic war called ‘unemployment,’ and HCC’s mission is to combat that war by creating veteran entrepreneurs who, through the growth of small businesses, will create more job opportunities.  More veteran entrepreneurs = more veteran friendly jobs = less veterans filing for unemployment benefits = less wasted tax dollars for America.”

The HCC organization recruits nationally. But Veterans who use this incubator (company who promotes entrepreneurial startups) can ultimately find themselves starting businesses or working jobs anywhere in the country.

Veterans interested in entrepreneurships should look into HCC as a possible resource. Veteran entrepreneurs are also encouraged to check out http://www.vamboa.org/

VAMBOA Small Business

One reason that many young Americans join the military is to get the chance to excel in a broad range of talents. Many young people complete high school and college, unhealthy and realize that they have not isolated a singular talent that they want to spend the rest of their working lives doing. With their futures laid out before them, store these brave patriots opt for military service as a means of finding an occupation that afford them the opportunity to wear many hats.

When these same patriots complete their contractual term of military service, some find that they still don’t have a desire to work in a field that only utilizes a few of their many skills and talents. Many Veterans choose to become entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship is an exciting path for many Veterans, because it provides them with the freedom to be their own boss, while using all of their natural abilities and trained skills.

Similar to military missions, success or failure of a Veteran entrepreneur’s business relies heavily on the individual effort in preparation and execution of a business plan. In creating a business plan, Veteran entrepreneurs need to be sure to research every option, benefit and program available to them as a Veteran small business owner. Contacting the U.S. Small Business Administration, or researching their website at www.sba.gov is the best way to start gathering all of the intel needed to create a business plan. Veterans interested in starting their own businesses should also research the VA website’s portal for Veteran entrepreneurs.

Once a strong business plan has been created, Veteran Entrepreneurs can look into seeking loans and financing. Some of the particulars that Veterans want to look at include the type of credit scoring model their prospective lender uses, the lender’s loan rates, and loan terms. Lenders reputations can be viewed at the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) by visiting www.finra.org. And again, the VA and SBA websites are great places to start your research for lenders who have a history of loaning to Veterans.

Veteran entrepreneurs who brave business ownership should take care to find a way to remember that like great military careers, great businesses aren’t made overnight. No one wakes up one morning to find stripes on their sleeves or stars on their collar. Instead they spent years learning the ropes and paying their dues as lower-grade enlisted or officers. The same mindset needs to be kept for entrepreneurship. Your business might start out small and experience struggles and hardships before it establishes itself and its reputation.

sales

Many of today’s small businesses are bogged down by complicated tax procedures. With so many small companies conducting business in multiple states, malady as well as the ever-changing tax laws, discount many Veteran small business owners find it difficult to remain in compliance with sales tax laws.

Know where you need to file: If you established or generated sales in a new state, made deliveries to a new state on a regular basis, or hired new employees that work remotely from another location, you might have occurred sales tax liability in a new state. This means that you have established a “nexus” in a new state. Nexus, also known as sufficient physical presence, is the determining factor of whether an out-of-state business selling products into a state is liable for collecting the tax on sales in the state. Nexus laws can differ drastically from state to state. Review the sales tax laws for each state that you could be conducting business in.

Know your Method of Filing: Each state determines its own methods for collecting sales tax from businesses. Some states require that all filings and payments be conducted online, while other states can’t support online capabilities. Knowing the correct filing requirements and options for your jurisdiction will also let know you know how to pay. Also, be sure to check pre-payment requirements for your tax jurisdiction. Many jurisdictions require prepayment for larger tax amounts. And some prepayments involve a different filing schedule than your regular return.

Check your bank statement and records: First of all, make sure that all of your checks to the Department of Revenue clear the bank. This sounds like a redundant measure, but if you are on top of your filings and payments, there should be no surprises or difficulties. If you find that you incur multiple instances of outstanding sales tax balances with the DOR, you should review your method for processing incoming and outgoing correspondence.

Know your filing frequency: Sales tax payment schedules can change. If your business is affected you should receive a notice via mail or email. However, if the notice doesn’t reach you, your business is still liable to pay your sales taxes on time. Just like with military rules and regulations, ignorance is not an excuse. It’s important to double check for any changes in your payment frequency at least twice per year.

Take care of all notices immediately: If you ever receive a notice from any jurisdiction, make sure that you review and respond to it in an appropriate amount of time. Even if you’re sure that you paid your taxes, be sure to read their notice and respond to it. Failure to respond to a notice could have your business licenses suspended, result in a levy on your bank account, or a lien on your corporate officers. Do not jeopardize your business because you ignored a notice.

Be in the habit of making accurate documentation: Audits can be an unnerving experience, even for Veterans. But if you are prepared, there’s nothing to worry about. Audits are like personnel inspections; appearances are everything. If your uniform was sharp and you were well groomed, then your inspection was a cinch. If your books are well maintained and transactions are easily followed through clear documentation, then your audit will be easy too.

Take advantage of automated sales tax services: Time is money, and sales taxes generate no profit for your Veteran small business. Why waste your time AND your money when you could easily be more effective overseeing more profitable aspects of your business. There are a variety of sales tax software options that can complete all of your sales tax requirements and meet all of your small business’ sales tax needs.

Nominations Are Open for Connecticut Small Business Week Awards

Do you own a small business, treatment or know someone who does? Do you know of a small business owner with a compelling success story to tell? If you do, drugs you should submit your nomination for the 2014 SBA Small Business Week Awards.

For over 50 years, information pills National Small Business Week has recognized the contributions and achievements of America’s small businesses and their owners, for their contributions to their communities and to the national economy.

Small Business Week award categories include:
•        Small Business Person of the Year
•        Small Business Exporter of the Year
•        Family- Owned Business of the Year
•        Micro-Enterprise Award
•        Minority Small Business Champion of the Year
•        Veteran Owned Small Business of the Year
•        Women Owned Small Business of the Year
•        Young Entrepreneur of the Year

You can find nomination information by visiting the SBA website. Forms can be downloaded as a PDF by using the latest version of Adobe reader. The “Small Business Person of the Year” and the” Small Business Exporter of the Year” awards nominations can be submitted online, by accessing the SBA online portal.

Local award winners will also be eligible to advance to the regional level and regional winners will become eligible for the national level awards. Winners of  national awards will be announced during National Small Business Week May 12-16, 2014.

Self-nominations are accepted. Nominations must be received no later than 11:59 pm ET on Friday, January 17, 2014.

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