Half of Millennials Want to Start a Business: Here’s How to Get Going

By Kali Geldis
NAV

Millennial businessIf you were born between 1977 and 1995, there’s over a 50% chance that you would start your own small business if you knew where to get help to make it happen.

America’s SBDC, the face of a nationwide network of Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs), collaborated with the Center for Generational Kinetics to better understand how different generations view entrepreneurship. The findings indicated that millennials were especially eager to start businesses of their own, but there were some things standing in their way.

Millennials stated that they’d like help writing a business plan, and they rate money high on the list of things holding them back from starting a business. In fact, 45% of the study respondents said that finding capital to start a business was their biggest barrier. That’s not a huge shocker — there are more than 44 different types of business financing out there, and they come with unique interest and fee structures.

Here are five tips that can help any millennial, no matter their entrepreneurial dream, get started.  (more…)

The Free Resource Your Business Is Overlooking

By Gerri Detweiler
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Free ResourceAmy Cantin and Larinda Rainwater had been travel agents for over 20 years. They loved helping their clients and were successful, but were finding themselves increasingly dissatisfied with their jobs at the travel agency where they were both employed. They knew the logical next step would be to open their own travel agency, but that prospect was intimidating.

“We knew how to sell travel but we didn’t know how to run a business,” says Cantin, echoing a common dilemma many would-be entrepreneurs face. “It was scary,” Rainwater adds.

Fortunately, a friend referred them to the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center, where, for nearly a year, they worked with business consultant Robert Bahn to develop a plan for their business and prepare to go out on their own. They also hired an attorney who, among other things, made sure they didn’t take any client information with them, which could open them to legal action by their former employer.

Their planning paid off: starting with their grand opening (which Bahn attended), Jonesboro Travel Cruise and Tour was a success. “We turned our open sign on and from there it exploded,” says Cantin. “We have been so grateful,” says Rainwater, referring to both the reception from their community and the help they received from Bahn. Describing the services they received from their SBTDC, Rainwater says, “We can’t believe it’s free!”  (more…)

Introducing the Business Payments Coalition: The Former Remittance Coalition Broadens its Mission

Business Payments CoalitionIn recent years, payment industry stakeholders in the U.S. have been collaborating to improve payments efficiency. A quest is underway to achieve the worthy goals of originating and receiving more payments electronically to reduce the average end-to-end costs of transactions and to enable innovative payment services for consumers and businesses. In the U.S., opportunities to improve payment system efficiency are especially significant in business-to-business (B2B) transactions, which include the invoice, payment and remittance detail.

With that in mind, give a hearty salute and wish a happy anniversary to the Business Payments Coalition (BPC), formerly the Remittance Coalition, which celebrates five years this month. The organization’s new name recognizes that its goal has broadened beyond simply facilitating the exchange of remittance information among B2B trading partners. It still seeks to foster adoption of electronic payments and remittances in the business-to-business environment, but its wider-ranging mission today is to improve efficiency of B2B payments across the end-to-end process.

The Coalition consists of organizations and individuals working together to promote greater use of electronic B2B payments and remittance data exchanges, as well as other ways to increase B2B transactions efficiency. Over the last five years, the Coalition has developed a plethora of tools and standards that address the various challenges that businesses face when using electronic alternatives to paper-based payment options. As the payments environment continues to expand and new electronic payment options grow, the Business Payments Coalition has continually expanded its efforts beyond remittance to lend a fresh perspective to overall payments efficiency.  (more…)

Three Surprises When You Apply for a Small Business Loan

Applying for a loanApplying for small business financing can be time-consuming and frustrating. Research from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York shows the average small business owner spends more than half a standard work week (26 hours) researching and applying for financing.

Unfortunately, putting in that time and effort doesn’t always pay off. The Nav American Dream Gap Report survey found that 45% of small business owners whose applications for financing were declined said they were turned down more than once. And research from the 2014 Joint Small Business Credit Survey found that in the first half of 2013, a quarter of firms with employees and nearly a third (31%) of those without employees didn’t even bother to apply because they didn’t believe their applications would be approved.

While no one wants to be rejected when they apply for credit, small business owners are at a particular disadvantage because major consumer protection laws don’t always apply to entrepreneurs seeking financing for their ventures.

Here are three things that may come as a surprise when they apply:  (more…)

Helping Small Businesses Make the Best Financing Choices

By the Opportunity Finance Network

come-in-we-are-openSmall business owners pour their hearts and most of their resources into starting, growing and sustaining their businesses. Access to responsible capital is critical to grow and expand a business, which in turn is critical for financial security and creating jobs in the community.

Getting a small business loan has often been particularly hard for women and minority business owners. Women-owned businesses only get 4.4 percent of the dollar amount of all conventional small business loans. More than a third of minority business owners are worried they will not access the capital they need to maintain business operations. Furthermore, minority entrepreneurs are disproportionately denied credit when they apply for it, regardless of credit scores, income, or profits. The financial crisis that shook the entire national economy was damaging for small businesses in general, but especially small businesses owned by people of color, as large banks cut back on lending to small businesses.

In the wake of the recession, a plethora of online lenders have been promising small business owners “quick and easy” cash, without disclosing the hidden fees, high interest rates, and prepayment penalties. These tactics are harmful at the least, and can even drive some to go out of business. According to a recent survey by seven regional Federal Reserve banks, 20 percent of small businesses applying for financing in the past year went to an online lender. Though 75 percent of these businesses received at least some financing from these online lenders, only 15 percent reported being satisfied with their loans. This rise in unregulated, online alternative lenders provides an unprecedented but confusing variety of financing options, many of them designed more to help a lender’s bottom line than to help a small business succeed.  (more…)