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Guest Post by Alan Godfrey, CEO of Swyft Filings Launching a new business during most years is difficult enough. Add in a pandemic, and starting a company becomes exponentially more complicated. In 2021, many industries faced challenges that might cause prospective business owners to reconsider. Entrepreneurs continued to be resilient and rose against any roadblocks. The following five sectors saw the most growth in new business applications in 2021, according to the annual State of Swyft Industry Report. The report, which reviews data from new business applications filed across the United States, offers insight into the status of the country’s top industries. Warehousing Though the volume of new business applications in warehousing was the lowest of major sectors in 2021 — coming in at 18th — the sector saw the most substantial year-over-year growth. According to Swyft Filings’ data, this amounted to a 46.43 percent increase since 2020 in business applications. Reasons for the exponential growth in applications tie into increased e-commerce. As online shopping became common during the pandemic, new business owners could see a straightforward way to open and run successful warehousing businesses. While the warehouse industry experienced steady growth before the pandemic, this percentage jumped significantly as warehouses saw an increased demand for goods of all kinds. COVID-19 spikes caused stores to place larger grocery, pharmaceutical, and household product orders. Quick delivery also fueled growth as new warehouses and fulfillment centers opened throughout the United States to meet demand. At the same time, the capabilities of warehouse automation have made opening a warehouse more enticing for many new business owners. According to the U.S. Census Bureau Department of Commerce, the U.S. retail e-commerce sales estimate for the fourth quarter of 2021 increased by 1.7 percent. While new business owners can cash in on the increased business in warehousing, challenges remain. As retail footprints shrink and more customers purchase online rather than brick-and-mortar, warehouses must store larger quantities of products. This will require locating and securing affordable and ample space to handle the influx. These shifts will also make embracing automation essential. Transportation The transportation industry has experienced consistent gains in business applications over the past two years. In 2020 and 2021, the sector hit #2 in growth rank, increasing 31.92 percent in 2021 and second in volume. E-commerce played an integral role in expanding the transportation industry, particularly freight. Over the last two years, there has been an increased need for transporting various in-demand products, including fast fashion and home goods. With online shopping looking to grow year-over-year, there will likely be an increasing demand for transportation services. According to ReportLinker, the transportation services market expects to reach $7.8 trillion by 2027. This growth will spur the need for increased tracking and logistical technologies. It will also demand that transportation companies incorporate the latest in automation technology. Fuel prices will continue to create challenges for freight companies in the short-term and foreseeable future. This will require new and established business owners to find ways to cut shipping costs wherever possible and adjust in other areas to offset. Rental and leasing The rental and leasing industry ranked #3 in growth in 2021, with a 26.85 percent increase in new business applications. Last year, the sector also ranked 11th for volume in new business filings. The total volume of new business formations in the rental and leasing industry is modest compared to other industries tracked by Swyft Filings. However, the sector grew exponentially throughout 2021, and we expect it to continue doing so. According to Business Wire, they project the global leasing market to go from $1,352.88 billion in 2021 to $1,528.03 billion in 2022 and, by 2026, hit $2,403.84 billion. The rental car sector significantly impacted the 2021 rental and leasing industry growth. When the pandemic cut the need for domestic travel in 2020, rental car companies sold vehicles. A year later, in 2021, demand increased once again as Americans became vaccinated and started traveling. The limited supply of cars led to increased rental prices. Data collected by Auto Rental News shows rental car revenue for 2021 at $28.1 billion, a 21 percent gain over 2020. Insurance After ranking 18th in growth in 2020, the insurance industry jumped up to #4 in 2021. Insurance came in nearly last in the volume of new business applications but saw a 24.37 percent increase in yearly applications. A study by Deloitte points to much of the insurance industry’s overall growth in 2021 stemming from carriers benefiting from the technological investments and operational efficiencies spurred early on by the pandemic. Insurance providers substantially ramped up digital offerings in response to the necessity of being more nimble and agile in an overnight virtual market. This resulted in exponential growth in 2021. The ability to operate more efficiently and effectively in the digital insurance arena likely attracted new business owners to the industry. Now that pandemic restrictions have lifted, moving forward, insurance companies will need to ensure that the lifeblood of their business, customer service, remains a top priority. Though business was primarily conducted virtually during the pandemic, there is a current need to reassess customer interactions. For instance, many insurance companies are now considering the value of incorporating face-to-face interactions once again. Accommodations The accommodations industry saw substantial growth in 2020, but that slowed the following year considerably. In 2021, the sector ranked 16th in the volume of new business applications and placed in the #5 spot in growth, increasing 15.21 percent. The result was new business applications that were flat and behind other industries. It’s no secret that accommodation businesses across the board faced monumental challenges because of COVID-19. While historic lows in property loans and grants in 2020 likely resulted in business applications for new accommodation-related businesses, it hit the industry hard. A dramatic slowdown in travel and a labor shortage has left many accommodation businesses fighting to remain viable. A 2022 State of the Hotel Industry Report by the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) confirms that hotels struggle to keep their doors open. However, with the U.S. Travel Association predicting domestic leisure travel will surpass pre-pandemic levels in 2022 and beyond, the landscape will likely change over the coming months. To stay open, today’s accommodation companies will need to embrace digital trends that help ensure consumer safety yet provide convenience. Closing the wide labor gap will also be a necessity. New business owners up for the challenge and with an eye to the future are likely to dive into the accommodations industry, eyes wide open. Through technological advances and digital transformations, businesses adapted to keep their doors open and continue growing despite setbacks. These five industries are on track to continue their exponential growth, with more and more entrepreneurs ready to jump in on the opportunity. Alan Godfrey is the CEO of Swyft Filings, an online incorporation, compliance, and SMB services provider based in Houston, Texas. The company analyzed more than 63,000 new business applications filed in 2020 and 2021 to determine the year-over-year potential for new business growth and volume. You can read the complete analysis in the Swyft Filings 2021 State of Swyft Industry Report.
Guest Post by Jo Barnes If you're one of the many millions of people finding yourself throwing on a shirt over your PJs at three in the afternoon for a Zoom meeting with your boss, you're not alone! The work from home/remote working trend has only just started and will undoubtedly grow over the coming years as companies realize the economies of scale this "new normal" brings. But don't despair! While adapting to this new style of work may, at first, feel isolating, it also brings with it a host of opportunities, and not just for the big corporations anymore. If you've ever thought about starting a side hustle, now is the time. The current situation has given rise to dramatic increases in online shopping, socializing, working, and everything in between. As long as you have a computer and a decent internet connection, the online world is waiting for you! You may be able to manage your workload easier from home, giving you extra time to focus on generating an additional income. If that's where you find yourself, here are five online side hustles you can start today from the comfort of your kitchen table: Blogging Social media management Freelancing eCommerce Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) In time, you can reap the rewards of sufficient, consistent income to sustain a more flexible lifestyle conducive to your travel, family, and personal goals. 1. Blogging In my experience, there is no better business model online today than the world of blogging. By purchasing your own little space on the web by way of a domain and creating a branded website, you can talk about, write about, make videos about, and publish pretty much anything you want to! Your goal is to build an engaged audience around a specific interest or niche via your content. It’s your site; the choice is yours. Here's how I recommend you start your blog: Choose your topic or niche. Pick a name and register a domain. Browse platforms and sign up with your favorite. Install a website builder and design your site. Start publishing amazing content. Promote your content via search engine optimization (SEO) and social media. As your audience grows, you can monetize your blog via ads, affiliate offers, sponsorship, or even your own products. 2. Freelancing Are you a whiz at graphic design? Perhaps you love building websites, have a talent for digital marketing, or are an organizational wizard? No matter your skill set, the gig economy is alive and well, and more businesses than ever are choosing contract workers over full-time staff. Here are the steps to finding work as a freelancer: Create a portfolio of your work including examples, testimonials, and anything you feel might be relevant to any potential client. Sign up and create a profile on a freelance website. Search or bid for job requests which suit your skillset. Focus on getting five-star reviews to increase your chances of getting gigs. As your contracts grow, create a website showcasing your success stories and promoting your services. 3. Social media management Do you love scrolling Instagram, documenting your days, creating stories and TikTok videos, or chatting on Facebook? If so, social media management could be right up your alley. Imagine managing the Facebook and Pinterest accounts of a local business, spending your days coming up with creative images, posts, and videos to amuse and entertain. What fun! Here are the steps to becoming a social media manager: List out your top skills and platform knowledge. Create a compelling profile on a few freelance websites. Search for job posts from companies looking for social media specialists. Stand out from the crowd by researching each company, creating a personalized response, and showcasing your skills pertinent to the job post. (Tip: The more personalized your response to a job request, the greater the chance of getting the gig.) Focus heavily on getting great reviews as soon as possible. 4. eCommerce Did you know you can upload a design to a website and sell t-shirts, caps, journals, pillows, towels, mugs, and much more with your design on it, without ever touching or paying for products upfront? It’s called "print on demand" and is one of the fastest ways to start an eCommerce business, selling physical products online. An alternative eCommerce business model is dropshipping, which involves sourcing products designed and manufactured by other companies and advertising those products on your website at a higher price. When a customer makes a purchase, the product is sent directly from the manufacturer to the customer, and you keep the profits. Like print on demand, dropshipping is a super-fast route to setting up an eCommerce store. Follow these steps to start an eCommerce store: Choose your eCommerce business model: print on demand, dropshipping, selling your own products, etc. Register for an account on an eCommerce platform of your choice. Add images, logo, and store information. (Tip: Create a logo on Canva for free and use free images from a stock photo site for beautiful headers and graphics for your store.) Add your product descriptions and images. Promote your products on social media or using influencer marketing. 5. Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) If you have a bit of cash, you can have specific products manufactured and branded to sell on Amazon, who will do all the fulfillment side for you. (If you're imagining boxes of products in your garage, don't worry: this is not that.) Your products are sent directly to the Amazon warehouses and packed, picked, and distributed by the folks at Amazon. Your job is to let the world know your products exist and let Amazon handle the rest. My partner and I built a seven-figure FBA business in twelve months. Here's how you can do it, too: Choose your niche and product line: analyze Amazon itself to see what's selling well. Choose your first product. Aim of something that is light, small, easy to ship, unbreakable, and can sell for $20–$40. Source a supplier. Alibaba is the quickest and easiest place to start. Order a small amount of stock (500–1000 units) to test the market. Create an Amazon seller account and a product listing. Utilize eye-catching product images, a keyword-rich headline, and bullet points. Ship products to Amazon. Promote your products using Amazon PPC and influencer marketing. The sky's the limit These are just five ideas from the hundreds of options available online. Open your mind, get creative, and start following people online who've done what you'd like to do. In no time at all, your side hustle could be generating more than your day job! Now wouldn't that be grand? Jo Barnes is the founder of Your Lifestyle Business, a blog dedicated to empowering solopreneurs to build a business they can run from anywhere in the world. As a globe-trotting lifestyle entrepreneur, Jo has explored more than 30 countries in the last 10 years while building six- and seven-figure online businesses. She is currently locked down in Thailand.
Do you dream about crafting a sustainable, flexible full-time or part-time job fueled by your true personal or professional interests? You're not alone. Many of us are continually seeking a change from the 9 to 5 grind. If only we had the extra time, ample resources, and a brilliant idea, we would get started, right? Caila Zappala is living proof that even with the constraints of a busy schedule, it's not unrealistic to hope, plan, and work for a new and fulfilling career. And hers started from a side hustle. Zappala was working full-time as an IT project manager in New York City when she started teaching neighborhood group fitness classes in the mornings and evenings. She followed this routine for several years until she realized her love for fitness and helping people trumped what she was doing in the office, and her budding interest and expertise in prenatal and postnatal health could dramatically improve lives. "Getting up and going into the office started to feel torturous because my heart and focus were truly somewhere else all day," she explains. "I was mentally creating my new day to day well before I made that jump." Now a PregnancySāf Elite Coach with additional corrective exercise certifications, Zappala is a trusted resource for new and expectant mothers, sharing her knowledge through one-on-one training, group classes, social media, and a podcast. She left her IT job just a few months before the pandemic, so like most business owners at the time, she had to quickly pivot to become an online virtual training business. Thankfully, her skills as an IT professional helped her to transition quickly. Her advice to readers is the perfect prelude for the other stories that will follow: You've got to give it a try! "Otherwise, you'll just always wonder," Zappala says. "I feel like we wait until things feel 'that bad' to make a change. This side gig to full-time adventure has been one of the most difficult yet most rewarding experiences of my life. I wouldn’t change a thing about it because I’ve learned so much about myself, my business, and dreams for the future!" Benefits of a side hustle Also called a side gig, side job, or microbusiness, a successful side hustle has the potential to create space in your life for one or more of the following: A passion-guided project dictated by you alone A new hobby or area of expertise — or income for the hobbies you’re already pursuing Additional income to supplement what you’re already earning Replacement income for your current job The flexibility to pursue interests or to rest from over-busy-ness A fulfilling business partnership with a friend or family member A novel trajectory for your day job or other new career opportunities Basically, if you want to earn more money outside of the 9 to 5 or if your day job just isn’t fulfilling your need for creative expression or autonomy, you could benefit from starting a side hustle. If you’ve considered starting a side hustle of your own, this guide — full of real-life examples from people in the trenches of supplemental entrepreneurship — will excite, educate, and empower you to do so. Download and print our companion worksheet to jot down your own ideas as you follow along. Key Takeaways Create the resource or service you wish you had Improve upon a product or service you already use Test your concept before investing a lot of time and money Look for existing opportunities within your network of family and friends Join a community of like-minded entrepreneurs for ideas and support Utilize in-person and phone communication to maximize your impact Use a stepping stone side hustle to finance a bigger goal Be willing to “time hustle” to upgrade your clientele Be patient as you build (and rebuild) a foundation for growth Start small, but be willing to take a risk when it’s time to go “all in” Pick a lane: Identify side hustle opportunities 1. Create the resource or service you wish you had What would make your life easier? When marketing manager Giuseppe Frustaci wanted to learn how to drive stick shift (a manual transmission car), he struggled to find a teacher. "Driving schools don't offer it, and it was really hard to find a friend or family member who had a stick shift car and was willing to teach,” he recalls. So about a year after he learned how to drive stick shift, he took advantage of the lack of resources available by creating one himself. His stick shift driving lesson business began as a side hustle in 2017. He partnered with someone who had a stick shift car and wanted to make some side money teaching, put up a website, and ran some ads on Google. Frustaci established his business as an LLC for legal protection reasons but didn’t file as a corporation because he doesn’t expect to raise money or grow the business much more. “Although it has now become my full-time job," he explains, "I just don't see investors wanting to invest in what could be considered a dying art.” But that doesn’t mean the customer demand isn’t still there. Since the summer of 2018, Frustaci’s business has grown to be in 48 cities nationwide with 170 instructors and has sold about 2,000 lessons. And Stick Shift Driving Academy continued to thrive during the pandemic since there was a surge of new instructors looking for side gigs of their own. 2. Improve upon a product or service you already use What improvements could you make, big or small? Scott Penick had always wanted to start a business but never knew what it should be. And as an attorney, he didn’t have a lot of extra time to devote to a side project, so he put it off. But when his dad passed away from cancer in 2019, Penick realized that he needed to stop waiting for the “right time” and take action, even if it meant the risk of failure. As meal replacement shake fans, Penick and his wife decided to create some of their own. “As we learned more about nutrition and read labels more closely, we started to realize that a lot of the meal replacement shakes were not all that healthy and that even the healthiest ones could be better, he explains." They started researching and making a chart of potential ingredients and their macronutrient profiles to determine the perfect nutrition shake formula. At the same time, they shopped out potential manufacturers for what would become Soul ShāXe — name idea number 94. The Penicks formed Soul ShāXe as an LLC, which would provide some insulation from personal liability without adding a lot of complexity to their finances with taxes. And they decided to begin by selling their product direct-to-consumer online to allow for enough margin to be profitable without needing to sell tens of thousands of units per month through a wholesaler. The moment of truth was placing their first order for production. “It was a five-figure bill, and we did not have that kind of money just laying around, but we did have equity in our home,” Penick recounts. “If you are married, you absolutely have to have your spouse's buy-in on this; but we took out a home equity line of credit to fund the first production run. It was nerve-wracking and exhilarating at the same time.” But just as they were getting ready to place the order for the first production run, the pandemic hit, prompting fears about the home equity, stay-at-home orders, and job security. They decided to look at the situation this way: “Some people are going to hide and push pause for the duration of this pandemic. If those people are lucky, they will come out of hiding at the status quo, wipe their brows, and be thankful they survived. Others are going to decide that this is a time to be bold, forge ahead, and grow through the adversity. We decided to grow.” They have received overwhelmingly positive feedback from customers so far, and the goal is to continue to get the word out to prospective customers. Soul ShāXe’s biggest challenge is standing out in a crowded online market. Based on what he’s experienced, Penick would have made one decision differently when starting out: order less inventory upfront, invest more in marketing, then find a way to finance inventory to meet order demand. 3. Test your concept before investing a lot of time and money You may not need to come up with a new idea at all. What successful business models do you see that you might want to replicate? Nick Loper side hustle Expert Expert Tip Don’t get too deep into a project before you have any real validation that this is something the world wants. Are people already paying for something similar? On the surface, that looks like competition, but it's also proof of concept. Don't spend a ton of time or money on your idea before you're reasonably certain the demand is there. Nick Loper is not only an experienced side hustler but also an entrepreneurship expert. He is the founder of Side Hustle Nation and has been helping a community of people earn more money and build businesses they love since 2013. As a former zone manager for Ford Motor Company, his original corporate getaway vehicle was a comparison shopping site for footwear. It was three years of nights and weekends before Loper felt comfortable leaving his full-time job to focus on his side gig. Years later, he started Side Hustle Nation to showcase this “lower-risk brand of entrepreneurship” and the stories of others getting it done. Loper has directly interviewed and interacted with thousands of other side hustlers over the years, so he's identified countless tips and guiding principles that can aid aspiring side hustlers. Along the lines of starting small with your business concept, it makes the most sense for most side hustles to start as sole proprietorships. "Unless there are specific licenses and registrations required in your local area, sole proprietor status is automatic when you start to make income outside of your job," Loper explains. "An LLC may afford you some personal liability protection, but probably won't save you money on taxes since it's a 'pass-through' entity." As your business grows, consider incorporating as an S-corp or an LLC with an S-corp election, which should allow you to save on some self-employment taxes.* Loper aims to teach business concepts through others' experiences via his podcast and blog but also through sharing his own struggles in various ventures. "A classic failure of mine in this space was rushing to sell my condo in Atlanta when I moved across the country," Loper laments. It could have been a cash-flowing rental, but he was afraid of the prospects of trying to manage it remotely. Loper continues, "Turns out, there's this thing called property management built to solve that exact problem! Odds are, someone somewhere has already overcome what you're struggling with, and so your job as the entrepreneur is to seek out those solutions." *Not intended as legal or tax advice. Consult a CPA or other tax or legal professional as you consider business registration. 4. Look for existing opportunities within your network of family and friends Could any of your connections use some assistance with their own projects? Think about the personal and professional conversations you’ve had recently. “I had always wanted my own business but struggled to find the right combination of product or service with high demand, accessible market entry, steady supply line, and the ability to bring a value-added component into the mix," explains Jay Jermo. "Honey was the perfect find and, in truth, it found me.” Ten years ago, Jermo was just making ends meet while working for a bank, and in search of an opportunity. He found it when he stopped at a cousin’s house on a tour around the state to connect with friends. Jermo’s cousin, who is a commercial beekeeper, had created some flavored kinds of honey he was selling at a local market and suggested Jermo sell them in the Detroit area. One farmer’s market gig turned into eight, and eventually, four flavored honeys turned into 70. He created a webstore for the honey products, memorable branding, and has since expanded to selling different floral types of honey from around the world. He says, “Now this is all I do, and the idea of going back to a day job is a distant memory.” Jermo operates as a sole proprietor of his eCommerce store because there is a tax advantage at this stage. Sales are direct to consumers, so he can capture more margin without involving third parties. For marketing, he includes customers on a mailing list to engage future and repeat sales. Suit up for the race: Start your side hustle 5. Join a community of like-minded entrepreneurs for ideas and support Who do you know who does what you might want to do? Enter keywords on a search engine or social media to pinpoint relevant groups. Content creator Jessica Ashcroft knows the value of strategic pivoting, a diversified skill set, and, above all, community. Ashcroft started her own blog as a way to document her life as a newlywed. When fashion blogging started gaining traction, she switched up her blog focus to include fashion content. And after having her first baby, she transitioned her blog one last time to a pregnancy and motherhood blog. Through the years, Ashcroft has found ways to keep up with the ever-changing rules, best practices, and strategies of succeeding in the blogosphere. "Blogging has a steep learning curve," she explains. "You have to know SEO, website design, HTML coding, marketing, photography, and social media — on top of the actual writing." Aside from trial and error, one thing that has helped her expand her knowledge of these topics and others has been joining online blogging groups. That's her top piece of advice for individuals pursuing a side hustle: "Try to find a community of like-minded entrepreneurs. I've learned so much from the Facebook groups I'm in with other bloggers that I would not have known if I was going about this on my own." While she tried to spend as little money as possible initially, Ashcroft realized that to make money you have to spend money. So she used some of the income she was making from her work-from-home job in the finance sector to pay for monthly costs to improve her blog and expand its reach. It took some time to get there, but Ashcroft eventually started making a full-time income from her blog via sponsored blog posts as well as monetizing blog traffic through an ad network. At that point, she felt it was time to leave her other job so she could use her time to be doing what she really loved: blogging. And things are only looking up from here: Ashcroft has started a second blog, this time featuring favorite family recipes, with hopes to get it qualified for her ad network as an additional source of income. As a full-time teacher, Shaun Morgan wanted a side hustle to earn some supplemental income, but most things he looked into required too much time or capital upfront. He listened to Nick Loper's Side Hustle Nation podcast as a place to learn about new opportunities. One day, he heard a notary public loan signing agent, Mark Willis, talking on the podcast about his work. "The job is flexible, pays well, and it takes very little start-up capital," Morgan explains. "I was sold.” It wasn't long before he had a notary business of his own. Notaries get paid for walking people through documentation, including mortgage documents, and making sure everything is completed and signed correctly. To get started, he needed to take just a few steps: Become a registered notary Establish a sole proprietorship Acquire a printer and other basic office supplies It cost Morgan just shy of $2,000 in startup capital, which he put onto a 0% interest promotional credit card. Since it is a business that hinges on perfection, Morgan relies on the Loan Signing System, a community the aforementioned Mark Willis created for notaries seeking help when starting out: “I recommend that anyone just starting out in business find a group of people they can turn to for support and advice because of how invaluable that is.” And now? “Having this side hustle has given me more flexibility to pursue other goals, such as starting a blog." Need a loan for your small business? If a lack of financing is preventing you from pursuing your side gig or another business goal, know that you have options. Learn more about business loans by looking at the top-rated companies, seeing what they have to offer, and reading reviews from other borrowers. View Top Lenders 6. Utilize in-person and phone communication to maximize your impact What are your networking connections, skills, and assets? Jot down the individuals and organizations that come to mind. As a cocktail enthusiast, brand strategy leader Jessica Miller saw the explosion of ready-to-drink cocktails hitting the market and felt there was an opportunity for a wine-based cocktail that paid greater attention to flavors and had higher alcohol content like a true cocktail. Miller and her husband founded their wine wholesale business as partners. They had always wanted to run a business together and were able to launch their side hustle with the financial assistance of a very close friend. Miller says the most difficult aspect of starting a business, if you’re not taking on outside investors, is asking friends and family for help. Aside from the one loan from a friend, Miller tapped into savings, credit cards, and even cash advances on cards with a low-interest rate. Of the financial sacrifices involved, Miller says, “All of it can be a bit daunting when you are pulling all of your resources and are leveraged to the hilt, but we wouldn’t have done it any differently! There is a different kind of pressure when you bring on outside investment, and you may lose control or need to compromise your vision.” Colony Cocktails is a wine wholesaler, so they sell their products to distributors who sell to retailers, who then sell to consumers. Miller structured her business as an LLC because it offered the best structure as a two-member partnership and with enough legal protections in place. It was also easier for her to apply for federal alcohol permits with an LLC, avoiding the complexities of a corporation structure. Like Soul ShāXe, Colony Cocktail’s first production run was scheduled right when COVID-19 hit. In Miller’s case, this forced Northern California, where her copacker is located, into lockdown. Thankfully, they were still able to manufacture the cocktails, but they also encountered challenges shipping and sourcing ingredients due to the pandemic. According to Miller, pushing through and launching a product during a pandemic was nothing short of a miracle. “It required us to stay nimble, solve problems rapidly and, honestly, inspire our vendors to push harder for solutions as deadlines approached,” she explains. “Picking up the phone and having a conversation with someone helped some of these big companies make an effort to help our little craft cocktail business. There is a humanity that is removed from email communications; speaking over the phone helped us build those relationships and ultimately achieve what we thought was impossible.” While the business is still challenged by COVID limitations, Miller is finding interesting ways of engaging new consumers on a smaller scale than their preferred cocktail tasting events, such as working with realtors to be featured at open houses. 7. Use a stepping stone side hustle to finance a bigger goal What resources do you have to start your side hustle, and what else do you need? How could you come up with the finances you need? When engineer Anders Helgeson started working from home in March 2020, he found he could get his work done in a couple of hours and have the rest of the day to work on other projects. With that time and with plenty of motivation, he seized the opportunity to flip couches with his buddy to earn some extra cash. The end result? “My business partner and I fully financed our startup junk removal business last year after spending about 14 weeks flipping couches off of Craigslist and OfferUp,” he explains. Their process involved the following: Scour the free sofa ads on Craigslist and OfferUp. Pick up sofas that were still in pretty good condition (Both friends already owned small trucks and Helgeson had a spare room for storage in his house). Vacuum the couches. Take much better pictures (just with an iPhone). Repost for sale, priced to include free delivery to discourage people wanting to haggle. But just how much can you make by selling free couches? In just over three months, they acquired and sold 43 couches at a total profit of $15,870 — enough to pay for the following startup expenses: LLC formation Business and commercial auto insurance Truck and trailer Polo shirts and hats Website Business cards And they had a cushion of money left over for emergencies, which came in handy. “I haven't quit my full time job yet, and currently junk removal still sits as a bit of a side hustle for us. However, we are starting to gain traction in San Diego, and I fully expect that within the next year, this will be a full-time job for the both of us!” Sprint or marathon: Grow your side hustle 8. Be willing to “time hustle” to upgrade your clientele What are some to-do items that have the potential to help you grow? Jot them down and work them into your schedule. It’s impressive that Rebecca Lake’s six-figure personal finance writing business — involving writing, ad revenue, and affiliate sales — started as a side hustle. She started freelance writing when she decided it made more sense financially to become a stay-at-home mom rather than pay for daycare for two kids and drive a two-hour commute to work each day. Other than some writing she’d done in college, Lake started with no real experience but was able to quickly make a part-time income ghostwriting from home. After her divorce in 2014, she decided to try to grow the side hustle into a full-time business so she could continue to stay home with her kids. After about a year and a half after deciding to take her side hustle full-time, she had her first $10,000 month as a freelance writer. "That was the point at which my investment of time hustling and networking started to really pay off," Lake says. "I continued to focus on upgrading my clientele and becoming a sought-after writer. Now my business brings in $20,000 to $30,000 a month, and I still run it with just a laptop and internet.” Lake continues, “I didn't invest in any training or special equipment; the biggest investment I made was time. I spent time every day pitching new clients, replying to job postings from job boards, and growing my network on LinkedIn. I was taking care of my two kids full-time, homeschooling them, and running the business solo while living on a single-parent budget.” Time management has been the biggest challenge to growing Lake’s business. While she works about 25 to 30 hours per week now, it used to be much more than that, and limited childcare options made it imperative that she create routines to get all of the work, mom, and homeschooling tasks done each day. Even with older kids now, routines continue to be imperative to her successful work and home operations. 9. Be patient as you build (or rebuild) a foundation for growth What obstacles have you faced or could you face? What is your plan for pushing through? When Kristin Mastoras moved to New York in 2011, she had a great job, but money was still pretty tight, so she used an Etsy design shop she started during college to earn some extra money. She explains, "I was working in pharmaceutical advertising which was not the most creative, so my side hustle was also a way that I could do more work that excited me.” It took about four years to grow Miss Design Berry into something Mastoras was able to take full-time, but it was worth the wait. She incorporated her business as an S-corp so she could pay herself as an employee of the business. Through the years, she’s encountered obstacles shared by many eCommerce businesses: trademark infringement from competing businesses, online client harassment, and a failed business partnership. These challenges make it all the more impressive how far the design business that started as a small Etsy shop has come over the past decade: 2014 — Hired her first part-time employee to help while still working full-time. 2015 — Left her advertising job to make her side gig her new full-time gig once she could pay off student loans and earn as much with the side hustle as her former job. “I also really wanted to get a dog, but could not do so unless I was working from home, so this was a big motivator for me!” 2016 — Built a team of more than 10 employees. 2017 — Brought a partner into the business, which ended up not working out. 2020 — COVID-19 dealt a hard blow to the business, dropping revenue by over 50 percent. But the story didn’t end there. Regarding the impact of COVID-19, Mastoras had to pivot and make her design products work for virtual weddings and events as well as rely on help from the PPP and other government assistance. “It will be a long road back to solid ground, but we made it through 2020, and now I know we can make it through anything,” she says. 10. Start small, but be willing to take a risk when it’s time to go “all in” At what point, if any, would you want to quit your day job? Note the financial gains you hope to consistently achieve with your side hustle and imagine what steps you might take personally and professionally when you reach that point. While they both had other full-time jobs, Jamie King and her cousin and co-founder worked on building a yoga and fitness community at nights, on weekends, and whenever else they could spare some time. They started what is now Flex & Flow after an "inspiring and wine-filled evening" about 10 years ago. “I have especially fond memories of the many late evenings and weekends we spent tagging thousands of pink shoelaces and handwriting cards, which is how we initially grew our community,” she reminisces. "While we both bootstrapped from our own savings, we definitely know how lucky we are to have supportive partners who encouraged us and helped us continue to make our dreams a reality.” After more than a year of working full-time, investing their own money back into the business, and hustling every spare moment, King knew it was time to quit her job and face the music. “It felt like it was time to commit or fail,” she explains. However, she stayed on as a consultant for an additional year to make ends meet and keep floating the business. Last year, Flex & Flow’s flagship studio in northeast Portland was forced to close, halting in-person yoga and other fitness classes. However, the business has been providing virtual classes globally with its pay-per-month digital studio membership model. “Ten years and one pandemic later, we're still standing!” says King. Ready to work on your own side hustle? If you missed the link at the beginning, here's our brainstorming worksheet to help you take your first steps.
You've toyed with the idea of running a business. You have a strong management background and believe that you could succeed as an entrepreneur if you had the right business model. However, you don't want to — or can't — buy an existing business or start one from scratch. If the above description resonates with you, you might be a future franchisee. Franchise or startup? Both paths involve potential risk and reward. Franchises are popular for good reason. A franchise investment can feel less risky than a startup in that you’re working with a proven business concept, operational model, and in many cases, regional or even national brand recognition. You’re given a playbook to guide your every action. But financing and running a franchise can still be financially risky, with hefty start-up and royalty costs (as high as 8 percent) along the way. Plus, franchisees are limited in what they can do creatively within their budgeting, marketing, and even employee training efforts. If you’re seriously considering the franchise route, there is much research to be done before you make an investment. You’re in the right place because we’re here to help you with two important components of your decision: 1. How to choose a franchise2. How to pay for a franchise We’ll incorporate lender insights, franchise consultant advice, and first-hand franchisee stories along the way. 1. How to choose a franchise Selecting a franchise investment involves a number of considerations, several of which we'll discuss here: Investment amount What industries are doing well What industries are struggling Local market research Company reputations Franchise consultations First, let’s define some key terms. Sometimes “franchise owner” is used to describe a person operating a franchise location, but they don't actually own the franchise. Here are the proper definitions according to Investopedia: Franchisor: The original or existing business that sells the right to use its name and idea; the franchise owner. Franchisee (pronounced fran-chai-zee): The individual who buys into the original company by purchasing the right to sell the franchisor’s goods or services under the existing business model and trademark; a small business owner who operates a franchise; a franchise partner. Franchise: A joint venture between a franchisor and franchisee. Investment amount It’s important to know what your financial limits are so you can be realistic about your options. Not everyone has $1 million to spend to become a McDonald's or Taco Bell franchisee. Startup costs will include the following — and this doesn’t include additional ongoing costs you’ll want set aside beforehand: Franchise fee (basically an entry fee compensating the franchisor for their hard work in building the brand) Territory fee Real estate costs (leasehold improvements, construction costs, etc.) Insurance Taxes Licensing, accounting, and legal fees Equipment (industry-specific and general office) Inventory Work vehicle(s) While you can find some rare opportunities in the $10,000 range, most franchises run from about $50,000 to $200,000 in startup costs. And, of course, there are plenty of franchise investments that will cost you in the millions. search Highlight: Plenty of lower-cost franchise opportunities require an initial investment of around $50,000 or less. Here are some examples that all rank in Entrepreneur's Franchise 500 list: Destination Athlete ($28,300–$93,610) JAN-PRO Cleaning & Disinfecting ($4,170–$56,020) Kinderdance International ($18,100–$46,750) Leadership Management International ($20,000–$27,500) TSS Photography ($20,415–$74,725) What industries are doing well The landscape of franchise success and failure can change frequently even in a stable economy. But in the wake of COVID-19, certain industries and brands are clearly performing better than others. Keep in mind that there’s no guaranteed pandemic-proof or recession-proof investment. Home improvement — With many businesses having employees work remotely, people have more time at home when they don’t need to commute. Businesses retailing construction materials, gardening tools, supplies, and plants, and other DIY products may be especially promising. Case in point: home improvement franchise Ace Hardware’s 2020 second-quarter revenue was $2.28 billion, an increase of 35 percent from last year. Home services — No matter how the economy is doing, there will always be homeowners. Home services like painting, flooring, yard maintenance, and plumbing services are considered essential. These types of franchises include Neighborly brand franchises like Molly Maid®, Mr. Appliance®, and Mr. Electric®. Telehealth — In the current pandemic, people are seeking assistance for non-urgent healthcare needs remotely in order to avoid contact with COVID-19. But telehealth services like video consultation and remote medical billing services are also convenient at any time and this way of receiving non-urgent care could soon become the new norm. While there aren't a lot of franchise opportunities in this industry yet, GoTelecare has a franchise business model operating in the United States and Canada. It's been around since 2012 and requires an initial investment of only $60,000. Senior care — This year, many families have relocated their loved ones from nursing facilities to be cared for in their homes. Thus, the demand for in-home care providers has increased and that trend is predicted to continue. Senior care franchises like Nurse Next Door and Griswold Home Care (which discounts the initial franchise fee 20 percent for veterans) are worth considering. Delivery and courier services — With retail sales decreasing and eCommerce sales increasing, there has never been a greater demand for these types of services. So what's the difference between delivery and courier? Standard delivery by well-known franchises like The UPS Store and Amazon Delivery partners typically are done by a driver with a full truck making their way through a route. Courier services like Central Courier provide more specialized, on-demand delivery and can be trained for special purposes (like HIPPA certification for medical transport). Food delivery — Be discerning with this because overall, the restaurant industry is struggling. Forty percent of U.S. restaurants were closed two months into the pandemic, a hit causing three times the job losses of any other industry. But delivery companies have fared better than sit-downs or drive-thrus. Both Papa Johns and Domino's pizza have had sales surge during the pandemic. And if the recent success of GrubHub and DoorDash are any indication of food delivery as a whole, a food delivery franchise like Time To Eat may be a good investment. Junk removal and hauling — In the early months of the pandemic, social media was filled with conversations about decluttering and other long-neglected household tasks. Junk removal and hauling franchises like 1-800-GOT-JUNK help homeowners and renters alike achieve goals and create needed space in their homes. Plus, running this type of business includes the benefit of team-building and community involvement. Moving franchises like Two Men and a Truck are also worth checking out. The coronavirus has slowed real estate purchasing approval and home moving in some ways but hasn't stopped it. Commercial cleaning services — It’s uncertain what the demand will be for commercial cleaning services if businesses stick with a remote model permanently, but for any public or private space getting foot traffic right now, sanitation is a priority and will be going forward. Franchises like Vanguard Cleaning Systems and Chem-Dry are a good bet. This is the type of franchise you can launch right in the middle of a pandemic. We reached out to Bactronix to hear about the new franchise location they launched recently in Suncoast, Florida. Devin Conner, director of franchise sales, said, “The growth rate of Bactronix has been incredible,” regarding this new franchise location and others. “This marks the company’s 25th operating location in less than four months.” Other industries — There are a handful of other franchise success stories and potential pockets for growth. 7-Eleven is doing so well it bought the Speedway chain of gas stations. Fastsigns, a signage franchise has done well with increased PSAs regarding social distancing and hygiene protocols. And with an increase in online learning, virtual educational technology companies and tutoring franchises may take off. What industries are struggling Unfortunately, it seems that for every franchise doing well, there’s one that’s failing. Restaurants — As mentioned, some exceptions to this are delivery-based restaurants and some drive-thrus. But recently a franchisee operating 49 IHOPS had to file for bankruptcy. Golden Corral suspended 35 of its company-owned restaurants indicating the franchised restaurants may not fare well either. Fast-casual food chains overall are not doing great. Hospitality and travel — Hotels, car rentals, travel agencies, entertainment venues, and event centers have all been hit hard. Hertz laid off nearly one-third of its employees in April. Marriott temporarily closed 25 percent of its hotels in the spring and while occupancy has increased since then, it remains to be seen to what extent the hospitality industry can bounce back. Local market research Franchisors usually have a pulse on promising cities for their brands. And franchise consultants can also be a good resource. But it doesn’t hurt to do your own preliminary research. Think about the following: What are your community’s needs? Is there a storefront you and your friends travel great distances to frequent? Is there a franchise you’ve ever thought, I wish we had this? Keep in mind that not all companies with multiple locations are franchises. Shop out locations. You may be able to land cheap commercial rent right now due to decreased demand with COVID-19 restrictions. There may also be available real estate for purchase. Read reviews If you've pinpointed some brands you're interested in, get a feel for each company's overall reputation online. Visit their social media pages and read comments from customers. And read reviews! We recommend our verified reviews here on Best Company. You can research companies by industry or use the search bar to type in a specific company. Within a company's profile, you can sort through the reviews by searching for key terms such as your state's name. Consult with a franchise expert Franchise consultants share their knowledge with prospective franchisees. Their job is to advise and support franchisees in their goals. Tom Scarda, CFE, CEO and Founder of The Franchise Academy and The Franchise Academy podcast shares his hard-earned knowledge with prospective franchisees. We asked him to share some of his experiences with franchise success and failure. BC: What is your background in franchise management? Scarda: I owned two separate franchises. One was a huge success. I sold it within five years of starting it and semi-retired at 41 years old. I purchased a second concept and failed miserably and lost almost my entire life savings. But that’s what made me an expert! Since then, I’ve written several books including the number one bestseller, Franchise Savvy, and have been coaching people on how to avoid the mistakes I made with my second try. I also host the Franchise Academy Podcast. BC: What factors did you prioritize in your research? Scarda: The main factors I considered when buying a franchise was essentially the cost of entry and whether I thought it had legs to grow. I didn’t know what else to consider at the time. BC: What was your process like in determining which franchise to pursue? Scarda: To find my first franchise, Maui Wowi Smoothies, I used a franchise consultant. She educated me on items I would not have known since I had never owned a franchise before. For my second franchise, Super Suppers (make and take dinner concept), I went it alone and that’s why I made mistakes. I did not do market research, and I didn’t think through the day in the life for me as the owner. BC: How did you finance your franchise? Scarda: I did home equity lines of credit for my businesses. BC: What is the most challenging aspect of running a franchise? Scarda: I think the most challenging thing about running a franchise is wearing 17 management hats at the beginning. We are taught to go to school, get a skill and apply it to a job. We are not taught to run a business. Even though a franchise could be considered a “business with training wheels,” it’s really difficult to run. I think new franchise owners are seldom prepared for what it takes to run a business. BC: What is the most rewarding aspect of running a franchise? Scarda: The most rewarding aspect of being a franchise owner is taking control of my destiny. To me, a bad day in business still beats a good day in a cubicle. 2. How to pay for a franchise If you're asking this question, you probably don't have the extra cash to pay the costs upfront. Of course, if you already have the capital, you can skip this section. But if you're in the camp of franchisees that need to borrow, you're in good company. And you've got options, so shop around. Learn about the different types of funding that may be available to you and decide which is the best route. Alternative business loans These types of loans are accessible through funding companies online. They have a leg up on traditional banks in that they can approve very quickly — a matter of hours — and fund very quickly — a matter of days. This is because alternative business loans generally involve simple applications, lenient requirements, and a variety of products that give you a good chance of finding a funding source that will work with you. Banks generally require more stringent conditions, a favorable credit history, and high capital and collateral. The tradeoff is that they may have higher rates and less favorable terms than loans from a bank. There are hundreds of alternative business lenders and several loan types. So what should you look for? National Funding works with franchise owners across all business verticals and has multiple solutions for prospective franchisees to consider including equipment financing, working capital, and short-term bridge loans. National Funding is ranked #4 out of the top-ranked business lenders based on more than 50 verified borrower reviews like the following: Customer Review: Patrick from Liberty, Missouri "I felt like they were customizing what they had with what I needed. It was effortless. Everybody that I talked to was super friendly and made sure that I had all my questions answered. The process was pretty easy. I did an online application. It didn't take very long. Very simple. I would recommend them to anyone. They are awesome folks to work with." According to Justin Thompson, Chief Revenue Officer of National Funding, “Franchisees are typically looking for a lending partner that understands time is of the essence, with the use of technology over the traditional route of heavy paperwork and long wait time” and key lenders are able to meet these demands. Thompson also says a business loan should have flexible options, such as terms, rates, and payment schedules, in order to fit the needs of the franchisee. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Thompson has noticed that franchisees are looking for short-term, flexible products. “The long term 7–10-year bank loan isn’t suitable as they can’t be tied up for that long at the mercy of the bank,” he explains. Our lender reviews include other companies that have high praise for franchise financing specifically. Seek Capital: Customer Review: Tommy from Canyon Country, California "I had a great experience working with Seek! The process was handled smoothly and I was able to get the money I needed to order my equipment for opening my restaurant. It was hard because no lenders would help me since I don’t have any deposits since I just started my franchise. Go Seek!" Balboa Capital: Customer Review: Giuseppe Filippelli from Albion, New York "They were recommended by our franchiser. Getting the loan was a fairly easy process. Everyone involved was just really nice, kind, and very helpful. They were very concerned about making sure all the information was accurate." How can you qualify? In regards to determining a franchisee’s eligibility for a business loan, Thompson says, “Technology makes determining eligibility quite simple. We base eligibility on attributes such as cash flow, time in business, Standard Industrial Classification (SIC), and Annual Gross Sales.” To learn more about National Funding's business loans, The Bottom Line blog is a great resource. Franchisor financing Many franchise opportunities include an internal franchise financing option so you're not starting from scratch in your search for a funding source. This guided option has generally been tried and true by other franchisees for that specific franchise and may even include a discount over other funding sources. Your chosen company's Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) will contain the financing information, including terms and conditions, through the franchisor or partner lender. Commercial bank loans As mentioned, bank loans generally have more favorable terms, most notably, lower interest rates, than alternative business loans. But they are more difficult to obtain. Bank loans often require collateral, in which you pledge equity in your home or business assets. And you may need to contribute 20 to 25 percent of the upfront costs out of pocket. Banks favor businesses with recognizable brand names and long track records of consistent cash flow. So if you're investing in a bigger-name franchise or you need a loan to expand an already-successful franchise, a bank loan might be for you. SBA loans Small Business Administration (SBA) loans are financed through banks but backed by the federal government. The advantage to these loans is that the SBA sets maximum rates, typically between 7 and 9.5 percent for SBA 7(a) loans. To qualify for an SBA loan, you need good credit and your franchise must be listed in their Franchise Directory. If your franchise is not in the directory, the franchisor must submit their FDD for the SBA to review for consideration within the Directory. Crowdfunding Depending on your financing needs, crowdfunding could be a feasible solution for financing a franchise. But there are important considerations surrounding crowdfunding, including limits on the amount you can raise within a 12-month time period, costs and risks of preparing a compliant disclosure document, and the need to hire an attorney with experience in franchise law and crowdfunding. There are pros and cons of both equity crowdfunding and rewards crowdfunding. Make sure you understand this method from all angles before you pursue it. Other methods While they have their own set of advantages and disadvantages, there are additional financing methods to consider include the following: Family and friends loan Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) Credit cards Take out retirement funds (Rollover for Small Business (ROBS) or by withdrawing funds from a ROTH IRA) Final thoughts from an employee-turned-franchise partner If you're still considering franchise management as your next investment and career, learning from franchisees will be invaluable. We asked Keith Novotny, a Cousins Subs employee-turned-franchisee to share some thoughts on his journey. Novotny joined the company at age 16 and has been a franchise partner for more than 17 years. BC: How did you decide to become a franchisee? Novotny: Because I was an employee at Cousins Subs before purchasing my first franchise, my determination came from first-hand experience working for the brand. The family-like atmosphere, encouraging leadership team, and commitment to the community struck me and guided me to my path to being a business owner. At Cousins Subs everyone is family and that philosophy encouraged and motivated me to take the leap of faith to purchase my own location and hire my talented team who have come to feel more like family. BC: How did you finance your franchise? Novotny: Candidly, I was fortunate to receive emotional and financial support from my parents. I essentially took a loan from them that I am paying back. I also worked with Commerce State Bank, a local bank in my community, to take out a loan. BC: What is the most challenging aspect of running a franchise? Novotny: Staffing is the most challenging part. It’s critical to my restaurant's success to have the right people in the right seats. More and more, it’s challenging to find young talent that wants to work and gives it their all around the clock. So, when I find the best candidates, I hire based on referrals. Word of mouth advertising has been really successful for me. When I hire from my teams’ networks, I’ve found a lot of success and fun! I mean who doesn’t want to work with their friends? BC: What is the most rewarding aspect of running a franchise? Novotny: Simply put, giving back to my community. I’m proud to own and operate two Cousins Subs franchises in my hometown. I’m even more proud to run successful stores that permit me to give back as much as I do. When asked by a community member to give back, I have a philosophy to not say "no." Even if I can’t help in the exact way requested, I always find a way to provide support. People like to support businesses that support them and their community they’re proud to call home. BC: Anything else you'd like to share with our readers? Novotny: Life is too short and it’s so important to go to work every day and enjoy what you’re doing with 100 percent satisfaction. As a franchise owner, it’s my goal to ensure each of my employees feels the same way. I also encourage future franchise owners to get outside of your four walls and network with other business owners. Not only is it fun, but you can also learn so much about how you can enhance your workplace. Ready to apply for your loan? Choose from the top-ranked business lenders to finance your franchise. Get approved today and obtain funds as soon as tomorrow. Learn More
Guest Post by Ty Kiisel If you're like many people, right now you're thinking about what you really want out of your life and career. Maybe you lost your job because of COVID-19 or simply realize it isn't what you want to do long-term. Maybe you're dreaming about a business you'd love to start. Starting a business in the middle of a global pandemic and national recession might seem foolhardy on the surface, but in reality, it might be your best opportunity to realize your dreams of entrepreneurship. Why? First of all, people are being cautious, which means they aren’t taking the kinds of risks that lead to financial success right now. That leaves an opportunity for you. Also, if you can create a thriving business in the middle of global upheaval, it’s going to be even easier to succeed when times are good. Still, this isn’t going to be an easy endeavor. Here are some tips to help you succeed: 1. Start small This might not be the time to execute your full dream of opening a chain of retail stores, given the economic climate and the fact that some states are still shutting down certain types of businesses to combat the pandemic. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get started on a smaller scale. If you want to open a retail business, maybe you start selling online first. Online sales have, after all, increased 55 percent year over year, and experts don’t expect them to stall out too much as brick and mortar stores open back up. If you’re still working, you could start a business that you can run, at least initially, part-time while you continue to bring home a steady paycheck. You can create a plan to scale that allows you to start with a lower budget for equipment, marketing, staff, etc., that you can grow once you start bringing in revenue. 2. Look for unique opportunities Before you jump into launching a new business, look around to see what’s happening in that industry. The global pandemic has forever changed many types of businesses. Take restaurants, for example. Many have struggled with fluctuating rules about dine-in services in many states. Does that mean you shouldn’t open a restaurant? Not necessarily. The key is seeing where the opportunities lie. If you’re interested in opening a restaurant, it might do best as a take-out and delivery option only. You’d also cut down on your restaurant footprint and cost for commercial real estate if you don’t have a dine-in option. Where else are there opportunities right now? The world of virtual offices, communications, and healthcare are all areas that are rapidly changing and presenting a wealth of business opportunities you can capitalize on. 3. Buy used equipment You may like the idea of buying a $1,000 Herman Miller office chair for your new enterprise or upgrading your old laptop for something sleek and faster, but ask yourself: Is it really necessary? The first months of your new business will bleed money, so any unnecessary expense should be tabled until you’re profitable. One way to do that is to buy used equipment on sites like Craigslist, NextDoor, or Facebook. And now’s a great time to find deals because, unfortunately, so many businesses are closing up shop. Their misfortune could be your cost-saving grace. 4. Think about financing ASAP Even if you plan to bootstrap your business, it’s still a good idea to consider what financing you could qualify for down the road if you want to, for example, hire employees, rent office space, or buy more inventory. If you’ve got great personal and business credit, you may qualify for a low-interest SBA or bank loan. If not, you’ll have to look at alternative financing options like merchant cash advances. Better yet, look for ways to build your business credit and improve your personal credit. It won’t happen overnight, but if you start working on it now, you’ll be in a better position for a loan down the road. Being aware of all financing tools available to you before you need them, as well as what each requires to qualify, can help you position your company from the start to be appealing to lenders. You can build your business credit by opening a business credit card or tradeline with a vendor and meeting all your financial obligations on time — that’s the single biggest thing you can do to build a strong business credit profile. Whether you think you need financing right now or not, it may be a good time to apply for a line of credit so that you can lock in low-interest rates and have access to cash when you need it later. 5. Consider your actual staffing needs You may dream of commanding an entire office of employees, but the reality is that you may not be able to afford to hire full-time employees from the start. Still, there are options that will get you the help you need without the big spend. One option is hiring freelancers or contractors. Because you pay them per hour or per project and aren’t required to provide employee benefits, you can save a significant amount of money on staffing. Another option is to hire part-time help if your needs are small. With either staffing option, you have the benefit of getting to know how an individual works, and if you like what they do, you can offer them a more permanent, full-time role down the road. Most entrepreneurs take on the bulk of the workload themselves at the start, then hire gradually as revenues and profits permit. Starting a business right now is not without its challenges, but it’s also got plenty of potential for long-term success if you plan ahead. Ty Kiisel has been writing about small business and the business finance topics that impact a business's bottom line for almost 20 years. With over 35 years in the trenches as a Main Street business evangelist, author, and marketing veteran, he makes the maze of small business finance accessible by weaving personal experiences and other anecdotes into a regular discussion of some of the biggest challenges facing small business owners today.
Guest Post by Travis Crabtree People across the nation are starting new nonprofit organizations at an unprecedented rate. In March 2020, nonprofit organizations increased by 39 percent when compared to other types of businesses, according to Swyft Filings proprietary data. It's no coincidence this spike in nonprofit formation is happening during a global pandemic. This crisis has inspired people who want to make a difference. For many, the best way to help is by starting a nonprofit to bring a mission to life. Whether it's from the effects of a devastating pandemic or rampant social injustice, nonprofits assist communities in need by providing people, supplies, money, organization, and other much needed aid. If you want to start your own nonprofit to help those in need and further the public good, this guide can show you the way. 1. Determine your mission and create your purpose statement The first step when creating any nonprofit is to create a purpose statement. Let's say you want to help people through the COVID-19 crisis. How exactly are you going to help? Are you equipping healthcare workers with needed medical supplies? Donating financial resources to people who lost their jobs? Providing books, tablets, and internet access to disadvantaged kids whose schools have closed? Finding forever homes for all the puppies and kitties who were given up for adoption when their owners could no longer care for them? Declaring your specific purpose doesn't just give your nonprofit clarity and direction; it's the law. The IRS requires that all 501(c)(3) organizations include a purpose statement in their articles of incorporation to receive tax-exempt status. 2. Organize your leadership Many new nonprofits start as simple one-person operations. You might be the founder, executive director, and entire staff all by yourself. But as you grow, you're going to have to get organized. To run efficiently, nonprofits, like any business, must appoint people to leadership positions. These include managers, directors, executives, and administrative staff. You'll need a board of directors to hire executives, provide oversight, and vote on major financial and strategic decisions. In fact, many states require nonprofits to have at least three officers — two of whom cannot live in the same home. States view nonprofits as truly public entities. They want oversight from more than one person so the entity is not abused. 3. Incorporate While not a legal necessity, incorporating your nonprofit can be an excellent idea. An alternative is setting up an unincorporated nonprofit association, but this only works for small, limited income organizations. On the other hand, you can incorporate even if you are the only employee of your nonprofit, and there are significant advantages if you plan on growing. Incorporation limits liability, adds authenticity to your organization, and typically only costs a few hundred dollars with filing fees. Despite the obvious lack of profits, a nonprofit is still considered a business by state law. Your incorporation will be filed at the state level. Startup costs and processes can vary greatly depending on where you live, but most jurisdictions require your nonprofit to follow specific naming conventions and create bylaws and articles of incorporation. Naming Be sure your name accurately reflects your cause. Search both state and federal trademark listings to make sure that your chosen name is unique and not already taken by another organization in your state. To signify that you are incorporated, most states also require your nonprofit's to use an identifying suffix such as "company," "corporation," "incorporated," or "limited" in its official name. Articles of Incorporation Your Articles of Incorporation is a document necessary to officially form your organization with the state. It might also be called a "Charter Document" or "Certificate of Incorporation." Regardless of the name, your Articles of Incorporation should include: Organization name Type of nonprofit Incorporators Directors Purpose statement Registered agent and contact information Designation of stock or non-stock Statement of membership or non-membership-based Bylaws Your nonprofit should also have a set of bylaws. If you are going to file for tax-exempt status with your state or the IRS requirement, you will have to submit your bylaws. These establish the ground rules for how the nonprofit will be run, managed, and who will make certain decisions. The bylaws of every organization are different, but for nonprofits, they typically include: Board members Board meetings schedules Procedures for changing bylaws Voting rules Conflict resolution Committee creation and dissolution Winding down and dissolution procedures 4. Apply for licenses and tax exemptions After incorporation, your next step is to apply for a local business license. This allows your nonprofit to operate locally, manage sales, and file employment taxes. Nonprofits are usually tax-exempt, but it's not an automatic process. You need to obtain 501(c)(3) status by filing Form 1023 with the IRS. Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) on the IRS website and follow their detailed Form 1023 checklist. This step becomes much simpler if your organization is already incorporated. You're not done yet. Don't forget about state and local taxes. After you receive federal approval from the IRS, you'll want to seek exemption from sales tax, property taxes, and state income tax. To maintain your tax-exempt status, your organization must file Form 990 with the IRS every year. 5. Register to receive donations Your nonprofit won't have much of an impact if you can't raise funds. State laws regulate charitable fundraising activities, and most states require you to register before you can solicit funds. This doesn't just apply to the state you're based in; you'll need to register in every state from which you take donations. If someone from Rhode Island wants to give you money, you better be registered in Rhode Island to legally accept, even if you're based in California. To put it simply, if you're doing any kind of fundraising, especially online, your nonprofit should consider filing a registration form in all 50 states. Consider outsourcing to simplify the process All this might sound complicated, and it is, but don't let that dissuade you from starting a nonprofit and doing good in this world. COVID-19 has impacted millions, and we need people willing to help now more than ever. If you're worried about all the little legal hurdles, consider outsourcing this part. There are companies that specialize in helping you navigate all the filing and paperwork for starting a nonprofit. They can make sure the proper forms are filed with the appropriate government bodies so you can concentrate on the important work of helping those in need. Regardless of if you go through a filing company or tackle the typing yourself, thank you for working toward the public good. Get out there and make a positive impact. Travis Crabtree is the president of Swyft Filings, a document filing service that assists clients with starting, growing, and managing businesses.
You don't have to be a perfect dad to make a tremendous impact on your kids' futures. You don't have to avoid failure. You don't have to retire early. You don't have to hold a prestigious position. And if your work-life balance feels off, there's a good chance your family is understanding of the pressures you're facing. Turns out you just need to do the best you can with what you have. Bonus points if you do it with love. We reached out to entrepreneurs of diverse professional backgrounds to see how their fathers have influenced their career decisions and identities. Their responses reveal inspiring stories, cautionary tales, and helpful takeaways for fathers to consider as they seek to teach their children the most crucial values in business and in life. Tara Ackaway, founder and CEO of Social Wise Communications "My father has inspired me in business because of his strength as a leader and incredible determination to succeed. Since I was a little girl, I was always motivated to be just like my dad both in life and business. He is kind, but not weak. He's taught me how to develop and show more empathy in the workplace. Most importantly, he taught me that I must never get too busy building an empire that I forget to build a life. That sentiment is something I hold close to my heart and will never forget." Paige Arnoff-Fenn, founder and CEO of Mavens & Moguls "Although my dad spent his career in corporate America, much of the advice and lessons he taught me applies to entrepreneurs as well. Here are the most valuable lessons he taught me:Share success. When good things happen, make sure everyone who contributed is acknowledged and rewarded, not just the people at the top. In order to learn from every experience and not repeat any mistakes, it's important to share the lessons you learn, too. If those around you feel part of the process, they'll work even harder to guarantee a positive outcome. Give back. Be active in your community. Business leaders must stay connected to the local organizations and should encourage their colleagues to get involved, as well. Local hospitals, schools, and non-profits can all benefit from business leaders' advice and support, so be generous with your time and resources." Cathy Baillargeon, owner of Virtual Cathy "After 30 dedicated years, my father retired from the railroad tired and burnt out. What I remember most about him growing up were the long hours he worked, his absence in our family, and how much he hated his job at the very end. He has inspired me not only to create a business to help support entrepreneurs avoid this feeling of burnout within their own business, but also to build it family-focused and flexible, not only for me but for my employees as well. His career was a prime example that no money was worth the misery he experienced in his work life." Maria M. Barlow, founder of The Law Offices of Maria M. Barlow, LLC “I am a family law attorney. I grew up in a two-parent home where I learned that having an active father is invaluable and both parents are valuable and needed. The benefits I received from having my father inspired me to fight tooth and nail to ensure all fathers have access and parenting time with their kids.” Chelsey Brown, founder of City Chic Decor “My father was the definition of a helicopter parent when I was growing up. It took 27 years for me to fully appreciate his extra-involvement during my younger years. His push for me to go above and beyond in life is the reason I push myself to exceed my goals every single day. He’s the first person I call when something exciting happens with my business!" Suzanne Brown, CEO of Oksuzi Strategy "My father has often said that your word and a handshake are enough. You do whatever you said you would do when you said you would do it. It seems pretty simple, but it's often not how people run their businesses and lives. Nowadays, I do utilize a contract for new projects, but integrity is very much a pillar of my businesses." Kira Cahill, co-founder of Bold Box “My father has inspired me in so many ways and encouraged me to pursue a business that set my soul on fire and that I truly believe in. For me, that was a company that had the potential to change lives and benefit the world. Having just started my own eco-friendly company with my co-founder, my father's advice and support have been invaluable. My passion drives me and keeps me going during the difficult times and the great times!” Annie Calhoun, founder of Annie Beth Fitness, LLC "As an entrepreneur from a family with a long history of business ownership and entrepreneurship, my father has been extremely influential in my own business endeavors. From being my biggest fan and number one supporter to always encouraging me to follow my dreams, my father has taught me many important lessons. He taught me to never give up (even during the rough times), to always put the customer first, and to never be afraid of being innovative and creative. My father, Dean Calhoun [featured below], has grown his company into an international success, and it is his hard work that encourages me to continue growing my business into an equivalent success!” Dean Calhoun, CEO of Affygiility Solutions “My father was also a small business owner, and I started working for him at a very early age. To this day, his work ethic inspired me to always show up on time, work hard even when others aren’t watching, and don’t complain about the customers — they are the ones paying the bills.” Paul Cannon, shareholder at Simmons and Fletcher, P.C. "My father was a CPA. He used to tell me how, as a young man working as a bank teller, he would stay late to help the other tellers and the head teller even though my father had already clocked out. When the head teller got a new job, the boss asked him who could take over when he left. Don Cannon can do the job,' he replied. 'He knows everyone’s job.' I learned from that story that when you treat the people you work with like you are all in the same boat, you will rise in the organization. I started with Simmons and Fletcher, P.C. in 1994 as a law clerk with 'no opportunity for an associate position.' As a clerk, I helped the over-worked paralegals get their job done. Now, I am a shareholder. Dad knew what he was talking about. Now I try to stop, understand, assist, and encourage our employees in whatever they are doing. I want us all to feel like we are a team, rising together." Elisabeth Cardiello, owner of Caffé Unimatic “From giving me my first business cards when I was six years old to making my title on those cards more senior than his, my dad instilled in me that I was here to create. Over coffee every morning, he'd remind me that 'what the mind can conceive, the mind can achieve,' and we'd talk for hours about human psychology, business ideas, and resilience. After losing him suddenly when I was 26, I started a coffee company created to preserve his legacy, and that has allowed me to start to build my own through our Brave Conversations Over Coffee initiative. I couldn't be prouder of how he's been an ongoing inspiration to me and my business even after he's not physically with us.” Carlos Castelán, managing director of The Navio Group "I owe everything, from my work ethic, my desire for success, and my entrepreneurship skills to my father, a Mexican immigrant, Anselmo Castelán. There would have been no path to starting-up my business without my dad’s inspiration and encouragement. I saw how our dad worked long and hard to provide a living for our young family. It was ingrained in us from day one that the expectation in our household was to work hard and work smart. If you're doing a job, do it well the first time so you don't need to redo it. He was and is my inspiration." Larissa Castelluber, owner of Design Moves LLC "I have had a marketing business since I was 18 and had my office since college. My father kind of tricked me into taking the leap. I've always wanted a space to call my own for business and noticed there was a small space that was affordable. I told my parents about it, just in conversation, and my dad said he would help pay for it. I believed him and signed the lease. Oddly enough, I ended up paying the rent on my own, but he was the trigger to make me act and take one my first major risks at the time. I probably wouldn't have done it knowingly on my own. Several offices and employees later, I still run the same biz." Clint Coons, Esq., founding partner of Anderson Business Advisors “Although at the time I could not see the future personal benefit of spending many weekends working for my father on his various real estate holdings, I did learn some important life lessons: Tackle every job as if you are the owner, and opportunity is created through hard work. These life lessons have carried me through my career and serve as a reminder that anything can be accomplished if one is determined.” Kevin Crawford, founder of Kevin Crawford Consulting “My father was an executive with Toyota in the 1950s and 1960s — he was one of the people to bring the car manufacturer into the U.S. market — and he is the biggest inspiration to me in business and in life. He was a man of few words, but he was very character-driven. He didn’t talk much about his high standards, but he lived them every single day through the example he set. From him, I learned two lessons that have stayed with me all my life: 1) the power of relationships and 2) a lesser skilled, yet committed person of character is far more valuable than the smartest employee. I have had a fulfilling life and career with my father’s guiding example.” Jason Davis, CEO of Inspire360 "My dad is an entrepreneur, and I've been able to benefit from his advice throughout the years — especially now that I'm a CEO myself. The main thing he taught me about business is to focus on one thing at a time. He always references the book Essentialism by Greg McKeown. Because of him, my business has one big focus that everyone's driving towards. My father and the lessons he shares from Essentialism have helped me keep our team on the same page in terms of where we should put our energy, which has led to huge wins for us." Josh Eberly, owner of 717 Home Buyers "From when I was a very young age, my father taught me the values of reputation and caring deeply for those around you. As a kid, I always wondered why he often volunteered or took jobs for pennies on the dollar. As I matured, I realized it wasn’t because he was bad at business, it was because he saw the bigger picture. A business should be used for good, whether you are a massive corporation or a one-man show like my dad. This serves as a guiding principle in all of my business ventures to this day." Douglas Esiner, co-founder of The Calida Group "My father always gave 110 percent at both home and work. As far back as I can remember, he would get to the office by 6 a.m., be home for family dinner at 7 p.m., and then work after dinner until 11 p.m. And with whatever free time he did have, he gave 110 percent to that too. Whether it was nights out on the town with my mother, sports with his buddies, or digging up adventures with us kids on the weekends, everything was 110 percent. To this day I still try to give that same level of commitment to everything I do as well. I also love one of his favorite sayings, as it applies to both business and personal situations: 'Never miss an opportunity to do a favor.'" Niko Finnigan, partner at Delta Wealth Advisors "My father’s work as an entrepreneur taught me the importance of having a rewarding and flexible career. It also taught me the downsides of how and how often the buck stops with the owner. Without watching my parents’ work in building their own businesses, I wouldn’t have as much comfort with risk and driving my own success. In that way, it’s one of the greatest gifts they’ve given me." Paul Flanagan, president of Land Cravings, LLC "My father inspired me in my business indirectly by the comments other people made about the way he handled his business. Almost everyone I met said the same thing about my father. They would say, 'Your father has more integrity than anyone I know, and he's a good man.'" Alexandra Frumberg, founder of ALX Creatives “When I was a young girl, my father, Charles Frumberg, pushed me to pursue my passions. I remember expressing to him that my passion was photography and that it would be a difficult path to be an artist. But he insisted that I follow my heart, attend the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), and pursue doing what made me happy. He taught me that if I'm fulfilled professionally, the success will follow. Every time I stumble or misstep, he is always there to put me right back on my path.” Jay Goldberg, creator of Bergino "When I was a child, my dad would repeatedly tell me, 'It's better to have one meal a day of your own than three meals from someone else.' It must have inspired me to work for myself because I've been doing so for the past 30 years." Elizabeth Grojean, founder of Baloo Living "I grew up with a dad who was working hard to build his business, so there wasn't much extra. When we kids wanted something, we had to find ways to earn it with lemonade stands, car washes, or garage sales. Later on, when I needed capital to start my company, I didn't consider asking my family. But my dad offered to loan me just enough to fund our first production order, which made everything possible. Only later did I find out that my grandfather had done the same for him; and it's meant a great deal for my dad to give me that gift. I'm grateful that I needed help because now my dad and I are bonded in a new way, as entrepreneurs.” DJ Haddad, co-founder of 321 Ignition "I don’t think my father 'dispensed wisdom' in the traditional sense, but I learned a lot by watching and working with him over the summers. I wasn’t familiar with the term 'entrepreneur' until my late twenties, but I suppose that’s what he was. (Although by this definition every Lebanese-American is probably an entrepreneur; I challenge you to find one of us with just a single job or business.) He taught history for a while, he owned an arcade for a brief stint, and he owned a pawnshop for decades; this is how most people knew Dave. Working alongside him at the pawnshop was an invaluable experience, even if I didn’t realize it until adulthood. Of all the lessons, I think the biggest was in dealing with people. Pawnshops attract an eclectic group of people on a daily basis; wealthy clientele, poor clientele, people who just made fortunes, people who just lost them, criminals looking to sell items, cops who are looking for those items; it was impossible to guess who would walk in the door the next minute and what their story might be. This environment taught you to think quickly, but it also forced me to learn empathy. My father was adept at navigating all of these scenarios and the personalities that accompanied them, but more than that he was empathetic and respectful to everyone, regardless of their background or current situation. Watching this in action helped prepare me well for a high-speed agency lifestyle where I am constantly communicating and having to shift gears between designers, developers, project managers, writers, and clients." Duane Hardy, president of Forklift Systems "My father taught me to work hard during the good times and harder during the bad. Always be prepared financially to withstand the unexpected. This has been particularly helpful advice during the current economic crisis." Jeremy Harrison, founder of Hustle Life "'What does not kill me makes me stronger.' That's what my father used to say. He loved reading, and this phrase by German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche was his favorite expression. It has helped me a lot in my life, from puberty to college to entrepreneurship. I never give up because I believe each obstacle I overcome makes me even stronger." Lars Helgeson, CEO of GreenRope "My dad was a high school science teacher. He would take me to his science class and let me sit in and listen. I got to be comfortable taking care of all the animals in his lab. Snakes, lizards, rats, birds, and even ant lions were all part of the experience. His students took part in caring and feeding them, and they developed a learning connection stronger than anything a textbook could teach. It made me see the difference it makes to students when you go the extra mile to give them a rich experience. Whether you're a student or a customer, people notice when you make the effort to make their time and money worth the investment." Allison Hernandez, co-founder and managing partner at lotus823 "My father was orphaned at a young age and could not afford to go to college. But he went from a stock boy to president at the largest privately owned jewelry retailer in the United States at that time. He would often talk about starting his own business, but with a family to support, it was too much of a risk. He stayed with the company for more than 40 years, and I feel he always regretted not taking the steps to go out on his own. Thanks to the valuable lessons I learned from my father, I felt confident in the idea that becoming an entrepreneur was the right path for me." Scott Hester, franchise owner with Mr. Transmission "Shortly after I took over at my own store and was struggling with the responsibilities of ownership, my father, Lowell, told me, 'It’s not the land, it’s the man.' I had to look in the mirror and see what I needed to do. If the phone isn’t ringing, you need to change what you are doing and figure it out. That was 15 years ago and it has served me well. It has definitely been a long road. I’ve made some mistakes, but I’ve learned from them. I listened to what my dad was doing instead of doing it my way. It has helped me out a lot.” Shel Horowitz, founder of Going Beyond Sustainability "My dad has been an entrepreneur his entire working life. He had his own chiropractic office and usually had two or three side businesses: booking singles' weekends in the Catskills, selling encyclopedias, private tutoring, etc. He's now 89 and makes his living as an investor. He taught me two important lessons: 1) you don't have to be stuck in corporate hell — there are other paths — and 2) you can pursue your deepest interests (in his case, ballroom dancing, tennis, and the stock market)." Amira Irfan, Esq., founder of A Self Guru “When I was growing up, my father got sued as an entrepreneur for $90,000. This is because he failed to enter into a legal contract with a freelancer that he had hired. It turned our lives upside down. Not only did our family go into lots of debt, but we were also constantly stressed for years. This heartbreaking and expensive lawsuit changed my life. I realized I wanted to become a lawyer and help other entrepreneurs like my father avoid making the same legal mistakes that leave you financially and emotionally broken. I don’t want anyone to have to go through what my family went through, so I not only became a lawyer but I also started my online business where I make sure business owners have all the proper legal documents and contract templates in place to protect their business and sleep peacefully at night.” Zain Jaffer, founder and CEO of Zain Ventures "My father fled with nothing but the clothes on his back as a refugee from Tanzania during the brutal dictatorship of Idi Amin. He has endured horrific hardships and didn’t think twice about working two jobs to provide for his family. His positive, hard-working, never-complain-about-anything attitude instilled in me the right work ethic that nurtured the massive entrepreneurial energy needed to get my company started. As my tech company, Vungle, became successful, I was able to give back to both my parents in a way that allowed them to retire and travel. Now, if my dad fixes a car, it’s because it’s fun to do so and because that’s what he wants to do. While selling my company was certainly life-changing for me as an entrepreneur, it’s been fun to be able to have it be life-changing for my parents as well." Lisa Kahn, founder of Lisa Kahn Designs "My dad encouraged and helped me start my interior design business in 2000. He loaned me the money, made me a document binder, and wrote a quote to me in the front that reads: 'Integrity is what you do when no one is looking.' I have opened that binder, read it, and thought about that quote a million times. I often pause to consider how he would handle a difficult situation. When he passed several years ago, I was lost without his ongoing support and counsel, but it’s interesting how other angels come into our lives and fill roles of coach, mentor, and advisor just when we need them most. Thank you, Dad for starting me on the right path." Daniel Koffler, founder and president of New Frontiers "My father, who I have worked with for many years, has always expressed — verbally and non-verbally —some version of the concept that 'the early bird gets the worm.' In terms of time utilization, he demonstrated it with his own schedule and habits, which I translated into an understanding that if you wake up a little bit earlier, or stay a little longer, that extra time can literally add up to years of productivity (professional or personal)! It set the tone for how I attempt to manage the competing personal, family and professional interests that make up my life. I’m able to work efficiently, spend time with my family, and do things for myself, such as travel, read, exercise, and relax. While it’s not easy to fit it all in every day, waking up a bit earlier and being prepared to work non-traditional hours help me make sure I don’t let opportunities slip. And now that I’m a father myself, I have a much deeper appreciation for exactly what goes into making this all look so doable." George Kuhn, president of Drive Research "My entire family worked in the auto business, including my father, who began his career as a mechanic at age 18. I am the only member of my family to step outside of the auto business with a career in market research. My business name and its logo is modeled after my father's two classic Oldsmobile cars. The 'drive' part of our name pays homage to my family roots and recognizes the incredible work ethic he passed down to me." Umberto Luchini, founder and proprietor of Wolf Spirit Distillery of Blood x Sweat x Tears Vodka “I was born in Milan, schooled in the United Kingdom, and started my career in France; all of that privilege was, of course, made possible through the hard work and example of my parents. In my thirties, the multi-national I worked for offered me a transfer to the United States. I jumped at the chance, moved to San Francisco, and became a United States citizen in 2007. By 2017, I had been working for that same company for 17 years, which was not at all strange to me as my father had been loyal to his company for his entire career. Also following in my father’s footsteps, I always banked a full 50 percent of my salary. Yes, it meant living in small apartments and limiting spending, but it was always what he had done, so I did it, too. That is what allowed me, in 2018, to make the leap of a lifetime to start my own company." Simone Marsiglia, founder and owner of Gas Stations Services Corp. "There is no substitute for hard work. This is something I have truly embodied in everything that I do, from being a business owner to being a husband and father. Coming from Italy and relocating my family and business to South Florida, hard work has been integral to really drive my business forward. This is something that even at a young age I try to instill in my daughter. I was lucky to have a father that loved what he did and as I became a business owner, I realized it’s also important to love what you do. The last thing my father instilled in me is to always make time for family. No matter what, he was never too busy to busy to play a game of fútbol. No matter how busy I am, this has always stuck with me. My wife and daughter are my priority, and I’ve been lucky and dedicated to being able to find a proper work-life balance no matter how crazy it gets at times." Joe Mazur, founder of Amaze Properties LLC "My father, Paul, is the hardest worker I know, in all aspects of his life. He worked from the ground up at a company when he was 20 years old, all the way to CFO by age 50, putting in at least 60 hours every single week. Outside of his job, when there is work that needs to be done, he does it, always without objection, and very often with a smile on his face. But he is also careful and thorough, trying to understand the entire problem before he makes any decisions. These traits, which together I call calculated drive, has no doubt rubbed off on me and inspired me in how I run my business." Terry McDougall, founder of Terry B. McDougall Coaching "My dad is a working-class guy who can do anything from car repair to electrical work to carpentry to welding: you name it. I have been tremendously inspired by his 'can-do' attitude, self-confidence, and work ethic, and the countless times that he achieved amazing things by applying himself. Because of his example, I've always believed that if I can imagine it, I can figure it out and make it happen. That's given me the courage to face challenges as a business owner." Michael Miedler, CEO of Century 21 Real Estate “I worked for my dad’s roofing business every summer and after school to make money. He was my first boss, and to be honest, we had a real love-hate relationship. Basically, he worked my tail off and pushed my limits to test my physical and mental toughness. Most importantly, I learned how to care for the customer. Never once did he have to market or advertise. All his customers came from referrals or word of mouth. Thankfully, I learned from him at a very early age the importance of hard work, connecting with people, and caring about the customer above all else.” Michael Misetic, CEO and founder of Oxi Fresh Carpet Cleaning “I grew up without my father in my life, but I was fortunate enough to have two men who really inspired me. The first was my grandpa, an entrepreneur and inventor. He had so much energy and so many unique ideas — he really thought outside the box and that’s driven me to do the same. It’s funny, as a kid I wanted to be like him so much that, during one of my first haircuts, I asked the barber to give me my grandpa’s haircut — including the bald spot! Ron Brewer was also a big inspiration. He was a former NBA player and my basketball coach as a kid. Since my dad wasn’t in my life, he really took me under his wing. He picked me up from school, dropped me off at home, and gave me workout routines. He really taught me the value of discipline, hard work, and teamwork — all of which have been key to my company’s success.” John Norce, president of Medicare Portal "Looking back on my childhood, I can see how much my father impacted my passion for business and entrepreneurship. I do not think my dad scripted my work experience, but, looking back, I can see that each opportunity he provided allowed me to grow and learn. My second job at age 11 was as a paperboy, because he said it would teach me about business and responsibility. After that, I got a job at 13, despite 14 being the legal work age, as a cabana boy because he wanted me to work for tips and learn what earning a paycheck was about. Finally, I had the opportunity to work with him at our family business and had the privilege of observing him as he sold, handled customer service, developed relationships, managed employees, and grew the business. Until his passing a few years ago, my father was my go-to, no-cost business consultant, de-facto chairman of the board, sales trainer, and operations manager." Wendy O'Donovan Phillips, CEO of Big Buzz "When I was growing up, my dad was the publisher of several newspapers along the East Coast. He showed me that when you are good to your people, they do great work and everyone thrives. I built my marketing communications firm on that principle, and we have grown to join the 1 percent of women-owned small businesses to exceed $1 million in revenues. Dad was right!" Thanasi Panagiotakopoulos, founder and principal of LifeManaged "My father immigrated to the United States when he was 18, in 1977, and he didn't speak English. He managed to learn our language, go to university, start and sell a restaurant business, and retire before 55 years old. He is the definition of the American Dream, pursuing a better life and opportunity in our great country and proving that anyone can create something. He has always told me that I am the master of my own destiny and that will always stick. This continues to drive me so that I can create the same experiences for my kids that he did for me." Chris Panteli, founder of LifeUpswing "My father inspired me by example. I took over the family business of a 'fish and chip' shop which he started. His drive and determination to start it inspired me to continue it. I now run a successful business, a new blog, while continuing to search for new opportunities. Witnessing my father's achievements empowered me to accomplish my own." Christine Perkett, CEO of Mindfull Marketing + PR "My father was an entrepreneur himself, having left a large architectural firm in Chicago to start his own firm, which he still runs today in his seventies. I learned a lot from watching him navigate the challenges and opportunities of life as an entrepreneur. He always told me, 'It’s all about your network.' He didn’t necessarily say anything that made me think of becoming an entrepreneur, but this piece of advice was huge in helping me to do so. I moved to Boston after college with $200 in my pocket and I knew one person. I built my business and my network through hard work, determination, and respectful outreach." Nin Pfister, co-founder of MAG PR "My father, Marty Barnes, is the oldest of five children, born and raised in a blue-collar suburban town near Boston, Massachusettes. My grandfather, the initial patriarch of our family who passed away years ago, was a decorated veteran of the United States Marine Corps — a wonderful, multi-faceted man with an infectious smile and a gift for leading by example with his unmatched work ethic. As far back as I can remember, my dad has carried on that legacy that I so admire, going above and beyond to achieve his dream of building an award-winning steel construction business over the last two decades, working endless hours for many years while parenting three children of his own. Meanwhile, my dad has been present for every memorable moment of my life, burning the candle on both ends to ensure he never misses a beat with our family. He inspired me to take the leap of faith into entrepreneurship four years ago — to harness my talents, embrace my passion, and believe that it is possible to do it all — as a dedicated wife, mother, and business owner." Jessica Rhoades, owner of Create IT Web Designs "My father worked very hard for many years in IT. He was always up early and out the door by 6 a.m. He worked hard, had great integrity, and enjoyed the work that he did. After my father passed, I received letters from his old co-workers, who I had never met, telling stories and all had the theme of integrity and hard work. I kept all those letters and to this day in my own business I make sure at the forefront of my core values are integrity, honesty, and hard work." Stephanie Riel, owner of RielDeal Marketing "Without a doubt, my late father has been the main source of inspiration for my journey into entrepreneurship. My father lived the American Dream. He immigrated to the United States in the early 1950s as a young boy from Germany and worked hard to build a life and a successful real estate career in the United States. Witnessing his work ethic, drive, and passion for making his own path throughout my adolescence was an influential force to my work ethic and passion for business. His is a legacy I strive to continue to build for myself, even after his death." Holly Rollins, president of 10x digital “My father was a ‘farmpreneur’ and worked only for himself since he was a young man. He had a very autonomous spirit and was gifted with the ability to ‘commune’ with animals that naturally gravitated and ‘listened’ to him. While I wasn’t blessed with that agricultural gene, I did learn to be self-sufficient and lean in the entrepreneurial direction. I knew — from my Dad’s mentoring — that working for yourself isn’t easy. However, I’ve inherited his passion to be self-governing. I take pride in managing a business and environment where I can mold more of my destiny, create jobs and opportunities for others, and have a major role in achieving successes for my clients." Jessica Rosen, co-founder of Raw Generation “I am in a unique position where I am a business owner alongside my father. We started our company together back in 2012 and I have since been constantly inspired by my dad’s ability to always set the bar higher, time after time. He is always forward-looking and pushes our company to innovate faster, adapt, and grow.” Seth Rouch, owner of Seth Buys Houses “My father passed away from cancer at age 63 in 2013. He was always an inspiration to me in creating who I am, but as for how he influenced my business, he will unfortunately never get to see. My father and mother, both checkers and stockers at Safeway making minimum wage, realized that it wasn't going to be a sustainable income as they now had three kids, a mortgage, student loans, car payments, and basic living expenses. So my father went back to school at age 40 to become a pharmacist. He drove three hours, one way for an entire year to make this happen while allowing us to stay near friends and family. His determination still inspires me as I've grown and am now 36. I desire to provide as well as he did for my wife and children as well as provide something to people that will help their lives.” Natacha Seroussi, co-creator of LaFlore "My father is not just an inspiration to me: he's the reason for what I do. As a little girl, I had the very special opportunity to watch him build a successful accessories brand from the ground up, witnessing the hard work and dedication that it took, but also the passion within him that his efforts fulfilled. From an early age, he instilled in me a great love of fine craftsmanship and design that has stayed with me and helped me to find my own path in life. While our paths have been similar, he's always encouraged me to follow my modern values and aesthetics to make something unique that I'm lucky to share with him as co-creators of our LaFlore bag." Jacques Spitzer, CEO and founder of Raindrop "My father was a real estate agent my entire life and I got to see him go through the highs and lows of the markets. He always said, 'Positive activity breeds activity,' and it is incredibly helpful to remember that most of your efforts in business won’t see immediate or instant results, but it doesn’t mean they aren’t going to build into something significant!" Stephanie Stuckey, CEO of Stuckey’s Corporation "I'm the third-generation Stuckey to run our family's roadside chain founded by my grandfather in 1937 and then run by my father before me. So I've had two generations of father figures to inspire my business philosophy. My grandfather had a quote he kept framed on his desk: 'Every traveler is a friend.' It was aimed at road travelers, our customer base, but I apply to everyone we deal with in our company — customer, vendors, employees, truckers, advertisers, etc. We're all travelers through life. Leading my company with a culture of friendship towards all is how my grandfather inspired me." Denise Supplee, co-founder of SparkRental "I was blessed to have my father as a mentor and teacher throughout my life. He was a never-give-up entrepreneur that had successes and failures. Because of him, I too had the bite of the entrepreneur bug. I have had many businesses. Some were successes and some not so much. One of the biggest lessons my dad taught me was about the failures. He said, 'Never look at a failure as the end. Rather look at it as a teacher.' He would joke that failures and the financial loss of them were merely nothing more than college tuition." Talbot Sutter, broker and president of Sutter & Nugent Real Estate "My father inspired me to pursue a career in real estate because he showed me that with hard work and dedication you can have limitless earning power and be your own boss. I also remember him coaching me through my first cold call at 18 years old and emphasizing the importance of being confident and delivering a clear and precise message to potential clients — advice I still share with my agents today." Romy Taormina, CEO and founder of Psi Health Solutions, Inc. “My father has inspired me by modeling compassion, hard-work, and integrity. These are daily values that I incorporate into my personal and professional life that have served me well in my long-standing relationships with family, friends, and colleagues. They are values that I hope my own children will carry with them throughout their lives. When we operate from a place of goodness, everyone wins.” Landon Taylor, CEO of Best Company "My pops, Steve Taylor, was the epitome of grit. I watched him turn his trade of construction worker as a young father of five into a general contractor who owned his own business as my siblings and I got older and eventually left the house. He woke up early, put in the work, and always got the job done well. Throughout my journey as an entrepreneur, I've leaned on that example many times. I'm so grateful for my father's example." Melissa Terzis, broker and realtor at DC Real Estate Mama "My dad worked in various New York City law firms before opening his own practice where he truly thrived in our Connecticut town. He's been full of great advice over the years at times when I needed it most. When I was considering going back to school for a master's degree he said, 'This is the best idea I've heard from you in a while — no one can ever take an education away from you.' And when I was working for a land developer who was doing some unethical things, my father said, 'Don't ever let anyone ruin your name and reputation — it's all you have.'" R.J. Weiss, founder of The Ways to Wealth "I worked with my father for ten years. I was next in line to take over a fourth-generation family insurance business. However, he knew my heart wasn't in it. The best thing my dad ever said to me was, 'Never do something because it makes me happy, do what makes you happy.' It was this advice that gave me the courage and inspiration to leave the family business and start my own — a decision that has worked out very well for both of us." Ryan Witt, Director of Operations at Healthy Life Recovery "My father taught me the importance of human relationships in business. His saying was, 'You’re born alone and you die alone. Meet as many people as you can along the way.' Friendships and partnerships were everything to him, and he made sure to underscore to me the benefits of a strong and active business network. Today, I am constantly working to develop genuine connections with others. Not only does it help your personal growth, but as your business and network expand, you're able to elevate the people around you as well."
You may make every effort to keep your personal and business finances separate, including registering your business as an LLC with its own TIN and using another bank account for all company finances. But would these measures guarantee that your personal finances are completely safe? It turns out that securing financing for your business can impact your personal credit score. While it should be your goal to protect yourself as much as you can from any financial shortcomings of your business, some lenders make this pitfall inescapable. Read on and learn how business loans affect personal credit. How would a business loan affect my personal credit? If you’re a growing business without a substantial financial history, or if you choose a type of loan that lenders consider high risk, you’ll likely have to furnish more personal information in an application and could be susceptible to an impact on your credit score. Your personal credit can be affected by business loans in a few ways: Hard credit inquiries Personal guarantees Lenders reporting to personal credit bureaus Hard credit inquiries To start, some lenders will check your personal credit score alongside your business credit score if you lack a financial history for your company. “This credit check, called a hard inquiry, can slightly lower your credit scores,” says Greg Mahnken, credit industry analyst for Credit Card Insider. “Generally speaking, as long as you aren’t applying for a lot of credit in a short time, hard credit inquiries won’t affect your credit by much or for very long.” Trouble will come if you field too many inquiries in a short amount of time, which could happen if you continuously receive rejections while seeking a business loan but move forward with applying. Mahnken warns that hard credit inquiries stay on your report for two years, so make sure you read all of the requirements for a particular product before applying and see if you can work with a company that does a soft credit pull. Lendio is one company that performs a soft credit check when you apply, meaning the check won’t affect your score. Personal guarantees If you haven’t been in business long, it may be hard to get a business loan without a personal guarantee. Signing an agreement to pay a business loan out of your personal pocket (or with your personal assets) should your company be unable to pay could make you hesitate. Some products are more likely to require a personal guarantee: SBA loans Business lines of credit Unsecured term loans Loans that require a personal guarantee typically come with perks, such as better interest rates and repayment terms. Other products are less likely to require a personal guarantee: Merchant cash advances Equipment financing However, these products can have their own drawbacks, such as higher interest rates and shorter repayment terms. Some companies have funding options that don’t require a personal guarantee in order to be more accessible. Fundbox offers lines of credit that require no personal guarantee. It can be nerve-racking to think your personal credit score will be affected if you’re unable to pay off a business loan, so you might be tempted to choose a product based on this factor alone. However, keep in mind that no option is a good choice if you don’t have a sound business plan, and even then, extenuating circumstances can occur. The best choice you can make is to select a lending option with great rates and terms that you are confident you can pay off with your financial planning. Lenders reporting to personal credit bureaus Lastly, check whether the lender you’re working with will report to personal credit bureaus in addition to the business ones. “If your business is a sole proprietorship or a partnership, it’s very likely that a business loan is going to appear on your personal credit reports,” Mahnken explains. “If your business is a corporation or LLC, your lender may or may not report to your personal credit reports in addition to business credit bureaus.” However, reporting to a personal credit bureau might not be all bad. “If you are returning a loan on time and following all terms and conditions, then FICO could go up as well,” says Bradley Stevens, founder of LLC Formations. “Otherwise, it could go down dramatically in the worst-case scenario.” How can I prevent a business loan from hurting my personal credit score? For the best-case scenario, you should be assessing the market need for your business and creating a strong financial plan. But it’s impossible to foresee every obstacle, so it’s better to protect your personal finances as much as possible from the start. You can check with a lender to see whether the company performs a hard credit pull or reports to personal credit bureaus, and ask the lender which products would require a personal guarantee so you can steer clear if possible. Ready to Apply? Learn more about business loans by looking at the top-rated companies and their offerings. Explore Your Options
A majority of small businesses fail in ten years; only half make it to the five-year mark. Is that hard to digest? Those are findings by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and they mostly remain steady through strong and weak economies. Here’s why most of those businesses fail: money. According to a study conducted by Fractl, nearly a quarter of businesses say they ran out of cash; 13 percent complained that they lacked financing. So who is getting financing? And how much cash are they getting? A recent study by Biz2Credit had some interesting answers. Restaurant failure proves to be a myth You might assume that restaurants are less likely to receive funding because they have a high failure rate, but you’d be wrong on both accounts. Fundera’s research concluded that “survival rates for food services are really pretty similar to other industries.” They’re likely to succeed or fail in similar numbers to the rest of the small business world. And Biz2Credit debunks the second half of the myth — the restaurant and accommodation industry has the highest financing approval rate at 51 percent, according to their analysis of 2018 funding trends. This could, in part, be due to the rise of alternative lenders. Banks prioritize mitigating their risk, and they still hold the assumption that many food service ventures are risky business. The bad press and misinformation surrounding food service failure perpetuates negative stereotypes, and it prevents many traditional lenders from giving their stamp of approval. The rise in approval for the restaurant industry may also have something to do with average revenue; restaurant and accommodation companies average $509,996, the highest amount of any industry Biz2Credit analyzed. The health care industry comes in second with 37 percent approval While food service has stereotypes working against it, the health care industry has stereotypes working for it. Traditional lenders see health care companies as more stable and dependable, and they’re more likely to finance a health care startup. That might be why health care companies see 37 percent loan approval rates. Though, interestingly enough, health care companies may soon be treated with the same hand of caution as food service companies. As health intersects with tech, digital health startups are receiving bad press for a string of failures. Healthcare companies have the second highest approval rates, but they’re funded on average $49,835, the second lowest of any industry. Information technology companies see a high average funding amount The IT industry boasts a 35 percent loan approval rate, and when a company is approved, it’s likely to see a large wad of lended cash. IT companies have the highest average funded amount at $102,029. IT startups have ups, downs, and complete flops. But lenders usually have faith in high returns: the tech industry overall has returns of 34 percent, the highest of all ranked market sectors. It might also help that the average credit score for an IT company is 633, at the top of the industry pack. The personal services industry has low average credit and low loan approval Tailing the list of industry approval rates, personal services see 16 percent approval. Personal services can be a catchall category, including beauty and grooming, gyms, laundromats, landscaping, and cleaning. It’s plain to see that most of these services could be small businesses focused on serving a local community, and it might be hard to prove to a lender that expansion will be profitable. The personal service industry’s low average credit score backs up this assumption that personal services might not be the best lending choice: personal service companies have an average credit score of 590. Most lenders want to see 550 or above for consideration, so some companies might dip below this requirement. Are you worried because you operate a personal services business? No need. You can break the mold by impressing lenders with timely payments and a high credit score, a sound business model, and evidence of profitability. Interested in finding out more? Biz2Credit created a helpful infographic detailing its findings. Check out their study for the full industry breakdown. If you’re looking into business loans yourself, check out our top lenders. You’ll have several options for your business's unique situation, regardless of your industry. Biz2Credit's Business Loans Learn more about Biz2Credit and what it can offer businesses by way of working capital loans, SBA loans, lines of credit, and more. Biz2Credit Review
For many businesses, securing more financing is the key to accelerating growth. There are several effective pathways to getting a loan for your business, and there are plenty of good reasons to seek one out. We asked entrepreneurs for their stories with business loans, and they responded with their own accounts. If you’ve been wondering where entrepreneurs apply, how many times they apply, and what they apply for, check out their experiences. These individuals prove that success comes in many different forms. Ray Zinn, Silicon Valley’s Longest Serving CEO “I secured a loan with a bank — something that was and is still unheard of in Silicon Valley. “It wasn't easy to convince a bank to loan me the money to start my company but I personally guaranteed the loan which helped. Also, I ended up agreeing to some very onerous requirements which included having to be profitable from the very start, something else that is unheard of in Silicon Valley. No startup is profitable in its very first quarter, but we were.” Most entrepreneurs won't land a loan to launch their business; banks want to see evidence of profitability before they lend. In Zinn's case, he had to agree to a strict condition that many new businesses would not be able to honor. But Zinn says he wasn't looking to angel investors, venture capitalists, or friends and family to loan him the money — he was determined to run his company without the involvement of these types of investors, who can sometimes demand too much stake in a business. Zinn's method allowed him a degree of freedom that many startups can't match. Sarah Franklin, Cofounder of Blue Tree AI “I was thousands of dollars in debt before starting my digital marketing and SEO business, but had a clear goal and plan to become successful and be financially free. “I thought for many weeks about taking a business loan out and was unsure if I was ready for more bills. After a lot of research and mapping out ideas, I came to the conclusion that a loan would be the best start to grow my business. “Since I work in the online industry developing highly effective technology techniques and software, looking for an online lender was a no brainer. It well suited my job and lifestyle and would allow me to better my skills and knowledge in this realm of work. “It took me three tries before getting the loan I was applying for, but it sure was worth the wait. Once this was achieved, we properly set up a functioning system to reach big goals within our business.” Franklin applied with online lenders, which are sometimes less stringent with their requirements. Traditional lenders want to see a high credit score and a history of success, but they can offer you low rates if you're approved. Conversely, online lenders often examine several more factors to analyze the potential for success before approving an applicant. “It took me three tries before getting the loan I was applying for, but it sure was worth the wait.” Jacob Seiter, Founder of MyBestWallets “A time came when my business was flourishing fair enough and I decided to expand it. For this purpose, I required new employees and upgraded web design, as well as official equipment. After all estimation, I concluded that [even] after paying interest on the loan still, I could generate more revenue as per expectation. “I had chosen online lenders because we were taking the loan for the long term, not for a year, and required minimum interest rates. I had no issues in following the payment schedules. The most important thing was I got quick loan approval after applying to three lenders. “It helped us to target the related goals. . . . Now we have a planned expansion with remarkable success.” Seiter wanted a quick loan, and online lenders allow you to move faster than a traditional lender. Working through a loan marketplace, like Lendio, would allow you to apply to several lenders at once. Cassy Aite, CEO of Hoppier “We applied for a business loan because we couldn’t scale without hiring new people. We knew we had a good chance of increasing our revenue massively, but there was no way to do it without hiring new people — and we couldn’t afford to pay for that. So basically, we needed money to make more money, so we applied for a business loan. “We applied traditionally because we had been through the process before. We didn’t have to look for long — the second lender we spoke to approved our loan because we had solid data about our business, including CAC, LTV, MRR, and other relevant metrics. “The loan helped us grow from 10 to 50 people in just under six months. We used the money for salaries rather than complex growth hacks, and it paid back to us tenfold.” Aite's story exemplifies a common reason for securing a business loan: hiring more personnel. Tim Fulton of Small Business Matters asserts that the average revenue per employee for a small business is $100,000. It's not as clear-cut as more employees directly leading to more revenue, but if you quintuple the size of your workforce like Aite did, it's likely to pay you back. “We used the money for salaries rather than complex growth hacks, and it paid back to us tenfold.” Mike Bran, Founder of ThrillAppeal.com “I applied for a business loan after running my business for a year. The reason behind this was I started from freelancing and collected enough money to support my business for a year. Moreover, I wanted to understand the basics of business practically before taking any big move. So, I thought about applying for a loan when my business started generating a 27 percent profit. I had confidence in myself that now I can upscale it. I took out a loan to expand my business because, at that time, I was completely aware of my past mistakes and already had working strategies. “I believe in this digital era; we do not need traditional lenders. Online vendors have a massive database of individual investors and institutions. Moreover, I had the option to see my loan progress. I had a peace of mind by knowing that they have transparent fees and terms unlike most of the traditional lenders. My credit score was above 600, so my application got accepted in the first try. “Before taking a business loan, I prepared a detailed plan of using it. I was completely aware of my W's — what, who, why, when, and where. So, online lenders were my source for a loan, and my plan was ready. I was aiming to reach new clients. For this purpose, I needed digital marketing and increasing the workforce by 40 percent. We invested much in digital marketing because, at that time, we had enough budget to invest and to handle new orders effectively. As a result, my clientele increased and profit increased by 30 percent. I aimed to increase it to 35 percent, which I did not achieve. Still, I expanded my business successfully, which was the primary purpose behind taking the loan.” Bran spent time building up his business before applying to an online lender, and it only took him one shot to be accepted. Bran had the foresight to invest his funding in a service some small businesses overlook: digital marketing. By increasing his digital presence, his profit increased 30 percent, and it's a testament to his careful planning and strategic use of his loan. Paul Bromen, CEO of HelpfulHabitat.com and UponaMattress.com “After success with my first website UponaMattress.com, I was looking to buy another one. I had some money in the stock market I could have used, but I didn't want to pay taxes on my gains by selling. Taking out a loan meant that I could keep that money working. I knew that if I ran into trouble I could always sell the stock and pay off the loan. “I worked with a traditional lender for an SBA loan, but opted for a loan from a family member instead. The interest rate was about the same, but I was able to move much faster to capitalize on a deal. “The loan helped me quadruple my business and allowed me to pursue new markets. I gave my assistant more hours and hired two new writers.” Bromen already had a way to pay off his loan if things went south, which is more than many entrepreneurs can say. If you're a careful investor, you may see yourself in Bromen's story. SBA loans have plenty of perks, like long term lengths and a cap on their interest rates, but Bromen opted for a loan from family because he was able to move forward faster. We've mentioned that loans from traditional lenders can take a long time to get approved, but you can also wait a long time before the amount is usable. Could a Business Loan Finance Your Dream? Learn more about business loans that could help you start your own business by looking at the top-rated companies and their offerings. Explore Your Options