Does Your Small Business Need A Bailout?
by Joseph Lizio
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 included a provision for micro loans of up to $35,000 for qualified, struggling small businesses. Find out if you qualify for one of these fee- and interest-free loans from the SBA.
As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (better known as the Stimulus Plan or Recovery Act) – the Small Business Administration (SBA) was awarded some $225 million to help small business owners who find themselves in financial trouble. This program was termed America’s Recovery Capital (ARC) program.
Many small business owners are wondering where their bailout is – well, this just might be it.
Run very similar to other SBA guaranteed programs, the ARC program was designed to provide micro loans – up to $35,000 to qualified small businesses. The funds are distributed over a 6 month period and repayment of the principal is deferred for up to 12 months after the last disbursement. Repayment can be as long as 5 years ($35,000 over 60 months is $584 per month.) Moreover, the real key with this program is that these loans are interest free and do not contain any fees from the lender (bank) or the SBA! Imagine a SBA backed bank loan with no interest and no fees!
To qualify, the business must:
Either show that its revenue is down from prior years, expenses are up or demonstrate that the business is struggling to make loan payments or pay its suppliers and vendors. All of these issues are affecting nearly every business on this planet and thus means that nearly all businesses will meet this criterion.
Business owners must provide at least two years of pro forma cash flow statements as well as outline how these funds will help the business get back on the right track to include when it will again become profitable or viable.
The business must have been in operation for at least two years prior to applying for the ARC program and must have been profitable for at least one of the last two years.
This program is designed to offer help now, not just year end tax credits, to businesses struggling to get through our current financial crisis. It is designed to run until September 2010 or until the funds run out, but, at the time of this writing, there are still plenty of funds to be distributed.
While $35,000 is not a large amount when it comes to business financing today, it can still get a business over a financial hump until the economic recovery begins to make its way down to small businesses. Further, given the true nature of entrepreneurs, many creative business owners will find a way to either leverage these funds into additional capital or in increasing business and revenue. It is what makes entrepreneurs become successful entrepreneurs.
If your business qualifies – even for just a small sliver of the maximum $35,000 – you should take advantage of this program as this may be the only true bailout that small businesses ever get.
Plus, once these funds are in your coffers (hopefully providing a bit of stress relief) you can still continue to seek out other financing options to cover the rest of your capital needs. With some financial relief in hand, these funds could 1) make you and your business seem less desperate and more creditworthy to other lenders (opening even more doors when seeking capital), 2) allow your business to lower the overall amount needed when seeking additional funds, which could significantly improve your chances of future approvals and 3) improve your ability to service current customers – enticing them to remain your customers.
Keep in mind that bailouts for small, Main Street businesses that need financing do not come along very often. When they do, you should really take advantage of them to propel your business to that ever elusive next level.
About the Author:
Joseph Lizio holds an MBA in Finance and Entrepreneurship and has a strong commercial lending background. In his current venture, Mr. Lizio is the founder of www.businessmoneytoday.com, a site designed to help business owners find and obtain capital to grow their businesses.