It Takes Money to Make Money
You’ve heard it before: It takes money to make money. As women entrepreneurs, we know this all too well as we work to access the capital we need—whether it’s through personal savings, traditional bank loans, venture capital money or even crowdfunding—to start new ventures or grow existing businesses to the next level.
As I look around NAWBO, and meet and speak with other women entrepreneurs at events across the country, it’s so exciting to know we are proof of what’s possible when ambitious women have the resources and capital they need to grow. Yet, at the same time, it’s disheartening to know research still shows that access to capital remains the biggest obstacle to the growth of women-owned, minority-owned and small businesses. We have scratched the surface of reaching our full potential.
That’s why access to capital once again tops NAWBO National’s public policy agenda for 2016. As the voice of women business owners, we are advocating for Congress to support established programs with a proven track record of success that help financial institutions through added incentives for providing capital to small and women-owned businesses. We are also calling for Congress and the Administration to remove unnecessary obstacles to capital formation and resist legislation and regulations that hinder the ability of women business owners to raise capital, mitigate risk and manage liquidity. You can read about this and all the issues on this year’s public policy agenda in this issue of NAWBO ONE.
Meanwhile, let me leave you with some great tips for raising the capital you need to grow. These were featured in an article on bizjournals.com from a senior VP and business banking manager with Wells Fargo:
- Get to know your banker. A lot of women-owned business owners may have access to different resources but may not know who to go to specifically.
- Build your credit. A lot of time, the financial habits someone has in their personal life transfer over to their professional financial habits. Look at your credit scores. Make sure you make payments on time. Keep your debt-to-income ratio in check. These are things banks look at when lending.
- Look at different funding options, whether it’s a line of credit, manufacturing loans or something else. You can go through conventional financing, but if it doesn’t look like you can do that, go through the Small Business Administration (SBA). There are two primary loans that the SBA offers—in particular to women—called the 504 loan and the 7(a) loan. These are government-guaranteed loans, so it makes it a little easier to access those funds.
- Maintain positive cash flow with your company. Look at what revenue and what sales are coming and make sure you can cover the expenses that are coming in. You also want to look at whatever debt you’ve acquired as a company. If you’re looking at new equipment, you’ll need to see what the debt payment is going to be on a monthly basis. Having that positive cash flow will show the lender that you’ve given thought to those things.
- Keep your personal and business accounts separate. A lot of business owners—both men and women—don’t do this. They run personal expenses like cell phones or car payments for the family through the company, which distorts cash flow for the company. This can affect building business credit.
The access to capital market is expanding with an increasing number of non-traditional platforms emerging, such as microloans, crowdfunding, factoring receivables, peer-to-peer lending and more. Through our valuable partnerships, we can help you navigate this path to find the resources that best fits your situation and business needs. We wish you continued growth and success.
—Crystal Arredondo, NAWBO National Board Chair
America’s Largest Seed Fund Is Coming to a City Near You!
A great event presented by the Small Business Administration and focused on funding for entrepreneurs—the SBIR Road Tour—is coming to a city near you! This is a national outreach effort to convey the non-dilutive technology funding opportunity provided through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. Over the course of this year, individual program managers from the 11 participating agencies representing $2.5 billion in early stage funding will embark on an across the country road tour, participating in a series of events alongside technology entrepreneurs and innovation supporters from across the United States. If you’re an innovator, entrepreneur, researcher, or small technology firm, don’t miss this opportunity. Follow on Twitter via @SBIRGov and visit www.sbir.gov and www.sbirroadtour.com for details!