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Focus Items for Small Business Owners

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In December, the NFIB Small Business Optimism Index‡ had its highest reading in 12 years. In the report seven of the 10 index components rose, including small business owners expecting better business conditions and higher sales.

Optimism is currently at a high point allowing for owners to focus on their next big idea, their bottom line and how they can make things better for their employees. Their bankers should be thinking about those things, too.

If you’re a small business owner, make sure you’re talking with your financial partner about these business-critical items as you venture into 2017 and beyond.

Top Talent Identification and Retention
Companies requiring vocational talent can face challenges finding the right type of employee. As businesses look to expand, growth can be difficult without a sound workforce and could potentially force companies to outsource to other cities or move operations entirely.

As part of their talent acquisition and retention efforts, small businesses should ensure they are offering solid compensation and benefits to build and retain a strong workforce.

Business Growth
With an ultimate goal of growing their company, small businesses need to evaluate what other potential clients exist and if there are new segments where they can introduce their product or service.

Companies that did not survive the 2008 economic downturn left behind certain voids that need to be filled. Existing companies should evaluate this as an opportunity to expand to a new business target.

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Employee compensation and benefits
Currently, there are two big issues that could pose a threat to small businesses: the minimum wage discussion and health care. If minimum wage increases, many businesses will face challenges with revenue and cash flow, particularly if they employ lower-wage workers. With no offsetting revenue increase, this would affect a company’s cash flow and could create unprecedented challenges within the business.

The other topic of note for business owners is healthcare. The rules and regulations of the Affordable Care Act may change with the current administration discussing extensive healthcare reform. This could mean an extra expense without incurring any additional revenue for small businesses.

Fraud and Protection
Fraud continues to be a top concern among business owners, and the latest statistics prove it is a legitimate fear. In the 2016 Association for Financial Professionals Payments Fraud and Control survey, 62 percent of companies were subject to fraud during the survey period, and wire fraud has nearly doubled from 14 percent to 27 percent.

The truth is, businesses can plug one gap and another one opens up somewhere else. The key is to stay vigilant with your employees, train them and understand the latest tactics that are being used to commit fraud.

 

When you click links marked with the “‡” symbol, you will leave UMB’s website and go to websites that are not controlled by or affiliated with UMB. We have provided these links for your convenience. However, we do not endorse or guarantee any products or services you may view on other sites. Other websites may not follow the same privacy policies and security procedures that UMB does, so please review their policies and procedures carefully.


Dominic is a executive vice president for the Business Banking division at UMB. He joined UMB in 2013 and has more than 20 years of experience in the financial services industry.



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UMB Insights: Being Bankable

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What does a bank look for when you’re applying for a small business loan? Here are some insights from a lender’s perspective.

  • Cash flow
  • Liquidity
  • Collateral
  • Character

To learn more about small business loans and SBA loans, check out more on the blog.

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Dominic is a executive vice president for the Business Banking division at UMB. He joined UMB in 2013 and has more than 20 years of experience in the financial services industry.



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The ABCs of SBA Loans

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Small Business Loans explained

UMB SBA loans

A loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) could be a very useful option for your company, no matter if you are just getting started or if you have been around for years.

SBA loans often allow business owners who may not normally qualify for conventional commercial loans to obtain financing. This includes those who:

  • have less available cash flow,
  • are more leveraged, or
  • have little to no history in operating their business.

However, it is important to know exactly how an SBA loan differs from other loans, what types of SBA loans are available and what to consider when deciding to apply.

How do SBA loans work?

The SBA actually does not make direct loans to small businesses. Rather, when you apply for an SBA loan, you are actually applying for a commercial loan from a bank or another partner lender, structured according to SBA requirements and backed by an SBA guarantee. (The SBA agrees to pay a certain percentage of the loan if the borrower defaults.)

SBA loan vs. a traditional loan:

  • SBA loans usually have a lower down payment requirement, but higher fees
  • collateral requirements: SBA loans might access equity on a person’s home for collateral, which most traditional loans would not do.
  • SBA loans have longer amortization periods and terms. This can lead to a lower payment for the borrower.

What Types of Loans Are Available?

  • 7(a) loans – the most common offered by the SBA and include a variety of loan programs such as SBA Express and CAPLines
  • 504 loans – used primarily for real estate and equipment purchasing

Considering an SBA Loan

Many aspiring business owners are hesitant to go through the SBA loan process. The application process and associated costs seem too daunting. We recommend visiting an SBA Small Business Development Center or SBA’s website to learn more about loan options available and qualifications. These centers can work with applicants not only on loan options, but also can provide resources for business planning.

If an SBA loan seems to be a fit, we recommend working with a banker that is experienced in SBA lending and can help expedite the application process, as well as evaluate all other loan options.

 

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When you click links marked with the “‡” symbol, you will leave UMB’s website and go to websites that are not controlled by or affiliated with UMB. We have provided these links for your convenience. However, we do not endorse or guarantee any products or services you may view on other sites. Other websites may not follow the same privacy policies and security procedures that UMB does, so please review their policies and procedures carefully.


Dominic is a executive vice president for the Business Banking division at UMB. He joined UMB in 2013 and has more than 20 years of experience in the financial services industry.



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