Before seeking financial assistance from any source, the SBA encourages small businesses to evaluate their needs:
•Do you need more capital or can you manage existing cash flow more effectively?
•How do you define your need?
•Do you need money to expand or as a cushion against risk?
•How urgent is your need? Note: You can obtain the best terms when you anticipate your needs rather than looking for money under pressure.
•How great are your risks? All businesses carry risks, and the degree of risk will affect cost and available financing alternatives.
•In what state of development is your business? Needs are most critical during transitional stages.
•For what purposes will the capital be used? Lenders require that capital be requested for very specific needs.
•What is the state of your industry? Depressed, stable, or growth conditions require different approaches to money needs and sources. Businesses that prosper while others are in decline will often receive better funding terms.
•Is your business seasonal or cyclical? Seasonal needs for financing generally are short term. Loans advanced for cyclical industries, such as construction, are designed to support a business through depressed periods.
•How strong is your management team? Management is an important element assessed by lenders.
•How does your need for financing mesh with your business plan? If you don’t have a business plan, make writing one your first priority.
A CPA Can Help
Feeling overwhelmed? A certified public accountant (CPA) can help you determine what you need to do to get started on a plan for your small business. If you have questions about decisions affecting your small business, contact your CPA. To find a CPA in Pennsylvania by location or area of expertise, visit www.ineedacpa.org.
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