5 Keys to Achieving Fiscal Fitness For Small Business CEOs Planned For Fall

MICHIGAN- The Michigan Small Business & Technology Development Center (MI-SBTDC) will present financial tools workshops in metro Detroit in during the fall.  “5 Keys to Achieving Fiscal Fitness,” a workshop to help the non-financial manager business owner achieve Fiscal Fitness is a state-wide training program designed to strengthen financial literacy and improve the ability to access capital businesses need to grow. The program is sponsored by Fifth Third Bank and events will be held in Waterford, Livonia and Detroit.

Topics to be discussed include:

  • Identifying problems using your balance sheet and income statement
  • Providing ways to increase your company’s cash flow
  •  Using breakeven analysis to improve decision-making
  • Planning the working capital to support your growth
  • How to keep your banker on your side

“5 Keys to Achieving Fiscal Fitness” will cost $25 per participant (Fifth Third clients can attend at no cost.) Classes will be held: 

  • September 28         Oakland County Business Center in Waterford
  • October 4                Schoolcraft College in Livonia
  • November 3            TechTown in Detroit

Networking and continental breakfast start at 8 a.m. and the seminar is from 8:30 a.m. until 12 p.m.  Register online or call (734) 487-0355 for more information.

 “In these trying financial times, Fifth Third bank recognized how important it is to reach out to business owners and help them become savvier in managing their business finances. Fifth Third Bank is proud to support the MI-SBTDC is these efforts.”  Dolores Sturdivant – Fifth Third Bank.

The Michigan Small Business & Technology Development Center (MI-SBTDC) is a statewide business assistance program that provides one-on-one counseling, training and research support for Michigan small businesses. The Southeast Michigan Region serves Wayne, Oakland and Monroe counties is headquartered at the Eastern Michigan University College of Business in the Center for Entrepreneurship with full service locations at TechTown in Detroit, Schoolcraft College in Livonia, the Monroe Industrial Development Corporation and Oakland County Business Center.

Fifth Third Bancorp is a diversified financial services company headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio. Fifth Third operates five main businesses: Commercial Banking, Branch Banking, Consumer Lending, Investment Advisors and Fifth Third Processing Solutions.  http://www.misbtdc.net/events.aspx

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What do Apple Computer, Hershey’s, Mary Kay Cosmetics, and the Ford Motor Company have in common?

WASHINGTON – What do Apple Computer, Hershey’s, Mary Kay Cosmetics, and the Ford Motor Company have in common? These well-known corporations all started out as home-based businesses. In fact, more than half of all U.S. businesses are based out of an owner’s home.  Starting a home-based business has many rewards as well as challenges. Join chat host Boyd Wright to learn what it takes to grow a successful home-based business.

WHO:  Home-based business champion and small business owner Boyd Wright will host the July Web chat on “Growing a Home-Based Business: What You Need to Know.”  Chat participants can get valuable insight from Wright and learn more about working out of your house, starting a home-based business and managing the business within the law. Wright will answer questions on how to grow a home-based business, the benefits and the challenges.

WHAT:  SBA’s web chat series provides small business owners with an opportunity to discuss relevant business issues online with experts, industry leaders and successful entrepreneurs.  Chat participants have direct, real-time access to the web chats via questions they submit online in advance, and during the live session.  Chat participants can receive helpful tips and advice on how to grow their businesses.

WHEN:  July 28, 2011, 1 p.m. ET

Wright will answer questions for one hour.      

HOW:  Web chat participants can post questions online in advance and on July 28, join the live web chat by going online to www.sba.gov, and click on the web chat event under What’s New. 

To review archives of past web chats, visit online at http://www.sba.gov/tools/monthlywebchat/index.html

SBA Unveils New Website and Launches SBA Direct – A New Tool Delivering Personalized and Targeted Resources

WASHINGTON – As part of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s mission to ensure that small business owners and entrepreneurs have access to accurate, timely and helpful information, SBA Administrator Karen Mills today unveiled a newly re-designed SBA website. The new site also features the launch of SBA Direct, a dynamic new web tool with a variety of personalization features that will help small businesses start-up, succeed and grow.

“With the launch of the new SBA.gov, we have reached a significant milestone in how the agency has evolved in using interactive web tools, social media and blogs to engage with, and better meet the needs of small business owners,” said SBA Administrator, Karen Mills. “While the SBA website has traditionally been an information-rich site, we wanted to make it easier for small business owners to navigate. With the new improved SBA.gov, business owners can access the answers they need, specific to their business profile, in an instant – it truly presents the face of the future of SBA.”

While the site features a variety of enhancements including a full re-design, new content, and improved navigation, the centerpiece is a dynamic new web tool called SBA Direct. 

SBA Direct allows visitors to personalize their browsing experience according to their business type, geography and needs.  SBA Direct then delivers relevant and targeted information on all aspects of running a business such as the steps involved in getting started, business growth strategies, and how to stay compliant with current laws and regulations. SBA Direct also provides information on the available SBA programs that can help businesses succeed, such as financial assistance, exporting and government contracting opportunities, counseling and training.

 “Transforming the SBA into a proactive, responsive and ‘customer-centric’ organization that better serves the needs of the nation’s more than 29 million small businesses is an exciting, yet enormous effort,” said Mills.  “We’ve made significant progress, and the new SBA.gov is just one example among many, including record growth capital financing, expedited loan approvals and the acceleration of disaster assistance resources and funds of how SBA has, and will continue to support the growth of small businesses and job creation.”

Other new features to the web site include:

  • SBA’s small business search that improves the accuracy and relevancy of search results —saving time and frustration.
  • Improved navigation that gives users one-click access to the information they need. Combined with the personalization features of SBA Direct, users no longer have to mine through pages of information to find answers.
  • Integration of Business.gov content including a variety of guides and tools that collate information from across government agencies to help business owners comply with laws and regulations, and take advantage of government programs.
  • Interactive location-based maps that allow users to quickly find small business resources in their area, including local SBA offices, and other sources of training and support.
  • User-rated content gives visitors to the site direct control in determining the most useful and relevant information to feature by small business topic.

SBA’s commitment to using web services to provide small businesses with greater access to the pool of government resources available began in 2006 with the launch of the award-winning Business.gov website, and later with the Business.gov Community initiative in 2009 (the first government-sponsored online community built specifically for small businesses), and more recently with SBA’s own social media presence on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

The new SBA.gov built on these achievements and best practices as a driver for its transformation.  The project is also a flagship for the agency’s Open Government Plan, with the goal of building an online presence for SBA that is transparent, participatory and collaborative.

SBA’s Experts Offer Advice on Business Expansion in November Online Web Chat

SBA’s Experts Offer Advice on Business Expansion in November Online Web Chat Tuesday, November 30, 2010, from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m., ET

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WASHINGTON – The U.S. Small Business Administration’s November web chat will offer advice to entrepreneurs looking to grow or expand their businesses. If you are considering expansion of your company’s product or service, the free web chat will help you learn how to make your next move.

WHO:    Sharon Miller, executive director of the Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center, will host the November web chat on “Expanding Your Business: What You Need to Know.”  The center is home to the SBA’s Women’s Business Center.  Miller will offer tips and advice on how to make the best business decision before taking on a new growth strategy.  Chat participants can get answers to their questions about what crucial items they should measure before considering expansion.

WHAT:   SBA’s web chat series provides small business owners with an opportunity to discuss relevant business issues online with experts, industry leaders and successful entrepreneurs.  Chat participants have direct, real-time access to the web chats via questions they submit online in advance, and during the live session.

WHEN:   November 30, 2010 at 1:00 p.m. ET
Miller will answer questions for one hour.      

HOW:    Participants can join the live web chat by going online to www.sba.gov, and clicking “Online Business Chat.”  Web chat participants may also post questions before the November 30th chat by visiting http://web.sba.gov/livemeeting/Nov10/.

To review archives of past web chats, visit online at http://www.sba.gov/tools/monthlywebchat/index.html.

Michigan Entrepeneurship Efforts Increasing, Partially Due to the Help Available to Budding Entrepreneurs

It has long been estimated that small businesses employ half of the private workforce, and generate about 70 percent of the country’s new jobs each year.   For many years in Michigan, entrepreneurship efforts became somewhat static as the entrepreneurs of the 1940’s, 50’s, 60’s and 70’s experienced significant growth and success due to the success of the automotive industry in the State.  Those companies became the large firms that have become quite well-known throughout Michigan, and provided many of the high-paying jobs that Michiganders enjoyed for many years.

However, in the last 10 years, as Michigan’s automotive industry has suffered, and manufacturing in the State experienced history-making downsizing, the people and politicians in Michigan began looking for alternatives to create sustainable jobs, and the focus once again turned to entrepreneurship.

Michigan’s Entrepreneurship efforts have increased steadily in recent years due in no small part to Federally-funded programs aimed at generating entrepreneurial efforts in the State.  Substantial progress has been made, and continues to be made due to the efforts of organizations such as the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Ann Arbor Spark, Automation Alley, TechTown and many, many more.

This focus on entrepreneurship has led to an abundance of educational programs and conferences designed to provide information, resources, access to investors and much more for start-up and second-stage entrepreneurs.  Some events taking place in the next few weeks include:

If you haven’t considered entrepreneurship, now might be the time to start.  If you have considered it, but decided against it, now might be the time to take a second look.  And if you went for it, but can use a helping hand, make certain to register for at least one of these events.

SBA Seeks Small Biz Owners For Emerging 200 Initiative

DETROIT – The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Michigan District Office is seeking small business owners for its second round of the “Emerging 200 Initiative.” Last year, 16 Detroit-based small businesses successfully completed this in-depth training program for senior executives.

“We’re pleased, along with our partners, to offer the second round of Emerging 200 and its MBA-style program to Detroit,” said Richard Temkin, SBA Michigan District Director. “Graduates of the program have increased their revenue, created jobs and helped drive local economic growth in their communities. We hope eligible small businesses will take full advantage of this tremendous opportunity for Detroit-based businesses.”

Participation in e200 is free to qualifying businesses. Criteria for participation include having been in business for a minimum of three years, gross annual revenues of at least $400,000, and a business located within inner-city areas of Detroit. Participation is limited to 16 businesses.

The six-month training includes approximately 100 hours of classroom time per participant. It will focus on such topics as finance, market development, organization management, strategic planning and growth strategies. CEOs will also have an opportunity to connect with their peers, city leaders, and the financial community.

The following organizations are cosponsors of the e200 initiative:

• Detroit EconomicGrowth Corporation

• Detroit RegionalChamber

• Mayor’s Office ofTargeted Business Development

• Michigan EconomicDevelopment Corp.

• Michigan MinorityBusiness Development Council

• Michigan SmallBusiness&Technology Development Center

• TechTown

If you are interested in exploring this opportunity, please contact Constance Logan at (313) 226-6075, ext. 279.

SBA Loan Guarantees Revert to Pre-Stimulus Levels

The time has come to say goodbye to the 90 percent loan guarantee and reduced fees that supposedly sparked a rebound in Small Business Administration lending; though many reports have indicated small business lending has practically evaporated in spite of the stimulus package enhancements.

In a few days, the SBA will run out of the $375 million in economic stimulus funds that enabled the agency to offer these enhancements. As a result, beginning Monday, Nov. 23, borrowers will have to make a choice:  They can be put on a waiting list to receive these breaks as stimulus funds become available, or they can apply for a regular SBA loan with higher fees and a lower government guarantee for the lender.

The SBA expects additional funds to become available to make loans under the stimulus provisions since not everyone who is approved for a loan will go through with it. However, loans on the stimulus waiting list run the risk of never getting funded.

As recently as Nov. 18, SBA officials said they expected to be able to make loans under the stimulus provisions into December. But loan applications surged this past week as borrowers and lenders tried to get their applications in before the stimulus money ran out.

SBA lenders, small-business groups and the Obama administration have urged Congress to find money to extend the stimulus enhancements. But Congress has to-date failed to do so.

As a result, government guarantees on 7(a) loans will revert back to the standard 75 percent for loans of more than $150,000, and 85 percent for loans of $150,000 or less. Fees on 7(a) loans and 504 loans, which are used to finance real estate, will revert to their normal levels as well.