Today's Top TipOnline business plan scams are alive and doing very well. There's even a new wrinkle: the "crowd funding". Trust me, no one makes money but the promoters in this scheme.
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There is a perception -- even among minorities -- that minority business loans and venture investment aren't profitable.
That's hogwash. In fact, a key finding of the Kauffman Foundation report is that minority business loans are very successful!
According to the Kauffman Foundation analysis "Minorities and Venture Capital: A New Wave in American Business", minority enterprise venture capital investing "is very profitable", with an average net return per investment of over $1 million -- almost a 100% profit return.
The findings for the venture capital investments would most certainly be duplicated in straight small businesses loans as well. These, too, would prove very profitable.
All of which says that there is no reason to go to a lender or investor with hat in hand.
You're not looking for a handout.
You're looking for a business partner.
Minorities can -- and do -- get financing. Your business can be
one the success stories. You already know about business plans. Make
yours the best business plan possible.
And follow these five steps:
1. Demonstrate your Professionalism: Put your business and/or your business plan online.
Minority business loans are granted to those who are perceived as being winners -- and at this time, that means having a great web site. And when you are looking for funding, it means having information available online.
2. Establish an Advisory Board
One of the strongest keys to an effective minority business loan for any minority is establishing a strong cross-culture Advisory Board. This Board will accomplish a number of things:
For most business plans, such an Advisory Board is optional. For minority-owned businesses, taking the time and effort to create an effective Advisory Board is an almost essential step in the funding process.
3. Keep an eye on government funding sources.
Take a good look at the Small Business Administration website. If there isn't something there to assist you today, there will likely be something that will aid you next week or next year.
4. Take every reasonable step to present a professional front.
Your "look" is important. Your logo, your stationery, your presentation all should command respect.
In addition, I strongly encourage you to formalize your business in a corporate structure.
Don't flaunt wealth; flaunt professionalism.
5. Expect to win.
Whenever you choose to send in your business plan, go in
expecting to win, no matter what, for in truth you will have a
strong advantage over other entrepreneurs.
You will have the knowledge of this website behind you.
You just don't know how valuable this information is. I have seen hundreds of business plans -- 95% of them don't come close to the caliber of presentation that yours will have.
Your business plan is a winner.
With prejudice running so rampant, just how up front should a minority be? Should minority status even be disclosed in the business plan?
I am reminded of the story of Arthur Mitchell, the brilliant dancer who auditioned for the New York City Ballet when George Balanchine still managed it, when the world of ballet was very white. Balanchine truly respected the amazing talent that Mitchell had to offer, so instead of hiding this very black face in the back row of the corps de ballet, Balanchine put Mitchell front and center -- and even partnered him with white ballerinas. The crowd loved this dancer with so much strength and grace. If they saw his black face at all, it didn't even matter.
Put yourself front and center.
Include a photo to show a black or brown face, or a wheel chair;
Show that graduate work was completed in a foreign country;
List leadership positions held in less popular religions.
No, these steps won't guarantee funding. But they will guarantee that you won't waste your time and money on people who wouldn't listen to you anyway.
Whenever possible, turn this "liability" into an asset. A few years ago I received a business plan looking for a minority business loan for a business targeting the African-American community in Los Angeles -- a significant population segment. It was a decent business plan, but they were having trouble raising financing. It was easy to see why: Sadly, there was no indication anywhere in the business plan that indicated the owners were part of this minority, or that they had developed a minority-based advisory board, either of which would have given them "expert" status in developing this business.
So, accent the positives...
And eliminate the negatives...
There are some minority business loans that are just difficult to come by because they are in unique niches, such as work at home businesses and seniors in business. Both groups step before lenders with preconceived notions that are, in all likelihood, wrong. Very wrong.
Work from home business can be every bit as challenging and sophisticated as their "brick and board" equivalents. The major difference is that the entrepreneur has devised ways to cut overhead by having a home office, perhaps with contract employees.
Seniors in business face a great deal of prejudice, too. Knowing that the prejudice is there is the first big step in overcoming it -- there are some key steps to take as well.
Business Loans for Handicapped. When physical challenges confront normal challenges of business financing, it is perseverance that makes all the difference.
Business Plans for Hispanic. How many Hispanics run Chinese restaurants? Probably not a lot. But they are probably successful.
SBA Hispanic Loans. Every so often the SBA puts out an olive branch to the Hispanic community. If that branch is there, grab it.
Business Plans for Veterans. New business financing is sweeping the country for U.S. veterans, and none too soon. It is indeed time that they are able to pursue their own dreams.
SBA Business Loans for Veterans. The SBA is reaching out in a big way to help our veterans into the business world.
Business Plans for Women. Would you rather get struck by lightening, or get venture capital financing? If you're a woman, you are more likely to get struck by lightening.
Angel Investor Groups of Women in Wisconsin. Yeah for the angels in Wisconsin. They are setting the bar high for other groups to follow.
Business Plan Competition for Women. And it's a doozie. Make Mine a Million is just getting underway.
My Biz for Women. A great group, accessible to most women who have businesses, or who want to.
Minority Business Loan Programs. A quick run down on some minority programs we ran across.
Minority Angel Investor Network. Sometimes loans are not the answer. Step up to MAIN, the only organization of its kind anywhere.
And let me know what happens.
Handicapped Business Loans:
Business Loans for Hispanics:
Business Plans for Veterans:
Business Plans for Women:
Determine that a thing can and shall be done, and
then we shall find the way.
Whether your clients hip hop or waltz, create a plan that will create your studio.
Grow your own skill, and those of others, as you grow your personal training business.
Capture the energy in your youth with your own children's gym.
You've worked for others for years. Now is the time for your talent to shine.