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Your VA business loan may be closer than you think.
For those who have served honorably in the military or the National Guard, there are options for small business loans that just do not apply to anyone else.
To begin with you must have served in one of the branches of the US military (Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marines) or the National Guard. You can be on either active-duty status or retired with an honorable discharge or a medical discharge. Additionally if you are the spouse of a military member you may also qualify for business assistance from the VA.
If you received a dishonorable discharge you will not qualify for a VA small business loan.
First, sit down and figure out what it is that you really need. Are you looking for a $10,000 startup loan for an online business, or a $250,000 loan for a manufacturing facility. The Quick Start guide will help you determine your goals and establish the funding you need.
Next, start putting together your actual business plan for financing. Be ready to answer the questions that lenders are most likely to ask. Although being a vet will go a long way toward getting your loan, seal the deal with a strong presentation.
Next, in order to obtain any type of VA business loan is to contact the Small Business Administration (SBA). You can do this either online or telephone at 1-800-827-5722. You will need to ask for a representative in your state or area.
Once you have been given a name and contact information you must actually contact that person yourself- the national agency will not take care of this for you.
Here is where your business plan REALLY is valuable.
When you contact the representative tell them you would like to apply for a business loan. They will ask you a few questions to determine your basic eligibility. Be prepared, this step may entail providing proof of service or honorable separation.
Once the SBA representative has determined that you are in fact eligible for assistance from the VA they will mail you the application packet which is known as the Patriot Express Pilot Loan Initiative.
You will need to fill out the entire application packet correctly. You can find detailed instructions and guidelines at the SBA website. Your representative contact person should also be able to provide you answers to any questions or concerns you might have during this process.
Part of the application form will require you to submit a viable business plan. This is where most entrepreneurs, even veterans, stumble. It is difficult to over-emphasize the importance of the impression you make in your business plan. This is how YOU and YOUR BUSINESS are judged. So make it a good impression.
You may even need to prepare an actual presentation prior to submitting your VA small business loan application, especially for larger loans. Should you be asked for a presentation, rejoice! It means that they liked the business plan and just have a few questions to ask. Go in with a 20-30 minute formal presentation, and be ready for any possible question.
Once you have submitted your application to your SBA representative it will take about 2-3 weeks before you should expect to hear anything. There are authorized agents available to help you with the application process to ensure you fill it out correctly. Your representative should be able to provide you with reputable agents for this purpose.
As a veteran there is no longer any excuse for you to put off starting your own business. A VA business loan could provide you with thousands of dollars which can be used towards the starting costs so that you can finally quit dreaming about your own business and make that dream a reality.
When I work fourteen hours a day, seven days a week,
I get lucky.
Founder of Occidental Petroleum
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