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StreetShares Blog - The Resource Center for Veteran Small Businesses

StreetShares Blog

The Resource Center for Veteran Small Businesses

Topics

4 Things to Do Before You Submit & How to Bid for a Government Contract

By StreetShares on August 16, 2017

In our government contracting blog series, we’ve looked at why the Federal Government is a good opportunity for many different types of small businesses. We’ve discussed potential advantages like set-asides made for veteran-owned businesses, how some great modern tools can help you evaluate your market and find the financing you need to start these projects. Now, let’s dive into how to bid for a government contract.

This article is an excerpt from, “The Government Contractor’s Handbook,” which includes step-by-step guides and eight chapters of resources. Download it now.

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Closing the Civilian-Military Gap with Small Business Lending and Investing

Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Aaron S. Patterson

Many people have asked why a lifelong finance professional like myself, with years of experience from large banks such as Capital One and Wells Fargo, would join a veteran-focused startup even though I’m not a veteran. While the answer might not be clear to some, it is very clear for me. My personal, very focused mission is to give back to veterans who have created this space for me to be free. Some call actions like this an attempt to close the Civilian-Military divide.

During World War II, more than 9 percent of the American adult population served in the military. In the past decade, less than 1 percent of Americans have served in the armed forces, according to the Pew Research Center. The result is that the younger population has less of a family connection with the military. For 18-29 year olds, just 33 percent have an immediate family member who served in the military, according to a survey by Pew Research Center, while 70 percent of adults aged 50 and older do. 

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Legacy vs. Blended Retirement System (BRS): How Your Pension is Calculated

By StreetShares on August 8, 2017

A quick Google search on the subject of retirement readiness quickly resulted in an overarching feeling that Americans have rapidly been falling behind. For instance, one-third of Americans currently have no retirement savings, according to a recent GoBankingRates survey. So what about you? Will you have enough saved in retirement? Will your retirement be sustainable?

For military members, ‘retirement’ has taken on a whole new set of complications with the updated pension system the government is rolling out in 2018. We’ve provided a guide and outlined the general implications of this Blended Retirement System (BRS), such as whom it affects and when the changes will begin to be implemented; however, there are deeper weeds to dig into about how specifically this new BRS plan will truly affect military members’ retirement from a “numbers” perspective.

Let’s look at how the military’s pension plans, old and new, work and how to think about building your savings for retirement.

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Why You Should Consider a Financial Capability Letter Before Bidding

Bidding season for government contractors is in full swing. As a small business owner, you’ve already got an advantage when bidding for government contracts. Furthermore, if you’re a registered Veteran Owned Business (VOSB), Service Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB), 8(a), HUBZone, or Women-Owned small business, you’ve got an even better chance at winning a contract. Other than the size of your business or how you’re registered, though, what else does the government look at when choosing the right small business to work with?

As part of our government contracting blog series, you’ve seen that following all of the guidelines and responding to every requirement the contract sets forth is important when writing your proposal. We’ve also shared another great tip – to think about your government contract financing plan ahead of time. Now we’re training our sights on making sure you have financing in place prior to winning a bid.

Why do we think this is essential? Because the best time to think about financing is before you bid or have been awarded the contract. Knowing you have financing in place can provide extra assurance that you will be able to fulfill your part of a contract as a subcontractor to a prime contractor. Besides, in many cases, the government is going to require this from you; i.e. they’re going to want you to prove you have the financial capability to actually perform the contract you want to win. The first step in proving this capability is with a Financial Capability Letter. Click here to watch the recorded webinar on contract financing below.

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How to Understand a Swift Capital Business Funding Offer

By StreetShares on July 27, 2017

As a small business owner, when you’re looking to partner with another business or bring in a partner of the company, you’re looking for trustworthy, business savvy people. The same should be sought after in your small business lenders. We all know that getting an SBA business loan, traditional bank loan or VA business loan can be challenging if you don’t have enough revenue or time. That’s the reason why online small business lenders exist.

We’d like to help you compare your business loan offers from different small business lenders. We’ve provided business loan calculators to help you see the true cost of capital of an OnDeck loan offer and for Kabbage loan offers. Today, we’ll help you understand how a Swift Capital loan offer works. 

Swift Capital Loan Offers

As we’ve stressed in the past, the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is the most important number you’ll need to understand when analyzing the true cost of capital. When receiving a Swift Capital business funding offer, you’ll see percentages described as the “price,” but not the total cost in APR. Use the standard calculators below to help you calculate the true cost of funding with the APR.

Use these calculators to help you understand the difference among other business loan offers.

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7 Things to Know About the Military’s New Blended Retirement System

By StreetShares on July 19, 2017

 

A huge change is on the horizon for many of our nation’s service members in the form of a new retirement system. The military will begin implementation in 2018, affecting not only military members who will begin their careers in 2018, but also those who currently serve. Why the change? As it stands, only 19 percent of active duty members and 14 percent of reserve members will actually hit the 20-year service mark required to receive retirement benefits from the military – about 1/6 of its population, according to the DoD.

The Department of Defense is rolling out the Blended Retirement System to serve the remaining 80 percent of service members currently left out in the cold. The goal is to offer a retirement system that aligns more closely with a civilian 401(k) plan, as well as to offer benefits for those who serve their country in uniform but not for a full 20-year career. While this new system is designed to save the government money, many benefits are available for military members who understand the new system and want to build their savings for retirement as a veteran who may be seeking to open a small business or a government contractor. 

Below are some highlights to help you understand the alterations that will result from the implementation, as well as dig in to better define the significance of these changes. None of this is financial advice. It's just meant to be informative.

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8 Things Every Government Contractor Must Include in a Proposal to Win

By StreetShares on July 12, 2017

The government contracting landscape has a ton of moving parts. We’ve previously discussed tips such as teaming up with other contractors and building relationships with government contract financing partners ahead of time. Today, we’ll tackle the Request for Proposal (RFP) beast. It may seem daunting with multiple flavors of contract types, such as RFQ, IDIQ, BPA, Task Order, etc. But we have resources to help you with your response, such as “The Government Contractor’s Handbook."

First and foremost is compliance. As a government contractor, you must respond to every requirement, in the exact way that the government requires. So, let’s assume, at a minimum, your proposal is going to be compliant. Is that all it takes to win as a small business owner? Unfortunately, the answer is “No.” Compliance just ensures you’re on par with your competition.

To win, you must read between the lines and know what the government is looking for in each required RFP section. Here is a handy list of themes—by standard proposal section—to make your response stand out.

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Highlighting Our Heroes: Earn 5% Interest by Investing in Veterans

Tomorrow we celebrate the Fourth of July, which commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. As we prepare for family reunions, barbecues and cook outs around the country, let’s also remember the reason for this special holiday. The Thirteen Colonies were legally separated from Great Britain after the American Revolution and the United States of America was founded.

This was the beginning of recognizing our veterans for their service and sacrifice for our country. Let’s recognize the men and women who have served our country since the American Revolution. We honor veterans every day as they’re also the ones who are growing the U.S. economy through small business. At StreetShares, we're the go-to financing partner for veteran small business owners looking to grow their businesses with business loans, lines of credit or government contract financing. This week’s Highlighting Our Heroes include veterans from industries such as energy, education, consumer goods and online communities connecting veterans through marketplaces, business and real estate.

Learn more about each hero below and on iHeart Radio’s BIG 100 local Washington, DC radio station or stream online at 5:00pm eastern every week day. Inspired by these stories and want to help veteran businesses? Start investing in them by opening a Veteran Business Bonds account and earn 5% interest. Learn more here.

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6 Characteristics of a Responsible Business Lender

By StreetShares on June 29, 2017

Responsible lending is a term that can get thrown around in the lending industry—it sounds great and certainly makes financial institutions look good when they use it... But practically speaking, what does it mean? And more importantly, how does it affect you as a business owner?

It matters a lot, actually. If you’re looking for business funding to grow your veteran business, you want to work with lenders who will set you up for success. It’s in your best interest to work with a lender who practices responsible credit reporting, has an alignment of interests and provides you with the right-sized funding so you won’t default on a loan.

If your lender claims to practice responsible lending, here are the top six characteristics you should expect to see in them:

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Highlighting Our Heroes: Invest in Veteran Small Business

The United States of America will turn 241 years old next week on the Fourth of July. Since its birth, millions have served in the military. As of 2014, there are 21.8 million veterans in the armed forces, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Even more, veterans account for 9 percent of small business in the U.S., according to the SBA.

We honor our heroes every day by working with veteran business owners and helping fund their businesses through term loans, lines of credit, contract financing and veteran business grants. This week, we’re highlighting extraordinary veteran business owners who have founded companies that give back to the community, whether it’s through charities, consumer products, lifestyle coaching, mental health, venture capital or medicine.

Learn more about each hero below, at highlightingourheroes.com and on iHeart Radio’s BIG 100 local Washington, DC radio station or stream online at 5:00pm eastern every week day. Inspired by these stories and want to help veteran businesses? You can start by investing in them by opening a Veteran Business Bonds* account and earn 5% interest. 

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