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StreetShares Blog - The Resource Center for Veteran Small Businesses

StreetShares Blog

The Resource Center for Veteran Small Businesses

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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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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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Special Government Contracting Programs for Veteran-owned Businesses

By StreetShares on June 21, 2017

Veteran business owners and entrepreneurs interested in doing business with the U.S. Government need to understand the programs and preferences that have been established to support veteran participation in federal government contracting.

Let us help you understand the preference programs established for veteran-owned businesses and explain the distinctions and differences between the Veterans First Program established by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the government-wide Service Disabled Veteran-owned Small Business Concern Program administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

Qualifying as a Veteran

A Veteran is a person who served on active duty with the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard for any length of time, and was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable. A reservist or member of the National Guard called to federal active duty, or disabled from a disease or injury incurred or aggravated in the line of duty or while training also qualifies as a Veteran.

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When Should You Cash Out Your Thrift Savings Plan (TSP)?

By StreetShares on June 15, 2017

U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt Bobby Yarbrough) (This image was manipulated using filters.)

If you have a Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), you probably signed up for it at the start of your military career, and by now are dimly aware that a percentage of your monthly income contributes to the plan. But since it’s always been that way, you haven’t thought much about it.

Now you’re transitioning. Do you know how much you’ve saved for retirement, whether you should “roll over” your TSP into an employer 401(k) plan, and what all these acronyms and numbers mean? Here are quick answers to all your questions about the TSP, and how to decide whether to cash it out or not.

What is the TSP?

The TSP is a special type of Individual Retirement Account (IRA) maintained by the federal government and offered to federal employees.

Although service members have a 20-year pension plan, they can use the TSP as an alternate or supplemental plan. The TSP is a good deal because the federal government pays the administrative costs of the plan, so your money is never subject to fees for trading, account transfers or anything else.

It’s basically a free IRA for service members and other federal employees.

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Top 10 Most Influential Military Spouse Business Owners

By StreetShares on May 12, 2017

Life as a military spouse can be full of adventure, fun, new beginnings and discounts galore. It also can be full of uncertainty, sacrifice and self-reliance; moves are endless, friendships are constantly evolving, and children are uprooted. Unfortunately, the transitory nature of the military has an especially deep impact on spouse’s employment opportunities.

Recent statistics have shown more than 90 percent of military spouses are underemployed or overqualified for the jobs they currently hold, and salary for those jobs is 38 percent less than the civilian equivalent. Beyond that, unemployment among military spouses is extremely high at 26 percent, or three times higher than the national average. Hiring managers tend to look for longevity on resumes – one thing that military spouses cannot provide.

This year, May 12, 2017 is Military Spouse Appreciation Day. To memorialize this day we wanted to focus in on some incredibly influential military spouses who, through their successful businesses, have either worked to change the unemployment rate among military spouses or have simply found a way to defy the odds and have become influential through their admirable business models. We are excited to highlight these 10 amazing women as a way to show our appreciation for all they are doing in the military community and illuminate their own unique service to our country.

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Earn 5% Interest While Helping Veteran Small Business

By StreetShares on April 19, 2017

Did you know that you can invest in small business loans even if you’re a ‘little guy’ retail investor? It’s true, you can.

Individual retail investors can back the small business loans we fund at Streetshares. Our investment product, called Veteran Business Bonds1, is open to retail investors thanks to our Regulation A+ offering, which is approved by the SEC.

StreetShares is the only company that allows unaccredited investors to invest in loans that help small businesses. You don’t have to be a veteran either. Any individual investor in the United States can participate.

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How Your Tax Refund Can Help You Score Better Credit

By StreetShares on April 12, 2017
If you’re getting a tax refund this year, you’ve got three major options when it comes to using the money: You can save it. You can invest it. Or you can splurge. But break things down a little further, and that check (back) from Uncle Sam can help you build credit, too. For serious.

Here are six ways your tax refund could help you build — or even establish — your credit scores.

1. Pay Down Credit Card Balances

Second rule of credit scores: Keep your debt level below at least 30% (and ideally 10%) of your total available credit. Anything beyond that is bad for your credit utilization ratio. If you’re over that limit or, worse yet, bumping up against your limits, putting your tax refund toward your credit card balances can help improve your credit score. Better yet …

2. Pay Off High-Interest Credit Card Debt

Because those balances are going to spike pretty fast. Plus, you’ll be saving money in the long run. Good rule of thumb when it comes to dealing with multiple credit card balances: Make all your minimums, but put more money toward either the smallest (because motivation) or the one with the highest annual percentage rate (because, like we said, it’ll cost you less). You can see how your credit card use is affecting your credit by viewing two of your scores, updated every 14 days, on Credit.com.

See also: How to Improve Your Personal Credit Score

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How to Calculate True Cost of Capital for a Kabbage Loan Offer

By StreetShares on March 30, 2017

As a small business owner, you’re most likely aware of a lot of lending options such as applying at a traditional bank, asking friends and family members or bootstrapping. If you’re here visiting the StreetShares blog, you’re obviously aware that online lending is also a great option for small businesses who need up to a $100,000 loan or a line of credit or $500,000 for government contractor invoice factoring. 

However, understanding your different loan offers can be overwhelming. Over the next several weeks, we’re going to provide examples of how each online lender, including Kabbage and OnDeck, break down their loan offers. These blog posts will help veteran business owners conduct your own apples-to-apples comparison of different business loan offers.

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