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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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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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3 Ways Bad Credit Can Affect Your Business Loan

By StreetShares on March 28, 2017

This is the final post in our credit scores series exploring ways your score can affect your veteran-owned small business, particularly in regards to business funding.

Every small business needs money, but sometimes entrepreneurs take the leap to start a business when they first have their idea or when they think the “timing is right” without fully considering the strength of their financial position and credit score. Before you start looking for small business funding, we recommend you know your credit score. If you’re looking to fund your veteran-owned small business and have a low credit score, it’s worth hesitating long enough to consider some of the financial ramifications of diving into the business loan process before your credit score has improved. That’s why we’re going to delve into how a low credit score can have a direct impact on your veteran business loan.

As you may know, personal FICO credit scores are represented by a three-digit number ranging between 300 and 850. Click here to learn more about what makes up a personal and business credit score. The most important thing to keep in mind with credit scores is that the higher your score the better:

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Ways to Save on Veteran Small Business Taxes: Deductions & Credits

By StreetShares on March 17, 2017

Did you miss the March 15 business tax filing deadline? Did you get an extension on your small business taxes this year? Well now you have several months until the final deadline on October 2, 2017. Let us help by letting you in on a few credits and deductions you could make on your business taxes.** 

Did you know that if you went “green”, hired a veteran, or started a company last year you might be eligible for three important but little known tax deductions?

Small tax deductions and credits take a little extra work, but your savings can really add up. Every dollar counts when it comes to running a veteran small business. We’ve compiled some resources of available credits and deductions your business may qualify for:

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Selecting an Accounting System for Government Contractors

By StreetShares on March 14, 2017

This blog post was originally published on the E. Cohen and Company, CPAs blog.

One question that we frequently receive from companies operating in the government contracting arena is what accounting system do we recommend? The accounting and finance function can provide strategic value and help a government contracting company grow and stay organized to get contract financing. It should also be efficient and allow for timely reporting to management and other stakeholders.

In addition, government contractors are subject to many regulations and reporting requirements that create a need for accurate and specialized financial reporting, as well as appropriate accounting policies. The accounting software your company uses is part of the foundation of a strategic, effective and efficient accounting and finance function, which makes selecting an accounting system a very important decision.

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How to Improve Your Personal Credit Score

By StreetShares on March 9, 2017

We are currently in a series of blog posts on the subject of credit scores and the affect they may have when applying for a veteran business loan.

"How Credit Score Affects Getting a Business Loan" touched on the breakdown of both personal FICO credit scores and business credit scores. This article will take that knowledge and use it to show you how to improve your credit score.

Before we move forward, it’s important to disclose that it takes time to improve a credit score. Anything that promises a “quick fix” is just plain wrong. Credit scores, in essence, are a reflection of your payment patterns over time; much like a driving record, problems will not just disappear. Don’t lose heart, though! If you’re patient, over time you will absolutely see improvement. Here’s how:

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