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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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Recent Posts

Applying for a Small Business Loan? Here are 10 Things to Know

By StreetShares on September 1, 2017

For many small business owners as well as veteran-owned business owners, the loan application process can be tedious and overwhelming. It’s hard to know where to start and how exactly to present yourself to a potential lender. That’s why we’ve compiled this checklist for you to reference as you pull together your business loan application for a term loan, line of credit or if you’re mobilizing for contract financing from a factoring company.

What to Know Before You Go

Loan request approvals depend on how well you present yourself, your business and your financial needs to your business lender. The best way to do that is to know beforehand the answers to the most common questions lenders may ask:

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Traditional Investment Options to Power Your Retirement Savings [Infographic]

By StreetShares on August 24, 2017

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Just as military members have carefully and thoughtfully planned countless missions over the years, there’s a mission that anyone, regardless of military affiliation, should be planning for with equal care: planning for retirement.

We’ve touched on this “mission” previously; in fact, we recently shared some ideas on the military’s retirement systems, comparing the new Blended Retirement System (BRS) to the old Legacy Retirement system, and discussing steps to plan for retirement.

In this post, we’ve detailed what everyone, whether you’re in the service or not, needs to know about the most commonly offered retirement savings options. With this information, you’ll be well on your way to creating a retirement plan that works for you – and maybe even help a few veterans along the way. 

Here’s an easy-to-follow infographic on Mission: Retirement, outlining three steps to assist you in determining, calculating and ultimately learning more about your retirement.

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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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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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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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