StreetShares Blog - The Resource Center for Veteran Small Businesses

StreetShares Blog

The Resource Center for Veteran Small Businesses

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Using a Credit Card to Fund Your Business: Good Idea or Bad?

By StreetShares on November 18, 2016

When you’re thinking of ways to get your business off the ground, you may be cringing at the idea of endless loan applications and the interminable waiting period to see if you’re approved. If you’re racking your brain trying to come up with a different route that doesn’t require so much time and hassle, you may be ready to consider using a credit card to fund your business.

Paying for your business capital using personal or business credit can have some huge perks, especially if you’re on top of making your payments and have a lucrative business. However, as great as the advantages are, there are also some weighty drawbacks to consider. Read on to see how these pros and cons measure up, so you can choose if this method is going to help or hinder you in the long run.

Why You Might Use a Credit Card

There are a number of reasons one might consider using a credit card as business funding. First, if you’re at the very outset of your venture, you may not have the credit score or business assets to qualify for a small business loan. But if you happen to have a credit card with a reasonable limit, that’s quick access to funds with no need to apply for a loan.

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Patriot Express Line of Credit Now Available for Veteran Business Owners

When you’re ready to finance your business, there are several ways to approach it. In our “Ultimate Guide for Veteran-owned Small Businesses,” we outline the three main types:  self-financing, equity, or debt financing. And debt financing is the route many companies take once they’re established businesses with some revenue under their belts.

As a reminder, debt financing can include both secured and unsecured loans and lines of credit. It’s for the veteran business owners that need lines of credit that we’ve specifically created the Patriot Express Line of Credit.

Previously, the SBA offered the Patriot Express Loan but it expired in 2013, which was unfortunate. It was a very popular program that funded $663 million in SBA-guaranteed loans. Veterans could get large loans at very low interest rates and low fees.

Fortunately, a few other programs exist to help veteran business owners get funding. The SBA has a similar program called the SBA Express Loan Program. Additionaly, StreetShares has created the Patriot Express Line of Credit, which is not associated with the SBA.

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Veteran Small Business Award Presented by the StreetShares Foundation

By StreetShares on November 10, 2016

Veteran businesses have become the backbone of the United States economy since World War II. Veterans have a wealth of knowledge and experience to create opportunities for themselves in entrepreneurship. They have the leadership skills, the hard work ethic and ability to think strategically among other skills. Veterans have opened businesses such as government contracting, suppliers, restaurant franchises, retail shops and more. How do we continue to support these veteran-owned businesses to be successful?

StreetShares announces the formation of the StreetShares Foundation just before Veterans Day 2016. “The goal of the Foundation is to provide a new generation of veteran small business owners with the support they need to thrive,” said Mark L. Rockefeller, CEO/Co-Founder of StreetShares and an Iraq War Veteran.

The mission of the StreetShares Foundation is to inspire, educate and support veteran small business owners. The Foundation has partnered with JPMorgan Chase to provide up to $10,000 each month in Veteran Small Business Awards.

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Saluting Military Veterans Elected for Public Office 2016

By StreetShares on November 9, 2016

StreetShares salutes the following military Veterans elected to public office last night, representing all military branches and voters across our nation. See their names below and congratulate them with us.

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National Veterans Small Business Week at StreetShares – Free Resources

It’s National Veterans Small Business Week this week and we’re celebrating with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and every veteran who owns a business. Veteran small businesses make up approximately 2.4 million U.S. businesses or 9 percent of all American firms, according to the SBA.

These businesses have not just started, but most of them have been very successful. The military teaches valuable lessons that translate over to entrepreneurship. Mark Rockefeller, CEO and Co-Founder of StreetShares said there are three main skills that make veterans great entrepreneurs.

“Veterans are good at planning, taking a complicated task and breaking it down into smaller pieces and they’re great at multitasking,” he said in StreetShares’ Facebook Live event yesterday. In the military, you’ve got your primary job and then must accomplish many other tasks while doing well at your main job.

In honor and to help veterans on their entrepreneurship journey, StreetShares is dedicated to providing resources to enhance their ventures. As a veteran-owned and operated business that’s helping small businesses with their financing needs, we understand what it takes to be successful. One of our main resources is “The Ultimate Guide for Veteran-owned Small Businesses.” There are a ton of great resources available for veterans, but this guide puts everything in one place. You’ll learn:

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Raising Breast Cancer Awareness Every Day with the Recovery Brobe

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The whole month is dedicated to raising awareness to a disease that affects about 12 percent of women in the United States. About 1 in 8 American women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime, according to breastcancer.org.

Many organizations participate in creating awareness in different ways. Susan G. Komen has affiliate local offices across the country and has several events throughout the month including the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure®. Nationalbreastcancer.org always takes donations to help provide mammograms for women in need.

One StreetShares business borrower works every day to bring awareness to breast cancer. Brobe International creates stylish and functional recovery robes for women who have just undergone mastectomy, breast reconstruction or augmentation. “After much market research and seeing the need for such a special product that would help women feel more confident, comfortable and feminine, I knew I had to create this product,” said Allison Schickel, Founder and CEO of Brobe International.

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7 Tips for Funding Your Veteran-Owned Small Business

By StreetShares on October 25, 2016

Military veterans face unique challenges when it comes to funding their business with a veteran small business loan, but finding capital that works for you is not impossible; especially when you have a little help. Here are seven tips to get you started:

1) Assess Your Strengths and Weaknesses as a Borrower.

Before you even begin your search, make sure you know where your small business stands. How much funding do you really need? How much can you afford to pay back each month? Are your margins higher than the interest rates? It is also helpful to be realistic about your chances of accessing different funding options. Do you know your credit score? How are your financials? Finally, make sure your documents are in order. Have you filed your taxes? Do you have an updated balance sheet and income statement? Being prepared can save you a lot of time and grief later on. Follow these two steps to determine your financial needs.

Understanding your financials is one piece of the puzzle when seeking funding. In this ebook, “The Ultimate Guide for Veteran-owned Small Businesses," you’ll learn the basics of financing as well as have access to tons of VOSB resources in addition to what you see below. 

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7 Reasons Why Owning a Franchise is a Good Transition for Veterans

 

Transitioning from the military to civilian life can be a challenge for a lot of veterans. Fighting in wars, accomplishing life-risking missions and serving your country in a big way is a not an experience to take lightly. But how does a veteran continue to make this type of impact on his/her country and continue to use the skills they’ve built stateside? It might not be the same type of experience, but translating these skills and experiences from the military into owning a business such as a franchise could be a good option for many veterans. Like the military, franchises are stable businesses with support. Here are several reasons why owning a franchise is a good business model for former members of the military.

1. Systematic Thinking and Operations

The Military has created and built numerous systems for each branch to operate smoothly. When joining the military, everyone has to go through basic training. It doesn’t matter what level you’re entering the military or which branch. This is a required step to success in the military. Similarly, most franchises have specific training in place for its franchisees. They provide the support from the corporate offices and give you a ready-made, proven business plan. Their goal is create more locations to expand their business so they’re striving to help franchisees be successful, too. As Willie Smith, franchisee of Juice It Up and retired Marine said, “Being in the military, I like systems. I didn’t want to reinvent the wheel.”

See also: "The Ultimate Guide for Veteran-owned Small Businesses"

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How to Determine Your Small Business Financing Needs

By Jesse Cushman, VP of Finance on October 12, 2016

Starting your own business can be very exciting, rewarding and challenging. You’re developing a product or service that you really care about for a market that you know well. As a small business owner, you’re concerned with your product or service, marketing, sales, operations and finance. The first year can be very difficult. Once you have some revenue, it gets easier. It’s also easier to secure funding when you know what to expect and are prepared. Here are a couple of things to consider before approaching a lender. Download the complete ebook here.

1. How to Determine Your Financial Needs

Having a strong understanding of the economics of your business is very important when thinking about financing. Knowing the story behind your business, your goals and what you need to get there can be very compelling to lenders. The most important advice any financial institution will give you is to plan ahead and expect a few emergencies. It’s always advisable to secure funding before times like these.

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Serving Our Country through a Community, Opening a Franchise

When serving in uniform, you focus on accomplishing the mission. Your work and everything you do is aimed at serving the country, at home and overseas. While carrying out the mission you're learning skills and building experiences that will be valuable later, but when you transition out of the military it can be hard to translate those into a civilian resume. How do warfighting skills apply to running a business? For many, opening a franchise is a good answer.

A franchise is a business in which the owner, or "franchisors," sell the rights of the company to allow third party operators, or "franchisees," to use their name, logo and business model to open another location. Common franchises include companies such as McDonald's or Subway. 

Here’s the story of a Marine Corps veteran who served for 27 years and wanted to continue serving his country in a different way – through opening a franchise. Willie Smith served most recently as a master sergeant in the Marine Corps. Smith performed several duties such as training and recruiting marines domestically, property management in Okinawa, building warehouses to store combat equipment in Afghanistan, and even accounting and finance while he was stationed in Hawaii.

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