Micro-loans for Women Entrepreneurs; A GREAT Thing!

Today I went to the orientation meeting at The Utah Microenterprise Loan Fund office. (By the way, most states have micro-loans available, check with your SBA office) I unfortunately (or fortunately?) missed the first hour because I couldn’t find it and no one there answered the phone because they were in the meeting. I had mistyped the address into MapQuest and then had to try and get the proper address so, lesson #1 of the day was ALWAYS double check your directions. #2 if you’re having a meeting, see if you can at least put your phone on vibrate so if someone is coming they can get help…#3 put directions on your site, it makes life easier for people!

Anyhow, once I got there with my baby, I didn’t feel like I was missing anything because none of the other applicants had a business plan yet or a cash flow statement for their businesses and they were going over how to write a plan and do financials. This was very helpful for those who need to fulfill those necessary requirements before they apply for their loans. I fortunately am done with those steps, so all I need to do is get together my tax info and mail everything together and then I will present my plan to their fund lenders at the end of the month.

I had to feel for those in the room overwhelmed with the prospect of writing a business plan, I wrote my first one for Sweet & Charming (then it was called Princess Sweet) in January 2005 and I’ve just completed my 13th version! Business Plans are necessary, no matter what…so, if you are thinking about getting funding, you need a plan. I recommend The Palo Alto Business Plan software to help you write it. That is a great tool for beginners. I never in my whole life had a business plan class or business class, and although I completely REGRET it, the program is simple enough to help you at least get a draft together to show a mentor at the SBA office.

I do have to complain about one thing. Because I am in Utah County and not Salt Lake County, the fund will only loan me a maximum of $10,000; while if I moved to SLC, I could be given up to $25,000!! This boggles my mind! But, they said it was because of where the lenders are from and where they want to help increase entrepreneurship in the state. Utah County is reportedly one of the BEST places in the country for entrepreneurs, so I guess they are trying to encourage start ups in other places.

Today’s Magic Wand: If you need funding and don’t need a lot, consider a micro-loan! Check out your local microenterprise office.

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