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Mind Your Own Business
May, 2014 - Issue #115
Courtesy of Shutterstock
Courtesy of Shutterstock
Grow Business, Grow

Small businesses have big potential, but realizing that potential often requires having a Trusted Business Bank Advisor with money to lend. Whatever the end goal for your business' growth, financing is often important. Good news is that there has been an uptick in small-business lending.

"We're Here to Help" with Government-backed SBA Loans
The SBA provides a number of financial assistance programs for small businesses. Each has been specifically designed to meet key financing needs. The most common, broad reaching are the Guaranteed Loan Programs that facilitate debt financing. Qualifying for an SBA loan may be easier than qualifying for other, more traditional forms of financing, as the SBA programs generally allow for a higher loan-to-value ratio, longer amortization periods and may even consider the projected income of the business, not just historical cash flows, when making a credit decision.

The Sky is (Almost) the Limit with SBA 7(a) Loans
SBA 7(a) loans can be used by qualifying borrowers to purchase, renovate or refinance real estate. These loans can also be used for acquiring fixed assets, such as heavy machinery or other equipment, restructuring current debt, working capital and, in some cases, can even be used to fund the acquisition of a new business. This program offers borrowers up to 90 percent financing for the purchase of owner/user commercial real estate that is fully amortized with no balloon payments. With a maximum loan amount of $5 million and terms as long as 25 years for commercial real estate acquisition, construction or refinance, the 7(a) program could serve as a real solution to many borrowers.

Let's Get Physical with Equipment Financing
Equipment financing for small businesses is more expedient and convenient than in the past. Financing options offer a multitude of leasing and lending plans that can repair, replace or upgrade physical assets. Equipment financing options can also replace or update outdated software and technology systems.
Mission Valley Bank SBA Department 818-394-2329; Mission Valley Bank Valencia Office 775-4112; Centre Pointe Business Banking Office 753-5680

6 Major Financial Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
1. Not having an emergency fund. Keep at least three months' worth of your expenses in an account so you're not using credit cards to pay for unexpected events, such as job loss or a medical expense.

2. Not having a budget. Take your income minus your fixed expenses, and the difference is what you can spend each month. Track your spending using tools like www.mint.com.

3. Not saving for retirement. Be sure to take advantage of your employer's retirement savings plan and open your own retirement savings account.

4. Not paying bills on time. Late payments affect your credit score. Sign up for a free service such the one at www.minilla.com, which lets you organize your bills in one place and sends you bill-pay reminders.

5. Not monitoring your credit history. Get a free credit report every year from the three credit reporting companies by going to
www.annualcreditreport.com. Check it for accuracy to ensure you are not a victim of ID theft of fraud.

6. Not paying down credit card debt before everything else. If your credit card interest is 20 percent and your mortgage interest is 5 percent, pay off the credit card debt to avoid paying more in interest over the long term.
Get more free money-saving home tips at Tracy Team/Cobalt Realty Group's website. www.tracyteam.com

Courtesy of Shutterstock
Courtesy of Shutterstock
Don't Slip Up on Liability Claims
What happens when you're at your office building and you trip on broken pavement? Or when you're visiting a recreation center and slip on wet tile? Especially in the event that the premises owner says the accident is not their fault, you need to consider the possibility of filing a claim.

Premises owners can all be held accountable for accidents that take place on their property. Disputes often arise when it comes to determining liability. Did the accident happen because the injured party simply made a misstep or did the accident happen because the property owner was negligent?

Liability is also determined depending upon whether the person who was injured was invited to be on the property or if they were trespassing on the property. In California, trespassers are legally allowed to bring claims against property owners. This means that even if an individual violated the property owner's warning and was injured as a result, they can still file a claim.
Why are trespassers allowed to file these types of claims? Because, in California, property owners are charged with a duty of care. This duty of care is a responsibility to take necessary care of their premises so that an accident does not occur. This means fixing things that could prove hazardous or at least securing those hazards.

If you are involved in an accident, it is important that you do not sign any waivers or admit any type of guilt. These admissions can be used against you when it comes to making a premises liability claim. It is important to contact an attorney before you make any other type of move in order to have your rights explained to you.
The Law Offices of Gerald L. Marcus 296-2992

Is your Small Business in Trouble?
A lot of business owners don't want to look at the numbers because they're afraid of what they'll see. But you can't sweep problems under the rug and pretend that they don't exist. As difficult as it may be, you will be better off looking at things the way they are, not the way you wish them to be. Hope is a good thing, but without action, it is never a good business plan.

If you've made personal guarantees on behalf of your business, creditors can come after you personally if the business doesn't pay. When a business is struggling, most owners use their own personal credit to fund the business, hoping that the business will be able to pay them back someday. If they later decide to close the business down, then they may also ending up filing a personal bankruptcy to discharge the debts. Allocation of liabilities often depends on how your business is structured - whether you're a sole proprietor, partnership, LLC or a corporation.
If you need debt relief and would like to know all available options, call for help making the decisions that need to be made during this critical time. Ray Bulaon Law Offices, Inc. 702-8710
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