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Our goal is to accelerate Ohio's economy by helping people start, sustain and grow their businesses. Our Vision is to help transform Ohio into an innovative, entrepreneurial-based culture.
How can I finance my start-up business?
Most businesses are financed out of a combination of owner's equity (owner's investment) and a commercial loan. If an entrepreneur were seeking a commercial loan, a reasonable expectation would be that the lending bank would expect at least 20% of the needed dollars would be from the entrepreneur.
How can I get an SBA loan?
Small Business Administration (SBA) programs are designed to encourage commercial lenders to make loans directly to business owners or entrepreneurs. The SBA does not make direct loans.
I want some of that free grant money that I am always hearing about...
This is an urban myth type question. While there are thousands of grant programs across the country, most are not targeted toward for-profit businesses. Careful research may reveal small, isolated opportunities in specific markets. However, as a general rule, grant dollars are not available to help most small businesses.
How important is my credit score when I am seeking a commercial loan?
A borrower's credit score is very critical to the approval of a commercial loan. While there are occasional exceptions, most lenders want a credit score of 650 or better for a commercial loan. In addition, a recent bankruptcy (last 7 years) is almost always a non-starter.
Would your answer on the grant question above still be the same if I said I was a minority? A woman? A veteran? Disabled?
How can I have my business qualified as a woman-owned business?
The WBENC certification for women-owned businesses is one of the most widely recognized certifications in the nation. Being certified as a WBE means that a business concern has gone through a rigorous and stringent certification process to confirm the business is owned, managed, and controlled by a woman or women. For more information, see http://www.wbenc.org/GetCertified/Default.aspx
Are there advantages to having a business owned by a woman or minority?
There are, but it depends a lot on the type of target customers the business is seeking. Many government contracts and some larger businesses have set-aside agreements, providing a declared percentage of opportunities for women, veterans, minorities, etc. If these are your target customers, then 51% ownership may make sense.
Do I have to have experience in the business I am considering in order to have a reasonable chance at success?
Not to dwell on negatives, but there is a high failure rate for start-up businesses. Your odds of success are going to be much greater if you are taking on risks that you understand as opposed to risks you don't understand. If you are going to need a loan to get your business started, the lenders will strongly prefer that you are experienced in the new business.
Who are the most important key advisors for my business?
Key advisors should be knowledgeable about small business issues in general and about your specific type of business in particular. Over the long haul, you will benefit the most from a good accountant, a good attorney, a good insurance agent and a good banking relationship.
If there is one item I should focus on to make my odds for success the greatest, what should it be?
Entrepreneurs and business owners who understand and are dedicated to good planning are usually among the most successful.