This spring, small businesses across the U.S. have been taking advantage of economic stimulus loans backed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) through its Paycheck Protection Program. These loans are designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll, and the SBA will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities.

Although most business owners are aware that the SBA backs loans, it also offers many other resources for entrepreneurs and companies both large and small. Since 1953, it has provided capital, contracts, and counseling to small business owners. The agency's website presents in-depth guidance on business planning, start-up and management, as well as useful tools and links to local resources. With the summaries and links provided at sba.gov, this wealth of information is just a few keystrokes away.

Starting and Managing a Business

This section of the website provides an introduction to all the information and resources needed to begin and run a successful small business. From writing a business plan, to finding a mentor, to learning about financing and business laws and regulations, the novice entrepreneur can get a great start by following these links. Once the business has been launched, resources are also provided for successful management and growth.

Of particular interest is the Small Business Readiness Assessment Tool , which is designed to help the novice entrepreneur understand if he or she is ready to start a small business. Responses are scored automatically, and an assessment profile is created, along with suggested next steps.

The Learning Center has sections with advice and resources to help you plan and launch a business, manage a business, and grow your business.

Loan Programs

When you are ready to consider financing options for your small business, the SBA will guide you through the best options available for your type of business and your location, such as: financing through its specialized loan programs; how to obtain government grants; bond options; and venture capital or other financing options.

SBA-backed small business loans are loans that are not issued by the SBA, but rather are guaranteed by them. This debt financing is provided by commercial lenders and guaranteed by the SBA, which reduces the risk to the lender and provides loans for small businesses that would not necessarily qualify for traditional financing.

Nevada State Bank is a Preferred Lender with the SBA. For information about the types of SBA loans* available through Nevada State Bank, visit nsbank.com/sba.

Government Contracting

Contracting with the federal government can be a great way to help your small business grow. Your business must qualify as a “Small Business” and adhere to standards set by the SBA in order to register for government contracting as a small business concern. Special opportunities are also available for companies that qualify because they are disadvantaged, women owned, veteran owned, or located in an underutilized area. The SBA can help with certification, registration, finding contracting opportunities, and contract support.

Counseling and Training

Since its inception, the SBA has provided counseling and training programs for small businesses. In today's global economy, continued learning, counseling and training are not only important for a business' continued economic success, but also necessary to ensure ongoing employee satisfaction.

SBA provides counseling and mentoring to small businesses through a variety of local programs and offices. Local SBA District Offices are located across the country. In addition to counseling and mentoring assistance, these offices help implement SBA programs, and offer free or low-cost business development support. The Las Vegas office may be contacted at 702-388-6611, and the Reno office phone number is 775-827-4923.

SBA also collaborates with colleges and universities at Small Business Development Centers. These centers are designed to provide management support to eligible small business owners and future entrepreneurs at no cost. Educational services range from assistance with starting a business, to managing a business, to resolving production or operational problems. To find out about resources in Nevada, visit nsbdc.org.

The SBA relationship with SCORE can also be an important resource. This nonprofit association is made up of over 13,000 volunteers who offer free and confidential business counseling services to small businesses. SCORE's resources also include templates and tools, local and online workshops and networking events. For more information, visit scorelv.org (Las Vegas office) or northernnevada.score.org/ (Northern Nevada office).

Online Training

In addition to all the local resources available for counseling and training, SBA also offers dozens of podcasts, videos, and online training courses to assist small business owners and prospective entrepreneurs. The self-paced and easy to understand online courses require registration, but are free, and include most of the basic information required to successfully start and run a small business

 

*Loans are subject to credit approval. Terms and conditions apply. See a banker for details.

The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice. Any views expressed in this article may not necessarily be those of Nevada State Bank. Nevada State Bank is a division of Zions Bancorporation, N.A. Member FDIC