SCORE Workshops by SBA to Stress Business Basics
The Small Business Administration's volunteer
counseling arm, SCORE, will conduct half-day
workshops that offer instruction on some of the
business skills important to banks when they are
considering a loan. Those who have completed
four workshops will receive a Certificate of
Achievement that can be included in the business
plan required for submission by a bank when you
apply for a loan. The schedule is: November 4:
How to Start a Successful Business; November 9:
Marketing/Selling; November 16: Talking to the
Banker; and November 23: Taxes, Licenses, and
Record Keeping. For more information, call
(312) 353-7724, or visit SCORE's Internet site
Tip of the Month: Read the Fine Print
Almost everyone has seen the commercials or
received the offers in the mail: credit cards
that offer "cash back on every purchase." But
these offers are not all they appear. Often, if
you read the details of the agreement, you'll
find that there are conditions attached to the
- A maximum amount you can receive per year
- A requirement that you carry a balance each month, i.e. go in debt.
- A high interest-rate, often close to 18% or more.
- No grace period unless you pay your previous balance in full.
- A high cash advance fee.
Offers that sound too good to be true usually
are. Always read the fine print! For more tips
about credit issues, visit www.nfcc.org.
Web Site Review: www.sba.gov
Being the nation's largest small business
provider, you'd probably expect the Small
Business Administration's Web site to be chock
full of resources, and fortunately, www.sba.gov
doesn't disappoint. Contained in the extensive
site are sections including:
- a financing page that allows users to get loan info, download forms, and search for lenders in their area
- information on how to expand your business through marketing
- SBA office info and service descriptions
- procurement information detailing ways to grow your business by selling to state and federal government agencies
- hundreds of links to other helpful web sites
Browsing such an exhaustive site takes patience,
but the rewards are well worth the time
Keeping a Clean Credit History
One of the biggest obstacles that entrepreneurs
face when trying to start a new business or
expand an existing one is a poor credit history.
There are a few simple things you can do to
ensure that your credit history doesn't stand in
your way. First, get a copy of your credit
report, which costs $8 (numbers listed to the
left). Then make sure you can read the report.
It will list all payments on any credit card
account (checking or savings accounts aren't
tracked) you've ever had. The number codes
represent various levels of delinquency in
payments (01 being the best and 09 being the
worst). Make sure the information listed is
correct. For example, if a payment you made on
time is listed as late, call the credit bureau
and report it immediately. Make all your
current payments on time. If you know you won't
be able to pay a bill, contact the organization
you're due to pay and explain the situation.
Most will work with you to set up a new payment
schedule, avoiding the need for them to report a
late payment to the credit bureau.
Women's Business Development Center - The WBDC
offers a five part entrepreneurial training
program called JumpStart Your Business for both
startup and existing business owners, as well as
workshops on marketing and access to capital. 8
S. Michigan. Call (312) 853-3477 for fee and
time information. All are welcome:
- JumpStart Your Business Workshops:
- Before You Start- November 9
- Market Research- November 17
- Financial Analysis I- December 1
- Business Plan- November 3 & December 8
- Financial Analysis II - November 10 and December 15
- Expanding Your Market - Corporate & Gov' t Buyers - Nov. 23
- Loan Workshop - November 29
Community Media Workshop - CMW offers workshops
on improving your media exposure and
communications. Located 600 S. Michigan. Call
(312) 344-6400 for information on fees:
- Becoming a Better Spokesperson - December 3, 8:45 a.m.-12 p.m.
- Creating a Strategic Communications Plan - December 15, 8:45 a.m.-12 p.m.
The Cosmopolitan Chamber of Commerce - The CCC's
School of Business Management offers quarterly
weekend courses to help business owners and
aspiring entrepreneurs stay ahead of the
competition. Located at 1326 S. Michigan. Call
(312) 786-0212 for registration and fee
- Basic Marketing & Advertising Promotions- November 13, 8:30-5 p.m. - discusses advertising options, marketing on the Internet, and promotions and public relations.
- Basic Bookkeeping & Finance- December 11, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. - discusses preparation of balance sheets, profit and loss statements, cash flow statements, and business taxes.