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Small Business Technology and Development Center

Sherry Gray

CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
I recently asked our local SBTDC office for help with marketing and limited funding. The Center is part of the Small Business Administration, but affiliated with the business schools at UNC-Chapel Hill and Central University, located in Durham. Does anyone else have a Center close to them? Have you asked them for advice? The first thing the associate did was compare my financials with other frame shops my size in the US (who are using or have used SBTDC in the recent past). He mailed me a synopsis of the info gathered and we'll meet next week for a more in-depth review; as well as begin forming a marketing plan. I wasn't too surprised by the information, but he asked some hard-line questions that I believe will certainly help the bottom line. I am moving the shop in January and wish to acquire limited funds to both promote the move and lay-out the shop in a more appealing way. I was surprised that he didn't offer SBA monies to do this, but guided me into getting a home equity loan. What are your thoughts on this? I am incorporated and have a small portion of the original business loan left. With the equity loan I can get a much lower interest rate for both the move and to pay off this original note. I hope I have given you enough information.
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B. Newman

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Sherry, I did meet with the folks at SCORE (Service Corp of Retired Executives) www.score.org
for a while. They helped me to get started in "serious-izing" my business. They talked about getting SBA monies when I was ready to take the business store front, but with my family situation being what it is, I think they felt that they were sorta wasting their time on me since I couldn't do more right then.

I have since found a CPA/CMA (as I've posted 40 jillion times) that has helped me tremendously. Yeah, I'm paying for it now, and wasn't then, but as the saying goes, "ya get what you pay for!" Not that the SCORE folks wern't good, they were very good, (and even helped promote me http://scoreknox.org/success/newman.htm ) but now I have someone who has a distinct interest in MY business.



MGF, Master Grumble Framer
I have a bit of a problem of financing a business with a home equity loan. I have always been told that this was a very poor practice. If the business fails, and you default on the loan, you lose your home. Not a comforting thought. This is the main problem that I have with the advice that you have been given. I really think that going the route that Betty has taken is better. As she says, that way you have someone who is specifically looking out for YOUR business, not small businesses in general.

Sherry Gray

CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
As soon after the initial meeting as I could get back to the shop, I called my CPA, who is also a Certified Financial Planner and asked his advice. He too seemed to think this is a good move. Mainly because the interest rates will be so low; and the monthly payment low enough that I could still make it personally if for some reason the shop defaulted on the loan, and I had to get a job to pay it personally. I am hestitant for the very reasons mentioned, but money-wise it seems to be the best solution. I can't decide if my apprehension stems from getting an equity loan, or just borrowing money in general.
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