Self-Financing Your Staten Island Business Carries Rewards and Risks

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STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – Successful small businesses of all types exist across Staten Island. Regardless of the goods or services they provide, it’s likely at one time or another they all experience the same need: Finding a sensible source of financing.

“Entrepreneurs commonly have first-hand experience dealing with the reality of the old adage, ‘You need money to make money,’” said John J. Amodio, chairman of SCORE-Staten Island. “Whether needing seed money for a new venture, or seeking funds for the marketing and expansion of an established enterprise, a business owner will have to decide upon the most effective and affordable way to acquire capital.  At all times, it’s vital to keep in mind that the source – and cost – of financing may impact not only an entrepreneur’s business, but one’s personal life, as well.”

Loans are a great, affordable way to get a small business off the ground. But they’re not for everybody.

“Personal sources of financing can work just as well, and may be the entrepreneur’s ‘Plan B’ if attempts to secure a commercial loan are unsuccessful,” Amodio said.

Although self-financing options may give you more control and flexibility over your start-up capital, special care is essential to make sure they are used wisely.

“A misstep puts more than your small business at risk. It can also endanger the long-term security of you and your family,” Amodio cautioned.

Before you dip into your savings or tap the equity in your house, Amodio and SCORE-Staten Island advise you consider the following:

  • BE PRACTICAL

Make sure you have a realistic plan to meet your existing obligations, such as mortgage, utility bills, vehicle payments, insurance and daily living expenses.

  • PONDER UNEXPECTED EVENTS

Be sure to consider “worst-case” scenarios, such as a spouse losing his or her job, major car repairs, or a serious health issue. The likelihood of such events may seem remote, but the consequences on your financial security will be very real if they do occur.

  • AVOID CERTAIN FUNDS

A good preventive measure is to designate certain funds as “off-limits” for use in your business. Certain retirement accounts may also be “untouchable” due to the tax consequences and heavy penalties associated with early withdrawals.

  • TREAD CAUTIOUSLY WITH FRIENDS AND FAMILY

Friends and family members can be good sources for start-up capital. However, history is full of ruined businesses and personal relationships because money was not repaid as expected, or the investor demanded a say in how the business was run. Even if your benefactors place no conditions on the money, make sure everyone clearly understands how the funds are to be used; the repayment terms and amount of interest, if applicable; and what role, if any, contributors will play in the business. Then, put everything in writing and have all parties agree to the terms.

  • CONSIDER CREDIT CARDS A LAST RESORT

Credit cards can also be a source of quick cash for your business, but low limits and high interest rates usually make them useful only as a last resort, or as a short-term cash flow bridge. It’s best to use them only if absolutely necessary, and you have the ability to pay them down quickly. Otherwise, that debt can quickly spiral out of control.

  • PORE OVER TRADE-RELATED OFFERS

Carefully scrutinize equipment financing offers from retailers and manufacturers. Their terms may be more restrictive and expensive than credit cards.

To get an insightful, objective look at your small business financing options, contact SCORE-Staten Island, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping entrepreneurs start, grow and succeed.

About SCORE-Staten Island

SCORE-Staten Island is dedicated to fostering a vibrant small-business community within its New York City borough by providing cost-free education and confidential mentoring to both aspiring and established entrepreneurs. Headquartered at 950 West Fingerboard Road, Grasmere, in the iconic Staten Island Advance Building, the organization is Chapter 476 of the nationwide SCORE, a nonprofit association and resource partner with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). For additional information, or to schedule an appointment, SCORE-Staten Island may be visited at https://statenisland.score.org; telephoned at 718-727-1221; emailed at info@SCORESI.org, and visited on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SCOREStatenIsland.

 

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