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Micro Loans Can Mean Macro Success for Your Business

Written by: Cheryl Antier

"Inch by inch, row by row...that's the way my garden grows" was a favorite saying of my grandmother's -- usually when she was trying to teach me something about patience!

While I've never learned the art of having patience, I have learned that that particular saying can apply to creating a successful business.

If you've got big dreams for starting or growing your own business, but you lack the start-up capital, technical assistance or training that you need to succeed, then start by thinking...small.

In fact, think smaller than small. Think micro -- as in "microenterprise development programs".

What is a microenterprise development program?

Basically, it's a government sponsored or supported program that provides start-up or expansion capital, technical assistance and training to microbusinesses. It's designed to help entrepreneurs who don't have access to traditional means of credit. Which means that if you're low-income, you've got bad or no credit, you don't have enough collateral to apply for a business loan -- then you're a good candidate for a microloan.

Need other help?

How about training? Learning to write a business plan? Want to go back to school? Need help understand how to put together a cash flow statement?

Most microenterprise development programs also offer training, workshops and other assistance. If they don't offer it themselves, they'll be able to refer you to a community organization that does, and guess what? The help is often free, or offered for a very low cost!

What is a microenterprise?

It is any business that can be started for less than $35,000, has fewer than five employees and has an annual revenue of less than $100,000.

What kind of businesses are eligible for microenterprise loans?

Traditional businesses such as: beauty parlors, bakeries, repair shops, childcare facilities, and arts and craft sellers.

Nontraditional businesses such as: massage therapists, event planners, soap manufacturers and acupuncturists.

If you want to start and run your business out of your home? You can. If you're ready to move out of the basement and into your own building? Microenterprise can help.

Where can you Find a Microenterprise Development Program in Your Community?

*Check out local nonprofit organizations such as the United Way, local community colleges or Small Business Development Center

*Talk to a SCORE Counselor

*Visit your local Chamber of Commerce

*Contact your local women's organization or other small business group

*Visit http://www.microenterprisesuccess.com for free resources, information and helpful articles

So...start small, but dream big!


About the Author

Cheryl Antier is the President and CEO of Dream Weaver Enterprises, a business and fundraising consultancy firm that helps small business owners and nonprofit organizations "weave their dreams into reality" by helping them find the funding they need. Microenterprise can help small business owners get the start-up capital, training and technical assistance to start, build and grow their business. http://www.microenterprisesuccess.com


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