Here’s a list of “big thinkers” from 2013. Who would still make the list?

The-biggest-thinks-of-2013-infographic (1)Check out this infographic (might be better to just view in the link: http://bit.ly/1wzFF1n) of Big Thinkers who were “Shaping The Way We All Think And Work” all the way back in 2013.

Would you recommend anyone else for this list in 2015?

 

 

 

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SBA says: Small Businesses Create 2 Million Jobs

urlFrom an early January post from SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet: “Last week’s jobs report offered more evidence that our economy is gathering a head of steam as we ring in the New Year. Last month, American businesses added back 252,000 jobs and our unemployment rate fell to its lowest level since June 2008. We’re in the midst of 58 month of consecutive job growth – the longest streak on record since the mid-1990s.

Read the article here.

~ Norris Lozano, CEO of BusinessUS

How Grameen Bank is about barn raising, and other observations

screen_cap“When Nobel Prize winner Muhammad Yunus founded Grameen Bank, his innovation was not so much the idea of lending small sums of money to poor villagers in Bangladesh; it was the idea of lending to small groups of women who could help each other make the best use of the loans and ensure repayment. The community was the big idea.”

So says Tim Brown, CEO of Ideo.

The concept of providing capital that helps communities grow is not new to BusinessUS. Please reach out if a small business or organization in your community needs a boost.

 

Fed says: One-Third of all small business loans are SBA-guaranteed

colemanreportbannerlogo082013-2Today, Bob Coleman reports on the “2014 Joint Small Business Credit Survey“, a study compiled by the Federal Reserve Banks of New York, Atlanta, Cleveland and Philadelphia, that reveals that one in three small businesses that received credit in the first half of 2014 came in the form of a SBA loan.

One-in-three.

Wow.

Read more news about SBA lending at the Coleman Report.

~ To find out whether your small business qualifies for an SBA loan, please contact BusinessUS using our contact page, or send an email to Norris Lozano, our CEO,

Small Business Loans: hot… or not?

arrowsThe media is hungry for clues about the direction of the American economy. And as we know, small business is a key engine of this economy, providing 55% of all jobs and 66% of all net new jobs since the 1970’s, as well as 54% of all US sales.

Here are a few positive snippets from recent news:

U.S. small business optimism jumped in December to its highest level in more than eight years, the latest sign of strength in the economy even as dark clouds settle over global growth….The outlook was further bolstered by other data on Tuesday showing job openings approached a 14-year high in November.

But perhaps these headlines grabbed you:

So 2014, on the whole, seems to have been a good year for small businesses seeking capital from banks to grow…..But if you look at the numbers another way, you’d see that this increase is only telling part of the story. It’s a story of success mainly for small businesses seeking big money from big banks.

U.S. small-business lending never quite regained the ground lost during the Great Recession, ceding significant market share to larger firms that have benefited from a gradual but lengthy economic recovery, research from the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland finds.

Seems to be a mixed bag… so here’s some clarity. Big banks are stepping up to the plate for small business after almost 6 years of kicking them to the curb. But only in larger amounts. No surprise here: big banks make big loans to make big profits.

Where small business lending is growing is sub $150,000 loans, which many new online lenders are happy to provide – at massively high rates.

What’s still missing in the picture is the traditional meat-and-potatoes of the small business lending picture: community banks lending to small businesses in their communities.

Says Carly Fiorina in Inc. Magazine: “Unlocking capital is very important, and of course since the financial crisis, the surviving big banks have gotten bigger, but the community banking system is really struggling, and that means small businesses are struggling. It is community banks that provide most of the capital to small business, and [we need to] start unlocking small business loans again. We have got to get capital to them so they can form and thrive.”

If you want to learn more about small business loans, contact BusinessUS

Companies tend to die, Cities don’t

zapposheadquartersTony Hsieh has led Zappos to the business stratosphere, with unique approaches that resonate with its customers.

Inc. Magazine tells of 10 Steps to Zappos Success

US News & World Report lays out the unique reasons that Zappos “… went from a struggling start-up in 2000 to getting acquired by Amazon in a deal valued at $1.2 billion in 2009.”

Legend has it that:

  • 75% of its sales come from returning customers
  • …who also spend 2 1/2 times more time on the website than first-time visitors
  • the longest customer service call took almost six hours.
  • Another rep helped a caller locate a nearby pizza place that would deliver after midnight.

Some say that Zappos’ success is proof that Customer Service is the new Marketing.

Now we hear that Zappos is creating an “entrepreneurial utopia” in Las Vegas (Zappos’ offices are now housed in the old Vegas City Hall), and has changed the corporate structure to a “Holoacracy“, because “Look at companies that existed 50 years ago in the Fortune 500—most don’t exist today. Companies tend to die and cities don’t.”

 

~ If you have a unique concept for your small business need funding to get it going, please contact Norris Lozano or Stephanie Bitters at BusinessUS about an SBA loan. We’d like to support you on the road to Zappos-dom.

16 Hot Startups that Launched in 2014

Logo_Business_InsiderBusiness Insider has issued its Best Startups of 2014 List, and it’s worth the read.

As should be expected from a media source whose CEO is Henry Blodgett, there’s a whole lotta technology on the list, analyzed by factors like

  • funding
  • revenue
  • growth, and
  • investor interest.

Here’s the article:

Here’s the list:

  1. glamsquad-brings-hair-salon-quality-blowouts-to-your-apartmentGLAMSQUAD brings hair salon-quality blowouts to your apartment.
  2. Spring is the Instagram for shopping.
  3. DWNLD makes apps easy to make, customize and get published in the App Store
  4. Ello is the ad-free, anti-Facebook social network.

  5. Curbside lets you order stuff on your phone and pick it up at the store without leaving your car.

  6. Reserve takes all the pain out of making restaurant reservations.

  7. Shyp sends your packages for you, so you never have to step foot in the post office
  8. Jet.com is Marc Lore’s mysterious “Amazon-killer” e-commerce website.
  9. More …

~ For more information about using an SBA Loan as part of your startup capital, please contact Norris Lozano at BusinessUS

Washington DC may assist more small businesses in the New Year

image_from_bitly_13U3V75“Small businesses are looking for government to function and get a lot more done,” said John Arensmeyer, chief executive officer of the advocacy group Small Business Majority.

A few of the options on the table in this upcoming Congress are:

  1. Reduction in corporate tax rate from the current 35%
  2. Small Business tax deductions
  3. Bonus depreciation
  4. Reduction in paperwork for SBA loans.

“It’s expected to encourage more banks, particularly smaller ones, to make SBA-backed loans, said SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet.”

Read the full article here.

~ Learn more about small business loans by contacting Norris Lozano at www.Bizbank.US

“8,000 small business loans are declined every day by banks”

Time well spent: Have a look and listen to this impactful talk2014_10_28_Screen_Cap_video_Connie_Evans with Connie Evans, President & CEO, Association for Enterprise Opportunity in Washington DC, hosted by Bob Coleman of the Coleman Report.

Ms. Evans gives an impressive array of facts about the benefits of micro-lending (loans of up to $50,000) and micro-capital (up to $250,000) to small businesses of up to 5 employees.

Among others, she says that such businesses are declined for loans by banks at a rate of 8,000 declines per day.

8,000. Declines. Per. Day.

The opportunity to serve these underserved small business borrowers is profound.

~ Norris Lozano, CEO, BusinessUS, a California-based small business lender

For small business, a lot of lending is moving online

Logo_Harvard_Business_ReviewWe’ve read multiple stories recently (here are just a few one, two, three, four…) about small business lenders accomplishing astonishing numbers with online lending platforms. In our research we’re finding that this new money appears easy to get (the online applications and due diligence are relatively simple), but the price is steep (annualized interest rates of up to 70%).

Problem is, small businesses have fewer financing options now then in the last decade. Indeed, small businesses have suffered 3 ways when it comes to acquiring capital they need to grow. According to the Harvard Business Review:

  1. “A decades-long trend toward consolidation of banking assets into fewer institutions is eliminating a key source of capital for small firms….”
  2. “…collateral owned by small businesses lost value during the financial crisis, potentially making small business borrowers less creditworthy today…”
  3. “In the recent recession, small-business sales were hit hard and may still be soft, undermining their demand for loan capital…”
  4. “…. tightening on loan terms, including the Federal Reserve Senior Loan Officer Survey, for small businesses increased at double-digit rates during the recession and recovery, and have eased at just single-digit rates over the past several quarters. Loosening has been much slower and more tentative for small firms than for large firms…” (italics added)

Despite the low barriers to lending, these expensive online lenders are not a sustainable solution to small business borrowing needs. What’s often overlooked in this discussion of small business loans are SBA loans. SBA loans are available from banks and non-bank lenders to American small businesses that “can not get credit elsewhere” (small businesses that are underserved by traditional lenders) at competitive rates (about 6%) with an SBA guarantee.

~ Norris Lozano

CEO of BusinessUS

He’s Back: Al Gore, “The Turning Point: New Hope for the Climate”

gore-600-1403097332Al Gore is back with an even stronger message on climate change and a low-carbon economy necessity. His article in Rolling Stone is detailed, stark, and ultimatelty, optimistic:

“Is there enough time? Yes. Damage has been done, and the period of consequences will continue for some time to come, but there is still time to avoid the catastrophes that most threaten our future. Each of the trends described above – in technology, business, economics and politics – represents a break from the past. Taken together, they add up to genuine and realistic hope that we are finally putting ourselves on a path to solve the climate crisis.”

~ Norris Lozano, CEO of BusinessUS

Inc.: In California’s Kevin McCarthy, A Small Business Advocate Rises to GOP’s Top

Kevin-McCarthy_37943With the election of Kevin McCarthy, BusinessUS and other California small businesses find ourselves in an interesting political position: both the Majority Leader and the Minority Leader of the House, and the SBA Administrator, are from our home state.

Read more about Kevin McCarthy and small business here

“In McCarthy, Republicans have found a moderate voice with strong business ties, and the ability to understand the concerns of smaller businesses. They have also found someone who may be able to unify the fractious voices that have prevented the Republican caucus from taking meaningful action on legislation like immigration reform.”

Nancy Pelosi: “After raising $1.8 million for Democrats through her leadership PAC in 2002, Pelosi got the top job when Minority Leader Dick Gephardt. She was the first woman to ever lead a party in Congress. In 2006, she teamed up with Schumer, Harry Reid, and Rahm Emanuel and hatched a plan to take back Congress. …and it totally worked! Democrats won the majority in both chambers, and Pelosi became the first female Speaker of the House. In the first 100 hours of being Speaker in 2006, Pelosi raised the minimum wage, enacted the 9/11 commission report, ended many tax subsidies to oil companies, and made new rules about lobbying.”

Read more about Pelosi’s successes here 

SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet has a wide range of experience having been a business owner, founder of a Latino-owned community bank and a former California cabinet secretary. She’s also been an advocate for Hispanics.

“She knows business and she knows the economics and the business of raising capital, and the importance of building a solid small business community,” says Betsy Berkhemer-Credaire, president of Los Angeles-based Berkhemer-Clayton, an executive search firm. She has known Contreras-Sweet for about 25 years and worked with her at nonprofit groups including the March of Dimes.

Contreras-Sweet, 58, first became a business owner in 1980, as a partner in the 7UP/RC Bottling of Southern California. She also served on the board of directors of the health insurer Blue Cross of California. In 1999, she became secretary of the California Business, Transportation and Housing Agency and was the first Hispanic woman in the state Cabinet. She held that post until 2003.

Here’s a good summary of the SBA Administrator’s California career

~ Norris Lozano, CEO of BusinessUS

SBA Veterans Business Outreach Center of the Year

VBOC_logoBusinessUS would like to congratulate Veterans Business Outreach Center at Gulf Coast State College, Panama City, FL for it selection as the SBA Veterans Business Outreach Center of the Year.

Read a little bit about this outstanding organization’s commitment to our Veterans:

Taken from the Small Business Week program:

To get a sense of Brent Peacock’s commitment to helping veteran small business owners, take a look at the numbers. In 2013 Brent and his team at the Gulf Coast State College Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC) provided small business counseling, training, finance and contracting assistance to 2,026 veterans. Of those, 174 were women 317 were service disabled veterans, and 112 were National Guard and reservists. Under Brent’s leadership since 2010, the VBOC has established an outstanding reputation for giving veterans the tools to capitalize on their already sharp skills, enabling them to build a foundation for successful entrepreneurship. Serving veterans in the Southern states, the Gulf Coast State College VBOC staff has assisted in securing nearly $6 million in capital investments for their veteran clients. Brent and the team have been instrumental in helping veteran small business owners acquire 31 prime contracts and 14 subcontracts totaling $274 million. Brent also took the lead in implementing the SBA/Syracuse University partnered “Boots to Business” entrepreneurship training program at various military installations for veterans transitioning back to civilian life and small business ownership. He also did numerous training workshops for V-WISE (Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship), a program aimed at helping women veterans start and grow their businesses. Before becoming a business counselor, Brent taught broadcast journalism at Gulf Coast Community College and worked as a news anchor for NPR’s Morning Edition.”

 

Coingratulations, VBOC!

~ Norris Lozano, CEO of BusinessUS, a national non-bank lender specializing in lending to underserved small businesses such as those owned by US Military Veterans.