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5 Small Business Loan Ideas

So you want to start your own business but need a small business loan. Where do you look? Who can help?

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If you’re not in the position to self-fund your small business, here’s what you need to know about where to look and who you can approach for getting that much-needed small business loan.

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Small business loans from government

The South African government is acutely aware that small businesses are integral to developing the economy and creating employment. As such, there are a number of initiatives for getting funding from the government. Whether you’re youth, women, previously disadvantaged, or involved in BEE, there’s government funding for you. Here’s a list of some:

The Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA)

SEDA has branches in each district municipality around the country. It provides information, support and referrals for a range of activities such as tender applications, import and export training, trade information, business assessment, support and mentoring, technical support, market access and business linkages. You can get more information from their site .

The Co-operatives Incentive Scheme (CIS)

CIS provides successful applicants with cash grants to allow their co-operatives to build quality services and suppliers to improve and grow their business. Cash grants are typically awarded to black-owned companies, initiatives helping overcome unemployment and poverty, and are registered co-operatives. More information is available at here.

Related: Attention Black Entrepreneurs: Start-Up Funding From Government Grants & Funds

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Small business loans from banks

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Several of South Africa’s national banks are involved in encouraging and supporting entrepreneurial activity. They’re able to provide initial start-up capital, working capital, short-, mid- and long-term lending, as well as business support.

Like government funding though, banks have conditions that need to be met before lending occurs in order to lessen their risk in financing your business.

  • Start by ensuring your house is in order. Make sure you have comprehensive records and documentation that shows your business has been profitable for a period of time, that your credit record is clean, and that you have collateral to borrow against.
  • Make sure you have a sound business plan that you have written and understand, complete with financial records and projections to discuss with the bank.
  • Have your financial statements ready, be able to detail how much money is needed and for what purpose, and foster a good track record with your bank before asking for a loan. If you’re in a good position to get a loan, shop around to see which bank can offer you the best loan terms.

Related: How To Find Funding in South Africa

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Small business loans from family and friends

You may be in the position to ask family and friends for a loan, but be aware that while this may offer the most favourable loan terms and interest etc., it can come at a cost and can even seriously damage your relationships. Here’s what to pay attention to:

  • Family and friends are more likely to invest in you because they love you, not because they have faith in your business idea.
  • Loans create personal and emotional issues. If you borrow from a relative and aren’t able to repay it, it can cause feelings of guilt, embarrassment and resentment.
  • Be clear on giving versus loaning. While a friend or family member may say they’re “giving” you the money, they rarely mean it in the legal sense of a “gift”. Make sure you and the lender are absolutely clear on the terms and conditions of the loan to avoid future conflict over misunderstandings.
  • Debt can be better than equity. If you borrow money and pay back the loan with interest, it can be a better move than offering equity in the business in exchange for a loan – with debt, you’re still in control of the business.
  • Try align your loan payments to cash flow. Consider cash flow obligation rather than fixed repayment schedules. That way, when you can spare the money, you can repay.

Related: 4 Funding Sources

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Small business loans from investors

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When looking for funding from investors, consider the kind of investor you want. An angel investor is someone with significant funds to spare that will offer you finance in exchange for a piece of the action.

They typically want equity in the business or a fixed percentage ROI, and want to be involved in the business’s growth – offering mentorship, support and advice with business decisions.

Loans from venture capitalists are quite different to angel investors. This kind of lender is looking for a high growth business typically in the tech industry, and will want to pull out with a handsome ROI after just a few years.

Venture capitalists expect to be involved in management decisions, are strict on their terms and conditions, and expect you to adhere to the business plan you presented to them.

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Small business loans from crowd funding

A new form of lending in the last few years, crowd funding provides businesses with the opportunity to attract funding through attracting a number of micro-lenders to the cause. A business will post a profile and business pitch on a crowd-funding platform like Kick-starter.

Business owners are able to negotiate terms and conditions of loans ranging from a percentage of interest, to more creative rewards such as the lender’s name on a menu item.

Funders can also decide how much they’re prepared to invest, be it as little as R100 right up to the full loan requirement. Visit www.kickstarter.com to see how other small businesses are getting funding.

Related: 10 Tips for Finding Seed Funding

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4 Black-Owned Businesses Participating in This Enterprise Development Programme That Are Growing – Fast

The Department of Small Business Development (DSBD) and Property Point have joined forces to take 16 small to medium-sized, black-owned, businesses, through a life-changing enterprise development programme.

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The Department of Small Business Development (DSBD) and Property Point have joined forces to take 16 small to medium-sized, black-owned, businesses, through a life-changing enterprise development programme.

In its first three months of operation, this programme has already seen incredible results with an average growth rate of 27% per business,  R17,8million in contract secured and 21 direct jobs created. This is a unique collaboration in that it is set up specifically to encourage access to markets for the beneficiary businesses and is the first of its kind in the industry.

But who are the people behind the numbers?  Meet four out of the 16 business owners , Thabiso, Falvia, Malusi and Mandla taking full advantage of this opportunity.

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Entrepreneur Today

How WordPress Can Help Your Small Business

WordPress is an amazingly large platform filled with incredible tools from useful plugins to intriguing extensions. It’s a platform for bloggers, social media influencers, and increasingly, small business owners.

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WordPress is one of the largest content management systems available. In fact, it powers nearly 30% of all US websites. Its ease of use and a open-source nature has prompted the platform to become overwhelmingly popular.

For many, WordPress is an invaluable resource that makes website management simple and promotes their brand easily. It is Little Wonder then that so many businesses use WordPress to handle their website and online presence management. Even though it is very popular, learning WordPress is an entirely different task.

Not many small businesses can afford to have a WordPress developer. In that case, it is important for many owners to learn as much as they can about WordPress.

Achieving effective market growth

There are those who still wish to use traditional services but are usually dumbfounded by the price and time requirement for making custom websites outside of the platform.

The abundant array of tools and applications makes using WordPress simple but effective for market growth.

For many businesses just starting out, getting traction and marketing growth are very difficult and can be taxing experiences if done by hand.

Related: 7 Ingredients Of Small Business Success Online

With a platform like WordPress achieving a beautiful website and pushing a brand is much simpler and easier than trying to do everything yourself.

Optimising your website with SEO

One of the most important aspects of business writing on a website is search engine optimisation or SEO. WordPress fortunately comes with a number of plugins that makes SEO very simple such as Yoast.

This service scroll through text and automates the SEO process to make sure your content is pushed to the best of its ability while also giving your brand the most exposure it can possibly take.

SEO is a very taxing and tedious process for many small business owners and the WordPress platform makes it simple.

Monitoring your website and developing leads

There is also the issue of monitoring who is coming to your website and who was looking at your products. again, on the WordPress platform there is the Google analytics plugin which allows owners to analyze who’s coming to their website and for how long.

This can be used to determine if your marketing or branding is effective and can determine what things need to change to increase exposure.

For small business, exposure is everything and awareness is the key to a successful business.

Increasing site security

Keeping a site secure is another main issue for people who run their own website and luckily WordPress has a plug-in for that.

Vaultpress, the premier security plugin, keeps your website secure and in the event of a catastrophic failure it can restore the entire site.

Business owners often fear their website crashing as it would reduce the amount of traffic it could garner and may interrupt their business practice. The WordPress platform has many tools which prevent loss of data or breaches of security so that your business can continue to run smoothly.

The benefits of using WordPress

These tools, mixed with a host of other utilities, make WordPress the premiere platform for websites for businesses of any size.

With its integration software you can automate messaging, simplify marketing and, optimise the speed of your website to give users an incredible experience without the cost of a full development team.

The technological age requires that all businesses must have a website or at least a web presence of some kind. it has been shown time and time again that a website is the best way to make a big impression on the consuming public.

Related: 10 Online Marketers To Watch In 2018

Time, as it moves slowly forward, shows us that the world will revolve around the Internet and technology. A web presence then, is not just a good idea or a trendy notion, but rather imperative to stay competitive in the future. To that end, there is no better platform to create a website on than WordPress.

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Government Funding

New Fund For Small Businesses To Be Developed

Government has allocated R2.1-billion toward the development of small- and medium-sized businesses.

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Driven by the Departments of Small Business, Science and Technology and the National Treasury, it was announced during the 2018 budget speech that entrepreneurs could unlocking funding for their businesses through a new funding initiative.

What is the new Fund?

Minister of Small Business Development, Lindiwe Zulu, explains where the fund stands and how it will work:

“The Fund will be operational during 2018/19 financial year but the planned disbursement of the funding will be the beginning of 2019/2020 financial year.”

She says R1 billion has already been transferred to the Department of Small Business Development from the national fiscus.

“The Department of Small Business Development together with National Treasury and Department of Science and Technology are working with the Government Technical Advisory Centre (GTAC) to develop the architecture of the Fund where issues around the management of the Fund will be considered,” she explains.

Related: Government Funding and Grants for Small Businesses

Who will the Fund be for?

“The Fund is targeting high growth businesses as our research on the ecosystem shows that there is a lack of funding of enterprises that are at an ideation and early start-up phase,” Zulu explains.

Her department together with the other participating arms of government, will identify areas of collaboration across research, mentorship and training of enterprises on financial management.

“The work that is being undertaken now will assist government to decide on how the fund will operate, but the government is conscious of the economic environment and would not look at setting up a completely new structure that will add to operational costs,” she says.

Addressing parliament on the fund, the minister said the financial mandate of the fund will be informed by the exercise that is being conducted through GTAC.

“Government is looking at having this fund as a soft loan which will provide affordable finance to small businesses and the emphasis will be more on ensuring that the Fund is sustainable rather than profit maximisation,” she explains.

Related: 11 Uniquely South African Business Ideas

How to apply for funding

Contact the following departments if you would like to access a portion of R2.1 billion:

Department of Small Business Development

  • Address: 77 Meintjies Street, Sunnyside, Pretoria
  • Tel: (+27) 861 843 384
  • Email: sbdinfo@dsbd.gov.za for information on the department and its services.

Department of Science & Technology

  • Address: DST Building (Building no. 53) (CSIR South Gate Entrance) Meiring Naude Road, Brummeria
  • Tel: (+27) 12 843 6300
  • EmailIsaac.Ramovha@dst.gov.za or zama.mthethwa@dst.gov.za for information and brochures about the department’s scope and funding.

National Treasury (GTAC unit)

  • Address: 40 Church Square, Pretoria
  • Tel: (+27) 012 315 5944 or (+27) 012 315 5645
  • Email: info@gtac.gov.za for information from the Government Technical Advisory Centre who will manage the small business fund for National Treasury.

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