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How To Find A Loan For A Franchise Business Opportunity

Aug 23, 2008
Of the dozen difficult aspects of selecting, starting, and running a new franchise opportunity, few are as potentially paralyzing as paying for it. Most of us have learned that money doesn't grow on trees, and the average franchisee-to-be simply doesn't have the cold, hard resources to make a business purchase outright. Whether the goal is a Sterling Optical costing no less than $100,000 or a Baymont Inn at $1mil, the staggering line of zeroes at the end of the prices on those business opportunities can sometimes be enough to discourage even a veteran entrepreneur.

So what does the earnest and talented entrepreneur with a skinny wallet do? The same thing I did to make my way through college: take out a loan. The problem many people run into, though, is that loans aren't always available to everyone--or at least they don't seem like it.

If you've got good credit and enough assets, it shouldn't be too hard to approach a bank or lending institution, even through your franchisor, and get the sufficient funding to start your franchise. There are even lenders you can approach via the internet to get that startup loan that you're looking for--Diamond Financial and Triple-AAA Financial Service are two great options. But, in our dwindling economy with skyrocketing interest rates, if your credit is even slightly off or you aren't a homeowner with assets to leverage, chances are you're going to find yourself pacing, biting your nails, and losing precious hours of sleep over whether your financing is going to come through or not. There are alternatives to needless worry, however. Aside from the option of finding a partner, investors, or someone in your family who has the cash to cosign the deal with you, there is an alternative that has proven effective for a good number of franchisees hoping for their own franchise opportunities. That alternative is the US government.

Yes, you read that right; the United States government can actually help you. Though they may be tapping your phone and reading your email as we speak, they are genuinely concerned with getting more small businesses--franchises included--up and running, because that is what capitalism, and thus our nation, thrives on. The department you're looking for in this instance is the Small Business Administration (SBA), and they really can get you the money that you're looking for. The way it works is this: when a person interested in a small business franchise can't get a loan from a private lender for whatever reason, the SBA is able to step in and provide a guaranty to the lender as high as $2mil, making a loan possible by taking the responsibility for a potential business--and thus loan-repayment--failure off the franchisee's shoulders.

There are, of course, some hoops for the potential franchise buyer to jump through in order to get that SBA loan, but the rules of engagement are a little different with the SBA than they are with private lenders. Banks and other financial institutions tend to look more at credit and assets than anything else, because in our fading economy, their responsibility is keeping their hands on dollars whether the loan recipient succeeds or not--sounds cold, but we can't blame them. The SBA, however, is far more interested in the business model and the professional chops of the candidate; if they think that this guy with this work from home business plan can make it, he gets the guaranty. Their concern is not keeping their hands on dollars today, but getting functional businesses up and going to pump more dollars into the national economy tomorrow.

As a side note, because the SBA is interested in functional business plans, they also already have a record of franchisors registered with them, having already provided and cleared their business models with the SBA, who agrees that their plans and practices are lucrative and clean. This is a good resource in determining what franchise to purchase as well as figuring out if it will be affordable for you.

Though getting a loan can seem like a hopeless endeavor, there are very real and very effective ways to get it done, without having to leverage your car and sell the shirt off your back--after all, no one is going to be comfortable coming into the SIGNARAMA owned by that creepy shirtless guy. Your franchisor and the Small Business Administration can help when things look really dire. And when you've passed through the trial and learn how it feels to both flounder and fly when it comes to financing a franchise business, you can always go into business helping others to accomplish what you have. Exclusive Commercial Lending and IRA and 401(k) Retirement Plan Rollover are two companies that allow you to do just that: make other people's business dreams a reality.
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