Banking & Finance, Economic Development, and Small Business & Startups

Teaching small biz owners how to get loans

The SBA is funding Getting to Yes! training at GVSU.

March 27, 2015
| By Pete Daly |
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The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Michigan District Office, in conjunction with the Michigan Small Business Development Center at Grand Valley State University, is bringing “Getting to Yes!” training to West Michigan.  

Described by GVSU as a “unique initiative,” the program was developed to help small business owners get the financing they need to grow their businesses. It was created in response to concerns of business owners who found it difficult to access capital for a variety of reasons. The training is based on four phases: education, consultation, mock loan preparation and individual meetings with lenders.

“This unique approach to preparing for the loan process greatly improves the probability of accessing capital,” said SBA Michigan District Director Gerald Moore. “Participants will develop a comprehensive loan package, get a chance to rehearse their pitch in front of a panel of lenders, and gain access to a wide variety of traditional and alternative lending institutions.”

Domenic Maiuri, chief financial officer for Nora Contracting in Detroit, said the program “gave me access to 13 lenders in one day. That’s something I would never have without the program.”

He said the company’s line of credit was significantly increased after meeting with commercial lending experts.

Huntington Bank has been the most active lender in SBA-backed business loans in Michigan for several years, which means it must know the small business loan market as well as any bank. So the Business Journal asked what are the would-be business borrowers doing wrong?

Eric Mills, a senior vice president at Huntington in Grand Rapids and the bank’s business banking market manager here, said small business owners may start deliberating about what they want to purchase or finance without having the benefit of understanding their credit options, so “we encourage early outreach to a business banker to help set expectations appropriately at the outset, even before filing a formal application.”

Mills said small businesses looking to grow by acquisition should connect with a reputable business broker to determine the financials and other up-front items that will be necessary for the bank to assess before it decides if it can make the loan.

“We understand that deals’ terms change throughout negotiations. It’s important to engage a banker when a deal is identified but also to be transparent about changes as they happen. These can affect an application in process because our view of the potential financing structure can shift based on the circumstances,” said Mills.

Getting To Yes! runs May 8 to June 26 and is free for participants. Attendees should have two years of successful business operations and be willing to commit to the entire program, during which they will complete a business plan with detailed financial projections.

Application information and program details can be found at sba.gov/mi. For more information on how to apply, contact Jeanne Ferro at ferroj@gvsu.edu or (616) 331-7374.

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