How Micro Loans Can Mean Macro Success for Your Business

"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 never mastered the art of having patience, I have learned how that 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 understanding 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
*auto or small engine repair shops
*childcare facilities
*arts and craft sellers.

Nontraditional businesses such as:

*massage therapists
*event planners
*business, life and relationship coaches
*soap and essential oil manufacturers
*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

Cheryl Antier is the President/CEO of Dream Weaver Enterprises, a business and fundraising consulting company. She started MAPS (Microenterprise Answers to your Personal Success) as a way to give something back to other women for the blessings she's received in her life. http://www.microenterprisesuccess.com offers information about government grants, microenterprises development programs, training and resources. The information is broken down by state. Sign up for "Directions" the free newseltter for small business owners that will help you get your business going where you want it to. We've done all the research for you, saving you time and money. Each issue is jampacked with information about hot business topics, so you can learn what you need to know, quickly and easily. Learn about the latest programs, and know if you qualify BEFORE you apply. Read reviews about the books, programs and software that can help you succeed. NEVER be taken in by a con artist again! Monthly ALERTS warn you about scams. Your privacy is important so your information is safe. Subscribe today free!

In The News:

Small business is big business in SC  Charleston Regional Business
Goldman Sachs Started 7300 Small Businesses. What's Next?  Harvard Business School Working Knowledge
Small Business Hiring Slows  The Wall Street Journal

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