A new year is a great time to start your own business

Special to the GatewayJanuary 15, 2014 

This is the season of New Year’s resolutions. Whether it’s deciding to join a gym or cut back on sweets, chances are, you’re making some resolutions for 2014.

This year, though, think outside the box. I encourage you to ask yourself: Do you have a great idea for a product or service? Have you always wanted to start your own business?

Small businesses create two out of every three net new private-sector jobs, and half of working Americans either own or work for a small business.

Would you like to be one of these entrepreneurs?

This is a great time to start. And, a business plan is the first step.

As you come up with a plan, the U.S. Small Business Administration stands ready to help. SBA has many resources to assist you, and you can start by going to www.sba.gov to learn about the products and services we have to offer.

On our website, you’ll learn about our core programs, or what we like to call our 3 Cs: counseling, contracting and capital.

We know that business counseling helps small businesses succeed, and that’s why SBA has a strong counseling and training network, to help small business owners and entrepreneurs gain access to those resources.

I encourage you, as you think about starting or growing your business, to drop by the Seattle District Office. We have staff ready and willing to help.

Or visit a Small Business Development Center, Women’s Business Center, SCORE volunteer or the Veterans Outreach Business Center, all of which have helpful staff who can guide you as you begin your journey toward entrepreneurship.

Contracting is the second “C.” At SBA, we connect small businesses with the federal government’s supply chain.

As you might imagine, the federal government is the largest purchaser of goods and services in the world, from paperclips to jet airplanes and everything in between. We’re tasked to ensure small businesses get at least 23 percent of federal contracts, nearly $90 billion a year.

Your small business could be one of them.

We want to make sure every entrepreneur or small business owner who wants to start or grow their business can achieve their dream, and that usually entails looking for financing.

This past fiscal year, SBA supported more than $29 billion in lending to small businesses and entrepreneurs nationwide, including more than $1 billion across the Pacific Northwest and almost $700 million in the Seattle District.

And, for the current fiscal year, we have set fees on SBA-supported loans, for $150,000 and under, to zero. That makes loans cheaper for borrowers — another way SBA is helping to serve small business owners as they look for ways to access capital.

That’s just some of what SBA has to offer our nation’s entrepreneurs.

The American tradition of entrepreneurship has helped grow our country for the long term, creating jobs and strengthening the economy.

Let’s keep that tradition going.

This new year is a great time to start a new business — and SBA is here to help.

Calvin W. Goings is the regional administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration. For more information, visit www.sba.gov.

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