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9 Tips for Preparing Your Small Business for the 2012 Tourist Season

Blogged By: 
Caron Beesley, SBA Community Moderator

Travel Blog

While growth in the travel and tourism business is still in recovery mode, the early warm temperatures across most of the U.S. coupled with an uptick in positivity over the future of the economy could make 2012 a good year for the U.S. tourist industry and the small businesses that support it.

Commerce Secretary John Bryson and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced the Administration’s National Tourism and Travel Strategy [PDF] – delivering on President Obama’s call in January for a national strategy to promote domestic and international travel opportunities throughout the United States.

The National Strategy is a blueprint for expanding travel to and within the U.S., laying out concrete steps to be taken in five key areas.  It sets out a goal of increasing American jobs by attracting and welcoming 100 million international visitors annually by the end of 2021, more than a 50 percent increase over the number expected this year. These international visitors would spend an estimated $250 billion per year, creating jobs and spurring economic growth in communities across the country.  Learn more about the strategy here.

So, how can small business owners put the 2012 tourist and vacation season to profitable use? Here are some operational and marketing tips to help you start planning a successful season today.

What to Look For in Your Business Loan Agreement’s Fine Print

Blogged By: 
Caron_Beesley, SBA Community Moderator

Applying for a business loan and securing its approval can be a lengthy process. The actual approval time varies widely depending on the type of loan, its complexity, and the borrower’s timeliness providing the necessary information. This guide from SBA can help you gather the right paperwork, whether you’re applying for an SBA loan or a regular business loan.

But knowing exactly what you’re signing up for is just as important as rounding up the details and completing the paperwork accurately. If you’ve ever purchased a car and found yourself surprised when extra line items turn up on your monthly billing statement, then you’ll know the feeling. With loan agreements, there are devils in the details. That’s why it’s critical to pay attention to the fine print, often found in the promissory note or security interest section of the agreement.

Here are some tips for what to look for and how to avoid potentially costly mistakes:

Common Details Buried in the Fine Print

Some of the key terms that make up a loan agreement aren’t always as explicit as one might hope. The fine print, for example, can include detailed and complex technicalities, qualifications or restrictions of the agreement, and even vital information about the loan’s terms. Things to look out for include:

Prepare for Hurricanes, Disasters by Safeguarding Tax Records

Blogged By: 
irs.gov

IRS YouTube Videos
Preparing for Disasters:
 Spanish | ASL

With the early start of this year’s hurricane season, the Internal Revenue Service encourages individuals and businesses to safeguard themselves against natural disasters by taking a few simple steps.

Create a Backup Set of Records Electronically

Taxpayers should keep a set of backup records in a safe place. The backup should be stored away from the original set.

Turbulent Times Bring New Opportunities

Blogged By: 
Ed Cadena, SBA Nevada District Director

Yes, it’s true that turbulent times can bring a fresh start. We’re inspired by Fortune 500 companies that started with next to nothing. Whole Foods, launched by a college drop-out with money saved and borrowed from friends, posted $6.2 billion in revenues in 2008. Michael Dell ran Dell from his dorm room, until he decided to drop out of college to run his company full time. Apple was started by two friends in a garage. Nordstrom’s, Starbucks, Ebay, and yes, Facebook are all astounding success stories of companies started by someone with a dream and very little else.

Perhaps you have a passion that you dream about translating into your own business – and now seems the right time. You may be asking, “Is entrepreneurship for me?” As exciting as charting a new path can be, it can be a daunting challenge as well.

Business Loan Application Checklist

Blogged By: 
MBDA

Credit AgreementState and local economic-development agencies – and numerous nonprofit organizations – provide low-interest loans to small business owners who may not qualify for traditional commercial loans.

When it comes to applying for these loans, the good news is that most of these other lenders require the same kinds of information. Of course, each loan program has specific forms you need to fill out. But for the most part, you’ll need to submit the same types of documentation. So it’s a good idea to gather what you’ll need before you even start the application process.

Here are the typical items required for any small business loan application:

Loan Application Form

Forms vary by program and lending institution, but they all ask for the same information. You should be prepared to answer the following questions. It’s a good idea to have this information prepared before you fill out the application:

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