Would it be insane to get a business loan and attempt to carry on?
Last May, I started a carpet cleaning company. I have about $9,000 invested in equipment. I invested about $3,000 in my education and certification training. I spent about $3,000 in advertising to generate about $3,000 worth of business.
I had ads in papers with unique phone numbers running for 13 weeks. Not only no work, not even a call. I live in the outer NYC suburbs. I had a competitor report to Google that I was out of business in late November and lost all my listings on Google+ My holiday "spike" was non-existent. If it wasn't for subcontracting for 2 weeks in NJ doing Sandy water damage restoration ($4,000) it would have been dismal.
January and February are very slow. I have done no residential work at all, but I don't actively seek it anymore. I have done about $700 worth of commercial work so far this year, but today I paid out $176 of that to insurance and $90 to a new ad in the newspaper published by my County Chamber of Commerce.
So I have two choices. I have about $3,000 in the bank for this business. When it is gone, it is gone. I want to drop $1,800 on a new, larger, better carpet cleaner. What I have now is hurting me. It is a smaller 78 lbs unit that was supposed to be for climbing stairs. What I want is about 120 lbs and a little larger. It can't climb stairs without help. I have no help. It will make me better and faster at what I do. If I don't get it, I probably can't compete.
That leaves $1200. I have to spend $400 to join the chamber. That could be good for networking. I could put another ad in the May issue of their paper. It only publishes bi-monthly. That leaves me with $700 for a direct mail campaign. If it doesn't work out, I am finished.
I have a part time job for a few weeks now as a janitor at a hotel. I only get $9 per hour and one week I will work three 5 hour shifts, then the next week four 5 hour shifts. There is another janitor at the hotel and they stretch it really thin. I can't live on that, but that's all I have after looking since mid November.
There is an alternative. I have a $15,000 business plan written. I am in for $2500 of my money, I get an SBA loan for $12,500. I can get 8 years at 4%. That's like $152 per month. My adviser at the chamber says I can get this. Within a year, I might be able to get a small grant of about $2,000 as well. I just have to join the chamber and sign the papers. I don't know. Could work. They say my business plan is better than most and there is a market for the services I can provide. I didn't get any mentoring until December. I am scared. If I go ahead, I have to succeed or I'm going to be ruined trying to pay the loan off. I can't find a job. My current job is inadequate. My small amount of money left may be too little to really make a difference in my business.
Maybe I can liquidate my assets and get $3,000 of my $9,000 back and wait for the job market to improve, not counting on it. Or I can risk it all. What would you do? Thanks.
You can get a SBA loan without joining anything. Ask for an Express Loan, securing the general business assets, it should allow you to retain the $2500. They will just collateralize the equipment with a ucc1 blanket lien. Get a credit card if you can as well. Email me if you need help with that.
Mentorship is nice, but what you need is a sales effort. Have you been calling local business and government offices? You have to attend every expo and function you can get into for free and drop business cards, flyers, coupons. These are the hard sales activities everybody hates, but you have to do it as a business owner. Ask for the business, ask for referrals to others, hit up apartment complexes for deals. You spend 10 grueling hours a day selling until business picks up. What's the alternative? Give up and have a crappy job? At least go out in flames knowing you gave 100%. At least then there's a good chance you'll get somewhere.
If you need support or advice, just email me. email@example.com
Remember, there's a reason you started your own brand.
Source(s):4 months ago