Be Your Own Boss

Herein you'll find some preliminary advice on obtaining financing for the new business that will allow you to be your own boss.

| September/October 1980

A good many of you folks have let us know just how much you enjoy the down-to-earth, practical, bootstrap business articles that are featured in each and every issue of this publication. Furthermore, lots of you also tell us that you actually use the information in our stories to form successful shoestring enterprises!  

Well, because MOTHER EARTH NEWS realizes that good sound entrepreneurial advice is often hard for the bootstrapper to come by, we've asked Dan Ogden to produce a regular column detailing just that sort of how-to-do-it home business information. (If you want to be your own boss, Dan is certainly qualified to offer such advice. After all, he entered into his first business venture in 1976 with an initial investment of $850 and, by the time he decided to look for a new challenge in 1979, found that he'd helped to build a three-million-dollar enterprise!)   

How to Get a Loan From a Banker

Financing seems to be a problem for many folks who are in the process of starting up in business. Of course, "financing" is just a $2.00 word for "money" ... and—in this first column—I'm going to tell you just how to go about obtaining a loan to back your particular bright idea.

Your first task will be to find the right banker. Keep in mind that such men and women can't make any cash for their institutions unless they first lend money to someone else ... and remember, too, that riskier loans generally bring in higher interest rates. So, while you may be presenting the moneylender with a loan idea that's less of a sure thing than—say—a real estate mortgage, you're also giving him or her the chance to make a lot more money in interest charges!

But just how do you go about "shopping" for a banker? Well, the best way to do so is by asking other entrepreneurs to tell you who helped them get started. Every business has to begin somewhere, and chances are you'll find out about ventures that began with the help of a local banker. Banks tend to specialize in their dealings, too, and your questions should soon lead you to someone who likes to cater to the needs of small business folk.

However, after you locate a banker—even if he or she is experienced with and sympathetic to the needs of home businesses, and has a track record of lending money to such ventures—your loan will depend upon your ability to present that man or woman (who, thanks to your shopping, will at least be willing to listen) with a reasonable proposal. Now, the factor determining the success or failure of such a proposition is frequently not so much its specific content as it is the manner in which it's presented.

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