Combine the current recession, the government's attempt to spur recovery, and the potential onslaught of new laws and the result is a changing landscape for small business.
Learn the Top 5 things you need to know about these changes including how to protect your business and how to take advantage of short term opportunities… some may end as soon as Oct 31.
1) Securing a Government Subsidized Loan
If you need capital, now may be the perfect time to get funding backed by the government. The Recovery Act, signed earlier this year, reduced (or eliminated) fees for getting an SBA Loan as well as increased the guarantee up to 90%. These changes make an SBA loan a very attractive option for small businesses seeking capital.
In addition, the SBA created a loan program called "America's Recovery Capital" (ARC Loans) that makes zero interest short term loans.
These attractive options won’t last forever. Combine that with a potential upcoming inflationary period that may increase rates on any loans and now may be a great time to secure additional financing for your business.
2) Health Care
With so much uncertainty revolving around this topic it is hard to predict the outcome, but significant changes for small businesses are likely to occur.
A hot topic for entrepreneurs is the proposed legislation that requires small business owners to provide health insurance for their workers. This may place an additional burden on small businesses with either added expenses or penalties.
The bill could benefit small businesses in some ways such as forcing insurers to accept all applicants, which is often an issue for companies who do not have a large workforce. Also, some claim the proposed legislation could save small businesses "$855 billion nationwide over the next decade."
3) Government Grants
Some grants, such as the NIH's SBIR and STTR grants are only on short term extensions. Right now they are extended until Oct 31 and there is no word yet on whether they will renew or in what form.
There is no long term assurance that any grants or programs, such as many SBA programs, will continue once there is a push for budget cuts.
4) New Requirements for Small Businesses
A big result of the financial meltdown was that companies were going out of business and investors, customers, vendors, and eventually the US government got stuck with losses or debt.
Now, many states are requiring businesses, from hair salons to travel agents to mortgage brokers, to have surety bonds to do business in that state. You should find out if your state requires a surety bond for you to do business. Even if it was not the case before, new regulations may change that.
Also, companies with federal contracts over $100,000 must comply with the new E-Verify system. More companies may be required to comply in the near future. Even if you are not required to comply it may be beneficial to voluntarily implement the system to protect your company against fines.
5) Patent Law
The Patent Reform Act of 2009 plans to convert the US patent system from a first-to-invest structure to one that is based on first-to-file. Several large companies including IBM and Microsoft are backing this proposal. This is not applicable to all companies, but in to some it may be a significant change.
This is a Guest Post by Brant Bukowsky from AngelInvestmentJournal.com