Your first gumball machine is a bit of an investment. It represents the beginning of your ability to make money, which means before you buy it and set up shop somewhere; you don’t have any real credentials. This makes the issue of procuring funds (or capital) to pay for your gumball vending machine a bit harder.
That being said, there is good news:
There are loans and financial assistance packages made available specifically for small business entrepreneurs like your self you are trying to buy the equipment they need (the gumball machine) to get up and running. These small business loans are set aside for people who need initial capital to validate their idea. The lenders know there is an increased degree of uncertainty and risk, and that is factored into the loan.
Because these loans are risky and occasionally sour investments, many conventional commercial banks don’t want to get involved in them. That’s okay, because the United States Small Business Administration (SBA) is a governmental department solely devoted to helping small business entrepreneurs get what they need to make a profit and improve the community.
The Small Business Administration can be your best friend as a budding entrepreneur, and it would be a good idea to become familiar with the services they offer. For example, the small business administration doesn’t actually loan out money—I suppose this looks too much like a “national bank” setup to be appealing to most citizens. That being said, they do guarantee loans.
Because you are an entrepreneurial wild card, banks don’t want to take the risk of loaning you the money to buy all your vending equipment, but they would love to profit off of your success. Because of this, the Small Business Administration can evaluate your business plan, and work with one of its partner lenders to set up a fair loan and a support structure so you’re not left out in the cold.
The Small Business Administration has many partner banks, so the kinds of products and loans that you can get access to through the SBA is large. The Small Business Administration Microloan Program is an easy way to get your feet off the ground; it offers up to thirty-five thousand dollars to any small business venture at any point in their development, and it comes with few stipulations or requirements.
In prepping to seek a small business loan, you need to evaluate yourself and see if you and your gumball vending plan have all the positive characteristics lenders will be on the lookout for. Here’s a rundown:
The Four Cs
Character: because they have little to go off of, the bank is just as likely to be evaluating you as it is your business plan. It’s often hard to tell if a business will succeed or fail, but it is much easier to tell if a person will fail or succeed.
Capacity: the bank needs you to be realistic, and they want to size you up financially. The question here is “Will you actually be able to pay back the loan?” If you don’t have a chance, you can kiss your loan good-bye. Luckily, you have a proven business plan. Vending businesses pop up all the time, and your gumball machines will be raking in the dough in no time.
Capital: simply, this is how much money you need. Again, you have an advantage because you’re in a winning business. Gumball machines cost very little compared to other small business capital good, so it’s an easier sell for you.
Collateral: having collateral essentially means you have some way to pay for the balance of the loan if the entire business goes up in flames. This could be a storefront your company owns, or some investments that could be liquidated to pay for your debt. You likely won’t have this one, so this will be the hardest category for you to ace.
The best advice when seeking a small business loan is to remember: they’re not buying your business pitch; they’re buying you. So be sure to give them want they want! Dress the part, practice your professional manner, and go and get that small business loan!