Funding your small business dreams doesn’t mean drowning in debt
SAN DIEGO, Calif., March 18, 2018 – Many of the nation’s 28.8 million small business owners want their enterprise to grow and thrive. But they face a daunting challenge. Two-thirds of small businesses survive two years, half survive five years, and about one-third see their tenth anniversary. According to a U.S. Bank study, 82 percent of the businesses that fail do so because of cash flow problems.
Obtaining financing is a challenge for many small business owners. Business loans, lines of credit, and credit cards account for about three-quarters of financing for new businesses. For business owners who are also homeowners, their property is often used as collateral in the form of a home equity loan.
Ami Kassar, founder and CEO of MultiFunding LLC, saw too many entrepreneurs making bad decisions about funding their businesses. Sometimes it’s due to a lack of education about the pitfalls waiting for them. The nationally renowned expert on access to capital for entrepreneurs decided to write a book in an effort to help provide entrepreneurs information to make better decisions about funding to grow and manage their businesses.
Released in January, “The Growth Dilemma” immediately became an Amazon best seller in Financial Risk Management.
Kassar said entrepreneurship is thriving at a time it’s becoming easier thanks to technology and culture to be your own boss, even spawning the hit TV show “Shark Tank.” “It’s cheaper and easier to start an business than three or five years ago,” said Kassar. “The grit, the determination and tenacity hasn’t changed, nor will it.”
Small business owners, beware the “Shark Tank Myth”
But entrepreneurs need to beware what he calls the “Shark Tank Myth” – that in order to be successful, you need a famous investor, and selling equity is the key to success. “This is not reality for 99 percent of entrepreneurs,” says Kassar. “They face decisions like putting a lien on their house. I’m writing about them.”
Kassar conducts workshops for small business owners across the country, and what he saw motivated him to write his book, and helped him organize it. “I always say to people, building a business is like having kids. The challenges never go away. They just get different over time. You have to embrace them, and in my opinion consider (entrepreneurship) a marathon, not a sprint. You either love the uncertainty, or you hate it.”
Kassar says many small business owners simply don’t have the education to understand the ramifications of financial decisions like taking a lien on their home to finance their business. “To compound the problem, there are plenty of lenders out there who would love to take advantage of that,” explained Kassar. “They would love to encourage these business owners to take really high interest loans because they are fast and convenient. That’s not good either…often those loans kill dreams.”
Kassar’s book includes exercises and questions entrepreneurs can use to determine their direction. “The book is designed to be a tool for personal self reflection. It’s also a tool to encourage partners, potential partners and investors to go through the exercises and compare notes.”
Small business owners must do their homework
Kassar encourages would-be entrepreneurs to keep doing their homework. “You need to check in on yourself regularly. Everything keeps changing. I hope once people read the book, they then go back to it in a year and do a check in to see if anything changes. The book isn’t designed to give you the answers, it’s designed to give you the questions.”
Even though their businesses may be small, entrepreneurs don’t have to struggle alone. “I encourage entrepreneurs to join support groups or organizations. Go to your Small Business Development Center, depending on what your size and stage is. Surround yourself with people with similar issues so you’re not doing it all alone, because it can be extremely lonely.”
The first-time author said he’s happy with the response. “I’ll be thrilled if it becomes a set of tools business owners use to decide how to expand their business,” said Kassar. “I hope people will use the book as a useful tool or self-reflection. Learn what it will take to meet their dreams and aspirations. There’s not one right or wrong answer, there’s only the one that’s right for you.”
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Ami Kassar is regularly featured in the national press and writes a regular column for Inc.com. He has advised the White House, the Federal Reserve Bank, and the Treasury Department on the business credit markets. In addition, Kassar is a regular speaker at trade shows and business events across the country on topics including entrepreneurship and access to capital.
He is a 2015, 2014, and 2013 recipient of the Small Business Influencer Award. as well as the 2012 Small Business Advocate Award. Kassar earned his MBA from the University of Southern California, and graduated with a BA in American Studies from Brandeis University.