The federal government's main conduit to help the new
business person is the Small Business Administration (SBA).
See our discussion of government
financing to learn more about the specifics in obtaining an
SBA loan. The following list gives a brief description of the
most popular loans available from the SBA:
- 7(a) General Loan Program
— this is the main type of loan that the SBA provides. A
7(a) loan is actually a guarantee of a loan provided by a
commercial bank. With proper qualifications, the new or
expanding business can obtain a guarantee of up to 80
percent of the amount provided by your commercial lender.
- LowDoc — this is a
fairly new type of loan guarantee provided by the SBA.
LowDoc is a low-documentation lending program. LowDoc is for
loans up to $150,000 with SBA guarantees of up to 85
percent. If you need less than the $150,000 and an SBA
guarantee, this is the way you would probably want to go. It
will entail much less paperwork than a normal SBA loan
- 504 Development
Company Loan Program — this program uses public
and private partnerships to finance fixed assets.
Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) Program —
this program's purpose is to combine private capital and
SBA-guaranteed loans to provide a source of venture capital
for startup and growth companies.
Microloan Program — this program is for small
loans that help entrepreneurs in inner-city and rural areas
form small, often home-based enterprises.
Finance — this program is designed to promote
exporting, and offers specialized loan guarantees that offer
working capital and longer-term financing to promote
The Small Business Administration (SBA) is also the federal
government's main provider of counseling to the small and new
business person. Below is a list of some of the types of
counseling that the SBA provides:
- Business initiatives, education, and training —
the SBA provides a wide range of publications and
audio-visual materials. This material is geared toward
management of a small business and technical assistance.
- International trade — the SBA is available to
provide guidance to a business in the export trade area, in
particular to those wishing to take advantage of the new
world markets in Mexico, the Pacific Rim, Canada and Europe.
- Veterans affairs — the SBA provides training
conferences specifically for veterans who are prospective
and established business owners.
- Women's business ownership — the SBA also
provides training conferences specifically for women who are
prospective and established business owners.
Contact your nearest SBA office by looking in the blue pages
of your telephone directory under U.S. Government, try the SBA's
home page, or call 1-800-827-5722.
Bureau of the Census. The Bureau of the Census
information is a general term used for a wide variety of
information. Most people think of the Census Bureau as just
counting people living in each city. Actually this is done only
every 10 years. The rest of the time, they are preparing other
types of statistics that could be of use to you as a new
Below are descriptions of some of the other Bureau of the
Census publications that can be very useful to you in
researching your new business and you might also take a look at
the Census web
- Catalog of United States census publications —
this is published monthly with quarterly and annual
compiling. This catalog contains a list of all publications
with appropriate descriptions.
- Census of retail trade — this is published every
five years (years ending in 2 and 7) and updated monthly by
the Monthly Retail Trade. This publication lists statistics
for more than 100 different types of retail establishments
by state, metro area, county, and community (population over
2,500). This includes information on the number of outlets,
total sales, employment, and payroll.
- Census of wholesale trade — this is published
every five years (years ending in 2 and 7) and updated
monthly by the Monthly Wholesale Trade. This publication
lists statistics for more than 150 types of wholesaler
categories. The statistics include the number of
establishments, payroll, warehouse space, expenses,
end-of-year inventories, legal form of organization, and
- Census of selected services — this is published
every five years (years ending in 2 and 7) and updated
monthly by the Monthly Selected Service Receipts. This
publication is similar to the Census of Retail Trade for
retail service organizations such as auto repair centers and
hotels. This publication does not include any information on
real estate, insurance, or the professions.
- Census of manufacturers — this is published every
five years (years ending in 2 and 7) and updated yearly by
the Annual Survey of Manufacturers. This publication lists
statistics for 450 different classes of manufacturing
industries. The statistics are compiled by industry and
include information on capital expenditures, value added,
number of establishments, employment data, material costs,
assets, rent, and inventories.
- Census of population — this is published every 10
years and updated yearly by the Current Population Report.
This publication lists statistics on the population
characteristics of states, counties, standard metropolitan
statistical area (SMSA), and census tracts. The demographics
that are reported include age, employment income, family
composition, level of education, marital status, occupation,
race, and sex.
- Statistical abstract of the United States — this
annual publication is a source for finding current and
historical statistics about various aspects of American
life. The publication includes statistics on income, prices,
education, population, law enforcement, environmental
conditions, local government, labor force, manufacturing,
and many other topics.
- State and metropolitan area data book — this is a
supplement to the statistical abstract listed above. This
publication provides statistics on states and metropolitan
areas in the United States and on subjects such as area,
housing, income, manufacturers, population, retail trade,
and wholesale trade.
- County and city data book — this is published
every five years as a supplement to the statistical abstract
listed above. This publication provides 144 statistical
items for each county and 148 items for cities with a
population of 25,000 or more. The information is organized
by region, division, state, and SMSA for income, banking,
capital expenditures, education, employment, housing,
manufacturing, population, retail and wholesale sales, and
- County business patterns — this annual
publication includes a summary of statistics on the number
and type (by SIC code) of business establishments as well as
their employment and taxable payroll. This information is
categorized by industry and county.
The above list of publications is intended to give you a
working knowledge of what is available to the general public.
Most larger libraries will have these publications available.
Below is a case study using most of these publications. When you
do your research, just change our information for the
information that is applicable to your new business.