What Qualities Do Banks Look for in Loan Applications?

The competition to get SMB loans is growing every day, and banks have enacted stricter loan regulations. When you apply, a bank will undertake a risk assessment to decide if you will receive the loan and under what conditions. Make sure you understand the 5 C’s when you fill out your loan application. It’s what the bankers are looking for, and it will strengthen your chances of receiving a business loan.

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Optimism Matters When Starting a New Business

A certain level of optimism goes hand-in-hand with starting a new business. Such an endeavor requires significant dedication and planning, and a willingness to take a financial risk.

Small Business Trends brings us a story of optimistic entrepreneurs. A recent survey by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation was conducted in January among 1,375 LegalZoom customers that had started businesses in the past six months.

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Keys to Success: Startups with Unlikely Origins

In this edition of Keys to Success, we take a look at three very different startups: a provocative Los Angeles fashion retailer, an Icelandic gaming company and a computer forensics firm in Chicago.

Entrepreneur Goes from eBay to Payday

Sophia Amoruso is the founder of fashion retailer NastyGal. covered her recent appearance at the South by Southwest Interactive Conference in Austin, during which Amoruso acknowledged her unlikely job title.

“I never expected to end up the CEO of what’s now a corporation,” she said. “It was my full intent as a teenager to smash capitalism and eat dumpster food. It’s been one hell of a ride.”

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6 Mistakes to Avoid When Starting Your Small Business From Home

There are roughly 28 million small businesses in America, and more than half (52 percent) are home-based, according to Forbes. Even more impressive, entrepreneurs start 543,000 new businesses each month — although the number of businesses that close per month is greater.

That might be a sobering statistic, but there’s a silver lining. Each year, more than six million people take a chance on their small business. In fact, some of the most successful companies in America started in someone’s living room.

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Exporting Could Provide Big Boost for Small Businesses

Small business owners looking to expand their scope might be missing the boat by not venturing beyond U.S. borders.

Just 5 percent of small businesses that have employees export their products or services, according to Dennis Chrisbaum, director of international trade finance with the Small Business Administration, in a CNN Money story. That puts the number at around 300,000. The SBA notes that almost 96 percent of consumers live outside of the U.S.

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What Entrepreneurs Can Learn from ABC’s “Shark Tank”

Now in its fifth season, ABC’s “Shark Tank” has helped dozens of entrepreneurs receive the capital and connections they needed to grow their SMB. The show invites entrepreneurs to pitch their company to five investors, each a successful business owner in their own fields. If one of the investors (known as Sharks) believes the company has potential, he will invest his own money in the business.

If you’re not quite ready to pitch your product on national TV, you can still take advantage of the Sharks’ business expertise. Here are six business lessons every entrepreneur can learn from “Shark Tank.”

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Keys to Success from Entrepreneurs with Unique Businesses

In this edition of Keys to Success, we find entrepreneurs bringing Italian red sauce, affordable mattresses and even recycled mannequins to the marketplace.

Female Entrepreneur Builds Business with Used Mannequins

The New York Times brings us the story of Judi Henderson-Townsend of Oakland, Calif., who found herself in the rather unusual business of refurbishing and renting mannequins.

It all started when she wanted to buy a mannequin to put in her garden. She found a Craigslist ad from a man selling 50 of them.

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New General Motors CEO a Worthy Role Model for Women in Business

Women looking to earn success in the business world can find inspiration in the rise of Mary Barra.

The new CEO of General Motors has been hard to miss of late. She’s made headlines for becoming the first woman to reach CEO status for a major auto maker, and for the hefty salary that comes with it. Barra, 52, was even featured in the State of the Union address, and the camera cut to her while President Barack Obama spoke about hard-working Americans.

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Keys to Success: Business Advice from Former Olympians

The 2014 Winter Olympics are underway in Sochi, and the world is watching as dedicated athletes put those years or, in many cases, decades of practice to good use. Business owners, especially, can learn a few lessons from the world’s greatest athletes, but not for the reasons you might think.

There are many similarities between such high-caliber athletes and entrepreneurs: dedication, self-motivation and, more than anything, a desire to achieve their dreams. Here are a few business tips from some of the greatest Olympians in history:

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4 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Seeking SMB Funding

Finding funding for your budding small business isn’t always easy, especially because banks continue increasing restrictions for SMB loans. If you have decided to seek a bank loan for start-up funding, there are several questions you need to ask yourself before scheduling your appointment.

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