Biz Bits: Tips for applying for small business loans

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Tip of the Week

Loans offered through the U.S. Small Business Administration offer a number of key advantages, including longer payback terms and higher borrowing limits, which can be useful when financing necessities like real estate and equipment. Unfortunately, despite the many benefits SBA loans offer, few small businesses take advantage of them. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when applying for an SBA loan:

* Know your business - The first thing any lender wants to know is how well you know your business. Do you know your cost of sales, gross margin, payroll expenses off the top of your head?

* Look for a Preferred Lender status - Preferred lenders have more experience and authority in processing SBA loans, which is critical when it comes to navigating the SBA’s requirements and procedures. Working with a lender who fully understands the process and can explain it to you will make life a lot easier. Since they are experts in this area, typically your loan will close more quickly, as well. Preferred lenders are usually listed on the SBA website for your state. You can always contact the SBA directly as well.

* Come prepared - SBA loans require comprehensive document packages. Be prepared with full copies of your personal and business tax returns for the last three years, current financial statements and projections and personal financial statements. Check the SBA’s website at for required documentation for the product that interests you. Having a complete package up front can save a lot of time.

* Consider applying for a smaller loan - In an effort to streamline the application process, the SBA recently announced plans to maintain current fee waivers to make it easier to secure smaller loans for small business, including a 2 percent fee waiver for loans $150,000 or less.

— Brandpoint

BBB Watch

If you have a cell phone, you’ve probably gotten at least one “You’ve Won a Free Gift Card” spam text messages. Be careful, responding to those texts could accidentally sign you up for a $9.99/month charge by unknowingly signing you up for a premium text messaging service. The best response is simply to delete the message. Do not text “STOP” or “NO,” as this is a common ploy by scammers to confirm they have a real, active phone number.

— Better Business Bureau

The List

Highest earning actresses, June 2013-June 2014

1. Sandra Bullock, $51 million

2. Jennifer Lawrence, $34 million

3. Jennifer Aniston, $31 million

4. Gwyneth Paltrow, $19 million

5. Angelina Jolie, $18 million

6. Cameron Diaz, $18 million

7. Scarlett Johansson, $17 million

8. Amy Adams, $13 million

9. Natalie Portman, $13 million

10. Kristen Stewart, $12 million

— Forbes

Number to Know

$312.2 million: Twitter’s reported revenue for the second quarter of 2014. The unexpected surge in profit lured investors into a stock (TWTR) that had been considered something of a red flag.

Tech Talk

Apple will unveil the iPhone 6 at an event on Sept. 9, 2014, according to a report on The next-generation iPhones are expected to feature larger displays of 4.7 and 5.5 inches, and to run on faster new processors.