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Why You Should Care About the Small Business Administration

by Jackson B

The Small Business Administration (SBA), an independent federal agency, is primarily an aid to small businesses trying to get off the ground. Its many roles are geared towards helping America’s small companies grow, providing support to the commercial lending market, and insuring that the laws govern small business are followed by state governments. The SBA also administers a number of programs for financing, research and development, education and training, tariffs, licensing, and bankruptcies. All of these endeavors are geared towards making the American business more efficient so that it can be a strong asset to the overall economy.

One of the many duties of the SBA is to provide assistance to small business owners who are starting up. Because the SBA has been around sinceanting the start of free enterprise, it’s already established some rules and guidelines that help businesses that are in need of advice or help. As a result, the SBA administrator and deputy administrator each have a number of tasks they must carry out. Here are some of their most important takeaways to ponder upon:

Applications for loans are often the most daunting task for business owners. When applying for a loan from the SBA, you’ll need to know the following: how much the loan will cost you, what type of loan you’re applying for, who the creditor is, how much money you have available to borrow, and what your credit rating is. For this reason, the SBA administers a number of programs aimed at helping small business owners deal with loan applications. The following are some of their top tips to keep in mind when preparing loan applications:

Most people don’t realize that the Small Business Administration is not the only government entity that offers small business loans. You may also be able to get disaster assistance (or non-disaster assistance) from your local, state, or federal government. As mentioned above, there are many grant programs administered by the government, especially the federal government. In some cases, businesses may also qualify for federal loan programs. It’s best to check with the government’s site or the office of a local small business administration counselor to see if you’re eligible for any federal disaster assistance programs.

Another thing to remember about the small business administration is that there are two bodies that are always involved: the chief counsel and the inspector general. The inspector general oversees the financial and administrative activities of the SBA. The inspector general can investigate everything from possible accounting fraud to possible government contract malpractice to ensure that the small business administration’s programs are operating according to its purpose. Should the inspector general uncover any impropriety or fraud, the head of the small business administration will be held accountable. For example, if the chief counsel receives a report that says the SBA made inappropriate payments to a company (which the counsel denies), the counselor will be fired.

Here are a few other important takeaways to keep in mind as you navigate your way through this confusing and often frustrating bureaucracy: The three most important positions include the administrator, the deputy administrator, and the chief counsel. The most important oversight position is that of the chief counsel. The chief counsel is responsible for protecting the interests of the small business administration through sound strategic planning, budgeting, rulemaking, and litigation. The second most important oversight position is that of the deputy administrator. The deputy admin is in charge of day-to-day operations, but cannot be the direct head of any one agency (that duty is held either by the general counsel or by a specially designated staff member).

The third most important oversight position is that of the chief counsel. The chief counsel is in charge of overseeing all of the smaller BKAs’ activities, including its annual budget, the handling of internal legal matters, and advising its CEOs on mergers and acquisitions. Each of these functions falls under the larger responsibility of the chief counsel and can vary in scope from very broad (the budget) to very narrow (a company’s mergers and acquisitions). All of these functions can fall within the purview of the chief counsel. This is the chief reason why the Small Business Administration is so critical of its smaller and regional U.S. Government agencies for micromanaging their smaller counsel functions.

One final point to keep in mind as you navigate this baffling bureaucracy is that the purpose of the Small Business Administration is not to micromanage small business administration functions; it is to ensure that these functions are carried out in an effective manner. The SBA exists to help you succeed, not to dictate what kind of success you achieve. So take heed of this advice, and use this administration’s resources to your greatest advantage.


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