Free Help: From Uncle Sam to Start Your Own Business (or Expand the One You Have)

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9780940673755: Free Help: From Uncle Sam to Start Your Own Business (or Expand the One You Have)

The secrets of government loan programs, guarantees, and grant programs are revealed here, along with ways to cash in on giveaways for existing enterprises and individuals who dream of owning their own business.

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From the Publisher:

Most people do not realize that the federal government has millions of dollars of free help available to aid both existing small businesses and the individual entrepreneur thinking of beginning a small business.

And many of these grants, loans and other aids are never spent because the average small-business owner simply doesn't know where and how to begin when he or she hits the maze of government departments and regulations.

But now, no small-business owner should be reluctant to tap into federal government help to support a business venture if they are armed with a newly revised paperback book-now in its fourth edition-that tells how to do it.

The book's title telegraphs its message: Free Help From Uncle Sam to Start Your Own Business (Or Expand the One You Have) by William Alarid and Gustav Berle.

The book was selected "best of the best" by the Public Library Association for its graphic and down-to-earth approach to tapping Uncle Sam's considerable information and even financial support for good ideas.

For the smaller operator, approaching the government can be like David facing Goliath. But "Free Help" trims down the mystery and baffling bureaucracy of federal agencies to man-on-the-street terms. The authors clarify how to deal with the endless agencies that exist to help the small-business individual.

Get Your Foot in the Door-"Once you get your foot in the door," says co-author Gusav Berle, former SCORE national director, "it becomes easier."

Using examples from actual cases where the government helped, the book guides readers through a bewildering maze of red tape. The authors explain where to go first, including names and phone numbers. Discover how to get started using federal assistance, finding new products and new markets, using information sources, entering international trade, and finding financial aid and programs for minorities.

Marketing Ideas Also Offered-Furthermore, the book tells you how to file your own patent and develop and market new ideas and products. Also, since there is no product or service that Uncle Sam doesn't purchase, he can become your best customer.

Government offices help the business person figure out transportation as well as sources for technical and financial assistance, automation, standards, specifications and energy-related projects.

By far, the fattest area of government assistance is financial help. Loans, guarantees, grants, financing facilities, recovering losses, insurance, lines of credit, tax exemptions, and what to do if the government won't give you a loan-there's help for all, if you know how and where to get it.

From the Author:

In down times or up times, entrepreneurship goes on and on and on like The Energizer. There always are and always will be those who say "to hell with prognosticators." These men and women see an opportunity, an opening in the economic fabric of our nation, and they jump into it with both feet, or head first. Never mind that only 80 percent of them will survive the first five years.

The true entrepreneur is a bit of a gambler, but a concerned and calculating gambler. The more knowledgeable he is, the greater his or her chances of survival. Knowledge, then, is the ace in the hole. Money? Sure, that's important too. Money is vital as a lubricant, but it is not the driver who steers the vehicle. The entrepreneur is the driver and he or she is first of all motivated by knowledge and all the human characteristics that make up that very complex and somewhat mysterious homo sapiens, the entrepreneur.

Money comes next. And that is the topic we take on in this book. Money is number 2. Much money flows from one of the thousand agencies and offices of the federal government and that of the 50 states. Not that Uncle Sam's money is a leaky faucet-quite the contrary. Money from Uncle Sam is getting more difficult to tap-but not impossibly so. It just takes know-how and know-who.

Through the 4th edition of Free Help from Uncle Sam, we've trod on the side of fiscal conservatism. The sources you find listed and the suggestions we've made are realistic and pragmatic ones. We've tried to avoid the blue sky and rose-colored glasses that some books focus on.

Uncle Sam's money, don't forget, is our money. The only source of income for the treasury of the United States is your and my taxes. As the custodian of our money, our government is charged with dispensing-investing, if you will-some of that money in viable private businesses. In order to get that money, you in private enterprise must regard the sources as realistically and honestly as you do the neighborhood bank.

The government, on the other hand, has become more banker like, since those lush days of free and easy money during past years. Now every application for Uncle Sam's money (that is, our money!) must be accompanied by commercial bank refusals, by financial statements, valid collateral, pragmatic cash flow schedules, and a credible payback plan. There are few exceptions. Normally, you wouldn't want those "exceptions"-disabilities, disasters, dramatic social disadvantages-that could result in direct government loans at lower interest rates. However, in these exigencies, such loans do exist and it is only right that you should know about them.

In this 4th edition we have also emphasized more and new case histories and success stories. Few portions of a written record are as inspirational and stimulating as actual life happenings from which we can draw experience and incentives. Also, included for you are new contacts, updated addresses, and phone numbers that are accurate up to publication time.

More emphasis has also been placed on entrepreneurial areas that are growing-such as international trade (primarily export) and minority enterprises.

You should also be advised of some new trends. More and more men and women in their middle years are getting their "parachutes" and are floating to earth without a preconceived place to land. These folks are squeezed out by increasing corporate mergers. Many of them are mid- to upper-level executives who, instead of the old golden watch, are sent into temporary "retirement" with a sizable pension fund poke or financial settlement. Members of the Armed Forces and even longtime employees of Civil Service are taking early retirement. In most cases these men and women take with them profound skills and accumulated fiscal security. Many of these will apply these twin assets to new businesses, or to the acquisition of existing businesses. Sometimes these skills and contacts can even be converted into doing business with their former employers.

Approximately 750,000 entrepreneurs will start a business this year. Most of them follow their dreams regardless of the risks inherent in entrepreneurship. However, you should be mindful of the reality that he business person who minimizes the risk is the one who is going to survive-and prosper-the longest and best. Usually inspiration, enthusiasm, motivation, hard work and persistence are great propellants. Knowledge, nonetheless, is the glue that holds them all together. Money is the great lubricant that keeps them all flowing. Much of that funding comes from and flows through U.S. agencies and state governments.

How to get some of that help, where to get, and from whom to get, is the job of Free Help from Uncle Sam...

It is up to you now to find the right reference and to follow the rules. Be complete, be realistic, and be professional about your contact and follow-up. Be patient, too. The U.S. Government is a vast bureaucracy, sometimes by petty bureaucrats and time wasters who are just waiting for pension-time. Often it seems like all that red tape is not worth the effort, but remember that it is your money that you are applying for-and that the purpose of your request must be to generate profits and benefits for you and yours and for your fellow citizens.

-William Alarid

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