What Types of Lending Options are Available to help Entrepreneurs Start and Grow Their Businesses?

PERSONAL LOANS, BANK LOANS, AND SBA LOANS

by Jennifer A. Grady, Esq. and Tristan Younghaus, Esq.

Starting a business can be an exciting, yet costly endeavor. Entrepreneurs need startup capital to cover the cost of living expenses, salaries, overhead, legal fees, filing fees, marketing/advertising, shipping costs, and even production costs. There are numerous funding options available, from interest free loans to venture capital. In this two part series, we will explore the various options that are available for small business owners and entrepreneurs. In this blog, we will discuss loans/gifts from family and friends, bank loans, and Small Business Administration loans. The next posting will explore government grants, venture capital, and crowdfunding.

1. Loans/Gifts From Family and Friends

ImageOne of the most common places entrepreneurs begin when searching for funding is by soliciting loans from family and friends. These personal loans are not considered to be a “loan” by the Internal Revenue Service unless the terms of the agreement are stated in writing, (i.e. by stating the loan amount and the interest rate to be paid). Otherwise, after January 1, 2013, the IRS considers the money given to be a gift, and subject to the Federal Gift Tax, if the loan amount is over $14,000.

For borrowers, it may be most advantageous to have the terms of the loan written loosely, and to set proper expectations for all parties involved. For example, in order to preserve the integrity of the personal relationship, the borrower should make it clear that the loan should actually be considered a “gift” in the lender’s mind, and that the lender maintain the expectation that it may never be paid back. This is due to the high likelihood that the money will not be recouped. The borrower may want to avoid memorializing a specific date of repayment, with terms such as, “borrower to pay back loan when monthly income is greater than $10,000.00,” or whenever a reasonable amount is reached. Continue reading

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