Take the ‘Being Strapped’ Out of Bootstrapping | #DSW16

During Dallas Startup Week 2016, panel moderator Laura Miller, head of small business of Chase Commerce Solutions at JPMorgan Chase, began by saying that the goal of the panel was to demystify the credit process and enable entrepreneurs to use credit for emerging opportunities or deal with unexpected occurrences.

The panel was made up of a thriving entrepreneur and small business thought leaders, including Shelly Windom, director at Addison TreeHouse, a coworking space in Addison, TX; Frank Medrano, executive director, Middle Market Technology, at JPMorgan Chase; Hayden Blackburn, director at IDEA Works, a nonprofit that helps revenue generating companies looking to scale business; Nicole Meadows, cofounder at Nikki’s Popcorn Company; and Herbert Austin, district director for the U. S. Small Business Administration (SBA), Dallas/Fort Worth office.

The panel covered several topics that ranged from how to create a legal entity to the credit options available for small businesses.

Legal advice

Windom provided advice on who to speak to when setting up your legal entity, and she gave some good and bad examples. Blackburn also discussed the documents to prepare, such as contracts and forms. The panel also stressed the importance of separating your business identity and finances from your personal finances.

Build a credit history

According to the panel, it is necessary to carve out funding and again separate it from your personal finances. The advice is to work with good advisors, develop a plan, and speak to potential investors with a separation of business and personal information.

Blackburn stated that business credit is monitored more rigorously and can be impacted by things like board appointments not just slow payments. He also recommended working with customers and vendors and monitor how they are evaluating you. Sign up for instant alerts and look at your credit on a monthly basis. Medrano added that a company must demonstrate the ability to generate revenue in order to get lenders to take them seriously.

When it comes to credit options, there are a wealth of opportunities that begin with the Small Business Administration (SBA) and go all the way to the option of crowdfunding. Austin laid out all the options available and stressed that the SBA resources can help you to work on a business plan before you go to the bank.

Watch the video above to hear all the options discussed on funding a business.