As Americans we have experienced the full gamut of emotions after hearing TARP I handed 350 billion to big banks, but no money filtered through to small businesses in the form of loans. In fact, the spicket was turned off completely after receipt of the bailout money. But putting down the front page of our local newspaper for a moment, what is it like in the trenches? Are the banks really denying capital to businesses across the nation? And how are they treating them in this crisis. You’ll be saddened to hear it is every bit as foreboding as you have heard, or even worse.Mrs. Smith is the classic poster child of female entrepreneurial success. Starting as an everyday real estate agent, over the last 24 years, she has built an amazing corporate edifice consisting of several real estate sales branch offices and now employs 170 people. Her thriving business came as the result of untold hours of toil in which she describes herself as a “serial workaholic”. As a result, she is considered one of most productive real estate offices in the state. Over the years, she had a strong relationship with a big bank and took out eight loans and lines of credit. All had been payback and were never late a single day. Her credit score is excellent and reports no negatives. Needless to say, as most businesses, she relies upon the line of credit to put her over the hump during times of lower cash flow. What happened next could not have been conjured up in your worst nightmare.One afternoon on January 30, 2009, she received a call from her bank. In the past, she looked forward to receiving these calls because they were so energized and cooperative. They made her feel special. Her credit rating was so good, that twice she merely called up the bank manager, speaking to him by his first name, and was able to extend the line of credit by a simple verbal request. In those days, the conversations were something like: “Hello Mrs. Smith. I trust everything has been good with your business and family. How is your son John enjoying the college life? Sure–we’ll be delighted to extend your credit line again and I will have one of my associates prepare the paperwork and get it over to you as soon as possible. Look to speaking with you soon.” Today was different. Her CPA was in the office that afternoon picking up profit and loss sheets when the call came in. It was not the manager. It was someone at the bank she had never met.”Is this Mrs. Smith? I am Frank Thompson with ABC Bank.” He began with a twang that could only be described as consummate arrogance.”Well hello. How are you today?” Mrs. Smith said cheerfully.”Fine. Mrs. Smith, I assume you’re busy so let me come right to the point. We have reviewed your loan accounts and effective immediately I am notifying you that they are being called and are now due and payable.” It came to her in words that were abrupt and stinging. Although her heart skipped a beat, her first reaction was they must be calling the wrong person. She immediately motioned her CPA to get on the line.”Hi. This is Mr. Evans, Mr. Smith’s CPA. Would you be so kind as to repeat what you just told Mrs. Smith?”Mr. Thompson was clearly agitated in having to repeat himself: “I’m really not accustomed to having to repeat myself, but I will tell you again. Mrs. Smith’s $200,000 line of credit is canceled effective immediately and all sums are due and payable. Do I make myself clear?”I’m sorry, we don’t understand. Is there a problem with the account? To my knowledge Mrs. Smith has always paid her monthly installments on time and his current as we speak.”To say Mr. Thompson was rude was an understatement. Now he became even more bothered by the conversation: “It’s clear you don’t understand. I would suggest that you read the clear language of the loan agreement that gives us the option of doing so at any time with two weeks notice. I am giving you this notice now. Having said this in very simple language, I assume you have the basic intelligence to understand what I just said.”"Sorry, but we’re just trying to be able to digest this news. This is very serious. We can’t just pull out our checkbooks and a make a full payment on one day’s notice . You don’t have to be rude to us.” Although still in shock, Mrs. Smith tried your best to soften the conversation.Mr. Thompson was now eager to end the conversation. “Let me make it even clearer. Based on what I just told you, our bank no longer has a business relationship with you. You would be well advised to take steps to pay this account so that legal action is not necessary.”"Please understand that we need some time to think this through . . . I should . . . I mean I need to get a hold of the manager first,” she pleaded.”I’m handling the account now. You are not to talk to anyone else but me.” The tone of of his voice was unmistakable and threatening.At that point the conversation went steadily downhill. She and her CPA spent the rest of the day going over the books and speaking with their attorney.Sound like something that cannot happen in America to a successful small business? Well, think again. These are exact quotes of the conversation. The big bank is simply stomping out big small businesses to improve their balance sheets. The lifesaver that has thrown to the big banks in the hopes they would pass it to small businesses on Main Street has simply not happened. It is at least understandable if a large bank decides not to make a new loan in this challenge economy. But it’s another thing altogether to cancel existing loans with good customers.Is this an isolated occurrence? Not all. Here is another example. Robert Picou is the President of the California manufacturing company known as California Ribbon and Carbon Co., Inc., with a plant located in Los Angeles. Robert is the epitome of the seasoned business owner, knowledgeable, practical, optimistic, and understandably proud of his company’s heritage. After talking to him, you get the uncontrolled urge to get in the car and drive out to his plant. You get the image of a certain industrial vibrancy which is missing in America.He should be proud. It is a story right out of the movies. In 1939, his father started selling old fashioned manual typewriter ribbons door to door to business owners in the Los Angeles area. But unlike Willy Loman in “Death of a Salesman”, he made it into a real success. 70 years later this closely held family corporation has continued to thrive. To manage the ruts along the way, twenty years ago he took out a business credit card with a well known company and secured a large credit line. Needless to say, he has paid it on time ever since. But then he got a sudden and unexpected surprise in the mail. The credit card company unilaterally cut his credit line and froze up this access to working capital.He wasn’t especially daunted by this news because after all, he had a longstanding relationship with his large bank. All we needed to do was call them up and ask for an extension of his line of credit. His bank did get $150,000,000 in TARP money to presumably free up the money. Ten years ago he owed them as much as $1.4 million, but because of the success of his business, was able to pay it down to $88,000. A perfect candidate to receive some of the bailout monies and create an even more positive cash flow for him and the neighboring economy. No problem, right? Wrong again.With no explanation, his bank turned him down flat. Asking why, he has yet to receive a credible answer. With orders piling in, his company is now on the unenviable position of not being able to fund all the orders received. Not to mention the rippling effect it has on his suppliers and employees, all of which have a tangible stake in our troubled economy.It is apparent that large banks have no intention whatsoever of using bailout monies for the benefit of small businesses. So is anyone out there actually loaning money in good faith? Now the good news. Smaller financial to institutions and community banks are interested in your business through the vehicle know as an SBA guaranteed loan. They are not only out there, but wisely taking over a niche ignored by the larger banks. These institutions are using the incentives given by the SBA guarantee to cut their risk of loss and build up a better portfolio to be sold on the secondary market. You just have to find the right bank. At least someone realizes the foundational strength small businesses give to the overall economy.
For as long as you have been trying to make a living online, you’ve been told that the reason marketing on the internet is so powerful is because the internet provides such huge reach that you could literally tap into a global audience to sell your products to, right? You’ve been told that the internet is the “Great Equalizer.” You’ve been told that because of the web anyone that has the will and an internet connection can compete with corporate America or at least the fortune 500. But to do it you’ll have to go get tons of traffic from the search engines, or even pay for that traffic one click at a time, or spend months even years trying to rank on the first page. All the while, you’ve been told to set up a blog, set up social media accounts on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. If none of that worked your were told to be patient, to test, to tweak, to remember all that effort would pay off someday. So how’s that been working out for you, you know that waiting for it to happen sort of thing? My statistics tell me mmm…not so good.Let me ask you something, how much would $1,000 extra dollars a month do for your life. Would it help? Would it pay your car payment, your student loans, would it let you work less overtime? What about an extra $2500 a month? That’s a pretty decent mortgage right there, it’s college tuition, or perhaps covers some overdue medical bills. And over the course of a year it’s paying off a credit card or three, it”s the start of a journey to becoming debt free. Now how about an extra $6,000 per month?! That number is getting a little bit ridiculous, isn’t it? Maybe not. Here’s the thing, “you’ve been told that you can make money with the internet because it’s so big you’ll end up with at least something.”You should not feel bad if the old way not working, because in this article I’m about to show you what your real target should be, and how when you aim for this target you can hit it over and over again. The information I’m about to give you is about a week old. It’s the response to a survey of 50,000 people who are trying to make some extra money online. Now 75% of people that responded self-identified themselves as intermediate or advanced internet business owners. Also about the same percentage said they have been doing this for 2 years. This is where it turns ugly, they earn an average of less than $1,000. Well, something is wrong, something has to be wrong. In the rest of the article I want to show you why what you’ve been told to do to make money has only ended up creating a large group of very skilled and poorly paid people who know a lot about internet marketing, but still have not created a successful business.More importantly I’m going to show you an unusual concept that nobody is talking about. One that has been helping people from all walks of life quietly sometimes make more money in one month than they made in the previous year of their life. The strategy is easier, less complicated, and very likely to be less work than your doing now. It’s called Local Marketing. We’ve all heard of the Enron’s, ATT’s, the General Electrics…those massive super companies that employ tens of thousands of people. Well, there the ones that get the big segments on the evening news. We just don’t get to hear much about the 29.6 million small businesses out there, and that’s just in the United States. I think that is very strange that we hear so little about them when over 50% of the countries economy is fueled by these little shops. So while you have been told that the money is in competing with the big boys, with the big money, competing for the big terms, and spending huge amounts of cash to get the big traffic. More than half the countries economy is powered by the dry cleaners, plumber, personal trainer, barbershop, tutor…these little small businesses are in fact where the real money is at for you. And here is the genius of the moment, the ah-ha moment if you will…according to Ad-ology 46% of small businesses do not have a website, but even in this bizarre economy 60% of small businesses are spending the same amount on advertising as they did in 2009…and 26% plan to spend more. Now guess what 69% of those businesses want to spend it on? You guessed it, online marketing. Here is the ah-ha moment, this is why a handful of smart marketers are laughing all the way to the bank, and when I say handful, I really mean handful. You see only 1 in every 38 internet marketing hopefuls spends their time working with small business America. You know what that means, small businesses are under-served and that leaves huge opportunity for you. You use your skills to market these small businesses and you’ll make more bottom-line profit than you ever thought possible. Think about it, 13.6 million small businesses don’t even have a website, but they still want to spend money on online marketing.Why do small businesses need help with online marketing in the first place? Frankly, if they have gone through all the red tape to start a small business, you would think they had all their marketing sewn up. Wrong! Small businesses are an entirely different breed. They have focused their time, effort, and education on being business owners or specialist in their field of practice. Ask the owner of a small business what a landing page is…no clue. Ask them what an autoresponder is…no clue. Ask them what their best converting keywords are, not only will they not have a clue, they’ll probably walk away from the question wondering what a conversion is. Ask them if they are blogging, and they’ll tell you that their daughter is on something called HerSpace or MySpace, or something like that. Sure they use the Google, but have no idea how their business should. They not only need help, they want help, because they just don’t know even a fraction of the knowledge that you already have and they know it. And they’re willing to pay for it! I might be wrong but I bet you know what a squeeze page, auto-responder, blog, and keyword phrase is.This is the where our small business marketing get very strange. I’ve shown you big the small business market truly is. I’ve shown you how few marketers there are that willing to help these small businesses. You also now know that there is 13 million small businesses that don’t have a website, but still want to use internet marketing to create customers for their business. So why aren’t other capable internet marketers rolling up their sleeves to help out these small business money machines? Well that’s for you to sort out in your own time…it’s time to get to work, and I know where I’m going to start, and friend…you should too.