This post was originally posted at Kiva Blog in Mai 31, 2017.
Photographer: Brandon Smith. Click here for borrower profile.
Kiva US supports thousands of entrepreneurs and small business owners in America with microloans ranging from $1,000 to $10,000. With 0% interest and no collateral required, Kiva’s platform offers a unique opportunity for entrepreneurs in the United States.
What could your business do with an extra $10,000? How many improvements could be made? Many entrepreneurs across the country are already taking advantage of Kiva U.S. and here are 7 reasons they decided to ask for a loan. Do any of these cases sound familiar?
1) Invest in equipment: April used her loan to purchase lumber for new raised garden beds, to buy a mini-greenhouse and to repair an existing chicken coop in her farm in Virginia Beach. Paula acquired additional equipment for Chile Lindo, her empanada shop in San Francisco. Carmen invested in a reliable van. Sometimes, a simple equipment upgrade can make a huge difference in the quality of your product or service.
2) Hiring new people: Small business owners usually take on many roles, from general management to marketing and customer service. But it doesn’t always need to be that way. Kathleen invested part of her loan into employee wages, and now she is able to delegate more activities to her staff, leaving her with more time to manage and grow her business.
3) Purchasing inventory: Inventory can be one of the biggest small business expenses, especially if you need to purchase a large amount before seeing the return of your investment. With their loan, Marlo’s Bakeshop bought higher quantities of ingredients & packaging materials to take advantage of volume price breaks from suppliers. Savings on these components allowed more spending on marketing programs.
4) Expand or diversify product lines: To cater to a new clientele, vegans & vegetarians, Salud and Angie applied for a loan to produce an environmentally friendly meat-less chorizo in Hillsboro (OR). Diversifying with complementary products or services is an excellent strategy to increase sales and profit margins, and is also an opportunity to bolster seasonal businesses.
5) Pay for legal services and fees: Attorney’s fees can be high for small businesses. You don’t need legal guidance for every step, but sometimes minimal attorney assistance is necessary to cover legal issues that may arise. Christopher used his Kiva loan to register as a Benefit Corporation in Connecticut and to create contract templates for upcoming jobs. Legal partnership agreements, applying for required licenses and permits, and hiring contractors are some other examples of legal services that can save time and money in the long run by preventing future problems.
6) Upgrade website: Creating a website is very easy and many business owners create one themselves to keep costs down. However, hiring a professional to upgrade your website can improve your business credibility and give more confidence to new customers who work with you. A Kiva loan helped Jill to develop an online portal for her business, The Founding Moms, that provides more engaging opportunities to connect with her audience in US and worldwide. Besides that, having an attractive website is an extension of your business card and your products and services vitrine.
7) Marketing and advertising: These are the keys to showcase your value, your vision and your services. Kiva borrower Graziela publishes multicultural books and eBooks for K-college readers, and applied for a loan to hire a marketing specialist to expand her outreach into schools and libraries. She was one of the fastest fund-raisers in Kiva US history!
There are many other reasons to apply for a loan on Kiva, such as purchasing a vehicle, improving technology and/or information systems, doing small improvements in your building, buying uniforms, or hiring a specialist for advising. Do you see your own business in one of these scenarios? If the answer is yes, you should apply for a Kiva loan! It’s very easy - and Kiva US is waiting for you!