By Victoria Davenport, Chase Business Banking Mid-Atlantic Area Manager
Ever dreamed of owning your own business? If so, you’re not alone. In fact, you’re among more than 60% of Americans with the same aspiration.
There are plenty of resources to support you in making that dream a reality, especially as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact minority-owned businesses. Our team at JPMorgan Chase, for example, has set aside 15,000 loans and $2 billion in capital for Black, and Latino and Hispanic businesses. There are many other companies across the country who have also launched initiatives to support long-term recovery and economic growth in minority communities.
Small businesses have the power to boost local economies, job creation and community development. Equipping small business owners with the capital, knowledge and tools necessary to start and develop a company is critical for success.
The most important factors in a first-time entrepreneur’s journey are the initial steps to launch – a foundational understanding of what you’ll need for a successful business is a good place to start. There are a few driving factors that can help you succeed:
- A reliable network: Having a mentor – or access to someone who’s done this before – can be extremely valuable. Whether asking questions, discussing ideas, or just offering general support, there are incredible champions in your local community. You can also supplement a local strong support network with JPMorgan Chase workshops, panel discussions and summits, as well as the Chase for Business mailing list and social channels, where you’ll find regular updates on networking and available learning opportunities. The Chase for Business offerings are great for both growing your knowledge of managing a business, as well as growing your network beyond your community.
- A relationship with your banker: Banking is about relationships, so I encourage and welcome you to stop by your local Chase or set up a digital appointment to begin cultivating one. JPMorgan Chase wants to know about the experiences of Black, and Latino and Hispanic entrepreneurs in your communities, including their must-know steps to financial success.
- Knowledge of operational tools: From digital payment systems to automated billing, there are tech-based software and service offerings available to simplify many aspects of managing a business. Digital media and marketing tools have also been game-changers for many of our clients as they look to reach and engage more customers.
- Access to funding and loans: Starting, maintaining and scaling a business costs money! Initial expenses can include everything from licenses to new equipment. Luckily, there are alternatives to covering these costs entirely on your own, like loans, grants, lines of credit and other capital set aside specifically for minority entrepreneurs.
Access to Capital
Undoubtedly, funding is crucial as an aspiring small business owner and securing capital can be challenging. However, there are options available to Black, and Latino and Hispanic business owners that you should be aware of. In addition to the traditional options and types of capital, JPMorgan Chase has reserved low-cost loans specifically for minority-owned businesses. Many local small business owners are able to secure loans fairly quickly by working with the Chase team. When you visit your local branch, ask us about the process for securing funding and we’ll walk you through all of your options – ranging from loans to lines of credit – including your eligibility and the pros and cons of each. Chase strives to present you with every option – even the ones you may have not originally thought were right for you – to give you all the information you need to make the right decision for yourself and your business.
Build a Network You Trust
Building a strong network and understanding the access you have to supportive resources will help you find the tailored support you need to get your business off the ground. For example, JPMorgan Chase’s Advancing Black Entrepreneurs platform was built in collaboration with Black Enterprise, National Urban League and other organizations that understand firsthand the challenges associated with starting a business. Many existing small business owners say the site’s free educational courses, on-demand resources and networking events have been extremely helpful in building the foundation they need to successfully navigate their small business journey. You don’t even need to be a Chase customer to access these free resources.
In addition to digital support, Chase’s local community managers at branches around the U.S. are building connections with Black and Hispanic communities to increase awareness and utilization of available resources, as well as organizing neighborhood networking events and enrichment workshops to help local entrepreneurs start or grow their businesses. These events, whether in-person or virtual are great to connect and network with your local community, and to better take advantage of all the tools and options available to you.
Lastly, the Chase Chats webcast series features a session with Shark Tank’s Daymond John, who discusses how Black business owners can navigate life as a business owner and, more specifically, lingering pandemic-driven issues. That webcast, along with the educational course on the same topic, offers great advice – from the importance of bookkeeping to pivoting your business model and developing contingency plans.
If you find yourself inspired to take the leap and start a business of your own, consider stopping by your local Chase branch to find out more about the tools, resources and capital available to you.
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