How Bell Can Help Small Businesses in 2024

2/8/2024 8:00:00 AM

COMM24-12 GRAPHICS East Region Commercial Insights Q1 2024_998x396_P1

After several years of challenging economic conditions, there’s hope that 2024 could offer a reprieve for the business community. According to a December 2023 survey by the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council, 61% of small business respondents reported an optimistic outlook for their business in 2024 – despite 71% holding a bleak view of the economy.

Paul Flood, Bell Bank’s SBA lending manager in Bloomington, Minn., said he’s heard a similar sentiment in his conversations with small-business owners. Despite continued impacts from a tight labor market and sticky inflation, owners he’s spoken with are looking to make investments in their business in the year ahead.

“What I’ve heard is they’re hoping to invest in new equipment and new property this year,” Paul said. “They understand the financial challenges they continue to face, but they’re looking to make strategic changes that could help to increase their efficiency and profitability in the long run.”

For business owners who are considering making such an investment in 2024, it’s crucial to put together a comprehensive plan before engaging with your bank.

“The more well-thought-out your plan is, the more your bank can understand the risks presented by your plan, and be able to offer solutions to mitigate that risk,” Paul said. “In these conditions, you should come into a meeting with not just a plan A, but also a backup plan B. Things can change really quickly, and you need to be as prepared as possible.”

If you’re looking to grow your business in the months ahead, Bell can help. Here’s how:

  • Experienced staff: With a seasoned and experienced SBA lending staff, our team can help offer unique and innovative solutions to grow your business.
  • Expedited process: Bell is a preferred SBA lender, which means that we can make lending decisions more quickly. This benefits you directly, shortening the overall lending process from application to approval.
  • Investments in technology: Most importantly, Bell has made significant investments in technology to help shorten the loan application process. In the past, the process was characterized by a time-consuming back-and-forth between Bell and the borrower; now, the entire process is managed through a streamlined portal. That’s helped cut down the turnaround time from application to close from 120 days to 45 days for non-real estate transactions, and from 140 days to 60 days for real estate transactions.

In addition to Bell’s investments, the SBA has also increased its commitment to small businesses by waiving the guarantee fee for loans less than $1 million. Historically, that fee has been around 3%, and by waiving that amount for loans less than $1 million, the SBA is demonstrating its commitment to helping small businesses navigate these difficult times.

Contact Us

If you have questions about SBA lending or about growing your business in 2024, contact Bell today. Our team will meet with you to discuss your needs, and help you identify the solutions that are right for you.