News Column

Business Owners Get Financial Tips

Aug. 1, 2013

Speaking to about 100 entrepreneurs Monday, a small business credit expert found a unique way to show the universal nature of strong financial habits.

"Before you ever get a business license, before you ever sell anything, your home is your first business," said Lisa Riley, the Delta Region Manager for Accion Texas. "Does anyone in this room not have (personal) bills? So, you are all business owners.

"If you cannot account for your money as (an employee), then how in the Sam Hill are you going to account for your money as a business owner? You have to know every penny that you spend."

Riley was one of the speakers at the Women in Business Conference held by the Small Business Development Center at Alabama State University.

The SBDC's Andrea Price said the annual conference, which helps businesswomen find more resources and connections, added a section this year on obtaining a loan because of changes in the economy. That covers everything from credit and collateral to home finances.

"We're trying to make sure that they're positioned right," Price said. "If they're positioned right, then there's not really an issue with them getting loans."

She said even personal appearance is important and "what the banker is looking at when he sees you personally and sees your company."

That's one thing that conference attendee Vanessa Weatherspoon already knew.

Weatherspoon is the owner of Montgomery-based Clarity Image Consulting, which helps businesses and individuals refine their look and image, from clothes to communication. As a former corporate worker, she was able to save the money to start her business last year -- without a loan -- after months of preparation.

But she said one of the panelists' comments stuck with her, about the dangers of getting stuck in an endless cycle of planning instead of taking the plunge.

"Sometimes I think what we do is we get in preparation mode but don't get out of preparation mode," Weatherspoon said. "I was able to find a niche where I could help people solve (image) problems. You just have to find the niche and then get out and do it."

Source: (c)2013 the Montgomery Advertiser (Montgomery, Ala.). Distributed by MCT Information Services.

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