Lending Minuses And Google Pluses: A July 7 Small Biz Roundup

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Once a week, PointBlank will deliver a roundup of small business news and advice from around the nation.

Why Small Business Lending Isn’t Bouncing Back

There are any number of theories as to why small businesses cannot seem to access capital with a skeleton key, a map and a stylish fedora. You can point the fingers at stingy banks, businesses reluctant or unable to look for working capital* and an economic climate that isn’t making anyone think of stability.

Or you could read The Curious Capitalist’s account in TIME, which is a stunningly thorough look at how we got to this particular wasteland and where we can go. This passage is striking in its grasp of how the federal government and banks missed a potential solution already:

So what’s the solution to reviving small businesses? The fact is, there aren’t many options. A few years ago, the best route would have been to follow the original TARP plan, says Steil, which focused on buying the toxic mortgage-related assets from banks to free up their balance sheets. Instead, the government opted to inject only the country’s biggest banks with equity as a way to calm markets. With their reputations at risk, those big banks opted to pay back the injections as quickly as possible, rather than using the funds to increase lending. At this stage, another round of TARP is politically out of bounds, given the heated debate in Washington over how to pay down government debt. That leaves small banks destined to sit idle on their bad loans until they either go under or their bad assets are revived by a rebound in housing.

There are lessons to be learned here, and as the Curious Capitalist notes, peer-to-peer lending in the small business space is starting to take off. But for companies reliant on obtaining small business loans, it’s still too little and it’s rapidly becoming too late.

Google+ And Small Business, Together

You had to figure Google was going to woo small businesses to Google+, the Internet juggernaut’s first stab at a social network. But with the launch coming only last week, maybe you figured it’d take a little bit for Google to come a-courtin’.

Wrong!

Lisa Barone—who you may remember from our recent BizEngine interview—has the scoop on what Google is saying about the new service, which mixes traditional social media mores with “circles” of friends and contacts, as well as video “hangouts” which basically amount to video chats off the platform. It turns out they are planning to tailor aspects of the service to small businesses, which is welcome news.

It’s still invite-only at the moment, but expect Google+ to be on the radar for your business sooner rather than later.

Fireworks And Business

Over at BizEngine, I put on my thinking cap and came up with a handful of lessons your small business can learn from the Fourth of July holiday. It’s a lighthearted but worthy read, if I do say so myself.

Other Useful Links

Canada’s small business owners happy, eh

British looking for small biz violations

Small business climate: Worse than we think?

Photo credit to eduardtrag at http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1192803

*Working capital not available in the following states: AK, DE, ND, VT