By Guest Blogger Marc Brown
Startup is a time of wild optimism. The sky’s the limit and everything seems possible. It’s also a time when entrepreneurs look for cash – borrowing and spending their way through the birth of a new company.
Unfortunately, wild optimism and boundless borrowing are the two key ingredients in a recipe for disaster.
Plenty of us have been there – sales are slow to start, rent is due, baby needs new shoes. Suddenly you feel as if you can’t breathe and you realize that the weight on your chest is the accumulation of bank loans, credit card debt, and that chunk of change you borrowed from mom.
Diagnosis: You’re suffering from EDS – Entrepreneurial Debt Syndrome. But don’t panic.
Making the business work will eventually cure this disease. In the meantime, commercial debt counseling and business debt consolidation loans might help you out.
A business debt consolidation loan eases debts by combining several outstanding balances into a single new loan — often with a lower interest rate. In addition to lowering the total payment you need to make, a consolidation loan can also help you breathe easier because you only have to keep track of a single monthly payment to the debt consolidation company. Lower rates (than credit cards) and a smaller monthly payment can leave you with more disposable income to build your company.
Unfortunately, obtaining a debt consolidation loan is more difficult for a business than it is for an individual. Larger companies may qualify, but if you are still in startup mode, be prepared to use your personal credit score. That means personal guarantees and loans made directly to you – not to your company.
Consolidation companies are famously sketchy. Exhobitant fees and outright scams have plagued the industry, so diligence is the watch-word. Most debt consolidators paper over the industry’s poor reputation by claiming to be “non-profit” (a regulatory requirement in some states). But just saying it doesn’t make it true and doesn’t make the firm any more reputable.
Contacting a trusted, not-for-profit debt consolidation company is a great first step to reducing your debt payments and getting your business finances back on track.
To save you some headache, I’ve researched the following reputable sources of business debt relief:
1. NFCC https://www.nfcc.org/
As the nation’s largest financial counseling organization, the NFCC Member Agency Network includes over 800 community-based offices located in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. In 2010, 3.2 million consumers received financial counseling and education from NFCC Member Agencies in person, over the phone, or online. To locate an NFCC Member Agency in your area call 800-388-2227.
2. Springboard http://credit.org/
Springboard has been in business since 1974, is Better Business Bureau accredited, a member of the American Association of Debt Management Organizations and the Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies. It provides an extensive variety of financial education materials and employee assistance program and other helpful programs.
3. GreenPath http://www.greenpath.com/
GreenPath Debt Solutions is a nationwide, non-profit financial organization that assists consumers with credit card debt, housing debt and bankruptcy concerns. Our customized services and attainable solutions have been helping people achieve their financial goals since 1961.
CreditGUARD of America, Inc. is an independent, non-profit credit counseling agency that provides debt counseling to consumers throughout the United States. Our non-profit credit counseling agency also works with corporate and community leaders to provide quality financial education. Using state-of-the-art technology and superior customer service, CreditGUARD continues to innovate the credit counseling and debt management industries. We will help you get out of debt!
MMI is the largest nonprofit, full-service credit counseling agency in the United States. Since 1958, we have been helping consumers find the tools and solutions they need to achieve financial freedom. MMI is a member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) and The Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies (AICCCA).
6. American Consumer Credit Counseling http://www.consumercredit.com/
American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC) is a non-profit (501) (c)(3) organization, offering confidential consumer credit counseling services, debt management and financial education to consumers nationwide. Founded in 1991, ACCC is a leader in the credit counseling industry and has more than twenty years of national credit counseling experience.
7. American Financial http://www.myfinancialgoals.org
American Financial Solutions is a non-profit 501(c)3 financial education and credit counseling agency that helps clients find debt solutions and change their financial lives for the better. Since 1999, American Financial Solutions has worked with thousands of clients across the United States. We are one of the largest non-profit credit counseling and financial education agencies in the nation.
8. Take Charge http://www.takechargeamerica.org/
Take Charge America is a non-profit financial education and credit counseling organization. We are dedicated to helping people nationwide improve their financial futures through educational outreach, credit counseling and debt management solutions. Since 1987, we have helped more than 1.5 million consumers manage their finances and repay $4 billion in personal debts.
9. Clear Point http://www.clearpointcreditcounselingsolutions.org/
ClearPoint Credit Counseling Solutions is an established, national non-profit organization that helps consumers obtain a clear perspective of their financial situation through counseling and education. Working closely with our clients, we help identify and resolve the source of their financial concerns. In order to provide the greatest convenience for our clients, we offer our services in person, via phone and through the Internet.
InCharge Debt Solutions (IDS) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization offering confidential and professional credit counseling, debt management services and educational initiatives promoting financial literacy nationwide. IDS is a member of the Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies as well as an A+ rated member of the Better Business Bureau of Central Florida.
This is a guest post from Marc Brown. He is a financial writer with Oak View Law Group – a CA based consumer law firm.