March 1, 2015 on 12:25 am | In Bravo, Fascinating Information, Funny...Money, Government, Investment Opportunities, Office Fodder, Solutions, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

How the Small Business Administration can Help You Improve or Start a Small Business

Courtesy of Ella MossSBA seal

People have great ideas for small business all the time, but most never get past the idea stage, and it’s often due to a lack of funding for major expenses like retail or industrial space. And many don’t realize that they might be able to access funding from the Small Business Administration (SBA), a federal agency that provides all kinds of useful information—as well as loans—for small business and start-ups.

What Help can the SBA Provide for Small Business Owners?

The SBA offers a range of different types of programs for helping small business owners get loans or access venture capital, and can also guarantee bonds for contractors.

SBA guaranteed loan programs are designed to help small business owners get third party sba-loan applicationloans from participating lenders. The money that a small business owner borrows doesn’t come from the SBA itself, it comes from a conventional lender such as a bank, or sometimes from micro-lender organizations or other community organizations. Many banks participate in the SBA loan program, including The Bank of America, Chase, US Banks, and Wells Fargo, as well as lending institutions like Fundera. The SBA’s role in the loan process is to provide a guarantee that the loan will be repaid; this reduces the risk for the lender, and allows them to offer loans with more favorable terms, and more relaxed qualifying criteria. Note, however, that the SBA won’t guarantee a loan for a borrower who can access conventional financing at a reasonable rate—the loans are intended more for people who would not otherwise be able to access affordable funding.

SBA loan structureIn a similar fashion, the SBA surety bond program helps contractors by acting as a third party, or surety, to a contract between the contractor and a project owner (the person the contractor is doing work for). Under the terms of an agreement between the contractor and project owner, the contractor is legally bound to provide the work they’re contracted for, but if they are unable to do so, the surety—in this case, the SBA—becomes responsible for getting the work done.handshake

The also known as the Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) is a combination private and public investment partnership designed to help small businesses locate growth capital. The funds are licensed by—but not provided by—the SBA, but the SBA supplements capital raised by investors with its guaranteed loan program. Access to venture capital funds is more limited than access to loan funds, however, and there are more stringent qualifying criteria for businesses that want to access venture capital.

What can You Use SBA Loans For?

The SBA offers several different loan programs; the amount a small business owner can borrow depends on the bank they work with as well as SBA regulations. For example, Chase bank offers loans of up to $5 million, while Bank of America offers loans of up to 3.5 million. In most cases, the SBA logobusiness must have been in operation for two or three years, and the owner or owners must have some of their own equity in the business (these are requirements of the lenders, rather than the SBA itself). The SBA has requirements of its own: for example, the business must be a for-profit organization, be an SBA-defined small business, and have a sound business purpose in mind for the funds. However, there are few restrictions on what the business can do with the money: it can be used for both long term and short term purposes, including use as working capital for paying expenses of operation, to buy equipment, fittings and furnishings, or supplies, to buy real estate such as building or land, to home_loan_entryrenovate a building, or to construct a new one. Purchasing land and buildings can be an especially advantageous way to use SBA loan funds, since it allows a small business owner to access retail or industrial space without having to qualify for a commercial loan, which is typically a more expensive prospect than a residential one. Restrictions on what can be done with the money include using it to pay or refinance other debts, to pay delinquent taxes, or for any purpose not considered a “sound business purpose” according to SBA regulations.

How to Apply for SBA Funding

The SBA offers plenty of guidance for small business owners interested in applying for loans or accessing venture capital, including help with finding local lenders, application checklists and guidelines, and further services at local offices.





April 1, 2014 on 4:46 pm | In Bravo, Fascinating Information, Government, Market Snapshot, Trends, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

edited by Jodi Summers

Optimism is the result of January’s coincident indexes for the 50 states. The coincident index, compiled by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, combines four state-level indicators to summarize current economic conditions in a single statistic.

The four state-level variables in each coincident index are:

  1. nonfarm payroll employment,
  2. average hours worked in manufacturing,
  3. the unemployment rate,
  4. and wage and salary disbursements deflated by the consumer price index (U.S. city average).

The trend for each state’s index is set to the trend of its gross domestic product (GDP), so long-term growth in the state’s index matches long-term growth in its GDP.

In January, 49 states had increasing activity(including minor increases). This measure has been and up down over the last few years …

This map was all red during the worst of the recession. Fortunately, it is all green again.



December 16, 2013 on 8:11 pm | In Fascinating Information, Government, Statistics, Uncategorized, World | 2 Comments

by Jodi Summers

Metro Los Angeles has an economy larger than Saudi Arabia.

California has a larger economy than Brazil Russia India and Canada

The New York City area has a bigger income than New York State. How does this happen you ask? The economic juggernaut that is metro New York includes Northern New Jersey, Long Island and parts of Pennsylvania, while abandoning much of upstate New York.)

Same with Metropolitan Washington, D.C., whose economy alone – measured in gross annual product – is larger than both the states of Maryland and Virginia that contain parts of it.

In fact, if metros were states, five of the 15 largest economies in the U.S. right now would belong to metropolitan regions. Add up the 10 highest-producing metros in the country, and together they have more economic might than the 36 least-producing states in America.

Our Los Angeles, along with metro New York and Chicago is among the top 25 economies in the world (this exercise conveniently only compares U.S. cities to countries, not international cities)- better than Sweden, Norway, Poland, Belgium, and Argentina.

In our Los Angeles metro, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in October edged down to 9.7% from 9.8% in September, notes the Employment Development Department. A year ago, the unemployment rate stood at 10.5%. In October, total nonfarm employment (not seasonally adjusted) in Los Angeles County increased by 48,000 jobs over the month and by 56,600 jobs over the year to October, an increase of 1.4%.

Total California nonfarm employment increased by 39,800 jobs over the month in October measured in seasonally adjusted (SA) terms. The non-seasonally adjusted figure was a gain of 120,200 jobs.

The year-over-year change showed an increase of 207,300 jobs (SA), which equates to a growth rate of 1.4%, slightly below the national rate of 1.7%. California’s private sector added 210,600 jobs over the year, while employment in the public sector declined by 3,300 jobs.

Nearly every private industry sector added jobs over the year: mining and logging; construction; trade; transportation and utilities; information; financial activities; professional and business services; educational and health services; leisure and hospitality; and other services for a collective gain of 216,400 jobs. Leisure and hospitality posted the largest gain on both a numerical basis (75,100 jobs) and on a percentage basis (up by 4.6%).

California’s unemployment rate was 8.7% (SA) in September and October. The unemployment rate was 10.1% a year ago October.

For more information please contact Jodi Summers and the SoCal Investment Real Estate Group @ Sotheby’s International Realty – or 310.392.1211, and let us move forward together.



March 9, 2013 on 8:48 pm | In Fascinating Information, Government, Green, New Developments, Office Fodder, Statistics, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

by Jodi Summers

Time flies. Do you remember back in 2007 when Arnold Schwarzenegger was governor and the state assembly passed AB 1103 Commercial Building Energy Use Disclosure Program? It was supposed to begin in 2010, but of course, it got changed and delayed and modified and finally, low and behold, the time to disclose energy data is upon us. The first phase of the Energy Use Disclosure Requirements begins July 1, 2013.

To refresh our memories, Assembly Bills 1103 and 531 require owners of nonresidential buildings located in California to disclose energy usage of such buildings in advance of any sale, lease, or financing of the entire building.


Here is the schedule for when commercial buildings need to keep and disclose energy usage records:

1. On and after July 1, 2013, for buildings with a total gross floor area of more than 50,000 square feet;

2. On and after January 1, 2014, for buildings with a total gross floor area between 10,000 square feet and 50,000 square feet; and

3. On and after July 1, 2014, for buildings with a total gross floor area between 5,000 square feet 10,000 square feet.

AB 1103 and 531

Assembly Bill 1103, signed into law on October 12, 2007, requires the tracking of the energy use of all nonresidential buildings and the disclosure of such energy use as part of the sale, lease, or financing of an entire nonresidential building. T

The disclosure requirement is intended to “motivate building operators to take actions to improve their buildings’ energy profiles” and “to allow building owners and operators to compare their buildings’ performance to that of similar buildings and to manage their buildings’ energy costs.”

Since we’re talking government, AB 1103 then added Section 25402.10 which contained a compliance deadline of January 1, 2010. Assembly Bill 531 removed that deadline, and replaced it with the disclosure of energy usage data on a schedule of compliance established by the State Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission.


Compliance with Assembly Bills 1103 and 531 expects owners of nonresidential buildings to take certain actions at least 30 days before the sale, lease, or financing of the entire building.

1. Register for an account with “Portfolio Manager,” the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR program online tool for managing building energy use data.

2. Create a profile within Portfolio Manager for the nonresidential building.

3. Use Portfolio Manager to request that utilities serving the building release the last 12 months of energy use data for the building to Portfolio Manager. What you’ll get is:

  • Disclosure Summary Sheet;
  • Statement of Energy Performance;
  • Data Checklist; and
  • Facility Summary (collectively, the “Disclosure Data”).

4. After the utility data has been provided, download the Disclosure Data; and provide the Disclosure Data as part of the sale, lease, or financing.

(Regulations section 1683(a) + 1684(c).)

Here’s the curious caveat, there is no specific penalty for non-compliance, but a failure to disclose a building’s energy usage could be viewed as a material fact in the transaction.



October 23, 2012 on 10:55 am | In Fascinating Information, Government, Office Fodder, Statistics, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

by Jodi Summers

Have you gawked at the morning line of traffic waiting to get off the 10W freeway at Cloverfield? The jobs came to the beach before the mass transit. Think of how much easier the commute will be when the Bergamot Station stop on the Expo Line opens in 2015…

Nationally, more than three-quarters of all jobs in the 100 largest metropolitan areas are in neighborhoods with transit service.

Western metro areas like Los Angeles and Seattle exhibit the highest coverage rates. When combining bus and rail service, they exhibit near ubiquitous transit coverage rates and enable their jobs to access over half of their local labor pools. Los Angeles is better than average? Just imagine trying to take the bus to work in Arkansas….

Pundits say that the typical job is accessible to only about 27% of its metropolitan workforce by transit in 90 minutes or less. Labor access varies from the high of 64% in metropolitan Salt Lake City to a low of 6% in metropolitan Palm Bay, Florida. Studies conclude that city jobs are consistently accessible to larger shares of metropolitan labor pools than suburban jobs, reinforcing cities’ geographic advantage relative to transit routing.



July 20, 2012 on 12:55 am | In Fascinating Information, Government, Market Snapshot, Trends, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

By Jodi Summers

In case you were wondering why our state unemployment sits at 11%, and Los Angeles employment was @ 12.2% at the end of the 1st quarter, it’s because California has been voted the worst place in the country to do business…again. According to Chief Executive’s eighth annual survey of CEO opinion of Best and Worst States in which to do business, California has earned the dubious honor of being ranked dead last for the eighth consecutive year.

Chief Executive polled 650 business leaders, asking them to grade states in which they do business in categories such as tax and regulation, quality of workforce and living environment. Texas was given high marks for its business-friendly tax and regulatory environment. But its workforce quality, second only to Utah’s, is also highly regarded.

Here’s what some of the polled CEOs had to say about Califorrnia…

“California – the government is the worst in every possible way.”

“California and Connecticut are full of impenetrable regulations and generally hostile to business.”

“California has a great draw from a weather & location view point, but the state is so business unfriendly.”

“California is a complete mess.”

“California is a hopeless disaster.”

“California, New York and Michigan all continue to lose population, due to the less than favorable business climate. It’s no coincidence that all three states have bloated governments, are union-controlled and run significant annual budget deficits… who knew?”

“California and Connecticut have state governments that are simply too big, too intrusive and too anti-business.”

“California and Michigan are predatory in their approach to business.”

“California, New York and Illinois are all anti-business.”

“California and Illinois taxes and regulation are just plain silly. They actively work to drive companies out of their state.”

“California and Massachusetts in league of their own for anti-business regulatory environment.”

“California and New York are a basket case… only the life style saves California.”

“California continues to head in the wrong direction as its tax policies will drive more businesses and people to relocate in other states. State politicians feel business and commerce are “necessary evils” that provide the funds to enable pursuit of their misguided agendas.”

“California government is difficult to work with and very bureaucratic. Taxes and regulation are high and unruly.”

“California has driven away business with bad rules and a refusal to acknowledge its problems. We should let it become its own country. The legislature is horrible.”

“California is a mess. Virginia is tops for governance and attractiveness to business. Colorado is great for living and governance. Only problem is not on a coast.”

“California is begging for businesses to leave its state.”

“California is going in the wrong direction if that’s even possible.”

“California is out of control. They have too much government who have nothing better to do than to harass businesses in the state. They need to cut the size of their regulatory bodies in half.”

“California is the interface with China, where all our money is these days.”

“California is the only state in which I have direct experience in operating a business. Simply stated, California is not employer friendly, does not encourage or incent businesses to grow and has far more regulations that anywhere else!”

“California is the worst! They are doing everything possible to drive a business out of their state. If the environment in CA was not so good, they would have lost half of their population.”

“California makes it truly difficult to operate a business, but especially a mid-size organization.”

“California regulations, taxes and costs will leave only tech, life sciences and entertainment as viable. If you aren’t an elitist no room here for the middle or working classes.”

“California should become set aside and not included in commerce with the rest of country. They have become impossible to deal with and proposed regulations will further distance them from rest of country.”

“California should secede from the union – it is like doing business in a foreign country, it has its own exchange rate, regulation is crazy.”

“California sucks!!!!”

“California treats business owners like criminals. CA has different overtime policies for it’s own employees vs. private sector.”

“California, Massachusetts and Vermont have enacted anti-business policies that are detrimental, especially to the medical device industry.”

“California, New York and Connecticut heavy on taxation and regulatory.”

“California…outlook is for an even worse business and tax climate under Governor Brown.”

“California’s regulation and specifically labor regulation is a job killer. We will be moving our business out of CA and the State will lose 100′s of jobs simply due to the poor regulatory environment.”

“California’s taxes and ongoing changes for regulations are devastating. One never knows from even day to day what new intpretation of an existing regulation or new regulation will befall you and your small business. Every single state or federal program payor source for healthcare has tried to stop paying for programs in the last year. If we dealt with the real issue of state and federal government entitlement pension plans, we would stop raping all current programs that support our citizens. We also need to deal with the benefits issue for all of the illegal immigrants and spread that cost over all of the states to eliminate them, as another reason for California’s budget woes is the disproportionate share of that cost we carry.”

“California is the most difficult state to deal with on all fronts.”


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