A light at the end of the tunnel?

I came across this article online.  I think we are all ready to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  Is this it?  Time will tell.

The US Small Business Administration is committed to providing small businesses with the tools and resources they need to survive in the current economic climate.  Starting on July 1, 2009, through the Dealer Floor Plan, SBA will offer government-guaranteed loans to finance inventory for eligible auto, recreational vehicle, boat, manufactured home and other dealerships.  The DFP is a pilot program that allows dealers to borrow against retail inventory and acts as a revolving line of credit for a dealer to obtain financing for retail goods. The dealer repays the debt as the inventory is sold and can borrow against the line of credit to add new inventory.

Who it will help:
The DFP program allows SBA lending partners to prudently extend a critical line of credit in these tough economic times to viable dealerships in a number of industries, including RV, auto, boat and manufactured homes. It will help restore their cash flow and in turn, save their business and countless jobs. For auto dealerships, in particular, it will provide the access to capital many of them need at this critical time as they go through the transition brought on by larger changes within their industry.

DFP loans will be available for a minimum of $500,000 up to the $2 million allowable under the 7(a) program. With a maximum repayment term of five years, the loans will come with a 75 percent government guarantee. Borrowers will also benefit from the temporary elimination of fees on 7(a) loans made possible by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

How it will work:
Under the DFP pilot program, SBA will provide loan guarantees for lines of credit through its 7(a) program. DFP loans will be made through SBA lenders only for inventory that can be titled, such as autos, RVs, manufactured homes, boats and trailers. The pilot program will run through Sept. 30, 2010, at which time SBA will determine whether to extend the program.

Because of the severe decrease of dealer floor plan financing over the last several months, each of these loans most likely will keep open a viable business that would have otherwise closed.

All loans will be made through SBA lenders to creditworthy dealerships meeting lender requirements, demonstrating sound finances and following viable business plans.

For more information, go to www.sba.gov.

Cindy Spencer 🙂

 

The number of classified ad website users has more than doubled since 2005.

Classified ad websites are a one-stop shop for everything the internet user needs.  These users, for the most part, are not buying anything directly on these websites.  Instead, they use the classified websites as a research tool to gather information and setup meetings so they can conduct business in person or by mail.

In 2005, only 22% of adult internet users said they’ve used online classified websites.  In April 2009, the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project conducted a survey and learned that 49% (almost half) of adult internet users have used online classified websites.   So in four years that number has more than doubled.  What will it be like in another 4 years or even 2 years?

On any given day about 9% of the internet users are on classified websites, up from 4% in 2005.   They also discovered the growing popularity and importance of online classifieds have devastated a key revenue source for traditional newspapers.

Craigslist is the most used classified website in the United States with 53.8 million unique visitors in March 2009.  Craigslist is established in over 500 cities across 50 different countries and includes everything from houses, jobs and pets to personals and everything in between.

I’m surprised the numbers are not higher actually.  In my circle of friends and relatives, I would say at least 80% of them have used classified websites.  It’s becoming a “reflex” for everyone, from my teenagers to grandma and grandpa.  When we are looking to buy something, we look on the internet first for product research, general pricing info, where to buy, see what others have to say, etc.

This survey really puts things in perspective.  Congratulations to those of you who have your products and services posted on the internet via your website and online classified websites.  For everyone else, unless you have a monopoly in your specific market, you’re missing the boat. 

You must recognize that you have to put your company, products and services out there, in front of your target audience and they are on the Internet.  

I checked the amount of Internet users in North America vs. the population and it’s right at 75% – here’s the numbers provided by Internet World Stats.

Cindy Spencer  🙂