Create Personal Wealth Beyond your Small Business

by : Craig Higdon

You know the story: Small time entrepreneur starts a business in his garage and almost overnight takes the company public to dominate an industry. O.K. so this is the exception and not the rule. Most small business owners probably have different motivations for starting their businesses, but the majority will probably include building wealth as one of the reasons for doing so. However, most small business owners miss an amazing opportunity to use their businesses to grow their personal wealth outside of their normal business activities.

The owner of a small business is usually focused on the day to day activities of keeping his or her business running or growing: Sales, accounting, collections, inventory, etc. Some have aspirations of becoming wealthy, yet most settle into a daily routine that lacks the focus necessary to truly develop wealth.

However, even these average business owners can start on a path to true wealth building that still involves their businesses, but creates this wealth because of the business, not through doing business. In fact, the wealth creation can be put on autopilot and converts a normal business expense into a powerful leverage tool. This amazing opportunity is achieved through the purchase of one or more income producing properties utilizing advantageous financing available only to the small business owner.

The theory is simple: The purchased business property is used initially to house the business, but it should also offer the business owner the opportunity to earn third-party rental income. As part of an estate plan, the use of the business to acquire and build a portfolio of income producing properties is an overlooked, but effective means of creating significant retirement income that is hedged against inflation.

First, a business owner has to decide if it makes more sense to own rather than lease for business use. In a later section, I will cover the 'Lease vs. Own' decision, but for now I will focus on the assumption that a business owner wants to follow a real estate acquisition program to supplement his personal wealth. Let me give you some background before going into the actual steps of the strategy.

There are three types of third party financing that can be used in the acquisition of real estate for small business use. They are: Small Business Administration (SBA) loan programs, conventional real estate financing, and conventional small business financing.

The SBA programs for businesses come in two versions: The 7a () and the 504 (). If you require in-depth knowledge of each of the SBA's offerings, then click the links above. In summary, here are the programs:


This is the SBA's 'flagship' loan and is used for almost any business purpose: Inventory, equipment, real estate, etc. It helps qualified small businesses obtain financing when they might not be eligible for business loans through normal lending channels. It is also the agency's most flexible business loan program, since financing under this program can be guaranteed for a variety of general business purposes.

Loan proceeds can be used for most sound business purposes including working capital, machinery and equipment, furniture and fixtures, land and building (including purchase, renovation and new construction), leasehold improvements, and debt refinancing (under special conditions). Loan maturity is up to 10 years for working capital and generally up to 25 years for fixed assets.

THE 504

The second option provided by the SBA is the '504' program. This program provides long-term, fixed-rate financing to small businesses to acquire real estate or machinery or equipment for expansion or modernization. A 504 project is a 'two loan' program that includes a first lien provided from a private-sector lender and a second lien secured from a Certified Development Corporation (CDC). This second lien is funded by a 100 percent SBA-guaranteed debenture. These two loans usually combine to provide as much as 90% of the cost of the real estate purchased by a small business owner, the other 10 percent equity coming from the borrower. The program helps small businesses expand while preserving working capital.

For a recent press release from the SBA concerning the popularity and use of the two programs, go here:

In the next article, I will cover other financing alternatives for small business owners and then begin to develop the Wealth Building Proposition for Small Business Owners.