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You Can Get a Loan

Headlines paint a bleak picture, but startup capital is available to the prepared.

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This story appears in the September 2008 issue of Start Up.

In 2002, Alan and Lara Baldwin entered a bank and left nearly $500,000 richer and fully armed to take their full-scale event production company to the next level. Before then, their main focus was making ends meet, operating Landmark Event Services Inc. for a year with personal capital and credit cards. The bank's cash infusion let them finally invest in their New York City-based business: They bought trucks and equipment and moved into an 11,000-square-foot warehouse.

But Alan and Lara, both 40, didn't go to the bank empty-handed that day. Prior to asking for money, they sought out free counsel from their local Small Business Development Center and prepared a solid business plan with five-year projections. "We were able to really clearly define what we needed and why and how we were going to proceed with the business," says Lara.

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