US Small Business Administration Updates SOP: What Business Owners Need to Know

SBA sop updates

The US Small Business Administration (SBA) plays a pivotal role in supporting and empowering small businesses across the nation. On November 15, 2023, the SBA introduced significant updates to its Standard Operating Procedures (SOP). These changes bring exciting opportunities for business owners, making it easier to navigate the world of entrepreneurship. In this article, we’ll explore the key updates and how each one can positively impact business owners.

1. Partially Buy a Business

One of the most significant updates in the SBA’s SOP is the ability for buyers to purchase less than 100% ownership of a business. This change opens up new possibilities for strategic acquisitions and tailored investments.  Business owners can now purchase less than 100% ownership and still take advantage of SBA financing. Previously, buyers were required to purchase the entire business, which could be financially challenging or not align with their growth strategy. Now, they can acquire a portion of the business and potentially minimize financial risk.

2. Sellers Retaining Partial Ownership Without Guaranteeing the SBA Loan

Sellers can now maintain a stake in their ventures without the obligation to guarantee the SBA loan. As long as the seller retains less than 20% equity and is not considered a key employee, they are no longer required to guarantee the SBA loan.  This is a significant benefit for sellers who can now sell their business without the burden of loan guarantees.

3. Seller Can Remain as Employee

In the past, sellers who sold less than 100% of their businesses had limitations on how long they could remain as employees. The previous limit was 12 months. However, with the updated SOP, sellers can now stay on as employees of the business indefinitely under certain conditions. This can help if buyers have a lack of direct industry experience or lack of licensing required to operate a business.

This change provides sellers with the opportunity to continue contributing to the success of their former businesses. They can offer their expertise and knowledge without the pressure of a strict timeline, which can be particularly advantageous during the transition period.

4. Buyers Can Purchase a Business with 0% Down with a Seller Note

Sellers can hold a 10% note on standby, enabling buyers to secure 100% financing for their business acquisition. The seller note needs to be on full standby for a minimum of 24 months.  Interest can accrue but no payments can be made. This innovative approach opens the door for entrepreneurs to purchase a business without the need for personal capital investment.  This move by the SBA is designed to stimulate business transactions and entrepreneurship by significantly lowering the barrier for entry when acquiring existing businesses. It’s a win-win situation; sellers have a viable exit strategy while buyers can embark on their entrepreneurial journey with reduced upfront financial stress. This policy not only fosters a more dynamic and accessible business marketplace but also encourages the flow of business ownership, ensuring that viable businesses continue to thrive under new management without the hurdle of substantial initial investment.

Small balance loans went up from 350 to 500k

Previously capped at $350,000, the ceiling for SBA loans has now been raised to $500,000, a strategic move aimed at providing more robust financial support to small businesses across the nation. This increase is a response to the evolving needs of small businesses facing contemporary economic challenges, including inflation and supply chain disruptions. 

By enhancing access to larger capital amounts, the SBA is empowering entrepreneurs to not only sustain their operations but also to pursue growth and expansion opportunities with greater confidence. This update is expected to be a game-changer for small business owners seeking financial assistance, offering them a more substantial lifeline to navigate the complexities of today’s business landscape.


The recent updates to the SBA’s Standard Operating Procedures mark a significant milestone for small business owners and entrepreneurs. These changes enhance flexibility and provide opportunities for buyers, sellers, and business owners seeking to acquire commercial real estate. Whether you’re looking to purchase a business, sell a portion of your enterprise, or secure financing for a property acquisition, these updates can positively impact your business journey.

As you navigate the dynamic landscape of entrepreneurship, it’s essential to stay informed about regulatory changes like these. The SBA’s commitment to supporting small businesses continues to evolve, opening doors to new possibilities and fostering growth in the small business sector. Embrace these updates and consider how they can be leveraged to achieve your business goals with confidence and optimism.

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