The New Mexico Tea Company in Alburquerque was turned down for a line of credit. He decided to approach his own customers and was rewarded with kindness and financial help he couldn't have imagined. David Edwards, a co-owner of this company had encouraged his customers to participate in Kiva, the microlending company, never thinking that he may be the one needing help! This amazing story was forwarded to me by two of my colleagues in tea industry this week and it is part of a broader story facing many of us as small business owners. In our own case, we were turned down for a loan last year when we were expanding our Tea Room. This despite 15 years of history with one bank, profitable numbers and an unvarnished credit and loan history with them. I discovered 2 days ago that a local logistics company with stellar financials had its line of credit abruptly cancelled without notice. Cash flow, or the lack of it, is strangling us. Two weeks ago, I met with the SBA (Small Business Administration) counsellor and was made aware of microlending and grants and funds available to small businesses in the New York area, albeit at slightly higher rates. Concurrently, I re-approached two banks who had previously been unreceptive, and have so far been approved by one and am waiting for a response from the other. No question, these are some of the toughest times ever faced by small businesses. My accountant told me this morning he was dealing with liens, IRS problems and other related issues with his small business clients. One of my customers in California recently filed for bankruptcy. Another in Oregon is up for sale. Some in our own tri-state area are looking to fold. So there you have it. Large companies rig the system, big banks devise risky schemes and small businesses get left out in the cold.