For entrepreneurs in all stages of the business lifecycle, finding funding to jumpstart your business is an integral part of the journey. Not having access to enough capital can quickly derail even the most well laid-out plans, and it’s a problem many entrepreneurs still face, in spite of improving consumer and business confidence. According to the Federal Reserve’s Joint Small Business Credit Survey, 50 percent of small businesses received none of the financing they had applied for in the first half of 2014. (more…)
Whatever the aims for your business might be, there is a good chance that at some stage you will need to draw up a clear plan for its progress. The process of creating a business plan can be hard work but it serves a variety of important functions, especially when it comes to potentially attracting the financing that small companies so badly need in order to get started.
With that in mind, here are 6 tips for getting it right when it comes to building a great business plan. (more…)
First of all, what is venture capital?
Venture capital businesses give funding to early, high-potential, start up businesses. These businesses make their money by owning equity in the companies that they invest in, which usually have a novel technology or business model in high technology industries, like IT or biotechnology. The typical venture capital investment occurs after the seed funding round as the first round of institutional capital to fund growth in the interest of generating a return through an eventual realization event (like a trade sale of the company). (more…)
If you need quick business loans to help you out of a short-term cash flow crisis, what you don’t need is hassle when making these loan arrangements. We know all too well that any delay in making those funds available can lead to an operational headache, or threaten the survival of your business.
Reasons you may need a quick business loan
There could be an unexpected interruption in sales such as a delay in the delivery of stock that slows the flow of money coming into the business. It could be that you need quick business loans to pay for expensive new equipment or machinery in order to maintain production or cope with a sudden increase in demand. In difficult trading conditions, the customer has also become savvier, and more reluctant to make an immediate purchase, if they even make a purchase at all. As a result the retailer is late in paying you, the distributor. They, in turn, seek extended payment terms in order to assist their own cash flow. Suddenly, your usually strict 30 days terms of credit are being extended to 45 days or even 60 days. You will be paid, eventually, but later than you were expecting.
A short term business loan does not always have to be used to plug cash flow; it can be used as a tool to speed up business turnaround. Taking the right loan at the right time can be a great tactic to help you take advantage of business opportunities that come your way. The speed in which you can secure funding may determine how quickly you can push out in front of your competition or equally ensure your business does not plummet further into uncontrollable cash flow problems.
Everyone has been talking about crowdfunding lately, but what about momfunding? Or friendfunding? Earlier this week, family loans site TrustLeaf released their first guide on “How to Borrow Money from Friends and Family.” For any small business owner who’s done this kind of loan before, the value of doing it right cannot be understated.
Unlike crowdfunding, where entrepreneurs ask for donations from strangers (sometimes with a gift in return) TrustLeaf helps small business owners raise money through their existing social and family network. “Crowdfunding is great if you have a sleek prototype or a chic new fashion line, but doesn’t make as much sense for say, an auto repair shop.” says Anson Liang, TrustLeaf’s founder.
38% of all US small businesses start out with friends and family loans; on average, borrowing $25,000. Compare that with popular crowdfunding site Indiegogo, which only brings in about $1,000 on average per campaign. Kickstarter performs better, but the vast majority of campaigns raise less than $10,000, which in turn is less than half of friends and family loans on average.
You won’t find “Fundability” on Dictionary.com, so don’t bother looking. Fundability is a phrase we’ve coined to describe how a business measures up in relation to the entire business lending and investing community.
All joking aside, how “Fundable” is your business?
Fundability is not just about your credit. It includes several components that determine how your overall business is seen by lenders, investors, insurers, suppliers, and more. Basically, we know that your business was worth the risk for you, but is it worth the risk for them?
If your goal for 2014 is to become a business owner, you’re most likely being inundated with advice and tips. Maybe so much that sifting through it and evaluating who you can trust is eating up time that would be better spent putting the wheels in motion for your new venture. In the interest of saving you time and aggravation, I’ve broken down the five most important things you should know about getting the funds squared away for your business:
1) Pre-empt your lender’s doubts.
If you’re seeking a loan to purchase a franchise, your bank may be well-versed in franchising—or not. Assume they will need convincing about the franchise and do their homework for them: a risk evaluation using banking terminology and analyzing standard underwriting topics. A FRANdata bank credit report in hand will smooth your path with lenders.
2) Get your financial records in shape.
That means get them together in one place in a condition that makes it clear that you are trustworthy, keep meticulous records and are a serious professional. The bank is going to want to see:
- Personal and business credit history
- Personal and business financial statements for existing and startup businesses and as well as a projected financial statements
- A strong, detailed business plan (including personal information such as bios, education, etc.)
- Cash flow projections for at least a year
3) Realize that your payment history is important.
There’s no question that your credit score is important, but banks will also look at your back payment history. If it concerns them, it could dilute the weight given even a strong credit score.
4) Make sure your resume reflects your business acumen.
Even if you’ve never owned a business before, highlight the experience you do have to show lenders that you have knowledge of the space you’re entering, that you finish what you start, that you have membership in organizations that are relevant to your new business.
5) Keep calm and carry on.
It’s become an internet meme, but it’s relevant here. Be patient and move forward with plans as best you can while awaiting a decision from the lender. If you get a ‘no,’ move on. Successful business owners know that it’s all about the long game.
Of course there are alternative ways to fund a business. If you’ve got a 401(k), there is a rather complex, but completely legal way to use the retirement account to purchase a business—without incurring any debt.
David Nilssen is the CEO & Co-Founder of Guidant Financial. Read more tips about becoming a successful entrepreneur in his book, Making the Jump into Small Business Ownership. He can be found on Twitter at @DavidNilssen.
With 2014 looming on the horizon, small businesses need to not only assess the past year’s success and failures, but also plot a path forward. Businesses that have survived a challenging 2013, or even experienced some growth, can take certain steps to ensure and improve growth in the rapidly approaching new year. Here are a few tips to help prepare your small business for success in the coming year.
1) Explore all the options your bank (and competing banks) offer small business owners. Save money and stretch your dollars by choosing the right bank for your business. End of the year is a good time to take a look at the competition and see what offers they might have that would benefit you. Look for low account and transaction fees, low or discounted loan rates, and free direct deposit, among other offers designed to help the small business owner.
One of the biggest challenges for young entrepreneurs when they are trying to start up a business is of course securing sufficient funding. The most common hurdle is the fact that they have not yet managed to build up a good credit rating. Let’s take a look at some of the ways to get ahead despite a poor credit rating.
A credit score is fairly important when it comes to raising finances for your business, the higher the score the easier it will be to get loan or some other form of financing. However, it is not the be all and end all – you can still get funding with bad credit. The key is choosing appropriately so that you can begin to build up your credit so that when the time comes to move to the next level your business will have sufficient credit to do so.
Do Not Depend On Credit Cards & Bank Loans
It has recently been suggested that only 25 percent of entrepreneurs use traditional credit cards and bank loans to meet their start-up costs. That is actually great news for those seeking funding as it means that the majority of entrepreneurs are getting money from sources that are not so dependent on credit scoring. There are plenty of ways to fund a start-up which do not involve taking out a bank loan.
It comes as no surprise that thousands of businesses, large and small, have gone bust during the current downtrend in the economy. Literally millions of workers have been made redundant, leaving them on their own to carry on. Some have tried their hand at contracting whilst others put their expertise to work at launching small business enterprises. Those enterprises that survived understood what it takes to start a small business in a bear market. Against all odds, many of these small businesses are flourishing concerns today because they took the time to get the facts straight before launching their company.
So You Have a Vision – Is That Enough?