If you own a business, you know that cash flow isn’t always consistent throughout the year. Sometimes it’s pouring in, and other times it’s basically dried up. While some businesses, like seasonally driven ones, plan for times of the year where their cash flow will recede, other businesses have no idea when that might happen and need a backup plan if that happens.
While there is no shortage of funding options available to businesses, you want to make sure that you choose the right one for your business. Before going to a lender, it’s helpful to understand some of the different funding options and what they are used for.
Instead of a lump-sum payment from the bank, a business line of credit is a flexible amount that you can use as you need it. Depending on your personal and business credit scores, you can be approved for anything from $1,000 to $500,000. Additionally, the interest rate is typically anywhere from 8 to 24%. Most banks do require that you have been in business for at least 6 months, have a 560 or higher credit score, and make a minimum of $50,000 in revenue each year.
One of the benefits of using a line of credit is that you only pay interest on the exact amount you use, and you aren’t required to use it, but it’s there if you need it. Additionally, you can use the money to pay for anything your company needs, whether to hire more people or expand to a new location.
These loans are an excellent choice for any business that is in desperate need of cash. You can quickly apply online and have the money in hand in as little as 24 hours. When applying for short term loans, lenders typically require that you have been in business for a few years and have a good credit score. Furthermore, they might require that you use some personal collateral to secure the loan.
One thing to remember about short term loans is that they typically don’t fund for more than $500,000. Additionally, they are usually required to be paid back quickly, generally within a year or two and come with a competitive interest rate, starting around 8%. These are a great choice for businesses with unexpected expenses, need help with payroll or hiring new staff, or even those who want to go out on a ledge for a new business opportunity.
Real estate can make a great investment, and is increasingly popular as real estate prices continue to rise. However, it takes some strategic planning to understand and act on a good investment property.
Get To Know the Region
One of the first steps in making a property investment is developing a deep understanding of local market conditions. This should either be broad, if you’re unsure what type of property you plan to invest in — or targeted, if you have a good idea.
For instance, if you intend to purchase raw land, it’s a good idea to compare land prices widely throughout a given county or region. You should know what factors put a higher premium on land prices. You should also work to develop familiarity with local zoning and building codes, to understand what is possible with a given property.
Naturally, you should follow similar procedures when considering other types of investment properties.
Speak to Locals
Speaking to local inhabitants is essential for coming to a knowledgable understanding of local conditions. Local residents can clue you into things you might otherwise miss: areas prone to flooding or severe storms, brokers to look out for (or seek out), town officials who are uniquely helpful or difficult to work with, and more. Tapping into this local knowledge base is one of the most effective tactics you can employ when looking to purchase an investment property.
Make a Comprehensive Fiscal Plan
By definition, an investment property is intended to be a way to make a profit — not necessarily a place to live or work long-term. Consequently, the financial components of your planned investment typically take precedence over all other concerns.
On the purchase side, this means crafting a sound business plan that will allow you to secure funding, whether from a bank or a private individual.
On the longer-term side, this means including in your plan a clearly described intention of how you will make money on your property. Maybe you intend to do a quick “fix and flip,” or maybe you seek to hold onto a piece of land over time for speculative value. Whatever your intention, it should be clear how you will have fiscal success with the property.
In short, property investment is a fun and often lucrative line of work, but it takes some planning. Carefully approaching a property to invest in will yield the most success over time.
Developing a brand new business is a formidable challenge. A lot of new businesses fail because people don’t plan well, use their resources effectively, or stay organized. In addition to a lot of patience and hard work, you’ll have to apply smart decision making and strategic directives in order to make your venture succeed.
Be Cautiously Optimistic
To some extent, starting a new enterprise is an act of faith. You need to have some reasonable hope and confidence that what you’re aiming to achieve is going to work out for you. Furthermore, it’s an expression of faith in yourself. You’re setting your sights on your goals with the conviction that you have the wherewithal, skills, and adaptability to accomplish them.
While you want to have faith, your aspirations also need to be grounded in reality. You can’t expect your success to come out of nowhere just because you have a good idea or a vision about how well things could turn out. For startups, gambling simply isn’t an option. Every step that you take in the process of building your startup needs some reasonable motivation and direction.
Some of the things that you do in your early days will involve a process of trial and error. When something goes wrong or you encounter an unforeseen obstacle, you have to be ready to look for creative solutions.
Repeating the same mistakes or trying to pretend that obstacles aren’t there won’t serve your agenda well. Adaptive thinking and being flexible about how you manage tasks will help you navigate setbacks. Rather than getting discouraged when you hit a roadblock and turning back, find a way around it.
Commit to Your Core Values
Usually, people who are growing startups have more in mind than just turning a profit. They want to deliver a great product or a fantastic service. If they didn’t think that they could run their business as well or better than their competitors, they wouldn’t try to. Evaluate what’s most important to you in how you operate. You have to honor your commitment to your business’ core values in everything that you do every day.
The old saying that you’re never wrong to do the right thing rings especially true in the context of starting a new business. Instead of taking shortcuts or trying to rush through all that you have to take on, you need to run your business with a methodical organizational style and a strong work ethic.
As a small business owner, you know how important it is to have the right location for your company. Sometimes you might want to find a new or a larger location to help grow your operation. If your enterprise deals with service to the general public, then you’re going to need a good location to accommodate the traffic. When a business is still in its infancy, it might be difficult to find ways to pay for real estate. Paying for a property in full is rarely an easy thing to do for any business. Fortunately, there are many options for financing for small businesses.
Uses of Real Estate Financing
When people get loans to purchase a specific piece of real estate, they want to be able to explore their options. The first difference is between financing for investment and financing for commercial real estate to be used for business. When people purchase property to be resold for profit, traditional mortgage loans likely won’t be available. These kinds of loans would require the person to live in the home for at least a year. When you wish to use financing to purchase a piece of property to hold your business, you might want to look into commercial mortgage loans or other products.
Types of Loans for Real Estate
Business owners can benefit from using commercial real estate loans to finance a property used for their operation. Franchisees also benefit from using the same type of loans when they’re ready to choose a piece of property in which to operate their franchise. Business owners can use these types of loans to renovate existing properties and also finance new ones. Businesses can also use some SBA-backed loans to purchase and renovate a property.
Parts of the Loan Application Process
When you’re ready to go to the bank to apply for commercial real estate financing, there are a lot of items you’ll need to bring with you. The bank will ask for certain documents to show proof of your past income, and will also want reports of your projected future income. Be prepared to show proof of your business and personal tax returns, proof of your personal assets, and employment resumes for yourself and other employees.
Making a real estate purchase for your business is very important. Make sure you choose the right type of financing for your particular situation to enhance your chances of approval.
Running a small business is a lot of work, and most of the time you will need certain machines to get this work done. These machines might include specialized computers, printers, commercial cooking equipment, auto repair machinery, or large forklifts, or other construction equipment. Business machinery can be quite costly if you have to make the purchase in full. Luckily, there are ways to finance business equipment so you can make affordable monthly payments to use the machinery in your office.
When you’re a new business owner without much time under your belt in your operation, it might be tough to come up with a down payment for your equipment financing. Usually, when a person wishes to get a loan to pay for a piece of equipment, the bank or financial institution may want a percentage of the cost of the item upfront to begin the loan. When you lease equipment, you don’t always have to make a down payment, and you can choose terms that work for what you can afford. Leasing is also helpful when you’re wanting to have the newest model of machinery.
If you would rather get a bank loan for your equipment financing, then it’s a good idea to look into what loans your favorite financial institution offers. Getting a loan is good for people who would rather own their equipment at the end of the financing term. You may have to come up with a percentage of the item’s value as a down payment, but you should be able to find a fixed interest rate for the duration of your loan. Usually, your payments will be the same every month with an equipment loan until the balance is paid off.
Regardless of what method you choose for equipment financing, you will still need to be prepared for the application process. Your lender will want to see documents like business tax returns, personal tax returns, driver’s license or identification card, and sales reports showing your profit projections for the future. Each bank has its own requirements for potential account holders, so it’s best to check with your financial institution to see what they require before you set out to apply.
When you are ready to apply for financing for your business equipment, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Your lender will help you find the best kind of financing for your needs.
Have you recently been thinking about investing in real estate? Many people have considered making money by becoming real estate investors. Luckily, there are a few good reasons that may encourage you to begin investing.
In some parts of the country, new houses are being built much faster than in other areas. There is more demand than there is a supply of houses, and this makes the market more favorable for sellers. Shortages like this mean it’s a good time to get into real estate investment. When demand supersedes supply, prices go up. New houses just aren’t being built fast enough in most parts of the country to meet the needs of buyers.
Most experts tend to say that the millennial generation is mostly renters and not homeowners. This isn’t particularly true anymore, because the age group is now getting older and buying houses. The older millennials are wanting to settle down, and they’ve been in the job force long enough to have decent careers at this point. Younger millennials are still mostly renters, and this is a good thing for those looking into getting into real estate investment to buy rental properties.
When the economy is growing, it’s a good time to get into real estate investment. New jobs are being made available in many places, companies are hiring, and wages are going up. When you notice that people are making more money than they used to, you’ll also notice they are moving and getting nicer things. When people can afford more, they usually like to upsize their homes. This is helpful for those looking to sell or rent their investment properties.
As the economy grows, the prices of goods and services go up. Some areas are witnessing large increases in prices of homes while other areas are seeing smaller jumps. This is good for people in the field of real estate investment. If you own a home in a city where the housing prices are increasing rapidly, then it might be a good time to list it for sale. It might also be a good time to rent out your property because people who can’t buy will have to rent instead.
These are just a few of the many reasons to become an investor. The economy is growing, people are getting better jobs, and people who couldn’t buy before can now afford their dream homes.
For businesses of any size, the first few years are the most critical. Some businesses experience tremendous growth while others experience growing pains. As you head into your first few years as a small business owner, there are a few things you can do to help bolster your chances of growth and success.
Obviously, having a business plan is a must, but it’s important to extend your business plan beyond day one. Make a plan for at least three, if not five, years into the future. Know the direction in which you want your business to go so that when faced with decisions, you make them based on where you’re headed, not where you are at that moment.
A mistake many business owners make is that they don’t bring on help early enough. As a determined business owner, it’s tempting to buckle down and do it all yourself. However, the reality is that you can be much more productive when you have someone to share the load. Take a look at your business, decide where you need help and then find the right person. Keep in mind that the hiring process can take a while, so if you wait until you absolutely need help, it may already be too late.
A majority of the money you make within your first year of operation should go right back into your business. Paying for advertising, hiring more employees or purchasing additional inventory can give your business a boost you wouldn’t have if you didn’t reinvest. Try to reinvest as much as you can so you can enjoy the rewards that come with it.
The key to long-term success is keeping the needs of your customers at the forefront of your business. If you have a product-based business, your products should evolve and grow with your customers. With a service-based business, the same applies. Your service should change with the changing needs of your clients. It is a mistake to create an offer and then never change it for as long as you’re in business. Listen to your customers, take their feedback and give them a reason to keep coming back.
While there is no foolproof way to guarantee success in your first few years as a small business, there are a few things you can do to increase your chances. Keep these in mind, work hard and watch your business soar.
Leadership is a great skill to have when running a business, and a skill that many people continually work hard to achieve. Whether you run a large or small business, chances are you have employees who look up to you and need your guidance. Here are four traits of effective business leaders.
Technology and best practices for running a business are constantly changing, so the best leaders in their field need to be ready to adapt and thrive with these changes. While it is important to have a long-term vision for your company, it is essential to keep an open mind and have plans to overcome any unforeseen obstacles that might get in the way. A successful leader adjusts his or her plans when they no longer prove to be effective, quickly changing the way they go about long and short-term goals.
Competent leaders know that trustworthiness is one of the most important, if not the most important, traits to have among employees and employers alike. Employees like to know sooner rather than later if they are doing a good job in their position, and employers appreciate knowing if you are having a problem with a certain project or meeting a deadline. Integrity within a business goes a long way in terms of attracting and maintaining a customer base, both in terms of buying a new product and entrusting a service to your company.
Great leadership involves asking for feedback and opinions from those who you interact with at your company. While some personality types may have a difficult time delegating tasks to others, it is important to consider the skills of the group you are working with and assign tasks to those who are most competent to complete a particular assignment. The ability to consider the opinions of people in your group also goes a long way towards gaining trust.
A great leader does not necessarily need to be an extroverted person, but they should have a passion for helping people and the work that they are doing. This attitude will rub off on your employees and lead them to be more enthusiastic and productive. People who are passionate about what they do are also less likely to become unmotivated after a failure or setback.
With these four traits, you are on your way to bringing effective and productive leadership in your workplace.
For many investors and business owners, the first place they will go to seek out a loan is a bank. Banks typically have lots of experience lending money, and if you can secure one, bank loans can be affordable and reasonably easy to manage.
However, not every prospective investor will qualify for a loan. Sometimes banks are reluctant or simply unwilling to lend to individuals without a long financial history, or with subpar credit scores. In such cases, considering methods of alternative lending can be essential to securing funding for your given project. Below are three alternative methods worth considering.
Crowdfunding is an increasingly popular means of funding projects. In what may be its most common perception, this technique involves seeking a large number of small donations from investors in a new business or project. Typically, investors receive a small gift for their investment, or maybe a very small amount of equity in a new business. The increasing popularity of platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo has made this fairly common.
Another means of crowdfunding involves doing much the same thing, but with a small number of large dollar donors. These individuals or groups — like venture capitalists — typically provide substantial cash up front in exchange for an ownership stake in the business.
While the first method can be quite successful in some cases, it can also be difficult to raise a great deal of money for a unknown businesses or business owner. Then, while the latter method can often provide substantial cash, it requires a new owner to give up a stake in his or her business.
An asset-based loan is exactly what it sounds like: money lent on the collateralized basis of some asset, which might be property, inventory, equipment, or something else. While typically not a means to fully fund a new business or project, an asset-based loan can go a long way towards generating needed capital. These loans are also typically quick to secure, and have few restrictions.
B2B loans are another increasingly popular way to fund new business projects. Under this system, one business or several businesses lends money directly to a new business or business owner. This can sometimes be an effective way to access cash if you’re unlikely to be approved for a more traditional loan.
Ultimately, having trouble securing a bank loan does not mean your business plans are dashed, and there remain a number of alternative ways to raise money for a new business or project.
Accounts receivable financing (AR financing) is a viable option, especially for small businesses that need fast cash. Check out a few of the advantages below:
Increase Cash Flow
As a business owner, you always have a variety of needs and each of those needs require money. You have to pay your employees. You need to save up for seasons when you might not have as many sales. Sometimes you need to spend money on maintaining or upgrading your equipment or technology. Other times, an opportunity arises in the form of expanding your office space or adding a new location. You might have an exciting project coming up or innovative ways to expand your business and reach new customers. All of these things require you to have cash on hand and that’s when an option like accounts receivable financing can come in handy.
Qualify More Easily
When it comes to qualifying for traditional loans, sometimes the requirements can be too great a hurtle for businesses to jump. If your credit score is too low, you haven’t been in business for a long time, or you need a relatively small amount of money, you might not meet the rigorous standards set by your local bank. Furthermore, if you’re hesitant to risk your personal property by using it as collateral or you just don’t have what your bank is looking for to mitigate the risk of offering you a loan, you might have to consider other options. With AR financing, your lender will be looking at your customers’ credit ratings, giving you less to worry about as you seek to qualify for the funds you need.
Get Access to Fast Funds
Depending on your contracts with your customers, you can be waiting several weeks or even a few months to receive payment for your products and services. And some customers are simply tardy in fulfilling their obligations. In the meantime, you have everyday expenses that don’t stop for lapses in cash flow. You have to pay staff members, rental rates for your office space, production costs, etc. You could try applying for a traditional loan, but even if you qualify, it might take a number of weeks for you to receive the funds. Especially in the case of an unexpected event, that might be too long. Instead, consider AR financing: You could receive the money in just a couple of business days and soon be on your way to putting it to good use.
Sometimes you need to think outside the box to find a solution – in that case, AR financing might be just the answer for you.