Many small businesses avoid seeking loans, but not for the reasons you think. According to a Sageworks survey, business owners opt not to pursue small business loans because they don’t want to take on debt (62 percent) or think they won’t get approved (24 percent).
Data from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) shows that small business lending — for loans less than $1 million — has dropped between 2008 and 2012. It has yet to see improvement since.
There’s a lot of confusion when it comes to business financing options as financing services companies can get creative with the names they use to describe the types of financing they offer. Part of that is for a good reason. Not all small business owners know what kind of financing they want or need especially when banks don’t come through.
Because of this, financial services companies use simple terms such as flexible funding or flexible financing. Invoice financing, accounts receivable financing and MCA funding mean little to business owners. Small businesses know they need working capital to help with cash flow. Here are the common terms to help you navigate the murky waters of financing.
Are you or your employees growing frustrated with the administrative part of your jobs in chasing down late payments from customers? How much more working capital would your business get if it stopped spending so much time tracking down customers to pay for services rendered or products delivered? What would you do with the cash if you have it sooner?
A company’s executives came across excessive cell phone bills, so they asked their manager to review the bills. Naturally, the first thing most people thought was that some employees may be abusing their cell phones to make personal calls. That wasn’t the case.
After doing a little detective work, the manager figured out that the high phone bills resulted from employees having different usage needs and working in different locations. One employee, a frequent traveler, racked up roaming charges whenever he traveled to another country. The company found a better plan to fit the employee’s usage and cut the bill by more than half.
This post’s title sounds like a quote from one of those inspiring posters with a stunning photo and an inspirational quote. It’s true that it’s better to flop than to avoid something or play it safe in fear of failure. Do this, and it’ll be tough to grow your business.
“I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.” – Michael Jordan
I bought a product at a store that I visit about once a year. The store is pricey, but has unique products that I can’t find anywhere else. It’s not far, but it’s not as close as its competitors. While there, I always pick up pop snacks. They’re tasty and you get a big bang for the munch in a single pop.
On this visit, I brought home a few flavors. All of them were their tasty, crunchy selves except one. Every bite lacked crunch as if it was past its sell-by date. (It wasn’t.) And both bags of the same flavor had the problem. Considering all the other flavors were good and it was the first time I had experienced this, I emailed the store.
Some clients pay within days of submitting an invoice. Others pay near the end of the 30 days. Both types have been in business for years and continue going strong. Still, those who put off payment until right before the standard 30-day deadline have a slight edge. They keep the money longer.
Occasionally, a client or two would pay late. Fortunately, some businesses have enough cushion that they aren’t affected but not everyone is in the same boat. It hurts the business when they get paid late.
Remember VHS? For those of you who don’t, it recorded TV shows before DVDs and DVRs came along. Did you know that it had a competitor known as Betamax? Many considered Beta’s technology superior to VHS’s. Yet Beta flopped and VHS soared until DVDs caught on. Beta failed because customers wanted an affordable option. VHS cost several hundred dollars less than Betamax.
It takes more than a great product or service to win over the market. Marketing plays a role. Customer needs play a role. A well-written business plan plays a role.
Business-to-business companies typically give clients 30 days to pay for their products or services. These B2B companies also need to pay their vendors within the same timeframe. And it’s standard business practice to wait until the end of the 30 days before making a payment.
It’s like having an interest-free loan for 30 days as you keep cash longer in your bank account. However, late payments can cause the company’s cash flow to snowball out of control jeopardizing other areas of the business and its relationships with vendors. (There’s a difference between being nice by paying quickly and having the needed cash flow to stay in business.)
Buying a competitor or another company gives you the opportunity to merge the two company’s strengths and reducing or eliminating weaknesses. Another option is to buy a business that has products or services that complement yours can boon business in a big way. However, the challenge lies in combining the companies’ employees, resources and cultures to turn them into a single company that operates seamlessly. No matter the scenario, owners and executives still need to think about other things before buying the company.