8 Tips for a Better Small Business Loan Application

MELINDA EMERSON | September 24, 2019

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You can apply for a small business loan today from many different lenders, both traditional and alternative. These can help you expand your business, hire new employees, increase your sales or product research budget, and more. Here, we’ll explore 8 quick tips to help you create a better small business loan application

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Jobcase, Inc.

One of the Boston area's fastest growing technology companies, Jobcase is the only social media site dedicated to empowering America's workforce. Available online and through an app, Jobcase provides one place to manage all things job-related, especially access to the knowledge, connections and wisdom of 65 million other Jobcasers. Jobcase is an industry affiliated partner of MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, CSAIL, and Jobcase technology powers over 100 job sites in the Jobcase Network, connecting more than 65 million workers and employers.

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What's Involved in Starting a Partnership?

Article | May 19, 2021

Entrepreneurs who plan to go into business with one or more other individuals may not realize there are several variations of partnerships to consider. In this article, I’ll describe the different types of partnerships and what needs to be done to start and maintain them. Business owners should keep in mind that there are legal and tax-related issues to consider when choosing a business entity type. So before deciding, it's wise to consult an attorney and accountant or tax advisor for guidance.

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Top 8 Options of Startup Financing for Small Businesses

Article | July 23, 2021

Are you set with the business idea? So now is the real mammoth-sized challenge that is how to get startup finance? As the adage goes, "never put all your eggs in one basket," and this is especially true when it comes to startup financing options for your business. Entrepreneurs ought to understand the importance of diversifying financial sources and the available options. It is crucial to select the appropriate startup financing for small businesses. According to a 2020 Federal Reserve report, new company small businesses are the primary source of job growth in the United States. Still, they are much more likely than larger firms to face financial difficulties in accessing borrowed capital. Millions of Americans start their businesses each year. According to the Census Bureau, there would be over 4.3 million new business applications in 2020 alone. It is vital to choose the suitable funding options as per your business requirements. Because every business's needs and circumstances are unique, no financial solution is one-size-fits-all. Some choose to finance their startups with their years saved capital or get “love money” from family, spouse or friends, or any other funding options. How you choose to fund your business determines the structure and operation of your business. Hence, finding appropriate funding for startups is a bit tricky. In this blog, explore few options of startup financing for small businesses and grow your business. What is startup financing for small businesses? Startup capital is a large sum of money raised to help with the financial needs of new businesses. Small business startup loan covers all the major company’s initial costs, such as purchasing equipment, working capital, machinery inventory, supplies, licenses, office space, furniture, product development, purchase of construction equipment or real estate. Funding for startups can be provided by venture capitalists, angel investors, banks, or other financial institutions. It is pretty common that a new business might require more than one round of startup capital investment. In addition, many investors ask for a solid business plan in exchange for their money due to the risk involved in investing in the young company. Advantages and disadvantages of startup financing for small businesses Advantages: • You will have enough money to start your own business. • Personal wealth can be safeguarded. • You have the option to retain ownership. • You can establish business credit. Disadvantages: • It isn't easy to get startup business loans approved. • High-interest rates. • These loans may limit cash flow. • Your personal credit may be jeopardized. • You might not get all the money you asked for. Where can I get a small business startup loan? Small Business Credit Cards Business credit cards are the most preferred option of startup financing for small businesses. As a result, small businesses are highly targeted by business credit card issuers providing them multiple offers, unique benefits, and applications. Small business credit cards give small business owners easy access to a changing line of credit and a set of credit limits for making purchases and withdrawing cash. Business credit cards are safe, convenient, and a great alternative to startup business loans. Applying for small business credit cards can be quickly done online or through banks. The criteria to qualify for a small business credit card depends on the business owner’s credit score and combined income (personal and business). Small business credit cards are convenient startup financing options. Choose a credit card with a 0% APR to save money on interest. You will be able to pay off your debts in full each month once you start generating revenue. According to a recent Federal Reserve Small Business Credit Survey, 53% of small businesses use credit cards to help fund their operations. The most significant advantage of a small business credit card is that you can access the funds immediately for short-term needs, potentially increasing your company's purchasing power. Venture capital Venture capital funding is a good choice of startup financing for small businesses. Venture capital is a type of equity and financing provided by investors to start-ups and small businesses with the potential for long-term growth. Venture capitalists are a type of investor who typically invests in a business against equity and holds a small portion of the company's ownership in exchange for capital. When investing, venture capitalists consider a few criteria, such as specific industry sectors, company stage, and geography. In addition, venture capitalists frequently seek entrepreneurs with a robust business model that has the potential for higher returns. Venture capital financing is difficult to obtain because, as a business owner, you must ensure that their focus matches your company's and its stage of development. Venture capital is a time-consuming process that looks for more considerable opportunities that are stable, have a strong team, and have good traction. However, because venture capitalists provide a lot of mentorship and ownership, this may not be the best option for you if mentorship and compromising do not fit in your books. Crowdfunding Crowdfunding is a new trending option of startup financing for small businesses and has increased over the past few years due to its low risk for business owners. Crowdfunding is a way to raise startup capital through small contributions or investments from many individuals via crowdfunding websites or crowdfunding platforms. To raise funds for startups through crowdfunding is not very difficult; it just requires setting up your company profile on the popular crowdfunding websites or crowdfunding platforms available. The profile needs to describe your company, its business, the products or services you deal in, and the amount of money you wish to raise. Interested people can contribute to your campaign in exchange for a reward for their contribution. In addition, setting up a crowdfunding campaign gives exposure to your young company seeking money for the startup. Crowdfunding for startups is accomplished by gathering donations from diverse people in exchange for a special reward. This incentive could take the form of free products, exclusive discounts, first access to new products, premium merchandise, the opportunity to join the team, or even becoming a significant capital investor. Some of the popular crowdfunding platforms in the US include Kickstarter, Indiegogo, RocketHub, Onevest, SeedInvest, and many more. Each crowdfunding platform charges a fee to list your campaign, a flat fee or a percentage of the funds raised. Because each crowdfunding platform is unique, make sure to read the fine print and fully understand your financial and legal obligations. Love money from family and friends Love money is nothing more than approaching your spouse, friends, and family for a loan to start your business. This is the most common type of financing option used by many companies, and it is one of the most essential sources of startup financing for small businesses at early-stage businesses. Regardless of whether you have a personal and healthy relationship with your family and friends, never approach them solely for financial assistance. The mature move is to present them with a well-prepared business plan, financials, and other necessary documents. Then, request their valuable feedback on your business plan, as well as their advice based on their business experience, if any. This approach demonstrates your regard for their knowledge and expertise. Despite all the benefits listed above, a business relationship with family or friends should not be taken lightly. Never assume that your close family or friends will lend you money. Do not take their financial assistance for granted. Angel Investors Angel investors are another excellent source of startup financing for small businesses. Unfortunately, many people believe that venture capital and angel investors are the same things, but this is not the case. Venture capital is the companies that invest in your business. In contrast, angel investors are wealthy individuals or successful retired business executives who invest directly in small firms and take an equity stake in the new venture. Angel investors are one of the few startup financing options sought out during the early stages of a new business's growth. Along with funds, angel investors offer advice based on their experience, technical and management knowledge, and network of contacts. As a result, Angel investors frequently have a low profile and invest less than venture capitalists. Personal loans for business A personal loan for business may be worth considering for entrepreneurs with excellent personal credit and a new business idea worth putting your own money on the line for. The benefit of this option is that there are no hidden fees; it is simply a personal loan. Personal loans have lower interest rates and easier repayment terms than business loans. This is an effective startup funding option because it can be used for almost any purpose. The most significant disadvantage of a personal loan is that you are the sole accountable if your business fails and is responsible for the repayment of the outstanding balance. However, this can be a viable option as a startup financing for small businesses if you need a relatively small startup capital. Small business administration (SBA) loans The SBA does not lend directly to small businesses; instead, it offers various loan guarantee programs to qualifying banks, non-profit lenders, and credit unions. For example, some banks offer low-interest loans to small businesses that are backed and guaranteed by the Small Business Administration (SBA). They target underserved companies and make loans to start-ups. The loan application process is time-consuming, with stringent requirements for qualified small businesses. As a result, the Small Business Administration (SBA) offers a few startup programs such as micro-loans and Community Advantage. Equipment financing Equipment financing is the top option if you need startup financing to purchase equipment and machinery. Because the equipment you will buy will serve as collateral for the loan, lending standards for equipment financing may be less stringent. However, if you do not return the money, the bank may seize your equipment to cover the cost of their lost money. Dealerships, banks, and online equipment finance providers all offer equipment financing. The main advantage of equipment financing is that you gain ownership of an asset, the payments for which are spread out over time, which is generally one to five years. Frequently Asked Question: What do you mean by startup funding? Startup funding is money raised to help a new business meet its initial costs. To raise startup capital, entrepreneurs must create a compelling business plan to sell their concept to potential investors. Where can I find startup financing? Angel financing, crowdfunding, small business credit cards, venture capital, equipment financing are few popular options to find startup financing. What are the types of funding? Crowdfunding, venture capital, angel financing, small business administration loan, small business loans are few types of startup financing to businesses. { "@context": "https://schema.org", "@type": "FAQPage", "mainEntity": [{ "@type": "Question", "name": "What do you mean by startup funding?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Startup funding is money raised to help a new business meet its initial costs. To raise startup capital, entrepreneurs must create a compelling business plan to sell their concept to potential investors." } },{ "@type": "Question", "name": "Where can I find startup financing?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Angel financing, crowdfunding, small business credit cards, venture capital, equipment financing are few popular options to find startup financing." } },{ "@type": "Question", "name": "What are the types of funding?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer",

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Ingredients of a Marketing Plan That Are Essential to Make an Impact

Article | August 18, 2021

Each business endeavor begins with a well-defined business plan and, more crucially, a marketing strategy. An effective marketing plan is chock-full of different marketing selections for your firm and is a must-have if you want to get to your destination. But, unfortunately, the market is full of competition and uncertainties. It is estimated that about 20% of small businesses fail in their first year as per the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. After five years, 50% fail, and after ten years, 80% fail. Here are a few ingredients of a marketing plan that help you outshine in the diverse and competitive markets. A marketing plan is the first stage in establishing a successful marketing program. In addition, a marketing strategy serves as a road map for efficiently allocating precious time and resources to prevent wastage. A marketing plan includes a written document that describes an organization's advertising strategy, marketing techniques, tactics, promotional activities, and marketing efforts over a specific time. Market research, SWOT analysis, thorough information about its target consumers, competition positioning in the market, marketing plan budget, target market profile, distribution methods, promotional tactics, and marketing objectives are just a few of the ingredients of a marketing plan. Importance of Marketing Plan A marketing plan is vital because they make sales easier for any small business owner. When you target your ideal target customers, you increase the chances of generating leads and converting them into sales. Below is a few more importance of marketing plan: It aids in the effective management and accomplishment of your business objectives It facilitates cross-departmental collaboration and communication It contributes to the avoidance of future dangers and uncertainties It contributes to the success of marketing activities It contributes to reducing the chance of failure It enables the efficient and prudent use of resources while taking market opportunities into account Extensive Market Research Market research is one of the crucial ingredients of a marketing plan. Market research is the act of collecting and analyzing data to have a better knowledge of your consumers and the current state of the market. For marketing success, you must conduct a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis compared to your competitors and a PESTND (political, economic, sociocultural, technological, natural, and demographic) analysis to better understand your competitors business's operating environment. Marketing research involves certain areas to be given utmost importance: The dynamics and trends of the market, including seasonality Vendors in whom you will place your trust Demographic information about customers, market segmentation, target markets, product needs, and purchase decisions Industry benchmarks What is presently available and what competitors are providing Current industry sales Robust Market Strategy The marketing strategy is the overarching company plan for attracting and converting new customers. It would be best to do a scenario analysis to understand your market position concerning your competitors clearly; only then can you develop a solid and successful market strategy. Market strategy plays a key role among all the other ingredients of a marketing plan and contributes to marketing success. A marketing strategy covers the 4Ps of the marketing mix: product, price, place, and promotion. In addition, a marketing strategy entails brand messaging, its value proposition, demographic information about its target customers, and other advanced elements. Below are few B2B marketing strategies: Social media marketing Search engine optimization Content marketing Search engine marketing/PPC (Pay-per-click) Referral programs Industry events Appropriate Financial Planning Another crucial element of a marketing business plan is financial planning. Marketing your campaign is a costly aspect of the business; it is necessary to have an appropriate and realistic budget plan to avoid financial wastage. Allocate your budget for each activity planned and manage your cash flow. For 67.4% of respondents, a limited marketing budget is the top marketing challenge facing small businesses. Plan your financing considering the organization's budget cycle, organizational events, seasonality, festivities, etc. The following points demonstrate why financial planning is essential. Prudent financial management Long-term view Profit and loss measurements To determine the value of liabilities and assets Utilization of Marketing Channels There are several marketing channels, but they are constantly changing and evolving. Therefore, due to a shortage of time and funds, select the appropriate channels. Choose the channel that is the most effective for promoting your products, services, and brand identification to potential consumers, depending on whether your firm is B2B or B2C. Channels provide a variety of purposes, that includes assisting you in discovering new methods to sell to your ideal client and help you to create experiences for your audience that help establish your brand reputation. Here are few channels that are utilized: Retail or Ecommerce Social media channels Email marketing Websites Referral channels SEO Word of mouth Pay-per-click (PPC) marketing Analyses of Competitors While a marketing strategy entails several analyses that aid in the operation of your firm, a marketing competitors' analysis is conducted concerning your competitors. You should be aware of your competitors and the distinctions between your products and services. Analyses of competitors are a crucial component of every marketing strategy. Conduct a competition analysis to learn about your competitors' goods, sales, and marketing tactics. Marketing competitor analysis is a critical component of any marketing plan since it helps differentiate your product or service from the competition. Competitor analysis enables the following: Identify market inefficiencies Identify market trends Create innovative goods and services Increase your marketing and sales effectiveness Conclusion: A sound marketing plan will help you generate leads. Ascertain that your marketing strategy is recorded. Numerous marketers assess the effectiveness of their efforts in relation to their objectives. This enables you to plan more effectively for the future and provides a clear picture of continuing changes. FAQs: What are the key ingredients in the marketing plan? Here are the critical ingredients of the marketing plan Extensive market research Appropriate financial planning Robust market strategy Utilization of marketing channels Analysis of competitors Clear marketing objectives What is a successful marketing plan? A successful marketing plan generates a positive return on investment (ROI), additional revenue, client lifetime value, and cost per win (sell), among other metrics. A marketing strategy is successful when it maximizes the benefits to your firm. { "@context": "https://schema.org", "@type": "FAQPage", "mainEntity": [{ "@type": "Question", "name": "What are the key ingredients in the marketing plan?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Here are the critical ingredients of the marketing plan Extensive market research Appropriate financial planning Robust market strategy Utilization of marketing channels Analysis of competitors Clear marketing objectives" } },{ "@type": "Question", "name": "What is a successful marketing plan?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "A successful marketing plan generates a positive return on investment (ROI), additional revenue, client lifetime value, and cost per win (sell), among other metrics. A marketing strategy is successful when it maximizes the benefits to your firm." } }] }

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How Coronavirus (COVID-19) is Impacting Small Businesses and What You Can Do About It 

Article | April 3, 2020

The spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) is developing rapidly, leaving many small business owners uncertain about their future. Those we’ve spoken with expect the coronavirus to have a significant impact on their revenue. Unfortunately, it seems these concerns are justified, but there are some actions you can take to protect your small business while at the same time, protecting yourself, your employees, and your customers. In this article, I’ll lay out what we know about how coronavirus is impacting small businesses, how you can minimize losses, and some steps you can take to protect your business. These suggestions are by no means exhaustive, as there is much we still don’t know about how this situation will play out. But we hope they will be a good starting point for business owners who are overwhelmed and unsure of what actions to take.

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Spotlight

Jobcase, Inc.

One of the Boston area's fastest growing technology companies, Jobcase is the only social media site dedicated to empowering America's workforce. Available online and through an app, Jobcase provides one place to manage all things job-related, especially access to the knowledge, connections and wisdom of 65 million other Jobcasers. Jobcase is an industry affiliated partner of MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, CSAIL, and Jobcase technology powers over 100 job sites in the Jobcase Network, connecting more than 65 million workers and employers.

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