Helping Small Businesses Make the Best Financing Choices

By the Opportunity Finance Network

come-in-we-are-openSmall business owners pour their hearts and most of their resources into starting, growing and sustaining their businesses. Access to responsible capital is critical to grow and expand a business, which in turn is critical for financial security and creating jobs in the community.

Getting a small business loan has often been particularly hard for women and minority business owners. Women-owned businesses only get 4.4 percent of the dollar amount of all conventional small business loans. More than a third of minority business owners are worried they will not access the capital they need to maintain business operations. Furthermore, minority entrepreneurs are disproportionately denied credit when they apply for it, regardless of credit scores, income, or profits. The financial crisis that shook the entire national economy was damaging for small businesses in general, but especially small businesses owned by people of color, as large banks cut back on lending to small businesses.

In the wake of the recession, a plethora of online lenders have been promising small business owners “quick and easy” cash, without disclosing the hidden fees, high interest rates, and prepayment penalties. These tactics are harmful at the least, and can even drive some to go out of business. According to a recent survey by seven regional Federal Reserve banks, 20 percent of small businesses applying for financing in the past year went to an online lender. Though 75 percent of these businesses received at least some financing from these online lenders, only 15 percent reported being satisfied with their loans. This rise in unregulated, online alternative lenders provides an unprecedented but confusing variety of financing options, many of them designed more to help a lender’s bottom line than to help a small business succeed.  (more…)

Helping Your Clients Get Access To Capital

By Rick Burgess, CEO, Connect Lending

America is built upon our entrepreneurial spirit. This spirit is what drives our great country to innovate and endure adversity in challenging the ways businesses are managed. Every day, individuals embark on setting up a business to capitalize on the advantages our great country has to offer. With changes to regulations, additional requirements and limited lending practices, traditional bank loans aren’t always available, and may not be accessible for the everyday business.

Connect Lending

Fortunately, there are numerous types of alternative lending solutions in the marketplace. But, finding them by simply walking into your local bank or credit union isn’t going to be fruitful. Connect Lending provides an online platform to match small business owners to the right lender for their business solution. When using our platform, review these key factors with your client to ensure a smooth process for securing a loan:  (more…)

Sustainable Financing for Small Business

Financial-SolutionsBy Terry Crispen

Going green and recycling may be old concepts but that does not diminish their effectiveness in helping to achieve sustainability.  Oftentimes, we only associate sustainability with the environment, but sustainability is much more than that.  Sustainability is what should drive business decisions today and into the future. The Great Recession, largely caused by markets that were unsustainable, dealt a blow to consumers and businesses. Analysts estimate that more than 170,000 small businesses ceased operations during the Great Recession.  Now that the economy is rebounding, it is more important than ever for small business owners to remain focused on sustainability.

Today, alternative online lenders are the new rage in the financial world.  They promise speed and often deliver in three days or less. The temptation is great for small businesses to access funds in such a short period of time.  But are they making a sustainable business decision?  Once interest rates reach the 20%-40% range, the cost of getting access to fresh capital severely limits a company’s ability to perform and grow long term. Although alternative online lenders offer quick access to capital, the high interest costs make the solution unsustainable for many businesses.  (more…)

Avoiding Franchise Funding Mistakes – The Top 3 Pitfalls

avoiding-franchis-funding-mistakesA potential franchisee seriously interested in becoming an entrepreneur will take several demonstrative steps throughout the ownership process. In this post, we focus on the financing options available to the franchisee. It is our hope that you will be able to avoid potential mistakes and find a suitable solution which matches up perfectly with your own financial position.

Allow us to introduce to you the Top-3 Pitfalls of franchise funding. Take heart, because making the right decisions will illuminate a path to success and growth. A costly mistake could jeopardize your break-even possibilities and even hamper your effort to achieve viability in the marketplace. Some of what you are about to read is just plain common sense, but you may find just find the “gem that keeps you out of a jam!”

Pitfall Number One – “Pump Your Brakes”

You’ve spent the requisite time in choosing to meet with a qualified franchise consultancy like FranNet, whose sole focus is matching the right opportunity with the right option just for you. You believe in the franchise concept, and you did your due diligence through the Franchise Disclosure Document process. You have arrived at this point because you were both cautious and prudent with your time in researching the development of your soon-to-be franchise. It’s time to explore financing options, not hit the gas and floor it. Stay as focused and patient as you have been up to this point, never let your emotions override the necessity for exploring any and all financing options – even if you do feel close to the finish line.  (more…)

Small Business Payments Toolkit – Top 5 Takeaways

By Mary Hughes

Small Business Payments ToolkitThe Remittance Coalition has released the first volume of the Small Business Payments Toolkit, which is intended to encourage the adoption of electronic business-to-business payments and remittance information exchanges by small businesses.  Many small businesses continue to over-rely on paper checks, which are labor-intensive, expensive and prone to fraud.  The Remittance Coalition is a group of payments industry stakeholders (including Federal Reserve Banks) that works to increase the efficiency of business-to-business (B2B) payments made and reconciled by US businesses.  The toolkit provides a host of useful information that can be leveraged by small businesses, SBDC consultants and trainers, financial institutions, vendors, and anyone interested in learning more about payments.

Here are the top five takeaways from the Small Business Payments Toolkit:

1. Adopting B2B electronic payments and remittance information exchanges may make life easier for small business owners

Although it may not currently be a top priority, small businesses that choose to enhance the efficiency of their payments processes can yield benefits in a number of ways:  (more…)