Business Cash Advance & Business Financing Alternatives 

Small Business Trade Groups – A Boost For Company Owners

Trade associations and government support for small businessesTrade groups and small business associations offer many benefits to entrepreneurs. Organizations from the federal government, national business associations to state and city level trade associations offer financial, legal and marketing information. Business associations can also be doorways to discounts for office equipment, transportation expenses and employee health care programs.

Federal Small Business Help. Many business owners are aware that the Small Business Administration is the guarantor of SBA loans, but many do not know that the SBA website also has articles and forms to help small business owners. The SBA also provides links to your local SBA Certified Development Companies and Small Business Investment Companies.

National Small Business Associations. The benefits of national associations include their lobbying strength in Washington on the behalf of small businesses, industry studies and reports and their timely and informative newsletters alerting business owners of changes in laws and news that affects small businesses.

Two of the biggest that help small businesses and self-employed entrepreneurs are the National Association for Self-Employed (NASE) and the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB). The NASE offers members various life, business and health insurance plans as well as safety manuals and training videos. The NFIB also offers insurance breaks as well as discounts at FedEx and Dell. Both sites offer informative articles on tax, legal, OSHA and DOL matters. The National Small Business Association offers similar benefits with discounts from NEBS, the office supply and forms company and DHL for shipping services.

Chambers of Commerce. The Chamber of Commerce is both a way to network with local businesses as well as stay informed on news on the state and local level that affects your business. From the US Chamber of Commerce, with its membership benefits and help with international trade, to your local Chamber of Commerce, which often offers various consulting and training programs as well as marketing opportunities.

Networking with business associations gives small business owners the opportunity to find sales leads, financing sources, such as US Business Finance Corp, and ways others dealt with management challenges. If you are searching for small business financing, call on US Business Finance Corp. Our team of funding specialists can help you through the entire funding process from application to financing and, for larger financing projects such as SBA loans, we can assist in the preparing of your business presentation to maximize your ability to obtain your commercial loan. We can also arrange business cash advances to fill in operating capital needs while you work on your business loans.

Four Keys to Hiring For Small Businesses

Positioning your company for success with an employment hiring planHiring employees is an important step in the process of building your business. When helping companies position their company for a small business loan and update their business plan, US Business Finance Corp puts particular attention on the employees and management – a key potential strength for any business. Sometimes it seems that a minor degree in psychology would be the best help. Actually, understanding people is a tremendous aid and the following tips may just be the ingredient you need to help you increase your workforce without increasing your employment problems.

  1. Recognize your own weaknesses. No one has the 360 degrees of strengths needed to run a business. By hiring people who know more than you to handle the weak areas strengthens the company. Since most entrepreneurs are natural salesmen, making sure you have a good bookkeeper to handle payroll and taxes saves you time and trouble.
  2. Set an employment hiring plan that matches the needs of the business. Often small businesses start with several part-time employees to keep overhead low. But once an employee is trained and knowledgeable about your business, they become a key asset to your marketing and sales, not just a payroll expense. Figure a plan to segue into full-time work and the benefits you will institute to keep your labor assets. By hiring employing people that can be delegated day-to-day duties, owners are freer to continue using their time and entrepreneurial strength of building the company.
  3. Set measurable employee standards. From the very outset, make it clear to your employees what they are accountable for and train them to do the job. People always respond to how they are measured. Make sure you couch your goals in a positive way – a negative goal simply creates that vacuum which nature doesn’t like. By disciplining the business to train and convey standards, you will be able to quickly assess whether an employee will measure up to the business’s needs or if they “have a calling elsewhere”.
  4. Understand the baseline of good employer-employee relations. The two key ingredients to having a solid employee base is to constantly monitor your actions and measurements to see that they both value the employee (and their creative insights) and give the employee security. Studies have shown that the drivers of employee low morale and its attendant negative behavior are where employees are not valued and their job security is always in question. By establishing principle-based standards of operation, where employment is not hanging on the thread of the employer’s whim, employees can both operate to their maximum capacity and “ride for the brand”.
  5. Building a solid management team. Research has shown that businesses with a management team versus a sole proprietor are the most successful. A key to maximizing the management teams talent is to have the decision-making steps match the company’s needs. Most top-flight talent leaves when the decision-making process is undermined by sole owner decision making. Then the safety net of other people’s perspectives and strengths is short-circuited by the owner’s blind spots.

These are some simple points on an area that is the subject of many books. However, these keys can spur your thinking into what areas of employee hiring and HR practices you may wish to pursue further.

Guidelines to Scoping Your Small Business’s Competition

Staying competitive in businessCompetition is often the springboard that helpfully drives companies from their comfort zone into a more profitable zone of increased marketing and customer service. Assessing your competitions’ weakness and strengths helps business owners reflect on where beneficial changes can be made in their own companies. US Business Finance Corp helps clients prepare an assessment of their competition when preparing for business loans or SBA loans.  However, defining how much of your time and resources you spend on an ongoing basis scoping your competition is important.

The best way to define your competition is to define your market (geographical and/or demographical) and your key selling points or unique sales proposition (USP). Then decide whether you can do the assessment or if you need a consulting company or even a nearby incubator company – a business, often sponsored by local government or economic development organization dedicated to helping small businesses succeed, to help you. The following outline can guide your research.

  1. Understanding your unique selling proposition will keep you out of the quicksand trap of competing on price. When measuring a competitor’s offer, make sure you find all the ancillary offerings such as finance terms, customer service record, and on-time delivery. When differentiating your product package, include all your customer benefits that raise you above the competition.
  2. Check out the quality offered by the competitions’ suppliers. How do their products differ from yours? Is country of origin a factor in your market?
  3. Solicit and use customer feedback as much as possible! Information provided by your upset customers – or your competitor’s upset customers now patronizing your store – may well be the most honest assessments of your industry as well as your store. Treat the feedback impersonally. If you know what are the traditional complaints your customers have with your industry then you can impliment a successful marketing ploy that exposes and owns up to them at the same time that you show how your store is different (especially if done in a humorous manner). With the admission of shortfalls, the customer sees the ad as rather frank and honest and appreciates businesses that see the industry from their perspective.
  4. As part of a USP analysis between stores, figure out what emotional impact that the products you carry and your competition carries have. As one skin care executive once pointed out, they didn’t sell “make-up”, they sold “hope”. The more your advertising can position your product in the light of its emotional impact, the farther you can move your product from the commodity bin where price is the major (if not only) consideration and closer to an item whose value is more than its intrinsic cost.
  5. How does your advertising material compare? Who is setting the bar for websites? Does your website look better professionally, have better navigation, faster to find key information? Are your local newspaper or magazine ads as well placed and eye-catching?

In the final assessment, scoping the competition is beneficial for your company. It helps you to see your company through your customers’ and your competitions’ eyes. Any ideas that build sales and help solidify your market are long-term pay-off ideas that make analyzing your competition worth it.

Is Your New Business Clear of Non-compete Clause Challenges?

Taking advantage of business opportunitiesStarting your own new business because your old employer opted not to pursue a market opportunity? Be careful to check with a lawyer about non-compete laws and your employment contract’s non-compete clause. Large companies often caught between pursuing their traditional markets and risking a change of focus to take advantage of new, possibly lucrative, markets may balk at the opportunity. Sometimes companies may spin off a small company to pursue tangential markets, but how does an entrepreneur take advantage of those opportunities that are passed over? Entrepreneurs pursuing business opportunities need to keep several things in mind, along with the needs of raising operating capital,  when they leave one company to start another.

Know what your state’s non-compete laws are. Some states like Montana and California lean heavily towards laws against restraint of trade and the state courts do not enforce non-compete clauses in employment agreements. However, always check with your attorney, since contracts that cross state lines may include “choice of law” provisions which dictate under which state’s laws the contracts are enforced.

Always keep in mind that other state and federal laws apply regarding what information you carry and use in your new business. Strictly forbidden is taking any assets, including trade secrets, or data from your former employer. Also contacting customers or clients while still employed and drumming up business for your new company is usually illegal and it is always bad form.

Another area to pay attention to is intellectual property. If the core asset of your new business is an idea you had on your off-hours while still employed, make sure you have the process documented in such a way to protect your interests. Technology companies tend to be very covetous of any financially rewarding ideas their employees and former employees have.

It is best to try to create a win-win relationship between your employer and your new company – see them as a possible client if your business is complementary to their business pursuits. Often larger companies may even take a minority investment position or loan start-up capital with plans to buy your new company if it grows to a certain size and revenue. Leaders in larger companies realize that their bureaucratic structures tend to stifle new enterprises. A proven way to pursue an opportunity is to allow maximum freedom to invent and create that is best done by a small business.

Before approaching your employer with the business proposition, consult your attorney to see how your new business idea stands in the light of non-compete agreements and laws and then work out a strategy and talking points with your attorney. Finally, together, draft a proposed Letter of Intent that includes the guidelines for how the business will proceed and review any concerns the employer may have on the future impact of your new business.

New businesses are exciting and intense affairs as it is, just make sure you correctly close the backdoor to your former employment so you are in the clear with all non-compete agreements and laws that might hinder the growth of your company. And as always, don’t construe general information regarding legal matters as legal advice, consult your attorney for the legal advice that applies to your employment situation, new business idea and state laws.

US Business Finance Corp specializes in helping new businesses get the start-up capital and operating capital. For help with your small business loan, credit card merchant account processing service, or business cash advance, please contact our team of funding solution specialists.

Strategies For Borrowing Operating Capital

Strategies for borrowing working capitalExpanding a small business means having more operating capital to increase needed office and production equipment, sales inventory, advertising and employees. When viewing the different business financing programs for accessing operating capital, you find two avenues – one the traditional funding from bank loans or SBA-backed financing and the other is alternative financing such as business cash advances. Each has its role to play in your business’s growth cycles.

Planning for applying for a small business bank loan is a first, since traditional loans usually carry the lowest interest rates. US Business Finance Corp uses the following benchmarks in assisting small business owners prepare for approaching the banking industry for operating capital.

  1. Sell the ownership. For small businesses, the ownership is a major ingredient to its success. The ownership has the vision and business experience that drives the business forward. In selling the ownership always present your ideas and your strengths that will make it happen. Then, keeping in mind bankers know that we are all human, also note your weaknesses and how your business plan addresses making up for them.
  2. Build your relationship from the outset. Choose your business’s bank after researching which banks work best with your type of company. Get to know the commercial loan officers and invite them to see your operation, even before you broach the subject of a loan.
  3. Create the management team. Banks bet on business experience, they don’t want their financing to go towards a learning curve (i.e. money lost due to uneducated decisions). Emphasize the management team’s experience in your presentations.
  4. Create a business plan that is your top marketing work. US Business Finance Corp helps businesses create their business plans and refine their presentations to increase their ability to obtain a loan with a minimum of applications. Along with listing ownership and management expertise, the financial statements, target market analysis and plans to grow sales are important.
  5. Collateral shows intent the loudest. Banks are willing to lend when they see the financial commitment the ownership has to the business. Banks are willing to make a deal as a financial team member helping the business, however they do not go for being asked to shoulder the risk of the business. Owners benefit from dealing with risk, banks benefit from interest.

When risk is involved in the lending picture, owners normally turn to investment funding where the investors take partial ownership and assume some risk for their capital infusion. Another avenue is a cash advance for capital funding. US Business Finance Corp has helped many small businesses that either did not have the two years in business or the time to wait that is connected with traditional bank financing.

Whether you are going for bank financing or alternative business financing, US Business Finance Corp will work with you to obtain the operating capital your company needs to grow and prosper. US Business Finance Corp’s team of solution-oriented experts can help you complete your small business loan application and connect you with the financing companies who are actively looking for businesses to fund. We can proceed to contact financing companies for your short-term cash needs without needing a business plan, tax returns, or collateralized assets from you. Contact our experienced financial professionals to see about obtaining your business financing in the shortest time and upon the most beneficial terms.

SBA Tools Helping Small Business Owners

Small business owners do not have to reinvent the wheel when starting their own business. The Small Business Administration (SBA) has a number of online tools to help jump start your entrepreneurial enterprise. The SBA website has, besides information on SBA loans,  industry and commerce reports, sample business plans for different industries, and checklists of steps for starting your new business.

Entrepreneurs often have unique products or solutions or have found unique niche markets for their specialties. However, in the running of their day-to-day businesses – from dealing with employees and regulatory bodies to planning cash flow – small business owners share many of the same challenges and can benefit from tried and true solutions.

A strong point of the SBA’s library of tools, is that the reports are based on business experience and, unlike college business courses, you can educate yourself on your own time and find the “course” that you need to pursue when you need it. The SBA website also offers advice on pursuing an SBA loan for your small business.

The SBA also has website links to Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE), a non-profit organization sponsored by the SBA of over 12,000 volunteer business counselors, many of whom are retired executives. These volunteers work with companies and provide help free of charge. The SCORE website itself contains many business tools to inform and guide business owners. Many of the SCORE tools help with working with cash flow, talking to lenders and tips on getting a loan. The national website also provides the links to the SCORE offices in your area. Local offices usually have a reference library and software tools available as well.

The SBA has also partnered with state governments, local schools and area businesses to develop Small Business Development Centers. These centers provide business counseling and training to both established businesses as well as entrepreneurs still in the business planning stages. The national site has a tremendous repository of sample business plans from many different types of small businesses.

Small business tools are available on the SBA website and both tools and one-on-one advisory counseling sessions are available at the area offices. Taking advantage of these business tools accelerates your business planning and prepares you for meeting lenders at business financing institutions.