Small Business Financing Options – Despite the Credit Crunch

There’s no question that the financial crisis and ensuing credit crunch have made it more difficult than ever to secure small business financing and raise capital. This is especially true for fast-growth companies, which tend to consume more resources in order to feed their growth. If they aren’t careful, they can literally grow themselves right out of business.

Amidst all the gloom and doom, however, it’s important to keep one thing in mind: There are still options available for small business financing. It’s simply a matter of knowing where to look and how to prepare.

Where to Look

There are three main sources you can turn to for small business financing:

Commercial Banks – These are the first source most owners think of when they think about small business financing. Banks loan money that must be repaid with interest and usually secured by collateral pledged by the business in case it can’t repay the loan.

On the positive side, debt is relatively inexpensive, especially in today’s low-interest-rate environment. Community banks are often a good place to start your search for small business financing today, since they are generally in better financial condition than big banks. If you do visit a big bank, be sure to talk to someone in the area of the bank that focuses on small business financing and lending.

Keep in mind that it takes more diligence and transparency on the part of small businesses in order to maintain a lending relationship in today’s credit environment. Most banks have expanded their reporting and recordkeeping requirements considerably and are looking more closely at collateral to make sure businesses are capable of repaying the amount of money requested.

Venture Capital Companies – Unlike banks, which loan money and are paid interest, venture capital companies are investors who receive shares of ownership in the companies they invest in. This type of small business financing is known as equity financing. Private equity firms and angel investors are specialized types of venture capital companies.

While equity financing does not have to be repaid like a bank loan, it can end up costing much more in the long run. Why? Because each share of ownership you give to a venture capital company in exchange for small business financing is an ownership share with an unknown future value that’s no longer yours. Also, venture capital companies sometimes place restrictive terms and conditions on financing, and they expect a very high rate of return on their investments.

Commercial Finance Companies – These non-traditional money lenders provide a specialized type of small business financing known as asset-based lending (or ABL). There are two primary types of ABL: factoring and accounts receivable (A/R) financing.

With factoring, companies sell their outstanding receivables to the finance company at a discount of usually between 2-5%. So if you sold a $10,000 receivable to a factor, for example, you might receive between $9,500-$9,800. The benefit is that you would receive this cash right away, instead of waiting 30, 60 or 90 days (or longer). Factoring companies also perform credit checks on customers and analyze credit reports to uncover bad risks and set appropriate credit limits.

With A/R financing, you would borrow money from the finance company and use your accounts receivable as collateral. Companies that want to borrow in this way should be able to demonstrate strong financial reporting capabilities and a diverse customer base without a high concentration of sales to any one customer.

How to Prepare

Regardless of which type of small business financing you decide to pursue, your preparation before you approach a potential lender or investor will be critical to your success. Banks, in particular, are taking a much more critical look at small business loan applications than many did in the past. They are requesting more background from potential borrowers in the way of tax returns (both business and personal), financial statements and business plans.

Lenders are focusing on what are sometimes referred to as the five Cs of credit:

o Character: Does the company have a strong reputation in its community and industry?

o Capital: Lenders usually like to see that owners have invested some of their personal money in the business, or that they have some of their own “skin in the game.”

o Capacity: Financial ratios help lenders determine how much debt a company should be able to take on without stressing the finances.

o Collateral: This is a secondary source of repayment in case a borrower defaults on the loan. Most lenders prefer collateral that is relatively easy to convert to cash, especially equipment and real estate.

o Conditions: Conditions in the borrower’s industry and the overall economy in general will play a big factor in a lender’s decisions.

Before you meet with any type of lender or investor, be prepared to explain to them specifically why you believe you need financing or capital, as well as how much capital you need and when and how you will pay it back (if a loan) or what kind of return on investment a venture capital company can expect. Also be prepared to discuss specifically what the money will be used for and what kind of collateral you are prepared to pledge to support the loan, as well as your sources of repayment and what measures you will take to ensure repayment if your finances get tight.

You should also ensure that your financial statements and records are current and that your internal control systems are adequate for handling the level of accounting and bookkeeping lenders and investors expect.

100 Financing Investment Property

100 financing of investment properties refers to 100% financing from outside for your investment in real estate. Funds that are brought from one’s own savings, on loan from friends or relatives are in a way not much different from capital whereas real debt or Investment property financing comes from financial institutions. These entities – banks, mortgage firms and lending organizations like credit unions — lend funds to the applicant on the trust of a collateral security or based on the income, credit-worthiness and repayment capacity of the individual. Even if these criteria are satisfactory, an investment property financing institution may ask to be shown the business plan of how the applicant means to generate income using the pieces of property he or she means to buy and consequently pay off the loan or conclude the mortgage. The lender has the right to know how the business is going to be conducted because the revenues of this business determine how fast the loan is going to be repaid. With the turn in the economy, 100% financing investment property has almost been done away with.

100 financing investment property

In the United States, there are three credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian and Transunion, that maintain records of the lines of credit extended to each individual and how they are being handled. The credit reports formulated by these bureaus reflect how many credit card accounts a person has, how many times he or she has defaulted in payment or gone over the credit limit; other forms of financing availed by the individual such as home mortgage, auto finance or student loans, are also listed. Lenders and creditors have access to these credit reports and use them to check if an applicant is worth the risk of being given a loan. The exact features that point to an applicant as being risky can be found out after a professional analysis of one’s credit report. A high Debt to Income ratio and loan to value ratio are some of the red-flags. These areas have to be improved so as not be saddled with an exorbitant rate of interest and terms that are not favorable to the borrower. Some unfavorable terms are floating interest rates that send the finance charges through the roof upon a single defaulted payment. To prevent this eventuality, it is better to choose a deal with a fixed (flat) interest rate or a low ceiling rate on the interest rate slab.

Lending fees, high interest rates, discount points (another form of lending fees paid upfront to prevent the interest from racing up) can actually break the bank. In fact, there are many cases in which discount points have been deceptive and one ends up paying more for them, than the actual interest (finance charges) that would have been paid if the interest rates did go up. To prevent such goof ups, it is a good idea to take estimates from two or three lending organizations, compare their offerings and then choose the one that appeals most to one.

The worst pitfall to guard against is when some lender tells you that you are eligible for 100% financing of investment property. Those idyllic days are over. In fact, they are past their sell by date because there were not so idyllic. There may be such plans available on subsidy from the government for the exclusive use of first time homeowners who belong to the low income group. But this does not include investment property dealers. Traditional methods of 100% financing are now called owner financing and are still available but they are not an attractive option. It is not surprising that requests for owner financing are viewed with suspicion of default by lenders and therefore, that avenue is best avoided.

Be Prepared for the Problems in Used Car Financing With Solutions Before You Start

Financing properly is more important in financing a used car than when buying a new car. Most problems that occur in buying a used car are due to there being a problem connected with the financing. Getting the used car financing worked out properly is the key to a successful used car purchase.

Most buyers aren’t aware of how important the paper work is to making the deal a successful one or a failure. They view it as paperwork that should be completed as quickly as possible so they can drive away in their new car.

To start with, it’s very important to get the deal agreed upon by the salesman to be put in writing in the contract. This often involves determining monthly auto loan payments based on an interest rate. Sometimes, the interest rate a customer qualifies for is inflated so the dealership can make extra profit.

This headache can easily be avoided by obtaining independent vehicle financing before going to the dealership. This means the consumer can proceed as a “cash buyer” and negotiate only the price of the car. Car salesmen prefer customers to be “monthly payment” buyers because, in this way, it is easier to obscure the total cost of the vehicle.

Independent car financing can be obtained from a bank, credit union or on-line lender. With the popularity of the internet, applying for used car refinance is proving to be simple and very easy to do. Many on line lenders respond very quickly – sometimes as short as 15 minutes by email or telephone. If the application is approved, the borrower is given a credit limit at an established interest rate. Sometimes a blank bank check is issued with no obligation to use it.

“For the majority of consumers, even if you know you have good credit, there is a little apprehension and tension around applying,” one lender said. “So instead of going into a dealership and giving them your information and being sent to the coffee machine to wait for an answer, you can apply on-line, 24/7.”

Most people familiar with how used car dealerships operate confirm that obtaining independent car financing is beneficial to most consumers. .

The most common problems that have a negative impact on a person trying to finance a used car –and their solutions – to ensure that things go smoothly are the following:

Problem #1: Many consumers don’t know what their credit rating is when they apply for an auto loan. The strength of their credit score largely determines what kind of interest rate they will receive. Therefore, it’s critical to make sure your credit report is in the best shape possible before shopping for a car.

SOLUTION: Order a copy of your credit report and look for items that may stand in the way of you getting a good rate. Correct any issues or errors promptly. Are all of your lines of credit in good standing? Are there any signs of identity theft? The credit bureaus will tell you how to correct errors when they send you the report. The following numbers and Web site addresses will assist you in checking your credit.

5 Best Android Tablet Finance Apps

For Android tablets, the common reason for buying them may be for entertainment and leisure. Did you know that Android tablets are also proven useful in the financial world? Android has offered so many finance apps in the market which are very much relevant and useful to your every day financial needs. Whether you want the latest finance news or you need to make monetary computations, finance-related Android apps have got it all for you. Here is a list of the five best Android finance apps in the market:

1. Finance

Ever wanted to have a personal financial planner but you just can’t afford to pay for one? Simply called Finance, Android has come up with a powerful app which strips you of the need to hire a personal planner. Finance is an app which is capable of providing you with the most recent updates about the stock market. The best feature of this app is that it provides you with stock quotes which are very much reliable because they are quoted real-time. This app also syncs well with your stock portfolios which are loaded in Google Finance.

2. Real Estate Droid

If it is your dream to be a real-estate businessman someday or to be a licensed real estate broker, then this finance app is the best deal for you. Real Estate Droid comes with features which can, for one, search houses for sale. Once you find a catch, you can search information about its neighborhood with real-time updates. With this app, you can also check out mortgage quotes made by real lenders and compute for mortgage loans. You can always take advantage of the built-in loan calculator.

3. Financisto

Financisto is a finance app that is very much capable of doing many things. For one, it lets you add multiple types of bank accounts and even a multiple number of accounts per type. This means that you can add checking and savings accounts together into your file manager. For both types, you can add more than one account. With Financisto, you can also monitor which among your payments are recurring. Once you see the pattern, you can schedule them to make sure you don’t lag with your payments. This app can also help you create either a short-term or long-term budget.

4. Karl’s Mortgage Calculator

If Real Estate Droid is not enough for your mortgage needs, then you can always opt for a more specialized finance app, which is Karl’s Mortgage Calculator. By using this app, you can calculate how much mortgage you should be paying in the future and you can even visually see the results with its easy-to-read charts and graphs. This app can help you compute for your future payments, given the principal loan amounts, interest rate and terms. Karl’s Mortgage Calculator, however, is limited to supporting interest-only amortization and Canadian computations.

5. PayPal

Almost everybody knows of PayPal now. With the PayPal Android app offered in the market, you can do all things you normally do on your PayPal account. The bonus point here is that apart from being able to pay an item, you can also help hasten its delivery process. So, if you’re dying to take hold of that most recent Victoria Secret scent, then you don’t have to wait for the normal number of shipping days just to have it. You can always make it two or three days earlier with this app. With PayPal app at your reach, you can always access your PayPal account anytime you want.

Where to Find Car Loan Low Interest Finance

You may be surprised to learn how much you will be able to save when you take out car loan low interest finance. If you have been working hard to negotiate the best sale price on your new car, you certainly won’t want to negate the savings you make by paying dearly for finance. There are many companies around who can offer you a good deal on an auto loan and, when looking for car finance, you should aim to pay the lowest rate you can.

When looking for car loan low interest finance you should ensure that you consider all options available to you. A lot of people feel more comfortable sticking with their own financial institutions or the larger bank lenders as they seem to think they will be able to provide the best loans at the best rates. This is not always the case. These days there are a large number of non-bank lenders who provide car loan low interest finance.

Probably the best place to start looking for car loan low interest finance is on the internet. The majority of non-bank loan providers operate solely online as it is an easy way to set up their business without having to outlay a lot of capital. These companies also have minimal running costs, so they can afford to offer car loan low interest finance and still make a reasonable profit.

It is important, when searching for car loan low interest finance, that you realize that interest rates can vary considerably between lenders these days. Ensure that you take the time to shop around and get as many quotes as possible, as you may never know when you will come across the perfect auto loan at the lowest price around. It is only by approaching as many lenders as you can that you will have any success in finding car loan low interest finance.

Looking for car loan low interest rate financing is quick and easy when you do it online. Not only can you compare lenders at a time that is convenient for you, but you will only need to enter your details once in order to receive multiple quotes. The other great thing about getting car loan low interest finance online is that the application process is incredibly straight forward. Once you have found a great rate from a reliable lender, you will be able to apply for your loan online by completing a standard application form. Your application will be submitted to your lender immediately and so the processing of your application is a lot faster.

One thing that you will need to be cautious about when getting car loan low interest finance online is that you will need to ensure that the lender you go with is legitimate and reputable. Sometimes a company that offers ridiculously low rates may not be the most trustworthy, so always take the time to find out more about a lender before signing on the dotted line. You can check out the business ratings of various lenders online through the Better Business Bureau or through auto finance review sites.