Bank loans have long been the traditional route for small businesses and individuals to access the financing they need to fund their endeavors. However, while bank loans may seem like the obvious choice for financing, there are a number of negatives that come with this option. In this article, we’ll explore the negatives of bank loans and highlight the positives of alternative financing, with a particular focus on speed and ease of access.
In today’s fast-paced business world, speed and agility are critical to success. The ability to access funding quickly can make all the difference when it comes to taking advantage of new opportunities, responding to unexpected challenges, and staying ahead of the competition. That’s why same-day funding has become increasingly popular in recent years, offering businesses the flexibility and speed they need to thrive.
As a CFO, you play a critical role in ensuring the financial health and stability of your organization. One of the biggest challenges you face is finding the right funding to support growth and manage cash flow. Traditional financing options, such as bank loans, can be slow and inflexible, leaving you in a bind when you need funds quickly. This is where funding platforms with multiple lenders come in. In this article, we’ll explore why CFOs should consider getting working capital through these platforms for fast access to funding.
How to Compare Business Loans
Choosing the best avenue for funding a startup company can be challenging. There are several funding options available to you, from securing a line of credit to asking friends and family. However, each comes with its own set of terms and conditions.
Before jumping into any agreement, it’s wise to compare business loans and see which is the best fit for your future.
We’re going to discuss how to compare business loans today and which loan metrics you should focus on to find the right solution for you.
Types of Business Loans
Before delving into the maze of business loan fees and figuring out the cost of the loan you need, we will cover the most common business loans available, outside of the “3 Fs” (friends, family, and fools).
There are many different types of business loans, including working capital loans, SBA loans, and loans from friends and family.
Understanding the core differences such as repayment terms, annual percentage rates (APR), and standard sizes goes a long way into figuring out how to compare business loans.
An SBA loan is a line of credit issued by private lenders but guaranteed by the Small Business Administration (SBA). This type of loan is structured to ease the lender’s mind because if the loan defaults, they can collect their compensation from the federal government. There are different programs structured under an SBA loan, including:
- 7(a) loans
- 504 loans
Business owners can secure an SBA loan through traditional institutions such as a bank or a credit union. The difference between a standard business loan and a traditional one is that the lender will apply to the SBA for a loan guarantee.
Typically an SBA loan will have longer terms and lower interest rates than its traditional business loan counterpart.
One of the main differences between a conventional business loan and an SBA loan is the loan amounts and terms. A commercial loan interest rates comparison between a conventional bank and an SBA 7(a) loan will generally see the SBA loan at 5.50% to 8.0% with a ten-year repayment schedule. Conventional banks will have a business loan percentage between 3% to 7%, but with a shorter amortized schedule.
Keep in mind that even though lenders have earned a guarantee from the SBA, the federal government will require any individual with 20% ownership to put up personal assets as collateral.
Business Lines of Credit
Another alternative to a conventional business term loan is to secure a business line of credit. Through a business line of credit, you will receive access to upfront lump sums of cash. As long as you don’t overextend yourself past the established line of credit, you can keep reusing the funds during the repayment term.
Business lines of credit typically come in two forms:
A secured line of credit is issued to the borrower after they have put up collateral, usually inventory or property. Defaulting on the loan will mean the forfeiture of these assets.
An unsecured business line of credit is issued without collateral being placed upfront. However, many lenders will still require some form of personal guarantee, meaning they can take action to seize your home or other personal assets if you default.
Entrepreneurs seeking a business line of credit generally have the best experience if their funding goals are short-term or are required for a single, one-time expense.
Term loans are traditional loans when you need a large sum of cash for a specific purpose. The payments will then be spaced out over a fixed period with a set payment schedule.
The size, scope, and terms of these types of loans will vary between lending institutions. Lenders such as banks may offer competitively priced rates but will have the strictest prerequisites that need to be fulfilled in order to obtain one. They will also require the most time to process, meaning if you need funds immediately or don’t want a long repayment term, this isn’t the best option available.
An alternative would be to choose an online lender. These financial institutions typically have a variety of merchant funding options, looser prerequisites, faster funding, and shorter repayment terms than banks.
While figuring out how to compare business loans, you’ll learn that there are other options, but these three are the most common you’ll come across.
Business Loan Metrics
Once you understand the different types of loans available, the next part is determining the total cost of a loan. You’ll have to perform a deep analysis of your current financial standing and your projected one. It can significantly affect which loan is the best fit for your business and impact the final business loan cost.
Here are three metrics to get you started:
The first metric you want to compare is the APR attached to the loan. The loan’s APR represents the yearly cost of funds over the prescribed term. While it will include fees and associated costs, it will not include compounding. It’s best used as a metric to compare versus actualize the total cost of a loan.
Most lenders will offer different product solutions, and each will come with its own term length. Typically, the longer the term coupled with a larger amount borrowed will equate to more interest due, increasing the overall loan cost. If your company is already established and looking to expand, then a longer term may make sense. However, if you require a quick solution, a short-term loan may provide the relief you currently need.
Finally, you will want to scour over the prepayment conditions. Lending is a business, and prepayment can cut into their bottom line, so you’ll want to be aware of any fees attached to closing a line of credit before the term is over.
Let L3 Funding Help You Succeed
L3 Funding is designed to get small businesses off the ground or through tough spots. If you need access to merchant funding fast, we offer a host of merchant funding solutions. If you want to learn more about how to compare business loans or are seeking financing for your business, contact L3 Funding today.
QuickBooks Tips Every Small Business Needs to Know
Businesses, small and large, all need some form of bookkeeping to ensure a successful operation. An excellent solution to adopt is Intuit’s QuickBooks. When it launched, the software QuickBooks simplified accounting for every business owner so they could focus more of their time on what really mattered — running their companies.
While the software has been widely adopted, it does have a learning curve to it. This is why searches for “QuickBooks tips and tricks 2016” are so prevalent.
Today, we’re going to give you some facts about QuickBooks and how you can get the most out of these QuickBooks tips.
What is QuickBooks and Why Should You Use It?
QuickBooks is highly versatile and customizable accounting software that makes life easier for small to mid-sized business owners. After you learn how to use QuickBooks, you can take full advantage of its automating functions to save you time on paperwork, cutting checks, and bookkeeping. There are plenty of tips, tricks, and QuickBooks advice available that streamline balance sheets, PnL statements, and cash flow reports.
One of the best features of QuickBooks is that it’s affordable, and you have peace of mind that it’s reliable since it’s currently being used by hundreds of thousands of SMEs around the world.
There are also a host of add-on solutions that can be tailored for any business, regardless of industry. The best way to use QuickBooks is to set it up to accept credit cards, pay bills, issue checks, and send invoices or statements through email.
Learning how to do QuickBooks payroll or bank reconciliation can save you a staggering amount of time, freeing you up to do what you do best, which is running your company.
10 QuickBooks Tips You Should Know
- Go through the QuickBooks tutorials
One of the simplest and fastest ways to master QuickBooks tips is to go through the tutorials. They’ll give you an overview of the different functions that the software has to offer, including shortcuts like:
- CTRL I: Creates an invoice
- Ctrl J: Opens the Customer Center
- Ctrl W: Writes a New Check
Regardless of which version you’re running or the platform, the tutorials will provide you with a wealth of knowledge.
- Don’t forget about ProAdvisor
Looking for the best QuickBooks Online tips and tricks 2016 and onward? Then you need to use the ProAdvisor feature. New business owners may not realize the full potential of QuickBooks. One feature that is often overlooked is ProAdvisor. A component of the QuickBooks Intuit Package, the ProvAdvisor connects you directly with an accountant familiar with issues such as tax requirements in your area.
- Use the Business Performance Dashboard
One of the more recent additions to the QuickBooks software suite is the Business Performance Dashboard. This handy tool, found in the Overview tab in QuickBooks Online, displays the key metrics and trends needed to monitor your business’s health.
- Connect your email to QuickBooks Desktop
Businesses that want to get the most out of QuickBooks need to ensure they’ve connected their emails, either through Webmail or Outlook. This process will allow companies to send out invoices, reports, and statements easily.
For instance, if you want to set up email in QuickBooks 2015:
Step 1 — Gather the following information from your email service provider:
- Incoming email server address
- Incoming email server type
- Outgoing email server address
Step 2 — Connect it to Outlook:
- Scroll through the QuickBooks Edit menu
- Choose the Preferences and Send Forms option
- Select Outlook and OK
- Reconciling on QuickBooks
One of the critical QuickBooks tips that can simplify your life is regular reconciliation. Through vigilant reconciliation, you can ensure you have a clear picture of your company’s operations. Credit cards, loans, and bank account statements consistently updated with QuickBooks make every accounting procedure smoother.
- Print checks directly from QuickBooks
An easy way to save time and money is by printing checks directly from QuickBooks. In the Banking Tab found in QuickBooks, you’ll see the option to Write Checks. From here, you have the opportunity to bypass bank fees by printing in the software.
- Lock closed books
After performing your monthly and yearly reconciliations, you want to finalize the books by setting a closing date and password. This is a valuable tip for those who’ve gotten into the habit of typing out a specific month or year, leading to mistakes when switching to a new cycle.
With this handy tip, if you accidentally try to submit a transaction to a closed period, you’ll be notified to enter a password.
- Use the To-Do List
A frequently forgotten feature in QuickBooks is the To Do List. Using the To-Do List, you can quickly post a pin that will serve as a small reminder that you have a task waiting to be finished.
- Customize QuickBooks under the Preferences Tab
Several little tidbits can be automated for you under the Preference Tab. Here, you can set up preferences such as warning you when deleting transactions, turn off or on pop-up hints, or autofill client information.
- Set up Online Banking
With the newer versions of QuickBooks, you can seamlessly integrate your online banking to make life that much easier. To access this function, click on the QuickBooks Online Banking icon on your Icon Bar, and follow the short tutorial. Keep in mind that if multiple users have access to your computer, you may want to install additional safeguards surrounding your banking details.
L3 Funding Can Help You with Your Finances
Getting your books in order is critical to a business’s success. Hopefully, these QuickBooks tips can get you started down the right path. For more information on running a successful business venture or if you’d like to learn how you can find the best merchant funding opportunities, contact L3 Funding today.
Comparing a Business Credit Card vs. Personal Credit Card
As a new entrepreneur hoping to start a new enterprise, you may be surprised by the number of upfront expenses that a company incurs. There are several options to finance these startup costs, and you may be tempted to turn to your personal credit card to get things rolling. However, choosing a business credit card may be the better option for these initial ongoing payments.
So, how do you choose between a business credit card vs personal credit card?
Both offer the same primary functions, but understanding how a business credit card can help you keep track of your expenses can make a huge difference in managing your company.
Today, we will discuss the difference between a business credit card and personal credit card and how to pick the right one that suits your needs.
What’s a Business Credit Card?
At its core, the business credit card definition is simply a credit card used with a specific purpose of paying business expenses, as opposed to personal ones.
What is a business credit card for? The functions of a business credit card vs. a personal card are similar, in so much that they’re both used to make purchases and have a monthly repayment schedule. A business credit card will offer a separate line of perks that many business owners find useful.
Surprisingly, you don’t even need to own a business with a tax ID number to qualify for a business credit card. If you operate a side gig as a freelancer or operate as an independent contractor, you may not have a registered company, but you’ll still accrue business expenses.
Let’s take a closer look at the differences between a business credit card vs personal credit card.
What is the Difference Between Business Credit Card and Personal Credit Card?
What is a business credit card’s advantage over a personal card? When comparing a corporate credit card vs a personal credit card, there are relatively straightforward distinctions to keep in mind.
Business Credit Card:
The primary benefit of choosing a business credit card is that they are designed to provide the maximum rewards for paying business operations. Along with a typically higher spending limit, you’ll receive rewards for paying office utilities, marketing, and other business-related expenses.
Most issuers are aware of the diverse aspects of operating a new company. Their business credit cards will generally come with a more significant welcome bonus to get things started, employee cards so you can decentralize, and end-of-year itemized reporting to keep your books in order.
However, it’s best to keep in mind that applying for a business credit will still result in a hard inquiry into your personal credit rating, and some issuers will still report your credit behavior to personal and business credit score companies.
Personal Credit Card:
It’s not mandatory to use a business credit card to operate a company. There have been many startups that relied on a personal credit card to finance their initial business endeavors. The counterpoint of using a business credit card vs a personal credit card is that business credit cards typically offer fewer protections and are levied with higher rates and fees. As business cards aren’t nearly as regulated and monitored as personal credit cards, lenders can change the APR and fees with less scrutiny.
While this may make you think twice before choosing something like an SPG business card vs personal for your business expenses, note that you’ll be missing out on the significant business incentives offered under a business credit card.
The Bottom Line
While both business credit cards and personal credit cards can generate rewards, accrue interest in a similar manner, and require balance payments in a timely manner, the winner of a business credit card vs personal credit card comparison is ultimately a business credit card.
Why Should You Use a Business Card for Your Small Business Needs?
There are several reasons why someone would choose to use a business credit card, including:
Whether you plan on tackling your business’s taxes yourself or you’ve hired an accountant, you’ll be happy to have a business credit card that itemizes all of your purchases at the end of each year. This is a feature not offered by most personal credit cards.
Many business credit card lenders will also offer employee cards with customizable spending limits. This is an additional way to track your company spending without having to worry about an employee making charges outside an allotted limit.
Building Business Credit
Even if your personal credit and business credit are linked, a personal credit card typically won’t help build your business’s credit rating.
In the same way that building up a healthy personal credit rating will likely make you more eligible for various financial products and better rates, your business can do the same. By having a business credit card and paying it down on time, your business will be able to secure better terms on loans and lines of credit.
L3 Funding is Your Financial Solution
Choosing between a business credit card vs personal credit card isn’t your only option for solving your business’s financial issues. L3 Funding has curated several merchant funding solutions to help small business owners every day. If you want to learn how to get your business up and running, contact us at L3 Funding.
The Importance of Women in Business Groups
Female entrepreneurship is on the rise, and the need for women in business groups is increasing. In the digital age, your network is equivalent to your ability to achieve your business goals. If you haven’t joined an executive women association or have been searching “women’s business groups near me,” we’re here to illuminate some of the benefits for you.
A professional business women’s network is typically designed around the mentoring and advocacy of raising women up to leadership roles across multiple industries.
While the reasons why only a fraction of women achieve C-level positions are varied, constituting everything, including a predisposition towards different career fields. At times, there is blatant bias in hiring discrimination. Female executive organizations are working to change this trend.
This article can help those seeking “women’s networking groups near me” by outlining six of the most influential professional women’s organizations.
- National Association for Women Business Owners
The National Association for Women Business Owners is notable due to its vast numbers of members, totaling over 10 million across America.
For entrepreneurs looking for other women in business groups, this organization boasts an outstanding roster. It’s a network of like-minded women designed to lend support and education to establish efficient business practices.
This women in business organization offers its members a bevy of advantages, offering discounted hotel rates, special prices on UPS services, and a suite of eLearning material.
Membership fee: One-time $100 joining fee, $20-$30 monthly fee depending on membership level.
- American Business Women’s Association
The American Business Women’s Association (ABWA) is one of the most widespread women’s business groups. Spanning across 300 U.S. cities and hosting over 5,000 annual meetings, this group has collected members from a vast array of different industries to help support each other.
The aim of the organization is to provide women opportunities to grow personally and professionally. Through their events, magazines, and newsletters, women have access to leadership, education, and networking support. This is further amplified through national recognition.
With the sheer volume of ABWA chapters, you won’t have to search hard for “women’s organizations near me.” If by chance, there isn’t an ABWA chapter already established in your area, you have the opportunity to start a new one in your city.
Membership fee: $250 annual membership fee.
- Business and Professional Women (BPW) International
One of the oldest (established in 1930) and most influential women in business groups, the International Federation of Business and Professional Women (BPW International) has a stellar history of supporting female entrepreneurs.
BPW International has achieved significant traction as its chapters, and members span over 100 countries in five continents.
Through advocacy, education, mentoring, networking, and skill-building, this professional business women’s network has created programs that empower women across the globe. All of these efforts are aimed at offering women the chance for economic independence.
Membership fee: The fees are defined by each individual club. However, the average is around an annual $160 but can vary based on location.
- Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC)
The Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) is a non-profit women’s business owner organization.
The council aims to enable women to innovate and create lasting partnerships that can bolster the economy. The ultimate objective of the WBENC is to bridge the revenue disparity between women-owned businesses and others.
The group achieves this by providing women the tools and certifications necessary to succeed. Aside from the standard networking events common to professional women’s organizations, a WBENC certification also provides access to supplier diversity and procurement executives at U.S. corporations and federal, state, and local government entities.
Membership fee: The WBENC issues certifications and recertifications based on a company’s reported revenue, with the breakdown being:
- Under $1 million: $350
- $1M < $5M: $500
- $5M < $10M: $750
- $10M < $50M: $1,000
- $50M+: $1,250
- Women’s Business Exchange
The Women’s Business Exchange (WBE) is designed to foster an inclusive group dynamic that negates the typical competitive climate women in business groups have become accustomed to.
The WBE has chapters in different cities. Through stringent category-control, and to enhance diversity, only one member is allowed in each business category. This structure was chosen to promote cross-industry collaboration without the fear of losing customers to each other.
Most chapters will host bi-monthly meetings for these exchanges to take place.
Membership fee: $250 annual membership fee.
- Women in Technology International
The Women in Technology International (WITI) focuses on female entrepreneurs who specialize in the field of technology. As is the global trend, technology conferences are extremely beneficial to the sector. The WITI wants to extend equal opportunity to women in this industry by building a worldwide inclusive culture of communication on common ground.
As a member of the WITI, you will have access to its massive global network of more than 3 million women.
If you work in technology, you know how important industry conferences and other mass networking events are to professional growth and development. WITI focuses on providing women in technology the opportunity to attend such events. And while it offers other resources (such as career services and education), WITI’s biggest draw is its global network of more than 3 million women.
Membership fee: Currently, lifetime membership has been discounted from $1000 to $650.
How to Find the Organization That’s Right for You
Since the majority of these women’s business groups specialize in a specific industry or have a stated aim, the best way to choose one is to find a group whose agenda fits your company profile and goals.
If you’re running a small shop and want to target a local demographic, choosing a group with a regional chapter may be the best bet.
Conversely, if you want to reach a global audience, you may opt for an international organization.
In the end, you will want to consider what the group aims to accomplish, the benefits they provide, and the fee to become one of its members.
Get Your Business Started with L3 Funding
While joining the women in business groups is an excellent way to gain insight into business ventures, every business needs capital to begin operations. Thankfully, L3 Funding has the perfect merchant funding solution. Contact us today to see which one of our programs is the right fit for you.