A Small Business Loan Is Easy to Get If You Are Doing the Important Things Right

When your business is in its starting phase, you need a loan to grow it. Yes, there are ways for you to start your business with very little capital, but even in the age of the internet you need loans for the growth and expansion of your business. Oftentimes, startup and small business owners are scared of taking loans because they believe returning the same loan with interest on it will hinder their growth. The fact is a loan is not such a big liability if you have done your homework before getting it. Hastily getting a loan without researching the market and knowing your business’ growth potential can be detrimental to the business.

Your Business Plan Matters Big Time

It does not matter how experienced your management team is when your business plan is weak. When you ask for a loan from lenders, they are trying to find reasons to forward you the desired loan. They want to be sure that the loan they forward is returned in time and according to the terms and conditions set at the time of loaning. Lenders will seldom gauge the potential of your business to return the loan based on what you speak. What they want to see is a solid business plan and that’s why you need to have an impressive one. A strong business plan will consist of the following and some more.

  • The company description
  • Management role and experience
  • The product description
  • Strategy for marketing
  • Financial projections
  • An executive summary
  • Documented cash flow

Keep in mind that banks often look at the cash flow in the documented form, and their scrutiny is not limited to what your projections are for the future but more importantly how you have managed things in the past. They will look at your company’s cash flow records for past couple of years to see if you should be given the loan you are asking for. So, keep your business plan in mind and make sure you have worked on every aspect of it to present something impressive to the investors.

Your Loan Options Are Many

Sometimes, you have a solid business plan and everything else is in place, but your understanding of loan options is not at its best. Many small business owners live with the impression that the only institution available to them for obtaining a loan is a bank. That’s far from truth because there are dozens of other ways to obtain the loan or investment for your startups that’s much easier to manage than a bank loan. Some of the options available to you include SBA loans from the government, invoice financing, business equipment financing loans, etc. If you are just a startup and none of those options seem viable to you, there is online fundraising.

Online fundraising has become quite a popular method of getting investments for your startup from individuals who trust in your idea and concept of the business. Using funding website you have access to hundreds of thousands of investors located all around the world that are willing to help if you can convince them with your business plan and the team that’s behind your project. So, avoid making the mistake that many small business owners make when they think bank is the only place for them to get any money for their businesses.

Your Timing to Apply for a Loan Is Important

This is a huge mistake that small business owners often make and pay the price in the form of not being able to obtain the loan they want at the terms they want. See, you will always be told to have a strong business plan because that’s the only way investors will trust you as an entrepreneur or businessperson. When you create your business plan, you are not just jotting down random numbers on a piece of paper. Your plan should give you an idea of what your business’ needs will be in the coming times. That’s when it makes sense to apply for loans well in advance and not at the eleventh hour.

When you apply for a loan at the eleventh hour, you are seen as a business in trouble. Most investors will see your business as the sinking ship and they will never want to get on it. Obtaining a loan in these circumstances can become close to impossible. This is the reason why you should apply for a business loan in advance and not at exactly the moment you need it. You also have to keep in mind that loan approval process takes time too. If you need the cash on an urgent basis, every day that passes during the approval process will be causing more damage to your business.

The Right People Can Make the Difference

Delegating responsibilities to the right people is an art and skill that not many business owners have. Oftentimes, small business owners rely too much on their own skills and are scared to trust any other person to do things for them. This can be a grave mistake because you cannot be the jack and master of all the trades at the same time. For example, you might be great at crunching numbers and making accurate projections for the business but not very great at sales and pitching ideas. If you have to pitch your business idea, its marketability and scope to the investors, choose the person who can best present it. Despite your great business plan, you will fail to obtain a loan because of your nervousness and lack of confidence when it comes to acting like a clever salesperson.

You have to bear in mind that investors are not investing only in your business, they are also investing in you. It is very important for them to like your personality to invest in your project. Appearing unprepared or nervous in front of them will send an impression that you are not fit to lead the project, your decision making is faulty and that you cannot create strong teams.

A Well-prepared Presentation Can Win Hearts

It does not matter who is giving the presentation when the content is boring and does not address the points that investors are most curious to know. First, get your numbers straight and bring them into the presentation at the right points. Be the investor in your mind and think of the questions you would ask if someone presented the same product/service to you. Have your accountant, advisor and business lawyer by your side when preparing the presentation. You don’t want to give wrong figures during the presentation and fall for a bad deal at the end of it. The most important thing is to explain your business idea as clearly as possible. Many times the presentations are so all-over-the-place that investors can’t make heads and tails of it. If they don’t understand your business, they will never invest.

So, bear in mind that obtaining a loan is not that big of a challenge. Most of the times, it is just some small mistakes in the areas mentioned above that become the cause of lost opportunities to get the right loans for your business. Create a solid business plan, choose the right people to represent your business and use all the options that are available to you at the right time to grow your business at the pace you want.

The Importance of Business Analyst Tools and Benefits of Hiring an IT Business Analyst

Do you want to know the importance of Business Analyst Tools? When it comes to workflow management, you need to use all the tools and processes that streamline and optimize the operations of your business. For instance, you need to utilize software systems that enable you to get improved productivity. These systems include content management systems, document management systems and business process management (BPM) tools.

Remember the best workflow management systems can be costly and challenging to implement. However, by seeking the services of an IT Business Analyst, your company will benefit from them, which means you will get the best returns on your investments. In this informative article, we’ll look at five benefits of these tools.

1. Improved Accountability

The best Business Analyst Tools enable your company to experience improved productivity. Keep in mind many employees don’t respond well to micromanagement, which means you need to use the latest tools to check their productivity. By using the best tools and software, you can know which tasks need to be done, the best team member to carry them out and the specific period the work should be completed.

When you know which tasks and goals need to be met, you won’t need to intervene now and then, that’s unless it’s necessary. That improves the relations between the staff and management by removing personal opinions and considerations from any issue. Databases can store records of what occurred in the system, which gives the administration the ability to audit behavior if necessary.

2. Reduces the Need for Manual Labor

The best business analyst tools provide your team members with the chance to work on non-repetitive tasks. It means they can expand their skills, for example, by working on aspects that require more human input such as in the production process. The best work management tools ensure that work is done faster and without common human errors. Instead of using these tools to replace employees, you should use them to make the workplace more productive and exciting, which improves the firm’s overall morale.

3. Better Communication

The best business analyst tools eliminate the need for paper chasing and use of telephones. That makes the office more efficient and greener, which in turn reduces the firm’s turnover rates. Among the reasons for quitting jobs is poor or inadequate communication in offices. By using tracking software, you can provide employees with a better way of finding out what needs to be done right now and in the future. For you to ensure smooth day to day running of the business, you need to make sure your communication is honest and clear to employees.

4. Streamlines the Business Operation Processes

Workflow or business analyst tools enable you to have valuable insight in the day to day running of your business. For example, by using automation software, you can determine which tasks can be done simultaneously instead of being completed sequentially. You can know which steps are unnecessary; which means you will make informed choices and decisions. For example, you will know which employees perform specific tasks at their best, rather than who happens to be free at that particular time.

5. Faster Completion of Projects

The best business analyst tools enable you to shorten the duration of projects. For example, you can use them to reduce the period between starting a project and having it approved. As the management, you can set these tools to notify team members when the deadline is approaching or if they have missed it. The team leaders can let employees know of any new projects, changes in scheduling and guideline updates. Remember that in the long run, the time taken to determine these issues can prove to be a lot, meaning you need to use the latest tools to move on to new profitable projects.

What to Do

When switching over to using the best Business Analyst Tools, you may encounter several challenges. That means you should evaluate your office or business needs before deciding to make the switch. If you regularly meet your goals or surpass them, you may choose to leave it as it is. However, if you think you need a general overhaul of your operating systems and routines, you should consider moving your company to the next level.

Before implementing drastic changes, you should open up and consult with your team members about the impending changes. You should then consider hiring an expert IT Business Analyst to help in the process. Below we look at benefits of hiring them.

Benefits of Hiring an IT Business Analyst

One common question on online business forums is; what are the benefits of hiring an Information Technology (IT) Business Analyst? For some businesses, business analysts provide them with many benefits. However, others may not know these benefits, which mean they fail to get the many positive results that analysts bring to companies. In today’s business environment, business analysis can be the glue that holds a company or business together.

What’s The Role of a Business Analyst?

Breaks Down Work into Manageable and Small Bits

The primary function of an IT Business Analyst is to help make work more manageable by breaking it into smaller pieces. Developing and testing are also made simpler by business analysts. These professionals ensure all projects are on track by documenting their progress. That means the best returns on your investments.

Enhances Communication

IT Business Analysts ensures the communication lines are kept open, that’s by filling any gaps in the case of breakdowns. They eliminate any confusion in the case of requirements, scope and testing by explaining the processes in a way that team members can understand. It means that the workplace efficiency is improved and tasks completed faster.

Provides Support

In the course of carrying out challenging tasks, the project managers may be overwhelmed by budgets, reports, schedules and other issues. Business analysts can step in and help by providing them with professional support to the team members, project managers and sponsors. The result will be improved returns and faster completion of projects.

Increases the Business Returns

Professional IT Business Analysts know how to increase the company’s potential benefits and returns. For example, they know how to uncover or discover new business needs and ensure that your business priorities are focused on bringing the best value. Remember that they use the best Business Analyst Tools to arrive at their decisions.

What 2018 Holds For IT Business Analysts

As far as the role of Business Analysts is concerned, the year 2018 offers them new predictions. That’s because new Business Analysts Tools provide them with more chances to improve the operating systems of companies.

These professionals will be tasked with many projects that include project and testing management. Many will offer their services on a specialist basis, for example, cost-benefit analysis, scoping and other project requirements.

For those with business analysis backgrounds, they will continue their migration towards critical and influential positions in different areas of the organization. The result may be a change in their titles, which may result in disagreement or confusion over their exact job description and responsibilities.

How to Hire the Best IT Business Analyst

• If you’re asking yourself whether you need to hire a Business Analyst or a project manager, you need to consider the value that each of them brings to your organization or project. In some instances, the project manager may have vast expertise.

• On the other hand, the business analyst may have experience and knowledge in examining information and other facts, which means they can provide your company with the right questions and carry out thorough research.

• The primary factors for hiring an IT Business Analyst is that he or she can be able to break down information into several parts, document and workflows.

• You need to ensure the business analyst you’re hiring has the best experience in the IT field which you need. It may seem like an obvious consideration, but you should remember that IT fields are different.

• Other qualities you should consider are their industry knowledge, problem-solving skills and effective documenting. They will ensure you get the best results. Remember that any professional should be self-directed and motivated.

• The business analyst should also have the best working skills and communication abilities. They will ensure that he or she works with your team to solve problems. Remember that it’s only through effective communication with your team members that the professional will able to bring you the best results.

• When hiring them, make sure you have written agreements on how fast you should expect results, the processes involved and how much they will charge you. That will enable you to plan your budget estimates to ensure that no payment disputes occur during the work or after completion of the project. Compare quotes from different professionals before settling on the best one, who should have experience and provide you with competitive rates.

Conclusion

The best IT Business Analyst should be able to use the latest Business Analyst Tools to ensure that your business improves its efficiency and profits. Consider hiring those who use the most recent software and have experience in your particular field.

Social Media for Small Businesses

Social media has become an integral part of our day-to-day lives. Businesses of all size and shapes have started making the most of available mediums. Today we will try to anatomize tips on social media for small businesses. There are a plethora of small businesses eyeing social medium to promote their business/services. However, majorly these small businesses are failing or not being able to make optimum use of social media for their business growth. There are many theories and strategies on how to effectively use social media for established brands, but the topic social media for small businesses is seldom addressed. According to Digital state of eMarketing India 2017 Octane Research:

60% small businesses promote their business on social media. 50% focus on SEO and 35% use multichannel marketing funnel.
70% small businesses consider content strategy as their primary marketing activity.
52% business owners are using social media as to efficiently address customer engagement.
More than 20% of business owners said that they are making 50% plus profit using social media.

The primary reasons for the low turnout are uncertainty on an application of social media, calculating return on investment and persuade employees/stakeholders to clinch social media. Hence it is important to address the elephant in the room and analyze how beneficial is Social media for small businesses.

Social media for small businesses is a great way for emerging businesses to generate lead and build a reputation. If regularly updated, social media can deliver more results as compared to traditional mediums. Social media for small businesses gives brands an edge of control over the content that they want to post. Also, since social media is a two-way dialogue process, it helps businesses to instantly identify what is benefitting them. Social media for small businesses also helps generate Word of Mouth, which is one of the best tools for emerging businesses.

Social Media for small businesses | 10 Tips to effectively use Social Media

Define your Target Audience
The first and foremost important part that small businesses should focus on is to define their target audience. This helps small businesses to device their social media strategy accordingly. The target audience should be defined basis age group, sex, location, users’ online behaviors, their likes, interests, and preferences. For niche products, business owners can even target users based on their birthdays, anniversaries and important milestone. Audience targeting plays a very crucial role in the outcome of the results. For e.g.: a local shop selling footwear should not target users with interest in entertainment. The shop definitely won’t get the desired results.

Set achievable goals
Overnight success is a myth. Small businesses must understand this basic fact. Generally, when a new business starts selling on social media, there is palpable excitement is achieving more than set targeted sales. Businesses need to set goals which are upwards and forward. To achieve enormous goals, small businesses start updating social feed with multiple updates in shorter duration. This leads to user’s disinterest in the product/service. The set goals should be in sync with brand’s core capabilities and expertise. For e.g.: if a business is into selling shoes, they shouldn’t set a goal to repair maximum shoes in their area.

Choose the right medium
By now everyone knows, social media is for free. Even paid campaigns can be conducted at a relatively low cost as compared to traditional mediums. It is in this scenario, that we often see small businesses jumping the bandwagon and creating profiles on all the available platforms. Creating social profile doesn’t hamper brand image, but aggressively promoting a brand on wrong platforms can lead to brand losing its potential customers. Hence it is advisable for SME’s to first identify the right platform through which they can maximize their business. For e.g.: If a shoe selling brand tries to aggressively sell on LinkedIn, they won’t get a plausible response as compared to promotions on Facebook/Instagram.

Promote your core product/services
Since each and every business is riding in the social media wave, it is important for a them to promote their core product/services. Nowadays, we see a lot of businesses promoting their services as well as promoting peripheral products/services, which revolves around their core product/services. Majority of the times, this SME’s doesn’t have capabilities to fulfill a requirement, which can lead to a bad word of mouth for their business on social media platforms. Let us go back to our example; if a shoe seller is trying to aggressively promote socks instead of shoes, it is not going to benefit the business in the long run.

Create quality content
Now that we have covered the topics of identifying the target audience, setting achievable goals, choosing the right medium and promoting the right product/services let us now take a look at the type of content a business should promote on their social pages. A business should always focus on creating good quality content rather than not-good quantity content. Even if the business updates their page once in a day as long as it is relevant to their business, advocates about its core products send across a clear message it is considered as a good quality content. Antagonistically, if a business posts multiple updates which aren’t even relevant to the business’s products and services leads to users considering the business as fake/spam. Also, new businesses should try and refrain from promoting other businesses on their social platforms initially.

Create a content calendar
Making a small business successful on social platforms is no small task. It takes a lot of efforts for the businesses to keep up their conversion ratio. One such effort is to create a content calendar. Small businesses must anticipate important events and create a content calendar accordingly. Ideally, a content calendar must be planned a month in advance but an even weekly content calendar is highly recommended. This helps businesses to avoid any last minute hassles, strategize much more effectively and it also helps in creating curiosity amongst its loyal fans/customers.

Test and re-test
Social media is highly unpredictable. The content a business posts today, might not work for tomorrow. Hence, small businesses must always test their content before publishing it on their pages. Testing content also applies to the platform a small business chooses to promote. Small business owners must always don the consumer’s hat before posting about any product feature, updates, schemes or offers. A consumer’s perspective is the key when testing the content that has to be uploaded.

Look for inspiration
Small businesses must always look for inspiration from a competitor who is successful in the same category. Copy pasting competitors idea or content is not the answer. Small businesses must look for the kind of content its competitors are putting up and derive their own strategies subsequently. Inspiring content/stories always make a business to strive to create their own content that is appreciated by one and all. It helps in increasing brand consideration, brand visibility thereby increasing conversions for the business.

Calculate ROI
Even a small promotional budget is not justifiable if there is no mechanism to calculate its return on investment. It is more important in case of small businesses. It is very important for a small business to keep a tab on the budgets allocated to any promotions and the subsequent ROI related to it. If a certain promotion is not doing well or the business is not getting desired results, the brand custodian can always look for other platforms to generate quality conversions.

Analyze and Re-strategize
There can be umpteen instances where a particular campaign/promotion might not work for a business. That doesn’t mean that the promotion is wrong or the product/service is not good. Doing an analysis of the campaign is as important as setting the objective. This helps the business to formulate their upcoming strategies in more effective ways. At the end of every campaign, brands must note down the learning’s from that campaign and identify if the content/idea was appreciated by their fans or not. This helps businesses to skip the non-performing updates from future communications.

Final Thoughts
Social media for small businesses is definitely beneficial and fruitful. If followed correctly, small businesses can benefit tremendously from the power of social media promotions.