Growing Your Business In 2020

Growing your business in 2020

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Growing your business comes down to a few key principles which require planning and purpose.

Let’s say you’re past the startup stages of your business – there’s cash flow coming in, but not enough for you to quit your day job and really scale your business. You’ll likely need to look for sources of capital, and it may come down assessing business loans for bad credit or using an alternative funding source like a merchant cash advance. Regardless of how you get capital to scale, you need to plan for the challenges ahead. 

In this article, we’ll go through tips and tricks on how you can scale your business at a much faster rate in hopes to move full-time into your business. The reason most businesses fail is that they simply don’t have the ability to give the project enough attention (time) so it can build momentum and not only pay for itself, but also pay your bills.

Build Your Brand Fast

You’re probably reading this and thinking, “Yeah right, easier said than done.” It’s true, building a brand while working a day job (and having a small budget) isn’t easy. But, it’s possible now thanks to the internet!

You can virtually grow your business at least 8x using tools like Facebook, Instagram, and other social media platforms. Let’s be realistic, 20% of businesses that have generated 80% of their business comes from online marketing efforts. We hear excuses all the time like, “But my industry is different.” The cold hard truth is that if you’re not putting some type of online marketing strategy to earn revenue today, then in the next 5-10 years, your business model will be greatly impacted in a negative way. 

With social media marketing, you don’t need to spend a large budget. You can A/B test with small amounts of money to first see what works for your target market. Then, you can optimize and scale your marketing plan. At this point, you may need to look for funding sources to cover this expenditure, which can come in the form of a merchant cash advance (more on this soon) or small business loan (even if it’s a business loan for bad credit). 

Sales, Sales, Sales!

Clearly, without sales there is no business to run, but how can you increase sales? Depending on the industry that you’re in, the velocity of your transactions can determine whether you’re profitable or not.

The question is where are your sales coming from right now and how fast are they coming in? Are your sales mainly only when prospects add your product to their shopping cart, or are you cold calling and building up a pipeline?

The key is to get a firm understanding of your sales process, whether it’s a $1 product, $100 product or $1,000 product. Getting a better understanding of how much and how long it takes to generate a sale will help determine your strategies used to scale accordingly. You may need to add incentives and promotions, referral programs, a quicker sales funnel or add products to upsell or cross-sell. 

Grow Without Seeking Investors

There’s a notion circulating in the startup community that getting an investor is easy and the way to go. People say you just need to find someone with money, pitch your business idea and that’s it. There are surely investors out there seeking a great business model to invest time, money and resources. But, most businesses fail in this process because they focus less on actually generating sales and more on seeking an investor. If you’re a startup, then your main priority should be to generate sales independently. Once you can show on paper that the business is indeed valuable to the marketplace through your business model, then you might be eligible to seek an investor. The point is: grow first, then seek an investor. 

But, I Need Capital to Grow

That’s right, we said you need to grow first and then look to investors. This turns out to be a lot  like the chicken or the egg dilemma; you need money to grow, you need to grow to make money.

Without investors, you can lean on alternative sources for funding. As a new business, your credit may not be up to par. Traditional lenders like banks assess your creditworthiness to approve loans. The good news is that there are still business loans for bad credit.

Additionally, if you expect to have an influx of credit card sales in the near future, you should consider applying for a merchant cash advance. A merchant cash advance is a funding option that is practically immediate. You don’t need to have a high credit score or a long business history. Instead, you’ll have to show credit card transactions and promise to pay back the lump sum of money over time by giving back a percentage of your credit card transactions. You can choose the program that suits your business. 

Smart Decisions Make the Difference

When moving your business from a side hustle to your full-time pride and joy, you will face many decisions. The key isn’t to get everything right all the time, but it’s to foresee the future and plan for it. If you’re going to fail, fail fast and try again. 

Some of the most important decisions you make will be in regards to how you source your business funding. If you forego the investor route, assess business loans for bad credit and alternative funding options. There’s pros and cons to it all, so it’s best to define your business goals and evaluate what method will get you there while minimizing risk and potential losses. 

By investing back into your business and allocating funding wisely, you can focus on growth. 

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Building Business Credit In 2020

How does business credit work?

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Business credit helps obtain unsecured business loans and more.

One of the most important things you can do for your business, besides boost profit, is build your business credit early on. There will likely be a need for business financing and access to capital funding. Since traditional loans have high barriers to qualify,  unsecured business loans could offer a better solution. However, this option will require good business credit.

Let’s talk about everything you need to know to jumpstart building business credit and how it’s going to play a role in receiving unsecured business loans.

How to Qualify for Business Credit

Many people fear building business credit because they’ve struggled to build good personal credit. While there are some similarities to personal credit, you must follow a different path to establish business credit. Let’s look at some of the required steps to get started.

You Must Get An EIN

Your employer identification  number (EIN) or Tax ID number is basically your Social Security number but for your business. This qualifies your business as its own entity. One major benefit an EIN provides is that it looks professional to lenders and also helps mitigate any personal guarantees. The last thing you want to do is have your personal credit and business credit all mixed up. You can apply for an EIN through the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Open A Business Bank Account

When it comes to business funding, a business bank account is required for all business loan type products. In addition to this, having a separate business account will help you easily keep track of your business finances by keeping them separate from your personal finances. Of course, this makes it easier during tax season too.  

Importantly, most lenders are required to check that your business bank account  is in good standing and consistently maintains a positive balance. If you do not have a business bank account in place and need help opening one, you can open one online here.

Get A Dun & Bradstreet D-U-N-S Number

This is a process that most entrepreneurs either overlook or don’t even know exists. This number alone can help take your business’ finances to the next level. The Dun & Bradstreet D‑U‑N‑S Number is a unique nine-digit identifier for businesses. This number is assigned once their identity has been confirmed and is used to solidify a company as being unique from any other in the Dun & Bradstreet Data Cloud. The D‑U‑N‑S Number is used as the starting point for any company’s Live Business Identity. To create your D-U-N-S Number, follow this link.

Qualifying for Unsecured Business Loans

As mentioned, business credit will play a role in securing all types of business funding. However, if you have limited credit history or are a new business that lacks collateral, then you may need to look to unsecured business loans for financial aid. Some of the basic requirements for an unsecured business loan include:

  • Personal credit score: For unsecured business loans, a lender will assess your personal credit score. Most lenders prefer that this number be in the 700s, but it is possible to obtain an unsecured business loan with a personal credit score in the 600s. This is especially true if you can show that you have a steady cash flow to make your loan payments. If your personal credit score is lower than that, don’t give up, but be aware that you’ll face higher interest rates and fees.
  • Business credit history: Since no one knows how your business will fare in the future, your history serves as an indicator to gauge your creditworthiness. If you are new in business, then you won’t have much credit history to be able to show. But, with unsecured financing, lenders will be willing to provide you with a loan with limited business credit history. This will offer you with your first big step in being able to build good credit and become eligible for better loan terms in the future.
  • Sales: Banks are willing to provide loans for a percentage of the amount of what you’ve earned. So, the more sales you can show, the higher loan amount you can obtain. SBA loans follow the same qualifications. That’s why it’s important to focus on boosting sales at every stage of your business’ life.
  • Business history: The majority of traditional lenders look for businesses to have been active for at least two years. However, unsecured business loans may make exceptions, especially if you can show that your business is doing well with your financial statements.

An Alternative Solution for All

It may be possible that you are lacking strong business credit and/or high sales. The good news is that you can still land business funding through a merchant cash advance if you run credit card sales. Instead of having to prove your creditworthiness, you’ll fill out an easy application for nearly immediate funding. Your business advance terms can be dependent on your needs and will be repaid through a portion of your future sales.

Business Funding is in Your Hands

Good business credit is certainly going to play its role in obtaining business funding.

Whether you’re looking for traditional business loans or unsecured business loans, lenders will assess your business credit. That’s why it’s always smart to take care of the requirements needed to build business credit history as soon as you get started with your endeavor. 

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Small Business Stories Podcast | Episode 7

Small Business Stories - EP 7

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Growing your business comes down to a few key principles. It simple but not easy.​

Most hair salons need extra working capital to expand and scale their practice, fortunately obtaining working capital as a growing hair salon has more chances of approval than most industries. In this podcast, we’ll be giving you all the possible scenarios you may encounter when applying for a business loan for your hair salon. 

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Business & Finance: Tips on How to Handle Your Money

Tips on how to handle your money

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When growing your business I think most can agree that things can get a little unorganized managing all the money coming in and going out. That being said, how does that song go? “more money, more problems?”, but it doesn’t have to be that way!  Sometimes, in the beginning, the money aspect of things may not be your expertise because your strong point is actually executing the quality of your product or service. In this article, we go over ways you can eliminate some of the mistakes that most business owners make in the beginning stages of their business. 

Pay your employees first

As you’re building your team up the last thing you want is to have angry employees because their paycheck is late which will create an atmosphere of doubt and lose trust. So make sure the system you have in place is solid and transparent, there are payroll software’s that help you keep track of all the finances and making sure everyone gets paid on time as promised. 

Have reserves for an emergency

Business funding marketplace can be a bit unpredictable at times, and calculating a bad month or a season should always be in the equation so you have the ability to adjust and allocate your expenses accordingly. Depending on the industry you’re in even a law that’s passed in congress can directly impact your whole operation, making it either difficult to continue to turn a profit or completely eliminate your practice. There are no guarantees in life, but you can guarantee to always be ready for any changes in the market place that can hurt your business. 

Hire help if needed

The biggest reason most small businesses fail is that they want to do everything and let’s face you can’t do it all by your self! So if accounting and finances are not your strong suit then hire someone with experience in this field, be sure they have an outstanding track record and is able to get the job done. Being it is a full-time job and maybe you can’t afford to hire someone of that caliber, then I suggest consulting with a financial advisor who can meet with you once or twice a month to go over your financials. 

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Merchant Cash Advance’s For Cashflow Gaps

Merchant Cash Advances

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A good strategy for cashflow gaps.

There are a few short-term business loan type products in the market, these are designed to allow you to obtain a reasonable amount of cash for you to use as working capital quickly when you’re in need of a quick fix. How it works is you’ll receive a lump sum of cash upfront, which is then repaid to the lender over a short period of time. Even though loans like these come with higher interest rates than most loans out there, but the overall total cost for these loans may be less expensive than longer-term options with a lower interest rate.

The Merchant Cash Advances (MCA):

MCAs are the popular term of these types of loans, the MCA loan gives you a cash advance that you’ll have to repay in a shorter period of time with a potentially higher interest. This method is most suitable for businesses that receive a large portion of payments through credit cards (such as retail).

In this for you?

Merchant cash advances are great for the retail and leisure niches – so businesses that make a majority of their sales through card payments are ideal.

Merchant cash advances are a really unique and innovative way for businesses to get funding fast. Whether you’re planning your next product launch, taking on new employees or looking for a business funding solution to a cash flow gap, it could be a great way to fund it. Unlike many other types of business funding, it’s relatively easy to obtain and the repayment structure is perfect for businesses that go through seasonal high and low periods.

There are many situations that can leave you with a gap in your cash flow. Let’s say you are in an industry where your customers do not pay you on delivery. If you are collecting money on a monthly basis, you will likely encounter a common problem: how do I pay my bills if my customer fails to pay on time?

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How To Get A Tax ID Number For Your Business

How to get a Tax ID

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A very important step to get any venture started.

Disclaimer: In this article, we will be citing websites with the exact content that’s being used on their site so that their information does not get lost in translation. 

What Is A Federal Tax ID Number or EIN

Federal Tax ID Number or EIN is also referred to as a Taxpayer ID, Employer ID, TIN, and FEIN. It is similar to a Social Security Number in that it is used by the Internal Revenue Service for tax identification purposes. An EIN is issued with a unique 9 digit number in the following sample format: 00-0000000. EIN Numbers do not have an expiration date and will only be issued to a Sole Proprietor once. Any of the following entity types must be issued an EIN to conduct business: LLC, Corporation, Partnership, S Corporation, Non-Profit Organization, etc. When an EIN has been assigned by the IRS to a business entity, it becomes the permanent Federal Taxpayer ID Number for that entity.

How Do I Get A TIN?

SSN

You will need to complete Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Card (PDF). You also must submit evidence of your identity, age, and U.S. citizenship or lawful alien status. For more information please see the Social Security Administration web site.

Form SS-5 is also available by calling 1-800-772-1213 or visiting your local Social Security office. These services are free.

EIN

An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is also known as a federal tax identification number and is used to identify a business entity. It is also used by estates and trusts which have income which is required to be reported on Form 1041, U.S. Income Tax Return for Estates and Trusts. Refer to Employer ID Numbers for more information.

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Top Online Business Banking Institutes

Let's talk about online banking

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Here a list of our Top Online Business Banking institutions.

Disclaimer: In this article, we will be citing websites with the exact content that’s being used on their site so that their information does not get lost in translation. 

Azlo

What is Azlo?

Azlo is digital business banking for freelancers, entrepreneurs, small businesses, and non-profits. We offer a convenient, free option for people who want the advantages of a business account without any of the hassles or costs that often come with traditional business banking. Azlo accounts are designed to work seamlessly alongside other financial tools and meet the needs of entrepreneurs living in an increasingly digital world.

Who is Azlo for?

If you live in the U.S. and you do contract work or you have a business (even if it’s just a side project), we can likely offer you an account. Learn more about our eligibility requirements.

Since Azlo is completely online and mobile, we’re an especially good fit for businesses that manage their finances online or want the ability to send and receive digital payments and transfers. (Such as e-commerce stores, freelancers, startups, and consultants).

At the same time, we’re not the right solution for every business, and we want to be completely upfront about that. For example, we generally aren’t the right option for businesses that deal with cash since we can’t accept cash deposits. We also don’t offer checkbooks (though you can use our bill pay service to mail a check to anyone).

What do I need to apply?

It depends on how your business is structured. If you’ve filed papers with your state or local government to form your business and/or register your business name, we’ll ask for a copy of these documents. If you’ve formed a partnership, we’ll ask for a copy of your partnership agreement. We might also ask for a document confirming your EIN (employer ID number) if you obtained an EIN for your business.

If you don’t have any of these documents, you can still apply for an Azlo account as a sole proprietor—if you do, we’ll simply ask for the basic information that you’d need to open a personal bank account.

We also need to gather basic information about you, so we may ask for documents (such as a photo of your ID) to verify this information.

Axos Bank

Personal Asset Protection

Keeping your personal and business finances separated can help you protect your personal assets if something were to happen to your business. In order to accomplish this, many small businesses elect to become a Limited Liability Company (LLC) or a Corporation. Doing so helps protect any personal property from lawsuits and creditors and, in certain circumstances, possibly even reduce your business’s taxes.[i]

To transition your business to an LLC, you will first want to make sure that there are no ties between your personal bank accounts and your current business revenue. You will want to open a business checking account to handle all of your company-related expenses and income.

Keeping your business and personal assets separate will also protect both your personal and your business credit score. By keeping all of your finances under your business name, you will be better able to increase your company’s credit score.

Building Credibility for Your Business

When a customer receives a bill from your business name (versus your personal name), it helps to develop the integrity and strength of your brand. Imagine seeing a charge on your account from John Smith, rather than Smith Communications. Avoid customer confusion and the chance of a client flagging your charge as fraudulent by keeping all billing and payment within your company name.

Grow Your Business with Axos Bank

While you may not legally need a separate business bank account as a sole proprietor, it is smart to have separate accounts as your business grows. Don’t put off opening an account until your business is successful. Prepare for the future financial growth of your business today by setting up a basic business checking account and business money market account with axos bank today.

Novo

What is Novo?

Novo is the mobile banking platform for modern businesses. You can apply for an account online in minutes, giving you more time to focus on running your business. We provide all the banking tools you’ll need to link to your existing accounts, pay your bills, process ACH transfers, and deposit checks all within the Novo app. With your account, you will receive a Novo Mastercard Business Debit Card to use around the world and at any ATM without any fees from us.

Do Novo accounts have a minimum or maximum deposit?

Novo accounts do not have a minimum or maximum deposit amount. If you plan on depositing a large amount of money, let us know 2 – 3 days in advance in the ‘Support’ tab within the Novo app, so it is not flagged for fraudulent activity.

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How To Get Business Funding For Your Barber Shop

Get funding for a barber shop.

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Just like our recent article about getting funding for hair salons, there’s a lot of similarities when it comes to barbershops. Most barbershops need extra working capital to expand and scale their business, fortunately obtaining working capital as a growing barbershop has better chances of approval than most industries. In this article, we’ll be giving you all the possible scenarios you may encounter when applying for a business loan for your barbershop. First, we’ll discuss the types of needs for this type of financing, then the types of loans available and how to qualify for them.

Equipment

When growing a barbershop, it’s important that the tools needed to execute the service must be up to date. Statistics show that the reason small businesses cannot scale their barbershop and overall miss out on new business is because of their outdated equipment, fortunately, with equipment financing, you’re able to obtain working capital to purchase the equipment you need and put it to use immediately. 

Expansion

Your barbershop has been operating for a few months now and finally, you’re profitable! But then you realize not only you have more workload than you can handle, but you’re missing a lot of opportunities as well. Whether it’s hiring more staff, building an addition to your current salon or opening a new location it is imperative to seek working capital to make this upgrade in your business.

Inventory

As you’re growing your barbershop business, having quality products to properly serve your customers is very important. The quality of things like shampoo, clippers, etc will not only make a difference in the results of the service you’re offering but going the extra mile for your customers and investing in quality products will definitely result in higher client retention and a snowball effect which will produce more word of mouth referrals. 

Marketing

This topic is always brought up in almost all industries, not just the cosmetics industry because without marketing breaking out of obscurity will be very difficult especially with the constant changes in acquiring new customers. Marketing strategies like social media or direct mail can take a toll on your overhead if you’re coming out of pocket. This is where obtaining working capital could benefit your business, strategically using the additional funds to generate more qualified clients to scale the business. 

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Is Uplyft Capital Legit?

Uplyft Capital

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Is Uplyft Capital legit? Many of you been searching online and have been wondering if Uplyft Capital is even a legit company, well I’m here to tell you that I do have the answer.  The merchant cash advance industry is getting more & more saturated every year although it’s still a very new industry, there can be a lot of fly-by-night companies and “chop shops”. It’s very normal for small business owners out there who are not familiar with Uplyft Capital and have some concerns about the company. So look no further, we’re here to tell you that we are a legit company and we’re proud to go over all of our accolades, and how many companies we’ve helped over the years.

Response Video At The Uplyft Capital Offices In Sunny Isles Beach FL.

Our doors opened in 2012 buy our CEO and founder Michael Massa, he’s originally from Hartford, CT and decided to move to Miami, FL to get into the merchant cash advance industry. He had a vision as an entrepreneur to help small businesses grow, knowing that additional funding can definitely help take a company to the next level as it did for him.

Since our inception, we’ve helped over 2000 businesses nationwide. Not to mention all the other business owners that we’ve worked with that, unfortunately, did not get funded from either not qualifying or not meeting our minimum requirements. 

Moving forward as of 2019 we’ve been funding over 150 businesses every month, that fact alone says a lot about our work ethic and ability to continue to help businesses. Another credible source that we have is our A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. 

We have funded over a hundred million dollars in small business loans, not to brag but not many funding agencies that have been in business as long as we have can say they have hit those numbers yet. In addition we’ve also created a podcast on Spotify called “small business stories w/ uplyft capital”, as a way to give back to small business owners that have worked with us and potential prospects so we can help educate growing companies on how they can leverage working capital or even just tips and tricks on how to use social media and other tactics to increase their sales based on their industry.

For more credibility on our founder, there is an amazing interview on Chic Magazine which is a very credible source,  they recently interviewed him on the growth of uplyft capital and how he’s helped so many small businesses this past decade.

So is Uplyft Capital legit? Based on all we’ve done to help businesses in the last 10 years should say a lot about us and our culture, so yes we are a legit organization and if you want to find out more you can reach out to us directly on our website and we’ll verify any questions that you may have about us.

 I hope this article was informative and hopefully future business owners read this as they’re shopping around for a small business loan or searching to find out more about us and see the value in our organization and how we can help not only get working capital but consult and advise on how to properly use business lines of credit and small business loans. 

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How To Get Business Funding For Your Hair Salon

Get funding for a hair salon.

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Most hair salons need extra working capital to expand and scale their practice, fortunately obtaining working capital as a growing hair salon has more chances of approval than most industries. In this article, we’ll be giving you all the possible scenarios you may encounter when applying for a business loan for your hair salon. First, we’ll discuss the types of needs for this type of financing, then the types of loans available and how to qualify for them.

Equipment Purchasing

When growing any business, it’s imperative that the tools needed to provide service or overall value to the market place must be up to date. Statistics show that the reason small businesses cannot scale or overall miss out on new business is because of their outdated equipment, fortunately, with equipment financing, you’re able to obtain working capital to purchase the equipment you need and put it to use immediately. 

Business expansion

Ok so you’ve been in business a few years now and finally, you’re profitable! But then you realize not only you have more workload than you can handle, but you’re missing a lot of opportunities as well. Whether it’s hiring more staff, building an addition to your current salon or opening a new location it is imperative to seek working capital to make this upgrade in your business

Inventory and Supplies

As you’re growing your hair salon business, having quality products to properly serve your customers is very important. The quality of things like shampoo, nail polish, etc can not only make a difference in the results of the service you’re offering. So applying additional working capital to go the extra mile for your customers and investing in quality products will definitely result in higher client retention and a snowball effect from word of mouth referrals. 

Marketing and Customer Acquisition

This topic is always brought up in almost all industries, not just the hair and beauty industry because without marketing breaking out of obscurity will be very difficult especially with the constant changes in acquiring new customers. Marketing strategies like social media or direct mail can take a toll on your overhead if you’re coming out of pocket. This is where obtaining working capital could benefit your business, strategically using the additional funds to generate more qualified clients to scale the business. 

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