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Business Strategy, Financial Management

Small Business Loan to Start a Business

For a new entrepreneur, one of the biggest hurdles to resolve and overcome is the need for capital. Funds are critical to any business venture. Finding ways to raise money can sometimes become a full-time occupation for a business owner. A business loan can be a very important supplement to the life blood of a company.

There are many ways that startup capital can be raised. There is the option of:

Going for a bank (most bank offer small business loans these days)
Exploring and applying to non-banking financial institutions
Using alternative methods such as crowd funding
Approaching angel investors and venture capitalists

For most new businesses the preferred method out of above is to apply for loans with banks and other alternative lending institutions.
 

How to Get a Small Business Loan to Start a Business

As a startup or a business idea in a nascent stage, the best bet to raise funds lies in non-banking financial institutions. It’s recommended to direct one’s energies towards acquiring capital from alternative lenders rather than traditional banks.

Most banks prefer to give loans to small businesses that are already in existence as opposed to someone who is just starting out. Banks prefer to cover risk and it’s for this reason that the documentation and evaluation processes are long drawn and rather stringent. For a new business, sometimes it can be difficult to meet all requirements. This greatly affects the chances of getting the loan approved.

Coming to alternative lenders, they make the process rather hassle-free and easy to get through. Some of the advantages that non-financial banking institutions offer are:

Slightly more flexible requirements and eligibility criteria
Possibility of applying online very quickly
Quick turnaround time on loan approvals
Instant loan disbursement after approvals

Amongst all these the leniency on the eligibility criteria as well as requirements are the most beneficial.

It is helpful to have lenders who will be willing to consider giving out money to owners who may not have a detailed and long credit history. Your top pick should be lenders who focus on your business idea and go-to-market strategy rather than those who focus on cash flow history. Armed with a solid a dynamic business plan, the loan can be applied for still.

Process to get a Small Business Loan to Start a Business

 
There are different types of business loans available and depending upon the requirement of the business, a relevant one can be sought and applied for. Some popular options of business loan include working capital loans, startup loans, cash advance loans etc.

The first step is to determine how much money is needed and what it is needed for. This will go into the business plan that will be evaluated during the loan approval process.

Once the amount has been determined, the next step is to do some research and seek out the available options in terms of lenders in the market. Choosing a lender is also a process that requires time and effort. Things like credibility of the lender (reputation in the market), interest rate being offered, support system on offer, options of how loans can be re-paid, process of loan application etc. need to be factored in before choosing the one(s) which would be applied for.

Once identified, the next step is to get all the required documentation ready and up to the mark. A great business plan which details out information about the business idea, the profitability of the idea, the scaling plan, the vision behind the idea, projections regarding staff and infrastructure as well as the marketing strategy. A clear and transparent business plan goes a long way in putting the odds in the favorable position.

The final step is to apply and go through the process.
 
As mentioned, the turnaround time with non-banking financial institutions is rather quick and if all is okay, the loan should come through within a fortnight or less.

Of course, if you have a business that is already 6 months old or more and has a revenue of INR 12 lakhs or more, you can always apply for a working capital loan at Lendingkart!

What do you think about this article? Please let us know in the comments. If you need to know more about how important it is to choose the right business loan, you can read our article here. We have also written in detail about small business financing options in India and you can read about it here.
8

Business Strategy

How Business Loan Interest Rates Work

Ever wonder why business loan interest rates vary from lender to lender? There are several factors based on which every financial lender such as a bank or an NBFC determines the interest rate for any loan. The same holds true for a business loan as well. The more you satisfy these factors the lower your interest rate and accordingly, a higher interest rate is the result of such criteria not being satisfactorily met.

Here are the factors which are considered by banks and NBFCs for determining the interest rate for your business loan application.


Credit Score


The most talked about of all factors which determine your eligibility for a business loan and hence your interest rate, is credit score of your organisation. Some financial institutions also account for the credit score of the business owners to gauge their temperament for repaying loans. While having a healthy credit score helps in making the loan process smoother, you can get a business loan with an average credit score if you get the other variables right. The norm is to have a credit score more than 700 to be considered eligible and more than 750 to be favourable.


Age of Your Business


If your business is relatively young/new, lenders will consider your business loan as a high-risk entity, and charge you a higher rate of interest. Then again, having a long-running business does not guarantee a lower interest rates, as is covered in the following point.


Profitability of Your Business


Everyone likes a profitable business. That is especially true when it comes to lenders. If you are running an efficient organisation with large profit margins, lending institutions will most likely discount your business loan interest rates for it.


Volatility of Your Industry


Another important factor considered by lenders while calculating the interest rate for a business loan is the prevailing market conditions in a certain industry. If the market is excessively volatile, the interest rates go up, and if there is a projection of short or long-term stability, the interest rates are likewise relaxed.


Assets and Infrastructure


While unsecured business loans do not require a collateral, having a sound infrastructure and assets help if you are applying for loans in the range of six-digit figures.


Small Business Loan Interest Rates – Fixed vs. Variable


Based on the above factors, a lender will offer you an interest rate on the loan amount. The rate can be fixed or may fluctuate based on a market model that dictates variable interest rates. Although most people prefer a fixed interest over a variable interest rate, both have their advantages. If the market prospects are looking good, a borrower can save on interest payments by opting for a variable interest rate.


Lendingkart Business Loan Interest Rates


At Lendingkart, we understand the needs of our customers and therefore have devised a smart system based on analytics and machine learning. The system allows us to offer customized interest rates to our customer, thus ensuring that every loan application is sanctioned with the lowest possible interest rate. Thus, relieving MSME loan applicants from the dilemma of choosing between fixed and variable interest rates and giving them the best of both worlds.

If you are looking for an online business loan, visit our website to get a quick quote and apply for a business loan in a few simple steps.

8

Business Strategy

The Importance of Choosing the Right Business Loan


When you are considering taking a business loan, there are a lot of things that you check out, both online and offline. One might check out online EMI calculators, ask friends about online business loans, visit the websites of online loan providers and do a comparison of business loan interest rates. This due diligence is an important part of the loan application process and helps you understand the limitations and opportunities offered by different commercial loans.

At Lendingkart, we believe that choosing the right business loan is very important for MSMEs as it helps them in drawing out the full benefits of a loan. Here, we are sharing the points to look for when applying for a business loan online.


Fulfilling the Basic Criteria

It is very important to apply for business loans that your company can easily service. When you apply for a loan, a hard query is sent to the credit rating agencies. Too many hard queries can bring down your overall credit score. Therefore, applying for a business loan for which your company is completely eligible is quite important. It will not only ensure quick disbursals but will also help you build your credit rating further up.


Getting the EMI Calculations Right

Another important factor when taking a business loan is calculating the EMIs and planning your repayments accordingly. Sometimes you might end up taking a business loan which your business can easily repay and yet miss out on EMI payments. This happens when you do not calculate the EMIs correctly.

For example, you apply for a business loan of ₹10,00,000, which your business can easily repay in 12 months. However, you erroneously opt for an 8-month EMI schedule, which stretches your resources, wasting the benefits of the loan or even leading to missed EMI payments.


Selecting the Right Lending Partner

While banks are a common source of medium and small business loans for entrepreneurs in India, opting for a modern business financing institution might be a better idea for getting working capital finance. Non Banking Financial Companies offer several benefits such as low processing fees, short turnaround times, and easy business loan renewals.

At Lendingkart, we have simplified the loan application process by making it completely online. Lendingkart interest rates are customized based on business prospects of every individual applicant, thus making it easier to get a quick personalized business loan online.


Flexibility in Repayments

A business loan offered with the option of a flexible payment schedule is a boon for MSME loan applicants. A commercial loan that lets you choose from a variety of repayment schedules gives you the freedom to focus on business development rather than on payment due dates.

Lendingkart Finance lets you choose a customized repayment schedule so that you can repay your business loan comfortably. If you are doing great in your business, you can even prepay the full loan amount without any pre-closure charges.


Concluding Thoughts

A business takes a loan to invest in its growth, therefore selecting the right business financing product remains critical to a business’s success. Today, there are a variety of online tools which help you assess the various loan products available online and make an informed decision regarding a new business loan. Also, by selecting the right financial partner, you can grow your business exponentially.

Visit our website www.lendingkart.com for a quick unsecured working capital loan quote.

4

Business Strategy, Financial Management

For a new small business in India, like everywhere else globally, finance is the key to success and sustenance. Efficient and consistent fundraising is not the easiest of jobs. Still it does not have to be the toughest either. Traditionally banks tend to be the first and most preferred source of raising capital. Though they do not necessarily have to be the only option.

 

For a business to get to the stage of revenue generation and a profit making stage, the initial solid push is critical. That push comes from money. It might be for a brand new business starting out or a small business looking to scale up.

 

Here a few ways in which that money can be raised smartly.

 

Alternative methods to raise finance for a small business in India –

 

With the digital economy taking flight with rocket boosters, one has to think beyond banks. There are a number of other reliable options that can be explored. Such as:

 

Angel Investors 
While most business owners are familiar with angel investors, in simple terms, these are individuals with interest, initiative and investing power looking to vest in businesses. They keep a close watch on sectors that they think will work best for them and will be interested to fund businesses that meet their profitability criteria. Typically they operate as part of networks where they collectively scour through proposals and business plans to finally decide which ones they are going to support. Getting the nod of an angel investor(s) to fund a business is a big deal for most businesses. Depending upon their background and expertise, angel investors also tend to take a keen interest in the business and offer advice and suggestions for improving the revenue generation. Need to know the 8 most prominent angel investors in India? Read this article on Forbes online.

 

Crowdfunding
Crowdfunding is already a great fundraising option albeit a fairly competitive space. Given the popularity and ease of accessibility it’s fast turning out to be a preferred method for particularly startups. Crowdfunding literally means getting individuals to invest or give money for a business idea by putting it out there on a crowdfunding platform. Of course, the idea has to have potential and the investors need to see some ROI before they commit. Even so, this one is a fairly new age method and those who know how to play it properly can get good support for their business or business idea. This link lists the top 15 crowdfunding websites/services in India.

 

Lending Institutions
There are a number of independent lending institutions that can help raise finance for a small business in India. The requirements to secure a loan can be exhaustive for a small business at most banks. Unlike banks, these institutions are willing to take the risk to finance a small but solid business if basic eligibility criteria are met. This is a very effective source as there are high chances that the loan will come through. These institutions exist to cater to the newer and smaller entrepreneurs who have trouble taking their proposals to traditional sources. While they don’t come with as great a repute as banks, the financial help provided by them is great for most small businesses. Lendingkart is one of such institutions in India.

 

Bootstrapping
While mostly explored by startups, bootstrapping can be an effective way of securing finance for smaller existing businesses as well. A small business requires capital when wanting to scale up or expand. It can also be for acquisition of equipment, logistics or payroll management. Bootstrapping involves either investing one’s own funds into the business or getting some money from friends and family at low interest rates. It’s imperative to understand that this method works if the loan requirement is not too high. As the popular saying goes, one shouldn’t keep all their eggs in one basket.

 

Venture Capitalists
Funding from a venture capitalist is like finding a diamond in a coal mine. It’s hard to come by, but scores incredibly big points for a business owner. Most VCs prefer to support existing small businesses as opposed to startups. If they find proof of potential and scalability, they come on board not only with money but with expertise, mentorship and a lot of guidance. They tend to stay with the business till it’s either acquired by someone or till it goes public. The only possible downsides are that they exercise control and there is a lot of accountability towards the VCs.
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Business Strategy, General Finance

As an entrepreneur in today’s times, it is important to understand the value of customer engagement and how it is linked directly to the success of your business. An interactive relationship with your customers helps boost positive brand loyalty and this goes a long way in boosting the overall credibility of your business.

 

The advent and consequently, the rise of social media has led to customers having almost direct access to businesses and brands that they purchase from. Leveraging this channel in the most optimal possible way should be an integral part of your business strategy and planning.

 

While there area number of ways to connect and engage with your customers, social media handles are the most popular and effective. The ease of access and your clientele knowing that they can reach out to you with any sort of comment, suggestion, complaint or idea gives them a feeling of being heard and helps reiterate how important they are to you.

 

Customer engagement through social media can be promoted in many ways:

 

By sharing useful content: Good content is a mix of information, releases, your own product promotions and interesting articles or blogs that generate interesting discussions about your industry. Customers get bored with pages that only highlight their products. Think of variety when posting to sustain interest.

 

Being answerable: This is very critical as a big part of customer engagement includes making sure you reply to any and every comment, rant, review or suggestion that has been posted on your handles. Don’t let this slip and this can really have a negative effect if not taken care of.

 

Regularity: Find the right balance when it comes to posting. Don’t spam but post regularly enough so that your customers do not forget about you. There is a thin line and it is important to have a dedicated resource looking after your social media platforms.

 

Customer engagement helps returns and refunds. Here’s how:

 

Most customers are looking for quick resolution when it comes to returns and refunds. Including this aspect in the customer engagement strategy is a must.

 

Make it easy- Whether it is online or through a customer call, make it easy for your customers to return products and apply for refunds. Positive customers engagement is fuelled by not just the sale but also the returns that needs o be taken care of very sensitively. In fact, this is one thing that can prove to be the Achilles heels of many a businesses.

 

Define the terms clearly: Customers need to know what the terms for refund and returns are and this needs to be very clear, transparent and out there through the entire sales process. Find ways to get the information to your clients in advance so that there are no rude surprises for them. This will count as a credible point when it comes to rating your customer engagement.

 

Staff: Nothing can be more critical to your customer engagement than your staff. And this means both online and offline or via phone. Your staff needs to be knowledgeable about your products and return policies and be able to handle your customers in the utmost polite manner. A bad experience with a staff member can damage the reputation of a business immensely and this is especially true during returns as customers are already on the back foot and anticipating problems. Alternatively, a positive experience here can lead to a very healthy and long customer association.

 

Evidently, customer engagement cannot be treated as a by the way, one the side kind of activity. It has to be a full blown, thought through process that involves methods that are effective, innovative and garner successful results. There is no running away from this. This concludes our series on Customer Engagement. If you haven’t read the previous articles, you can visit Why Customer Engagement Is Important? Part 1 – Rave Reviews and Rants and Why Customer Engagement Is Important? Part 1 – Revenue Impact. We’d love to know your thoughts in the comments.

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