Best Small Business Practices to Adopt in a New Financial Year

A small business owner is always striving to give his/her business the right environment to thrive. Here, environment implies having a good workplace, hiring efficient employees, getting the right equipment, developing fruitful relationships and most important of all, gaining access to proper financing and working capital. The last point is most important because every business needs money to operate and without a proper inflow and outflow of cash, any business will eventually suffer. Incidentally, inadequate access to working capital is the reason behind failure of most small business enterprises in the country and the world today.

In this post, we are sharing some tips that will help you enact financial discipline for your SME. To tip you off, these pointers explain the advantages of good accounting practices that keep your finances streamlined and readily available for use.

  1. Practice Strict Bookkeeping: The cardinal rule for running a successful business is to keep accurate records of all the transactions happening on a day-to-day basis. Financial records give you an accurate picture of your income and expenditure, debts, and, accounts receivables. Which in turn help you in tracking income, paying liabilities, and filing tax returns on time.
  2. Deploy Integrated Accounting Systems: The reach of technology is extending every day and a small business owner will do well to embrace a modern accounting system to integrate his/her small business with the digital economy. Accounting software are in use by most large scale businesses toady and their benefits are time tested. As a small business owner you can also utilise these systems to save accounting costs, improve financial accuracy, and reduce the chances of theft and fraud.
  3. Track your Invoices: Getting paid for the work you have done is all that matters at the end of each day as a small business owner. If you are not getting paid on time, your employees are not getting paid on time, your equipment is not being serviced on time, your rental and utility bills are not paid on time and so on and so forth. Therefore, it is important to have an active invoice tracking system in place. Moreover, generate your invoices as soon as your product or service is delivered instead of waiting till the end of month, this will speed up your invoice clearances significantly and give your working capital a boost.
  4. Follow Generally Accepted Accounting Principles: GAAP are accounting techniques that are pursued by leading accounting and auditing firms and are accepted as a standard procedure in the financial world. By following these principles on reporting and disclosure of financial statements you will not only be able to draw quicker financial decisions but will also instil confidence in a lender or investor for raising funds.
  5. Use Small Ticket Finance for Working Capital: As enumerated at the beginning of this post, having enough money to run daily business is one of the primary concerns of a small business owner. It is quite possible that your business will run into temporary working capital difficulties at the beginning. In such scenarios, never dip your hands into the capital earmarked for equipment or assets to use as working capital. This a vicious cycle which may never end and cause your business to lose precious competitive edge as you fail to invest in proper assets because you used up that capital as working capital. Instead, apply for a working capital loan to finance your short term needs. There are many fintech firms like Lendingkart who offer working capital loans at low interest rates in India. These business loans are short-term, typically one year in duration, and have flexible EMI options to make repayment easier.

In conclusion, financial discipline is necessary if you want your small business to be profitable. The online world offers a lot of tools that you can utilise to bring in transparency and accountability for your small business. Furthermore, online financing options have made it way easier to get working capital loans for a small business and you should utilise these opportunities pro-actively for sustained success in your venture.

To know how to apply for a small business loan from Lendingkart, click here.

Best Free Accounting Software for Small Businesses in India

Did you know that you can save a lot of time and money by adhering to smart accounting? Most small business owners do not always prioritize accounting, as there are other tasks on their to-do list which seem more urgent. However, there is a reason behind accounting being a separate arm of business management, accounting enables efficiency and transparency in business operations.

Nowadays, the integration of IT solutions with business operations means that a small business owner can easily manage cash flow, invoicing and payrolls with automated accounting software.

Here we are sharing a list of best free accounting software for small businesses that you can test and deploy for your enterprise.

ZipBooks

A popular choice among small business owners, ZipBooks simplifies accounting with an easy-to-learn interface and some powerful accounting features. The ZipBooks starter option is free and lets you create unlimited invoices for any number of vendors and customers. You can also connect your bank account to the software and manage your business’s bank account.

Marg

Developed specifically for use in India, the Marg Accounting Software is totally free to use and offers a comprehensive list of accounting features such as ledger management, cash flow control and preparing detailed balance sheets. The software also integrates various forms required by Indian Business Law for e-filing of tax returns online.

Tally ERP 9

Tally remains the most popular accounting software in India. It has a free version which you can utilise to manage accounts and keep track of your finances. There are many institutions offering Tally courses in India, so using this software also gives you ready human capital to invest in.

Profitbooks

It us a cloud based accounting software which can be accessed from any device anytime. The free version of Profitbooks allows bookkeeping and invoicing to give you accurate accounting information. You can also connect to the Profitbooks Live Chat to learn about its advance features.

GnuCash

This is an open-source personal and financial accounting software. Open-source softwares are community managed, hence they receive updates more frequently and a large community of devs means new features are available more frequently and bugs are removed quickly. However, open-source software may sometimes (although it’s rare) crash and cause data loss. The GnuCash is free and available for Linux, Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows.

So that completes our list for free-accounting software for small businesses in India. You can manage your finances and keep your working capital in check by switching to prudent accounting management with this software. Speaking of working capital, if you are having hard time maintaining the daily cash flow, consider getting a short term business loan. To know more about fast business loans in India, visit us at www.lendingkart.com

Managing Your Working Capital can be the Key to Business Success

Working capital management allows you to keep your company’s financial fundamentals in check and leads the way for operational success. Effective working capital management is the hallmark of every successful business venture as it represents a synergy between the business goals, profitability and liquidity of the business.

As you know, working capital is the difference between the current assets and current liabilities of a business, and is utilized for running day to day business activities. Thus, working capital essentially represents the efficiency of your company’s operations and its financial stability in the short-run. If you don’t have enough working capital to cover your short-term debts and expenses, then your business may face operational or even existential trouble in near future.

Here are some pointers to further emphasis the need for having adequate working capital in your kitty.

  • A business requires a bare minimum of cash-flow to maintain itself on daily basis. These cash requirements are fulfilled by working capital.
  • Working capital is the key for debt and inventory management. If you cannot secure the inventory your customers are looking for then your business operations will suffer. Adequate working capital balance allows you to make emergency purchase of stock and services to keep your clients happy.
  • Working capital may play and important role in your financial dealings such as applying for small business loans, mergers and partnerships.
  • Not having enough working capital can ultimately lead to insolvency as your business will not be able to meet its debt obligations.

How to Manage Working Capital?

Working capital management is an accounting strategy. By making some financially prudent decisions, you can ensure that the balance between your assets and liabilities is maintained and you still have enough ready cash to fulfill your daily commitments. Here are some of the things you can do to effectively manage your working capital.

  • Manage your inventory. When you are selling physical goods, a simple inventory management technique i.e. to balance your demand and supply can help you save more cash. Needless to say, this cash then becomes a part of your working capital.
  • Prudent accounting can also ensure that you never run out of working capital resources. Once again keep a track of accounts payables and accounts receivables to keep your books up-to-date. Lagging behind in collections and payments often causes problems later on.
  • Do a monthly analysis of your inventory turnover ratio and bill collection ratio to optimise your business operations and establish a cycle. This will help you in anticipating the expenses in advance and allow you to keep cash at hand when the need arises.
  • Apply for a working capital loan. A short-term business loan is the easiest way to get ready cash for day to day operations. A working capital finance frees-up your capital for investment in equipment and site while you repay the loan amount in flexible monthly installments.

Lendingkart Small Business Loans

The thing that matters most when you apply for a business loan is the time it takes for processing and disbursement. Bank loans are cumbersome due to their inherently lengthy application, verification and disbursement processes. That’s why Lendingkart has kept the process quite simple by making it completely online.

You no longer have to Google all day about ‘how to apply for a small business online’. Simply create a Lendingkart account, fill in your loan requirements, and let us know about your business.

Once that is done, we will offer you a loan quote, choose to accept it and upload the documents for online verification. If all things check out, you can get a small business loan within 72 hours of application.

Ready to apply for a business loan with Lendingkart? Click here to proceed.

Working Capital Financing to Make Your Business Agile

Working capital keeps your business upright when you hit a snag or when the market is not performing as expected. In simple terms, working capital is the cash you need to carry on day-to-day business tasks. It is also calculated by subtracting your current liabilities from your current assets. Falling short on working capital can lead to a loss of flexibility in operations, ultimately leading to reduced credibility with financiers, vendors and customers.

Working capital floating just above the red line is also bad for your enterprise, especially if you own a small business. Because when you are barely managing to survive in the market, you will not be able to take advantage of new business opportunities to expand and grow your company.

However, always keeping sufficient working capital at hand is easier said than done. Small businesses are generally cash-strapped and depend on timely sales and payment of invoices for their working capital. Here, having a clearly defined credit policy can help you out. It will also give you an idea of the customer credit you can afford without draining your working capital.

In this post, we are sharing a few of such simple yet effective measures you can take to keep your small business agile and competitive.

Fast Track your Payment Collections

The best way to keep your working capital funds ready and steady is to ensure that you are collecting your payments the moment they are cleared. Don’t wait till the end of the month to bill your clients, generate your invoices as soon as the goods or services delivery is confirmed. Billing early also ensures early clearance and hence an early top-up of your working capital.

Never Finance Fixed Assets using Working Capital

If you have used up all your cash then your business will look riskier to financial institutions and potential business partners. Financing fixed assets such as equipment with working capital also reduces your daily, weekly or monthly spending threshold. So, instead of depleting your working capital, use long-term loans to pay for financing fixed assets.

Using Asset Refinancing to Generate Working Capital

Asset refinance helps your cash flow by releasing cash against the value of an asset that you already own. You can sell the asset at its current value to a leasing company, which will then lease it back to you for a specific period of time in exchange for rental payments. Furthermore, fixed asset refinancing will also protect your business from asset depreciation.

Apply for a Working Capital Loan

An unsecured working capital loan for small businesses can ease your working capital worries. The logic is simple, to gain profits and business growth you will need to invest more in your small business. A working capital loan for small business allows you to afford the inventory required by your potential clients, thus, helping you turn them into real account receivables.

Working capital loans are also quite easy to secure if your business has a veritable track record. You can even get a working capital loan approval in less than 24 hours and funds transfer within 3 days with certain financial. If you are wondering where can I get a business loan that fast, visit www.lendingkart.com to apply for a business loan.

Lendingkart has an ‘online only’ loan application process and provides small business loans up to ₹1 crore.

Grow Your Business with Quick Small Business Loans

Every business follows a different approach towards loans and institutional finance. As an independent business owner you may or may not have borrowed money in the past to achieve your business goals. If you have not taken a business loan in the past, it is but natural to be a little averse to taking up a liability, however, sometimes a loan is a risk worth taking.

By utilising the loan funds for the right reasons, at the right time, you can give your business a veritable boost. Here are a few reasons for taking a business loan that you should consider

Expanding your facility or getting a second site: If your business has been growing year on year, expansion is a logical step to consider. You can utilise business loan funds for restructuring and expanding the original site or expand your venture to a second or even third site.
Improving your credit ranking: Borrowing loans and timely repaying them opens the path for larger institutional finance in the future. As good repayment record will have a positive effect on your credit rating, establishing you as a bona fide borrower. This in-turn will allow larger borrowings two or three years down the line, when your business needs another round of funding.
Buying specialised tools and equipment: If you already have ample space at the existing site, then you can also consider using the funds from your business loan for purchasing new stock or equipment. Sometimes using latest technology for production and management of your business can result in huge cost savings.
Taking advantage of a golden opportunity: Well a good opportunity seldom knocks twice, so if an amazing idea or opportunity comes your way which requires fast funds, a business loan can help you capitalise on it.
Hiring and talent acquisition: Every successful business needs talented hands and business owners agree unanimously on the fact that their people are the greatest business assets for them. So, don’t lose your best employees for the want of funds. Business loans also allow you to hire new talent and expand your enterprise.
Loans for working capital management: A business can still sustain itself in face of a temporary lack of profits but lack of working capital may force you to pull down the shutters. Cover the shortfall in your working capital with an unsecured business loan to get out of temporary sticky situations.

Where can you apply for unsecured small business loans?

Small businesses often turn to banks for unsecured business loans. But banks have a slow and bureaucratic system for application, verification and approval of small business loans. It may take as many as 20 days for a bank to process and approve your business loan application.

An alternative is provided by new lending products like Lendingkart for business loans in India. A business loan application with Lendingkart can get approved within 24 hours if all your documents and financial details are in order, giving you immediate access to the funds you need.

Furthermore, the application process is completely online which Lendingkart is able to save money on manual labour and in turn transfers the benefits to customers in the form of low interest rate on small business loans. As a borrower, it is a win-win for you.

The best thing about getting a business loan from Lendingkart

Lendingkart offers unsecured business loans.

When you take a loan from a bank, it is a secured business loan, which means you have to give the bank an asset of equal or more value as a collateral. In case you are unable to repay the loan timely, the bank can take over the asset and recover its costs.

An unsecured business loan doesn’t require any collateral, which is what Lendingkart offers. Thus, your capital is not at risk when you take a business loan from Lendingkart.

You can now apply for a business loan from the Lendingkart smartphone app. To know more and apply for Lendingkart business loans, click here.

How to Get a Small Business Loan for a Startup

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.

Business Loan Interest Rates – Factors and Features to Getting an Optimal Rate

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.

Business Loan – Importance of Choosing the Right One

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.

5 Clever Small Business Financing Options in India

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.

Working Capital Management for Small Business Owners

Working Capital Management for Small Business Owners

Any business can have different sources of income and efficient management of the same can work wonders in the running of the business. While startup capital and fixed assets are typically long term, for the day-to-day running of any business, an efficient cash flow structure is necessary. In the light of the same, working capital becomes quite crucial for small business owners.

What is Working Capital Management all about

Working capital management is the relationship between a company’s short term assets and short term liabilities. In simpler terms, it is the way in which a company handles its income generation and expenses. For example, if your company deals in a lot of paperwork and you need prints of documents every second hour, that is an active expense happening almost every day. Getting an office printer would make the expenses considerably less, over the course of time.

Efficient working capital management ensures that any company can run smoothly while being able to repay maturing short-term debt and expenses that might rise in the near future. In working capital management, the most basic tasks revolve around managing inventories, accounts receivable and payable and cash. Inventories in our example can be ink cartridges, blank paper that can be used in the future. While your sales on credit can be a part of accounts receivable, if the printer was bought through a loan, the EMI would be part of the accounts payable. Cash is pretty self-explanatory and is basically used for expenses that can’t happen on credit or are quite diminutive.

Importance of Working Capital Management

Efficient working capital management is an important component of sustainable growth. If a company runs out of money for running its day-to-day expenses, the production of wares and services will eventually stop. In such instance, the business will fail to cater to its existing customers and henceforth fail to acquire new ones as well. To restart production, the company will then tap into the company capital. While this step may offer a temporary respite, it will affect long-term stability by jeopardising asset and equipment acquisition and manintenance. Therefore, it is important to have a working capital management system in place, which can realisitically assess the company’s working capital requirements, hence giving the managers and business owners, enough time to come up with a solution. Working capital management also helps businesses in streamline processes, cutting down sundry expenses and reduce the cases of theft and fraud.

Ways in which Working Capital is used

The importance of cash for companies can never be expressed in enough words. Cash in hand is majorly used for three purposes, namely – Speculation, Precaution and Transaction. All the three are quite pivotal in deciding the growth of a small business.

Speculation

Speculation is the scenario where having appropriate cash in hand can aid in taking benefits of special opportunities related to purchase. Suppose a small business is dealing in fireworks. They would normally have stock left from the past year Diwali in their inventory. Let’s presume the business is paying a monthly fee of INR 20000 for storing its stock in a warehouse. The annual fees come to INR 2.4 lakhs. During September, the business gets an offer to receive an amount of new stock (equal to the old stock) at a seasonal discounted price of INR 1.8 lakhs. Here, the cost of the new inventory is less than the carrying costs of the old stock. But it is actually more profitable for the business since the old stock has a depleted value now along with the carrying cost of 2.4 lakhs. The business will do much better if it purchases the new stock at a discount and disposes the old inventory at a discount to small retailers. That way, the business will be ready for the festive months ahead with a new stock that has a much higher chance of being sold out fast.

Precaution

Precaution is when a business holds cash in hand to safeguard against unforeseen situations. Let’s consider our old example of the small business selling fireworks. Speculating on a booming sale in the festive months ahead, the business had bought in new stock on credit, hoping to settle the dues after the sales are done. But due to some state-wide problems, people didn’t celebrate as much and thus, didn’t buy much fireworks. But the business still has to honor its promise of repaying the dues, so it uses the cash in hand to do that.

Transaction

Transaction is perhaps the simplest of the reasons why small businesses should have access to cash in hand. Every small item needed in a day-to-day operation of a business can’t be settled through online transactions. Cash in hand is required for sundry purchases that are then added up at the month end for the expenses.

Working Capital Finance or Loan

These days, working capital requirements can be met with a working capital loan. The working capital finance industry offers short-term small-ticket loans for small and medium business owners to help them cope with the rigours of workong capital management. Working capital loans also allow business owners in streamlining their finances through flexible EMI schedules, instead of constantly worrying about invoice clearances and various due dates.

Non-banking financial institutions are leading the race when it comes to working capital loans and  financing.  There is a simple reason for this, NBFCs have developed products and services which cater exclusively to the needs of small businesses; meaning, it is easier than ever to apply for a business loan, the verification process is quick and hassle-free, and the loans are approved faster. NBFCs like Lendingkart Finance promise credit of funds within 3 days of loan application submission and verification, and that’s what a small business, struggling with working capital management, needs.

Tips to Improve upon Aspects of Working Capital

Accounts receivables, cash in hand, inventories, marketable securities and prepayments are current assets that will become cash within 12 months and likewise, account payables, wages to be paid and unearned revenues are current liabilities that need to be settled within 12 months of time. Good working capital management involves keeping the current assets consistently higher than the current liabilities to avoid financial complications or operational problems. Here are some small tips that can help you manage your working capital in your company more effectively. Keeping an eye on these can allow your small business to prosper –

1. Take advantage of float – Float or floating capital is basically the difference between book balance and bank balance. Let’s suppose you have dues of INR 3 lakhs to settle by the 31st of October. However, only INR 1 lakh is supposed to be paid by the 5th of October. Considering that you have INR 3 lakhs cash in hand by September 27, you could use INR 2 lakhs as a short-term deposit if you have no other assured profitable short-term business venture that can pay within a month. The return could be less than INR 1000, but it’s better than nothing. If you like investments, you can check the market and invest in equities for a short term for getting better returns, but this is a riskier approach

2. JIT Inventory – Just-In-Time inventory allows a business to cut down on costs involved in storing stock. Materials are purchased and received in time for the production line or for sales. Though this is quite difficult to achieve, if your relationship with the supplier is good, you can manage this effectively

3. Sales on Credit – Here, your sales play a crucial role. The goal is to shorten the amount of time your customers can take to pay their bills. You could offer a period of 30 days till their bill is due and offer a promotion of 3% discount if the same bill is cleared in maybe, 10 days or less. This allows you to sell more in a short time and pushes your customers to pay earlier to get a discount of 3%

4. Alternative Funding – This method can include availing working capital from banks, NBFCs, asset-based lenders, crowdfunding. In most cases, a genuine business idea, long term efficiency and good revenue generation can get you access to alternative funding rather quickly

5. Timely payments to suppliers – This is the easiest and simplest rule to follow. It goes without saying that if you pay your suppliers their dues on time, you can negotiate better deals and get discounts on your purchases

6. Group Purchase – As a small business, you might not always have access to funds to buy stock at a discounted quantity, or you might not have the available storage to accommodate a bulk of material that you get at a discount. It is always a good idea to look for other small businesses in the state or region who do the same trade as you and pool in resources to get the stock from your supplier. That way, you don’t have to spend a lot and still get to avail the discount

7. Learn the benefits of e-procurement – If you are into electronics, electrical equipment, garments, gift items and the like, you can look into sites like mytradebox.com where you could find interesting items with heavy discounts on bulk orders. These can help you source items quickly at very affordable rates

Working Capital Management and your Small Business

Small businesses aren’t much different from regular, established business giants. They just have a smaller market footprint. While larger businesses have to deal with multiple rules and regulations that they have set for themselves, as a small business owner, you will be much more flexible in making changes to the processes that are followed in your business. Taking working capital management seriously and handling the details through which your cash flows are dealt will definitely make your business a more profitable one. This, combined with social media, ecommerce and data science can work wonders for your small business. But those are topics that will have their own articles. Follow our Lendingkart blog to be regularly updated about the same.