Where To Find Your Business Loan And Are You Qualified?

Many times, when a new or struggling business owner determines that they need a business loan to start or grow their company, they first think about where to get that loan and then begin to worry about being qualified.

Do I look at alternative lenders? Do I seek out a SBA loan? Do I forgo the business loan and look for a personal loan? Will my bank fund my business or my need?

Then,

Will my bank understand why there is a blemish or two on my credit report? Will the lender require more in cash flow then my business is currently earning? Or, will I have enough financial collateral for an alternative loan or physical collateral for a bank loan?

These are common questions, issues and worries that nearly all business owners – seeking capital – go through.

And, while these are all great questions that a business owner should be thinking about – they should not be the first questions that a potential business borrower should be asking (asking themselves or others).

Where To Find Your Business Loan

Where to look for a business loan really depends on two things – not your credit or collateral – but on:

  1. How much you are seeking, and
  2. What the funds will be used for.

How Much

Let’s say that you are seeking a large business loan – say $10 million to buy commercial property for your business. The amount that you are seeking would severally limit your loan options. For one, the SBA caps their loan guarantee limits – thus, a SBA loan might be out of the question. Further, many banks – either local banks or local divisions of national banks limit their exposure in any one single loan and as such they tend to limit the amounts they will put out to one borrower.

Thus, your only option here might be a financing company (a non-bank financial company) that deals with large commercial loans only or a venture capital firm.

Or, let’s say that your business only needs a small loan – say around $30,000. Now, very few banks like to underwrite business loans this small – they claim they cannot make money on them. Further, many of the alternative business lenders out there (even the new ones) do not like to fund loans under $50,000 – they claim that these loans are not worth their time and effort.

The amount that you are requesting matters in that most lenders have sweet spots and if you don’t fit that sweet spot – they will not fund your request no matter what else your business brings to the table.

Use Of Funds

Once you narrow down lenders that are willing to provide the amount you are seeking (there are lenders out there for every need), then you have to determine if that lender will also fund the reason your business needs that financing.

Some lenders will only fund equipment financing. Some will only fund commercial real estate and some will not fund working capital or goodwill (in the purchase of a business) even though they will fund almost anything else.

Most alternative lenders will finance working capital needs but do not finance equipment, payroll or real estate (even though you might use those funds to purchase those items) you will not get a loan specifically for those needs nor will the underwriting process be geared to those needs.

It is one thing to find a bank or lender that will provide the amount of money you are seeking – it is another to find a lender that will fund both the amount and use (or a lender that will fund all your specific needs – as one may fund equipment but not working capital while another will fund working capital but not equipment).

Then, after you identify a lender that has a product for you – that matches your needs (amount and use) – then you transition into the qualification portion.

Are You Qualified

Once you have identified a potential lender – then it is really up to you to research and understand what qualifications you need to meet for that particular lender.

Example: Most banks look for credit, cash flow and collateral to approve their loans. But, you determine that, while you meet those types of criteria, your bank will not fund your request (in amount or use). Thus, you switch your search to say an alternative lender.

But, even though you might meet a bank’s requirements, you still might not meet an alternative lender’s qualifications.

While banks look at credit and cash flow, an alternative lender might not and be more focused on the collateral your business owns or is willing to pledge.

Or, while a commercial real estate financing company may be overly concerned about your cash flow an equipment leasing company may not care about that at all.

All lenders have their own policies – and they alone determine how much they will fund, what those funds can and cannot be used for and what their criteria for approval is.

Conclusion

Asking (even asking yourself) the right questions in the beginning can go a long way in not only getting you the business loan you need but can both save you time and a lot of headache.

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How to Make Money Online Legally by Selling Things on eBay

Almost everyone by now has either used eBay or at least heard of them.

I haven’t, what do they do?

If you’re one of the few people who have not heard of eBay here’s a quick summary of what they do and how to can make money online legally using their site.

eBay allows you to sign up to their site and create a profile. It is usually very quick and easy to do this and requires very little effort on your part.

Once you have a profile on the site you can start putting things on to be sold. It’s as easy as that.

How do I sell things?

In fact all you really need to sell things on eBay is a camera to take pictures of things you would like to sell, and of course you need some things you would like to sell.

Once you have a profile on eBay you can start uploading photos of practically anything that can be ascribed a monetary value.

Everyone has things lying around or tucked away that they simply do not use anymore. Well these bits and pieces can be used to make you some money. Why not have a clear out of your house or apartment and see what you might have to sell. You might not think you have anything but have a look around and you will soon find that juicer you never use or that games console that is too out-of-date for your kids.

Use your digital camera to take some pictures of these items. If you don’t have a digital camera then simply use the one on your phone. Always upload a photo for your item.

Get the pictures on your computer and upload them to your eBay profile.

Write a short description to make your item sound as wonderful as it is and you will have another example of how to make money online legally.

How can I do this well?

Make sure you take some good photos of your items. Do not use pictures that are too dark or do not show the item clearly. Use the flash on your camera or turn the light on.

Make sure you write a description. A lot of eBay users are guilty of writing the bare minimum. Be different and make your items stand out by giving a thorough description of the item.

Make sure you are trustworthy by just being truthful. If the photo frame you are selling has some scratches be honest about it. You don’t want someone to send the item back, or demand their money back because of a few scratches. You might not get as much money by being truthful but at least you won’t get bad feedback either.

Effective Tips To Improve Employee Morale

One of the biggest issues within a department or an organization is how employees get caught up in triangulation. Triangulation, simply put, is the dynamic where one disgruntled employee goes to another co-worker and complains about either a boss or a mutual co-worker, but doesn’t address the issue directly with the person.

This dynamic, I call Triangulation-Strangulation, not only knocks down morale, but creates a dynamic in the office of lack of trust or affinity. Many businesses tank not necessarily due to profit margins or lack of thereof, but the breakdown of interpersonal trust within a team, department or organization.

Here’s a 5 step process that a colleague of mine implemented that totally eradicated this dynamic and turned her lagging morale into a productive and communicative team.

Announce a No-Toleration Rule for Triangulation

You must put your foot down and let your team know that this dynamic will not be tolerated. It is also helpful for them to know, why it is not tolerated. Letting the team know how it impacts the sense of trust and collaboration, as well as disintegrates important communication and conflict resolution skills, that are vital for all team members to understand and demonstrate.

Clarify the New Protocol, Both in Writing and in Conversation

A colleague of mine in the process of launching their new business, immediately established the protocol that every team member was responsible for the eradication of this dynamic. When, we’ll call him Sam, comes up to Ellen to complain about Marty, Ellen has to (even people who are being triangulated are equally responsible for ending the pattern) say, “Sam, if you’re upset with Marty, you must speak to her directly within the next 24 hours. If you don’t, I’m responsible for bringing it up to Marty’s attention, that you are upset with her, and you two must talk it out. I will also have no recourse but to report this to management. Please don’t put either one of our jobs into jeopardy and speak to Marty directly.” Have the protocol in writing and have each team member read it, and sign off on it.

Create Culpability and Consequences

Like it or not, unless the team knows that they will face some consequences for the colluding in this behavior, whether directly or indirectly, they will most likely not want to have that difficult conversation. In my colleague’s case, she drew a hard line, and said that anyone included in the perpetuating of this dynamic, would be fired. So the person doing the triangulation as well as the person they are doing it with, are equally responsibility.

My colleague added it doesn’t make a difference how long you’ve worked with the company or how good you are at your job, you will be immediately released. Now while this was a hard line and it worked for them, you will need to alter the consequences given your own style as well as the culture you are in. For example, for the first time this happens and is not addressed, perhaps both parties are written up, and after 3 times, they are put on probation, or their pay is docked. You have to create consequences that work for you.

Follow Up on the Consequences, No Matter What

One of the points I cover in my business workshops is if you don’t keep your word on the consequences, it will send a message that it’s just lip service and will be even more damaging. Only establish consequences that you are fully ready to follow through on.

Let Everyone Reap the Benefits

As you eradicate the pattern, you want to celebrate this important victory with the team. Ask them to share what they’ve noticed in terms of morale and trust due to this important dynamic having shifted. Let them experience the shift, so they’ll continue to honor the protocol, not only because they have to, but because they prefer working in a more collaborative healthy environment. You can even have a “No More Triangulation” party after a year of eradicating the dynamic.