As the year winds down, business owners are already looking ahead. This is a great time to do some housekeeping, tie up any loose ends, and evaluate your business goals for next year. Here are some end of year business planning tips to help you prepare.
1. Plan Your Holiday Schedule
You work hard and you deserve to give yourself a break. Make sure to schedule time off and set reasonable working hours, not only for yourself, but for your employees. Also be sure to give clients plenty of notice regarding your availability. Planning ahead will ensure you can enjoy the holidays without unneeded stress.
2. Catch Up On Bookkeeping
You can’t plan for the future without knowing where your business stands financially. Review financial statements to understand how much you’ve taken in and how much you’ve spent year-to-date. This includes your profit and loss statement, cash flow statement, balance sheet, tax information, expenses, and so on.
3. Set New Goals
Setting goals helps you create a clear path to success for your company. Without clearly defined goals, you have no way to monitor your company’s progress or hold yourself and your team accountable. Revisit last year’s business goals and set realistic and attainable goals for the new year, starting with Q1. Establish specific deadlines, and don’t forget to celebrate your milestones along the way.
4. Evaluate Staffing Needs
A staffing plan will give you an overall idea of how many positions need to be filled and what qualifications are needed for each of them. Assess your existing resources and identify gaps in your workforce. Consider your long-term goals and decide whether permanent or temporary staffing is best to meet company objectives. You may also want to consider revamping your recruitment and retention strategies in your business planning.
5. Review Customer Feedback
The best way to continue growing successfully and profitably is to make sure you’re evolving to meet the changing needs of your customers. Customer feedback shows you what you’re getting right or wrong, and is a way to keep your community at the heart of everything you do. Consider using sites like Google Reviews or Yelp, or asking for feedback via social media.
6. Create A Healthy Work/Life Balance
Many business owners struggle to maintain a healthy work/life balance, working long hours and pouring their heart and soul into their company. Evaluate how you feel physically and mentally. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, sleeping poorly, or missing quality time with your family, it’s time to take a step back. Consider eliminating or delegating tasks to shrink your workload, and set time aside to rest.
7. Consider Loans or Financing
If you lack the capital to meet your goals for growth and expansion in the new year, it may be time to consider loans or additional financing options. As long as you have strong credit and healthy finances, a loan can give you the boost you need to succeed. Explore options such as SBA loans or bank term loans.
Business Consulting & Financing Experts
Independence Business Consulting understands the challenges facing small business owners when it comes to business planning and getting the capital they need. We have decades of experience consulting and securing funding for businesses, and our experts are ready to guide you through the process. Partner with us to find the best financing options for your business.
Entrepreneurs are faced with important financial decisions every day. Developing a deep understanding of your finances is crucial to seeing your business thrive. An important financial concept to understand and take advantage of is cash flow forecasting. Read on to learn about what cash flow forecasting is, and why it matters.
What Is A Cash Flow Forecast?
Cash flow forecasting is the process of estimating the flow of cash in and out of a business over a specific period of time. It is an essential business planning tool, helping companies prepare for future cash scenarios and efficiently manage cash flow. Ultimately, forecasting helps you determine how you’ll run and grow your business effectively.
The Advantages of Cash Flow Forecasting
1. Prepare for the unexpected
Cash flow forecasting protects businesses from unwelcome surprises, such as employees leaving or expected deals not panning out. Using scenario planning allows you to test for possible futures and better prepare for possible outcomes. You’ll be better prepared to roll with the punches and develop strategies to deal with the unexpected.
2. Track Spending
Forecasting allows you to see the breakdown and impact of your budgeting. Whether over or under budget, seeing the movement of cash into and out of the business can help to increase accurate budgeting and meet future revenue goals.
3. Overdue Payments
It’s important to keep track of late payments and how they impact your bottom line. You can also plan for upcoming cash gaps and put a plan in place before they become an issue.
4. Manage Surplus
Knowing when you’ll have surplus cash means you’ll be able to manage it wisely. Using additional cash for reinvestment in new markets, or for the repayment of loans, can be essential to helping your business thrive.
5. Predictable Growth
Cash flow forecasting fosters predictable growth. Since cash flow forecasts help businesses plan their cash surpluses more effectively, they also make it easier to execute a growth strategy in a more predictable way and avoid costly surprises.
6. Debt Repayment
Debt repayments are often large cash outflows that need to be planned for. Cash flow forecasting can help businesses that are in debt ensure they have the cash on hand to make those payments each time they’re due.
Business Consultants & Financial Experts
We pull from our expertise in business financing and entrepreneurship to deliver high impact solutions for businesses of all sizes. Whether you need help improving your business’ financial health, applying for a loan, or refining your business plan, we can help. Schedule a consultation to get started.
No matter the size of your business, you’ll likely require extra capital at some point in your entrepreneurial journey–whether to boost your cash flow, hire new employees, or scale your business to the next level. There are many business financing loans available, each with its own qualification requirements, interest rates, and terms. The right one for your business will depend on when you need the money and what you need it for.
When you’re ready to apply for business financing loans, doing your homework ahead of time will make the process easier down the line. By understanding all of your options, you’ll be more prepared to ask for an offer that meets your business’ unique needs. It also helps you learn why interest rates are higher for certain high-risk types of loans.
Here’s an overview of the six most common business financing loans, and who they’re best for.
1.) Conventional Loans
Conventional bank loans typically have fewer hoops to jump through than SBAs, with a shorter approval time. They are issued by banks, credit unions, and financial institutions. To qualify for a conventional business loan, you must have a good credit score and favorable business financials.
2.) SBA 7A Financing
SBA 7A Loans are intended for use by borrowers that fall short of approval for a conventional loan. An SBA 7a loan can be used by startup companies, companies that do not have a strong balance sheet, and transactions that do not include real estate. SBA 7a loans will have longer terms and amortization lengths than conventional loans.
3.) SBA 504 Financing
SBA 504 loans provide long-term financing (up to 25 years) for major business purchases like real estate, equipment, and machinery. Loans are typically capped at $5 million, but some projects can qualify for up to $5.5 million.
4.) Private Money Financing
A private money loan is usually a short-term loan used to purchase or refinance real estate. It’s primarily used for real estate investment acquisitions. Loans can be interest only and terms range from one to five years.
5.) Asset Based Lending
Asset-based lending is secured by some form of collateral such as inventory, equipment, accounts receivable, and other balance-sheet assets. This type of financing is best suited for a business that has assets but lacks the cash flow to expand the business or get through a cash flow emergency.
6.) Equity Investment
Often, especially with a startup, there is insufficient capital on hand to inject into the project. Bringing in an equity partner that injects capital in exchange for a percentage of ownership in the company is a great way to raise capital.
We’ve Been There So You Can Get There
When it comes to getting funding, you’re not in this alone. Independence Business Consulting understands the challenges facing small business owners when it comes to getting the capital they need. We have decades of experience consulting and securing funding for businesses, and our experts are ready to guide you through the business financing loan process. Partner with us to find the best solution for your business.
Outside funding can give your small business the boost it needs to grow and thrive. With that said, finding the best funding option will depend on several factors, including why you need the capital, when you need it, and your business’s overall qualifications. Here are the four most common financing options for small businesses.
1.) Personal investments
There are several ways you can use personal money to fund your business, although they carry risk as you’re utilizing your personal assets. One way is through cash savings. If you have money set aside in a savings account or investment portfolio, you can finance your business without any debt.
Personal loans are another option, especially if your business is young and you may not meet the qualifications for a business loan. Alternatively, your friends and family may be willing to invest in your business in exchange for an ownership share. However, it’s important to consider the effect this may have on your personal relationships, and loans from friends or family should include established agreement terms.
2.) The SBA
The U.S. Small Business Administration offers lenders a federal guarantee on your loan, making it less risky for them to lend you the capital you need. There are multiple types of SBA loans available, including SBA 7(a) loans, SBA 504 loans, and SBA microloans. They can be used for a wide variety of purposes and are available in amounts up to $5 million.
SBA loans are best for businesses that don’t meet traditional banks’ strict lending criteria. They can be easier to access, but you’ll still need a good credit score, strong annual revenue, and at least two years in business to qualify.
3.) Large national banks and small regional banks
Traditional banks are a good starting point and can help you figure out where you stand when it comes to qualifying for a loan. Types of small-business financing offered by banks include term loans, business lines of credit, equipment loans, and commercial real estate loans.
Bank loans typically have low interest rates and competitive terms, but can be hard to qualify for. They are best for established businesses with collateral and strong credit. Big-name banks offer a variety of loan options, but don’t be surprised if they turn you away. Local banks may be a better resource for small business owners because they have a stronger interest in the development of the community.
4.) Alternative lenders
Instead of banks or credit unions, alternative lenders are typically online-based, private companies that operate like the lending arm of a bank. Whereas bank loans are traditionally difficult to qualify for, alternative lending is more flexible and accessible, although they may have higher interest rates.
Here are some of the most popular alternative lenders and who they’re best for:
- Fora Financial: Best for bad credit
- Bluevine: Best for a business line of credit
- OnDeck: Best for short-term loans
- Fundbox: Best for quick approvals
- Taycor Financial: Best for equipment financing
- Funding Circle: Best for affordable, fast, longer-term loans
We’ve Been There So You Can Get There
When it comes to getting funding, you’re not in this alone. Independence Business Consulting understands the challenges facing small business owners when it comes to getting the capital they need. We have decades of experience consulting and securing funding for businesses, and our experts are ready to guide you through the process. Partner with us to find the best financing options for your business.