About the Competition
PolyCello employees inspecting equipment and product quality in the company’s blown film extrusion lines
Now entering its 4 th year, Canada’s Top Small & Medium Employers is an editorial competition that recognizes the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that offer the nation’s best workplaces and forward-thinking human resources policies. Canada’s SME sector is tremendously important to the nation and is responsible for:
- over half of the nation’s gross domestic product;
- almost 90% of the private-sector labour force; and
- over three-quarters of the new jobs created in the past decade.
Our 2016 winners were announced in a special magazine published in The Globe and Mail on March 29, 2016. Read the press release issued the same day, announcing this year’s winners.
Employers are evaluated by the editors of Canada’s Top Small & Medium Employers using the same eight criteria as our national competition :
- (1) Physical Workplace;
- (2) Work Atmosphere & Social;
- (3) Health, Financial & Family Benefits;
- (4) Vacation & Time Off;
- (5) Employee Communications;
- (6) Performance Management;
- (7) Training & Skills Development; and
- (8) Community Involvement.
To determine eligibility, the Top 100 editors adopted the SME definition used by Statistics Canada, limiting the competition to private-sector commercial organizations with under 500 employees.
Fusion Learning employees looked back to the past for fashion inspiration during the summer conference
The Globe and Mail is our editorial partner on the Canada’s Top Small & Medium Employers competition. Each year, the competition winners are announced in a special magazine published nationally in The Globe and Mail. Our editors’ detailed reasons for selection are published on our job search engine, Eluta.ca click an employer’s name below to read why each of this year’s winners was chosen. Publishing detailed Reasons for Selection is an important feature of our competition: it provides transparency in the selection of winners and “raises the bar” so that other employers can discover and adopt initiatives that work well at other SMEs.
To be considered a “Small or Medium Enterprise”, your company must: (a) have less than 500 employees worldwide, including employees at any affiliated companies; and (b) be a commercial, for-profit enterprise, i.e. non-profit organizations don’t meet the definition.
Applications for our 2017 competition will be available early in 2016. Our 2017 winners will be announced in a special magazine in The Globe and Mail early in 2017. To receive an application for next year’s competition, employers should join our mailing list:
To learn more about the competition, we invite you to join us at the Top Employer Summit. our annual editorial conference on the Canada’s Top 100 Employers project. This event lets you discover the latest best practices from winners, meet competition organizers and editors, and hear inspiring stories from world-class speakers – all presented in a commercial-free format. The conference is Canada’s largest annual event for senior-level HR professionals.
Scalar Decisions employees at the company’s 10th anniversary party
The Little Engines of Growth
There are big differences working for Canada’s Top Small and Medium Employers
Jason Leung knows the difference between working for a big corporation and for a Small and Medium Employer. Really, it gets down to that little word “big”.
Leung used to work in sales, based in Vancouver, for one of the world’s largest soft-drink companies. Now he works in a smaller city for a much smaller company that makes food for small and medium sized friendly creatures.
Petcurean Pet Nutrition, which produces premium pet food in Chilliwack, B.C. is a fast growing company in a fast growing category. It has operations in many of the same countries around the world that the soft-drink company does. But it still has only 64 global employees.
Talk to Leung, who is now an Export Manager, about the workplace culture. “At my old company, it was almost a competition among employees about who was working the longest, who was working the hardest, who was doing the most out there. It was just show off, show off, show off. But here they really promote work-life balance. It feels like family.”
Then there is the challenge of getting something done. “Here, no door is closed, no one says, that’s not my department, don’t talk to me,” says Leung. “At my old company, I’d see it all the time. You’ve got to go through the ranks, talk to your senior manager, the senior manager talks to another person who talks to the person you really need. Here, I just walk into the general manager’s office myself.”
Millions of Canadians share Leung’s kind of workplace environment, although their company may not have made the list of Canada’s Top Small and Medium Employers. Some 90 per cent of the private-sector labour force is employed by a SME (commonly pronounced Smee, like Captain Hook’s sidekick). SMEs are credited with creating over 75 per cent of new jobs in Canada in the past decade.
And this little engine of growth often works on quite different principles from the big locomotives. Leung’s account of the contrasts he found between a soft-drink giant and a pet food SME is echoed 3,200 kilometres away in a tech company in the Waterloo region. “Generally people who come to us from large organizations are very familiar with structure and going through channels,” says Dan Latendre, Founder and CEO of Igloo Software, which employs just over 90 people in Kitchener, Ont. “Whereas here, we’re all about agility and innovation if that’s a great idea, why aren’t we acting on it?”
Latendre believes in a “flat”, non-hierarchical style of organization that can be surprising to people who come from big companies. “They’re very aware of chain of command,” he says. “Here it’s, hey, we’ve formed a project team, let’s get this project done. You may have me, as CEO, in the project along with other people. But we all work for the project manager, and we all have tasks to get done. Which kind of blows people’s minds, that they’re working directly with the CEO.”
To some people, notes Richard Yerema, Managing Editor for Mediacorp Canada, which compiled the SME list, working for a small company means trade-offs a more family style atmosphere and more agility, perhaps, but fewer benefits than at a big outfit. But the 100 companies on this 2016 SME list are proof that sometimes you can have it all. Benefits are often competitive with those of much larger firms.
Take Petcurean. Its Human Resources Manager, Cari McClelland, joined a year ago and found a benefit plan that included prescription drugs, a maternity leave top-up, long-term disability and, after staff asked for it, vision care.
“For a company our size to carry that extensive a benefit package is not the norm,” says McClelland, an experienced HR professional. “I’ve been amazed at the willingness of our leadership to say, ‘let’s look at it if we can do it, we’ll do it’.”
Yet many such benefits are becoming the norm at Canada’s Top SMEs. Yerema says that nearly half of the employers on this year’s list provide some form of maternity leave top-up the additional payment that brings a new mother’s Employment Insurance benefit closer to her original salary for a certain number of weeks. “That is quite an accomplishment,” says Yerema. “Ten years ago, even many large companies weren’t offering it.”
At Igloo, too, Latendre offers benefits that his staff say are equivalent to those of large tech companies they’ve worked at, such as BlackBerry. They also get stock options, offering the promise that the company’s success will benefit every employee.
And that may be another part of the attraction of the Small and Medium Employer. Along with the friendly atmosphere, the quick decision-making and the pot-luck get-togethers, there’s the idea that this small upstart might one day become the most successful software company or pet food company in the world. “SMEs capture the imagination for a lot of people,” notes Yerema. “What would it have been like to be the fifth person hired at Google?”
By Berton Woodward
From the official announcement magazine for Canada’s Top Small & Medium Employers, published on March 29, 2016 in The Globe and Mail.
#small business idea
40 Small Business Ideas with low investment
Business Ideas – Today we find several young dynamic individuals who are aspire to start small business and they are always looking for business ideas with low investment. In order to help them we are herewith 40 small business ideas with low investment. If you are doing job and looking for part time opportunity to make more money you may go through our one of the most visited article best business ideas for making more money .
1. Personalized Custom made Gift Store – Today we find demand of personalized custom made gift is increasing you may think of starting your own gift store providing this type of gifts.
2. Gym or Fitness center – In today’s world everyone is bother about fitness, so starting small gym or fitness center in good area will always rock.
3. Event Organizer – Starting small company which organize event could be good idea but here you may need special expertise and manpower for the same.
4.Interior Designer – Everyone today want services from interior decorator, so starting interior designer business could be best deal but remember here you may need special skills.
5. Small Grocery Shop Starting small grocery shop is another good idea here you do not require any special skill and you may start from small shop and gradually expand as per need.
6. Match Making or Wedding planner – It is said that marriages are made in haven but celebrated on earth So in order to celebrate/enjoy marriage many people today go for wedding planner. In today’s scenario match making or wedding planner is good business option to start with.
7. Tuition Class Education is essential today hence business of education will never stop. Starting Tuition class is good idea to start with.
8. Mobile Shop – Today everyone use mobile and looking at need mobile demand is ever increasing hence starting small mobile shop is good Investment idea.
9. Ice-cream Parlor Starting ice cream parlor is another good business idea to start with.
10. Xerox Book Binding – Many college area and school area don’t have this facility and could be good potential business in that area.
11. Mobile Food Shop – Today we are living in mobile generation starting mobile food shop is very good business idea.
12. Jewelry maker With increasing gold price demand of jewelry is ever increasing doing course of jewelry making and starting something in that line could be good option.
13. Insurance Consultant Starting small insurance consultancy or taking insurance agency is another good business idea.
14. Freelancer – If you are good at programming there are multiple websites available which can give you freelancing work and you will be paid for the same.
15. Book Store – Book lover always purchase multiple books making idea of starting book store attractive.
16. Catering service – For marriage and party people always look for good catering service if you are good at providing good food and catering service this could be another good business idea.
17. Computer Trainer If you are good at providing computer training this could be good business idea as knowing computer is must in today’s world.
18. Yoga Center – In today’s stressful life many people prefer to go for Yoga. so starting yoga center will be good business option.
19. Baby Sitting Services – This business idea is specifically for woman who want to start some home based business. Many working couple may be in need to service like this.
20. Real Estate Consultant – Real estate is ever growing business so starting consultancy for providing guidance about real estate and buy, sell and rent option is good business option.
21. Game Parlor Todays generation likes play station game station very much hence starting game parlor with certain unique game is best business idea.
22. Photographer – If you are good at photography you can start photography business with low cost investment.
23. Motivational Speaker If you have skill you can become motivational speaker and turn this in to good business opportunity.
24. Travel Agency – Starting travel agency is good business opportunity with low investment.
25. Computer Shop – If you have IT related knowledge than starting computer shop for sealing IT related item or computer is good business opportunity.
26. Relaxation Center In today’s stressful life relaxation is must and people always look for option of recreation center or relaxation center hence starting relaxation center is good business option.
27. Courier Company You can do tie-up with existing Courier Company and start small business or maybe you can opt to start your own courier company.
28. Resale Auto Dealer – Many people has requirement of sealing old car or bike you may opt to become good auto dealer.
29. Recruitment Firm – Today job is prime requirement for anyone and people usually opt for recruitment firm to get good job. Starting recruitment firm could be good business option for you.
30. Security or Spy Agency – With growing security need you can start your own security agency another good option is to work as spy.
31. Advertisement Agency – Starting Advertisement agency is one of the ever green business opportunity which can earn you big money.
32. Web Designing hosting- If you have knowledge about various IT tools and programming language you can opt for career as web designer firm.
33. Starting online Blog If you are good at content generation and had good knowledge about any field you can start your online blog and earn good money.
34. Antique Article Shop Today many people believe that keeping antique statues and article at home is fashion symbol, so Opening Antique article shop is good business option as
35. Fast Food Parlor – Today’s generation mostly eat fast food, starting fast food parlor could be another business option.
36. Data Entry services – Many companies today earn money by doing data entry work you may start providing service like this.
37. Resume Writer – If you are good at designing resume and had deep knowledge you can become resume writer.
38. SEO Consultant – Search Engine optimization consultant is required by mostly all websites. If you can build up capability you can become good SEO consultant.
39. Dairy Sweet Parlor – You can think of starting small dairy parlor in your area serving need of dairy products and sweets.
40. Packers Movers – You can think of starting business of packing and forwarding which can turn in to good business opportunity.
Readers, what is your opinion about these investment ideas with small investment? Do share your feedback in comment section.
40 Small Business Ideas with low investment
#small business startup
Essential Small Business Financial Tools: Free Startup Budget Template and Guide
Creating a startup budget is one of the most important tasks a new business owner will undertake. A startup budget serves as a roadmap for the business. It can help you understand where the business is going and whether you’re on the right path. The cost of starting a company varies widely, so it is critical to create an accurate and realistic startup budget specifically tailored to your business.
There are many reasons to create a startup budget. The main reasons are to figure out how much money you have, how much you will spend, and how much revenue you will need to meet your business goals. A startup budget is usually a key component of your business plan and is useful when applying for a loan or pitching to investors. It explains how your business will spend its resources to reach its goals.
Business owners should always refer to their budget before making important business expenditures. This helps to make sure they can afford to spend the money. Decisions such as purchasing new machinery or whether to expand operations should only be made after checking to make sure it fits into your budget. You can adjust your budget as needed over time, but make sure to stick to those changes.
Determining a business startup costs is critical to ensure enough cash is available to begin business operations on time and within the allotted budget. A startup budget usually covers the period leading up to the commencement of operations. It should only include costs that are necessary to start the business. Use this budget to be on the lookout for areas where you can save money .
Startup costs typically fall within two categories: monthly costs and one-time costs.
Monthly costs cover expenses that are incurred each month on a recurring basis. such as employee salaries, lease payments and utilities. One-time costs are expenses that are incurred only once during the startup period. Examples of one-time costs include the purchase of a building, computer equipment and consultant fees.
This startup budget template can be downloaded and used for any type of business. It should be customized to include the specific cost items that apply to the company.
To fill out this spreadsheet, determine the number of months the startup period will cover. Next, enter the applicable costs into their respective cells. The total amounts will automatically populate based on the embedded formulas. Once completed, you will be able to view an itemized list of your business’ startup costs. An example startup budget is also included to help guide you through the process.
Starting a business can be difficult and overwhelming. By taking the time to create an accurate startup budget now, you can give your business the best chance of succeeding in the future.
The Two Types of Investments You Can Make In a Small Business
Equity and Debt Are The Choices on the Small Business Investment Menu
When you make a small business investment, you have two choices: Do you take equity (an ownership stake) or debt (lend money in exchange for interest income and future repayment)? Both have their own advantages and disadvantages. Betsie Van Der Meer/Taxi/Getty Images
Updated August 22, 2016
Investing in a small business has always been, is currently, and most likely always will be one of the most popular ways individuals and families begin the journey to financial independence ; a way to create, nurture, and grow an asset that, when intelligently run under the right conditions, throws off surplus cash to provide not only a good standard of living, but to fund other investments. Still, it isn t uncommon, at least in nations with an entrepreneurial history such as the United States, for a small business owner to have never owned a publicly traded share of stock or a mutual fund. opting, instead, to put everything into their own restaurant, dry cleaning business, or sporting goods store.
Frequently, this small business grows to represent the most important financial resource the family owns, other than their primary residence.
In today s economic and political climate, these types of small business investments are often structured as either a limited liability company or a limited partnership. with the former being the most popular due to the fact it combines many of the best attributes of corporations and partnerships. In years past, sole proprietorships or general partnerships were more popular, which provide no protection for the owners personal assets outside of the company.
Whether you are considering investing in a small business by founding one from scratch or buying into an existing company, there are typically only two types of positions you can take: 1.) Equity, or 2.) Debt. Though there may be countless variations, all investments come back to those two foundations.
Equity Investments in Small Businesses
When you make an equity investment in a small business. you are buying an ownership stake. Equity investors provide capital, almost always in the form of cash, in exchange for a percentage of the profits and losses. The business can use this cash for a variety of things, including funding capital expenditures to expand, reducing debt, buying out other owners, building liquidity, or hiring new employees.
In some cases, the percentage of the business the investor receives is proportional to the total capital he or she provides. For example, if you kick in $100,000 in cash and other investors kick in $900,000, totaling $1,000,000, you might expect 10% of any profits or losses because you provided 1/10th of the total money. In other cases, especially when dealing with an established business or one put together by a key manager, this would not be the case. Consider the investment partnerships Warren Buffett ran in his 20 s and 30 s. He had limited partners contribute nearly all of the capital, but profits were split 75% to limited partners, in proportion to their overall share of the capital, and 25% to him as the general partner, despite having put up very little of his own money. The limited partners were fine with this arrangement because Buffett was providing expertise.
An equity investment in a small business can result in the biggest gains, as well as the most risk. If expenses run higher than sales, the losses get assigned to you.
A bad quarter, or year, and you might see the company fail or even go bankrupt. However, if things go well, your returns can be enormous. Virtually all of the research on millionaires in the United States shows that the single biggest classification of millionaires are self-made business owners. If you want to rank among the top 1% of wealth. owning a profitable business in a niche market that churns out dividends each year is your best chance, statistically.
Debt Investments in Small Businesses
When you make a debt investment in a small business, you loan it money in exchange for the promise of interest income and eventual repayment of the principal. Debt capital is most often provided either in the form of direct loans with regular amortization or the purchase of bonds issued by the business. which provide semi-annual interest payments mailed to the bondholder.
The biggest advantage of debt is that it has a privileged place in the capitalization structure. That means if the company goes bust, the debt has priority over the stockholders (the equity investors). Generally speaking, the highest level of debt is a first mortgage secured bond that has a lien on a specific piece of valuable property or an asset, such as a brand name. For example, if you loan money to an ice cream shop and are given a lien on the real estate and building, you can foreclose upon it in the event the company implodes. It may take time, effort, and money, but you should be able to recover whatever net proceeds you can get from the sale of the underlying property that you confiscate. The lowest level of debt is known as a debenture, which is a debt not secured by any specific asset but, rather, but the company s good name and credit.
Which Is Better: An Equity Investment or a Debt Investment?
There is no simple answer to this question. If you had been an early investor in McDonald s and bought equity, you d be rich. If you had bought bonds, making a debt investment, you would have earned a decent, but by no means spectacular, return on your money. On the other hand, if you buy into a business that fails, your best chance to escape unscathed is to own the debt, not the equity.
All of this is complicated by an observation that famed value investor Benjamin Graham made in his seminal work, Security Analysis. Namely, that equity in a business that is debt-free cannot pose any greater risk than a debt investment in the same firm because, in both cases, the person would be first in line in the capitalization structure.
The Preferred Equity Debt Hybrid
Sometimes, small business investments straddle the ground between equity investments and debt investments, modeling preferred stock. Far from offering the best of both worlds, preferred stock seems to combine the worst features of both equity and debt; namely, the limited upside potential of debt, with the lower capitalization rank of equity. There are always exceptions to the rule.
#small business finance
5 Small Business Financing Trends to Watch
Entrepreneurs, fasten your seat belts. Whether you re starting up your dream business this year or managing your established small company, 2016 will be a rollercoaster ride of potential opportunity and pitfalls. Here are five trends to watch closely so you can jump on or off at the right time for your business:
1. The online lending market will grow but unwary borrowers beware!
The online lending sector of the financial technology (fintech) industry exploded in 2015 and shows no signs of slowing down this year. These lenders attract entrepreneurs by offering faster, more streamlined application processes than traditional banks. They are a true market disruptor: who doesn t want to fill out an online form and get loan approval mere hours later?
But be careful. These online lenders aren t regulated the same way as banks, and you need to read the fine print carefully. Generally, these lenders focus on merchant cash advances (with a payment arrangement that takes weekly or even daily dips from your incoming cash) or working capital loans with repayment front loaded into the first few months of the loan term. Their terms may be unclearly stated, and unsophisticated borrowers can find themselves on the hook for as much as 30 to 80 percent in rates and fees.
Online lenders have a place in the business landscape: they pressure traditional banks to pay more attention to small businesses and startups, and they can help you kick start your new business or put operational upgrades in place. There is already a movement afoot for lending organizations and financial service firms to support a Small Business Borrowers Bill of Rights. But until standards are in place, make sure you re crystal clear on the APR and cash flow implications of any loan you take out online.
2. Banks will edge back into the (small) lending business
And it s about time. Lower-dollar business loans have dwindled in the last ten years, even as Small Business Association funding caps have risen. In 2015, 79 percent of SBA loans were greater than $350,000. and most big banks would only consider applications from businesses with a minimum two-year financial track record. That left a lot of entrepreneurs out in the cold.
In 2016, thanks in part to the market threat presented by the booming fintech industry, traditional banks will ease back into lower-dollar lending and will explore alternative funding options. Karen Mills, former SBA chief, expects banks to move towards greater online automation themselves, and perhaps even partner with online lenders.
Since the SBA only guarantees loans through traditional banks, anything those banks do to open up to smaller businesses is good news for everyone.
3. The SBA has plenty of money to fund your business in 2016, but watch those rates.
SBA approved $23.6 billion in business funding in 2015, and the 7(a) funding cap for fiscal year 2016 is currently set at $26.5 billion. SBA loans are still the resource of choice for many entrepreneurs (my company, Guidant Financial. saw a 200 percent increase in SBA lending services last year). SBA is out in front of most traditional banks with its online application process and continues to streamline their processes.
But do your math, and keep a close eye on the Fed. SBA loans are variable and reset quarterly: with a volatile worldwide stock market and potentially rising interest rates in 2016, these loans will become more expensive than in the past 5 7 years.
4. Boomer entrepreneurs usage of 401(k) business financing will continue to climb.
Baby boomers continue to surge as a percentage of entrepreneurs. The 2015 Kaufmann Index found that people age 55-64 make up a quarter of all new entrepreneurs .
These owners are often in the enviable position of having ample retirement savings that they can use to fund a new business without tax penalties. The Rollover as Business Startup (ROBS) strategy can fully fund their business, or work as an equity injection in conjunction with a traditional SBA loan. This strategy has been in use for over a decade and has become increasingly popular since 2008. With rising interest rates, this popularity will only increase as ROBS does not have traditional loan fees associated with it, nor is it affected by the stock market.
The advantages of ROBS? Avoiding the higher costs of alternative lending or traditional loans, and providing the equity reassurance to loan underwriters, even in the absence of a two-year track record of business. But as with any investment, ROBS can be a risk. Canny entrepreneurs will make sure their business plans are rock-solid, and then put their retirement funds back to work.
5. Get ready for business to hit the brakes in August through early November.
It s common for presidential elections to derail the momentum of the economy as candidates make undeliverable promises or dire threats, and Congress freezes like a deer in headlights. Already, small business owners confidence is wobbling and may result in self-imposed delays in startups or acquisitions.
We ll know more about the potential benefits or challenges for small business when clear candidates emerge and take specific positions on issues like tax changes, industry regulation and health care.
There s a lot to keep your eye on in 2016. But for entrepreneurs who build and execute solid financial and operational plans, and keep a clear eye on their funding options, 2016 can be a banner year. Remember that opportunity always feels like a rollercoaster. Buckle up and enjoy the ride!
How to sell your business: Planning the exit strategy – Small Business #cool #business
#selling your business
How to sell your business: Planning the exit strategy
How small and medium businesses can take on flexible working
Some 57 per cent of employees say the availability of flexible working in their workplace is important to them, according to Sage data. This guide to Sage 200 Online shows why more and more businesses are turning to the cloud.
Controlling Cash Flow – Learn to master your money
Find out how five small businesses met the challenges of raising finance, from drawing up a business plan to securing investment. Complete with expert guides and tips to help you through the process.
The Vitesse Network
Vitesse Media Plc, 14 Bonhill Street, London EC2A 4BX T. 0207 250 7010
2016 Vitesse Media Plc
2016 Vitesse Media Plc
Top 5 Small Business Loan Requirements – How to get a Small Business Loan
#sba loan requirements
Top 5 Small Business Loan Requirements
The time has come to expand your business with new employees, a larger location or a new product line. It’s an exciting time, but stressful because you’re not sure you have the cash reserves to manage the expansion.
For many small businesses, this situation calls for a small business loan a cash infusion that pays for itself, plus the interest, with the new opportunities and extra income it allows you to create.
Many of our Kabbage customers are new to small business lending. Though they’re familiar with personal loans, they only know the basics of small business loans and lines of credit. For those who “resemble that remark” and for more experienced folks who would like a review of how to get a small business loan here is your expert-researched, Kabbage-curated list of the top five small business loan requirements to get the best possible small business loan.
#1: Strong Credit
The bad news about small business lending is it can be hard to qualify for the best rates and deals. The good news is this decade has more options for good small business loans than any other time in history. You can choose between platform lending. traditional loans (like from a bank) and a variety of hybrid options available from local vendors or via the internet.
This flexibility doesn’t mean your company shouldn’t look as good as possible on paper. Your FICO credit score will figure heavily in any lending decision, so (if time permits) spend time grooming that number in the months prior to applying. Research what other metrics the lenders you want use, and groom them as much as possible, too.
If you have a major ding in your credit, like a repossession or string of late payments, be prepared to discuss them and why things will go better in the future.
#2: Solid Business Plan
Part of understanding how to get a small business loan is ensuring you have a solid business loan. You should have one of these anyway, since a strong business plan is a prerequisite for stellar business success. Traditional lenders will expect to see an updated, professionally prepared business plan as part of the lending process. Lacking one tells them you’re not ready for the “big leagues” and are a bad credit list.
Though platform lenders like Kabbage won’t insist on seeing your formal business plan, similar documents about your social presence, industry statistics and unique market advantages all of which are part of a comprehensive business plan will go into decisions about what to lend you and how much it will cost.
Either way, get a business plan together.
#3: Compelling Personal Resume
Traditional lenders want proof that the people responsible for running a business are qualified to do so, and part of that proof will be seeing the resumes for you and other principles like owners and executive officers. This resume should be as solid, well-edited and up-to-date as any resume you’ve ever sent out.
Consider: the purpose of a resume is to get you the job you want. The purpose of this resume is to get you the job of running the company you want, instead of the company you have.
Platform lenders don’t look at your traditional resume, but they will look at your business’ curriculum vitae in terms of performance metrics and social sharing. Take time to groom those items as substantially as you would a regular resume.
#4: Bulletproofed P L Statements
Like your business plan, you should have these anyway. You should be using your profit and loss statements as part of a robust monthly “vital signs” check for your business. If you’re not doing them, dig into your accounting software for half an hour. You’ll find a tool that compiles P Ls from your records. If you’re not using software to keep track of your financials get started on doing that.
Lenders of all stripes are looking for three things in your P L: reliability, professionalism and ethicality.
- Reliability – They want evidence that you will be able to make your promised payments, based on enough cash flow to cover the loan. If you don’t, the lender will assume that lending you money is too high a risk.
- Professionalism – Lenders presented with incomplete, inaccurate or hastily prepared P L statements will assume that your business is similarly disorganized.
- Ethicality – If you “fudge” your numbers to look better and get caught, you are done with that lender. The decision makers will assume that you cut ethical corners in other places.
#5: Knowledge of the Loan Needed
This is actually the first of the small business requirements that you should address, but we wanted to mention it last so it would be the freshest in your mind. Lending isn’t what it used to be – a situation where you went to a couple of banks, all of which offered the same basic products, and hoped they would agree to give you a loan.
Modern small business lending includes a wide array of traditional, platform and peer-to-peer options with wildly varying qualification requirements and rates of interest. Before you start working in earnest on the other four requirements for your loan, decide what kind of loan you need. That way you won’t waste time and effort preparing the wrong documents.
Do you have a tale of success or woe to share with the Kabbage community about when you aced a loan application or were embarrassingly unprepared? Share your story in the comments below.
FreeAdvice contains a wealth of free, reliable business law advice. Here, you’ll find information about starting a corporation, partnership, or sole proprietorship, as well as information about franchises, general business law and taxation. For more on business law, see the links on this page.
The many different types of businesses in the United States are governed by a series of laws to ensure that national, state and local economies run smoothly. Business law governs everything from how a business can be organized and how a business can be taxed, to what a business can do regarding advertising and pricing. The broad field of business law also helps to provide options for business owners who wish to protect themselves from liability and protections for consumers from monopolies, price fixing and other unfair business practices.
Starting a business can be a complex process; a business owner must decide what form of business will best suit the needs of the company, he or she must choose a business name and keep trademark laws in mind when doing so. Further down the line, businesses may hire employees, merge with other companies, or make their business a publicly-traded entity, among many other measures. It is important for business owners to understand the laws and regulations surrounding their business type, whether it be a corporation, franchise, small business, or partnership, there are often a great number of legal matters to consider.
To learn more about the legal issues surrounding businesses in the United States and to find answers to all of your business law questions, refer to the articles, answers and other resources using the links on this page.
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How to Find the Right SBA Loan for Your Small Business
Small businesses are the backbone of the U.S. economy: According to data from the 2010 U.S. Census, there are 27.9 million small businesses registered in the United States, employing 120 million people almost half of the nation s workforce.
Part of what the Small Business Administration (SBA) does is help America s small businesses secure the funding they need to operate and grow. As a federal government agency, the SBA does not lend small businesses money directly. Instead, it sets guidelines for loans that are made by its partners, which include banks, credit unions, community development organizations and microlending institutions. The SBA guarantees a portion of these loans granted by these institutions will be repaid, eliminating some of the risk for lenders.
Kale Gaston, head of the SBA Lending Group for TD Bank in Greenville, S.C. said SBA loans do a great job of helping lenders say yes to borrowers. He also noted that SBA programs provide better access to capital and credit enhancement for small business owners. For example, since the SBA guaranty lowers the risk in case of a loan default, lenders are able to provide funding when the down payment available is too low or the business s cash flow is not high enough for traditional options.
SBA lenders can provide longer terms as well. Instead of five or 10 years for a real estate purchase with a balloon payment at the end, the lender can give terms for 25 years, eliminating the balloon (i.e. final payment) or need to refinance every few years, Gaston said. For shorter-term assets, like equipment, terms could go to 10 years instead of the usual three to five years.
SBA loan programs
The SBA s loan programs are designed specifically for small business owners who don t have access to other reasonably termed financing. There are four main types of loan programs:
7(a) loan program: This is the SBA s primary program to help startups and existing small businesses obtain financing. 7(a) loans are the most basic and most commonly used type of loan, as well as the most flexible. The money can be used for a variety of general business purposes, including working capital, machinery and equipment, furniture and fixtures, purchasing or renovating land and buildings, leasehold improvements and debt refinancing. Loan maturity is up to 10 years for working capital and generally up to 25 years for fixed assets. Borrowers can apply through a participating lender institution.
CDC/504 loan program: This program provides businesses with long-term, fixed-rate financing for major assets, such as land and buildings. The loans are typically structured with the SBA providing 40 percent of the total project costs, a participating lender covering up to 50 percent and the borrower putting up the remaining 10 percent. Funds from a 504 loan can be used to purchase existing buildings, land or machinery, and to construct or renovate facilities. These loans cannot be used for working capital or inventory. Under the 504 program, a business qualifies if it has a tangible net worth of less than $15 million and an average net income of $5 million or less after federal income taxes for the two years before application. The maximum amount of a 504 loan is $5 million.
Microloan program: This program offers very small loans to startups, or newly established or growing small businesses. The loans can be used for working capital or the purchase of inventory, supplies, furniture, fixtures, machinery or equipment. The SBA makes funds available to specially designated intermediary lenders, which are nonprofit organizations with experience in lending and technical assistance. Those intermediaries then make loans of up to $50,000, with the average loan being about $13,000. The loan cannot be used to pay existing debts or to purchase real estate.
Disaster loans: The SBA offers this option to businesses that have been affected by a declared disaster. These low-interest loans can be used to repair or replace damaged real estate, personal property, machinery, equipment, inventory and business assets.
Further details on each type of loan program can be found on the SBA s website .
What you ll need to apply
When applying for an SBA loan, you ll need to fill out forms and documents for the specific loan you re trying to get. The SBA also encourages borrowers to gather some basic information that all lenders will ask for, regardless of the loan type. The following items are usually required:
- Personal background and financial statements
- Business financial statements
- Profit-and-loss statement (three years)
- Current within the last six months
- List of debts
- Projected financial statements
- Business certificate/license
- Income tax returns
- R sum s for key team members
- Business overview and history
- Business lease
The SBA also advises small businesses applying for a loan to be prepared to answer several questions:
- Why are you applying for this loan?
- How will the loan proceeds be used?
- What assets need to be purchased, and who are your suppliers?
- What other business debt do you have, and who are your creditors?
- Who are the members of your management team?
Why your business plan matters
Whether you re a new startup or an established company, the key to a successful application is a well-written business plan .
The business plan not only is the road map that will guide the business from planning to startup to (hopefully) success, but also will show any potential lender that the potential business owner does have a clear view and understanding of the business, how to run it and, most importantly, how the loan will be repaid, David Hall, a public affairs specialist with the SBA in Washington, D.C. said in an email interview with Business News Daily.
Gaston agreed, noting that lenders want to know how knowledgeable you are about your business and the competitive market.
The concept may be great, but what the lender is looking for is that the individual is driven, capable and determined, Gaston said. You really need to understand what you are doing every step of the way and be able to convey that to the lender during the application process.
Hall also recommended that business owners take full advantage of the business planning resources offered by the SBA and its partners, such as SCORE. SBDCs (Small Business Development Centers) and WBCs (Women Business Centers).
Finding a lender
While Gaston acknowledged that applying for an SBA loan is a process, she said working with a lender that has experience can make that process a lot easier. To find experienced SBA lenders in your area, he suggested talking to folks locally in the market and looking for a lender that is part of the SBA s Preferred Lender program. This program gives thousands of lenders per year delegated authority to approve loans based on certain criteria, shortening the time period between application and approval.
You can find SBA lenders by going online at sba.gov. contacting local accountants and attorneys, and looking for lenders with a large local presence. SBDCs also provide document support and lender referrals.
The SBA program drives a tremendous amount of value in the economy, lending approximately $30 billion to small businesses annually, Gaston said. It takes businesses to the next level, is appropriately structured and enables them to be successful.
Additional reporting by Business News Daily contributor Elizabeth Palermo.
With an Associate s Degree in Business Management and nearly twenty years in senior management positions, Marci brings a real life perspective to her articles about business and leadership. She began freelancing in 2012 and became a contributing writer for Business News Daily in 2015.
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#small business resources
Small Business Resources
Whether you are starting out or already running a small business. you will need to comply with numerous federal and state small business regulations and requirements. Below are links to the federal and state resources that can help ensure that you comply with those obligations.
The 50-State Resources section provides links to each state’s and the District of Columbia’s official website for everything from the Secretary of State’s office to the state tax agency to state license and permit information. There are also links to your state’s SBA and other state offices that have valuable free information and resources for small business owners. The Federal Resource section has information and resources on federal small business requirements, including IRS, OSHA, EPA, and others.
For more help with your small business, see Nolo’s Small Business articles. or our full list of Small Business products .
Get Informed Articles Information
50-State Resources for Small Businesses
50-State Resources for Small Businesses
Links to the Secretary of State’s office or business filing office for every state.
Links to the state tax agency website for every state with information on tax filing requirements, tax rates, forms and other state tax resources.
Links to the sales and use tax divisions or seller’s permit agencies.
Links to information on each state’s business license or permit requirements.
Links to the state agencies with information and forms for complying with state securities laws requirements or exemptions from registration.
Links to each state’s agency that handles employer payroll tax, unemployment, and other employment matters.
Links to each state’s local SBA office with Information on small business loans and other resources for small businesses.
Links to local SBDCs that provide free information and other resources for small businesses.