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Kabbage could be the best lending option for the next phase of your biz

(FINANCE NEWS) Kabbage offers lines of credit between $2,000 and $100,000 for small businesses, even Realtors. Ready to hire more support team members but need some aid? Check this out.

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Thinking outside the lending box

If you are a business owner, you know how tedious it can be finding feasible banking options. Depending on your financial history, financial need, and current financial state, it can take months before not only finding the right bank or lending option, but to be accepted as a client. We know the pain, and decided to find the best alternative lending option for small business lines of credit.

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Why alternative lending instead of big bank?

Alternative lending companies aren’t typically as strict as big name banks, and therefore have higher acceptance rates. The leniency from alternative lending companies is great for small businesses with financial dings or questionable credit history. Alternative lending also offers benefits such as quicker approval times, more flexibility, and less paperwork.

Alternative lending options

There are a dozen alternative lending options that have gained popularity over the years, such as Lending Club and OnDeck. While you should definitely take a look before deciding, after extensive research and our own personal experiences with debt, we suggest Kabbage as an excellent option for small business in financial need.

Kabbage immediately separates itself from other options with its application and approval process that takes the headache out of “sign up”.

Instead of a lengthy underwriting process that has to be done in person, Kabbage’s application is done completely online, and has an almost instant approval process if requirements are met.

Small businesses must have been in business for at least a year, and earn at least $4,200 in mostly revenue. Monthly revenue, transaction volume, and credit score are also deciding factors.

Finding the proper paperwork takes a large chunk of time in itself, which is why Kabbage offers its users the option to save time by linking the application to a business checking account or online banking service such as PayPal instead.

Once linked, Kabbage will review the data to determine loan eligibility. Compatible banks and online services include: Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, PNC, U.S. Bank, Regions, BB&T, TD Bank, USAA, Citibank, Capital One, SunTrust, Navy Federal, BBVA Compass, Fifth Third Bank, PayPal, Authorize.Net, Stripe, Sage, Square, eBay, Shopify, Yahoo, Amazon, Etsy, and Intuit.

FYI: Kabbage also looks at personal credit score, which should be at least above 550.

Loan terms

Kabbage offers lines of credit between $2,000 and $100,000, and functions more as a credit card than a traditional loan. For example, if you are approved for a $100,000 line of credit but only use $20,000, you only pay fees on the $20,000. Users can also draw money against their line of credit as often as once a day.

The fees mentioned above range anywhere from 1.5 to 12 percent of the loan amount for the first two months on a six month loan, or six months on a 12 month loan. There is a standard one percent fee for remaining months. Outside of these monthly fees, there are no added costs for a line of credit, which is another reason we suggest Kabbage. Most of the other lenders we researched had additional fees.

It is also important for small businesses to note Kabbage does not enforce any limitations on how the loan is used. Inventory, design, marketing, or whatever you decide to spend it on, is your prerogative. This is in contrast to other lending companies, who want to know explicit plans about how the money is to be spent before approval.

The catch

Although we like Kabbage overall, it is our responsibility to tell you about the things we don’t like. The biggest complaint we have is the limited amount of time small businesses have to repay their loan.

While there is a 12 month option, which is still not a lot of time, the only other option is six months.

So for small businesses with financial needs that span longer than a 12 month repayment term, Kabbage may not be the right solution.

Don’t take our word for it…

As stated in the beginning, there are a dozen other options for alternative lending, along with traditional lending options. And although we appreciate you taking our word for it, applying for the wrong loan can make a bad financial situation worse. So please be sure to research your different choices, keeping your specific needs and goals in mind.

If the decision is too tough on your own, consult with an accountant or financial expert to find the best option for you and your small business.

#Kabbage

Lauren Flanigan is a Staff Writer at The American Genius, hailing from the windy hills of Cincinnati, with a degree in Marketing from the University of Cincinnati. She has escaped the hills, and currently resides in Atlanta, where you can almost always find her camping at a Starbucks strategizing on how to take over the world.

Business Finance

First impressions matter – how to win over investors immediately

(BUSINESS FINANCE) Impressing investors is nerve-wracking, but these tips can help you to nail your first impression.

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Going in for your first pitch meeting with investors can be nerve wracking—especially if you haven’t yet met these investors in person. Fortunately, if you land a solid first impression, you can set the right tone for the meeting, and make the rest of the presentation a little easier on yourself.

But why are first impressions so important, and how can you ensure you make one?

Let’s start with a recap of the benefits of a strong first impression:

  • A reputation framework. Our brains are wired to make quick judgments about our surroundings. Accordingly, we tend to judge people based on our first interactions with them, with little opportunity to change those initial judgments later on. If you strike investors as a smart, likeable, and capable person early on, they’ll see your pitch deck in a whole new light.
  • Memorability. First impressions stick with people. If yours stands out from the other entrepreneurs pitching these investors, they’ll be more likely to remember you, specifically, and therefore may be more likely to eventually fund your project.
  • Personal confidence. If you know you’ve nailed the first impression, you’ll feel more confident, and as you already likely know, confidence makes you a better public speaker. You’ll speak more deliberately, more passionately, and with fewer mistakes.

So how can you make sure you land this impression?

  • Arrive in a nice vehicle. Show up in a luxury vehicle, or at least one that’s been recently detailed, sends a message that you’re already successful. This isn’t a strict necessity, but it can speak volumes about what you’ve already achieved, and how you might look when you drive to meet your future clients.
  • Dress for the occasion. Along similar lines, you’ll want to dress nicely. You don’t need to have ridiculously expensive clothes, but you should wear standard business attire that fits you properly and has no signs of wear. It’s also a good idea to get a haircut, shave, wear tasteful makeup, and make other small touches that improve your overall appearance.
  • Smile. Smiling is contagious, and it instantly makes you more likable. Don’t force a grin (or else you’ll look like a robot), but do flash a genuine smile as often as appropriate during the first few minutes you meet your prospective investors.
  • Use your investors’ names. When you speak to your investors, try to address them by name as often as possible. People love to hear the sound of their own names, so it might help you win their favor. As an added bonus, it will help you reinforce your association with their name and face, so you eliminate your risk of calling someone by the wrong name later on.
  • Warm up with something personal. It’s tempting to get down to business right away, especially because your investors’ time is limited, but in most cases, it’s better to warm up with something personal—even if it’s only a few lines of a conversation. Tell a funny joke you heard earlier in the day, or share an anecdote about how your morning has been going. It makes you seem more personable and charismatic.
  • Find a common link. If you can, try to find something in common with each of your prospective investors. You might comment that you got your tie at the same place they did, or that you use the same type of pen. Look for subtle clues about their personalities, lifestyles, and hobbies, and forge a connection through those channels. People disproportionately like other people like them, so the more commonalities you can find with your prospective investors, the better.
  • Watch your posture. Your posture says more about you than you might think. Keep your back straight with your shoulders back, and walk confidently with your hands out of your pockets. This is crucial for projecting confidence (and feeling it internally as well).

If you can land a great first impression, you’ll set the stage for a killer presentation—but don’t think you’re out of the woods yet. You still need to make sure you have a fantastic pitch deck in place, and enough knowledge on your startup idea to handle the toughest investor questions. If this is your first pitch, don’t worry – it does get easier – but the fundamentals are always going to be important.

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Business Finance

Parody on capitalistic currency highlights cryptocurrency’s appeal

(FINANCE) This goofy parody showcases why traditional currencies are mocked while cryptocurrency solves some inherent problems with finance.

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In a video parody of capitalism by Hello Generic, actors poke fun at what makes capitalistic currency so principally ridiculous. While the parody itself is clearly geared toward traditional currency, it also inadvertently makes a strong case for cryptocurrency and why people are putting their faith into it.

In the video, the actors are stranded on an island on which they attempt to establish an economy. The first action that they consider is using coconuts as their form of currency—an idea that is quickly overshadowed by the notion of using seashells to represent the coconuts (clearly a jab at the idea of a federal reserve). The video then explores how easily concepts like inflation and debt can develop completely regardless of the wishes of the people; since the coconuts (read: gold) aren’t actually being used, it’s all too easy to grab a few more seashells than are backed.

It’s no secret that many people in America don’t trust the government not to screw up their money, which is why it’s also not surprising that so many people are turning to cryptocurrency as an investment vehicle.

Cryptocurrency certainly has its drawbacks – it’s volatile, unprecedented, whimsical, and subject to influence by completely unpredictable circumstances – but it’s also easy to see why some view it as safer than traditional money.

Since cryptocurrency is decentralized, one mustn’t worry about its value depreciating because of politicians or failing international relations, nor do people have to stress over its value becoming inflated or manipulated by governments.

Similarly, cryptocurrency has a definitive cap on how much can be sold. Since there is a limited number of cryptocurrency tokens available at any given time, borrowing more than is available isn’t even an option; instead of grabbing a seashell whenever you want to spend or buy more than you can, you’re rightfully stuck with your finite number of coconuts.

To make the claim that cryptocurrency is more stable than traditionally capitalistic currency would be absurd, but cryptocurrency is definitively less susceptible to the same problems that make our currency as unstable as it is. Given the government’s past usage of our currency (usage that has led to our country’s massive debt) it’s no wonder that more people are turning to a government-free form of finance.

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Business Finance

How small companies can compete with free shipping

(BUSINESS FINANCE) When running a smaller shop online, how can you compete with free shipping from giants like Amazon that can afford it?

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It’s hard enough for small businesses to compete with big retailers. But online shops also have to consider the additional cost of shipping. With stores like Amazon and Walmart.com offering very cheap or even free shipping, how is a smaller shop to compete?

Shopify, an e-commerce platform for online shops and point-of-sale-systems, posed this question to Thea Earl, product manager for Shopify Shipping. On the AskShopify blog, she offered some tips for managing shipping costs.

First, Earl points out that while “free shipping is an excellent marketing tool,” if you can’t afford to offer free shipping, it helps to offer a “really clear flat rate.”

Customers who think they’re getting a good deal may balk if they’re surprised by an exorbitant cost to ship. If you can consistently offer a flat rate, and let the customer know right off the bat, they’ll “know what to expect when they hit checkout” and won’t get sticker shock at the last minute, causing cart abandonment.

If you want to offer free or very cheap shipping, consider raising the prices of your products, even by a dollar or so, to help cover delivery costs. Note the ratio between the profit margin and the cost to ship.

Perhaps for highly profitable items, you can afford to absorb the shipping costs, while slightly raising the prices of less profitable products to offset the balance.

Lastly, Earl realizes that small business owners have no control over whether or not a carrier raises its prices to ship.

You do, however, have control over the packaging. Be smart about the types of packaging you use. Measure products and buy envelopes and boxes that are just the right size to save money on weight.

Paper and poly envelopes are lighter, and therefore usually cheaper than cardboard boxes. Also, Earl points out that most carriers have at least a few options for free packaging. Utilize these free options whenever you can.

And of course, you could always join a group like Shopify to take advantage of their bulk mailing partnerships with carriers like UPS, USPS, and DHL.

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