IOU Financial Extends Credit Facility with Midcap Financial

MONTRÉAL, Feb. 27, 2018 /CNW Telbec/ – IOU FINANCIAL INC. (“IOU” or “the Company”) (TSXV: IOU), a leading online lender to small businesses (IOUFinancial.com), announced today that it has modified and extended its secured credit facility (the “Credit Facility”) with MidCap Financial, (“Midcap”) until December 31, 2020. The amount of the Credit Facility is USD $20 million, with a term portion equal to USD $15 million and a revolver amount of USD $5 million.

IOU and Midcap have further agreed to allocate USD $1 million from the Credit Facility amount of USD $20 million, to support Canadian loan originations. This will be formalized in a separate amendment to this facility.

“Since 2016, Midcap has been a fantastic funding partner for IOU, allowing IOU to lower its funding cost of capital and supporting the Company’s continued growth in the U.S. and in Canada. We are very pleased to have concluded this extension and modification to the Credit Facility with MidCap,” said Phil Marleau, CEO of IOU Financial Inc.

About IOU Financial

IOU Financial Inc. provides small businesses throughout the U.S. and Canada access to the capital they need to seize growth opportunities quickly. Typical customers include medical and dental practices, grocery and retail stores, salons, gas stations, auto repair shops, and restaurants. In a unique approach to lending, the IOU advanced, automated application and approval system accurately assesses applicants’ financial realities, with an emphasis on day-to-day cash flow trends. It makes loans of up to US$300,000 to qualified U.S. applicants ($100,000 in Canada) within a few business days, with affordable charges favorable to cash-flow management. Its speed and transparency make IOU a trusted alternative to banks. To learn more visit: IOUFinancial.com.

About Midcap Financial

MidCap Financial is a middle market-focused, specialty finance firm that provides senior debt solutions to businesses across all industries throughout North America.

MidCap Financial refers to MidCap FinCo Designated Activity Company, a private limited company domiciled inIreland, and its subsidiaries. MidCap Financial is managed by Apollo Capital Management, L.P., a subsidiary of Apollo Global Management, pursuant to an investment management agreement between Apollo Capital Management, L.P. and MidCap FinCo Designated Activity Company. References to MidCap Financial prior to January 2015 are to its predecessor, MidCap Financial, LLC.

Forward Looking Statements

Certain information set forth in this news release may contain forward-looking statements that involve substantial known and unknown risks and uncertainties. These forward-looking statements are subject to numerous risks and uncertainties, certain of which are beyond the control of IOU including, but not limited to, the impact of general economic conditions, industry conditions, dependence upon regulatory and shareholder approvals, the execution of definitive documentation and the uncertainty of obtaining additional financing. Readers are cautioned that the assumptions used in the preparation of such information, although considered reasonable at the time of preparation, may prove to be imprecise and, as such, undue reliance should not be placed on forward-looking statements. IOU does not assume any obligation to update or revise its forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise.

Neither TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.

Related Links:

https://ioufinancial.com

SOURCE IOU Financial Inc.

For further information: regarding this press release or IOU Financial Inc., please contact: Phil Marleau, Chief Executive Officer, +1 (514) 789-0694, ext. 225; David Kennedy, Chief Financial Officer, +1 (514) 789-0694, ext. 278; Benjamin Yi, Corporate Development & Capital Markets, +1 (647) 295-0654

Marketing Ideas for Spring

Spring is a time for new growth and new opportunities! Retail business owners should consider ways to market their companies or products during this season. After the cold winter months when many people stay indoors, spring is the time to focus on attracting new customers and keeping your current ones loyal with strategies to boost profits. Utilize these marketing ideas to jumpstart your sales during the spring season.

Focus on the Holidays

People love holidays, and one great strategy to market your brand is to tie it to a well known event. There are a multitude of options during the spring—major holidays such as Easter, Mother’s Day and Passover, and less known ones, such as Take our Daughters and Sons to Work Day.

Just so you know—”last year, U.S. consumers spent an estimated $17.2 billion for Easter, $20.7 billion on Mother’s Day, and $13.3 billion on Father’s Day,” a source explains.

To attract clientele to your retail location, consider putting on a holiday-inspired event inside your store. If your business is family-friendly, you can advertise an Easter celebration with a bunny, an egg scavenger hunt and other child-centered activities. If your store is more adult-oriented, you can hold a more sophisticated event with music and light bites.

Let the public know about your celebration and you will attract new foot traffic from people who may never have heard about your business and gain new customers for life!

Spring Cleaning

Spring is a time to get rid of the old and focus on the new. It provides a chance to analyze your inventory of products that are not selling as well or no longer serve your brand image and hold a blow out sale.

If you advertise a sale, chances are you will boost your profits for the quarter while getting rid of overstocked items.When discounting items, create a price ending in 9, such as “$23.99” or “19,” as research has found that this strategy increases sales by 24%!

Tax Season

Another important event happening during the springtime is National Tax Day. It is estimated that about two thirds of individuals expect tax refunds during April. This is a perfect opportunity for retail business owners to encourage customers to spend that cash!

A great incentive to attract shoppers to your location is to offer a free item or discount with proof of filed taxes. Or, celebrate Tax Day by waiving taxes on purchases in your store on April 15th!

Marketing Strategies

With holidays, spring cleaning sales and tax season as three main ideas you should consider for the season, you will need to plan on actual ways to market them, which can include:

  • In-home mailers
  • Marketing emails
  • Ads in the local paper
  • Social media advertising
  • Sponsorships
  • Handing out leaflets
  • Leaving ad materials in other local businesses (cross sponsorship)

Start planning now on how to put the spring marketing ideas into motion. IOU Financial is ready to provide financial assistance to help you grow your business. Contact us today at www.ioufinancial.com.

10 of the Best Online Tools for Busy Business Owners

Running your own business can keep you pretty busy. From payroll and staff to marketing and PR, you’ll sometimes feel like you’re spinning plates.

Thankfully, thanks to digital transformation, it’s become easier for business owners to automate tasks and save valuable time thanks to clever tools. Whether you are running a small operation, or have a big team behind you already — here are some great online tools you might want to consider to help you out.

Recommended reading: Is It Time for Your Business to Try Out AI? 

1. Xero + Chaser + Receiptbank

Everyone knows how convenient Xero can be as an online accounting app, but it’s actually the cool integrations and add-ons that make Xero so useful for the busy business owner. By being able to automate dreary financial tasks like chasing unpaid invoices, you will be able to save time and decrease stress levels.

Finances are at the core of any small business, so it makes sense to invest time and effort into their smooth management. Without a good financial framework, you will quickly fall behind and stagnate as a business — never take your cash flow for granted!

Let’s have a look at what Xero can do for your business:

  • Chaser allows you to send out personalized invoice chasers and manage your debtors — an essential task for any small business. Xero itself also has a pretty good invoice reminder function — customize your chasing frequency and messaging. You can easily turn off chasing for certain clients and customers.
  • Receiptbank is the ideal app for business owners who make a lot of small purchases for their business. It’s basically a receipt and purchase invoice manager, that also integrates with PayPal. You can install the app on your phone and quickly scan receipts into the system, tagging them up and posting them into Xero at a click of a button.

2. Evernote

Meeting notes getting lost? Can’t keep track of your creative ideas? A tool like Evernote can help you sync up your notes and ideas, and share them with key members of your team.

There are a lot of cool Evernote functions you may not have known about:

  • Instant note-syncing means you can have Evernote on all your devices at the same time (you need to pay for a premium account if you want to connect more than a couple though). It’s a great tool for business owners on the move who work in dynamic environments where you frequently switch from tablet to phone.
  • You can quickly share individual notes or notebooks with people, so everyone is kept in the loop.
  • Evernote also manufactures purpose-built notebooks so that you can scan in handwritten notes!

3. Slack

Modern business is all about communication, so make sure you spend time fine tuning your business communication strategy (both internal and external).

Slack is one of the easiest ways to manage internal and external comms. Whether you need somewhere where all your team can discuss training insights, or a way to bring disparate freelancers or groups together, Slack is a brilliant and user-friendly way to chat and collaborate.

The best thing about Slack? It’s very easy to use and won’t baffle people. The #’s used for channels are easy to follow, and once you’re in Slack, you’ll love it. And if that wasn’t enough, there are also a slew of tools that you can integrate your Slack account with to get even more out of it. Slack will change the way that you communicate at work for the better.

4. SurveyMonkey

Do you need to gather information quickly and easily?

Data is a super powerful business asset and a tool like SurveyMonkey will help you gather and organize data better.

Whether you want to get in touch with staff, follow up after an event, check in with clients, or gather data for marketing purposes, SurveyMonkey is a really user-friendly survey tool.

5. MailChimp

Sending out beautiful email newsletters no longer requires hours of painstaking HTML design — MailChimp makes it so easy even a ‘chimp’ can do it! With drag and drop templates and loads of advice on how to get your emails opened and read, MailChimp is a great business lifeline. Organize your email lists to reflect people’s interests, and you will find it a lot easier to get real engagement from your email marketing.

MailChimp is also a great thing to use for event marketing, and can help you follow up with a big group of people quickly and easily.

6. PeopleHR

Are you a good manager? Everyone likes to think that they are, but part of being a good manager is having access to the right toolsets and data in the first place. You can’t make the right staffing decisions if you haven’t got full visibility on what’s happening in your organization from an HR perspective.

From booking holidays to monitoring performance, PeopleHR makes things easy for staff member, manager, and business owner. Easy to use, clear, and bursting with reams of useful data, this budget HR app is a good find for anyone who cares about staff experience.

7. Trello

Trello makes project management look fun and easy. With a very visual UI that is made up of colored cards, many people use Trello just for fun!

But Trello is not just a pretty face: thanks to it being so easy to use, Trello is a great way to organize teams and projects and make sure that everyone is on the same page. Trello boards are easy to share and can be a quick way of getting people up to speed with a latest project.

8. Shopify

Your company website is crucial to the success of your online business; it’s the medium through which your customers place orders, making it the master of revenue for your company. However, as a busy business owner the last thing you want is to have to spend hours building your company website. That’s where Shopify comes in.

It makes the process simple for you, comes loaded with a host of themes (along with managing the hosting of your website), and has an in-depth support system comprised of physical meet-ups, podcasts, and tools.

Once you’ve set-up your website, you can gain insight on how to market your business, and access ongoing data that lets you see who is buying your products, where they’re buying them from, and how they’re buying them. Not only does Shopify make it easy to set-up your website, it makes it easy for you to grow your business.

9. Buffer

Scheduling social media can help you save valuable business time. You shouldn’t just click a button and automate your social feeds (that’s actually surefire way NOT to get followers), but you can save loads of time with strategic scheduling.

Buffer is ridiculously easy to use and will help busy managers and teams save time and scale. Queue up a load of posts for the holidays or the weekends, and share your content with your network at different times of the day.

10. Insightly

A friendly small-business CRM, Insightly is a good alternative to CRM market-leader Salesforce. Compact and managed by a friendly customer support team, Insightly can help your business run a tighter sales and customer experience ship.

From following up with leads, to updating contact details, being more organized with a small business CRM will make a big difference to your sales figures.

Owning and running your own business is a real labor of love. You want to create a business environment that you’re proud of — somewhere where both staff and ideas can thrive. Use online tools to help you save time and money, and create a great atmosphere that makes people want to work hard. What online business tool do you rely on the most?

Guest Post: About the Author

Victoria Greene is a branding consultant and freelance writer. On her blog, VictoriaEcommerce, she looks at how business owners can use developments in technology to improve their efficiency and drive up their revenue. She is passionate about using her experience to help fellow business owners succeed.

13 Finance Terms You Should Know as a Business Owner

Entrepreneurs bring all sorts of skill-sets to their venture, such as the ability to sell, or to organize activity, or to raise funding. Some might have a business background, but others might need to learn the ways of business while on the job. Here are 14 terms you and every entrepreneur should know, because they involve central concepts that affect your business.

Accounts receivable:

Money owed to your business by clients. Typically, you invoice a client and receive payment some time later. An account is receivable until it is paid.

Assets:

Economic resources your business owns. Current assets are items like cash, receivables and inventory. Long-term assets include equipment, buildings, vehicles, furniture and patents. You utilize assets to generate income.

Capital:

These are the total resources available to your business, and is equal to your equity and debt. Working capital is equal to current assets minus current liabilities, and represents the resources available to run day-to-day operations.

Cash flow:

The movement of money into, through and out of your business. Inflows bring in money and include collections of sales revenues, tax refunds, and interest earned. Outflows are expenditures of cash and include payment of expenses and acquisition of assets.

Depreciation:

The decrease in the value of long-term assets due to the passage of time. Depreciation is a tax-deductible expense that spans a set number of years.

Equity:

Your ownership interest in your company. It is equal to your assets minus your liabilities. Equity is evidences by stock shares distributed to owners based on their percentage of ownership.

Expenses:

The costs of running your business, including rent, salaries, legal costs, advertising, taxes paid, and utilities. A good business tries to minimize expenses while not skimping on essentials.

Financial statements:

Highly structured reports that indicate your business’ financial condition. They include the balance sheet (a snapshot of assets, liabilities and equity), income statement (revenues and expenses for a given period), and cash flow statement (inflows and outflows for a given period).

Liabilities:

Debt owed by your business. Current liabilities are due within one year and include obligations to pay credit-card balances, invoices from suppliers, taxes due, and wages earned but not yet paid. Long-term liabilities include mortgages and loans that mature in more than one year.

Losses:

Negative net income, created when your costs exceed your revenues. If you have too many losses, the chances are that your business will fail unless you have other sources of funds.

Profits:

Also called net income or the bottom line, these are revenues minus costs for a given period. Profits can be drawn off by owners or accumulated in an account called retained earnings. You can use profits to expand your company.

Revenues:

Also called gross income and sales, this is the money you earn from operations. You direct your marketing and sales activities to generate revenues.

Valuation:

A number representing how much your business is worth. Valuation is important when you are seeking funding from investors.

You don’t need to be a financial expert to have a successful business, but knowing basic financial terms will help you communicate with other stakeholders. For those wanting to broaden their knowledge, the Internet is loaded with learning resources, and many colleges offer continuing education courses that might be useful.

10 Innovative Ways Your Business Can Save Money

Business owners are always trying to maximize profits and save wherever they can to ensure success. Here are some of our favorite creative ways to save some cash:

Website:

Build your own website. Many small businesses spend a ton on having a website built and maintained. Guess what? You can do it yourself using website builder software. Check out the offerings from Wix, Squarespace, GoDaddy and others. You’d be surprised at the sophisticate product you can turn out at a fraction of the cost.

Advertising:

Ads can get expensive. Consider enlisting other small businesses to participate in communal advertising, in which you share suppliers, mailing lists and distribution channels. It’s best to work with other companies having a solid reputation and offering complementary products or services.

Spread the word:

Community events are terrific venues to show off your expertise in your given industry. You’ll get free exposure for your business and yourself. You never know, it might lead to paid speaking gigs!

Convert living space:

Commercial offices are so 2010! The IRS has made it easier to declare part of your home as your office and earn valuable tax deductions. Renting office space is expensive, and for many businesses, unnecessary. This is especially true if your business involves e-commerce, where customers will never see your workplace.

Think used:

If you do need office equipment and furnishings, think used! You can get used desks, chairs, filing cabinets and so forth for a fraction of their costs when new. Remember, shiny new furniture is no match for a healthy bank account.

Use freelancers:

It’s cheaper to use freelancers when needed, because you don’t have to pay employees who might sometimes be idle, and you don’t have to worry about the costs of payroll, withholding, benefits, profit-sharing, etc. In addition, using an experienced freelancer saves you the cost of onboarding and training an employee.

Barter:

You might offer something that can be bartered, allowing you to obtain products and services without spending cash. For example, if you’re a freelance CPA, you might obtain legal work from a lawyer client in exchange for tax preparation work.

Borrow wisely:

Entrepreneurs often waste time applying for bank loans only to find out a month later that they’ve been turned down. Sure, bank loans offer good interest rates, but only to the most credit-worthy clients and only after taking a month to make a loan decision. If you’re in a fast-moving business, you can’t afford to waste a month on a business opportunity that might evaporate in a week. When you borrow from IOU Financial, you’ll get your money in a day or two, putting you in a position to open the door when opportunity knocks.

Demand discounts:

Has it occurred to you to demand discounts from your regular suppliers? You’ve given them your business, now they can provide you with a thank-you by offering a discount on future orders. You just might find them very flexible when you hint at taking your business elsewhere.

Don’t buy, rent:

Do you occasionally need heavy equipment, vehicles and other items available from your local rental store? By renting, you avoid large capital outlays and money spent on equipment maintenance and repair. Rental expenses can be deducted when they are incurred, whereas equipment purchases may take years to depreciate. Renting makes a lot of sense for a variety of small businesses.

f you have tried all of these strategies, but are still finding it difficult to sustain your business during the holiday time, turn to IOU Financial. We make it a priority to support small and medium-sized companies with easy loans up to $300,000. You can get funded in as little as 24-48 hours.

IOUFinancial.com

MONTRÉAL, Jan. 31, 2018 /CNW Telbec/ – IOU FINANCIAL INC. (“IOU” or “the Company”; TSX-V:IOU), a leading online lender to small businesses (IOUFinancial.com), is pleased to announce a strategic partnership with Marietta, GA-based c-store solutions provider goEBT (goEBT.com).  Through this strategic partnership, goEBT’s network of 25,000 convenience store owners nationwide will be able to access IOU’s fast, convenient, non-collateral funding solutions.

“IOU Financial will provide goEBT’s network of business owners with the funding they need to finance inventory, update stores, or invest in high-ROI equipment upgrades when banks are not an alternative,” said Robert Gloer, President and COO of IOU.

“Recognizing IOU’s strong track record and strength in retail lending, goEBT approached IOU to offer goEBT’s client base convenient, affordable funding to fuel their clients’ growth,” said Christophe Choquart, IOU’s VP of Business Development & Strategic Partnerships.

Strategic partnerships are a key component in IOU’s organic growth strategy, as they allow for a unique, cost-efficient, one-stop lending experience for clients of both IOU and focused service providers such as goEBT.  Further details about partnering with IOU can be found at https://ioufinancial.com/partner.

About IOU Financial

IOU Financial Inc. provides small businesses throughout the U.S. and Canada access to the capital they need to seize growth opportunities quickly.  Typical customers include medical and dental practices, grocery and retail stores, salons, gas stations, auto repair shops, and restaurants.  In a unique approach to lending, the IOU Financial advanced, automated application and approval system accurately assesses applicants’ financial realities, with an emphasis on day-to-day cash flow trends.  It makes loans of up to US$300,000 to qualified U.S. applicants ($100,000 in Canada) within a few business days, with affordable charges favorable to cash-flow management.  Its speed and transparency make IOU Financial a trusted alternative to banks.  To learn more visit: IOUFinancial.com.

About goEBT

GoEBT provides flat-rate EBT processing to over 25,000 convenience and small grocery store owners.  By establishing partnerships with other businesses, goEBT is helping store owners make their businesses more convenient and profitable.  Now, solution offerings like bill pay and access to preferred products are helping even single store owners make their stores an asset to the communities that need them most. To learn more visit: GoEBT.com.

Forward Looking Statements

Certain information set forth in this news release may contain forward-looking statements that involve substantial known and unknown risks and uncertainties.  These forward-looking statements are subject to numerous risks and uncertainties, certain of which are beyond the control of IOU including, but not limited to, the impact of general economic conditions, industry conditions, dependence upon regulatory and shareholder approvals, the execution of definitive documentation and the uncertainty of obtaining additional financing.  Readers are cautioned that the assumptions used in the preparation of such information, although considered reasonable at the time of preparation, may prove to be imprecise and, as such, undue reliance should not be placed on forward-looking statements.  IOU does not assume any obligation to update or revise its forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise.

The TSX-V has not reviewed and does not accept responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.

 

For more information regarding this press release or IOU Financial, please contact:

Phil Marleau, Chief Executive Officer, +1 (514) 789-0694, ext. 225, or
Benjamin Yi, Corporate Development & Capital Markets, +1 (647) 295-0654

For more information regarding strategic partnerships with IOU Financial, please contact:

Christophe Choquart, Vice President, Strategic Partnerships, +1 (678) 264-8584, or
Robert Gloer, President & Chief Operating Officer, +1 (678) 809-6251

IOUFinancial.com

MONTREALJan. 24, 2018 /CNW/ – IOU FINANCIAL INC. (“IOU” or “the Company”; TSXV: IOU), a leading online lender to small businesses (IOUFinancial.com), today announced its outlook for fiscal 2018.  All dollar amounts are in Canadian dollars unless specifically referred to otherwise.

Outlook for fiscal 2018

IOU remains well placed at the forefront of the fintech revolution that is democratizing access to capital for small businesses.  IOU reached break-even in the course of Q4 2017 based on adjusted earnings and expects to grow adjusted earnings throughout 2018.

The Company will continue to enhance its proprietary, next-generation technology and algorithms that evaluate and price credit risk. IOU will also continue to closely monitor the performance of its loan portfolio and capture operational efficiencies.  The Company anticipates average quarterly operating expenses of approximately $1.6 million on a normalized basis in 2018.

The Company intends to grow loan originations by:

  • Continuing to identify, recruit and partner with business loan brokers;
  • Forming new strategic partnerships with entities such as banks and small business suppliers and leveraging their relationships with small businesses to add new customers;
  • Expanding its product offering to allow it to serve small businesses whose needs are not met by its current products;
  • Investing in direct marketing and sales; and
  • Continuing its expansion into Canada.

“In 2017, our efforts to right-size the Company, increase pricing and manage defaults has set the table to deliver profitable growth for the future,” said Phil Marleau, CEO.

Highlights from fiscal 2017:

  • US$91.3 million of small business loans were originated by IOU in 2017.
  • IOU surpassed a significant milestone, announcing in December 2017 that it had facilitated more than US$500 million in financing to thousands of merchants and small businesses across the United States and Canada.
  • By the third quarter of 2017, IOU successfully executed on its plan to reduce operating expenses to $2.0 million to $2.2 million per quarter, excluding non-recurring costs.

About IOU Financial

IOU Financial Inc. provides small businesses throughout the U.S. and Canada access to the capital they need to seize growth opportunities quickly.  Typical customers include medical and dental practices, grocery and retail stores, salons, gas stations, auto repair shops, and restaurants.  In a unique approach to lending, IOU Financial’s advanced, automated application and approval system accurately assesses applicants’ financial realities, with an emphasis on day-to-day cash flow trends.  It makes loans of up to US$300,000 to qualified U.S. applicants ($100,000 in Canada) within a few business days, with affordable charges favorable to cash-flow management.  Its speed and transparency make IOU Financial a trusted alternative to banks.  To learn more visit: IOUFinancial.com.

Forward Looking Statements

Certain information set forth in this news release may contain forward-looking statements that involve substantial known and unknown risks and uncertainties.  These forward-looking statements are subject to numerous risks and uncertainties, certain of which are beyond the control of IOU including, but not limited to, the impact of general economic conditions, industry conditions, dependence upon regulatory and shareholder approvals, the execution of definitive documentation and the uncertainty of obtaining additional financing.  Readers are cautioned that the assumptions used in the preparation of such information, although considered reasonable at the time of preparation, may prove to be imprecise and, as such, undue reliance should not be placed on forward-looking statements.  IOU does not assume any obligation to update or revise its forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise.

The TSX-V has not reviewed and does not accept responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.

SOURCE IOU Financial Inc.

For more information regarding this press release or IOU Financial, please contact:

Philippe Marleau, Chief Executive Officer, +1 (514) 789-0694, ext. 225
David Kennedy, Chief Financial Officer, +1 (514) 789-0694, ext. 278
Benjamin Yi, Corporate Development & Capital Markets, +1 (647) 295-0654

Is Now the Best Time for a Business Loan?

We are often asked whether now is a good time to take out a business loan. Our answer is usually, “It depends.” Let’s explain. Two sets of factors figure into the timing of a business loan – macroeconomic and microeconomic. We take a closer look below.

Macroeconomic Factors

In general, it’s a good idea to borrow when interest rates are low, as they are now. As you know, the Federal Reserve has raised rates several times in the last two years, and more rate hikes are imminent. While rates are still low, you don’t want to wait for them to get any higher, so quick action right now is a smart idea. If interest rates were falling from a high level, you’d want to wait till they fell to an affordable level. Other macroeconomic factors that might influence timing is the occurrence of financial or political shocks, or the general tightening of credit, both of which might discourage you from short-term borrowing.

Microeconomic Factors

Loan timing is also a function of why you need the money and how you plan to use it. Some uses are good, some not so much.

Green Light

These are some reasons why now would be a good time to get a business loan:

  • Expansion: You are at a point where you are turning down business because you don’t have the capacity. If expansion is called for, you will need to finance extra space, or new equipment, or new hires, etc. The fact that you will be bringing in more business bodes well for your ability to repay the loan.
  • Cushion: If you have a seasonal business, a short-term loan can create a cash cushion to get you through the lean months. By evening out your cash flows, you can avoid emergency layoffs or panicked price cuts. This helps your business’ long-term prospects. You can repay the loan when the busy season returns.
  • Sunshine: The adage, “make hay when the sun shines,” has application here. When your business is in a good spot and has a high credit rating, getting a loan will be relatively easy. When you wait until you are in desperate shape, you might not qualify for a loan. If you can get an affordable loan during good times, it can add an extra layer of safety against liquidity problems later on.
  • Credit builder: A startup business has no credit history, but a business loan can be the remedy. Taking out a business loan and then repaying it on time will build your credit score and potentially give you access to larger loans in the future.
  • Opportunity knocks: Once in a while, a golden opportunity falls into your lap. A loan can enable you to jump on the opportunity, thereby strengthening your company and making repayment easier.

Red Light

Here are some times when you should avoid taking out a business loan:

  • Maxed-out: If you already have large loans and maxed-out lines of credit, taking on additional debt might drive you into default. Even if you can arrange another loan, the lender will probably demand exorbitant interest rates that will only increase your cash flow problems.
  • Uncertain purchase: If you are considering the purchase of a new business asset but aren’t sure whether you can afford it, reconsider the purchase. A business plan should lay out exactly how you expect a new asset to affect your business and how much it will cost. If you are unsure about how the loan terms will align with the new asset’s cash flows, go back to the drawing board until you are certain you know what you’re doing.
  • Band-aid: If your business mismanaged its financing, taking a loan might just be a band-aid that masks the underlying problem. A better strategy is to bring in a CPA or operations manager to help fix the problem first.

Want to see what alternative lending can do for you? Talk to an IOU Financial Small Business Loan Consultant and learn about the ways IOU Financial can help you get the capital you need.

5 Most Common Small Business Marketing Mistakes

When dealing with a smaller team generating smaller profits, marketing efforts can often fall by the wayside. But many small businesses tank when lack of visibility is causing a dive in sales. In order to avoid bankruptcy as a small business owner, keep a few of these common errors in mind and learn how to draw in the right customers with the right tactics.

You Don’t Have a Website

One of the first thing a customer will do if they’re searching for a service or product is online search the service they require. So, if your business doesn’t have a website, how do you expect to be discovered when 43 percent of Google searches are conducted for local businesses?

However, if you do have a website, you need to make sure it’s designed with convenience and attractiveness in mind. Take the time to hire a talented web designer, or even better, learn some HTML to save money and have constant control over your site.

When it comes to the content and design, make sure your call to action is the first thing the potential customer sees, and set up the menus in such a way that they can easily find what they’re looking for. And for goodness sakes, place your contact information in conspicuous places! Nothing annoys a customer more than hunting for an email or phone number.

You’re Targeting the Wrong Audience

Imagine trying to sell meat to a vegan – doesn’t go over well does it? If you’re unaware of the needs of your target audience, you’ll likely see a dip in revenue because you have no clue if your product is something they are compelled to purchase.

The best way to formulate a target audience is to create audience personas based on your current clientele, the goal of your service or product, and your direct competition. With this data, you can answer the “what”, “where”, “who”, “why”, and “when,” and specify details like gender, personality, and employment that will impact potential buying habits from your target audience. From there, you can then begin marketing campaigns towards people that are most likely to benefit from your business.

You’re Not Paying Attention to the Competition

If you’re not regularly online searching similar businesses to monitor their strategies and progress, you’re doing you and your business a great disservice. Competition is scary, but it’s healthy having that comparison; it gives you as an owner the motivation to go that extra mile and improve upon your current marketing efforts.

While comparing services, it’s helpful to have some questions in mind and you can even make a chart to compare multiple competitor businesses at once. Some things you can ask yourself include:

  • What do they charge for their product(s)/service(s)?
  • Where are they located? Do they have multiple locations?
  • Do they have an online presence (social media profiles, website, etc.)?
  • How many employees do they currently have?

With this frame of reference, you’ll have all the information you need to continue to grow within your industry.

You’re Not Tracking Your Progress

Regardless of whether you are using email or direct mail campaigns, you need to track the responses carefully. The analysis of results plays a role in determining if a change in the message or medium is needed. Analysis can also tell you if the marketing method is cost-effective and should be repeated.

Your Message Isn’t Unique

Comparing your business to others can also backfire. Consumers are bombarded with numerous marketing messages throughout the day, and as a result, many of them are not absorbed or even read. And can you really blame them?

This is especially important if your business model isn’t one-of-a-kind. If you’re trying to sell handmade jewelry with diamond companies all over your city, you’re going to have to distinguish yourself from the rest and convince your audience why your rings and necklaces are better than the rest.

Small business marketing will affect your overhead, your sales, your brand image and more. This is an area that you cannot afford to gloss over without considerable focus and attention. With better understanding of these common marketing mistakes, you can take steps to more successfully implement a marketing campaign for your company.

If you need financial assistance getting started, IOU Financial can offer up to $300,000 in as little as 24 hours.

Guest Post: About the Author

Heather Lomax is a contributing writer and media relations specialist for Gemstone Data. In her blogging experience, she often gives advice on improving marketing strategy for SMBs and formulating innovative ways to make your business stand out.

Better Manage Your Time: 13 Tips for Business Owners

As a business owner, you spend your time thinking, acting and communicating, punctuated by too many interruptions. Maybe you’ve taken a time management course without realizing any improvement. Here are 13 tips to help you get better control on how you spend your time:

  1. Track your time:

    Write down on a schedule what you do as you do it. Do it for a week, and find out how much of your time is spent on thinking, acting and communicating. It’s the first step into a larger world.

  2. Make appointments:

    An important activity or communication should be assigned a time. Try an appointment book, either the old-fashioned paper variety or an AI app with voice recognition. Then discipline yourself to keep your appointments without letting them run long.

  3. Direct your activities:

    Decide to spend at least half of your time engaged in communications, activities and thoughts. You’re more effective if you don’t waste time.

  4. Schedule time for interruptions:

    Set aside time every day to handle interruptions. You might set up special hours in which you are open to handling all the tasks that interrupt your work flow.

  5. Use the first half hour:

    When you first come into work, take the first half-hour to plan your day in detail, including when to handle interruptions.

  6. Know your desired outcomes:

    When you set aside time to perform a task or communicate with others, know beforehand what you want to achieve. By knowing what defines success, you can better achieve your goals and, if something is missing, identify what you aren’t doing right.

  7. Use automated note taker:

    Automated AI tools will transcribe, summarize and annotate meetings and phone calls so that you don’t have to. It’s a real time-saver and lets you better concentrate on what is being said.

  8. Buy a “Do Not Disturb” sign:

    Deploy it when you don’t want to be interrupted. A perfect accompaniment to a thinking cap.

  9. Postpone responses:

    Do you drop what you’re doing to respond to a phone call, email or text message? That’s not necessarily a good idea. Unless it’s an emergency, get back to people when it suits you, and schedule time for your replies.

  10. Block distractions:

    Social media sources might be vying for your attention, but unless you need these for your business, ignore them. They are interrupting your schedule and your train of thought. Some people don’t allow Facebook or Twitter on their business computers.

  11. Observe the 80/20 rule:

    Don’t feel bad that you can’t get everything done during the day. Remember that 20 percent of your activities, thoughts and communications will account for 80 percent of your results.

  12. Try the Pomodoro technique:

    Set a timer for 20 or 25 minutes when you start on a specific task. When time is up, take a 5-minute break before beginning your next task.

  13. Fill out your staff:

    If you’re an entrepreneur who’s accustomed to operating on a shoestring, consider hiring staff to take over some of your time-consuming tasks. If you’re short of working capital to enlarge your staff, consider a loan from IOU Financial. You can use it to get a bigger office, more desks and other items to support more employees. Remember, IOU Financial offers quick, affordable loans with an easy daily repayment process.