Lending Terms Business Owners Need to Know

Many business owners haven’t had the opportunity to attend fancy college programs in business and finance. Nonetheless, there are many terms related to loans and credit that you need to understand, especially if you are about to apply for your first business loan. Here is IOU Financial’s rundown of important lending terms.

ACH Transfer:

An electronic, bank-to-bank transfer from one account to another, processed by the Automated Clearing House network. Lenders typically deposit loan proceeds and collect payments via an ACH transfer.

Annual Percentage Rate (APR):

An annual interest rate that reflects the cost of a loan, including fees. Because APRs are standardized, they allow you directly compare loans from different sources.

Application Pre-approval Rate:

The percentage of loan applications that a lender pre-approves. A good lender should have an application pre-approval rate of at least 85 percent and should provide the pre-approval within minutes.

Better Business Bureau Rating:

A rating from the BBB that assesses your business’ overall practices. The top rating is A+ .

Business Credit Report:

If you run a corporation, limited partnership or limited liability company, a business credit report functions for your business the same way as consumer credit report does for individuals. Providers include Dun & Bradstreet and FICO.

Fixed Loan Payments:

A fixed amount, paid daily, weekly, or monthly, to cover the interest charges and principle repayment of a loan. IOU Financial offers automated daily or weekly loan payments to avoid large monthly payments.

Funding Time:

The time it takes receive your loan proceeds after you submit your loan application. The funding time can vary from 24 hours (for online lenders) to weeks or months (for banks).

Interest Type:

Interest types are fixed and variable. A fixed interest loan maintains the same payments throughout the loan term. A variable interest loan uses an interest rate that can change over time, thereby changing how much you repay each month.

Loan Application:

A questionnaire you fill out to apply for a loan. Some lenders, such as banks, use very detailed and complicated applications that require large amounts of financial data. On the other hand, online commercial lenders often have short applications that you complete online.

Loan Renewal:

An optional feature offered by some lenders like IOU Financial that allows you to apply for a replacement loan when you repay a set percentage (e.g., 40 percent) of the original loan.

Loan Term:

The amount of time you have to fully repay your loan. If the loan term is for less that one year, it is a short-term loan. Loans with terms of one year or longer are long-term loans.

Maximum Loan Amount:

The maximum amount a lender will lend to you.

Prepayment Penalty:

This is a fee some lenders charge when you pay off your loan ahead of time. Always use a lender that does not charge a prepayment penalty.

Pre-qualification Requirements:

A set of standards that allow you to immediately prequalify for a loan from some lenders. The standards might include business ownership, frequency of daily deposits, time in business, average daily ending balance in your business bank account, and annual revenue.

Simple Interest Loan:

A loan that charges interest on a daily basis, meaning you only pay interest on the unpaid principle amount. Contrast this to a compound interest loan, in which you pay interest on your interest. IOU Financial is a simple interest lender.

Small Business:

Typically, a business with fewer than 250 employees. Many of the best lenders specialize in loans to small businesses.

Upfront Costs:

These are fees, such as origination and processing fees, that some lenders charge. Always choose a lender who charges no upfront costs.

Looking for more information about small business lending? Our small business loan consultants have the know how to answer any question you throw at them.  As industry experts, our staff is ready to find the answers even your toughest business questions!

Tips and Tricks to Write a Content Plan for Your Business

Introduction

According to the latest data, successful b2b marketers spend around 40 percent of their budget on content marketing. However, spending millions of dollars on content marketing won’t do you any good without a proper content marketing plan. Before you venture into promoting your business, there are a few tips we’d like to share with you in order to help you design the best content strategy which will help you achieve your goals.

Know your audience

If your business offers products or services that include different types of customers, it is important that you address each audience type separately. It’s a good practice to mingle with your leads and find out what they are looking for in a product, what problems they need to resolve, what keywords they include in their searches. This way you can create content that will hit the spot with your target audience.

Your content should be valuable to your audience and help them improve their business. Remember that there are those that already use your product or service, so you should build content that will make their user experience even better. In addition, there are those that are yet to become your customers – these people should receive such content that will show how your business can solve their problems.

Create a calendar

Publishing content on a regular base is the essence of good content marketing. Nevertheless, you can’t just plan topics at random and publish when you feel like it. Create a calendar with a dedicated time frame for each post. This will remove the pressure from your writers and give them enough time to write deeply researched quality content. Moreover, this way you will have enough time to edit all the content long before it’s time to publish it.

Have a backup plan

Furthermore, your writers could be unavailable for any reason, which could put you in a bad spot. The calendar allows you to hire a writer before the deadlines come knocking. In addition, there are so many online writing services you can hire like UK Best Essays, Essay Writing Lab, SuperiorPapers, EduGeeksClub Service and others that could deliver the content for you just when you need it.

Mix it up

Your audience is everywhere these days – they follow social media of all sorts, watch YouTube videos, scan job opportunities on LinkedIn, and surf the web for helpful textual content, or inform themselves via infographics. Therefore, it would be unwise to base your content strategy solely on a single channel rather than using all the possibilities that the internet has placed before us. Combining resources and mediums will help you achieve much higher reach.

However, if in your research you find out that certain channels don’t hold enough potential or your business it’s best not to waste your resources betting on the wrong horse. Do your research and find out which channels serve your purposes.

The same goes for various content types, sometimes a video placed on YouTube will not show the same results as it would show if it were posted on Instagram or Facebook. Don’t throw away the chance to reach your audience via video content just because it doesn’t show expected results on one platform, rather do some research and see how the content behaves with other platforms. If you get more views or shares on Facebook, focus your video posts there.

Set measurable goals

Your Key Performance Indicators depend on your campaign goal; it could be sales, pageviews, email subscribers, or anything you set as a business goal. Measure your campaign success progress against your final goal and you will be able to fine-tune your strategy on the run, depending on your current indicators. This is also a good way to check if a particular member of your team is doing a good job or you should consider getting a better solution for your team.

Conclusion

If you set a clear campaign goal, perform deep research, distribute your resources carefully, and create a strong plan of action, you will be able to craft compelling content which will engage your audience. We hope these tips will help you develop a swift content plan or your business so you could enjoy a larger pool of customers and a higher return on investments.

Guest Post: About the Author

Lilian Chifley is an IT specialist, teacher, and blogger from Sydney. She loves to talk about artificial intelligence and modern education. You can find Lilian on Facebook and Twitter.

Strayed From Your 2019 Goals? How to Get Back on Track!

Although January has only just ended, how many of us can truly say that we have stuck to the goals we set out for ourselves for 2019? The truth is that only about 10% of people actually carry out the goals they set out too, so if you have strayed from your objectives, you are not alone. Follow the tips below to get yourself back on track and committed to your 2019 goals.

Set SMART Goals

The first rule of thumb when setting goals you are committed to realizing is to set specific and time driven objectives.

SMART can be broken down into the following:

  • Specific: Specific and detailed
  • Measurable: Clear objectives with measurable results
  • Achievable: Goals that are possible within the timeframe and with available resources
  • Relevant: Vital to the success of the individual and the organization
  • Time-bound: Time-specific with a clear deadline

Whether personal or specific, most of us make general goals that make it difficult to hold ourselves accountable.  For example—you may wish to automate your work processes this year, but without planning specific actions within a specific time frame, you will likely never get around to doing so.

Break down objectives into small, detailed tasks, and create a reasonable timeframe in which to get them done. By going down the list and crossing off the tasks that are completed, you will be motivated to keep going and ultimately realizing your goal.

Be Flexible

When you start to carry out a specific goal, you may become unmotivated to keep going because you realize that it is not important, or too difficult to carry out. It’s important not to give up and empower yourself to achieve your goals; however, it is just as necessary to reevaluate your objectives monthly to make sure they are still relevant to your short and long-term plan.

It is advantageous to be flexible to fine-tune your goals, or change your strategy if you truly feel it is not in line with your objectives. Changing your goals will ultimately be more valuable than becoming disillusioned and abandoning them altogether.

Reward Yourself

Most of us have a lot on our plate, and tend to get tired and stressed out when we take on too much. To stay focused on  your goals, it’s vital to create rewards once you have completed a certain objective.

We are psychologically wired to positively react to rewards—research has found. By utilizing positive reinforcement, we can train our brains to get excited about achieving goals because that process will be associated with the positive feelings of getting rewarded.

Whether the reward will be a shopping spree or a relaxing massage, simply doing something good for yourself after working hard is a great strategy to keep working on your goals and yourself.

Regardless of how motivated you are to achieve your goals, sometimes your dedication is not enough. If you need financial assistance to make certain objectives a reality, IOU Financial is here for you. We work with small and medium-sized companies to fund their projects within 24 to 48 hours. Contact us today to find out how you can be approved and funded for a loan up to $500,000.

6 Useless But All-Too-Common Expenses That Turn Your Business Into a Money Pit

It takes a lot of money to keep a small business going – especially if you’re trying to make that business grow. When money is so important, every single cent needs to be spent wisely.

Many small businesses wind up spending a lot more money than they actually need to spend. Those funds would be better off allocated for growth or expansion. Cut the fluff out of your budget and use your newfound cash to help you build a brighter future.

Unnecessary Office Supplies

You’re always going to need office supplies, but changing the way you do things can reduce the amount you’ll spend. Going paperless is one of the easiest ways to save money. Keeping things digital allows you to save on paper, recycling, toner, and printing supplies. Many small businesses burn through mountains of these materials, and paperless businesses barely use them. Going paperless also makes your business eco-friendly, and that’s never a bad thing.

Leasing a Huge Building

You need to give yourself some room to grow for the next year or two, but not for the next decade. While it is a wise move to opt for an office space or retail space that will give everyone some room to move, it’s not a wise idea to overspend on something that you’ll never completely use. It may be wiser to choose a shorter lease on something slightly smaller. If you have your heart set on that huge building, try to negotiate the lease. You might be able to get it for a little less.

High Health Insurance Costs

You need your employees to be healthy, and offering decent insurance is a surefire way to attract top talent. There’s something else you can do that would benefit both your business and your employees. Start a wellness program. A wellness program is much less expensive than high insurance costs, and people who prioritize their wellness are a little less likely to need to use their insurance. Offer up some healthy snacks and partner up with a local gym for a discounted membership. Encourage your employees to use their sick days to discourage them from spreading germs around the office.

Advertising to the Whole World

Small businesses want to acquire as many customers as possible. They take to the internet to spread their message far and wide in an attempt to be heard by the right people. The problem with that overzealous approach is that casting a wide net is expensive. In addition to its hefty cost, it’s more of a gamble when it comes to locating an ideal customer.

Focusing on highly targeted ads will help you obtain customers and spread your message with little effort. If you don’t sell your products online, limit your advertising to people who live within a tight radius of your physical location. If you do sell online within your country, only advertise to people who fit your demographic within that country. It’s the most efficient way to spend your ad dollars. When you expand your business, you can begin to expand your reach.

Having Too Many Employees

It takes a lot to run a small business, and this means you’ll need people to make things run smoothly. Hiring people whom you can barely afford to pay may hinder you more than help you. It might be worthwhile to spend a little more on a rock star employee who is content to wear many hats, rather than paying several people the minimum to deliver an average amount of effort. Quality is more important than quantity when it comes to small business employees.

You can also reduce workload by automating as many processes as possible. The right tools can help you achieve a whole day’s work in just a few hours. Don’t do anything manually unless it absolutely requires live human involvement.

Failing to Follow Rules and Regulations

Making legal mistakes is one of the most expensive situations a small business can wind up in. Small businesses try their best, but sometimes fail to secure the right permits or licenses they need to operate or expand the way they’ve planned. Running a business is a learning experience, but you can’t afford to learn with your money.

It might be worthwhile to retain a lawyer for your small business. You need someone to look over the money, the rules, and the licenses as you grow and change. A lawyer might seem expensive now, but nothing is more expensive than finding yourself on the wrong side of the law.

Many small businesses work with tight budgets, but sometimes those budgets are tighter than they need to be. Keep a close eye on the books to be sure you’re not tossing away the funding for your success.

Guest Post: About the Author

Alana Downer is an avid finance blogger from Sydney, Australia, currently writing on behalf of Learn to Trade– money and finance experts. Interested in all things connected to growing a stable income, Alana might often be found online, sharing her financial tips and participating in discussions. Feel free to reach out to her on @alanadownerLTT.