In honor of National Small Business Week (May 5 – 11), we’re launching a new series to showcase some of the small businesses that power our country. By FINSYNC Entrepreneurship has always been in Sonia Dumas’s blood. Just ask her four brothers. When they wouldn’t pick up their toys as kids, Sonia did it for them — only to sell them back for a profit. Spotlight on Small Business Owners: Sonia Dumas, CurioHaus Sonia’s ventures have come a long way since she was 8. Before starting her own business, she spent 14 years opening high-end lifestyle hotels across the U.S. Today, Sonia runs Colorado-based Curio Haus, a marketing firm that helps connect financial advisors with clients. The name she chose for her business (translation: house of curiosity) reflects the questions that led Sonia to start the company, namely: “How do you develop memorable experiences?” and “How do you drive growth?” Most importantly, Sonia wondered how she could harness the expertise she developed in the hotel industry to develop effective marketing for financial advisors that target the same client base. The question had legs, and Curio Haus was born. Sonia spoke with us about the challenges and rewards of being a small business owner, and how a desire to simplify led her to FINSYNC. Is starting your own business something you’ve always wanted to do? Starting my own business has been in my blood probably since I was 8. My first business was collecting. My parents would complain about toys being left all around the house — my four brothers wouldn't pick them up. So I decided, I'll pick up those toys. And I took all their toys and put them in my room and I put my parents’ piano chair in front of my bedroom door and I started to sell my brothers their toys back. No overhead. No expenses. It's a free product. (laughs) Back in elementary school my girlfriends would be coloring mermaids and rainbows and unicorns, and I would be designing what my penthouse office would look like. It's always been in me. What inspired you to start Curio Haus? I love marketing and branding and developing experience. And I thought to myself, how can the art of the guest experience that is so prevalent in luxury and lifestyle hotel development transition over into the financial industry? At the end of the day, they service the same clients, it's just a different service. We have the specificity of focusing on affluent or high net worth individuals. Why can't the best practices in hospitality be transitioned over into the financial industry, but in a way that combines modern buying behaviors, smart technology and high-touch experience? It’s a hefty question wrought with a lot of compliance challenges and roadblocks within the financial world, but I really feel like that's how disruption happens — with a bold question. What's the best thing about being a small business owner? For me, it’s the spectrum of relationships I get to build on a daily basis. I love looking forward to the journey of having a complete stranger either become a strategic partner, an advocate, a client or just a local friend. As a marketing strategist, my services impact the lives of people I'll never meet. At the end of the day if my team develops the right meaningful campaign for a financial advisor, it's going to connect with somebody and bring clarity and security to their financial world.  And in some indirect way, I've made a difference in our society. What is the biggest lesson you've learned running a small business? Specialization. Finding your niche audience, your niche product or service is by far the best and fastest way to grow. Being generic and everything to everyone — only certain global brands can do that well and they struggle to sometimes show a profit on Wall Street. From a small business owner side, the more specific you can be about who your audience is and what you offer them, the better. It's just the best way to grow because it automatically attracts that tribe, as Seth Godin always brings up. Our company took a leap of faith. Originally we started out just doing general marketing, and 30 days later we completely shifted. We decided we're not going to just do marketing for anyone and everyone. We're only going to focus on helping financial advisors and fintech firms grow. Every industry has its own nuances, buying behaviors, best practices and regulations. If you become an expert in what you need to know about your client's specific industry, it just makes the conversation and the campaign so much easier to do. Being this specific is the best thing we ever did — I wouldn't go back. It was scary. I'll admit it is absolutely scary because you're technically putting all your eggs in one basket of one industry — or one segment of a segment of an industry. You really have to say, is it worth it? We did our research to make sure it would grow with us. Do you have any advice to small business owners? Be able to pivot quickly. If something's not working, accept it as a lesson because it's not a failure. Just accept it as a lesson and then shift and move in a positive direction. And I know that takes a lot of courage because there's always that internal voice that says maybe I'm not really good enough, and that's a lie. You are good enough because, one, you would have never launched this company. And, two, you're good enough to figure out a better way to be of service to the world around you. Pivot and shift in a positive direction and you'll go a lot farther than trying to force something that's not working. What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced running a small business? The two things that are a consistent challenge for me are cash flow and processes because they’re the foundation of running a successful business. Cash flow is like fuel in the jet. I don't care how much money you spent on that jet, if you don't have fuel you're grounded. You're not going anywhere. The other thing is processes, and they’re not to be underestimated. Processes enable a business to be efficient and innovative and adaptable — not to mention it keeps the business owner sane knowing that there are systems in place to deliver what was promised to clients. How has FINSYNC helped you address those challenges? For me, FINSYNC brings clarity and confidence both to our processes and cash flow management. From the FINSYNC command station, I can see the financial health of my firm on a daily basis. I love that I can monitor the profitability of client engagements. The cash flow dashboard when you first login can either give you a heart attack or it can make you rest well at night. It can push you to say, okay, I have a 45-day window to bring in another client or do something different. And it's good to have that kind of heads up, versus talking to your accountant or getting statements once a month only to find out you’ve got two weeks. The other thing I love is being able to know where to quickly trim the fat on value-depleting expenses and say, how can we become leaner in certain areas, or where should we become a little bit more generous in certain areas? Especially if it's client facing, and it's going to improve the value of our relationships with our clients. What made you choose FINSYNC? I researched several things — accounting, project management, invoicing and what payroll would look like. So I was thinking about a lot of different things and wondering, is there something that packages that all together without me having to subscribe to five or ten different apps to make it happen?  For me, it’s about time. Time is my most valuable asset. At this stage in my life, I don't have time for another app that adds complexity to my world. For the most part, I have a drive for simplicity. As executives we're in this ever-vigilant battle to make our lives more simple. I was just looking for a way to streamline our processes. How can we streamline marketing and communication so that it's simple, effective and relevant to both our team and our clients? How does FINSYNC help you run your small business more efficiently? Everything about the system is very intuitive and simple, and the customer support team is fabulous. They always get back to me and even if they don't know, they'll figure it out. It’s great to be able to bring up features and know that the system's always being developed with real owners in mind, and that they're very high touch. At the end of the day, it's that relationship — these people are part of my financial team. FINSYNC, on some level, is a part of my financial team. They're in the day-to-day because so much relies upon what their system does. And only seeing it get better — I love it. I can't see myself on another platform. Sonia Dumas, Chief Marketing Officer of Curio Haus
This year, National Small Business week is May 5th through the 11th. How will you celebrate? Here are five ideas for inspiration. By FINSYNC Entrepreneurs are the foundation of the American economy, and it’s time to celebrate them. According to the Small Business Administration’s 2018 Small Business Profile, small businesses account for 99.9% of U.S. firms, employing nearly half of the country’s workforce and generating 1.9 million new jobs annually. National Small Business Week has been recognizing the country’s small businesses since 1963. We know how busy you are, but why not take a well-deserved break from your hectic regular schedule to celebrate your achievements and those of your colleagues? Here are five ideas to get you started Attend an Event The SBA is hosting events throughout the week that you can attend either in person or virtually. Can’t make it to the #SmallBusinessWeek Hackathon or the National Small Business Week Awards ceremonies in D.C.? You can watch the latter live on the SBA’s Facebook page. In addition to streaming the awards ceremonies, you can also watch live workshops on the SBA’s Facebook page. On Sunday, May 5, tune in for the Next Wave in Digital Commerce Workshop at 4 p.m. EST. On May 6, you can get some helpful Social Media Tips for Your Small Business at 10:30 a.m. EST. It’s also a great time to check in with your local district SBA office to find out what events they’re hosting near you. Join the SBA Free Virtual Conference In addition to streaming awards ceremonies and workshops, the SBA and SCORE are hosting a two-day virtual conference. The free conference will take place on Tuesday, May 7 and Wednesday, May 8 between 11 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. EST. Designed to help small businesses succeed, the virtual conference will give you the opportunity to meet other business owners, chat with industry experts and participate in webinars on various topics. Beyond the invaluable advice and inspiration, there will also be giveaways, free resources and networking chat rooms. Live Webinar Topics Will Include: 
  • The U.S. Economic Outlook and Its Impact on Small Businesses
  • Making Sense of Online Marketing: A Simple Checklist for Success
  • Mastering Control of Your Cash Flow
  • Creating Effective Online Ads
  • The Culture Imperative: Drive Growth with Customer Obsession
  • SBA Funding Programs Explained
  • How to Do Business with the Federal Government
  • Disasters Happen: How to Prepare Your Business and Recover
Raise a Glass to Small Business Success You’ve no doubt heard the disheartening statistics about the percentage of small businesses that fail, but this is the week to celebrate those that succeed. Around 80% of small businesses survive their first year in business, 70% survive the second year and 50% of small businesses are still up and running after five years in business. Whether your business has been open for six months or six years, if your doors are still open there’s reason to celebrate your success. While you’re at it, go ahead and lift a glass to the winners of the 2019 Small Business Persons of the Year from each state. The national winner will be announced at the National Small Business Awards ceremony streaming live on May 6 at 12:45 p.m. EST. Know a small business owner who deserves recognition? Nominate your colleague for next year’s awards. Beyond the Small Business Person of the Year, there are 13 additional awards categories that are recognized each year. Get Social Why did you start your business? What do you love about your job? Your customers want to know! Share your story on social media to personalize your business and connect with your customers on a deeper level. It’s also an ideal opportunity to tap into the country’s thriving small business network for advice, support and good old-fashioned shoptalk. The SBA is hosting a Twitter chat on Friday, May 10 at noon EST (@SBAgov). Industry experts will discuss how to start and grow a business, with plenty of tips and resources thrown in. Join the conversation or follow along at #SmallBusinessWeek. Celebrate Your Customers National Small Business Week is a perfect time to shift the focus back on your customers with a heartfelt thank you. Why not take it a step further than a nod on social media? Consider rewarding loyal customers who make a purchase during Small Business Week with a discount, coupon or a free gift to show your appreciation. No matter how you choose to celebrate Small Business Week, take a moment to recognize how far you’ve come to get where you are today. Here at FINSYNC, we want you to know that we see you, we appreciate you and we’re rooting for your success every step of the way.
Responding to loan requests with a simple “yes” or “no” is an outdated way of doing business in this digital world where relationships are more important than ever. By FINSYNC The lending landscape has changed drastically over the past decade, and banks that don’t adjust to the changes sweeping the industry may be in for some real challenges. Traditional bank loans are no longer the only option for small businesses in America, as the growth of online lending has given business owners a new avenue to secure financing. The Rise of Online Lending Back in 2015, the SBA reported, “A new generation of online lenders is surfacing with the promise of an efficient, streamlined application process with quick turnaround times and higher approval rates.” The report went on to note that borrowers spend a mere 30 to 60 minutes on online loan applications, which can be funded in a matter of days, whereas the traditional loan application process takes an average of 26 hours and may not be processed for weeks or even months. More recently, a 2018 report on small business lending in the U.S. detailed how a handful of the largest small business lending platforms are filling a financing gap for small business owners. NDP Analytics, an economic research firm based in Washington, D.C., reported that five online lending platforms alone funded $10 billion in online loans from 2015 to 2017, which generated $37.7 billion in gross output, creating 358,911 jobs and $12.6 billion in U.S. wages. Needless to say, we’re far from business as usual in the banking world when it comes to small business lending. The Opportunity of Online Data Access to online financial data streamlines both the loan application and approval processes, benefitting both lenders and borrowers alike. However, there are many more benefits to unlock in this newly charted territory. What if access to a business’s financial data could open up a dialogue between lender and borrower in a way that elevated the interaction from a mere transaction to an ongoing relationship? Along with the ease and access that online banking offers, small businesses in America are looking for more out of their lender than a simple “approved” or “rejected” response. Beyond “Yes” or “No” As we all know, a solid relationship is based on an ongoing dialogue rather than a communication dead end. What’s true in life is most certainly the case in banking. For far too long, the conversation between lenders and their clients has ended with, “No, I cannot help you with financing.” What if the conversation — and relationship — could continue, even when a bank opts not to finance the loan? The payoff, of course, is a long-term relationship and all of the future business that comes along with it. Banks and credit unions in FINSYNC’s Lending Network are given three options every time they receive a loan application to review:
  • First, the member bank can assess the financial data provided by FINSYNC and opt to approve the loan for their own balance sheet.
  • If the bank determines that the business isn’t quite ready for traditional bank financing, the lender can seamlessly share the application with another member lender that’s prepared to approve and fund the loan on behalf of the bank.
  • If the bank determines that the business is not ready for financing at the present time, they can show the business how to get where they need to be. As part of FINSYNC’s cash flow management solution, the bank can communicate milestones and actionable steps that the applicant can take to qualify for financing in the future.
FINSYNC Makes it Easy to Evolve FINSYNC makes it simple for banks and credit unions to graduate from the old binary way of banking. Participating in FINSYNC’s lending network helps banks connect with their customers online to strengthen these all-important relationships and ultimately fund more loans. Currently, both traditional and alternative lenders are joining FINSYNC’s lending network at a rate of one new lender per day. This number is rising rapidly as more banks begin to see the growth opportunities that the new lending landscape offers. We’ve made it as easy as possible to get started. FINSYNC uses established data connections to banks, so there’s no need for IT investment or laborious integration. In fact, we’ve gotten some lenders enrolled and up and running in as little as an hour. The future of banking is about relationships backed by the power of online data that can benefit both lenders and customers alike.
What would happen if Amazon were to get into the banking business? By Tucker Mathis, CEO, FINSYNC, Inc. FINSYNC is rapidly building a network of banks that use our technology to connect with customers in search of financing online. As a “fintech” company, we are often asked about other technology companies and their potential impact on the banking industry, should they elect to throw their hat (or weight) into the ring. Most commonly — Amazon. Uniquely enough, I love the question because it teases out something I am very passionate about, and that’s the desire to be in the relationship business (as opposed to transactional). If banks want to build a defensible competitive advantage over Amazon banking, they too will need to move to the mindset of being in the relationship business. This may sound obvious, but it’s not. I meet with bankers all the time that speak of a desire to innovate, then describe the box their idea needs to fit within and the areas where it cannot overlap. If only I could walk into my next bank board meeting with Clay Christensen, who authored The Innovator’s Dilemma. He has a message in that book that everyone in the banking industry should stop and read, if they haven’t done so already. If I had to summarize it in one sentence: Innovating in fear of staying within a box, or a previous product, process or price — isn’t innovating.   For a bank to truly be in the relationship business, they, like Amazon, have to innovate and always iterate in an effort to earn the customer’s business and loyalty long term. For most banks, this requires a change in mindset and a willingness to adopt new technology and processes. All of this can be overwhelming for a bank. I recently attended a bank conference where the bankers were outnumbered almost three to two. That is, there were three vendors for every two bankers at the conference. In this kind of environment, how does a bank decide with whom to innovate? Or, to partner or to build? Building is very expensive and risky and should only be considered by very large, well-capitalized banks. For the other 4,000-plus banks and 6,000-plus credit unions, I can help make your job easy. Think about your customer first. Look for and then adopt the solutions on the market that are proving to create the most value for your customers while also helping your financial institution to increase revenue, reduce risk and improve the overall relationship you have with your customers. If your customers win, you will win irrespective of who enters the market. FINSYNC makes it easy for you to connect with your customers online in order to strengthen these all-important relationships, and ultimately fund more loans. Joining FINSYNC’s Lending Network allows you to offer your customers an online financing option that goes beyond traditional lending — and requires no IT investment or implementation on your end. When you’re not ready to approve a loan, FINSYNC helps you continue the relationship by presenting the business with actionable steps they can take to secure financing with you in the future. We also help businesses with advanced cash flow analytics and projections that allow them to show you exactly where their business is going. It’s a value-add for both you and your customers, and it all begins with your relationship.
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON BUSINESSWIRE HERE FINSYNC is Rapidly Closing the Gap Between Online Banking and Online Lending FINSYNC expects to have over 2,000 banks in its lending network within 24 months. ATLANTA, GA - February 28, 2019, FINSYNC, Inc., a cash flow management platform for small to midsize businesses, is adding new banks to its lending network at an accelerated rate. FINSYNC makes it easy for the businesses who use the platform for cash flow management or modeling to connect with banks, credit unions and lenders online for quicker access to capital. “Businesses who apply for financing through FINSYNC can now request their current bank be added to the FINSYNC Lending Network, in the event the bank is not already a listed member. Since introducing this new capability, a new bank has been added every day, and we see this number climbing quite sharply for many reasons,” says Tucker Mathis, CEO of FINSYNC, Inc. Why Banks are Flocking to FINSYNC’s Lending Network  
  • According to a recent FDIC report, approximately 80% of banks currently do not offer their business customers the ability to apply for financing online in any form. Tucker adds, “An even greater percentage share with us that they don’t feel equipped to efficiently and effectively underwrite loans below $500,000.”
  • FINSYNC solves some very specific problems that are resonating with business owners, including the ability to apply for financing with their bank online, and getting credit for where their business has been and where it’s going. When applying for financing through FINSYNC, the business syncs their bank account, which allows FINSYNC to help business owners understand their loan options based on actual cash flow and assumptions about the future.
  • When businesses apply for financing from their bank through FINSYNC, the bank benefits from advanced analytics that include projected cash flow and tools that can help a business illustrate where it believes it is going.
  • In addition to advanced analytics, member banks benefit from seeing alternative loan options that are available through a network of lenders. The member bank can present the best loan option to their business customer alone or in partnership with any other member lender that’s part of the network.
FINSYNC is the new way banks and online lenders can work together to help more businesses grow. Initial members of the lending network include industry leaders such as Fundation, Enova, OnDeck, Credibly, BFS Capital, IOU Financial, Wellen, and many others. Benefiting Both Banks and Their Customers Getting started is easy. FINSYNC uses established data connections to banks, so no IT investment or further integration is required. Offering FINSYNC creates immediate value by connecting the bank with their current customers in a way that’s value-add for both credit-related products, but also from the higher deposits that tend to accumulate at the bank that establishes the primary credit relationship. FINSYNC offers its financing solution at no cost to businesses in order to help them improve cash flow. Optionally, a business can continue using FINSYNC for cash flow management with the added benefit of never having to manually apply for a loan again. The business can track access to additional capital that is available from the lending network as the business grows. Loan applications will always default to the bank with whom the business reports they have the best relationship in an effort to help both parties grow with quicker access to lower-cost capital. “The relationship aspect of what we do is very important,” said Eddie Davis, VP of FINSYNC, Inc. “Our platform is aimed at helping banks and businesses grow together, not apart.” About FINSYNC, Inc. FINSYNC is cash flow management software that helps businesses grow with game-changing features. Businesses can get started with better payments or financing, or enable all features from a single platform to collect income, pay bills, process payroll, automate accounting, forecast cash flow, and access financing through FINSYNC’s Lending Network. Banks, credit unions and online lenders join the network to receive loan applications online and benefit from advanced analytics, automation and in-network participation. See FINSYNC’s Television Commercial FINSYNC’s LinkedIn FINSYNC’s Twitter FINSYNC’s Facebook Contact info: Karsyn Meurisse Marketing Programs Manager (800) 699-6484 [email protected]
Free up time to focus on mission critical areas by putting administrative tasks on autopilot with intuitive online tools that can do the heavy lifting for you. By FINSYNC Running a small business can make you feel like you’re stuck in a circus-juggling act. It’s difficult enough to keep the doors open and make sure your employees get paid without the added pressure of tracking your cash flow and keeping your books. It can seem near impossible to find the time or energy to harness the passion that got you into business in the first place, much less focus on sales, customer service and other areas that require your immediate attention. Financial management shouldn’t feel like a full-time job. There’s no better time than right now to get a handle on overwhelming administrative tasks so you can get back to the heart of your business. FINSYNC is here to help: We’ve got three intuitive tools to help you win the battle against runaway financial management once and for all. Automate Your Accounting Are you tired of spending endless hours filling in spreadsheets? Is your budget a little too tight to hire a full-time bookkeeper? We hear you. Fortunately, there’s an easier — and less expensive — way to get a handle on your accounting. In a word: automate. It’s never been easier to sync up your finances with a sophisticated online tool that can take care of your accounting automatically. Simply import your bank transactions, and they’ll be automatically categorized for you on a complete general ledger. Easily track your expenses, tackle month-end reconciliation, and prepare your taxes in a fraction of the time. You can also generate reports that make it simple to drill down to the details you need. Bottom line? Automating your accounting is a shortcut to actionable insights that can help you make better business decisions. Invoice on Autopilot Are you still spending time writing checks, preparing invoices and mailing all of the above? What if you could pay vendors or collect payment for your goods and services with the click of a button? It’s that easy with invoicing software that can save you hours on administrative tasks. Set up recurring invoice schedules and auto payments to shrink your to-do list, and skip those excruciating calls to overdue clients with alerts that automatically remind customers when payments are due — or past due. Invoicing on autopilot saves ample time and makes it easier for you to both collect and make payments. The benefits extend to your clients by making it easier for them to pay you, which can help you get paid faster and keep your cash flow solidly in the green. Simplify Cash Flow Management You know how important it is to monitor your cash flow, but somehow keeping track of the money that flows in and out of your business can seem like an overwhelming task. What if we told you that cash flow management doesn’t have to be difficult? Beyond helping you get a handle on your current cash flow, intuitive online tools can make it easy to spot trends and plan for the future with automatic projections based on your history. Once you can see where your cash flow is going, it’s easy to make adjustments and schedule payments to avoid a dreaded shortfall that can put you in the red. Visualize your past, present and future with the help of automatically generated charts and graphs that give you a picture of your cash flow that’s easy to comprehend — and act upon. The Power of Consolidation How many different apps, passwords and software systems does it take to run your business? If you’re still keeping track of a slew of disparate systems to handle various financial management tasks, consider improving your efficiency by consolidating your efforts onto one system. When you sync your finances on FINSYNC’s platform, you get access to all of the tools you need to automate your accounting, invoice on autopilot and easily analyze your cash flow. In other words, you can automate your back office from a single platform with one password. Simplify your financial management to save time, get more mileage out of your resources, and maybe even get back to all of those things that inspired you to build your business in the first place.
By FINSYNC Getting rejected for a small business loan is practically a rite of passage for entrepreneurs. Rejection rates can be as high as 73 percent with traditional banks. The odds improve a bit with alternative lenders, who generally approve around 57 percent of small business loan applications, but the rejection rates can be disheartening. Ready for some good news? Lenders reject loan applications for the same often-avoidable issues over and over. When applying for a loan, it helps to think like a lender. Consider five common reasons small business loan applications are frequently denied, and take steps to avoid these common pitfalls.
  1.  Not Enough Time in Business
Traditionally, banks require you to be in business for at least two years, though an exception may be made for a (highly competitive) SBA loan, part of which is guaranteed by the government via the Small Business Administration. While there’s not much you can do to speed up the clock and get more business history under your belt, you can look beyond traditional banks. Alternative lenders, including FINSYNC’s lending network, tend to have a less stringent requirement for time in business; one year is generally sufficient — even less in some cases. It’s also worth noting that accuracy is important when reporting time in business on your loan application. Experience in a similar industry does not equate to time in business, and should not be treated as such when applying for a loan. What lenders want to know is how long the business that’s borrowing money has been in existence or incorporated. While including past history may be a seemingly innocent error, this type of misrepresentation can easily cause your application to be rejected.
  1.  Asking for Too Much, or Too Little
We know what you’re thinking: Can asking for too little capital really hurt your chances of securing funding? In a word, yes — depending on whom you’re asking for the loan. Traditional banks commonly issue larger loans, on which they earn more interest. Banks may be less likely to approve smaller loans that are under around $250,000. Why? It’s all about the numbers. It takes banks the same amount of time, effort and resources to service a seven-figure loan as it does a five-figure loan, on which they make much less money. Alternative lenders, on the other hand, commonly lend smaller amounts than commercial banks and the application process is generally much faster and easier. However, it’s crucial that you prove you can pay back the amount you’re asking for on your application. Asking for too much, without showing the lender exactly how you plan to repay the loan, will get your application rejected. If your current cash flow isn’t strong enough to comfortably cover the loan payments for the amount you’re requesting, you’ll need to detail future projections to show exactly how you’ll get there. Increase your chances of getting approved for a small business loan by adjusting the amount you ask for, based on who you’re applying with, and be prepared to prove that you can cover the amount you request.
  1.  Poor Credit
Both your personal and business credit can affect your chances of getting approved for a loan, along with your interest rate should you get approved. Lenders often view the credit scores of majority stakeholders as a reflection of the company’s ability to repay the loan. The newer your business (and shorter your history), the more closely your personal credit will be considered — especially if you have not yet established business credit. If you’re applying for a loan from a commercial bank, or an SBA loan, your business credit will also be taken into account. Always check both your personal and business credit reports before you apply for a loan, and fix any potential errors that may be dragging your score down. If either credit score is low (below 600 for personal credit), it’s a good idea to take steps to improve it before applying for a loan. If you’re worried about your credit for any reason, consider applying for a loan from an alternative lender. These lenders are generally more lenient when it comes to credit scores, and pay closer attention to cash flow as an indicator of your creditworthiness. If you have poor credit, you may also want to consider invoice financing, or borrowing against your unpaid invoices. With invoice financing, your payee’s credit is weighed more heavily than your own.
  1.  Weak Cash Flow
When it comes to qualifying for a small business loan, cash flow is king. Lenders want to see that your business has enough positive cash flow to cover your operating costs — plus loan payments. Traditional lenders will consider at least one to two years of your cash flow history, while alternative lenders may look at as little as three months of your bank transactions. Lenders also look at your ability to maintain a positive bank balance, and ideally a balance that’s increasing steadily. If more money is going out than coming in, or the margin is too tight, your small business loan application may not be approved. Need help improving your cash flow? In some businesses, getting paid faster is key. No matter what industry you’re in, a little planning and analysis can go a long way. Intuitive online tools can help you visualize, plan and manage your cash flow — and even detail future projections that prove to lenders you can repay the loan amount you’re requesting.
  1. Lack of Planning
When you apply for a small business loan, it’s important to make a strong case for your business that removes any doubts a lender may have about your ability to repay the loan. Always define how you plan to use the capital to grow your business, and include a convincing business plan that explains exactly how you will repay the loan. You won’t give lenders much confidence without laying out a plan for the funds you’re asking for. Being conscious of these common reasons small business loan applications are denied, and taking steps to avoid them will help improve your chances of getting approved. And if you don’t? We’re here to help. Unfortunately, nearly a quarter of all applicants who are denied for a small business loan have no idea why they were denied. At FINSYNC, not only will we tell you exactly why your loan wasn’t approved, we’ll show you the steps you need to take to get approved.
When you need working capital without delay, borrowing against your unpaid invoices is a short-term cash flow solution worth considering. By FINSYNC Waiting 30, 60 or even 90 days to collect on goods and services rendered is challenging enough for small businesses, without the added stress of late payments. Unfortunately, delayed payments are all too common, with one in every 10 invoices paid late. While there are several steps you can take to get paid faster, sometimes your business needs the funds you’re owed right away. So what can you do when you need working capital for immediate expenses, and can’t wait to collect on unpaid invoices? Enter invoice financing, also known as accounts receivable financing. This type of loan allows you to borrow money against the amount your customers owe you. In other words, you can finance your unpaid invoices to get the cash you’re due now — without having to wait for your customer to make the payment. How It Works When you finance an unpaid invoice, you’re essentially getting a cash advance on the invoice, which serves as collateral. So what does this convenience cost you? You’ll pay the lender a percentage of the invoice in return for the loan. Lenders generally advance around 85 percent of your invoice right away, and you’re paid the remaining 15 percent once your customer pays their invoice. There’s often a processing fee, plus a percentage that’s generally calculated on a weekly basis (somewhere around 1 percent per month). The longer it takes your customers to pay their invoice, the more interest you’ll pay.   When to Consider Invoice Financing Invoice financing offers a short-term solution to cash flow issues. It’s an option to consider when you need cash immediately, and can’t afford to wait for your customers to pay their invoices. This type of financing often makes sense for companies that face long payment cycles, or for seasonal business swings. Whether you need funds to cover operating costs, pay your employees or support a growth opportunity, invoice financing is a fast, convenient way to access cash. How fast? Many accounts receivable loans are processed in as little as a day, and with FINSYNC you can turn your invoices into cash in just one click. Beyond the speed and simplicity with which you can access funds, invoice financing is worth considering for startups and businesses that may have a difficult time securing other types of loans. With invoice financing, your customer’s credit score is given more weight than your own. In stark contrast to the approval process for traditional small business loans, accounts receivable lenders are looking mainly for unencumbered accounts receivable from clients with good credit. Your own credit history, cash flow and business outlook are secondary.   Advantages of Invoice Financing Invoice financing offers many advantages, several of which we’ve already mentioned. They can be easier to qualify for than other types of loans, you get funds fast and approval is generally based on your customer’s credit rather than your own. Startups with a limited history often have an easier time qualifying for invoice financing, as there’s less emphasis on cash flow and revenue. Generally, three to six months of business history is sufficient, and the only collateral you’ll need is the invoice itself. The other obvious advantage is the time you’ll save waiting for payments. Getting the money you’re owed immediately can help you avoid cash flow issues and may even help you take advantage of timely growth opportunities. Other Factors to Consider When you factor an invoice, your client is usually notified — which can be uncomfortable for both you and your client. With FINSYNC’s invoice financing, your customer will never be informed about the transaction, as we are also a payment processor. Invoice financing can be more expensive than other types of loans. The rates and fees tend to be higher in return for fast, easy access to cash. They can also be somewhat unpredictable, as the fees are based on the time it takes for the invoice to be paid. Repayment terms are often shorter for invoice financing, generally around 12 weeks. And don’t forget that you’re still dependent upon your customer’s payment; if they don’t pay you, it’s still your responsibility to pay back the loan. Keep costs down and minimize your risk by repaying the loan quickly, and only finance invoices from clients with a solid repayment history.      
From tightening payment terms to making it easier for customers to pay you, follow these five simple steps to speed up payment and protect your positive cash flow. By FINSYNC Cash flow is the lifeblood of any small business, as you no doubt are well aware. How else are you going to cover expenses, pay employees and keep things running — not to mention qualify for financing when you need it? Needless to say, overdue payments can put a serious kink in your cash flow. More than 80 percent of small business invoices in America are over 30 days past due. Not only that, the average small business is buried under more than $80,000 of unpaid invoices. And while late payments can cripple a small business, there are several steps you can take to bypass this common problem. Getting paid in a timely, reliable manner is one of the best ways to bolster your cash flow. We know what you’re thinking: easier said than done. Follow these five simple strategies to get paid faster in order to maintain a positive cash flow.  
  1. Invoice Immediately
Waiting until the end of the month to send invoices can cause significant payment delays. Cut down the time it takes to get paid by invoicing immediately after delivering your goods or services. Are you still sending out paper invoices? It’s time to consider electronic invoicing. While emailing PDF invoices is a step in the right direction, there are myriad benefits of a more sophisticated online invoicing system (see #5), the first of which is immediate delivery of your invoices. Electronic invoicing also lets your customers know that they’re dealing with a professional; you’re not likely to forget about an invoice, much less let it slide past the due date.  
  1.  Shorten Your Payment Terms
Are you giving your customers too much time to pay you? As tempting as it may be to offer favorable terms in order to close a deal, consider the strain on your cash flow if you offer 60- or even 90-day payment terms. If you maintain a good relationship with your customers, 30 days should be sufficient. Just make sure to define your payment terms up front, and in writing.  
  1. Provide Incentives
Incentivizing early or on-time payments can help you avoid the hassle (and headache) of tracking down late payments. The incentive is up to you, and could be anything from a small discount (0 to 5 percent) to non-cash rewards that are specific to your business. You may also want to establish penalties or interest for late payments. Always consider the value of the client relationship before enforcing penalties. A first-time warning or flexibility for extenuating circumstances will go a long way to strengthen that all-important client relationship.  
  1.  Offer Flexible Payment Options
Put yourself in your customers’ shoes. How would you prefer to pay: Write a check and send it through snail mail, or pay the invoice online with one quick click? Make it as easy as possible for clients to pay you, and you’ll get your funds much faster. Offering your customers more ways to pay is another simple way to speed up payments. Clients will appreciate the ability to pay with a credit card, via bank draft (ACH) or PayPal.  
  1. Automate with Invoicing Software
  Intuitive invoicing software can simplify all of the above, streamline your invoicing process and make it much easier to get paid faster. These online tools are a win-win for both you and your clients. Not only does the software make it simple to send invoices immediately, it makes it easier for your customers to pay you. Forget about endless reminders and uncomfortable phone calls about past-due invoices. Online tools allow you to set up alerts to automatically remind customers when payments are due, or past due. Better yet, you can set a recurring invoice schedule and even activate auto payments, which are the gold standard for getting paid on time, every time. When it comes to shoring up your cash flow, these minor efforts can pay enormous dividends. Once your invoicing system is set up to help you get paid faster, you can begin to rely on consistent cash flow that keeps your business in the positive.
Boost your chances of getting approved for a small business loan and limit your liability by building up your business credit. By FINSYNC Are you still using personal accounts to run your small business? Separating your personal and business finances is a good idea for many reasons. For one, you don’t want your personal assets on the hook if your business falls on hard times (read: bankruptcy or a lawsuit).   Do You Need Business Credit? While building business credit takes time, there are several benefits that are well worth the effort. Not only will you protect your personal credit and limit your risk, business credit can also help you get approved for a larger small business loan at a lower interest rate. With business credit, you’re also less likely to be asked for a personal guarantee. If you’re applying for a small business loan from a commercial bank or an SBA loan, you’ll need business credit. Online lenders are often more lenient when it comes to credit scores, and pay closer attention to cash flow as an indicator of your creditworthiness. Let’s not forget about personal credit. Most lenders will pull your personal credit — especially when they ask for a personal guarantee, or your business is new and you have yet to establish business credit. An excellent personal credit score will boost your chances of getting approved for a small business loan, while less-than-stellar credit can be a red flag for lenders. How to Establish Business Credit If you haven’t already done so, establishing a business entity that’s completely separate from your personal finances is the first step. If you’re currently operating as a sole proprietorship or general partnership, you’ll need to incorporate or form an LLC. Corporations and LLCs file their own tax returns and have a credit score that’s completely separate from your own. To incorporate, you’ll need to apply for a Federal Tax Identification Number (EIN), which is essentially like a social security number for your business. Be sure to open a business checking account in your legal business name and use it to pay a credit card that’s also in your business name — neither should be tied to your personal accounts. It’s also important to set up a business phone line in the name of your corporation, and get it listed in the 411 directory. Not only will this allow suppliers and lenders to verify your business during underwriting, it gives you an opportunity to build your credit history and boost your rating by paying your phone bill on time. Put any utilities in your business name as well for the same reason. You’ll also need to get registered with the business credit bureaus. Get a DUNS number from Dun and Bradstreet and register with business credit bureaus like Experian and Equifax. How to Build Business Credit Now that you’ve established your business credit, it’s time to build it up by applying for credit. Vendors and suppliers are an ideal place to start. Financing regular purchases, such as office supplies, coffee and marketing materials, is one of the most efficient ways to build your business credit. Secure a line of credit or negotiate payment terms from net-30 to net-60 days, and always pay your invoices on time. While on-time payments seem obvious, it’s worth noting that a late payment can impact your business credit score for as long as seven years. Once you establish a good relationship with your vendors, you can work your way up to revolving credit lines. Note that not all vendors report to credit bureaus, so check your credit reports and make sure to open accounts with a few vendors that report to a variety of commercial credit reporting agencies. Keep an Eye on Your Credit Report Errors on business credit reports are somewhat common, and can lower your credit rating. It pays to monitor your business credit reports with various agencies regularly so you can report any errors and have them corrected.   Remember to be patient. The longer your credit history, the higher your rating. What’s the fastest way to build your business credit? Once you’ve established accounts with vendors that report to the business credit bureaus, pay your bills on time, in full. The reward is worth the wait: You’ll have greater access to funding and save money with lower interest rates.
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