How to Determine Your Working Capital Needs

The availability of working capital is probably the most critical aspect of running a business smoothly and successfully. Also known as the current capital, working capital basically refers to the cash available with an organization for managing its daily operations and is calculated by simply deducting the current liabilities of a business from its current assets.

Assets that can be easily converted into cash within a year or a business cycle are termed as current assets and include cash, accounts receivables, inventories and short-term prepaid expenses. Similarly, current liabilities are the ones that a business needs to pay off within a year or one business cycle and includes accounts payable, accrued liabilities, accrued income taxes and dividends payable.

If current assets are greater than current liabilities, the business has a positive working capital situation or extra cash to meet unexpected expenses. Conversely, if the current liabilities are more than the current assets, the business is said to have negative working capital and needs to take working capital business loans.

Adequate cash availability also allows a business to take care of newer opportunities that require quick infusion of funds. However, not all businesses have access to adequate funds to carry out their operations smoothly and often need working capital loans.

Working Capital: Need and Importance

Every business needs to maintain some working capital to continue its operations smoothly. The amount of liquid funds available with a business is a measure of its ability to meet its short-term obligations. It is also a reflection of a company’s operational efficiency. Here are some reasons why working capital is essential:

Smooth Running of Business: Funds are needed for the smooth working of day-to-day operations and spending on the purchase of raw materials, overhead expenses and payment of wages and salaries. Working capital enables an uninterrupted flow of production or provision of services.

Goodwill: Sufficient cash with a business means it is capable of making prompt and timely payments, which in turn enhances its goodwill.

Easy Loans: Banks and financial institutions prefer to lend to organizations with adequate working capital.

Ability to Deal with Unexpected Expenses: Adequate availability of funds prepares a business to meet any unexpected expenses or situations.

Working capital is often used to judge the financial health of a business. A positive working capital situation indicates that a business is capable of paying off all its short-term debts, operating expenses and salaries with some extra amount remaining for reinvestment. In contrast, negative working capital is a cause for concern. It hints that the business may not be able to pay off its creditors.

Need for Working Capital Finance

Many businesses do not have sufficient cash in hand or liquid assets like money in the current account to meet their daily operational expenses. This is where working capital finance comes to their rescue. Small retailers or merchants typically require capital to fund seasonal inventory buildup. Also, businesses that do not have stable revenues through the year may still need to maintain a specific amount of inventory to fulfill any sudden increase in demand for their products. Such units often require a working capital loan to pay wages or meet other expenses during lean periods or when they are servicing an order, and the receivables would become due only after order fulfilment.

A working capital business loan is a short-term finance option that is generally repaid in the period when sales are high and the company has surplus cash. A major benefit of such credit is that its terms is short, which allows a business to maintain full control of its operations. Such loans need to be sanctioned quickly, without a lengthy approval process. Working capital funding can be secured or unsecured, depending on the financial product or lender.

Determining Your Working Capital Needs

The proper assessment of working capital needs is an important part of efficient financial planning. It allows a business to plan well and arrange the necessary funds on time to ensure smooth functioning of daily operations. The amount of current or working capital required by a business may vary. It is dependent on the operating cycle, or the amount needed to pay suppliers, the amount of inventory held and the time taken to collect cash from customers. Also, this may change with changes in demand for its products and services.

The working capital requirements of a business can be calculated by subtracting the accounts payable from the sum of the inventories and accounts receivables. Businesses need to fill the working capital gap by using internally generated profits or external borrowings or a combination of the two.

In case of new units or startups, working capital refers to the amount of money to be borrowed to keep operations going until the business starts generating adequate revenues to cover its operational expenses. Calculating the amount required to carry on business in the initial few months when there are no or very little revenues challenging and often leads to businesses borrowing too much or too little. A business should look towards raising working capital loans that have a prepayment option, or the option to repay the loan before the term is over.

Raising Working Capital Business Loans

Financial institutions use two ratios – the current ratio and the quick ratio – to measure the financial health or liquidity of a business. The current ratio is obtained by dividing the value of current assets by the value of current liabilities. A ratio above one means the current assets are more than liabilities, which is viewed positively. The quick ratio measures the proportion of short term liquidity (current assets minus inventory) to the current liabilities of a business. It gives a good idea of the company’s ability to meet short-term expenses quickly.

Working capital business loans are granted after assessing a company’s liquidity and working capital needs.

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Online Seller Finance – working capital loans for e-commerce merchants

The fact that ecommerce is growing exponentially all over the world is undeniable. Entrepreneurs everywhere are competing with each other to get a piece of this lucrative pie. Definitely, starting a business in the virtual world entails much less costs, making it easier for more and more people to fulfill their dreams of running their own enterprise.

However, even with ecommerce, there are some things that do need to get taken care. For instance, you will need an impactful website that stands out among the crowd and you will need products and/or services that the market is currently looking for. You will also need to identify a network of suppliers that you can work with and hire employees to take care of the day-to-day activities as well.

Most importantly, you require capital to keep the business running and leverage business opportunities. This is where Capital Float’s Online Seller Finance comes to the rescue. If you, as a new entrepreneur, were to approach a bank or NBFC for a loan, you will be faced with difficult terms and conditions, the least of which is proving that you’ve run the business successfully for at least a year.

On the other hand, with the flexibility, ease of processing and convenience of accessing working capital even an amount as low as ₹1 lakh to as high as ₹3 crores, Online Seller Finance, specifically designed for ecommerce businesses, is the way to go.

Features 

1) Loan range from 1 lakh to 3 crores

We cater to a wide range of e-commerce merchants. Each merchant has a different capital requirement based on their business need or opportunity. With our wide ticket range, we cater to practically any working capital requirement of the online seller segment. These funds could be used for a variety of purposes such as making supplier payments, adding inventory during peak seasons or diversifying into new product categories.

2) Customized credit criteria

We acknowledge that each merchant is inherently different and must be treated individually. Unlike many traditional financial institutions, we don’t follow a cookie-cutter method to underwrite our customers. By leveraging Big Data & Analytics, we are able to underwrite each customer on the merit of their business performance and offer a tailored credit product. For example, the merchant is offered a specific loan amount basis their monthly sales on the marketplace and projected revenue.

3) Quick, online application process

We are a digital finance company and believe in limited paperwork. We offer the convenience of technology to our customers right from the start of the relationship. Borrowers can apply online using their mobile devices, as long as they are connected to the internet. The 10-minute application is very simple, quick and entirely hassle-free. The borrower can upload their documents online and need not visit a physical office for presenting the documents.

4) No pre-closure charges

Borrowers can close their loan by repaying the balance amount before the end of the agreed tenure. We offer the feature of ‘no pre-closure charges’, which means that the borrower will not be liable to pay any extra charges for closing the loan ahead of time.

5) Get up to 2x credit based on your marketplace sales

Online merchants applying for ‘Online Seller Finance’ can avail up to twice the amount of sales they make on e-commerce marketplaces. For example, if the seller makes ₹10 lakhs in sales per month, the seller can receive working capital funds of up to ₹20 lakhs. These funds can fuel growth on the marketplaces, helping the seller to increase their business geometrically. Higher the sales, the higher the eligible loan amount, higher the chances of leveraging business opportunities.

Benefits

1) Collateral-free

Our Online Seller Finance credit product is an unsecured working capital loan. The borrower need not pledge any security or asset as collateral to avail this loan. Funds are approved on the merit of the borrower’s business performance on the marketplace and not on their assets. Merchants can avail funds and operate without the anxiety of conceding their securities.

2) Funds in 3 days

Our technology and Big Data capabilities help us speed up the underwriting process. We understand that ‘timing makes all the difference’ to online merchants, given how dynamic the business is. Payments can’t be delayed and opportunities must be seized immediately. Bearing this in mind, we disburse loans to the borrower in less than 72 hours of the loan application.

3) Flexible repayment terms

Banks and other NBFCs typically function using the model of EMIs, or easy-monthly-installments. ‘Online Seller Finance’ allows you to repay the installment on a fortnightly basis. As a result, the installment is smaller in amount and is less burdensome to repay when compared to a monthly installment, which would typically be twice the sum. This way, your cash flows remain unaffected and you have more funds to deploy into your business.

4) Ideal for expanding your business

Financing the online seller segment is relatively new in the lending space. Not many financial institutions have fully understood this segment, which has caused several e-commerce sellers to return empty handed from formal lenders. Capital Float was the pioneer in digital lending to e-commerce sellers. Therefore, we’ve made it a lot easier for online merchants to avail finance for their business. Our partnerships with leading marketplaces like Amazon, PayTM, Snapdeal, Myntra, Shopclues, eBay, Craftsvilla, etc. has enabled us to reach to a wide range of sellers. Merchants on these platforms can avail easy funding and expand their business on the platform.

Eligibility and Documents

To qualify for ‘Online Seller Finance’ you must comply with the following parameters.

Eligibility

1) Applicant’s business must have minimum operational history of 1 year

2) Applicant’s partnership minimum vintage should be between 3-6 months

3) Minimum quarterly sales of ₹25,000

Documents

1) Bank statements for the last six months

2) KYC documents of the applicant and the organization

Fee and Charges

At Capital Float, we conduct business in the most transparent manner. This means, you’re only obligated to pay a processing fee of up to 2% for the loan. There are no hidden or pre-closure penalties during or after your application procedure.

Oct 24, 2018

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7 Ways to Manage Your Business Cash Flows

Two of the main reasons why businesses face challenges are inadequate cash reserves and business finance. Whether the business is struggling or growing, effective cash flow management is absolutely essential and the key to business survival.

There is always a lag between the time a company pays its suppliers and employees and the time it collects payments from customers, which causes issues for the business to remain operational. Once businesses have used a lot of their finances, they may experience a cash crunch that prevents them from paying suppliers, buying materials and even paying salaries, which hinders business growth and success, since most companies usually lose the trust of suppliers and employees in such situations.

SMEs Need Smart Cash Flow Management

Cashflow is basically the movement of funds in and out of your business. Cashflow is called positive when the amount of cash entering into the business from sales, accounts receivables, etc., is more than the amount of the cash leaving your business through monthly expenses, accounts payable, employee salaries, etc. In the reverse situation, the cashflow would be considered negative.

To attain a smart cash-flow management, businesses need to think beyond just their profit or loss and focus on a positive cash flow, which is key for generating profits. Companies need to have enough cash reserves available all the time to pay their employees and suppliers so that production isn’t affected.  Capital Float is a FinTech lending company fulfilling the business loan requirements of SMEs in India. We offer flexible, short-term loans that you can use to purchase inventory, service new orders or optimize cash cycles. Our online application procedure simplifies the application process and lowers the time required for approval. The loan amount is disbursed within 72 hours.

As mentioned previously in this blog, achieving positive cash flows is fundamentally important to the health of the business. Here are some ways in which you can effectively manage your cash flows, leading to higher profits and business growth.

7 Practical Ways to Ensure Effective Cash Flow Management

1.Collect Receivables: There are times when every business has to extend credit to customers, particularly when they are in the growing stage. When you speed up the receipt and processing of receivables, you will experience quick input of cash, further reducing credit cycles that inevitable lead to debt.

2.Opt for Short-Term Unsecured Loans:  Short-term business loans, from FinTech lenders like Capital Float, are the best solution to overcome cash flow problems and meet immediate cash requirements. Unlike traditional lending institutions, which require extensive documentation to process a loan, these lenders use technology to make financing decisions. Applicants can avail a loan amount from Rs. 1 lakh to Rs. 3 crores. If you decide to pay off the remaining balance of the loan earlier than decided, you won’t not be charged any prepayment penalty either.

3.Adopt Easy Modes of Payment: Try to get paid faster by using mobile payment solutions. Many companies, upon selling their products, provide services through which they receive payment on delivery via banking apps on smartphones or tablets with the use of a credit or debit card. In fact, businesses today are actively turning towards card payment devices, where these Point-of-Sale machines, other than offering cashless transactions, become the instruments for availing working capital finance through services like Capital’s Float Merchant Cash Advance.

4.Pay Later Finance: This financial product helps you make regular payments to replenish inventory and keep your business moving. Many a time, businessmen are presented with growth opportunities, but due to a cash crunch, they are unable to capitalize on such opportunities. Even when they try to, the informal lenders charge exorbitant rates of interest, coupled with other unreasonable demands, making it hard to borrow money from them. Pay Later is a predefined credit facility, unique to each applicant, from which the applicant can make multiple drawdowns. The facility can be restored following repayments, making the facility ready for further use. Interest is charged on the drawdowns and not the entire facility.

5.Online Seller Finance: Capital Float has partnered with the largest e-commerce platforms in the country, including Amazon, PayTM, Snapdeal, Myntra, Shopclues, eBay, etc., to help business owners access fast and flexible working capital loans for business operations in India. One of the unique features is that the loan is offered on the basis of the borrower’s monthly sales and projected revenue We use cutting-edge tech-integration, Big Data and decision sciences to assess the borrower’s business.

6.Discounts on Early Payments: Your profit margin might be effected when you offer your customers discounts upon early payment. However, it will surely help in your business’ cash flow management. Incentivizing customers will encourage them to make payments earlier than the billing cycle, which will be advantageous for your business.

7.Increase the Company’s Sales: This is indeed the most traditional method of increasing cash flow, but it might not always work. Try to attract new customers and sell additional goods or services to your existing customers. You should remember that while new customer acquisition increases sales, selling more to existing customers is cheaper and leads you to increase your profit margin, generating more cash.

Oct 24, 2018

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Top 10 Time Management Tips for Small Business Owners

Time is money. No phrase proves this statement better than when you own a growing business.

As you strive to achieve your business aspirations, juggling responsibilities and managing activities end-to-end sums up a typical work day. You simply cannot afford to compromise on any of the processes at hand, because it might have a profound impact on the growth of your venture. The trick is to focus your productivity on the limited resources you have in a time-efficient manner till you can confidently handover the heavy lifting to experts. Successful businessmen will tell you the same, but in two words: time management.

Here are our favorite tried-and-tested time management tips for small business owners to save you time and make running your business easier.

1. Fix a Schedule and Stick to it

The best way to accomplish a productive day is to show up at work with a clearly defined set of goals and tasks, preferably hand-written. A disorganized schedule leads to ineptness and wasted hours, eventually leading to a loss of focus on business objectives. Account for every hour of the day, from the time needed for meetings and document review to travel and shopping. Create your schedule with three categories- one for the responsibilities that need to be completed that day, another for those activities that require your attention but can be put on hold and a third with minor tasks that you can work on if you have extra time. Know your downtime- you can use this for short breaks.

2. Focus on ONE Task at a Time

Multitasking might seem like a clever way to do many things within a short amount of time, but it divides your attention among the responsibilities at hand. Being a budding enterprise, this is not a risk that you want to take now. Instead, you can try the ‘Pomodoro technique’. This involves setting your timer for a specified time and focusing wholly on one task before the timer goes off. Repeat this after taking short breaks of 5 minutes between tasks. An efficient way to structure your time, this technique ensures that you devote time for a specific activity regularly.

3. Delegate Work

All small businesses are a one-man army early into their business operations. But your growth journey to becoming a larger enterprise begins when you start delegating responsibilities to expert personnel. Hire people who are dependable to manage tasks you don’t have time for or you are not suitably skilled for. This will give you more time to work on things that you are best at and need your personal attention. Keeping in mind that most growing enterprises might not be sufficiently funded to hire the right people, Capital Float offers Unsecured Business Loans to support the recruitment needs of these businesses.

4. Avoid Distractions

Any means of distraction is harmful for the growth of your business, as the work you do is very different compared to those of your employees. If you think your team members are wasting time on social media, set up a URL blocker on your system. You can forward calls, set up caps on answering emails or designate others to perform repeated tasks, if these are causing you to deviate from your daily schedule.

As you get busier, more people demand your time. Reducing distractions implies training the people around you to respect your time. Your employees tend to consume your time with constant problems or through attempts to garner your attention. Take steps to identify the major time-wasters and keep them at bay.

5. Prioritize difficult tasks

An effective time management hack is to start your work hours with the most challenging task at hand. Despite varying individual notions of productivity, mornings are accepted as the time of the day when you are at your optimum performance levels. This leaves the rest of the day to handle repercussions or developments, and you can work on other priorities with a relaxed frame of mind.

6. Watch out for ‘Shiny Objects’

Many a small business that has just entered the economic space face the ‘shiny object syndrome’ early into their growth phase. Shiny objects, or seemingly bright opportunities, keeping popping up from time to time and they tend to distract you from your business objectives. You can eliminate such time-wasters by asking for agendas before attending any business proposition and comparing new prospects with the value of opportunities at hand.

7. Organize your Work Space

There is no bigger demotivating factor than coming to a cluttered workspace every morning. Not only does it create an unorganized mental space, but according to recent surveys, makes you stay at office longer. Documents categorized into inbound and outbound piles, color-coded filing cabinets, scanning forms onto Outlook, and similar techniques will save you the trouble of rifling through scores of paperwork to find information.

8. Evaluate and Improvise Consistently

The worst thing to do to your business is to continue implementing processes that do not benefit your cause. Most small business owners might be busy with specific projects to spend time analyzing their business models. This is where a quarterly evaluation becomes the most significant of time management tips and strategies. A quarter, or three months, is relevantly sufficient amount of time required to determine the effectiveness of a strategy or a business relationship. Carrying out evaluations at the end of every quarter gives ambitious entrepreneurs better process insights and a chance to move in the right direction.

9. Measure Big Successes & Failures

One of the critical time management skills that a small business owner must possess is goal setting. Define scalable weekly business goals with an emphasis on a particular aspect of your business that you want to focus on, and evaluate the big wins and losses at the end of the week. What makes this strategy so productive is that here, failures are treated as important as successes, as early analysis saves the time that your team might have continued working on them.

10. Leverage Technology

Most small business owners spend more time running a business than growing it. Tasks like staff rotas, invoicing, payroll and tax consume more than 30 hours of productive time every month. With the infinite number of apps and services available online, technology can be used to fill the gap in your current business processes. Automating repetitive tasks such as these will help you save a lot of time to focus on activities that directly impact the growth of your business.

Oct 24, 2018