6 Types of Business Loans Available to SMEs In India

The Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) sector is of key importance to the Indian economy given that it employs the second largest workforce in the country after the agricultural sector.

Statistics offer a clearer picture. Accounting for 45% of industrial output and 40% of exports, the SME sector can be a significant driver of economic growth. SMEs also produces more than 8000 quality products for the Indian and international markets.

In recognition of their significant contribution, SMEs are receiving a welcome push from industrial associations and government bodies. Yet their biggest challenge continues to be business loan requirements. Lack of timely financial help wreaks havoc on the growth of small businesses. Funding, if not received at the right time is of no use. Often, SMEs are turned away by traditional banks for a number of reasons. Further, the inflexible and complex loan application and approval processes of conventional lenders are discouraging for most small enterprises.

Fortunately, change is in the offing. Thanks to the growing presence of FinTech lenders, small and medium enterprises have reason to cheer. Business loan requirements for two different companies can never be the same. Keeping this mind, online lenders like Capital Float have stepped in to offer a wide variety of customized loans for business in India.

Here is a quick look at the bouquet of flexible credit products that Capital Float provides to SMEs.

Term Finance:

A quickly disbursed working capital loan, Term Finance is a great product for B2B service providers, manufacturers, traders and distributors alike. It helps fast-track business growth and boost profit margins. Term Finance is a convenient means to acquire fast business funding needed to meet your short-term requirements and ensure a positive monthly cash flow.

Online Seller Finance:

With the online selling space growing exponentially, there is an omnipresent demand for high liquidity. Our Online Seller Finance has made loans for businesses in India, especially e-commerce merchants, easily available. B2C and B2B marketplaces can get ahead of competition, expand to new markets and diversify into new product categories with the help of this customized credit solution. Attuned to your business ambitions, this collateral-free business funding ensures you have liquidity in the swiftest manner possible.

Pay Later:

An innovative financial product, Pay Later is ideal for SMEs with increasing orders in the pipeline and need to make supplier payments regularly. It greatly benefits those that can avail large cash discounts from suppliers. Pay Later works well for an enterprise with a base of blue chip suppliers, too. Carrying a predefined credit capacity customized for every applicant, Our Pay Later credit facility helps a variety of SMEs in times of cash crunch.

Merchant Cash Advance:

A simple and user-friendly business funding solution, Merchant Cash Advance ensures you have access to liquidity as and when required. Most suitable for restaurateurs and retail store owners, your unique business loan requirements are met in the most affordable manner. Active use of card payment devices offers an easy experience to customers. Point-of-sale machines aren’t just means of cashless transactions; they can become instruments for availing working capital finance. Merchants who earn revenue from debit and credit card swipes can avail of business funding through this tailor-made financial product. We offer working capital finance up to 200% on the merchant’s sales from monthly card swipes. Capital Float has partnered with multiple point-of-sale (POS) card machine vendors such as MRL Posnet, Pine Labs, Bijlipay Mswipe, ICICI Merchant Services, etc. Partnering with these vendors helps merchants access their customized working capital solutions.

Supply Chain Finance:

Enterprises often need to work with multiple suppliers. Using bills as financial instruments then becomes a given. Delays in payment are likely to impact the growth of a business. Fully comprehending the importance of correct timing, Capital Float’s Supply Chain Finance has been designed to come to the aid of small and medium business owners. This unique loan product takes care of cash crunch situations through accounts receivable financing, which instantly liquidates the SMEs bills into cash. A revolutionary way to put more money into your business by collateralizing your business’ outstanding bills, Supply Chain Finance enables SMEs to procure an advance of up to 80% of their bill value.

Taxi Finance:

India is witness to the recent boom in the radio taxi business. Finding an Ola taxi or an Uber cab is convenient and something one can do round the clock. Inspired by these success stories a number of people from diverse walks of life are looking at taking up work as drivers for tech-based taxi services. While it offers an easy means to earn a good income and hold a steady job, the taxi business needs basic investment in the tools of the trade— a car wired into a tech-based platform.

Taxi Finance, Capital Float’s innovative financial product, offers taxi drivers the freedom to earn more. With this loan, a taxi driver can now own a car, operate independently, and enjoy the benefit of flexible working hours. Capital Float has partnered with several reputed taxi aggregators to enable cab drivers to ply their cars on their platforms and substantially increase their revenue. The aggregator repays the loan installments by deducting the amount from the driver’s earnings on a weekly basis.

Taxi Finance offers a simple, affordable way to earn on the driver’s terms, providing easy business funding that is in stark contrast to business loans in India offered by traditional banking institutions.

Conclusion:

Unique business loan requirements underline the need for tailor-made financial products. We have financial solutions that cater to any SME’s working capital need. Minimal documentation and zero-collateral are among the unique selling points of these business funding solutions. Additionally, easy eligibility criteria combined with no pre-closure or hidden charges make these funding options SME-friendly. With instant approvals and quick disbursal of business loans, it makes sense to choose from one of our many innovatively designed financial products.

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5 Ways SLACK Can Help Your Organisation

There are several tools in the market that people could use to communicate, such as Email, Skype, Whatsapp, Messenger, HipChat, Slack, etc. How do you pick the right communication tool for your organization? And does it even matter which one you choose? One tool which is considered as the latest and greatest among tech startups is Slack: a chat tool designed for companies. We decided to give Slack a shot, and started using it late last year at Capital Float.

There isn’t one clear solution to choosing a chat engine for office communication, but we recommend companies give their communication channels some serious thought. Slack has features which make it distinctive from other popular tools like Skype and Whatsapp – we won’t go into that here, but do read up for more context. We’ve definitely witnessed a positive impact from using Slack.

Here are a few things a great chat tool like Slack can help you do:

1) Get things done faster

Chat enables real-time communication, and hence collaboration. Discussions can happen in real-time, rather than asynchronously over email threads. Scheduling meeting times becomes much simpler. Email communication reduces, freeing up productive time. Slack fits better into workflows: the mobile app enables people to respond on the go and great keyboard shortcuts on desktop app enable rapid usage. This leads to quicker action being taken resulting in faster decision-making.

2) Organize your information

Conversations on Slack become an archive of internal information. You can create a different “channel” for each group or topical discussion. Channels help keep discussions focused. Slack’s search feature makes it easy to find data across the medium, either by channel or by person. Files shared are compiled into a list. You can ‘star’ things for later and you can pin messages in conversations.

3) Enable people to focus on the right things at the right time

Having a separate company chat tool enables people to keep work and personal communication separate. Work related messages won’t get lost, and people will be less tempted to start replying to personal communication. On the flip side, people can choose when it’s important to tune in or out. Notifications can be customized by channel on Slack and also by time of day. People can schedule notifications to turn off in the evenings, but be notified on an urgent basis if needed. Essentially, people can focus on what they’re doing while at work, but also be engaged and plugged-in when they are with family and friends.

4) Have more control over user access

It is important to keep control of who can access company data – even conversations. You can create private channels which limited users can see, and also control what specific users can access (e.g. a consultant could be made a restricted user). With Slack, you can enable Google App login or other single sign-on (SSO) mechanisms, which has a couple of benefits. Firstly, people can add themselves without creating new accounts, and no one has to ‘add’ contacts. Secondly, it ensures your chat user list is synced to your user management. When someone leaves your company you just have to remove them in one place to ensure they no longer have access to company info.

5) Innovate, connect dots in your business, and have fun

Being a cutting-edge tech company, Slack constantly innovates and also enables innovation. Slack has integrated with many applications, enabling you to play around with a myriad of other tools your business may use. Do you use Zendesk? You could create a channel which gets notifications when a ticket is created. How about Google Hangouts? You could spin up a new Hangout link for a channel. Slack also provides API access which can allow you to create workflows even with your internal systems. Slack’s funky interface and other cool in-built features can prove useful (e.g. a bot that can remind you of stuff) or simply give you inspiration.

While we’re excited about Slack, we realize it isn’t a perfect solution. A few things to keep in mind: Slack may not quite work as well for companies with primarily external-facing communication, since it’s built for intra company conversations. Even if Slack does work for your organization, there are still kinks in the machinery with pertinent features missing from the module. Video/ voice calling can be initiated from Slack (e.g. you can create links for Google Hangouts), but this feature isn’t built into the system. And while Slack has a high uptime and reliable message delivery, for companies in India, Slack isn’t quite optimized for our existing infrastructure. When used over a flaky network, Slack can perform inconsistently while Whatsapp functions adequately.

If you do decide to go down the path of trying something like Slack out for your company (which you should!), be prepared to work initially on getting people to use it. Here are a few tactical ideas to help you get your colleagues on board: have a few champions for the product. Go for grassroots growth, not taking a top-down approach. Create shameless plugs via email with simple instructions. Create channels which people really need to be a part of, otherwise they’re missing out. Be patient, and be positive! You’ll soon see desired results!

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Sakshi leads the investor facing product at Capital Float. Before that, she did product at KPCB backed Turo, a p2p car rental marketplace in SF. Her experience is in a mix of tech, design thinking, and strategy. She enjoys building delightful solutions to problems in traditional industries. At Stanford, she built her core foundation in CS, design, and economics. Beyond building products, she tries to sing and simultaneously play the piano, runs in Cubbon Park, and rolls out fresh pasta.

Sakshi is the Senior Product Manager at Capital Float.

Oct 24, 2018

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Considerations When Taking Short-Term Business Loans

Going the entrepreneurial route is a tough decision to take. Several people contemplate it, but only a few take that leap. Starting a business may be very challenging, but what is even tougher is running a business.

Most small businesses are faced with liquidity crunches. They are required to make payments for raw materials, overheads and staff before their receivables become due. Such businesses have not earned the confidence to ask their suppliers for a lengthy credit period. On the other hand, their customers are able to demand 30, 60 or 90 days before the invoice becomes due.

In such a scenario, small businesses find themselves at the mercy of large banks to raise short-term loans. Here are some challenges that SMEs face while applying for a short term business loan.

Estimating the Money Required: If a business underestimates the amount of money required, it would find itself unable to implement projects, execute orders, retain employees and/or realize its expansion plans. On the other hand, if a business secures a loan amount that is significantly higher than its requirements, it would be taking on an interest burden that is not justified by its bottom-line. Taking the right amount of loan can help the SME adequately address the working capital need without having a surplus or lack of funds.

Applying to Traditional Banks: Most entrepreneurs do not have the funds to invest in their businesses and keep it running for a couple of years. Borrowing from friends and family can also be tricky or simply not an option. In such scenarios, small businesses often turn to traditional financial institutions to raise short-term loans. However, these loans have a very time consuming and complex application process. There is plenty of paperwork involved. The business has to present financials in a predetermined format with supporting documents and detailed projections.

Loan Approval: The process of loan approval can be long and complicated. Banks may take several months to even reject a loan application. Mostly, loans are provided only against collateral, which the business owner may not have. Even then, lenders would conduct a thorough analysis of the financial standing of the small business. The lenders would verify all the information provided by the applicant and this takes a long time, during which the liquidity problem of the business continues to worsen. Therefore, such loans may not even be a viable option for short-term, working capital requirements.

Repayment of Loans: Most short-term business loans from traditional financial institutions have a fixed repayment schedule that is in no way linked to the cycle of receivables of the small business. Moreover, they do not allow prepayment of loans. Thus, these businesses would need to continue to bear the interest rate burden, even if it has the funds to repay the loan.

Against the backdrop of these inherent problems with securing short-term finance, technology has helped offer relief from severe liquidity crunches. FinTech companies like Capital Float rely on cutting-edge technology to offer innovative products that are aligned to the requirements and nature of small businesses. Here are some points to keep in mind while applying for a short term business loan.

Easy Application Process: The application can be sent online via a form that takes around 10 minutes to be filled. The borrower can digitally upload all the required documents.

Fast Loan Approval: The use of powerful algorithms allows Capital Float to approve or reject an application within minutes. Thus, a small business does not need to wait for several months to receive a response. Once an application has been approved, the short-term business loan is disbursed within 72 hours.

No Collateral, No Guarantor: Loans offered by Capital Float do not require small businesses to put up any collateral. Unlike traditional lenders, there is no requirement of a guarantor to validate the loan request.

Loans Designed to Suit Their Purpose: Probably the best news is that the finance products offered by Capital Float take into account the specific requirements and nature of small businesses. For instance, the Term Finance product has been designed specifically for manufacturers, traders and distributors, while the Online Seller Finance product is perfect for businesses that operate on online marketplaces. The Taxi Finance product is meant for companies that are part of the booming radio taxi business in India. Merchant Cash Advance is a loan against card receivables and Supply Chain Finance is finance against invoices from blue-chip companies.

Repayment of Loans: The repayment of loans offered by Capital Float either be in correlation to the receivables of the business or may be in the form of flexible weekly instalments. Moreover, there are no pre-closure charges, like those applied by banks and other lending institutions.

Small-term business loans are a highly effective way to finance business cash needs. However, one needs to calculate the amount carefully and then identify the right financing institute and the right product. A small business needs to opt for customized products that suit their individual requirements and offer flexible repayment options. The innovative short-term finance options available today allow small businesses to continue their daily operations without disruption and gives these enterprises confidence to grow without apprehension.

Oct 24, 2018

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How GST Impacts the Logistics and Supply Chain Industry in India?

With the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) from 01 July 2017, business units across the country are beginning to feel its impact. Since the GST has subsumed all other taxes, such as service tax, VAT, Octroi, excise duty etc. collected by the central and state governments in India, the reforms are extensive. Their impact too is comprehensive and is expected to continue well into the future.

Like all other industries in India, GST impact on logistics and supply chain will also bring some major changes in the way these domains operate, as well as their bookkeeping activities. Logistics is a small but major part of supply chain management that concerns the administration of goods distribution in an efficient manner. We will therefore initially look at the effect of GST on logistics and then see how it impacts the broader domain of supply chain management.

The logistics industry includes the road transport sector (comprising unorganised and small enterprises, trucking companies and other fleets), the storage and warehousing domain and the third-party logistics. The operational efficiency of this industry had been falling due to the complexity of networks, growing coordination costs across supply chains, inadequate infrastructure and the levying of entry fee in different states. In addition to these, the multitude of business taxes was making logistics management an unwieldy and expensive process.

Most firms had to establish hubs and transit points in several states to avoid the state value added tax (VAT) because the goods directly supplied to dealers were taxed as per the VAT rate, but the transfer from the warehouse was treated as a stock transfer and did not attract VAT. However, this only caused more problems in accounting and lack of clarity for companies, while also resulting in opportunities for tax evasion.

GST for logistics companies 

With GST now having replaced the multiple state taxes, there is no longer the long-prevalent need to install a hub across all states. Companies can remodel their supply chains and consolidate their hub operations to benefit from large-scale operations. It will also help them to use efficient practices like bulk breaking and cross-docking through a centralised location.

Under GST, the tax on warehouse and services involving manual labour has increased to 18% from the previous tax rate of 15%. With this change, a third-party logistics company will have greater incentive to provide services where the degree of value addition is high and where input tax credit can be claimed. This, in turn, will help in the consolidation of storage and warehouse sector.

With the convenience of entry across states by measures like the e-way bill, transportation delays will be reduced, although it will also call for streamlined IT systems and readily usable documentation at the entry points. For the third-party logistics companies, the costs of designing a logistics network will be less, and asset-light firms will be able to adapt quickly and reap more advantages in comparison to asset-heavy firms.

Impact of GST on supply chain

Before we look at the GST impact on supply chain, it must be understood that supply chain management is vital for the running of business organisations producing and distributing merchandise. Each business has standards for inventory turnaround, and these must be diligently adhered to in order to ensure optimum profit for the organisation. A loss of inventory at any point will result in a loss of value.

Post the implementation of GST, the benefits accrued by entities in supply chain management mechanism include:

Customisation of supply chain – Under GST, manufacturers can shift towards tailored supply chain models as per customer requirements. The removal of stock transfer benefits can help in increasing the share of direct dispatches for medium and large-sized dealerships.

Superior inventory management – After the elimination of multiple state-level taxes in lieu of a uniform GST rate, the stock points have been optimised and channel inventories reduced. There will be fewer transit stays after GST, which will help in advancing lead times while also reducing inventory levels at stocking points. With more potential for consolidation, warehouse management can also become more efficient.

Tangential decrease in incoming logistics costs – An impact of GST on supply chain will also be seen in the form of tangential benefits for direct out-of-state procurements and logistics costs. This can help manufacturers to expand their vendor base outside state boundaries and alter the sourcing models profitably.

Cash flow management for export businesses – Due to GST, tax exclusion benefits will continue with minimum effect on the bottom line, and a streamlined tax system will help in promoting more exports.

Modified after-sales distribution models- Implementation of GST can significantly affect the spares market due to an increased need for storage and retail penetration. Forward-looking businesses can develop their distribution footprint to retreat from consignment stocking, and enable customised supply chain models while also offering high-quality service at lower costs.

Overall, the logistics and supply chain management industry has been touted as one of the primary beneficiaries of GST structure. To begin with, there will be more compliance and adjustment costs because the frequency of filing returns has increased for businesses. Further, to claim the input tax credit, compliance will be expected from every single party across the value chain. This may hurt the profitability of the industry in the short run, but in the long run, operational efficiency is bound to enhance.

At Capital Float, we take all steps to ensure that small and medium enterprises do not face any hurdles in procuring loans for their business expansion or to implement the changes that need to be implemented as a result of GST. We are also helping our clients – which include logistics and supply chain firms – to comprehend the clauses of GST and use it to maximum advantage in their operations. Read our dedicated GST blog series to know more about the implications of GST on various sectors.

Oct 24, 2018