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.

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What can a School do with a 50 Lakhs Unsecured Loan

In their endeavour to provide quality education and enable all-round development of students through extra-curricular activities, schools in India often need to make some investments. The authorities have to ensure that classrooms are well furnished, there is quality sports kit in the games room, labs have the proper equipment for demonstrations and practical experiments and all essential amenities vital to a respectable educational service are available. To finance such facilities, they may at times seek school loans.

How to get loan for school?” is the first question that comes to mind in such a scenario. Thanks to the digital lending solutions offered by FinTech companies today, recognised schools with classes up to VIII/X/XII standard could easily get collateral-free school loans of up to Rs 50 lakhs.

For what purposes can a school get such an amount? Let’s look at the common reasons that prompt schools to apply for quick loans:

Construct a school building

With a 50 lakh loan for construction of school building, the borrowing institution can build new classrooms to accommodate more students. The amount can also be used to construct a spacious staffroom or for any other structure that the school campus needs. With regular revenue through their monthly fee from students, running schools can afford to pay back the loan amount in EMIs.

Buy school furniture

The furniture used in classrooms and other areas of the school building can seem expensive to buy at short notice. However, quick funding by a FinTech company offering school loans enables the institution to make the purchase conveniently. Like other funds, the amount approved on loan for buying school furniture is credited into the bank account of the borrower within 2-3 days of the application approval and can then be used to purchase the required furniture items.

Build school laboratories

An amount of up to Rs 50 lakhs is usually adequate as a loan for building school laboratory. Schools that have recently advanced their classrooms to X or XII standard may not have science labs for the practical sessions required by the students of these grades. With an unsecured loan from a FinTech lender, they can finance the construction of such facilities. Institutions can also apply for loans to enlarge or refurbish the labs that they already have.

Facilitate transportation

Parents expect safe transport facilities from a school, especially for their younger children. A van, minibus and larger buses can cost anywhere between Rs 7 lakh and Rs 50 lakh depending on its size, brand and age – new/used. Schools that want to buy their own vehicles or enlarge the existing fleet can use FinTech collateral-free loans available for such purposes.

Buy new teaching devices

A quick school loan is the best resort when the school needs to have better teaching devices installed in its classrooms and labs. These could be computers, whiteboards, overhead projectors and other hardware especially commissioned for education purposes. FinTech companies lend up to Rs 50 lakh for such teaching aids.

Develop the school campus

An unsecured loan of Rs 50 lakhs can be used for any other productive purpose that contributes towards the development of school and helps it become a more valuable education service provider. The institution simply needs to state the objective clearly in the loan application and provide the required documents authenticating its eligibility for the fund. It can also arrange for a flexible repayment structure when a FinTech lender disburses the loan for school development.

Apply for Unsecured school loan

As a trusted FinTech company providing loans to schools, Capital Float has customised credit products to support educational institutions across India. To talk about your school loans requirements, feel free to call on 1860 419 0999.

Oct 24, 2018

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Convenient Supply Chain Financing Creates Resiliency In The System

Supply chain finance is an important but often underrated aspect of supply chain management. At its core, supply chain management is the management of the flow of material / services, data and money through a network of assets from the point of origin to the point of final consumption (and back). Natural disasters, geo-political crisis and financial crisis faced by the world over the past decade have forced companies to move away from only optimizing their supply chains to making them more resilient. For a supply chain to be truly resilient, all risks associated with the asset base managing the flow (i.e. the material & services, data and money) must be negotiated intelligently, keeping in mind that each one represents a point of failure or a point of opportunity.

Industries are habituated to ignore the significance of supply chain financing. While there has been a lot of collaboration between different constituents of supply chains, they usually center on inventory. However inventory and finance are intrinsically linked; increased players in the supply chain machinery is directly proportionate to the increased complexity in the financing of the process. This is especially true in a country like India, where the number of intermediaries, in many cases outnumbering the actual value addition points, poses a complex problem from the paradigm of supply chain finance and more importantly supply chain resiliency.

As with anything in a complex supply chain, the bulk of the power resides in a few constituents (maybe the retailer or the manufacturer depending upon the specifics of the value chain). These companies understandably look out for their own interests especially when it comes to supply chain finance. Though concepts like JIT (just in time) inventory and quick turnaround times from order-to-delivery have reduced inventory levels held drastically, most companies still hold onto the traditional 30-45-60 day of credit terms with their suppliers. This puts incredible financial stress on the supplier which in the worst case manifests in poor quality of supply. In the long run, this increases the total cost of ownership for the company, i.e. investment in more stringent QC processes, returns, disruption to the manufacturing process, supplier switching costs etc. Applying the same principles of collaborative thinking to supply chain finance will not only make the overall chain more resilient but also optimize the flows and pass on efficiencies in the long run to the end consumer.

In today’s business environment where “share holder value” is no longer a buzz word but the focus of every corporate board of directors, it might be wishful thinking to expect companies to share their margins or reduce days of credit to suppliers in the interest of collaboration. This is where a third party financial institution plays an important role. By providing liquidity to the supplier on the basis of the credit umbrella provided by the bigger company, the addition of the third party financial institution creates a win-win across all stakeholders involved. This is even more critical in the case of small and medium sized enterprises, which at this point are forced to spend only a fraction of their efforts on innovation and growth.

While some large corporates do have some form of supplier financing initiatives through tie ups with Banks and NBFCs, in most cases the coverage of the initiatives are limited (to some marquee suppliers) and in a larger amount of cases are a generic form of receivable financing based on existing credit policies of the financial institutions, which are out of sync with business realities. It is imperative for large corporates to have a supplier financing initiative for all their suppliers, especially the SMEs to manage their financial risks. In turn it is imperative for the financial institution to have a tailored product which reflects the operating realities of the industry and also the specificity of the supply chain. Collaboration of all three stakeholders, i.e. the large corporate, SME supplier and financial institution will be critical to ensuring a sustainable supply chain finance program.

We live in an interconnected world; therefore large corporates have the responsibility to ensure that their SME suppliers have access to finance, if they truly want to make their supply chains resilient.

Prashant Adhurty

Prashant has 11 years of experience in business strategy and operations, with specific expertise in the areas of project management, supply chain management and business process formulation , across the retail sector, United Nations system & international organizations, telecommunications & high technology, oil & gas and 3rd party logistics. He has successfully managed and delivered projects for clients based out of Europe, the USA, Africa and India.
At Capital Float, Prashant heads Business Development for Supply Chain Financing.

Oct 24, 2018

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Your Concise Guide to Choosing a Business Bank Account for Working Capital

Having a dedicated business bank account is important for business owners to effectively manage and utilise their working capital. With a simple segregation between personal and professional funds, the day-to-day transactions will be easier to track and document. It is also essential for compliance in IT returns filing and will help you to identify the correct deductions for your tax savings.

In India, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) generally use current accounts to manage their funds and to get a working capital loan. While no interest is received from these accounts, lately some banks in the private sector have started offering interest to attract more buyers for opening accounts with them. As a part of their services, the banks also provide working capital finance to their eligible customers with current accounts. However, these grants are sanctioned upon the pledging of an asset as collateral. Industrial, commercial or residential property or liquid securities have to be pledged while borrowing funds for business from a public or private sector bank.

With the availability of working capital financing solutions from digitally operating NBFCs – known as FinTech (technology) companies ¬– entrepreneurs can now have their dedicated business bank account and procure loans without pledging any collateral. These online platforms provide financial the benefits of less stringent terms and flexible repayments.

The question then is – how to choose the right bank account for business transactions? Most banks have now customised their current accounts into different sub-categories, and an enterprise can choose one based on its annual turnover and particular needs. The key expectations from such an account are:

Salary solutions for employees: You need to pay your employees on time every month, and may have to remit their remuneration through dedicated salary accounts or crossed cheques. The business bank account must make the execution of these processes simpler.

Digital banking services: In an era where all personal banking transactions can be done online, current accounts must also come with a host of online banking services. Your account must give you the flexibility of transferring funds anytime, anywhere, and of making regular payments on working capital demand loan that you may have procured from another financial institution. In addition to net banking, services such as phone banking, mobile banking and quick reverts on SMS-based queries are looked forward to as well. Mobile instant alerts on transactions must be provided by banks in the digital age.

Cheques payable at par: Your business bank account should offer the provision of personalised cheques payable at par across India. This conventional facility is good for business owners who prefer to use cheques over online banking for making payments to their employees, vendors, suppliers and to the companies that issued working capital finance to them.

Competitive foreign exchange rates: If your business operations involve buying from or selling to other countries, you will need seamless foreign exchange transactions. Choose your current account from a bank that offers competitive rates on foreign exchange rates routed through them.

Zero balance account: No business wishes to reach a point where they have zero balance in their bank account. Nevertheless, there can be tough times in the market and you may experience some strain on your finances. For emergencies, your business current account should allow you to reach zero balance even if it is for a temporary period. There should be no ‘penalty charges’ on such accounts. You can always update the balance with relentless focus and consistent efforts while working on your business objectives.

Where a zero balance account is not possible, the minimum monthly average balance (MAB) must be made affordable for SMEs. Alternatively, the penalty for non-maintenance of minimum balance must not be very high. Do not hesitate to compare business accounts of different banks on this basis. Your working capital finance provider may also be able to guide you here.

Interest rate: We had mentioned earlier that current accounts do not usually involve interest earnings. This had been the norm in the banking industry for decades. However, with an increasing competition between public and private sector banks, things have changed. All financial institutions are trying to enhance their brand image in the industry by offering products that are more attractive to prospective customers. In this race, they have started delivering interest on idle money in business accounts while also giving the flexibility of accessing the funds anytime. With interest earnings on your account, you can also speed up the payments on your working capital loan procured from any source.

Businesses do have good reasons for applying for a separate banking account, and it also proves their creditworthiness to sources of working capital loan in India. Non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) and FinTech lenders can directly disburse funds into a current account.

The documents needed to open such accounts vary from bank to bank and depend on the type of business. Those investing in their start-ups are often asked to submit copies of their latest IT returns, PAN Card and ID and address proofs such as Aadhar Card or Passport copy. Partnerships, Limited Companies, Trusts, Associations and other corporations that involve more people and hire employees need extra documentation, which among other things must also include the registration deed for the business.

Further, check the fee and applicable charges on these business accounts. There may be charges for remittance facility from other banks, for the maintenance of debit cards and duplicate or ad hoc account statements.

As a FinTech lender, Capital Float disburses loans into your accounts in a duration as short as 3 days, helping you to keep going further for the consistent success of your venture. We have an array of loan products to help you work on the seamless growth of a project that you have enthusiastically nurtured.

Oct 24, 2018