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 is UBL and how we underwrite it

The SME sector in India is large and burgeoning. It contributes 45% of the industrial output and 40% of exports, and employs over 40 million people. With rapid economic growth and the impetus being given by the Government, this sector is expected to grow at a phenomenal pace, from accounting for 15% of India’s GDP in 2015 to 22% in 2018.

SMEs need funding

Despite its enviable growth, the smaller merchants and retailers face chronic cash shortage. Traditional banking offers more challenges than solutions to such enterprises. They are faced with long approval periods, demands of collateral, unsurmountable eligibility criteria and loan terms that are unsuitable to address short-term cash flow issues.

Unsecured Loans Provide the Relief

This is where unsecured loans come to their rescue. These are typically shorter-term loans that do not require collateral or guarantors. Some financial solutions are specifically designed to aid SMEs to address their working capital needs or expand their existing business. SMEs often work with limited resources and may find it challenging to pledge collateral to secure a loan. Unsecured business loans prove to be highly beneficial in this regard.

The Greatest Challenge to Overcome

Since unsecured loans by definition have no collateral to back them, a stringent underwriting process needs to be in place to ascertains the applicant’s intent and ability to repay the loan. The loan underwriting process must include the collation and verification of all the data provided by the applicant. This information is analyzed to determine the financial health of the enterprise and the creditworthiness of the individuals most closely associated with the business.

Relying on Cutting-Edge Technology

At Capital Float, we deploy cutting-edge technology to ensure that the process of loan approval is smooth, seamless and swift. This data driven process begins with the loan seeker filing an online application and uploading/giving access to all the relevant documents, including the company’s ITR, sales figures, balance sheet and cash flow statements. Our systems pull the data automatically from various external sources and populate the relevant fields. Capital Float lays specific importance to digital data available in the eco system e.g.; telly ledgers and purchase ledgers.

Apart from the documents provided, weightage is given to company ratings provided by rating agencies like CRISIL and ICRA. The bureau data is used extensively which goes beyond CIBIL scores and looks at hundreds of variables which might predict customer behavior.

The system collates all this information and draws up algorithm-based scores for each business. This initial screening process has no human intervention, since the technology is intelligent enough to identify a risky borrower and reject an application that does not meet the minimum criteria. All this is done in a matter of five minutes; whereas traditional banking could take anywhere between one to three months to decision a loan.

Once an application clears the first screening, experts from Capital Float visits the company’s premises, which could be the registered office or the factory. The experts spend time to understand the business model, the processes, the production capacity and the utilization of existing resources to gain a deeper insight into the health of the enterprise.

These inputs are also entered into the system, which uses powerful algorithms to analyze all the data being collated. These algorithms aid credit managers to take a more informed decision regarding loan approvals.

Thus, with the help of ground-breaking technology, Capital Float is able to approve loans in less than a week, while also ensuring NPAs remain exceptionally low.

Oct 24, 2018

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How Lenders Determine The Loan Limit For An Online Seller

E-commerce in India is growing at a rapid pace. It’s a highly competitive space as it gives opportunities to thousands of small sellers as well as big brands. However, to compete with the larger players, several sellers face the challenge of sufficient capital.

Be it in day-to-day operations, meeting sudden demand rise or to build a brand value, capital is all that you need to keep your venture growing. Loans are one of the most convenient financing options available for most online sellers. This is to expand their business and to manage gaps in cash flow. Be it a big brand or a small seller, financial backing is much needed to grow on e-commerce platforms.

Leading e-commerce companies have tie-ups with many financial institutions such as banks and NBFCs. These partnerships help encourage sellers on e-commerce platforms by providing them finance, mainly in the form of working capital.

Many financial institutions are working in collaboration with e-commerce companies. They have rolled out financing schemes for their online merchants and sellers. Lenders collect the database of sellers from the partnered e-commerce company. They then determine the quantum of loan and the interest rate for the potential borrower. Usually, loan amount varies from Rs 1 lakh to 100 lakhs.

Some lenders offer higher loan amounts depending on the pattern of the business. These e-commerce loans are offered to online sellers at a competitive rate with flexible repayment tenures.

Interest rate offered varies from 11% to 15 %, depending on the various factors and business record of the seller. It involves a quick and easy application process and minimum documentation.

E-commerce loans can be applied online through a simple process of form filling. Approvals are instant in most of the cases. Seller should be registered with the respective e-commerce company to avail the financing scheme. Usually, e-commerce loans are unsecured loans, i.e. loans without any collateral.

Lenders focus on many records related to the seller. Here are some of the Influencing factors based on which lenders determine the quantum of e-commerce loan:

1) Cash Flow Management: 

When you are selling products online, it’s important to ensure healthy cash flows. Online sales are quite difficult to predict, especially during the festive season and on big sale days. Failure in your marketing strategy can leave you with a lot of inventory that you could not sell. Seasonalities are common in the online selling business. You may end up facing cash flow problems, which ultimately lead to a financial crunch. Effective management of cash flows is a vital element. Lenders take your cash flow forecast statements into consideration while determining the loan limit.

2) Past Record:

Lenders take into consideration the entire business record of the seller since inception of the enterprise. Some of the documents taken into consideration are:

  • Business license,
  • Incorporation or registration details
  • Timely payment of sales tax etc.

The lender will then check your business plan and the performance since inception. They do this to understand the pattern and size of your business. So, be mindful of maintaining a good business record right from the onset.

It’s important for online business owners to keep their records updated. With good records, you may get a preferential rate on credit.

3) Operational History: 

Numbers of years in business counts more in getting the e-commerce loan approved. Generally, most of the financial institutions provide e-commerce loan to online sellers with more than a year of operation. The biggest fear for lenders when providing loans to online sellers is the possibility of default. Hence, stability of business is taken into consideration. Your entrepreneurial experience plays a major role in getting a credit facility for your online business.

4) Return on Sales: 

The efficiency of your business is measured basis the return on sales. Lenders consider the ratio of profit and sales to determine the credit limit that they can offer. The loan amount is determined by lenders based on your sales records of the last six months.

5) Type of Business: 

A lender decides the percentage of finance that they can offer to an online seller. It depends on the type of business. If your business is fast moving and the frequency of buying such products is more, you are likely to get higher loan.

6) Customer Satisfaction and Review: 

Earning customer loyalty and trust is key to being successful in online selling. The first impression of a seller needs to be good for customers to consider purchasing from the seller. Positive customer feedback will ultimately lead to more business. This creates more demand in the online marketplace. Customer review and rating defines your service quality. This helps you in building brand loyalty on the e-commerce platform. High customer satisfaction will ultimately boost your sales. This creates competitive advantage for you in the online marketplace. Lenders consider these elements to evaluate the level of your service quality.

CONCLUSION

With many e-commerce companies collaborating with financiers, availing credit for online businesses is no longer a challenging task. As lenders partner with e-commerce companies to offer customized finance solutions to e-sellers, more opportunities are available for new entrepreneurs to explore the online selling business.

Raising working capital for an online business is now convenient. It has become easy with the financial assistance from e-commerce companies.

With the help of details like:

  • Cash flow forecast,
  • Number of years of business experience,
  • Profitability,
  • Sales volume
  • Customer satisfaction report, etc.

Financial institutions are able to underwrite e-commerce loans for online sellers.

Oct 24, 2018

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Improving the Profitability of Private Schools

Intimidated by the long-drawn process of getting a loan approved from conventional sources such as banks and traditional NBFCs, schools in India often discard the idea of borrowing funds for improvements on their campus. They try to make the most of their limited available funds, even if it means some degree of compromise on the quality of upgrades they had planned for the school.

Such an approach does not bring any benefits in the long term. In some cases, it may even backfire. For instance, if a school purchases low-quality furniture due to inadequate funds, which causes discomfort to students/staff using it for 6-7 hours every day, it may not only tarnish the school’s reputation but also cause serious health problems for the users.

What comes as a relief is that school loans are available on easy terms from FinTech companies that are essentially NBFCs but have a streamlined digital lending model for quick disbursal of funds. From a loan for buying school furniture to any other loan for school development, they can provide funds within a week of application receipt. The application needs to be substantiated by only the soft copies of a few documents verifying the credibility of the school.

So what are the benefits of leveraging a quick school loan from such a source? Does it lead to more profitability for the educational institution?

Here’s how the benefits of these loans unfold:

Enable improvements in infrastructure and purchase of new teaching equipment

FinTechs can provide a loan for school construction which helps the borrowing institution to divide students of the same class into different sections. With this, teachers can give more attention to each student, and the quality of teaching improves. The building structure can also be expanded when a school decides to admit more students or has to advance its existing classes to higher grades.

Schools can also take a loan for smart class facilities that are sought in every private school today and have become significant for a generation growing in the digital age. Other areas where a school loan can be used include furbishing of labs and computer rooms, purchase of games supplies and investment in vehicles for transportation services.

Invigorate interest in admissions

The most direct impact of bringing improvements in school facilities is a rise in the number of students who want to be a part of the institution. While senior students can understand the benefits of moving to an optimally planned school on their own, the parents of younger children who join an academy from kindergarten will also try to place their children in such a school. Provision of excellent facilities and keeping pace with new techniques that transform the learning environment is a natural incentive for more admissions in a school.

The good repute of a school can instantly attract students who move to the city due to their parents’ job transfers and have to find an educational institution in minimum time to avoid loss of studies in an ongoing academic session.

Collection of more fees

More admissions imply higher fee collection, and constant increase in this amount eventually leads to increased profitability for schools. A school loan taken to add new facilities and create better learning experiences has multiple benefits for schools that aim to be the leaders in delivering quality education services. Evidently, the increase in their earnings also helps them to repay the borrowed fund.

Whether you need a small loan for school furniture or up to Rs. 50 lakh to finance any development process in your school, Capital Float ensures that you get it most conveniently. Visit https://www.capitalfloat.com/school-finance to apply for your fund today.

Oct 24, 2018