Projections for the Future: Top 5 Small Business Trends in 2018

Thriving amidst difficult environments has never been easy for SMEs in India, but they continue to stand tall. Despite numerous challenges in the form of infrastructural constraints and lack of access to formal credit, they contribute to 8% of the GDP. Rightly called ‘the engine of growth’ for India, SMEs have scaled manufacturing capabilities, reduced regional disparities and balanced the distribution of wealth.

Small businesses are now being increasingly associated with innovation and employment, and the figures state likewise. The micro, small and medium enterprise(MSME) sector contributes to 69% of employment in India. With the growing penetration of technology into mainstream ecosystem, these industries are at the forefront of bringing the convenience of digitalization to the masses.

The Indian economy is expected to be a $5 trillion economy by 2025, and SMEs are cutting roads towards this goal. As we enter the first financial year post implementation of GST, some interesting small business trends are touted to play an important role for a smoother growth journey to global standards.

Here are the latest business trends that you can keep in mind while setting your objectives for FY 2018-19.

Business Trend 1: Rise of Online B2B Marketplaces

E-commerce marketplaces are gradually gaining momentum worldwide, and has branched out to B2B trading platforms. While this is still at an embryonic stage in India, there is no doubt that the potential it holds is huge. According to experts, the scope of the ecommerce B2B industry is six times bigger than the B2C industry, and is estimated to be worth $620 billion industry by 2020.

Companies such as Amazon Business, Alibaba, IndiaMart, Power2SME, etc. are popular online platforms that connect B2B buyers and suppliers to fulfill their business requirements. These digital platforms have helped small businesses surpass technical and geographical limitations to procure raw materials in bulk at reduced prices and also become official supply partners to large corporations. This is one of the hottest small business trends of 2018 that will present aspiring as well as budding entrepreneurs a level playing field with industry leaders.

Business Trend 2: Personalized Customer Outreach via Automated Tech

With the oldest of the millennials attaining 35 years of age this year, the target audience has shifted by a generation. For an age bracket that has been wrought in technology, this band of consumers need more than online communication. They seek a personalized line of contact when availing services from small businesses, with 60% of them choosing emails as a preferred way to establish this connect.

Since the millennial generation has the highest buying power in the market valued at $44 billion globally, this is one audience you don’t want to miss out on. You can target them by leveraging interactive videos, engaging images, and emails customized with these elements for varying demographics. The use of intelligent virtual communication applications will help you implement this in an efficient and cost-effective manner.

Business Trend 3: Easy Access to Business Credit with FinTech Lenders

The biggest hurdle for small business owners has always been financing. For a country with 50 million SMEs, there is an unmet credit deficit of a staggering $350 billion. Traditional lending institutions are limited by conventional underwriting that caters only to a certain strata of businesses. Lack of collateral, documentation and operational history have been crippling factors that prevented SMEs from qualifying for formal finance. This, in turn, pushed SMEs to the informal sector where the high interest rates charged by moneylenders fettered borrowers to a chronic cycle of debt.

But, FinTech lenders are shifting the narrative by leveraging technology and unconventional data points to provide affordable loans to small businesses as well as consumers. With customized credit products and zero collateral requirement, these digital financiers bridge the gap that had long existed in the market.

Business Trend 4: Big Data to Drive Operations and Decisions

‘Is Big Data too big for SMEs?’- is a question that requires intensive analysis, depending on the goals that define the small business and its operations. Many SMEs see big data projects as unapproachable and sophisticated, owing to the difficulties inherent in understanding huge datasets. However, studies reveal that a calculated use of big data has a colossal impact on the growth of small businesses and has been the chassis for many popular business models.

This business trend is expected to revolutionize the SME sector by speeding its pace of development. New-age digital lenders do finance technological incorporations if it shows a direct correlation to business growth, so you needn’t worry about the funds for investing in Big Data. Check out Unsecured Business Loans for more details.

Business Trend 5: Shifted Focus on IT Security

2017 saw one of the largest cyberattack worldwide, the WannaCry ransomware attack, that caused the encryption of data on computers running the Microsoft Windows operating system and risked the exposure of sensitive data of companies in over 150 countries. Though the attack was stopped within a few days of discovery, the total damages were estimated to be in billions of dollars.

The IT industry in India contributes to a key part of the country’s economy, a significant number of enterprises will begin to invest in dedicated security systems that focus on detection and response, a shift away from conventional systems that were based on prevention. Security enhancements offered by SaaS/Cloud based platforms have become more affordable for small businesses to establish a dominant architecture for data integrity management.

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Impact on Retailers in India after 2018 Union Budget

The Union Budget for FY18-19 was much anticipated, owing to reasons more than one. The first full-fledged financial plan after the introduction of GST and the last one by the Narendra Modi-led government, the most significant event of the Indian financial year is over. With the national polls looming in, the Union Budget rolled out by finance minister Arun Jaitely was favourable towards agriculture, rural development, social infrastructure and digital transformation. However, international mobile phone companies, bond investors, equity servicing institutions and the defence sector are at the not-so-advantageous end of the spectrum. In general, this year’s Union Budget has been a shift from the typical stance of the government that all segments need equal attention.

An industry segment that sees clear growth opportunities is retail. Amidst public opinion that the budget had not mentioned the retail segment, the various provisions have subtle repercussions that will help widen the scope of consumption. Consequently, this will have a long-term impact on retailers, where they can reap benefits from consumers with a higher expendable income.

Here are the key provisions of the Union Budget for FY 18-19 that have relevant implications for retailers.

  • Reduction in Corporate Tax
    With regards to taxation, the budget has declared a reduction in corporate tax to 25% for companies with an annual turnover of up to Rs 250 crore. This accounts for almost 99% of the companies in India and would have an impact of Rs 7000 crore on government finances. As only 250 companies have a turnover above the threshold value, this is a significant reduction in terms of the business turnover cutoff of Rs 50 crore that had been announced in last year’s budget for the same tax bracket.
    This move has resulted in a decrease in the tax burden for small and medium businesses, who can now use these additional funds to purchase inventory or machinery, expand their premises, hire new employees or for marketing activities. In case it does not cover your entire expenses, retailers can also avail easy business finance from digitally-enabled FinTech lenders who provide customized credit products like Merchant Cash Advance.
  • Increased Investments in Digital India
    Lack of investment in digital infrastructure by the government has always been a pain point that has deterred the productivity and development of startups and small businesses. This is especially true for the e-commerce sector, as rural India is the driving force behind its growth. This year alone, e-tailers recorded a three-fold increase in the number of shoppers in small towns compared to metro cities.
    Under the massive Rs 3,073 crore Digital India Program, over 5 lakh Wi-Fi hotspots will be set up to provide broadband access to 20 crore rural citizens in over 2,50,000 villages. This opens up an avenue for individuals in rural India to harness the Internet for trade, banking, logistics and even to avail formal finance from digital lenders. E-commerce retailers can use this opportunity to its fullest, as 55% of the 185 million active consumers are predicted to be from rural India by 2020.
  • Changes in Personal Taxation
    A welcome move for the salaried middle class, this budget proposed a standard deduction of Rs 40,000 for transport allowance and medical reimbursement. While this may seem irrelevant to retailers, the impact of this allowance does indeed affect them. As personal income increases, so does the disposable component. Consumer behavioral studies ascertain that the disposable income is equitable to spends on retail. Thus, the re-introduction of medical and travel benefits is a favourable budget impact on retailers.
  • Refinancing for MSMEs
    The micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) sector plays a major role as India progresses towards becoming one of the biggest economies in the world. Despite contributing a staggering 15% to the country’s GDP with a high market share of 40% towards employment, these businesses have an unmet credit demand of $ 400 billion.
    Acknowledging the fact, the budget declared an allocation of Rs 3794 crore to the MSME sector for credit support, capital and interest subsidy on innovation. With this reform in play, the refinancing policy and eligibility criteria under Micro Units Development and Refinance Agency (MUDRA) program will be reviewed to encourage easier financing of MSMEs by NBFCs. This impact of the budget on retailers opens plenty of avenues avail formal source of finance in a timely manner.
    A unique Aadhaar-like identity for each enterprise will also be implemented for streamlining business identity. This measure can further enable Fintech lenders like Capital Float to process eKYC of enterprises swiftly and offer working capital finance in a matter of seconds.

Oct 24, 2018

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List Of Requirements For Taxi Financing

The radio taxi business in India has seen a big boom in the last few years. Whether it’s the number of taxis or users, both have seen an upward swing. Analysts foresee an even higher growth in future. Viable basic fare along with lucrative incentives makes radio taxis an ideal choice for customers and drivers alike. However, using a rented car restricts a driver’s earnings considerably, as they work on fixed salaries. This is where Capital Float’s Taxi Finance steps in as an ideal taxi loan choice for drivers who aspire to have a car of their own and earn more.

Our association with some of the largest taxi aggregators in India makes taxi financing a smart choice for an Uber loan or other kind of taxi loans. It provides an opportunity for drivers across the country to purchase cars and fulfill their dream of becoming microentrepreneurs. Securing a taxi loan from a traditional finance institution or bank can often be a tough task. With multiple evaluations and lengthy procedures, getting a taxi loan successfully from these institutions is a time-consuming prospect. Failing to meet any of their highly demanding requirements can lead to loan rejection. In contrast, Capital Float offers an easy process for procuring a taxi loan with fast processing and minimal documentation.

To successfully avail of a taxi or Uber loan, there are some basic requirements borrowers need to fulfill. If their application meets these requirements, they can get taxi loans like Uber loan and Ola finance surprisingly fast. Here is the list of taxi financing requirements, which are needed for a taxi loan.

1. Down payment: The applicant is required to pay a certain sum as down payment for availing taxi loans. The high down payment required by traditional lenders and banks often deters drivers from owning a car of their own. This is where Capital Float’s taxi financing differs from conventional lenders. Capital Float provides a taxi loan for an easily affordable down payment — one of the lowest in the industry.

2. Valid driving license: Borrowers must have a valid driving license to apply for an Uber loan. Not having one will mean their application could be rejected.

3. Valid taxi permit license/badge: The applicant must have a valid taxi permit license or badge to be eligible to apply for taxi finance. The time period for the taxi permit/badge can vary with lenders. At Capital Float, the applicants need to have a valid taxi permit license/badge that is one year old for new drivers with the taxi aggregators.

4. KYC documents:  To be eligible for taxi financing, applicants need to submit KYC (Know Your Customer) documents at the time of application. At Capital Float, we request minimum documentation and ensure a hassle-free processing of the taxi or Uber loan. The application process for taxi loan at Capital Float happens online. This makes the process more convenient where the applicant can upload the documents directly with minimal paperwork.

Though all of the above are mandatory requirements for getting any kind of taxi loan including Uber loan and Ola finance, there are certain other things the applicant should keep in mind while applying for an Uber loan. This makes it easier for drivers or applicants to pick a lender that suits them the most.

Flexibility in repayment: The repayment of taxi loans can sometimes stretch the borrower beyond capacity with equated monthly payments or EMIs. If drivers have a more flexible option for repayment, it can bring down the pressure of EMIs to a large extent. Capital Float provides a weekly repayment option for taxi loans. This reduces the size of the installments and ensures payments are not carried over/missed. This can be a big boon in a business where daily earnings are dependent on factors beyond the control of the borrower.

Processing fee: Besides having time-consuming and complex processes, traditional banking institutions levy a processing fee. This can vary depending upon the lender and generally tends to be higher in traditional banking institutions. At Capital Float, however, we charge only a minimal amount as processing fee in a bid to keep things transparent and enable our customers.

Ease of application: It’s the age of digitization and online is the preferred channel for an taxi loan application. Capital Float’s taxi loan applications can be made online, require minimal documentation for processing and are disbursed within 3 days.

Hidden charges: Pre-closure charges which are levied by banks and conventional lenders are an additional burden for borrowers. These charges prevent borrowers from closing the loan early even if they can. Capital Float levies no pre-closure charge and borrowers are free to close the taxi loan before the completion of the loan tenure.

Collateral:  Typically, banks tend to sanction a taxi loan if the applicant has substantial collateral, which can be used to recover a bad debt. Capital Float however disburses taxi loans without requesting for collateral, thus improving the chances of many applicants to secure an Uber loan or other taxi financing.

Processing time: Applicants who wish to get a car of their own at the earliest are discouraged by the long time taken to process traditional loans. Due to late loan disbursements, they end up losing valuable business. Capital Float’s taxi financing process is prompt, and funds are credited within just 3 days to enable drivers to start earning at the earliest.

Capital Float’s taxi financing with minimal requirements along with prompt processing makes it an ideal choice for aspiring microentrepreneurs who hope to succeed in radio taxi business.

Oct 24, 2018

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5 Things to Know About Short Term Business Loans

If you are planning to embark on a new venture or are already running an enterprise, knowing all about short-term loans will serve you well.

Money plays a crucial role in your entrepreneurial journey, determining the size and scope of your business. After all, when you are brimming with ideas to cater to a market need, the last thing you want on your hands is a financial concern that could result in a compromised business opportunity.

Fortunately every problem has a solution and financial solutions for businesses come in many forms.

Reach out to experts

Should you require commercial finance, a short-term business loan could prove to be immensely useful. Wondering what exactly short-term loans are? You could ask friends who have applied for one, or approach specialized financial companies like us. You would be better placed to know more about short term business loans before applying for one. This is particularly useful if you are venturing into business for the first time as a small entrepreneur.

What is a short-term loan?

The simplest way to understand the concept of a short-term loan is to think of it as a business loan that provides immediate working capital to your company. You are given a lump sum amount that you have to repay within a period of one year, or up to five years at most. This is in contrast to other loans which can be repaid over a longer term.

Financial experts say that a short term business loans hold the potential of making or breaking your company. As per a study, conducted by the National Small Business Association, 19% of small business owners cite lack of available capital as the major challenge in their growth, and 82% of businesses fail due to improper management of cash flow.

Given its importance to small businesses, let’s take a quick look at the implications of a short-term business loan.

Factors to keep in mind

Short-term loans are easier to obtain as compared to long-term loans. You can avail of them in the alternative finance market through online lenders, and thus you can completely bypass the slow and cumbersome conventional lenders like banks. These loans are less tedious to get as they have a shorter list of qualifications and lesser paperwork. But you also need to repay them faster, usually within a year. If you manage to raise your profitability in the short term, this can be comfortably achieved.

However, there are certain points that you need to keep in mind while applying for a short-term loan. The interest rates of short-term loans are relatively higher in the commercial finance segment. Thus, it’s advisable for you to go through and understand the total cost of the loan before applying for it. Short-term loans often demand frequent payments from you. In case you don’t have regular/stable cash flow, you may find it difficult to repay your loan with weekly payments.

To help you further, here are five things you should know before applying for a short-term loan.

  1. Be clear about the purpose: Having a clear purpose is the pre-requisite for exploring a short-term business loan. It’s of utmost importance to be crystal clear as to the purpose of the loan—to hire new talent, expand your supplier network, invest in technology etc. If the purpose is not clear, the loan amount could well be frittered away on incidental expenses that can hold back the progress of young companies. Analyze in detail if the short-term loan is going to work for you in your current situation.
  2. Have an operational plan: Have a clear business strategy in place before securing a loan from a financier. It’s crucial to have a strategy that optimizes your resources. Without a proper business plan/strategy, it’s likely that you are going to find yourself in a debt-trap.
  3. Research interest rates and overall cost: Interest rates are an important part of any loan. It’s a smart move to know the interest rates on your dream loan early on, along with the other charges/fees that your lender may levy. A fee would not cause an increase in your interest rate, but it will be a part of your monthly payments.
  4. Calculate risks: As a wise entrepreneur, it is crucial that you carefully weigh all the possible risks before arriving at any decision. Analyze and ask yourself questions like: Will this loan help me in reaping the benefits? Will it generate regular cash flow? Will I be able to repay my loan in regular weekly or monthly payments?
  5. Know your loan duration: Apart from calculating all the risks, and having the strategy in place, it is important to know the duration of your loan and to choose the repayment tenure wisely. You can choose a slightly extended period, keeping risks and emergencies in mind, instead of choosing a short tenure.

Take a leap of faith

We understand that the journey of any venture, especially of a small business, is not an easy one. It takes a lot to take your business to a certain level and when issues like finances become a hindrance, one is likely to lose hope. But remember, today’s new age financial solutions offer a timely respite. Yet, you need to have an analytical and calculative mind, which can understand the pros and cons of the loan in order to leverage it fully.

If you are still in a dilemma, wondering how to get loan for your business or are unable to decide if a short-term business loan suits you or not, we, at Capital Float would be more than happy to assist you.

Oct 24, 2018