All You Need to Know about Business Loans for Manufacturers: Must-Read for SMEs and MSMEs

The health of any business, including a manufacturing organisation, is determined by its cash flow.

It is not uncommon for the expenses of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to exceed their income in the initial years. At times, they may have to price their products/services low to attract new buyers. The purchase of new equipment and quality raw materials can also increase the expenses for businesses.

Temporarily holding the operations is not a solution to cash flow problems because, with this recourse, the enterprise will not only suffer a revenue loss but also bear the burden of its fixed costs. These include amortisation, depreciation of assets, insurance premiums, property rent, taxes and utility bills.

A business that has planned to grow in its industry can keep fuelling its production processes and also invest in new manufacturing technologies by using an unsecured business loan for manufacturer.

As the name suggests, an unsecured SME loan does not require the borrowing entity to pledge any collateral. With a secure digital process, it is also easy to request for this funding.

How to apply for manufacturer/machinery loan

A FinTech company is one of the most favourable sources of an unsecured business loan for manufacturer. FinTech lenders often are non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) that use digital techniques to receive applications and disburse loan amounts in minimum time.

The advent of these organisations has made the credit industry more competitive. The start-ups that cannot afford to borrow from established banks due to high collateral requirements and other eligibility constraints find it easier to get an MSME loan from a FinTech firm.

All kinds of manufacturing concerns in India, including companies registered as a sole prop, partnership, LLP and Pvt Ltd can apply for these collateral-free loans.

Typically, a digital loan application available on the FinTech’s official website can be filled in less than 10 minutes from any secure Internet connection. To substantiate their credentials, the borrowers also need to upload the digital copies of ID proofs, PAN cards and the documents validating their business earnings. Such documents may be a balance sheet, recent profit and loss statement, the copies of processed income tax and GST returns and the papers comprising information on the ownership of the business.

Within minutes of the application submission, the FinTech sends its decision on the MSME/SME loan applied for, and if this is an approval, the approved loan amount is transferred to the bank account of the borrower in 2-3 business days.

Types of Business Loans for Manufacturers

An unsecured business loan for manufacturer could be a loan to buy machinery or working capital loan. The latter brings funds to finance day-to-day operations and for maintaining the current assets of the company at a higher level than the current liabilities.

An organisation can also borrow any amount – from a few lakhs to over a crore – to start a factory at a new location or to add more product lines to the business. In addition to these, FinTech companies can be approached for a loan to buy raw materials used in the production processes.

It is good to mention the exact purpose of the loan while filling the application because that helps to choose a customised loan product at the right rate of interest.

Understanding the Fee for Loan

While looking for loans online and making comparisons among the available options, prospective borrowers often check only the interest rates. Lured by a low interest rate, they also end up signing up for loans that later prove more expensive.

Some lenders do not mention the total fee of their loans clearly on websites and in brochures. It is talked about only in the Terms and Conditions in tiny letters, which is why it gets overlooked by borrowers. In applying for a raw materials/machinery loan, therefore, a manufacturer must also ask upfront about the loan processing fee, loan insurance premium if any, the involved legal cost, documentation fee and any other charge that would eventually drive up the repayment instalments of the loan.

Although the interest rate quoted by a FinTech company appears higher than the heavily advertised ‘low interest rates’, it makes for a better option. This is because in addition to their interest, FinTechs have a low processing fee of no more than 2% of the borrowed amount, and they do not levy additional charges such as insurance and documentation fee. A FinTech company can afford to do away with such amounts because most of its processes from application to loan disbursal are conducted online.

Ease of Repayment

Bank loans and funds lent by other conventional sources are usually paid in equated monthly instalments (EMIs). However, at times business borrowers including manufacturers can afford to pay back their borrowed sum sooner than the predetermined schedule. The flexible repayment options for an unsecured loan provided by a FinTech company make them suitable sources of such funding.

Conclusively, though making the final choice on a loan source is the prerogative of the borrower, the multiple benefits of unsecured loans put them in a more favourable position than secured loans. Why indeed would anyone want to bring in additional documentation and hypothecate their business assets when credit on easier terms is available from an alternative lender?

In the business of manufacturing, and particularly in the production of perishable items such as eatables that are usually undertaken by SMEs, time is money. Buying of machinery and required raw materials cannot be delayed even if the general cash flow is reduced at any point in time. The gap in cash reserves can be filled by an instant, unsecured loan.

At Capital Float, we have designed an array of unsecured loan products to suit the needs of manufacturers and other businesses. If you have felt the need to inject more funds into your operations, feel free to contact us for the financing that will serve your interests.

Our customer service reps will also answer any of your queries pertaining to your loan application.

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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

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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.

Oct 24, 2018

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Practical Implications of Asset Allocation

Asset allocation, despite its importance in portfolio management, is perhaps the last thing on the mind of the novice investor. Before regaling the virtues of asset allocation, a layman’s definition of asset allocation is perhaps warranted, so here goes: asset allocation is a process by which an investor aims to enhance the risk-reward ratio of a portfolio of risky assets. It is important to stress upon two things here: (1) asset allocation is not a one-time exercise, it is an ongoing process; and (2) the use of multiple asset classes to convert a portfolio of risky assets into a benign money-making machine.

Equipped with a basic understanding of the theory behind asset allocation what is stopping the novice investor from going ahead and enhancing portfolio returns? The reason is that the effect of asset of allocation rests largely on finding asset classes whose returns are uncorrelated with one another – the lower the correlation, the better. For instance, it is popular belief that gold is a hedge against inflation i.e. gold prices and inflation rates move in tandem. Therefore, what one loses in purchasing power is compensated by an increase in gold prices. This, however, is a long term phenomenon i.e. one may witness large deviations in the short term.

The key to benefiting from asset allocation, therefore, is to periodically tweak the portfolio for changes in correlations between asset classes and include new ones with the overall objective of enhancing the risk-reward ratio of a given portfolio. Although this may seem like too onerous a task, the novice investor need not worry. A certain level of diversification via asset allocation can be achieved by following the below steps:

  1. Ascertain whether you have surplus money to invest – a simple equation of income less expenses. The figure you ascertain will comprise your overall pie available for asset allocation.
  2. Understand your needs as defined by three key parameters viz. risk appetite, return requirements and time constraints. Your needs are a function of your age, marital status, number of dependants etc.
  3. Identify avenues to invest in the broadest categories of asset classes viz. equity, debt, commodities, real estate and alternative asset classes.
  4. Steps 2 and 3 will require a bit of periodic back and forth because the asset class(es) you choose will depend on your needs. E.g. someone with a higher risk appetite may have a higher percentage of equities in the pie than someone with a lower risk appetite. The latter investor may lean towards debt investments.

In summary, the age-old adage of not putting all of one’s eggs in one’s basket applies here. A systematic approach to asset allocation with disciplined and timely execution can ensure that investors, novice and otherwise, hold well-constructed portfolios and therefore benefit from asset allocation.

Vinay Basavaraj

Vinay boasts of a decade of experience working in both large and small organizations. His roles have ranged from sales to operations and even a stint in academia. He currently manages affairs in capital markets in Capital Float.

Oct 24, 2018