Loan Products in the Market for SMEs: 5 Steps to find the best Business loan type for your Business Requirements
An enterprise that has a strategic business plan for its growth but not enough cash to execute the same can approach institutional lenders for funds. There are multiple sources of procuring a working capital loan in the organised credit market. These include private and public sector banks, development banks and non-banking finance companies (NBFCs).
The digitally enabled NBFCs known as FinTech lending companies have become some of the major lenders supporting the growth of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs, SMEs) around the world. In India too, the FinTech lending model is becoming popular, and start-ups find it more convenient to borrow from them as these companies offer unsecured business loans.
What kind of businesses can borrow from a FinTech company? How to apply for a FinTech SME or MSME loan? Could this be a month-long process like most other institutional lending systems? These are some of the questions that organisations not acquainted with the digital lending framework ask. And the answers bring relief to most of them.
In their mission to support the Make in India initiative, established FinTech companies are coming forward to assist as many enterprises as possible. They have a diversified array of products that include working capital loan, term loan, supply chain finance, machinery loan and other funds customised for different commercial needs.
You need to take merely 5 steps to find the best business loan type for your business requirement when you decide to approach a FinTech company for finance.
Before we further look into these five steps, here is some more information on the different types of funds provided by these digital lenders:
Working Capital Loan—This form of finance helps sustain the regular operations of any business. It is usually taken for a short term – up to 12 months – to procure additional raw materials, buy inventory, pay for utilities and to give advance payments to suppliers. Your business can use this loan as a cash cushion and manage seasonal sale fluctuations.
Term Loan—FinTech companies also offer loans for longer tenures when businesses need to make bigger investments. When the loan amount taken by an SME is approximately Rs 20 lakhs to 50 lakhs, it can be paid it back in 2- 3 years in small instalments. Term loans can be taken by any manufacturer, trader, distributor or professional service provider.
MCA Loan—A Merchant Cash Advance (MCA) loan is a funding option open to businesses that frequently accept card-based payments from their customers. The FinTech lender looks at the monthly credit or debit card receipts to determine the creditworthiness of a borrower. Eligible businesses in Indian can borrow between Rs 1 lakh and 1 crore as per their average card settlements. The loan can be paid back in 9 to 12 months.
Machinery Loan—As the name conveys this loan is procured to purchase machines and equipment used in the manufacturing processes. Businesses in construction, packaging, fabrication, and assembling of products can use these loans to overcome temporary financial roadblocks. FinTechs have flexible repayment terms for such loans.
Invoice Finance—Another customised business loan for SMEs and MSMEs, invoice financing enables businesses to borrow against their Account Receivables. If your company needs immediate cash to fund operations, but your clients will process your bills at later dates, you may be eligible to get quick invoice finance from a FinTech company.
Pay Later Loan—An SME loan in the form of a pay later finance comes with a pre-defined amount that is exclusive to each business as per its requirements and earning capacity. On this loan borrowers can make multiple draw-downs within the approved limit. They just need to pay back the sums used to reinstate the balance for further usage. It is a rolling credit product to help small businesses pay their suppliers at short notices. The top benefit of this loan is that the interest is charged only on the amount used and not the full limit approved for the borrower.
Supply Chain Finance—A tailored loan to help dealers and suppliers having business relationships with large, blue-chip companies, supply chain finance can be availed to buy inventory, improve cash flow, reduce the cost of goods sold (COGS), improve sales, and ensure the timely availability of goods for consumers. With supply chain finance, the borrowing business can reduce its dependence on the buyer while benefiting from the fluidity in its financial position.
FinTechs also offer bespoke funding for specific professions and businesses. These may be in the form of a school loan, doctor loan, online seller finance, franchise finance, petrol pump loan, restaurant loan or a loan for any other legally permissible business.
5 steps to find the best business loan type for your business requirements
When a FinTech company offers a custom loan product for your line of business/profession, it is important to identify the right kind of finance product. It is thus good to be aware of the general ways to choose the right SME or MSME loan.
- Make a note of your requirements—When your business has a good credit rating, it can be tempting to borrow a sum larger than what you need. You may want to keep a bigger cash reserve for working capital. This, however, is a wrong strategy. Remember that as the loan amount increases your instalments to repay it will also be bigger. It is advisable to use a business loan EMI calculator to know the sum that you can repay and apply for the correct amount of funds that will fulfil your need.
- Check your eligibility—Borrowers are often asked to pledge some financial asset as security, to be eligible for most of the conventional loans. However, FinTechs offer unsecured loans and check the creditworthiness of borrowers on the basis of years in operation, revenue earnings, past loan history if any and compliance of the business with tax laws. You can check your eligibility criteria relating to specific loans by referring to the lender’s website or speaking to their customer service team.
- Compare loan costs on all parameters—Do not be instantly allured to loans that advertise low interest rates. Such an SME loan may also have a loan processing fee of 3% or more, and multiple hidden charges such as a legal fee, documentation fee, insurance premium and other statutory payments. On the other hand FinTech loans that have a slightly high interest rate come with just a processing fee of up to 2% and no hidden fees.
- Collate the required documents—To verify the information filled in a loan application you will need to have your KYC documents, copies of the latest tax returns, bank statements and few other papers as per the nature of the loan sought. The benefit of going for a FinTech loan here is that you only need to upload soft copies of such documents as the loan application is made digitally.
- Apply for the loan—Once you have understood your requirements, eligibility, cost of the loan and have collected the required papers, the last step is to apply for the funds. When you make a digital application, ensure that the lender has a secure website that will encrypt all your personal and business details.
At Capital Float every business loan application is reviewed within minutes of its submission, and if approved, the fund is disbursed in the next 2-3 business days. At the end of these 5 steps to find the best business loan type for your business requirement, you can be rest assured that you have the right amount that you wish to add to your working capital and the right loan type from the collection of credit products at Capital Float that is customised for your needs.
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While dining at a restaurant, customers either settle the bill through cash or by using a credit or debit card. Similarly, online shopping also offers the advantage of choice of paying by cash or card. In both cases, apart from offering quality service and/or products, the customer experience is further enhanced when a merchant offers the convenience of choice. Keeping customer satisfaction in mind, the use of card payment devices has become a norm for modern-day businesses. After all, a business’ success largely depends on how happy its customers are. A well-run business attracts more customers and eventually ensures long-term gains. These include better profit margins, wider customer base, higher brand value, etc.
One of the key factors that makes all this possible for a business, regardless of its size, is working capital. A travel agency runs very differently from, let’s say, a flourishing B2B business. However, the need for access to quick finance is something they have in common. Given that swiping of credit or debit cards is fast becoming commonplace, businesses are waking up to the fact that they can utilize point-of-sale card machines to their advantage. In other words, they can use the cash flowing into their merchant account from card swipes to avail of merchant credit advance.
Merchant cash advance companies ensure a quicker and easy access to money. Turning to a conventional lender for working capital needs is not always possible for a small business, nor in most cases is it simple. This swings the spotlight on merchant cash advance loans. A tailor-made financial product, Capital Float’s merchant cash advance option has benefited several Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
Our association with several point-of-sale card machine vendors like Mswipe, ICICI Merchant Services, Pine Labs, Bijlipay and MRL Posnet enables a wide range of merchants to obtain customized working capital solutions from us in the form of a merchant cash advance loan.
Approaching merchant cash advance companies like Capital Float makes sound sense for SMEs in search of quick access to funds. Here are 5 important reasons why SMEs should opt for merchant cash advance loans over other types.
1- Broader loan range: Capital Float’s merchant cash advance loan offers SMEs the flexibility of choosing the exact amount of capital they need. Addressing credit requirements ranging from as low as Rs. 1 lakh to as high as Rs. 3 crores, this is a customized financing option based on the monthly card settlement of a business. A merchant credit advance loan is an ideal solution for those who have consistent card inflows as well as short-term investment requirements.
2- Flexible loan tenure: Apart from offering the advantage of cashless transactions, point-of-sale machines can help speed up access to working capital. Capital Float’s merchant cash advance loan, based on card swipes comes with the benefit of flexible loan tenure. SMEs can opt for a 6-month or 12-month repayment term, making it easier to pay back the loan at their convenience.
Besides, payment to the merchant cash advance company varies directly with the merchant’s sales volumes. This means SMEs have the option of paying less during a low season. Additionally, with this innovative alternative, they need not pay monthly EMIs which are the norm in traditional small business loans; they can pay weekly or fortnightly installments too.
3-Get up to 200% of your monthly card settlement: Merchant credit advance loans work like a charm for retail businesses as well as restaurateurs. Given the high extent of card swipes in today’s digitized and connected world, one can receive financing up to 200% of monthly sales from card payment machines. Higher card swipes can mean a higher loan amount.
4- Apply anytime, anywhere: Typically, loan applications are a laborious process requiring several trips to the bank. But alternative financing options like merchant credit advance are anything but that. In fact, merchant cash advance companies offer a quick and hassle-free online application process, with forms that can be filled and uploaded anytime, from anywhere. The entire process of filling out an application form and submitting the required documents takes just 10 minutes. It is time to bid adieu to lengthy procedures and paperwork required for a conventional loan.
What’s more, at Capital Float we understand the value of quick access to credit. Meeting an unexpected business expense or leveraging a lucrative business opportunity can be a challenge for well-managed businesses. Utilizing innovative technology for speeding up loan approvals, Capital Float disburses merchant cash advance loans within 72 hours.
5. Simple pre-requisites: Merchant credit advance is something SMEs can easily apply and avail of. The prerequisites are simple and include the following qualifiers:
- Operational history of one year
- Minimum turnover of Rs 20,00,000
- Card acceptance vintage of six months
- Minimum monthly card volume of Rs 1,00,000
- Minimum of six settlements per month
Personalized and transparent
Capital Float fully comprehends the fact that loan products need to be customized according to the needs of a business. Therefore, going for a financing option like merchant cash advance loan makes sound sense. SMEs receive exactly what they are looking for in terms of working capital; and the merchant credit advance is convenient in terms of repayment.
Capital Float believes in conducting business in a transparent manner; we do not levy any kind of hidden charge whatsoever. There is no pre-closure penalty either — another advantage in the merchant cash advance loan. The borrower is only obligated to pay a processing fee of up to 2% of the loan.
Capital Float aims to remove financial barriers that stand between SMEs and growth by providing easy access to capital. Our merchant cash advance loans are a simple and secure means to bridge the credit gap that small businesses routinely face.
Oct 24, 2018
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!
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
The SME (small and medium enterprises) sector is an important contributor to India’s economic growth. Even though their product or service may add great value for certain people, many SMEs face challenges. This is mostly because of the lack of research and planning by the business owners about the potential opportunities and risks of the particular niche in which these units operate. Many-a-times such businesses fail to make accurate assessments of their working capital requirements and, even when they do, cannot find ways to finance them.
Some common financing mistakes made by SMEs relate to whether or not to borrow, estimating the correct amount of SME business loan required, checking the full financing cost, the time wasted on getting a loan approved and the opportunity costs.
SME Financing Options and Some Common Mistakes
The Government and the private sector have taken several initiatives to increase availability of small business loans to SMEs in India. Despite the improved availability of SME finance, many units are still struggle with easy access to finance. This is mainly due to the lack of awareness of new-age, innovative financing solutions that are offered by FinTech lenders like Capital Float.
Here are the five most common financing mistakes made by SMEs:
1. Lack of Planning: One of the gravest shortcomings of smaller businesses is the inability to plan for the longer term. Business owners tend to get so involved with daily operations, troubleshooting and trying to complete orders that they fail to step back and look at the bigger picture. In the absence of a business plan, many SMEs do not foresee the amount of cash they would require to grow and expand. They suddenly find themselves in a severe cash crunch, unable to meet their working capital needs.
A sound business plan is essential for approaching a bank for a loan. Moreover, the ability to project a cash crunch or the funds needed to grow would allow SMEs to approach banks in time, since traditional lending institutions may take months before sanctioning the loan. This is where FinTech lenders have eased the situation. By deploying cutting-edge technology, Capital Float can ensure loan approval within hours. The use of powerful algorisms helps determine the prospects of a business, easing the process of loan approval. In fact, such lenders do not require a formal business plan for sanctioning SME finance.
2.Wrong Estimation of Funds Required: Most business owners feel anxious about overestimating their loan requirement and having to pay interest on excess funds. This makes them lean towards underestimating their costs. Thus, even when a loan is disbursed, these businesses are left wanting for more. Of course, the overestimation of the loan requirement hits the bottom-line.
What such businesses need is Capital Float’s Pay Later Finance product, which offers a Predetermined credit amount. While a credit amount is determined, based on the prospects of the business, the SME has the flexibility to transfer only as much funds, as it currently needs. Repayments can be made as the business generates money, and the repayment restores the credit amount, making funds available for future requirements.
3.Hidden Charges: Several lenders burden SMEs with hidden fees. These charges may be exorbitant and the business owner may not even know when they are levied. At Capital Float, perfect transparency is maintained, with no hidden charges. In fact, unlike most traditional banking institutions that impose a fee for the early repayment of a loan, there are no prepayment charges at Capital Float.
4.Choosing the Wrong SME Finance Product: Most SMEs turn toward unorganized moneylenders or traditional banking institutions to borrow money. These loans are not tailored to the specific needs of the SMEs. New-age lenders like Capital Float offer various SME business loans that have been designed keeping in mind the needs, business model and ability to repay of different businesses.
5.Trying to Arrange Collateral: SMEs sometimes put too much at stake to get a loan or do not borrow money in the absence of collateral. Capital Float offers small business loans in India without the requirement for collateral. One can also opt for a Merchant Cash Advance, which converts accounts receivables of a business to quick and usable funds.
Apart from these common mistakes made by small businesses, the timing of the loan approval and receipt of funds plays a critical role in the success of SMEs. Any delay in arranging the necessary funds can prove catastrophic for a business. This is mainly because SMEs often do not have sufficient negotiating power with their suppliers. They need to make payments for raw materials long before they can raise an invoice to their customers.
The rapid evolution of technology to address SME finance needs have revolutionized the lending space. The objective of FinTech lenders is to eliminate the liquidity issues faced by the SME sector by ensuring the quick approval and disbursal of the loan amount, while also making it easier for these smaller businesses to repay the loan. However, to make use of these advantages, SMEs need to be made aware of such options.
Oct 24, 2018