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.

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Considerations When Taking Short-Term Business Loans

Going the entrepreneurial route is a tough decision to take. Several people contemplate it, but only a few take that leap. Starting a business may be very challenging, but what is even tougher is running a business.

Most small businesses are faced with liquidity crunches. They are required to make payments for raw materials, overheads and staff before their receivables become due. Such businesses have not earned the confidence to ask their suppliers for a lengthy credit period. On the other hand, their customers are able to demand 30, 60 or 90 days before the invoice becomes due.

In such a scenario, small businesses find themselves at the mercy of large banks to raise short-term loans. Here are some challenges that SMEs face while applying for a short term business loan.

Estimating the Money Required: If a business underestimates the amount of money required, it would find itself unable to implement projects, execute orders, retain employees and/or realize its expansion plans. On the other hand, if a business secures a loan amount that is significantly higher than its requirements, it would be taking on an interest burden that is not justified by its bottom-line. Taking the right amount of loan can help the SME adequately address the working capital need without having a surplus or lack of funds.

Applying to Traditional Banks: Most entrepreneurs do not have the funds to invest in their businesses and keep it running for a couple of years. Borrowing from friends and family can also be tricky or simply not an option. In such scenarios, small businesses often turn to traditional financial institutions to raise short-term loans. However, these loans have a very time consuming and complex application process. There is plenty of paperwork involved. The business has to present financials in a predetermined format with supporting documents and detailed projections.

Loan Approval: The process of loan approval can be long and complicated. Banks may take several months to even reject a loan application. Mostly, loans are provided only against collateral, which the business owner may not have. Even then, lenders would conduct a thorough analysis of the financial standing of the small business. The lenders would verify all the information provided by the applicant and this takes a long time, during which the liquidity problem of the business continues to worsen. Therefore, such loans may not even be a viable option for short-term, working capital requirements.

Repayment of Loans: Most short-term business loans from traditional financial institutions have a fixed repayment schedule that is in no way linked to the cycle of receivables of the small business. Moreover, they do not allow prepayment of loans. Thus, these businesses would need to continue to bear the interest rate burden, even if it has the funds to repay the loan.

Against the backdrop of these inherent problems with securing short-term finance, technology has helped offer relief from severe liquidity crunches. FinTech companies like Capital Float rely on cutting-edge technology to offer innovative products that are aligned to the requirements and nature of small businesses. Here are some points to keep in mind while applying for a short term business loan.

Easy Application Process: The application can be sent online via a form that takes around 10 minutes to be filled. The borrower can digitally upload all the required documents.

Fast Loan Approval: The use of powerful algorithms allows Capital Float to approve or reject an application within minutes. Thus, a small business does not need to wait for several months to receive a response. Once an application has been approved, the short-term business loan is disbursed within 72 hours.

No Collateral, No Guarantor: Loans offered by Capital Float do not require small businesses to put up any collateral. Unlike traditional lenders, there is no requirement of a guarantor to validate the loan request.

Loans Designed to Suit Their Purpose: Probably the best news is that the finance products offered by Capital Float take into account the specific requirements and nature of small businesses. For instance, the Term Finance product has been designed specifically for manufacturers, traders and distributors, while the Online Seller Finance product is perfect for businesses that operate on online marketplaces. The Taxi Finance product is meant for companies that are part of the booming radio taxi business in India. Merchant Cash Advance is a loan against card receivables and Supply Chain Finance is finance against invoices from blue-chip companies.

Repayment of Loans: The repayment of loans offered by Capital Float either be in correlation to the receivables of the business or may be in the form of flexible weekly instalments. Moreover, there are no pre-closure charges, like those applied by banks and other lending institutions.

Small-term business loans are a highly effective way to finance business cash needs. However, one needs to calculate the amount carefully and then identify the right financing institute and the right product. A small business needs to opt for customized products that suit their individual requirements and offer flexible repayment options. The innovative short-term finance options available today allow small businesses to continue their daily operations without disruption and gives these enterprises confidence to grow without apprehension.

Oct 24, 2018

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5 Ways SLACK Can Help Your Organisation

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!

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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

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Impact of GST on Working Capital for Businesses

The Goods and Services Tax or GST is ready for a rollout on July 1, 2017. Various rules, procedures and action items have already been outlined for the transition to the new, unified system of indirect taxation. Businesses and taxpayers alike are expected to embrace these changes and get ready for the new normal—the era of standardized taxation. GST is expected to impact businesses significantly, especially those with cross-location presence, with operations across states. Both large and established goods and service providers, as well as SMEs, will be significantly impacted, both in terms of financial and operational sustainability.

What is GST?

GST will enable standardization of the indirect taxation under four slabs—5%, 12%, 18% and 28%. The change in tax rules will have a direct impact on cash flows and working capital loans for businesses. From the line of credit to taxation levels and timelines, businesses will have to reassess and realign themselves. On the one hand, local and Central taxes such as VAT, Service Tax, Excise Tax and others will be subsumed; on the other hand, tax slabs may increase; for example, from 15% under Service Charge to 18% under the third GST slab. As a result, immediate available working capital finance levels will change.

GST and working capital

Working capital is a key factor in the health of a business. Businesses should focus on periodically assessing their working capital needs. The impending GST rollout makes this even more imperative. This is because the tax bucket your business falls under will change depending on various factors such as the nature of business, locational spread and more. Not just this, the rules and timelines for availing a line of credit will also be revamped under the new GST regime. This means that cash flow will be impacted, and you may need to look for new sources of working capital finance. After all, sustaining day-to-day business operations is essential to growing your business, especially if you are an SME with low financial reserves. Working capital is, in a way, a reflection of the financial health of your company.

Here are some of the key changes GST is expected to usher in:

  1. Input tax credits will open up: According to the current tax system, input tax credit is available only on inputs that are related to taxable output. For expenses that are not related to taxable sales, input credit cannot be availed. However, under GST, a feature called the “Furtherance of Business” has been introduced. Under this, credit is allowed for any kind of business input, irrespective of whether it is directly used for “taxable sales”. This is a positive development and increases the scope for business to avail an additional line of credit. As a result, the immediate cash requirements will reduce, and working capital flow will get better. Businesses must closely study the GST clauses to understand how to benefit from input credit across newly added areas.
  2. Timeline of tax payment: Under the new GST rules, the tax is levied when the stock is transferred. As a result, businesses will not be able to claim tax credits till the time of sale, which may result in a huge time lag. Working capital levels might experience a drop during this time. Evaluating working capital finance specialists such as Capital Float is recommended, to ensure that business operations remain unaffected.
  3. Moving goods will be easier: Under the current tax regime, a lot of time and effort is spent by companies who have multiple presence across states (warehouses, offices, factories etc.)—they need to adhere to multiple laws such as octroi, CST and so on while moving goods across state borders. This complexity adds to the cost of doing business across states. With GST, this movement of goods across the country will be simplified and more cost-friendly.
  4. Imports will be costlier: If your company is in the business of procuring raw materials from outside, you may experience escalated costs soon. The current import duty rate of 14% will be replaced by a standard GST rate of 18%, making imports expensive.
  5. Reprimands for suppliers’ non-compliance: The input tax credit levels will depend on whether your suppliers comply with taxation and financial norms. This will make it imperative for your suppliers to declare their outward supplies along with their tax payment.  You will also be held accountable if your supplier fails to furnish valid returns. This is an unfavourable practice for your business since in the event of their non-compliance, your input credit tax claims can be reversed and you may have to pay interest. It is, therefore, important that you assess your vendor base from a compliance perspective to avoid impacting your working capital

These are some of the direct ways GST will impact the working capital of your business. Should you need to augment your working capital to ensure a healthy cash flow under GST, you can turn to new age fintech lenders like Capital Float who are creating innovative and customised financial products. Our term finance offering, for example, is tailored to ease your working capital crunch with features such as zero collateral requirements, 3-day loan disbursal and customized credit criteria. Click here for more GST Blogs.

Oct 24, 2018