Sunday, February 24, 2019

small business plan

small business plan

Changes in your business? You should plan, talk to staffers - Galesburg Register-Mail

Posted: 24 Feb 2019 06:00 AM PST

NEW YORK (AP) — As Nick Haschka bought four small horticultural businesses over the past two years, he had to help his new employees navigate almost constant change.

"They've had to get used to a new owner, new management style, and many new processes and tools," said Haschka, owner of The Wright Gardner in South San Francisco, California.

Small-business owners who recognize the impact that change can have on employees can limit the fallout by helping staffers with the transition.

Mishandling change — whether it's a new boss, office or procedures, or a turn in the company's finances — can prompt staffers to leave or hurt their productivity. Change can also be more than a one-time event. It can be continuous, or, as in the case of Haschka's business, periodic.

Haschka has taken several steps to help his new employees weather the changes. He's worked with the previous owners to prepare staffers, many of whom drew some comfort from the fact that their former bosses felt secure about handing their businesses over to Haschka. And he's sat down and talked to his new team members.

"There's usually a lot of shock at the beginning when employees find out their owner is leaving and passing the torch to us," Haschka said. "But we try to make it easy on them by listening and being responsive to their needs."

He also asks his current employees to help.

"The employees from the previous acquisitions are in a good place to represent and be a sounding board for the new employees — they've all been in that place before, and recently," he said.

Human resources consultants say business owners need to plan well and do a lot of talking with staffers.

"People, no matter whether change is good or bad, fear change," said Jay Starkman, CEO of Engage PEO, an HR provider based in Hollywood, Florida. "The only way to get through that fear is communicate, communicate, communicate. And when you think you've communicated enough, communicate again."

Even a move to a new location requires change management.

A year ago, Dave Cyphers bought a building in Crofton, Maryland, 10 miles away from the office he had rented for his marketing company. Cyphers, who has 18 staffers, made them part of the planning process. He took longtime senior employees to see the building before he bought it, and discussed with each worker how the move would affect their commutes. He discussed the new seating plan with them, and gave each money to decorate individual work areas.

"You work hard to put a team together. The last thing you want to do is blow it all up by saying, 'we're moving, let the chips fall where they may,'" said Cyphers, owner of The Cyphers Agency.

Startups can go through significant changes, and while staffers expect their companies to evolve, sometimes the direction is unexpected.

When Brad Weisberg started his insurance claims technology company, consumers were his target market. After about a year, he realized there were few chances for people using his service to be repeat customers, and that he needed to pivot his company and cater to businesses instead. The change wasn't so simple — for one thing, he had to convince investors that it was the right thing to do. And Weisberg's 12 staffers, who understood the world of tech startups, worried about the company's future.

"They were very anxious," said Weisberg, whose company, Snapsheet, is based in Chicago. "They had taken a chance on me. They had left jobs to come with me."

Weisberg helped his staffers by showing them his analysis of the company's situation. They were all startup and tech savvy, and after Weisberg explained the situation to them, they were on board.

Owners, however, need to strike a balance between the company's and staffers' needs.

Dave Munson tried to make change pain free and found that hurt the business. The owner of Saddleback Leather, a manufacturer of leather goods, realized in 2015 that having most of his employees work remotely cost the business time, money and efficiency. He told his 50 far-flung staffers they'd have to move to the company's Fort Worth, Texas, headquarters or leave.

But he also said staffers who decided against moving could take their time looking for a job. And they did: It took three years to complete the transition, further draining the company's finances and productivity.

Munson says he learned his lesson.

"It's like pulling duct tape out of your hair," he says. "There's no easy way to do it, you just have to do it."

Apply for a Small Business Loan in 6 Steps -

Posted: 24 Feb 2019 11:12 AM PST

Many entrepreneurs need outside financing to start or grow their small businesses. However, due to stringent lending standards by lending institutions, getting approved for a loan can be very difficult. The good news is that with proper preparation, you can significantly improve your chances of securing a business loan.

Photo Credit

Here's how to get financing for your business in 6 steps:

Establish the reason for the loan

Before you even think of applying for outside financing, you need to figure out why you need a loan in the first place. Whether it is to start a business, manage day-to-day costs or grow your business, you should be able to clearly articulate your reasons. In addition, you need to figure out exactly how much you need.

Check if you qualify

To find out if you qualify for a business loan, there are several factors you need to consider

  • Credit score – Before applying for a business loan, it is very important to get your credit score in order. If your business is a startup, the lender will evaluate your personal credit history. You can request a credit report from credit agencies such as TransUnion, Experian and Equifax. If you notice any mistakes in your credit reports, get in touch with the agency and ask them to fix it.
  • Business lifespan – Besides the credit score and credit history, lenders might also want to know how long you have been in business. For most business loans, you will need to have been in operation for at least one year.
  • Cash flow – Study your business cash flow and figure out how much you can realistically afford for monthly loan repayments.

Consider your borrowing options

When it comes to lenders, there are a wide range of options to consider:

  • Banks – The traditional products offered by banks include lines of credit, term loans and mortgages. However, many small businesses find it difficult to get approved due to factors such as poor cash reserves, low sales volume, a bad credit score and no collateral. In addition, getting the financing usually takes much longer compared to the other options.
  • Online lenders – These lenders offer small businesses lines of credit and loans from $500 to $500,000. Online lenders are an ideal option when you lack collateral and need funding quickly. Their approval rates are higher than traditional banks and funds can be released in as little as 24 hours.    
  • Microlenders – Microlenders are another option for small businesses that cannot get a traditional loan from a bank. As the name suggests, these lenders offer short-term, micro loans of not more than $35,000. However, the application process could be lengthy due to the documentation required. As mentioned here, there are several microlenders out there to choose from.

Write your business plan

Before getting loan approval from most lenders, you will need to have a very comprehensive business plan. Having a good business plan will also give you an idea of exactly how much money you require and how long it would take you to repay it. The document should include details such as your past and projected financial statements, as well as an analysis of the market your company serves.    

Gather your documents

Before submitting your loan application, make sure all your documentation is in order. Most lenders will expect you to submit paperwork such as:

  • A business plan
  • Personal and company tax returns
  • Personal and company credit information
  • Business legal documents such as commercial lease, articles of incorporation and franchise agreement
  • Personal and company bank statements

In addition, you might be required to avail additional paperwork such as professional details about your executive board or management team.

Make the appointment

Once all your paperwork is in order, it is time make a date with the loan officer. Be sure to ask for enough time to make a comprehensive presentation based on your business plan. In case your request gets turned down, move on and approach a different lender. If you have done your homework well, it won't be long before someone pays attention and offers you the financing you need.

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