Monday, October 29, 2012

Business Loan: How to Take Full Advantage of Business Loans

Before applying for a business loan, prudent business people look into the various aspects of borrowing, ensuring cash flow and business success in the long term. Careful planning is the first step in applying for a business loan. Business financing available from lenders can be long term, 30 years or more, or short term, less than five years. The key point in planning a business loan or securing business financing is the projected cash flow. An even better option is to get your written business plan analyzed by knowledgeable professional investors or business professionals. There is a charge for this, but paying the consultancy charges is much less expensive than future business loss and going bankrupt.

Business loans are not easily given out to start ups. This is because banks and lenders worry about their money. Without showing any operating history, it is extremely difficult to get any business financing at all.

Thus the very first step, even before thinking about a business loan, is to look at the frugal route. It is pretty tempting to pour all of the initial capital into any project that comes your way. Don't fall victim. The best way is to test the waters with minimal spending. It is not absolutely necessary to spend big dollars on cosy furniture, flashy cars, and the highest performing computers and printers. Cut out as much as you can. Used furniture is not bad to start out with as well as used vehicles. Instead of costly computers, you can look for cheaper alternatives. Start small, but firm. Spending your initial borrowed money on depreciating assets is in itself not a good business decision.

Great stories of successful businesses start with a business loan secured from friends and relatives. Your own savings account is another source of the initial capital investment. Don't discount any source of money for the sake of a business loan. Only after completing an operating history of more than six months can you go to a bank and demand business financing.

If you can convince your business loan lender even before starting your venture, you will have a pretty tedious task of submitting a business plan, complete with market overview, and customer behaviour and trends. You will also need to submit personal financial statements. Your personal property will be asked for as collateral for releasing the loan.

It can be a bit confusing to pick the right business loan. There are specific niche business loan programs. Finding the perfect lending program enables you to quickly secure the loan. Thus, just as you did your market research, you also should conduct business loan research. What types of loans are available to you and what amount you can request for your project are the things you must have a clear idea about before applying for the loan.

Who said getting a business loan is an easy task? It is not. You will not think about the easy routes if you have the real entrepreneur spirit in you.

Friday, October 26, 2012

2008 Market Crash Recap

2008 is over at last. It has been an extremely turbulent year and everyone's swept under its currents such that it was hard to see what actually happened, so, here's a recap of what happened in the stock market in 2008.

Summing up, the Dow lost a total of 4488 points this year, down 33.84%. The Nasdaq composite lost a total of 1075 points, down 40.54%. The S&P500 lost a total of 565 points, down 38.49%. The more volatile Nasdaq Composite became the loss leader this year just as it is expected to be the gain leader in a rising market, so, no surprise there. Both the Nasdaq Composite and the S&P500 went lower than the low of the last crisis in 2002. Only the Dow managed to stay above the last crisis level marginally. I had expected it to also make a lower low but it did not.

How did it all begin? Indications of this 2008 market crash actually started showing up as early as July of 2007 when short term bond yields begun yielding higher than long term bond yields in a bond yield curve that is almost perfectly horizontal above the 4% yield line. Such a bond yield curve indicates excessive optimism in the capital market as the 20yr bond hit an all time low price (relative to recent years). Bond prices go down when demand for bonds goes down. Demand for bonds goes down when capital gets reallocated, usually into the equities market (for simplification sake), resulting in high bond yields. At that time, the Dow was trading well above the 13000 points level, just one step from the 14000 level resistance which marked the beginning of the 2008 market crash. At the same time, foreclosure rates had been and continued to rise nation wide, putting pressure on the value of the most complex derivative instrument ever created amongst investment bankers, CDOs or Collateralized debt obligations.

All 3 major indices hit their peak in October of 2007 and begun their long retreat. The retreat didn't look at all menacing for a start as all 3 major indices backed down to their respective short term support levels and even rebounded slightly, making it all look like a classical pullback in a strong primary bull trend. At that time, the Fed's still all confused with what to handle, inflation or growth, and talks of Stagflation begun showing up as real GDP went sideways in Q3 2007 and then retreated in Q4 2007. This was when 2 groups of economists; Recession Talkers and Goldilocks, begun their battle of tongues over the major wires. Of course, now we know who knew better. Sensing danger, investors begun taking positions in bonds once again, bringing bond yields down from their previous highs. The Fed also begun taking Fed Fund Rate down from its high of over 5% in August gradually (too gradually, argued by some economists). At this time, a perfect storm is brewing as the more the Feds cut rates, the lower the dollar goes and the higher commodities prices went (as well as prices at the pump of course), putting further pressure on the real economy.

The first warning sign of a recession surfaced in January 2008 as unemployment rate hit 5% for the month of December 2007. 5% is a psychological level that says that something might be wrong in the economy as full employment rate (normal unemployment with minimal cyclical unemployment) is around the 4.5% level (number arrived at from my own research). That was probably one of the catalysts that caused all 3 major indices to break their respective short term support levels downwards in the first month of 2008, threatening the integrity of the primary bull trend that was in place since 2003. At the same time, inflation continued to be a problem as oil continued it march to the 0 per barrel level while talks of CDOs becoming worthless due to significant doubt about the fixed income ability of mortgage loans built into them begun hitting the wire. In fact, it was around this time when analysts begun finding CDOs being over-rated by rating agencies (well, like one of the high profile analysts said, they belonged to the same club).

By February of 2008, it has become apparent from the charts that the intermediate term bull trend has been compromised as investors rushed for quality, depressing short term bond yields to almost half of what they were just a couple of months ago. On the charts, however, it could still be argued that the Dow merely made its first major intermediate term correction since the primary bull trend started in 2003. Such a technical correction is also an acceptable argument under the Dow theory as some technical chartists expect the major indices to make a rebound from that level, which, did not happen (even though the Dow did rebound just a little bit for a couple of months as technicians took position). At this time, however, the economy's already not looking at rosy as it did just months ago with rising unemployment, lowering durable goods order, rising oil price and a dropping GDP. Signs of trouble also begun emerging in the investment banking sector as major investment bankers started changing CEOs and writing off worthless CDOs and subprime loans. By this time, the Fed is beginning to get it that the economy is in real danger but has yet to take major actions on the fed fund nor to take coordinated action with central banks around the world. The dark cloud also spreaded into stock markets worldwide, making it obvious that this is not only an USA crisis but a world crisis.

By July 2008, investors were convinced that the economy is indeed in a recession (at last) and the credit crisis is deeper than most has expected. All 3 major indices made their first significant downwards breakout, totally disintegrating the previous primary bull trend, and stated without a doubt that the bear has arrived. All hell broke loose after that as Lehman Brothers closed down, unemployment rate soared and real GDP went negative. Investors begun rushing for the door, taking major indices down by a greater magnitude each month. The Dow was down 9% for the month of September and over 17% in October. At the same time, as aggregate demand drops in the economy, so did demand for oil as crude oil price dropped like a rock from its high of 0 per barrel all the way to below , taking CPI along with it. The US dollar also took a surprising turn and surged upwards against major currencies for months, wiping out forex traders trading on the "short-the-dollar-golden-strategy".

Right now, commodities prices are at lows that was not seen for decades, bond prices has formed a bubble waiting to be burst and unemployment rate has reached higher than the previous crisis. Talks of write downs are also disappearing. This is certainly the best time for enterprising companies to take advantage of better prices and start hiring once again. In fact, purchasing by companies are already picking up slightly as indicated by the latest PMI number. All the ingredients needed for economy recovery seems to be in place and I suspect we should see some real signs in 2009. 2008 has done a good job of quickly and mercilessly draining waste from the economy instead of making it a prolonged agony. With stocks this low and bond bubble waiting to be burst, the stock market definitely has a lot more upside potential than downside potential right now. Let's say a nice goodbye to 2008 and welcome 2009! :)

** I am sorry if I did not include many of the other major events that contributed in the 2008 crash as I intend to keep this as short as possible while correlating events in the economy to the stock market.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Government Subsidized Internet

There are some internet programs that are specifically designed to increase broadband access in rural areas. A Federalprogram instituted in 2009 is partially designed to bring broadband internet coverage to rural areas. These are areas that typically do not have a great deal access to broadband computer technology.

One of the programs that has been designed to bring broadband to rural areas is the Exede internet service. Exede is designed and developed with Wild Blue Satellite Internet technology. Rural subscribers can get this internet at a reduced price and can get a great deal of data at fast speeds and low prices.

Rural broadband was instituted in 2009. It made 7.2 billion dollars available for development of these resources. The money was made available to Rural Utilities Service or RUS. Dollars were also provided to another agency namely the National Telecommunication Information Administration, also known as the NTIA, to increase broadband internet as a way to spur jobs and investments in the infrastructure.

There are many iniatives as part of this program. Some of the other infrastructure items the grant covers includes public computer centers,and other sustainable computer programs. This rural broadband initiative goes by the acronymn BTOP.

Many rural areas applied for funding under this act. It is also sometimes called the Broadband Intiative Program also called BIP. Rural areas are encouraged to find information on the loan and guarantee opportunities within this act. There is a certain segment of BIP that deals with the Broadband loan mortgage and guarantee program. Program information can be seen online, at specific websites.
One of the important pieces of information for rural businesses looking to take part in a government program to understand that receipts should be kept as part of the process. The Davis-Bacon act explains the fiscal portions of this act.

One can see examples ofapproved funding applications in alibrary, that is sponsored by RUS.

Individual Funding

In certain cases, households may qualify to get individual funding under the auspices of the broadband act. For individuals looking to get broadband via satellite as previously mentioned,Exede internet can be provided to individuals at certain addresses. They get free installation of their equipment, and can also get a reduced payment of 39.99 per month. This is 10 dollars less than the regular price for the technology.

One can go to the Wildblue website and can see if their address qualifies for these special services under the Exede program. Alternatively, they can call the provider and give their information. Wildblue will tell the indiviual if their address qualifies for this special program. It simply can not be easier to do. Unfortunately, many consumers do not know about this program.

Those who live in rural areas and have despaired about the quality of internet services provided for them, can be pleased that programs are now available to help them. Government Provided Satellite Internet Services are making rural broadband possible. The money is available and can be utilized to help rural businesses and consumers get the internet services they desire to obtain.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Guerrilla Loan Tactics for Small Business Finance

Although the suggested actions in this article might be seen as a last resort to be undertaken only when all else fails, in reality these suggestions should probably be considered by most commercial borrowers in the early stages of their commercial financing search due to the growing failure of banks to provide a normal level of business funding. The necessity of resorting to guerrilla loan tactics has been accelerated by the decreased performance of commercial banks in providing effective small business finance programs. Hopefully this report will serve as a short survival guide for business owners when they are seeking small business loans.

Business Consulting as a First Line of Defense

To put it succinctly and candidly, the current commercial lending climate is no place for amateurs when dealing with more complicated small business finance programs and banks which predominantly are not functioning in a normal manner. The use of business consulting and a commercial finance expert should be considered as one way for business owners to overcome a substantial information gap. A business consultant experienced in the ways of overcoming small business loan problems is a pragmatic solution to a situation that most commercial borrowers would admittedly prefer did not exist in the first place. A business consultant with an appropriate level of expertise will normally require a business owner to pay a reasonable fee for their specialized services. This professional cost will typically be justified when compared to the potential financial damages if specialized help is not acquired.

Determine Whether Your Bank is a Good Bank or a Bad Bank

We have published a separate report about the growing need to determine if a commercial bank is a good bank or a bad bank. The most practical gauge for defining whether a bank is good from a small business owner perspective will often be guided by whether the needed commercial financing can be provided or not. Although banks have been broadly proclaiming that they are providing a normal level of commercial funding, in reality there are multiple reports indicating otherwise. An experienced business finance consultant can serve as a valuable resource based on their advanced knowledge of which lenders are truly active in making working capital loans and commercial mortgage loans. If a particular bank is in fact not providing commercial loans as usual, it certainly might be because they do not have sufficient resources to do so. While this bank might not feel they deserve the bad bank label, our perspective is that results count. On the only scorecard that matters to most commercial borrowers, the small number of good banks will gradually become obvious based on their healthy business lending habits. In the meantime, business owners should expect to need some professional help in finding these few remaining good banks.

Be Prepared to Fire Your Bank and Your Banker

For small business owners, the idea of firing their banker has perhaps not occurred to them yet. The average business owner often thinks of their banker as one of the family or at least a close business partner. But with a guerrilla business loan perspective that is appropriate in the midst of banking chaos currently seen almost everywhere, small business owners must increasingly look out for their own best interests because it is unlikely that their banker is up to the task anymore (even if their commercial banker is their best friend). An escalating number of times when their commercial banker is unable to achieve the results which were originally offered or discussed will ultimately serve as one of the most predictive signs that a commercial borrower might need to fire their banker.

Business Cash Advances and Other Options for Working Capital

For small businesses to survive in an erratic economy, the use of guerrilla loan tactics means that some small business finance options which borrowers previously ruled out because they were considered too complicated (or too expensive) might deserve a second look. A key example of a commercial financing strategy which has frequently been a Plan B for many merchants but often not utilized in their final choice for acquiring more working capital is a business cash advance program (often referred to as credit card factoring). The use of credit card processing to obtain working capital cash now has more practical appeal for the typical small business owner who needs more cash for their daily operations, particularly if they have been subjected to an increased requirement for collateral and a sudden reduction in business lines of credit by their commercial lenders.

More Guerrilla Tactics for the Small Business Survival Guide

This brief discussion was intended to illustrate the importance for small business owners doing whatever it takes to survive in a tough business climate. The guerrilla loan tactics noted above will be a good starting point for most business owners. But there are more commercial loan options which should also be considered by commercial borrowers before finalizing their commercial mortgages, small business loans or SBA loan financing.

Friday, October 12, 2012

10 Ways To Grow Or Expand Your Business

In these tough economic times, it is more important to look at different ways in which you can grow business wisely. This can be done in a variety of different ways. In growing your business effectively, it will be important to look at several different aspects of your existing business. Are you financially sound to take on this new project? Have you sought out the perfect location? Do you have a plan of action in place? All of these questions are integral in assuring that your business will be a success. Let's go into a little bit more detail on the ten best ways to grow your business.

The first step is to know your market. If you are looking at growing your business and possibly adding other locations, it will be important to know who you are catering to. Make sure that the products or services that you are offering will be adequate for the needs of the consumer.

Second is to know what your financial availability is. Often, the business owner may have the right intentions, but it may not be feasible for the moment to grow or expand the current business. There is the possibility that waiting and planning will actually be in your best interests.

Third, you will need to make sure that your employee needs are covered. Can the existing staff accommodate an increase in work? Will you need to hire more staff? Have you trained the existing staff to take leadership roles if need be? These are all answers in which only you can provide.

Fourth is to know whether your location will suffice for the growth. Will you need to add a location? Would it be better to buy or lease a larger location or should you add on to the existing location?

The fifth best way to grow or expand your business is to make sure that your support staff is in place. You will need people who are organised and professional in order to build the base on which you can make your business a success.

Sixthly, you need to keep up to date with all your financial obligations and ensure that they are all being dealt with and upheld in a professional and timely manner.

The seventh item would be to look at your procedures and if need be create a new organizational structure. This can be done through joint ventures, mergers, and acquisitions which can help grow and diversify your business. Eighth

The eighth way to improve your business is to analyze all aspects of your business, products, suppliers, clients, areas, etc. Try to phase out any areas that are not making a profit and incorporate more of the successful areas into your business.

Ninth is to look at the value of your company as a whole and try to increase its market share and diversify your client base and increase in areas that have been previously unexplored.

And last but certainly not the least is your time! Do you have the time that it is going to take to make this happen? Often, during the expansion of business, the owner will find themselves devoting just as much or more time to the growth process.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Bankruptcy Lawyer

Bankruptcy is a legal state of an individual or organization failing to pay debts owed to others. Bankruptcy lawyer is a legal expert who helps in giving legal support to individuals and organization undergoing bankruptcy process. Bankruptcy lawyer helps in giving a legal support to parties undergoing bankruptcy process. Due to the complex nature of this process, Bankruptcy lawyers are necessary in giving counsel in these legal matters. Due to the legal expertise required in bankruptcy process, it is advisable for one to consider a number of factors when choosing a Bankruptcy lawyer.

Just like any other lawyers, Bankruptcy lawyer may also have busy schedule due to the nature of their duties and responsibilities. Therefore, availability of a lawyer is a major factor that has to be considered before choosing one. It may be necessary to understand a bankruptcy lawyer diary, so that one in need of their services will get an insight of their availability. As far as duties of a Bankruptcy lawyer, they are involved in various activities such as giving their clients legal advice and reviewing court hearings. Such duties require much commitment of their time, which therefore, necessitates a guarantee of Bankruptcy lawyer availability from onset after seeking his or her services.

Cost is another factor that one has to bear in mind when in need of an attorney. Various attorneys will charge varying fee depending on the nature of their experience and specialization. Clients seeking services and assistance of such lawyers have to bear in mind the amount of resources available to be spent in obtaining the legal services.

In addition, qualification and experience is another vital factor that has to be considered in selecting a Bankruptcy lawyer to guide in bankruptcy process. Lawyers with higher academic qualifications are generally perceived to perform better and give better results. Experience in terms number of years in providing legal services in bankruptcy processes also influences their selection. Attorney with a track record of performance in bankruptcy cases is likely preferred when it comes in obtaining services of such legal expert.

In fact, it is advisable to choose an attorney who operates from a known law firm with a reputation. Inexperienced bankruptcy lawyers may be costly and inconveniencing if consulted for their services. It is necessary to talk to people you trust like family members and friends in determining the experience and qualification of a Bankruptcy lawyer. Lawyers who are known for long time to be top performers should enjoy top priority when it comes in hiring their services.

It is also important to consider the client - lawyer relationship before choosing such a lawyer. One should get a lawyer whom they are open and compatible to. A good lawyer listens and understands every issue and concerns of their client. A lawyer with passion about their work has a higher preference than one who is committed and lacks dedication in their work.

In addition, time is of great essence in choosing an attorney. Client seeking to file their bankruptcy cases and other processes in a short duration of time have to get a time conscious attorney. Lawyers who cause unnecessary delays and time wastage have to be avoided. A smart attorney should give accurate time prediction that the bankruptcy process will take. It is uneconomical to hire an attorney whose services extend over a longer period of time before the bankruptcy process is completed.

The other important factor to consider in choosing a bankruptcy lawyer is the legal requirements. It is very important to choose a lawyer who meets all the legal requirements in their field of operations. Bankruptcy lawyers who are not recognized by law and lack right certification and recognition by relevant authorities should be avoided at any cost.

It is worthy to note that the success of a bankruptcy process partially depends on the choice of a Bankruptcy lawyer. The right choice enables a client to get legal services and this therefore influences the expected outcome of the bankruptcy process.

The Bankruptcy Attorney in Orange County will definitely help those people if they have filed for bankruptcy so that, the common people do not get over burdened with the debt which will be impossible for them to pay back. Click here for Bankruptcy lawyer Orange County

Experienced bankruptcy attorneys in law matters are likely to charge a higher amount compared to less experienced attorneys.Visit for more details.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Benefits of Equipment Leasing for Small Business Owners

If you are a small business owner, equipment leasing can be the perfect way to save on upfront costs so that you can conserve your money for other important needs. Leasing is essentially renting equipment for a fixed monthly payment allowing you to enjoy the benefits of ownership without having to absorb its responsibility and costs. Since leasing companies usually do not require leasers to provide a down payment, you can save money on your initial equipment expenses. And, depending on the contract, you may even enjoy tax deductions on the cost of leasing.

The leasing industry has been booming lately in the wake of difficult financial times as many companies look for ways to cut down their costs. Although it may cost you more in the long run to rent as opposed to buying the equipment outright, some equipment leasing contracts also provide you with the option to buy the equipment at a depreciated price once the lease term has expired. If you do not need updated equipment this may save you money as you can take ownership of the equipment for a lower price and still use it for a number of years before it has to be changed.

There are two major kinds of equipment leasing contracts for you to choose from:

Operating leases. This type of lease contract allows you to rent equipment without any ownership rights for a relatively short term. While the leaser does not have to absorb any of the responsibilities of ownership they also do not gain any benefits from the lease, such as declaring lease expenses as tax deductible.
Capital leases. Also known as a conditional sales contract, this type of lease is undertaken by leasers who are interested in taking ownership of the equipment once the contract has lapsed. The price of the equipment can be added to the monthly payments, allowing you to pay for it over time and own it at the end of the contract. These lease contracts may also have terms for early termination, at the end of which you can buy the equipment at the prevailing fair market value.

Both types of equipment leasing contracts have their own specific benefits. For example, an operating lease has a relatively short-term, allowing you to quickly update your equipment by entering into a new lease contract once the old one has expired. On the other hand, a capital lease allows you to enjoy the benefits of the equipment without having to tie up your capital to pay for it.

When entering into a lease contract, make sure you study all the provisions carefully to ensure that you understand what you are entering into. In particular, look at the other fees that the lease company may be charging in addition to the monthly lease payments, such as late payment fees and early termination penalties. You should also look at the type of support the equipment leasing contract offers you such as regular maintenance of rented equipment and replacement provisions if there is a problem with the equipment.