Free Online Business Finance Workshops

Today, I ran across a series of free business finance workshops that seem very helpful. They take a while to load, but they are very well done. There is a PowerPoint style presentation with a voiceover (not just reading what is on the screen.) Each workshop covers a different “How to” – I’ve annotated the links to the different presentations so you know what each one is about.

How to Develop and Write Your Business Plan  – This two-part workshop takes you through all the facets of the development and writing of a business plan.

Creating and Using a Profit and Loss Statement – This workshop is intended to provide deeper insight into the financial health of you company while going through the process of creating a profit and loss statement.

Preparing a Balance Sheet – This workshop is designed to teach you how to prepare the balance sheet you need for your business.

How to conduct a Market Analysis – This workshop teaches you how to gauge how much of an audience for your new business idea.

How to prepare a Cash Budget / Cash Flows Chart – The Cash Budget workshop is great for examining your business cash flows. (Don’t forget about our Business Cash Advance program for those occasions when you are in a cash flow crunch.)

Creating and Using a Strategic Plan – The strategic plan is different from the business plan. You can use it to access your business’ successes, weak areas and overall performance.

 Check out my other posts about online business finance tools for other resources.

Bank Loans vs Leasing vs Cash Advances

Many business owners have been turning to leasing as an alternative to bank loans.  Now, more and more businesess are also tapping into small business cash advance services as a financing solution.  Cash advances can be used either in combination with or in place of leasing.

The following list takes a quick look at various aspects of bank loans vs. alternative financing options available: leasing and business cash advances.

1) Qualification Requirements

Bank Loans – Most small businesses will not qualify for a bank loan, and even if they can, it takes time for the loan to be approved.  Generally, to apply for a bank loan, the customer must submit corporate tax returns for the prior three consecutive years.

Leasing – Leasing is much quicker than purchasing using a bank loan.  It is also easier than getting a bank loan and more realistic for younger companies, or companies with no credit or bad credit.

Cash Advance – The only requirement for a business cash advance is that your business has been accepting credit card payments for a minimum of four months.  This is the easiest type of financing to qualify for, and it is much quicker than getting a bank loan.

2) Deposits

Bank Loans – When purchasing equipment, you will generally have to pay a 50% deposit upon placing your order.  Because it takes more time to get a bank loan, this means you cannot even ORDER your equipment until you have been approved for your loan.

Leasing –  No deposit is required.  The extra cash freed up can be used for other parts of your business.

Cash Advance – Cash advance can get you cash quickly, so you can afford to pay any deposits your vendors may require upon placement of an order.  If you are using business cash advance to pay for leased equipment, then there is no deposit.

3) Risk – Liens/Collateral

Bank Loans – When a bank gives you a loan, they will place some of your major assets on lien. 

Leasing – The equipment being leased is pledged as collateral. 

Cash Advance –  Cash advance requires NO collateral and NO liens

4) Down Payment

Bank Loans – Bank loans can call for up to a 40% down payment.

Leasing – Requires smaller down payment than bank loans.

Cash Advance – Requires NO down payment whatsoever.

Check here for more information on  Small Business Cash Advance.

When Your Restaurant Needs a Loan: Restaurant Loans and Financing Challenges

Getting a business loan is no simple task. Getting a restaurant loan is even harder! Why are banks so hesitant to provide financing to restaurants? Bluntly stated, the majority of new restaurants fail within the first year. An equally sad number of restaurants fail within the first two years.

The biggest controllable factor that can determine the success of a restaurant is its source for available financing. Many entrepreneurs in the food industry succeed in securing their restaurant loans, but later find that their initial funding was not enough to keep them up and running until the restaurant “catches”.

So what do you do when your restaurant loan just wasn’t enough? You go back to the bank!

Unfortunately the bank is not always willing to help you through these difficult times. They knew it was risky to lend you the money in the first place, but they did anyway. However, now you don’t have any more collateral, your credit is bad from a few slow months, and you’re still asking for money. The bank says No!

There is still hope for your restaurant! A restaurant business cash advance can help you get through tough times and slow beginnings. A business cash advance allows you to borrow money against future sales through credit card factoring. This financing / loan alternative is ideal for restaurants as it does not require any collateral and provides flexible repayment options.

Benefits of a Restaurant Cash Advance (Loan Alternative):

  • No collateral necessary
  • Bad Credit OK
  • No fixed repayment (repayment based on sales volume)
  • Faster than a loan (approved in 24hrs or less)
  • Unlike restaurant loans – 97% of qualified applicants are approved

General Requirements:

  • Must be an existing business (no start-ups)
  • Must process a minimum of $1000/month in credit card invoices

Stop apply for loans – get a cash advance for you restaurant quickly!

Government Business Grants: Applying for Business Grants Online

After writing a post on making the decision to pursue the Government Grant path, I decided to put together some links for grant seekers.

· Here is a list of Federal Government Resources, including Grants, Contracts, and Auctions that provides a list of links to government grants.

· For information on finding and applying for government grants, and also managing the grants processes, check out Federal Funds Expre$$.  It is put out by the U.S. House of Representatives.

· Also, here is a site offering free videos on Locating Small Business Grants, Government Grants, and Other Grant Money.

· This Grants Information Center describes itself as “…one of a network of approximately 200 collections established by the Foundation Center, an independent national service organization in New York, to provide an authoritative source of information on foundation and corporate giving.”

 · If you accept credit card payments in your small business, you can get quick cash to tide you over while waiting for your grant by using Small Business Cash Advance.

Cash Flow Tip – Business Cycle Coordination

One of the most important steps in attempting to calculate cash flow is breaking your business down into cycles.  Some examples of business cycles are:  inventory cycle, accounts payable cycle, sales cycle, and accounts receivable cycle. 

The key to smooth cash flow is to coordinate these cycles as much as possible with one another. Unfortunately for many of our clients, thorough coordination is difficult, sometimes impossible.  Inventory needs to be procured, products/services are sold, and only then are funds received from accounts receivable.  Unfortunately, overhead needs to be paid for and as well as inventory. 

The best solution is to try to negotiate with your vendors and find a payment schedule that works with your cash flow schedule.  You should also make sure you convert your sales to cash in the shortest possible time.  However, because many of your vendors and clients face the same issues you do, it is not infrequent that you will unable to put off paying invoices until people pay you.  Many of your vendors may not even be able to deliver a product or service before it is paid for.  If  this is the case in your business, you may want to look into alternative financing such as a small business loan, or a business cash advance.

Here is a more detailed article/post on Cash Flow.

Resources for Women with Small Businesses

For all those female entrepreneurs out there, here are some great resources that I found compiled on the SBA’s Office of Women’s Business Ownership site.  Some, like the library and courses, are good for all you entrepreneurs, regardless of gender.  Many of these organizations are great ways to network, in addition to the specific benefits and resources that they offer.

Here is the list from the SBA site:

Women Entrepreneurship in the 21st Century National Women’s Business Council Gateway for women-owned businesses selling to the government Association of Women’s Business Centers Business Gateway National Association of Women’s Business Owners National Association for Female Executives National Foundation of Women Business Owners SBA Library Free Online Courses SCORE Small Business Development Centers

FastUpFront is also great cash flow resource for small business owners of any gender, providing Cash Advances for Small Business Owners.

Small Business Collections – 6 Tips

The most frustrating thing about running a small business is EVERYTHING that is out of your control.  One of these things is when your customers don’t pay you.  Here are some tips on collecting that money which is owed you already, and which you need NOW.  While you are waiting for your money, if you need some extra cash, you can consider getting a business cash advance.

Set Written Payment Guidelines – Before providing goods or services, make sure that the client has signed/initialed next to your payment guidelines.  Also, outline the guidelines clearly on your invoices.  If you want to offer a trade discount – giving a 1 or 2% discount to customers who pay quickly, this will often encourage payment – minimizing your cash flow issues.

Quick Invoicing – I wrote more about this in a previous article on minimizing cash flow issues.

Incentives – There are various types of incentives which will ease speedy collection, helping to minimize cash flow issues for a small business.  An example of a “carrot” incentive is a trade discount – giving a 1 or 2% discount to customers who pay quickly.  A “stick” incentive would be to charge interest for overdue accounts.  Many companies who charge interest will waive it in the event of a good faith payment.

Reminders – Many experts advise sending out multiple reminders; however, for small businesses my rule is: One reminder, then pick up the phone.  Depending on the size of your business, you might find that two reminders makes more sense – but the personal attention of a phone call can work wonders.

Present Options – Decide which options you want to offer someone who is not paying.  Do you want to offer them an altered payment plan?  Do you want to sue?

If You Sue – Make sure you have a good paper trail.  If the amount owed is within the limit for your county, you can sue in small claims court (no lawyer).  Make sure you have taken notes on all telephone calls and that you have the contract and paperwork with you.  Before filing, let the customer know what you are planning to do, and see if you can convince them just to pay you.  If you have any questions on how to sue in small claims court, contact your county clerk’s office.  Unfortunately, winning in small claims court doesn’t always mean you will actually get the money.  More often than not, just the threat of being sued will create the impetus to pay.

Beauty / Hair Salon Financing – A necessary but near impossible loan to acquire.

Growing a hair / beauty salon business requires financing! Lenders know that these business can really struggle with varying receivables and high overhead. A successful salon needs time to develop a loyal customer base. A salon’s success is based on a local following and until that business has established it’s “regulars” overtime, revenue can be very unstable making fixed loan repayments difficult; And the bank knows this!

I recently read an article from USAToday about a successful entrepreneur in the hair beauty salon business. It’s an interesting article that shows how determination and creativity can lead to success in a big way. The business owner mentions the difficulties she had in acquiring financing for her salon. After being turned down for small business loans, she resorted to borrowing money from friends and family. Ultimately she was able to get the necessary financing which enabled her to grow her salon business into a multi million dollar enterprise.

We fund many established beauty and hair salon businesses in their early stages of development. Our funding helps them to maintain their businesses while building their customer base overtime. Our business cash advance program works well for salon’s and many other small businesses that may have trouble with the inflexible repayment options offered by the bank. Our business cash advance program offers financing based on future credit card sales with flexible repayment – meaning we take repayment when your business can afford it. In addition our cash advance is unsecured, available to businesses with bad credit and is available to any business (even high risk borrowers like beauty and hair salon businesses) as long as you process a minimum of $1000/month in credit card sales.

Plus… you won’t have to ask your friends or family 😉

Business Planning Freeware

During my morning surf, I found some directories of Business Planning Freeware and I thought I’d put links up.  I haven’t checked these programs out, so use your own judgement.  Some of them look rather old, but a formula is a formula and it looks like many of these programs could be very useful.

Many of them have all sorts of white papers and templates for new and established small businesses (and everyone in between).  Others have ratio calculators and the like.  I have only just started looking it over, but I wanted to share the directories with all of you.  One of the free-wares (eGuides from PlanWare) has info that supposedly helps with the following:

  1. Getting New Business Ideas
  2. Devising Business Strategies
  3. Developing a Strategic Business Plan
  4. Writing a Business Plan
  5. Insights into Business Planning
  6. Preparing Financial Projections
  7. Making Cashflow Forecasts
  8. Managing Working Capital

Anyway, try out these two directories for Business Finance/Planning Free-Ware, and let us know which ones you recommend:

Business Plan FreeWare directory from SoftPlatz

Business Plan FreeWare directory from FreeWare-Guide

Online Business Finance & Accounting Calculators

By using online finance/accounting calculators and other online tools, you are able to bypass hiring someone to calculate for you AND you are able to recalculate quickly and easily for various situations, projections, and ‘what if’s’.


Bank Rate has the following free calculators for Small Business Owners:

Calculate payments on any loan (incl. amortization schedule)
Current ratio calculator
Quick ratio calculator
Debt-to-assets ratio calculator
Return on assets calculator
Gross profit margin calculator
Operating profit percentage calculator


Here is what DinkyTown has to say about its Working Capital Calculator:


Your working capital is used to pay short-term obligations such as your accounts payable and buying inventory. If your working capital dips too low, you risk running out of cash. Even very profitable businesses can run into trouble if they lose the ability to meet their short-term obligations. The calculator assists you in determining working capital needs for the next year.


I hope to get a ratio list up here at some point to help people understand how, and when, the various ratios are used. 


Hope you enjoy your online tools. 🙂