Discover the three types of information you'll need to open a business bank account along with recommendations for some business bank accounts that we like....

Discover the three types of information you’ll need to open a business bank account along with recommendations for some business bank accounts that we like…. Our content partner Nav.com has the details!

 

Opening a business bank account is an important step in the timeline of any new company. Without a business bank account you could have trouble establishing commercial credit. You might also face challenges when you try to qualify for financing or keep the clear accounting records you’ll need when it’s time to file your business tax return. 

There are clear advantages to opening a business bank account as well. For example, managing company cash flow is generally a lot easier when you keep your business and personal finances separate. If your business is ready to start spending money or receiving money from customers, the best time to open a business bank account is now. 

 

What You Need to Get Started

Ready to open a business bank account for your business? Below you’ll find three types of information you need to get started. 

1) Know your business’ identity. 

Whether you visit a local bank branch or open a business checking account online, you’ll need to be prepared with some basic identifying information about your business. This may include: 

  • The Name of Your Business — You should provide the bank with the legal name of your business, as it appears on any documents filed with the state or Internal Revenue Service (IRS). 
  • Your Employer Identification Number (EIN) — If your business is an LLC or corporation, your bank will most likely request your EIN number to open a bank account for your company. Most banks require this information to make sure your business is legitimate.  
  • Your Business Address — Ideally, this should be the same addressyou used for licensing or official business filings (LLC or incorporation). 
  • Other Contact Information — A bank may also request other contact information for your business when you set up a new account, such as your company phone number, website, and/or email address.

2) Be prepared to share personal details. 

In addition to sharing information about your business, you’ll also need to let the bank know a few personal details about you, the business owner. These personal details may include: 

  • Your Social Security Number — If your business is set up as a sole proprietorship, you should be prepared to hand over your personal Social Security number (and perhaps even a copy of your Social Security card) when you open a new business bank account. 
  • A Copy of Your Driver’s License — Many banks will want to make a copy of your valid driver’s license when you open a new business bank account. 
  • Additional Proof of Identification — You might need to provide additional proof of identification, such as a passport or alternate photo ID. 

3) Have your business formation documents. 

Finally, you should be prepared to bring or upload copies of your business formation documents whenever you apply to open a new business bank account. A bank might request copies of any of the following, based on your type of business entity:

  • Partnership Agreement — Is your business legally set up as a partnership? If so, be ready to provide a copy of your partnership agreement when you apply to open a business bank account. 
  • Articles of Organization — For LLCs, you should be prepared to provide your Articles of Organization. 
  • Articles of Incorporation — If your business is set up as a corporation, the paperwork you’ll need to provide the bank when you apply to open a new account is known as your Articles of Incorporation. 
  • Business License — Depending upon the industry in which your business operates, a bank might request a copy of your business license(s) as well. 

 

Business Bank Accounts That We Like

Now that you know what type of information you’ll need to provide to open a business bank account, it’s a great time to choose the bank account that’s best for you. Your best bet is to review different options, compare features and pricing, and figure out which option sounds like it will be a good fit. 

Here’s a look at 3 business bank accounts that we like to help you get the comparison process started. 

Azlo is our favorite free online bank. 

Opening a business bank account doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, Azlo offers a completely free online account option for small businesses that aren’t fans of the monthly service fee. 

Azlo’s business checking account boasts the following features that make it an attractive option for freelancers other small business owners alike:

  • Zero fees (including maintenance fees, transaction fees, etc.)
  • Easy online account management from your computer or device
  • No minimum deposit required to open an account
  • Easily connect to popular online tools (QuickBooks, PayPal, TransferWise, etc.)

On the negative side, Azlo doesn’t have physical branches. So, you’ll need to do all of your banking online. If you’re a face-to-face kind of person or your business needs the option to make cash deposits, traditional financial institutions might be better suited to your needs. 

Bank of America won our “best business checking account.” 

Nav’s winner for best bank for small business, Bank of America, offers companies a lot of perks. When you combine the bank’s business checking benefits with its potentially low fees (if you qualify for a waiver), it makes an excellent choice for a business checking account. 

Bank of America has two different offerings when it comes to business checking accounts — Business Fundamentals and Business Advantage. 

Here are some key features that might make one of Bank of America’s business checking accounts a good choice for your company:

  • The potential to avoid monthly fees of $12 to $29.95, based upon where you live and the type of account. (Information on how to qualify for a fee waiver is available here.)
  • Easily conduct business in-person, including cash deposits, at thousands of branches nationwide
  • Free business debit card and employee debit cards
  • Free ATM withdrawals within Bank of America’s extensive network of over 16,000 ATMs
  • Open a business savings account at no extra cost
  • Easily connect your account to with QuickBooks

There are a few potential downsides to be aware of with Bank of America business checking accounts as well. First, you’ll need to have a minimum opening deposit of $100. With Business Fundamentals accounts, wire transfers also cost extra (between $15 to $40 each). Finally, if you don’t qualify for a fee waiver, those monthly account fees of $12 to $29.95 can add up over time — potentially as high as $359.40 per year. 

Chase was our best runner-up business checking account. 

Another great option that earns the runner-up spot from Nav for best business checking account is Chase. Like Bank of America, Chase’s Total Business Checking account does come with a fee ($15 in this case). However, customers can qualify for a fee waiver in a number of ways. 

Chase Total Business Checking account holders may enjoy the following perks: 

  • A reduced monthly fee of $12 by signing up for paperless statements
  • The potential to avoid the $15 monthly fee in one of two easy ways
  • Unlimited electronic deposits
  • Free ATM withdrawals at 16,000 ATMs
  • More than 5,000 branches available for convenient in-person banking and cash deposits
  • Access to both Chase Online Banking and Chase Mobile Banking

Of course, it’s not fair to talk about the benefits of a Chase business checking account without mentioning potential drawbacks. First, if you deposit more than $5,000 in cash per month, you’ll be charged extra fees. Also, despite having more than 5,000 branches available, there are areas where Chase branches aren’t as common. You should check online to see if there’s a Chase branch conveniently located near you if you’re considering the bank as an option. 

 

FAQ

What do I need to open a bank account for an LLC? 

If you’re interested in opening a new business bank account for an LLC, you’ll need the following two pieces of information. First, you will need your EIN number. Second, you’ll need to bring (or upload) a copy of your Articles of Organization. 

Can I use my personal bank account for my small business?

Technically, yes, you can use your personal bank account to operate your small business. However, if you choose to do so, you could open yourself up to some unnecessary risks and potential complications. 

When you use your personal bank account for business purposes, it’s difficult to separate personal and business expenses. This can be a difficult mess to try to untangle, especially when tax filing season approaches. Combining personal and business finances can sometimes lead to cash flow challenges as well.

Additionally, there may come a day when you want to establish credit for your business or apply for financing. If you run your business transactions through a personal checking account, your financing options can be very limited. According to Nav’s Annual Business Banking Survey, 70% of business owners who did not have a business bank account were turned down for a loan in the previous two years. 

Do I need a business bank account for a sole proprietorship? 

Technically, no. You do not have to have a separate business bank account if you are a sole proprietor. Yet just because it isn’t required doesn’t mean sole proprietorships wouldn’t be wise to open a dedicated business bank account anyway. 

As mentioned above, using your personal bank account for business purposes can be messy and cause problems. Plus, there are free business bank account options available, like Azio. We highly recommend opening a business bank account that’s completely separate from your personal funds. 

 

This article originally appeared on Nav.com and was re-purposed with their permission.

 

For information about Opportunity Fund’s small business loans, please contact us at 866-299-8173 or loans@opportunityfund.org.  For questions about your existing loan or other customer service questions, please contact us at 866-299-8173 or sbhelp@opportunityfund.org.

Loans are subject to credit review. Additional documentation may be required for credit approval. Loans will be made or arranged pursuant to California Department of Corporations Finance Lenders License #6050609.

 

Opportunity Fund, the nation’s leading nonprofit small business lender, believes small dollar loans help hard-working entrepreneurs make lasting change in their own lives and build stronger communities by growing businesses and creating jobs. Opportunity Fund’s community of donors and investors is creating an inclusive financial system that empowers women, immigrant, and minority small business owners. Our strategy combines microloans for small business owners and New Markets Tax Credit investments in high-impact community infrastructure projects. Since 1994, Opportunity Fund has deployed more than $750 million and helped thousands of entrepreneurs invest in their families’ futures. The organization has committed to lending an additional $1.2 billion to small business owners across the country and investing $174 million in community real estate projects by 2023.

Visit us online at http://opportunityfundloan.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter

September was Hispanic Heritage Month. Let’s keep it going! Here's a list of free and low- cost resources for hispanic entrepreneurs.

September was Hispanic Heritage Month. Let’s keep it going! Here’s a list of free and low- cost resources for hispanic entrepreneurs.

 

Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA)

What it costs: Free

What it does: “MBDA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce that promotes the growth of minority-owned businesses through the mobilization and advancement of public and private sector programs, policy, and research. They work throughout the nation to link minority-owned businesses with the capital, contracts, and markets they need to grow. They also advocate for and promote minority-owned business with elected officials, policymakers, and business leaders. Serving as subject matter experts and advocates for the minority business community, MBDA conducts high-quality research and cultivates domestic and international relationships. Their programs and services better equip minority-owned firms to create jobs, build scale and capacity, increase revenues, and expand regionally, nationally, and internationally”

 

United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC)

What it costs: Free

What it does: “The USHCC actively promotes the economic growth, development and interests of more than 4.37 million Hispanic-owned businesses that, combined, contribute over $700 billion to the American economy every year. USHCC’s local chambers will have access to capital through grant programs, access to training, and a direct gateway to more than 260 corporate partners and Hispanic Business Enterprises. The USHCC National Convention is the largest networking venue for Hispanic businesses in America. It offers the opportunity to establish strategic long-lasting business partnerships through dialogue, networking, workshops, and more.”

 

Women’s Business Border Center (WBBC)

What it costs: Free

What it does: “WBBC provides information, training, individual technical assistance,and opportunities for women interested in starting or expanding their business. They create opportunities for women who want to access information, personal guidance and insight into business-management skills. The WBBC provides female business owners with numerous online sources to better assist with any and all questions about running a small business.”

 

Immigrant Business

What it costs: Free

What it does: “Immigrant Business was created to bring this ever-expanding, essential business community the tools needed to be successful in the United States. They cover inspiring success stories, political issues, and breaking news about immigrants and immigration, and offer first-hand tips on selling, franchising, winning government contracts, and much more from some of the most successful immigrant entrepreneurs in America.”

 

Immigrant Learning Center (ILC)

What it costs: Free

What it does: “ILC is a nonprofit organization that gives immigrants a voice in three ways: the English Language Program provides free, year-round English classes to immigrant and refugee adults in Greater Boston to help them become successful workers, parents and community members; the Public Education Institute informs Americans about the economic and social contributions of immigrants in our society; and the Institute for Immigration Research, a joint venture with George Mason University, conducts research on the economic contributions of immigrants.”

 

We’re always looking for the best affordable online resources, including tools to promote truckers and other small business owners like you. If you would like to share your small business success story or you have resources you have found helpful, please contact us at sblending@opportunityfund.org.

For information about Opportunity Fund’s small business loans, please contact us at 866-299-8173 or loans@opportunityfund.org.  For questions about your existing loan or other customer service questions, please contact us at 866-299-8173 or sbhelp@opportunityfund.org.

Loans are subject to credit review. Additional documentation may be required for credit approval. We are an Equal Opportunity Lender. Loans will be made or arranged pursuant to California Department of Corporations Finance Lenders License #6050609.

 

Opportunity Fund, the nation’s leading nonprofit small business lender, believes small dollar loans help hard-working entrepreneurs make lasting change in their own lives and build stronger communities by growing businesses and creating jobs. Opportunity Fund’s community of donors and investors is creating an inclusive financial system that empowers women, immigrant, and minority small business owners. Our strategy combines microloans for small business owners and New Markets Tax Credit investments in high-impact community infrastructure projects. Since 1994, Opportunity Fund has deployed more than $750 million and helped thousands of entrepreneurs invest in their families’ futures. The organization has committed to lending an additional $1.2 billion to small business owners across the country and investing $174 million in community real estate projects by 2023.

Visit us online at opportunityfundloan.org and follow us on Facebook  and Twitter

Cuando los empresarios necesitan efectivo rápido, los anticipos de efectivo para comerciantes (MCA) pueden parecer una buena solución. Pero a menudo son demasiado buenos para ser verdad. Lea acerca de cómo los MCA pueden arrastrar a su pequeña empresa a ciclos peligrosos de deuda.

Cuando los empresarios necesitan efectivo rápido, los anticipos de efectivo para comerciantes (MCA) pueden parecer una buena solución. Pero a menudo son demasiado buenos para ser verdad.

Lea acerca de cómo los MCA pueden arrastrar a su pequeña empresa a ciclos peligrosos de deuda.

 

¿Qué es un anticipo en efectivo para comerciantes?

Desde la recesión económica , las pequeñas empresas han batallado para obtener crédito  de bancos tradicionales. Las empresas necesitan capital de trabajo para sobrevivir, y las pequeñas empresas realmente pueden tener dificultades si no pueden obtener el financiamiento cuando lo necesitan.

Al igual que muchos hogares estadounidenses, cuando los empresarios tienen poco dinero  las cosas se complican y ellos se sienten desesperados . Los prestamistas alternativos lo saben, y se aprovechan de esta desesperación. Aquí es donde aparecen los anticipos de efectivo para comerciantes (MCA): empresas con fines de lucro que prometen aprobación rápida y calificaciones súper fáciles, incluso con mal crédito. Estos anticipos no son clasificados como préstamos porque la compañía del MCA ofrece un monto en efectivo que se paga a través de un porcentaje de transacciones futuras con tarjeta de débito / crédito. Piense en un MCA como un préstamo de día de pago para empresas.

 

Por qué los anticipos de efectivo para comerciantes son mortales para las pequeñas empresas

El problema con los MCA es que a menudo no son transparentes acerca de  cuánto costará este dinero l Hemos realizado una investigación sobre estas práctica nociva, sobre las que puede leer aquí. No solo se quedará atrapado con altas tasas de interés y tarifas ocultas, lo que lleva a niveles de APR muy altas , sino que algunas empresas de MCA pueden pedirle que firme una Confesión de juicio (CoJ).

Una CoJ es una forma que tienen las compañías de MCA para engañarlo. Si un prestamista requiere que firme un CoJ antes de que le den dinero, eso es una señal de alerta. No todos los prestamistas que le solicitan firmar  lo llaman con amenazas y drenan sus cuentas bancarias de la noche ala mañana, pero al firmar un CoJ, les está dando la libertad de confiscar sus activos financieros sin previo aviso.

Aunque los MCA pueden parecer una buena solución para una necesidad financiera inmediata, el costo de las tarifas ocultas y la redacción difícil simplemente no valen la pena.

Eche un vistazo a este video simple que ilustra cómo los MCA pueden conducir a ciclos de deuda peligrosos.

 

 

Opportunity Fund está abordando la desigualdad económica para que el trabajo arduo y la perseverancia signifiquen una oportunidad para salir adelante, no solo para salir adelante. Nuestros programas cuentan con el respaldo de una comunidad de donantes e inversores cuyas contribuciones ayudan a financiar pequeñas empresas, apoyar a estudiantes universitarios y construir familias más fuertes y vecindarios vibrantes.Desde 1994, el equipo ha desplegado $700 millones y ayudado a miles de familias a ganar, ahorrar e invertir en su propio futuro. Opportunity Fund obtuvo una calificación de 4 estrellas de Charity Navigator, el evaluador de caridad independiente más grande de Estados Unidos, por nuestro compromiso con la responsabilidad y la transparencia.

Visítenos en línea en opportunityfundloan.org/es y síganos en Facebook y en Twitter

You may ride the open roads solo, but that doesn’t mean you’re on your own. Here's a list of free and low- cost resources for truck drivers.

You may ride the open roads solo, but that doesn’t mean you’re on your own. Here’s a list of free and low- cost resources for truck drivers.

 

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

What it costs: Free

What it does: The U.S.Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has a variety of free resources for you as a truck driver. OSHA provides information and training on preventing occupational illness and injury, has connections to other government agencies you can use, provides industry hazard information, and regulates the companies you work for.

 

American Trucking Association

What it costs: Free resources, paid membership available

What it does: Since 1933, the American Trucking Association (ATA) advocates  for truck drivers. They have support and education programs, as well as industry news and conferences just for you.

 

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration 

What it costs: Free

What it does: The U.S. Department of Labor’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is your go-to resource for DOT registration and regulation information. FMCSA has many programs and utilities for you, including a military trucker program, portals to report safety violations and human trafficking, commercial truck driving insurance resources, and more. 

 

Women in Trucking

What it costs: Free resources, paid membership available

What it does: The Women In Trucking Association is a non-profit organization focused on the transportation and logistics industry. Their mission? To encourage the employment of women in the trucking industry, promote their accomplishments, and minimize obstacles faced by women working in the trucking industry. Find networking events, leadership workshops, career opportunities, advocates for gender equality in trucking, and industry mentors.

 

Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association

What it costs: Free

What it does: The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) fights for the rights of all truckers. For more than 40 years, OOIDA has pushed legislation and regulation for the trucking industry. As a member, you can enjoy benefits such as affordable insurance, healthcare and life insurance, retirement plans, industry discounts, training programs, and more.

 

We’re always looking for the best affordable online resources, including tools to promote truckers and other  small business owners like you. If you have resources you’d like to share with fellow business owners, contact us at sblending@opportunityfund.org.

For information about Opportunity Fund’s small business loans, please contact us at 866-299-8173 or loans@opportunityfund.org.  For questions about your existing loan or other customer service questions, please contact us at 866-299-8173 or sbhelp@opportunityfund.org.

Loans are subject to credit review. Additional documentation may be required for credit approval. We are an Equal Opportunity Lender. Loans will be made or arranged pursuant to California Department of Corporations Finance Lenders License #6050609.

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Opportunity Fund, the nation’s leading nonprofit small business lender, believes small dollar loans help hard-working entrepreneurs make lasting change in their own lives and build stronger communities by growing businesses and creating jobs. Opportunity Fund’s community of donors and investors is creating an inclusive financial system that empowers women, immigrant, and minority small business owners. Our strategy combines microloans for small business owners and New Markets Tax Credit investments in high-impact community infrastructure projects. Since 1994, Opportunity Fund has deployed more than $750 million and helped thousands of entrepreneurs invest in their families’ futures. The organization has committed to lending an additional $1.2 billion to small business owners across the country and investing $174 million in community real estate projects by 2023.

Visit us online at opportunityfundloan.org and follow us on Facebook  and Twitter

When entrepreneurs need cash fast, Merchant Cash Advances (MCAs) might seem like a good solution. But they’re often too good to be true. Read about how MCAs can drag your small business into dangerous debt cycles.

When entrepreneurs need cash fast, Merchant Cash Advances (MCAs) might seem like a good solution. But they’re often too good to be true. Read about how MCAs can drag your small business into dangerous debt cycles.

 

What is a Merchant Cash Advance?

Since the recession, small businesses have had trouble getting loans from traditional banks. Businesses need working capital to survive, and smaller businesses can really struggle if they can’t get financing when they need it.

Like many American households, when entrepreneurs are tight on cash things can get desperate. Alternative lenders know this, and some take advantage of this desperation. This is where Merchant Cash Advances (MCAs) show up: for-profit companies who promise lightning fast approval and super easy qualifications, even with bad credit. These advances are not classified as loans because the MCA company offers a cash amount upright that is repaid through a percentage of future debit/credit card transactions. Think of an MCA as a payday loan for businesses.

 

Why Merchant Cash Advances Are Deadly For Small Businesses

The problem with MCAs is that they often aren’t transparent about how much this money will cost you. We’ve conducted industry research on these harmful practices, which you can read about here. Not only will you be stuck with high interest rates and hidden fees, leading to painful APR levels, but some MCA businesses may ask you to sign a Confession of Judgement (CoJ). 

A CoJ is one way that MCA companies trick you. If a lender requires you to sign a CoJ before they will give you money, that is a giant red flag. Not every lender who asks you to sign will call you with threats and drain your bank accounts overnight, but by signing a CoJ, you are giving them the freedom to seize your financial assets without warning. 

Although MCAs may seem like a good solution for an immediate financial need, the cost of hidden fees and tricky wording simply isn’t worth it.

Take a look at this simple video that illustrates how MCAs can lead to dangerous debt cycles.

 

 

Opportunity Fund, the nation’s leading nonprofit small business lender, believes small dollar loans help hard-working entrepreneurs make lasting change in their own lives and build stronger communities by growing businesses and creating jobs. Opportunity Fund’s community of donors and investors is creating an inclusive financial system that empowers women, immigrant, and minority small business owners. Our strategy combines microloans for small business owners and New Markets Tax Credit investments in high-impact community infrastructure projects. Since 1994, Opportunity Fund has deployed more than $750 million and helped thousands of entrepreneurs invest in their families’ futures. The organization has committed to lending an additional $1.2 billion to small business owners across the country and investing $174 million in community real estate projects by 2023.

Visit us online at http://opportunityfundloan.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter

A lot goes into calculating your business credit score. One aspect you may not anticipate is the impact of customer reviews. Here are the details....

A lot goes into calculating your business credit score. One aspect you may not anticipate is the impact of customer reviews. Our content partner Nav.com has the details!

 

You probably already know that it’s in your best interest to earn and maintain the best credit scores possible – both personally and for your business. There’s no question that a good business credit score can open doors to opportunities and save you money at the same time.

As a small business owner, customer reviews can also play an important role in the health of your company. According to a recent survey, 86% of consumers check online reviews before deciding whether to do business with a local company. Good reviews can help your business thrive and grow. An overabundance of negative reviews, however, could have a damaging effect.

But the impact that customer reviews might have on your revenue stream isn’t the only reason why you should be concerned with them. Online reviews, such as those posted on websites like Yelp and Google, might impact on your business credit score as well.

 

Customer Reviews and Your Business Credit Score

Let’s pause here for a little myth busting. Your business doesn’t have just one credit score; it has many scores. The same is true of personal credit scores as well.

Numerous companies create and sell different versions of business credit scoring models. Lenders use these models to generate commercial credit scores — numbers used to predict the risk of doing business with your company. The higher your business’ credit score climbs on a scoring model’s scale, the more likely it is to pay its bills on time (and the lower the risk your business represents to lenders).

When compared with business credit scores, your personal credit scores may be a little easier to understand. Personal credit scoring models are designed to consider the information found on one of your three consumer credit reports from Equifax, TransUnion or Experian. Aside from one exception, if a piece of information isn’t included on your personal credit report, it doesn’t impact your personal credit score.

Business credit scoring models, on the other hand, don’t always follow this rule. As far as your company is concerned, a piece of information doesn’t have to be found on a traditional business credit report in order to influence your business credit score.

Your business’ payment history on tradelines like business credit cards, loans, and vendor accounts usually has the biggest impact on your company’s credit rating. (Dun & Bradstreet’s PAYDEX Score, for example, is based 100% on your business’ payment history.) Yet the following information may be considered by certain business scoring models as well:

  • Online Reviews
  • Whether a Company’s Number of Reviews Is Trending Up or Down
  • Responsiveness to Customer Reviews
  • Business Age
  • Date Incorporated
  • Number of Employees
  • Annual Sales

 

Why Do Lenders Care About Business Reviews?

Business lenders don’t worry about your business’ online reviews because they’re bored and need a way to pass the time. Rather, business lenders care about customer reviews because reviews provide another way to predict the risk of issuing credit to your company.

Business lenders need to avoid loaning money to companies who won’t pay back their debts as agreed in order to maintain a healthy cash flow and remain profitable.

Credit scores that consider online reviews can give commercial lenders an enhanced way to track and reduce their exposure to risk. According to Experian, online reviews, rankings, and ratings “can all shed light on a business’ health, growth, and stability.”  

Experian says its Social Media Insight Program (which evaluates customer reviews and other data) can help lenders to predict risk 12% more effectively overall. When evaluating credit applications for businesses with little credit history, an Experian credit score enhanced with Social Media Insight can be 91% more effective.

The good news is that you probably don’t need to worry about a few random negative reviews hurting your company’s credit scores. Rather, it’s generally your business’ overall number of reviews (and the total number of positive vs. negative reviews) that matter most.

One word of caution — if you’re thinking about trying to game the system with phony positive reviews, don’t. While it’s fine to encourage reviews from real customers, scoring models that consider customer reviews are often designed to sniff out artificial reviews  and other attempted manipulations of the system. 

 

How Much Do Online Reviews Impact Your Business Credit Score?

In the end, whether or not online customer reviews will impact your business credit score (and by how much) comes down to one important factor — which credit scoring model is being used to evaluate your business. If a lender uses a scoring model that doesn’t consider customer reviews, those reviews won’t have any impact on your business credit score.

Even if a lender uses a scoring model that considers reviews, it’s important to keep things in perspective. Customer reviews can give lenders an added window of insight into your business when you apply for financing. Your company’s reviews — good or bad — aren’t going to replace the other important information and scoring models that lenders consider when evaluating your business credit rating.

A series of great reviews, for example, won’t offset the fact that your business has been paying its financial obligations late. In this situation, your business would still likely have poor credit scores. By contrast, a few negative reviews probably won’t tank your business credit scores if you have years’ worth of established credit and on-time payment history.  

It’s wise to focus on collecting positive reviews from customers, both for the financial success of your company and the health of your business credit. However, while positive online reviews could potentially enhance your business credit scores, they’re not a substitute for the traditional business credit building habits you need to create.

 

This article originally appeared on Nav.com and was re-purposed with their permission.

 

For information about Opportunity Fund’s small business loans, please contact us at 866-299-8173 or loans@opportunityfund.org.  For questions about your existing loan or other customer service questions, please contact us at 866-299-8173 or sbhelp@opportunityfund.org.

Loans are subject to credit review. Additional documentation may be required for credit approval. Loans will be made or arranged pursuant to California Department of Corporations Finance Lenders License #6050609.

Opportunity Fund, the nation’s leading nonprofit small business lender, believes small dollar loans help hard-working entrepreneurs make lasting change in their own lives and build stronger communities by growing businesses and creating jobs. Opportunity Fund’s community of donors and investors is creating an inclusive financial system that empowers women, immigrant, and minority small business owners. Our strategy combines microloans for small business owners and New Markets Tax Credit investments in high-impact community infrastructure projects. Since 1994, Opportunity Fund has deployed more than $750 million and helped thousands of entrepreneurs invest in their families’ futures. The organization has committed to lending an additional $1.2 billion to small business owners across the country and investing $174 million in community real estate projects by 2023.

Visit us online at http://opportunityfundloan.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Each month, we promote affordable events that help small business owners run their businesses better. This is your monthly calendar for in-person events in California and virtual events you can join from anywhere. Here are the best upcoming events in August.

Each month, we promote  affordable events that help small business owners run their businesses better. This is your monthly calendar for in-person events in California and virtual events you can join from anywhere. Here are the best upcoming events in August.

 

Northern California/Sacramento

Getting Your Business Holiday-Ready
Date: August 14, 2019 | 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm PDT
Location: 275 5th Street. San Francisco
Contact: Erin Morris | (415) 348-6227 | emorris@rencenter.org
Organization: Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center
Fee: $15

It’s never too early to get your business ready for the holiday season! Join us for a panel of experienced business owners that will cover topics like e-commerce, inventory and more.

Refreshments will be served, and there will be networking time to meet and connect with other entrepreneurs!

Click here to register for this event. 

Getting your ACT together! What you need to know before you do any marketing!
Date: August 20, 2019 | 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm PDT
Location:  1670 Market Street, Suite #112 Redding
Contact: (530) 926-6670
Organization: Jefferson Economic Development Institute
Fee: Free

Understand what is needed before you begin to put money into marketing for your business!

During this event you will:

  • Work through the Freedom Formula – There will be worksheets involved.
  • Identify competitors and customers – The actual formula to find out who they are.
  • What makes you different? – Learn the difference between USP and Unique Mechanism.

 

Click here to register for this event. 

Website Building Basics – Building And Publishing Your Own Website
Date: August 26, 2019 | 9:00am to 12:00pm PDT
Location: 4071 Port Chicago Hwy Suite 250, Room B. Concord

Contact: (707) 826-3919
Organization: SBDC Northern California
Fee: Free

This inspiring and interactive workshop is suitable for any level of experience or ability and is designed to introduce you to building and publishing your very own website.
Click here to register for this event. 

 

Southern California/San Diego

SB 1343 Sexual Harassment Supervisory Training
Date: August 14, 2019 | 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM PDT
Location:  1405 S Fern Avenue, Ontario
Contact: Mary T | (909) 983-0751
OrganizationOrange County Inland Empire Regional SBDC
Fee: Free

SB1343 now requires employers who employ 5 or more employees (including temporary or seasonal employees) to provide at least 2 hours of sexual harassment training to all supervisory employees by January 1, 2020.

We will be offering the 2-hour mandatory training, at no cost to you. Attendees will be awarded a Certificate of Completion at the conclusion of the training (must attend the entire 2 hours). 

Click here to register for this event.

Accounting for Non-Accountants
Date: August 9, 2019 | 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM  PDT
Location: 1003 East Cooley Drive. Suite 109 Colton, CA
Contact: (909) 890-1242
Organization: Inland Empire Women’s Business Center
Fee: $20

Do you want to understand your finances so that you can feel confident and in charge, making strategic decisions that will benefit your business and your future? Join us to make sense of your numbers and create a greater impact in your business and life.

Click here to register for this event.

Pricing for Profitability: Are You Charging What Your Worth?
Date: August 23, 2019 | 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM  PDT
Location: 1003 East Cooley Drive. Suite 109 Colton, CA
Contact: (909) 890-1242
Organization: Inland Empire Women’s Business Center
Fee: $20

Are you challenged with how to competitively price your services? How do you know if you’re charging too much – or worse – too little? Pricing your services is one of the most important decisions you will make in business, so make sure you are charging what you’re worth! Join us and discover what you must know to set your prices appropriately!

Click here to register for this event.

 

Virtual

How to Use Onsite Promotions to Drive More E-commerce Sales
Date: August 22, 2019 | 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: Lora Nelson | lora.nelson@canyons.edu | (661) 362-5900
Organization: SBDC hosted by College of the Canyons
Fee: Free

Don’t just look to external marketing tactics to grow sales, look inside. From up-sells, cross-sells, couponing, quantity discounts, shipping offers and much more, your e-commerce site can turn in a wealth of untapped revenue.

Click here to register for this event.

Writing A Successful Business Plan
Date: August 13, 2019 | 12:00pm to 2:00pm PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: Jacques Bidjima | 628-652-6393
Organization: SBDC Norcal
Fee: Free

This workshop is an introduction to creating a business plan. This plan can be used to summarize one’s business proposition and provides a great first step to getting organized. This plan can be useful when pitching one’s business to potential investors or partners, when attempting to secure capital or to properly manage a business.

Click here to register for this event. 

Affiliate Marketing
Date: August 29, 2019 | 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: Lora Nelson | lora.nelson@canyons.edu | (661) 362-5900
Organization: SBDC hosted by College of the Canyons
Fee: Free

What is affiliate marketing? How does it work? What are the best tools to leverage to streamline your affiliate marketing business? Find out with this webinar!

Click here to register for this event. 

 

We’re looking for upcoming events to promote to small business owners like you. If you have an event you’d like to share with fellow business owners, contact us at sblending@opportunityfund.org.

For information about Opportunity Fund’s small business loans, please contact us at 866-299-8173 or loans@opportunityfund.org.  For questions about your existing loan or other customer service questions, please contact us at 866-299-8173 or sbhelp@opportunityfund.org.

Loans are subject to credit review. Additional documentation may be required for credit approval. We are an Equal Opportunity Lender. Loans will be made or arranged pursuant to California Department of Corporations Finance Lenders License #6050609.

Opportunity Fund is tackling economic inequality so that hard work and perseverance means a shot at getting ahead, not just struggling to get by. Our programs are supported by a community of donors and investors whose contributions help to fund small businesses and build stronger families and vibrant neighborhoods. Since 1994, the team has deployed $700 million and helped thousands of families invest in their own futures. Opportunity Fund has earned a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator, for our commitment to accountability and transparency.

Visit us online at opportunityfundloan.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter

A lot of words get thrown around talking about small businesses. Cash flow and profit may seem similar, but they're different. Here's more info....

A lot of words get thrown around talking about small businesses. Cash flow and profit may seem similar, but they’re different. Our content partner Nav.com has answers!

 

 

According to a Quickbooks report from earlier this year, “61% of small businesses regularly struggle with cash flow”. 

Even if your business is profitable, you can be at risk of falling into financial demise. How? Because if you don’t have enough liquid cash on hand to meet the myriad of current and near-term expenses that come with owning a small business, it can nearly impossible to keep your operation afloat. 

 

What is cash flow?

Cash flow is essentially the cycle of funds going in and out of your business from operations, investing, and financing activities. It’s the amount of liquid cash that you have at your disposal at a given time. Your business can either be cash flow positive, or cash flow negative.  

Positive cash flow is when cash inflows are greater than your cash outflows. 

Negative cash flow is when your cash outflows are greater than your cash inflows. 

Examples of cash inflows are money coming in from accounts receivable, the sales of services and products, and borrowed capital like lines of credit or term loans

Examples of cash outflows are money going out for accounts payable, payroll, taxes, rent, loan payments, and other expenses.

If you decided to borrow $75,000 to cover  equipment financing, the lump sum of capital you receive upfront would be considered cash inflows, and your payments on the loan would be considered cash outflows. 

 

What is profit?

Profit (also known as “net profit” or “net income”) is the amount of money that remains after all expenses — including costs of goods sold (COGS), as well as operating costs, interest payments, loan payments, and taxes — are deducted from your revenue. 

To figure out your total profitability, you need to understand both gross profit and net profit.

Let’s say you own a flower shop. You bring in $25,000 of revenue in April, but your COGS (i.e. wholesale flowers) amount to $10,000. Your gross profit would be $15,000. 

Revenue – Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) = Gross Profit 

$25,000 – $10,000 = $15,000

Your gross profit is what you make from selling flowers, but it does not account for all the other operating expenses that are involved in running your flower shop, such as the cost of rent, electricity, payroll and advertising. Factoring in your operating expenses, your net profit for April would be $10,000. 

Gross Profit – Operating Expenses = Net Income 

$15,000 – $5,000 = $10,000

While profitability provides you with a snapshot of your financial situation during a specific accounting period, it fails to account for the day-to-day stability of your operation. 

 

What’s the difference?

While being cash flow positive and profitable may seem pretty much the same at first glance, there’s a significant difference that is important to understand.

To operate, you need cash on hand to meet payroll, make rent and insurance payments, and handle the laundry list of other day-to-day expenses to keep business running as usual. 

Many businesses use the accrual method of accounting, which records income and expenses when you earn or incur them — regardless of whether the cash has actually been exchanged. 

If you’re sending out invoices to clients that may not be paid for 30, 60, 90 or even 120 days, your real-time cash flow situation will look very different than your profitability — and you may find yourself without enough liquidity to keep your business running. 

Let’s use a single invoice to illustrate this point. You land a huge opportunity with a wedding planner, who needs $15,000 worth of arrangements for an upcoming wedding. You invoice the customer on May 1 with a deadline of 60 days. You also have to pay your vendor $8,000 for the supplies (flowers) within the next 30 days.

Without factoring in your operating expenses for this transaction, your next income for May would look like $7,000 — not bad at all!

But this fails to give you a clear picture of your cash flow. That’s where the cash basis of accounting comes in. While used less commonly, it is important for gauging how much cash you actually have on hand, as revenue and expenses aren’t actually recorded until the money is exchanged. With terms of NET60, you wouldn’t actually receive the money until July 1. See below: 

This is a simplified example with a single invoice. If you’re sending out multiple invoices with different payment terms and managing the day-to-day operational expenses, you can see how staying out of the red could get tricky. 

That’s why it’s so crucial to not only understand the difference between cash flow and profit, but figure out better ways to increase your cash flow.  

 

This article originally appeared on Nav.com and was re-purposed with their permission.

 

For information about Opportunity Fund’s small business loans, please contact us at 866-299-8173 or loans@opportunityfund.org.  For questions about your existing loan or other customer service questions, please contact us at 866-299-8173 or sbhelp@opportunityfund.org.

Loans are subject to credit review. Additional documentation may be required for credit approval. Loans will be made or arranged pursuant to California Department of Corporations Finance Lenders License #6050609.

Opportunity Fund, the nation’s leading nonprofit small business lender, believes small dollar loans help hard-working entrepreneurs make lasting change in their own lives and build stronger communities by growing businesses and creating jobs. Opportunity Fund’s community of donors and investors is creating an inclusive financial system that empowers women, immigrant, and minority small business owners. Our strategy combines microloans for small business owners and New Markets Tax Credit investments in high-impact community infrastructure projects. Since 1994, Opportunity Fund has deployed more than $750 million and helped thousands of entrepreneurs invest in their families’ futures. The organization has committed to lending an additional $1.2 billion to small business owners across the country and investing $174 million in community real estate projects by 2023.

Visit us online at http://opportunityfundloan.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Small business owners are a busy bunch. Some things may fall through the cracks, including payments. Here's how to handle past due debt....

Small business owners are a busy bunch. Some things may fall through the cracks, including payments. If you’re looking for guidance on how to handle past due debt, our content partner Nav.com has answers!

 

It goes without saying that small business owners are experts at multitasking. If you own a small business, chances are you’re juggling a million different things on a daily basis — shift schedules, inventory management, and likely, a multitude of different expenses, from electricity bills to insurance payments.

With so much to do and manage, it’s possible that you may have forgotten about a credit card bill, missed a loan payment, or let an invoice slip through the cracks. While this may not seem like a big deal, and it certainly isn’t the end of the world if your payments are  a few days behind, a past due debt can come back to haunt you when you’re applying for business funding.

If you find yourself falling behind on payments, don’t fret just yet. Here’s what you need to know about past due debts, plus some steps you can take to resolve them so you can get back to what’s most important — growing your small business.

 

What is past due debt?  

A debt becomes “past due” if you fail to make a payment as of the due date. The “past due” amount is the balance that was owed on the original due date.

For example, let’s say you have a small business credit card that you use to purchase inventory. The holidays are right around the corner so you  decide to stock up on additional supply to meet the surge in demand. You owe a balance of $10,000 with a minimum payment of $300 due on the 15th. You’re planning on paying it off in full once you’ve sold all of your holiday inventory and you have more cash on hand. But with things so busy, you completely forget to pay the minimum, which means during the next payment period, your minimum payment will include:

  • Past due minimum payment of of $300
  • Any late fees or penalties

While this may seem like a small number, it can quickly balloon out of control with the addition of late fees, penalties, and in some cases, an increase in interest rate. And if you’ve missed a loan payment or fail to make good on an invoice, you’re likely looking at an even more daunting number.

 

How does a past due debt affect your credit score (and your chances of getting a loan)?

Most of the time, it comes down to how far behind you are on a payment and the type of debt. If you’re a few days late on paying your credit card bill, you’ll most likely just face a late fee; however, once your bill becomes 30 days past due, your creditor will likely report you to the credit bureaus. And once you’re 60 days past due on your debt, your creditor may even increase the interest rate, which can make paying off what you owe even more overwhelming.

This is where your credit score is at risk, and potentially, your chances of being approved for a small business loan.

Credit bureaus collect information about customer credit data, both personal and business, and lenders use these numbers to evaluate how risky you are as a borrower. While each credit bureau  has its own criteria and method of scoring, a combination of the amount of available credit you use, the length of your credit history, the types of credit you use, and your payment history, among other factors, all play a role.

In fact, when it comes to your FICO (Fair Isaac Corporation) score, which is arguably the most popular scoring system in the United States for personal credit, your payment history is the biggest factor — accounting for approximately 35% of the formula. And for many types of small business financing, your personal credit score can make or break your chances of getting approved — especially for younger businesses without an established business credit score.

 

How to resolve past due debts

Have a lingering past due debt? Here’s a few ways you can go about handling them:

  • Make the past due payment: This may be an obvious option, but it’s also the most straightforward approach to get rid of a past due debt that is looming over your head.
  • Negotiate a payment plan with your creditor: Due to late fees and interest charges, you might find yourself in a situation with an ever-increasing balance that you just can’t seem to shake off. In some cases, your creditor may be willing to set up a payment plan so you can gradually pay off what you owe.
  • Consolidate your business debts: With business debt consolidation, you can combine multiple business debts, including those that may be carrying a past due balance, into one single, streamlined payment. By paying off your past due debt, you can avoid continuing to pay penalties or increased interest charges.

 

 

This article originally appeared on Nav.com and was re-purposed with their permission.

 

For information about Opportunity Fund’s small business loans, please contact us at 866-299-8173 or loans@opportunityfund.org.  For questions about your existing loan or other customer service questions, please contact us at 866-299-8173 or sbhelp@opportunityfund.org.

Loans are subject to credit review. Additional documentation may be required for credit approval. Loans will be made or arranged pursuant to California Department of Corporations Finance Lenders License #6050609.

Opportunity Fund, the nation’s leading nonprofit small business lender, believes small dollar loans help hard-working entrepreneurs make lasting change in their own lives and build stronger communities by growing businesses and creating jobs. Opportunity Fund’s community of donors and investors is creating an inclusive financial system that empowers women, immigrant, and minority small business owners. Our strategy combines microloans for small business owners and New Markets Tax Credit investments in high-impact community infrastructure projects. Since 1994, Opportunity Fund has deployed more than $750 million and helped thousands of entrepreneurs invest in their families’ futures. The organization has committed to lending an additional $1.2 billion to small business owners across the country and investing $174 million in community real estate projects by 2023.

Visit us online at http://opportunityfundloan.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Opportunity Fund. Working Capital for Working People. opportunityfund.org