Courtney Keating | Getty Images The past two years have been halcyon times for small businesses searching for capital. The lending landscape has never been higher during the post-recession era, and approval rates have increased steadily at big banks, regional and community banks and at institutional lenders for an ongoing basis. For instance, the SBA reported a record $5,434,518,200 in 7(a) loans in 2018, up from $4,996,271,600 in 2017, and is on a pace to surpass the 2018 figure this year. (The report provides statistics on year to date SBA business loan approval activity comparisons for fiscal years 2012–18 for the period ending Dec. 14, 2018. Despite the robust lending atmosphere, however, not every company seeking capital is able to secure it. Big banks, the most conservative of lenders, approved only 27.8% of the loan applications they received in August, according to the most recent Biz2Credit Small Business Lending Index, which has tracked approval rates since 2011. … [Read more...] about Here’s how you can quickly raise your credit score and land a small business loan
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Today, every business is a technology business. Whether you have a one-person consulting company or a 500-person manufacturing firm, every business must use technology and use it well. But managing tech can be overwhelming to a small business owner — you’ve got other work to do. So concentrate on the most important ways to spend your time with tech. Here are eight things you need to know when it comes to small business technology: Put it in the owner’s name Here’s one thing you’re almost certainly doing wrong: You probably have other employees listed as owner or administrator of your technology. Stop that! Now! Employees come and go. Even long-time, trusted employees come and go, and certainly the tech contractor will go. When they go, they may control your technology or even take it hostage. Sure, you can get your Office 365 account back from Microsoft, but it can take days. Make sure you are listed as the owner/administrator of your … [Read more...] about Ways small business owners can be smarter about technology
By Bloomberg | | PUBLISHED: October 23, 2018 at 9:40 am | UPDATED: October 23, 2018 at 9:42 am Amazon.com and American Express are upping the ante in their bid for small-business spending. The two companies unveiled a new co-branded card for small businesses on Tuesday. Cardholders with an Amazon Prime membership will be able to choose between an interest-free loan for 90 days or 5 percent back on purchases made at Amazon.com, Amazon Business, Amazon Web Services and Whole Foods Market, the companies said in a statement. The no-fee metal card will also offer 2 percent back on purchases at U.S. restaurants and gas stations and on mobile-phone services. “It allows you to meet the need when you want cash flow, it allows you to get a savings boost from rewards when you want it,” Samant Nagpal, global head of Amazon Business payment products, said in an interview. Amazon has been rolling out more products for small businesses in the hopes of providing them with everything from … [Read more...] about Amazon debuts no-fee AmEx card to lure small-business spending
Unlimited vacation? Regular remote working opportunities? Waitr gift cards? They’re among the perks Baton Rouge’s small business owners are giving their employees in order to compete with larger corporations touting paid leave for new parents, family caregivers and others. The competition is getting fiercer. As a vocal workforce demands better work-life balance, U.S. companies are responding with luxurious incentives. Take a look at Netflix’s unlimited paid parental leave, or IKEA extending its four months of paid parental leave to part-time employees who have worked there at least a year. Then there’s American Express, which—in addition to the five months’ of paid parental leave it gives employees—is offering new mothers an extra eight weeks of paid medical leave, as well as all-day access to a lactation consultant and the ability to ship their breast milk home on the company’s dime. The question is how do privately-held companies, … [Read more...] about The small business benefits of employee work-life balance
If you can say one thing about the Pioneer Valley, it’s that we love local. We champion and support small business, artists, makers, musicians, farmers, organic food, craft beer and pretty much artisanal anything. My recent expedition to INSA — the adult recreational use dispensary in Easthampton where I stuck my toes into the world of modern cannabis — sparked my curiosity and got me thinking about local in a different light. Technically, all legal cannabis is local — cultivated, processed, and sold in Massachusetts — because importing product from one cannabis-friendly state to another is a big federal no-no. But with very few exceptions, the Commonwealth’s cannabis industry currently consists mainly of big players with very deep pockets and a hefty head start on small business owners (more on that in a minute). That includes multi-state operations like Surterra Wellness, which recently bought Northampton’s NETA, and GTI, owner of … [Read more...] about Can Small Business Survive in the World of Big Cannabis?