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Starting a business is a big decision and sometimes can become overwhelming. Our insights and tips can help you get some answers and guidance through the process.
Get Smart About These Money Concepts to Keep the Cash Flowing
You don’t have to be a financial whiz to start your own business, but understanding the basics can mean the difference between collecting lots of cash or dealing with a financial crash. Ace these four accounting concepts and you’ll be well on your way to financial stability.
Who's the Right Lender for You?
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are nearly 28 million small businesses in the country – and together they all have a major impact on the health of our economy. In fact, there are more small businesses than medium and large ones. That’s a big deal! Even the smallest businesses need money to get started. So where do you start?
3 Reasons to Keep Business & Personal Finances Separate
Being your own boss blurs the lines between work and personal life. But when it comes to finances, setting clear boundaries puts you in greater control – and simply makes life easier. Still not convinced? Consider these three main advantages to keeping business and personal finances separate. Then, quickly get yourself to the bank to set it all up.
Achievement Sessions, Brought to you by PNC Business Banking
Securing the funding your business needs is one of the most important roles of an entrepreneur. Knowing the key steps to take can get you closer to success.
WHO CAN HELP
|Create a business plan, or review and update an existing one.||Whether your business is brand new, or you are returning to your business after a few years away, it’s time to get that business plan updated. Make sure it includes new business goals, sales projections and current business costs.||Business Banker
|Set up legal entity and website.||Work with your business advisor to decide whether it makes sense to set your business up as a corporation or other legal entity.||Business Advisor
|Determine your financial needs.||Identify what you have and what you need to get started.||Business Banker
|Explore new business loan options.||Start or expand your business with loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration.||Business Banker
|Check on loan deferral or interest rate restructuring as necessary.||Make sure you’re up-to-date on any previous loans.||Business Banker
|Review business credit report and/or your personal credit report.||Know where you stand both professionally and personally.||
Business Credit Ratings:
Dunn and Bradstreet: dnb.com/
Personal Credit Score*:AnnualCreditReport.com/.
*Some credit cards offer free credit reports as well. Check your credit card company’s website to see if this service is available to you.
Published semi-annually, PNC's survey of small and mid-size business owners' expectations for their own businesses' performance, and their outlook for the national and regional economies are described in detail (available in April and October).
According to October, 2017 Survey, more than half of business owners and leaders anticipate increases in sales (54 percent) and profits (51 percent) during the next six months, an increase over Fall 2016, but a slight drop from post-election highs reported in Spring 2017.
With the rapidly evolving landscape of social networking platforms, it’s becoming more challenging for businesses to keep up and get solid results. How do you ensure you stay in front of your target audience? What’s working today to build community, increase engagement and boost sales conversion? What are the proven best practices for maintaining a solid reputation? In this dynamic discussion, internationally renowned social media thought leader and premier Facebook marketing expert Mari Smith answers these questions and more. Watch Replay
Mari has also created three informative videos exclusively for PNC, to help small businesses get the most out of using social media to reach and service new customers. Listen and learn how to "Maximize Social Media for Your Business".
Initially, you should invest as much of your personal resources into your business as possible. At the minimum, it ensures that you remain in control of the vision and direction of your idea as opposed to investors that will come onboard. Additionally, your business typically can’t borrow money unless you’ve shown your confidence in the project by personally investing at least 20 to 30 percent of your own funds. You need to use your money to attract more money. Not putting any skin in the game, will likely not encourage anyone else to.
Sales that don’t get tracked, don’t exist. And, customers with no contact and demographic information captured are imaginary. To be successful in your venture, you must start out tracking the numbers upfront so that you can prove to yourself that the business is viable and also make a strong case to potential investors down the road that your idea is worthy of the risk. Start out by tracking sales over different time periods. What are your annual, quarterly, monthly, weekly and daily sales? The next metric to assess is your sales by product or service, so you can quantify exactly what’s selling and get rid of what’s not. Last, consider revenue per sale. What is the actual net profit for each individual unit per sale? Also, get in the habit of capturing as much data on your customers as possible. Saying you serve women is not enough. How old is the average woman you serve? Is she married or single? Does she have children? Where does she like to eat, shop or volunteer? The more intel you gather on your customers, the more you can prove that you understand their needs and equip yourself with the products and services to meet their demand.
Creating a working business plan is often a vital first step when searching for financing options. More than just drafting up a document, you need to create a working plan that can you can revisit and reevaluate, so that it evolves to mirror the business you want to create. The business plan should contain a forecast for your business with at least two scenarios: (1) how you expect your business to perform if you don't get any financing, and (2) how it will perform if you do. There are a lot of resources you can turn to for help on the plan, such as small-business resource centers at local universities, your community, or asking for help from trusted professionals or other small business owners.
The Small Business Administration provides great templates for creating your working business plan. Check out sba.gov/writing-business-plan.
It's important to keep accurate and clear financial statements, bank statements and even tax returns! These types of documents are the things that can make or break potential business loans. It might make sense to engage an accountant or trusted financial advisor for help. Providing this type of documentation gives the potential financing entity a glimpse into your future cash flow to pay creditors, employees and, most importantly, them! If you plan on applying for funding within the next 24 months, you'll want to prove you can make the most money possible.
Cash Flow Insight is a service mark of The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc.
Banking and lending products and services and bank deposit products are provided by PNC Bank, National Association (N.A.), a wholly-owned subsidiary of The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. and Member FDIC.
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All loans and lines of credit subject to credit approval and require automatic payment deduction from a PNC Bank business checking account. Origination and annual fees may apply.