Expanding Small Business Financing Opportunities For Your Business

Small business financing is often the only way for some businesses to get the capital they need to open their doors, expand operations, or develop new services and products. However, the Great Recession created some significant hurdles for personal and business loan applicants who boasted less-than-perfect credit scores.However, recent investigations suggest that banks are starting to open their doors to business owners in greater numbers. Although credit requirements remain above what they were before the recession, lending has indeed warmed up for many business owners. Where many businesses were just “treading water,” they’ve now entered an era of cautious and optimistic growth.Another positive sign in small business financing is the improved cash flow in the nation’s major banks, which has led to increased lending activity and an overall reduction in average commercial loan rates. With the recession fading into the background of the economy, small businesses that have been waiting for an improved economy are finding that banks are willing to deal with businesses that might have had budget shortfalls a few years ago. Small businesses and fledgling companies that have been conservative in hiring and expansion efforts post-recession have finally become eligible for loans.According to data compiled by the federal government, one of the major sources of small business financing today has been loans through the Small Business Administration (SBA). One of the reasons why looking at banks that provide loans that are guaranteed by the SBA is a savvy way of obtaining a business loan is because the government’s list of banks represents lenders who are already interested in making loans to small entities. Looking at these banks reduces the time a business owner might need to spend to find commercial lending opportunities. It’s also a good idea to locate a bank with loan officers who have prior experience with SBA loans.However, getting business and commercial loans still requires a solid application. In small business financing, one of the most powerful features of a loan application is the business plan. Banks are much less likely to hand over a check if the business plan isn’t fleshed out, accurate, and professionally written. A business plan with typos or a lack of information on cash flow, budget, and fiscal projections won’t impress a loan officer. Some small business experts advocate hiring a business plan writer to ensure the final document is as professional as it can be when it’s sent to the bank.The government has taken an interesting step in encouraging growth of small business by reducing the fees associated with SBA loans. Borrowers already enjoy SBA loan rates that tend to sit below traditional loan rates, but low fees on certain SBA loans may make these small business financing methods even more cost-effective than they were in the past. For example, loans under $150,000 no longer have fees and short-term loans guaranteed by the SBA also feature rates lower than many standard bank loans. This means that brand new start-ups or businesses that are nothing more than an idea in a garage are possible for new borrowers.Small business loan applicants should remember that the interest rates on SBA loans aren’t set by the government, but are part of a negotiation between the bank and the applicant. However, there are maximum rates set in place so the interest on business and commercial loans will never exceed a certain amount. Since the bank has some leeway in setting an interest rate, it’s worth it for a small business owner to come to the table with a credit rating that’s as high as possible. Small business financing today isn’t a cakewalk, but getting a loan as a brand new business is possible in today’s lending environment.

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Decisions Making Using Cumulative and Combined Intelligence, But What About Intuition?

Louis Pasteur: Decision Quotes
Chance favours only the prepared mind.Decisions can be regarded as the processes of selecting one or more choices. The choices that we select often have monumental impacts on ourselves and the people around us. It is surprising yet that decision analysis as a subject is given such little attention by most education systems throughout the world. I did not study decision analysis directly until I chose it as an elective subject in my 3rd year of university.Many great written works on decision study are available, but they have made little headway in penetrating the mainstream education system. I strongly suspect that the level of writing of most Decision methods books are too dry and at an academic level that is too high to be of interest to most people. Also absent from many of these great decision making texts is a reference to intuition. Many of the great works are a scientific study of decision analysis and they delve heavily into the mathematical modelling of the decision making process. With this emphasis, it is therefore understandable that most authors of decision making texts feel there is no place for intuition in decision analysis. However, it is proven that intuition is a function of human nature that can be influenced by real events. It is on this basis that now a number of decision makers are searching for methods to integrate intuition into software decision making models.Another facet of decisions that is rarely touched on by many of our social and education systems is the importance of cumulative and combined intelligence in the process. No single word exists in the English dictionary to describe the use of cumulative and combined intelligence. To simplify this I call cumulative and combined intelligence “Cumcomin.” Cumulative intelligence in decision analysis is the use of historically collected information in the selection process. Another important dimension to successful decision making is combined intelligence. Combined intelligence in the decision analysis are the participation of 2 or more people in the process. Democratic governance with a free press can be considered a decision analysis process with cumulative and combined intelligence with the electorate providing the combined intelligence and the free press providing the cumulative intelligence.Interestingly, Democracy has demonstrated to provide the societies that are managed by these systems the highest standards of living and security. These societies also have been able to lead the world in technological advancement and human rights. This is no accident and a testament to the power of effective cumulative and combine intelligence. Winston Churchill was once quoted as saying:” democracy is a bad form of government, but we are yet to find one better.” Similarly, decision making using cumulative and combined intelligence is a difficult process because of the confrontational aspect of it, however, we are yet to find a better approach.Decision solving and problem solving are almost interchangeable and people generally see Decision making as a subset of problem solving. The key difference between problem solving and decision solving is distinct. Problem solving is a process to achieve a particular goal and decision solving is a process where a choice of options is given to achieve a goal.If a problem can be solved with only 1 path of action then decision making is not required, however; if the problem can be solved with multiple paths of options then the decision making process needs to be employed. Take for example one is selecting a car to purchase. Most cars will fulfil the criteria of getting from A to B but fulfilling all the other criteria such as ride, safety, reliability etc is were a decision making process needs to be used. It is therefore understandable that decision making is seen as part of problem solving. Pure problem solving is generally a more peaceful exercise, decision making often invokes into a situation: upheaval, discomfort and confrontation. Perhaps this is why it is shunned by many and also perhaps why our education system focuses heavily on problem solving only and not problem solving with decision making.A good decision can be defined as a decision that efficiently meets the intended outcome. Defining the intended outcome is an area of decision making which is most fluid and is often not closely studied and quantified by the decision maker. As a result many decisions are made as bad decision. It is also common to find these bad decisions being made with an intuitive approach. Many bad decisions are made by people using their feelings and intuition alone. As a decision making researcher I do not want to give the impression that intuition should be ignored, it does after all have some logical influences to it. Time pressures often result in these types of decisions but fast and simplistic decision making methods and tools are available that can be combined to reinforce or challenge intuition.Nowadays, historical data and historical records are readily available to assist in many decision making problems, the application of this information is called cumulative intelligence. Often historical data is incorrectly managed and due to over complication of their weighting and application in a decision making process they are ignored. The management and effective use of cumulative intelligence in the decision making process is critical. The importance of clarity when applying cumulative intelligence in decision making is even more important.Decision making involving groups and teams also can present many challenges. Leadership, governance and direction in combined intelligent decision analysis are critical if good decisions are to be made. The application of combined intelligence in decision making is full of noise that needs to be filtered and selectively amplified.A number of scientific decision making experts dismiss the importance of intuition or “human feeling” in their decision making models. Many people believe they have a spiritual side and often they claim to draw on this when making decisions. An on going study by many Psychological experts has been done to define and measure the performance of so called human intuition. Many of the findings are pointing towards environmental based influences as being the underlying factor that influences intuition.It can be derived from recent research that intuitive influences on decision analysis are the result of the subconscious analysing the situation using historical experiences and thoughts. With this research, intuition can be understood in a decision making as a natural process that uses our emotional feelings such as fear and pride. It can also be proven that it is the historical events in our life that drive our feelings. It should follow that if intuition is driven by our feelings then it can be said intuition is a cumulative intelligence tool. In essence your feelings are driven through logical and historical evidence. In light of this a decision should never be made at the expense of logic and rationality as the strength of these feelings can be dipropionate depending on the user’s emotional state.Computers and the internet now offer people more opportunity than ever before to compare information on products and services they are investigating. The future will see more online tools not just to compare product features and services but also provide a means to organise their thoughts and measure their intuition on a particular product or service decision.By Anthony M Comerford

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My Business Online – For NON-Computer Geeks

The world is a wonderfully eclectic place full of difference which is a marvellous thing. Depending on what sphere you move within will influence how you think about the internet and internet business. Is the concept of ever having my business online, a complete fantasy or some desired reality for you? And how capable are you to participate in the world of internet business?In the space of one week I discovered two conflicting views about where business is at in terms of internet presence. I read an article that proclaimed every business today was aware it needed to have an internet presence to survive and most had developed that. I also spoke with a business coach and consultant based in a regional area who said that for most business owners, the internet simply wasn’t in their head space. He was involved in the delivery of a business course locally and there was absolutely no mention of the internet in any of the course materials. He admitted that it was becoming necessary and internet content would be included in coming years. So who is right?In the regional area in which I live, the concept of the internet business is very much in its infancy. Many people purchase online and the number and quantity of online purchases is growing all the time. Particularly for regionally based populations, the internet is one giant department store where anything is instantly available. However, when it comes to considering putting their own business on-line, many people are not quite there yet. Some businesses with a retail shop front will sell on eBay or have some form of internet element to their business. By far the vast majority of regionally based businesses would have very limited knowledge about how to go about optimising traffic online. Very few would have any idea about how to conduct market research on an idea or business to ascertain whether or not it could compete online.From my initial observations it appears there are three very broad categories when it comes to people and online business.There are computer geeks who speak a foreign language and who have the innate ability to write code hard-wired into their genes. The internet is their world. They rarely see the sun and have difficulty being understood by the rest of the world., Then there are the non-computer geeks who want to participate in the commercial world of the internet business. These are the questers. They know there is a whole lot of stuff they don’t know and they are constantly educating themselves but it’s a challenge and mentally exhausting. Most simply do not know where to start looking. They might attempt a blog or develop a website but without any knowledge of how to get to page one on Google, they remain forever in the far reaches of cyber sphere occasionally clicked on by some lost or wayward internet search gone wrong.And finally, there are the twiddlers. They like to look but they do not put their own content on the net. The internet is a foreign place. It’s interesting to be a spectator on the train as it flies through the terrain but they would never step off for fear that they might get lost or get too close to something that might explode.I am a self-confessed quester. Luckily, I know some computer geeks quite well and when they finally got sick of me asking stupid questions like:- Do you think a subscription service for tampons would go well on the net?; or How do I find out how many searches there are for red wax candles?, they politely pointed me in the direction of some internet based training. Now, having fought my way through the jungle of internet keyword analysis, search engine optimnisation and authority backlinks, I can now see how ridiculous my questions were.But I also now have the tools to answer those questions for myself. Knowledge is empowerment and I feel much more empoweerd having gone through the learning process myself than having outsourced it to a computer geek!

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