Crowdfunding terms you should know, Part 1

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Crowdfunding terms you should know, Part 1

Published By Janet Gershen-Siegel at November 16, 2017

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Need a credit card for business? It can be yours.

A credit line, or line of credit (LOC), is an agreement between a financial institution or private investor which sets a maximum loan balance that a borrower can access.

A borrower can access funds from their line of credit anytime, so long as they don’t exceed the maximum set in the agreement, and so long as they meet any other requirements of the finance institution or investor for instance, making on time payments.

Credit lines offer many oneof a kind advantages to borrowers which include convenience. Borrowers can employ their line of credit and just pay interest on what they use, compared with loans where they pay interest on the total amount borrowed. Credit lines can be re-used, so as you acquire a balance and pay that balance off, you can use that available credit again, and again.

Credit lines are revolving accounts similar to credit cards, and compare to various other kinds of financing such as installment loans. Frequently, lines of credit are unsecured, much the same as credit cards are. There are some credit lines which are secured, and hence easier to qualify for.

Credit lines are the most routinely requested loan type in the business world although they are preferred, true credit lines are uncommon, and difficult to find. Many are also very tough to qualify for requiring good credit, good time in business, and good financials. But there are other credit cards and lines which few know about that are available for startup companies, poor credit, as well as if you have absolutely no financials.

The majority of credit line kinds which most business owners think of come from standard banks and traditional banks use SBA loans as their prime loan product for small business owners. This is because SBA ensures as much as 90% of the loan in the case of default. These credit lines are the toughest to get approved for because you must qualify with SBA and the bank.

There are two main sorts of SBA loans you can generally secure. One kind is called CAPLines. There are really five kinds of CAPLines that can work for your company.

SBA CAPLines

You can also acquire a lesser loan amount faster using the SBA Express program. Many of these programs offer BOTH loans and revolving lines of credit.

Per the SBA: “CAPLines is the umbrella program under which SBA helps business owners meet short-term and cyclical working capital needs”. Loan amounts are available up to and including $5 million. Loan qualification criteria are the same as for other SBA programs.

Seasonal Line: This one advances against expected inventory and accounts receivables. It was developed to assist seasonal businesses. Loan or revolving are available. Contract Line– Finances the direct labor and material cost associated with executing assignable contracts. Loan or revolving are offered.

Builders Line: Designed for general contractors or builders constructing or renovating industrial or residential buildings. It is used to finance direct laborand material costs, where the building project works as the collateral. Loan or revolving are available.

Standard Asset-Based Line: For businesses not able to meet credit standards associated with long-term credit. Funding for cyclical growth, repeating and/or short-term needs. Repayment stems from transforming short-term assets into cash. Businesses constantly draw from the LOC, based on extant assets, and pay back as their cash cycle prescribes. This line mainly is made use of by businesses that provide credit to other companies.

Small Asset-Based Line: This asset-based revolving line of credit of up to $200,000. This line functions like a standard asset-based line except that a few of the stricter servicing requirements are foregone, so long as the business can routinely show repayment capability from available resources for the sum total.

The SBA Express program offers access to a credit line for well-qualified borrowers

You can get approved for up to $350,000. Interest rates vary, with SBA allowing banks to charge as much as 6.5% over their base rate. Loans in excess of $25,000 will necessitate collateral.

To get approved you’ll need good personal and company credit. Plus the SBA says you should not have any blemishes on your report. You will need good bank credit; an acceptable bank score demands you have at least $10,000 in your account over the most recent 90 days. You’ll also need a resume showing you have market-practical experience and a well put together business plan. You will need three years of business and personal tax returns, and your business returns should show a profit. And, you’ll need a current balance sheet and income statement, thus showing you have the cash to repay the loan.

To get approved you’ll need account receivables, but only if you have them. When it comes to the collateral to counterbalance the risk, generally all business assets will be taken as collateral, and some personal assets including your residence. It’s not uncommon to need collateral equivalent to 50% or more of the loan amount. You also need articles of incorporation, business licenses, and contracts with all third parties, plus your lease.

Private investors and alternative lenders also offer credit lines. These are easier to qualify for than conventional SBA loans. They also necessitate much less documentation for approval. These alternative SBA credit lines normally demand good personal credit for approval.

Unlike with SBA, many of them don’t necessitate good bank or business credit approval. Many of these kinds of programs call for two years’ of tax returns. Tax returns MUST show a profit. Rates can vary from 7% or greater and loan amounts extend from $25,000 into the millions.

Loan amounts are frequently based on the revenues and/or profits shown on the tax returns. At times lenders may ask for other financials including a profit and loss statement, balance sheets, and income statements.

Merchant cash advances have quickly become the most popular way to get financing, in large part as a result of the easy qualification process. Businesses with 10k in earnings can get approved, with the business owner having scores as low as 500. Some sources have now even started to offer credit lines that accompany their loans. You will have to have at least $10,000 in revenue for approval. You ought to be in business for a minimum of one year, although three years is preferred. Lenders normally want to see a credit score of 650 or better for approval.

Loan amounts are usually around $20,000. Lenders usually will pull your business credit, so you need to have some credit already established and at times lenders will want to see tax returns. Rates differ based on risk for this program, and there aren’t a lot of funding sources who offer it.

You can get financing regardless of personal credit if you have some sort of stocks or bonds. You can also get approved if you have somebody wanting to use their stocks or bonds as collateral for helping you with your financing. Personal credit quality doesn’t matter as there are no consumer credit requirements for approval. You can get approved for as much as 90% of the value of your stocks or bonds. Rates are generally lower than 2%, making this one of the lowest rate credit lines you’ll ever see. You can still earn interest as you commonly do on your stocks and bonds.

Credit cards and lines are somewhat similar to each other

Credit cards frequently offer 0% intro rates for up to two years– extremely handy for startups especially. Credit lines allow you to take out more cash at a much cheaper rate than do cards. These are the primary two differences which will have an effect on you between credit cards and credit line. Investopedia even says that, “lines of credit are potentially useful hybrids of credit cards.”

Both cards and lines are revolving credit. Credit lines are tougher to qualify for as card approvals are usually very quick, many times automated, while line require an in-depth underwriting review. Lines usually offer lower rates, per Bankrate, card rates average 13% while lines average 4%.

Many banks offer unsecured business credit cards

The majority of them report to the consumer credit reporting agencies. They all need a personal guarantee from you. You can get approved typically for one card at the most as they stop approving you when you have two or more inquiries on your report.

Most credit card providers feature business credit cards including Capital One, Chase, and American Express. These have rates similar to consumer rates and limits are also similar. Some of them report to the consumer reporting agencies, some report to the business bureaus. Approval requirements resemble consumer credit card accounts.

Usually, when you apply for a credit card you put an inquiry on your consumer report. When other lenders see these, they won’t approve you for more credit due to the fact that they don’t know how much other new credit you have recently obtain. So they’ll only approve you if you have no more than two inquiries on your report within the last six months. Any more will get you refused.

With unsecured business financing, you deal with a lender who concentrates on securing business credit cards. This is a very unusual; very little know of program that few lending sources offer. They can commonly get you three to five times the approvals that you can get on your own. This is because they are familiar with the sources to apply for, the order to apply, and can time their applications so the card issuers won’t refuse you for the other card inquiries. Individual approvals usually range from $2,000 – 50,000.

The end result of their services is that you normally get up to five cards that mimic the credit limits of your highest limit accounts now. Multiple cards create competition, and this means you can get your limits raised ordinarily within 6 months or less of your initial approval. Approvals can go up to $150,000 per entity such as a corporation. With UBF they actually get you three to five business credit cards that report solely to the business credit reporting agencies. This is huge, something most lenders don’t offer or promote. Not only will you get cash, but you build your business credit also so in three to four months, you can then use your recently established business credit to get even more money.

The lender can also get you very low introductory rates, in most cases 0% for 6– 18 months. You’ll then pay normal rates after that, typically 5– 21% APR with 20– 25% APR for cash advances. And they’ll also get you the best cards for points, meaning you get the best rewards. Much like with just about anything, there are big benefits in working with a source which specializes in this area; the results will be better than if you attempt to go at it alone.

You have to have excellent personal credit right now, preferably 685 or higher scores, the same as with all business credit cards. You shouldn’t have any derogatory credit reported to get approved, you must also have open revolving credit on your consumer reports now and you’ll have to have five inquiries or less in the last six months reported.

All lenders in this space charge a 9 – 15% success based fee and you only pay the cost off of what you secure. Bear in mind, you get a ton of extra benefits and about three to five times more cash using this program than you ‘d get on your own, which is why there’s a fee, the Crowdfunding can seem to be a bit of a mystery. There are a lot of terms thrown around all the time and they can sometimes get confusing. So consider this your primer on some basic crowdfunding terminology.

Project

A project is what you are asking for money for. Projects can take a few months or even years. The more complicated your project, then (usually) the longer it will take. The person starting the project is generally called the project runner or the project creator.

The people who donate to the project are called donors (or, sometimes, contributors).

The act of requesting money on a crowdfunding platform is called a campaign.

Donor Levels

In general, donor levels refer to the amount of rewards (I’ll get to rewards in a moment) which are offered for a particular-sized donation. Your donor levels might look something like this:

  • $10 fountain pen (100 available)
  • $20 includes $10 level plus a tee shirt (50 available)
  • $50 includes $20 level plus a framed picture (30 available)
  • $100 includes $50 level plus dinner with the project runner (10 available)
  • $500 includes all other perk levels plus a new car (2 available)

Donor levels are limited by your imagination and your capacity for handling complexity. After all, five separate donor levels mean you are keeping five separate lists. If you are well-organized, then this is possible although it’s not easy. Five separate donor levels are plenty, particularly for people running their first campaigns.

Rewards (AKA Perks)

One basic about crowdfunding for creative projects (crowdfunding to help someone with their medical expenses is a different animal) is that you will need to provide incentives for your donors to open up their wallets. This is where perks come in.

Your rewards can be nearly anything although it can quite literally pay to have them relate directly to your project. For example, if you are crowdfunding to get enough money to back your new smart phone invention, then your rewards probably shouldn’t be your grandmother’s blueberry muffin recipe, no matter how wonderful it may be. Instead, you could base your rewards around your invention, with everything from offering a case to an extra battery or charger, or even an app which only your donors can download.

A word to the wise about rewards

Rewards are a very real part of crowdfunding and they can often be a part which project creators don’t take into consideration. If you think it will take a year to get your product to market, but you need to fulfill perk promises to 10,000 people, you will likely find you need to do one of any of these things:

  • Delay your product launch
  • Hire someone to do fulfillment for you
  • Offer alternative perks (if you can)

Reneging is not an option, and it can get you on the wrong end of a lawsuit if you’re not careful.

Why does it take so long? Consider the degree of complexity. Let’s go with an easy number: 100. Let’s say you have 10 separate perk levels and they each have 10 slots. Once an eleventh person wants a certain perk level, they just plain can’t have it, as it’s gone. Are you with me so far?

Your ten separate perk styles may be of differing weights, which means they will have different shipping costs and perhaps even fit into different-sized boxes. If any of your 100 donors are outside your country, then you’ll have to pay more to ship to them as well. Plus of course you have to make sure their addresses are complete and correct.

It becomes even more complicated when your perks don’t fit into such neat little buckets, where you have, say, eight perks, anywhere from 12 to 1,000 people who are supposed to be getting them, and some people have donated twice and are waiting for two separate perks.

The easiest way to get around these issues is to offer intangible perks. In our smart phone example, the exclusive app would fit the bill nicely. Your best bet is to make the intangible perk good for the largest number of donors possible. Hence if your lowest level is $10, and you have 100 of those slots, then just giving 100 people a download code is a lot faster than figuring out postage for all of those donors. Plus, with an intangible perk, technically the number of perks is effectively infinite (although creating a feeling of scarcity can help you get donations!).

For the tangible perks, leave them for far smaller groups, such as the 25 people who are at your two top donor levels. Mailing to 25 people is far easier, even if the mailings are complicated, than it is to mail to 10,000 people.

In Part 2, we’ll talk about types of crowdfunding and types of platforms.same as all other lending programs.

You can get approved using a guarantor and you can even use multiple guarantors to get even more money. There are likewise other cards you can get utilizing this very same program but these cards only report to the consumer reporting agencies, not the business reporting agencies. They are consumer credit cards versus business credit cards.

They offer similar benefits such as 0% intro annual percentage rates and five times the amount of approval of a single card but they are a lot easier to get approved for. You can get approved with a 650 score and seven inquiries (or fewer) in the most recent six months and you can have a bankruptcy on your credit and other negative items. These are much easier to get approved for than UBF business credit cards.

With all previous cards mentioned, you should have good consumer credit to get approved but what happens if your personal credit isn’t really good, and you don’t have a guarantor? This is when building corporate credit makes a lot of sense even though you have good personal credit, establishing your corporate credit helps you get even more money, and without having a personal guarantee.

Corporate credit is credit in a company name, that’s associated with the business’s EIN number, and not the owner’s Social Security Number. When carried out correctly, corporate credit can be obtained with no personal credit check and no personal guarantee– something all other cards brought up can’t provide. You can get three types of business credit cards. Vendor credit, offers net 20 terms used to kick off a business credit profile. Store credit, get credit cards with high limits at most shops. Cash and Fleet credit, Visa, MasterCard, American Express cards you can use anywhere. These can be obtained without any credit check or guarantee. Limits are usually $5– 10 to begin, and can exceed $50,000.

Your company can get credit cards and financing, if you know where to look.

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