Protect Your Assets With the Right Business Insurance Coverage

A single spark can set a store on fire. A simple slip can lead to a long and expensive law suit. You can wake up the next day and your corporate car is not on its parking slot. If there’s one thing every business owner knows, it’s the fact that there’s nothing certain and it’s important to reduce risk to the very minimum.

Many business owners fall into the trap of not getting the appropriate business insurance coverage. Let’s dissect that statement further. It is not enough to ensure your business. Commercial business insurance should be your failsafe. Meaning, your business cover should be something that encompasses all possible scenarios.

Identifying All the Risks Associated with Your Business

The first step in determining the right business insurance for your enterprise is conducting a thorough audit of your entire business operations from start to finish. Make sure that no stone is left unturned. If you’re the owner, there’s a high probability that you may not be aware of everything that is happening in your daily business operations, so it is best to bring in all your managers as well as the key employees to ensure that you don’t miss anything.

Knowing the Different Types of Business Insurance

There are four major broad types of commercial business insurance.

The first category is probably the most common – business property insurance. Simply put, this type of insurance will give you monetary reimbursements, if your business properties (i.e. Your office, your machineries, etc.) were damaged or destroyed.

The second general classification of business insurance is liability insurance. If you injured a person or damaged a property during the conduct of your business, this type of insurance will take care of that. For example, if you’re a restaurant owner, and someone slipped within your restaurant because of a spilled drink, you can use your liability insurance to cover for the victim’s hospitalisation expense.

Third is the automobile insurance which is basically similar to your personal car insurance. It will cover the damages inflicted on your company-owned vehicles including those resulting from collision accidents.

Lastly, the umbrella commercial business insurance does not play a specific role. Rather, it extends the limits of your other insurance policies. It may also be used to cover other things beyond those which are covered by your liability, property and automobile insurance policies

Sufficiently Investing Towards Your Insurance Policies

By identifying all the areas in your operations that may cause financial losses to your company, you will be able to identify which types of insurance you need. Aside from selecting an insurance category, you likewise need to ensure that you are investing enough towards these business insurance policies.

For example, if you run a hotel business with several luxury cars to transport your guests, you should invest heavily on automobile insurance and the policy you should get should have a high premium. You can’t have a $30,000 BMW luxury sedan and just have $5,000 worth of automobile insurance.

Mistakes to Avoid While Purchasing Business Insurance

Every business, whether small, medium or large, is exposed to risks. You can rule out these risks by purchasing business insurance which covers for the loss of revenue. You should, however, choose the right insurance which is suitable for your business. This article discusses mistakes that you should avoid, while purchasing business insurance.

Right insurance protects your finances:

Irrespective of the size and type, every business has the possibility of facing risks; they can either be man-made or natural. Natural risks include floods, heavy rains, violent winds (storm, gales, hurricanes and the like), lightning and the manmade risks include vandalism, theft, accidents at workplace resulting in casualty, loss of business data, inadvertent leakage of data and so on.

To choose the most suitable insurance for your business, taking into account the nature of your business is very important. While purchasing business insurance, you need to consider things like products/services you offer, the customer base, availability of raw materials, whether the product needs new design/method, or any other issue that may potentially be a risk factor for your business.

Purchasing business insurance is a sensible decision in favour of your business. It is also important that you should avoid the following mistakes while purchasing the insurance.

Underestimating the importance of business insurance:

Every business has its own risks. You should not underestimate the risks your business may face. However small the risk is, you should purchase the right type of insurance for your business. Purchase the insurance even if your company finances are good enough to withstand the risk.

Getting attracted to low priced policies:

Don’t mistake low priced policies for cost effective policies. The low premium might be because the risk it covers is low. If this is the case, it might be troublesome to you in the event the expenses of compensation exceed your policy cover. You need to take an insurance cover that is, sufficiently more than the probable claim for compensation.

Avoid purchasing a smaller cover for your business. In case of higher deductibles, you will have to spend a huge amount from your pocket. A deductible is an amount that the policy holder has to pay before getting compensation from the insurer. The deductibles are small and lead to lower premiums.

As a thumb rule, check out for all the aspects such as, the cover for building (where your business is located), Employers Liability Insurance, as per rules of government from time to time, regardless of your size, type, hazardous nature, location of your business.

Under or over insuring:

Avoid under insurance, it may lead to considerable loss to your business. This is because under-insurance cannot cover all the expenses that you have to bear in the event of claim. Purchase an insurance cover that is adequate for your business.

Over insurance will also not help you. It leads to more expenses. At times you might be tempted to buy business insurance that seems less expensive. But, in reality the insurance cover that is less expensive may not cover the type of risk that your business may face.

Buying insurance from brokers/agents with no/less knowledge:

Purchasing insurance is not an easy task. It requires great deal of research. Choose brokers/agents who specialise in business insurance. Ensure you choose the ones that have good track-record in claims settlement and servicing the users.

Consider purchasing insurance from brokers. Look out for an insurance broker with great experience and repute, and who can provide you the best service at optimal costs. You should avoid brokers/agents with lower credibility.

To forge an optimal deal for your business, choose a reputed brokerage firm. Such brokerage firms deal with a range of insurance products, and are knowledgeable. Brokerage firms deal in insurance products of all insurers, claim settlement, application and submission procedure.

Understanding the Need of Having Adequate Business Insurance Cover

Insurance is a means to protect the businesses from unforeseen risks; it provides peace of mind to the business owners. However, choosing adequate insurance cover is crucial to leverage the benefits it offers. This article sheds light on the negative impact of under or over insuring a business and the importance of having adequate insurance cover.

Under-insurance or over-insurance – impact
Besides determining various risks that your business is likely to face, you also need to calculate the amount required to cover the risk to determine adequate cover, failing which you may face the following issues -

• Revenue loss: Under-insurance may cost you dearly. The low premium may initially attract you, but it may lead to revenue losses when the risk arises. If any risk arises and your business is not covered with adequate insurance, it may affect your business financially, as you have paid for an insurance cover that is less than its value and you have to bear with the loss of revenue.

• Business interruption: Being under-insured may lead to business interruption, because, if your business is not covered with adequate insurance, you have to endure losses in case of physical property damage or liability claims. Until you spend some money from your pocket to re-build the business, you may not be able to run your business. Business interruption, thus, halts the revenue you are generating.

• High premium rates: Over-insurance results in paying high premium costs, for a coverage that goes beyond the actual cash value of the risk that was insured by the policy holder. If your business is over-insured, and you are paying high premium, which is actually not required, you will be in a loss.

Adequate insurance and its importance: Incidents such as accidents, natural calamities like storms, etc. can result in interruption/closure of your business. Having adequate insurance coverage is, therefore, very critical to protect your business from such kind of risk. Following are two more benefits of having adequate insurance -

• Smooth business operation: If your business is insured with adequate insurance coverage, you can operate your business smoothly. You need not worrying about the risks that may occur in your premises.

• Resume operations after unexpected events: After an unexpected event at your business premises, you need to rebuild your business to resume operations. At this critical time, having business insurance is very helpful; it will cover the loss incurred. It helps rebuild your business and resume operations.

Determining the insurance cover for your business
Before you purchase insurance for your business, it is important to calculate the total value of assets and costs required to repair/replace them when an unforeseen event happens. For this, take help of tools such as property value calculator, replacement cost estimator, etc. which enable you to determine the coverage required for your business. This way, you can avoid the instances of both under and over insurance.

Take expert advice
After knowing the importance of having adequate insurance for your business, purchasing it on your own can prove risky, as you may miss on a few things. Therefore, it is better to take advice of insurance brokers as they will help you in choosing adequate insurance coverage after looking at all the aspects of the business.

Your business may be thriving well; however it might face difficulties which you cannot foresee. Purchasing insurance that covers all the potential risks to your business adequately is, therefore, a sensible business idea.

How Commercial Insurance Price Comparison Sites Compare Business Insurance Quotes

You may think that one commercial insurance price comparison site is much the same as another. Some people swear by them, others cannot stand them but not all price comparison sites are the same. There are two distinct types and each has its own benefits, advantages and disadvantages.

This is why different businesses and commercial enterprises have very different user experiences, depending upon which type of comparison or price aggregator site they have visited. They may well prefer one brand comparison site over another, purely because they prefer the way that particular brand’s website works and this often has nothing to do with the quotes it returns.

In order to understand the large differences it is necessary to get under the bonnet and look at the anatomy of a commercial insurance price comparison website’s internal engine.

Inside a Commercial Insurance comparison

Leaving aside the prices quoted which are subjective and variable, the major factor that differentiates price comparison sites user experiences, is the location of the rating and underwriting engine that produces the quotes.

This engine is the rules based logic that produces the commercial insurance quotes you see in your browser. It can be either local with centralised processing, or remote with what is known as distributed processing.

Centralised comparisons hold all the commercial insurance policy and rating information local to the web server where a prospective businessman can compare quotes.

Distributed comparisons have to visit each insurance company or business insurance broker website to retrieve quotes and all the policy information which is then displayed on the comparison website. Distributed processing comparison websites are known a ‘Scraper sites’ because they scrape data from the fields of one form and pass it into equivalent form fields at a remote web server.

When someone visits a commercial or business insurance comparison website, they will initially be asked what type of cover they require for their business. For example a shop or office policy or perhaps just simple public liability cover. Commercial insurance is particularly difficult to underwrite, so the type of policies that are available on Internet tend to be packages where blanket levels of cover can be offered, in order to be suitable for the widest range of business activity and customers.

However all commercial risks have some common elements such as levels of cover required, which need to be captured in order to auto-rate and make comparisons. These are called rating factors.

Comparison Screens

The user is next presented with a screen that has been tailored to ask specific questions that are necessary to rate the chosen commercial insurance. Both types of comparison website offer variations on a theme for data capture, however both will use a typical form that requires filling.

As a businessman completes the online application form, the data entered requires validation. The values entered need to fit standardised parameters and exclude all those businesses that do not fit this standardisation. This is achieved by limiting the choice of the user. For example, the comparison site when asking the applicant to describe their business activities or trade type, will only present to the user the businesses and trades it can quote for, in the form of a drop down list.

Centralised processing comparisons are much more likely to do all the policy and underwriting criteria validation on the front-end form, with for example validation of postcodes, addresses, eligible business types, and numerical validation on sums insured. The centralised comparison system uses Javascript and calls to local tables This gives the system a very quick user experience and assures that the system can return a range of quotes for the prospective business. It also allows the system the provide as much data about available polices before the quotation process is complete, because it knows as the form is being filled out, what policies offer what covers for each of the questions asked.

Conversely, scraper processing sites need to feed data into the screen fields on a variety of remote websites, all which tend to require varying details and user input, in various sequential orders. Scraper sites therefore need to ask many more questions in order to be able to try to satisfy as many rating factors and underwriting rules required for as many different competing companies. The complexity of a commercial insurance policy often requires certain information that you cannot ask for later in the process.

Rating

When all the information has been collected, the data is sent to the rating logic to calculate the rates and premiums.

Trade, Turnover and other factors provided by the user about the business are used by the system to define coverage, policy clauses, excesses and limits of indemnity, which can be returned to the user as part of a quote offer.

Rating tables are held online either locally for a centralised rating system or on the remote websites for scraper style distributed rating. The premium price is calculated from the values of the rating factors provided by the user when compared against the online tables. The actual rating factors vary depending upon the type of commercial insurance policy being applied for, suffice to say that if the system is asked to provide quotes for commercial property cover, the risk address postcode will be used to define the theft rate and flood rate, which combined with the rate for the risks of fire for the trade concerned, will produce a rate for the property perils risk. Rates for commercial property, for example, are usually expressed as percentages per hundred pounds of sum insured.

Processing

It is at this point in the process that the differences in the two types of comparison site become apparent to the user.

When a comparison rating engine sat on a local server, processing is much faster. A locally rated panel will return quotes commercial insurance quotes and covers instantly. The system has all it needs at hand to calculate premiums and also return comprehensive policy comparisons of cover and risk options in micro-seconds.

A scraper site however will consist of extensive ‘middleware’ processing, which inevitably slows down the process. The role of this ‘in the middle’ software is to communicate with the remote websites where the rates are held, and pass all the users details. It then needs to collect the quotes and associated data coming back from the broker or insurance company server and structure and order it into a webpage that shows a price comparison.

The process may take a few minutes when multiple business insurance providers are being asked to quote. The upside is that distributed processing scraper sites generally compare far more policies or companies offerings and more often than not, will return many more quotes. If you can be prepared to wait! You have to wait for the processing to complete on the remote brokers servers and for the quotes, excesses, and terms and conditional clauses to be returned to the comparison website..

Distributed processing comparison sites may have a lot more companies competing and returning quotes, although this does not necessarily mean more choice of commercial insurance. Quite often they are offering the same product from the same company, the only variance being a price differential.

Offering too much choice can also have its downside and create technical and promotional problems. Many of the smaller brokers offering more specialist business insurance propositions, have joined large, well-known brand name commercial insurance comparison sites that employ the scraper methodology. However they often complain that they do not have the server processing power to be able to handle a flood of multi-stringed requests for remote underwriting and processing and by time the quotes are returned to the comparison site, the user has already been offered perhaps thirty or more policy propositions and gone elsewhere.

Comparing Business insurance Quotes

After all the processing has been completed the quotes are presented to the user, usually in order of cheapest first.

Both types of quote and policy comparison site allow the user to compare prices and premiums quoted, however only the centralised sites allow in-depth policy comparisons and to make changes to the original data entered.

Locally centralised comparisons allow the user to compare premiums and also adjust the propositions, add or remove covers and tailor a policy to a particular business needs.

Scraper sites do not allow this as they require all the information beforehand and demand that the user chooses any options or additional covers before the quotation process.

In this sense they only provide a range of premium prices and attached policy conditions for the user to choose from. The scraper sites make no provision to compare policy covers, whereas a centralised local processing comparison site will have all the information to hand for a complete policy and cover comparison. These features are not available for a comparison site that uses remote underwriting. In order to do this it is necessary for the user to visit each individual site, make the adjustments and return to the comparison site to compare quotes, before repeating the process, which is obviously very time-consuming.

Security should be a concern for all those using commercial insurance comparison websites. Although all comparison sites use secure servers and SSL sockets for transmitting the information supplied about the business, by its very nature a centralised processing site will be more secure. With scraper sites your details are being passed around possibly to up to fifty or more different sites around the web, each which could be compromised at any stage of the data transmission, including payment. Furthermore passing your details to fifty companies is effectively adding your business details to fifty mailing lists.

In summary, the user experience is much faster and more informative for businessmen seeking to compare commercial insurance quotes if they use a centralised price comparison website where everything is in one place. Better deals may be had from a distributed processing scraper site, however the process is long-winded with too many questions and too much waiting time. Too often insufficient policy information is returned with the quotes for the prospective buyer to make an informed decision about which business insurance product to purchase.

5 Types of Business Insurance and Why You Need Them

No matter the size or nature of your business, one thing that remains the same is the need for business insurance. There are many different aspects of your business that you’ll want to take into consideration when looking for new business insurance – or reviewing your current insurance coverage. Since every business is different, each one will have different insurance requirements. For example, a company that produces physical goods may need different insurance than a company which offers services. In either scenario, there are some similarities, and listed here are a few types of insurance that all businesses should consider.

Workers’ Compensation Insurance – for your employees

Workers’ Comp insurance is required by law in almost every state. It can provide coverage for medical costs and a portion of lost wages for an employee who becomes injured or ill on the job. Typically, this type of insurance only covers injuries or illness that occur on the job site – for example, if an employee slips and falls on a wet floor.

Since the laws regarding Workers’ Comp can be different depending on where your company is located, it’s important to work with an insurance professional to make sure you’re getting the coverage that’s required, as well as what you need for your particular business.

General Liability Insurance

General Liability Insurance is designed to protect you and your business from a variety of claims, including accidents, injuries, or claims of negligence. This type of insurance can help pay for things like property damage, medical expenses, libel, slander, legal costs, and faulty products. No one expects to get sued, but the reality is that it’s always a possibility. You don’t want to leave your business open to these types of situations, and the broader the protection, the better.

Professional Liability Insurance – “Errors and Omissions” coverage

Professional Liability Insurance can also be known as “Errors and Omissions Insurance,” or “Malpractice Insurance.” It protects you from lawsuits that allege negligence in providing professional services, providing shoddy work, or making mistakes or omissions. This type of insurance is particularly important if you have a service-based business, but can also be necessary for other types of businesses as well. Mistakes happen – so adequate Professional Liability Insurance can be helpful, even if you don’t think you’ll need it.

Property Insurance

The definition of “property” is broad, and can mean different things to different types of businesses. That’s why it’s important to make sure you carry adequate Commercial Property Insurance. Without this type of insurance, most small businesses wouldn’t be able to replace their equipment should something happen to cause damage or destruction. Property covered by this type of insurance can include buildings, computers, inventory, supplies and equipment. There are two types of Property Insurance: “all-risk” policies cover just about everything, and is a good way to avoid duplication or overlap of coverage, as well as gaps in trying to cover your liabilities. “Peril-specific” policies, or “named-peril” coverage applies only to particular perils that are specifically named in the policy. They’re usually needed when there is a high risk in a very particular area.

Life Insurance / Key Executive Insurance – protection and benefit

Offering life insurance for employees can be a valuable benefit when trying to attract high-quality employees. A business can even offer additional coverage for executives. These employees are deemed to be crucial to the running and success of the business, and may sometimes require additional insurance, above and beyond what the normal employee benefits provide. This can be another benefit in attracting top talent.

A business can also offer special “Key Person” policies for employees without whom the business could not function. Key Person Insurance protects against a key employee’s unexpected death – often times the benefit amount equals the expected revenue loss and costs required to find and train a suitable replacement. The business pays the premiums, and the insurance is considered a business asset.

It’s possible to combine some of these basic coverages as a package policy, often referred to as a Business Owner’s Policy, or BOP. Many insurance companies bundle certain coverages, and this can save you money, as long as you make sure you get the proper type of coverage.

Even if you feel you have adequate business insurance coverage that meets all your current needs, it’s still advisable to review all your coverage on an annual basis, to make sure that your coverage continues to provide everything that you need. This is particularly important if you or your business have experienced any major changes, such as change in family status, or a significant increase or decrease in business activity. Additionally, be sure to work with a reputable, licensed insurance agent or broker, who has knowledge regarding business like yours.

Business Finance Training and Effective Business Solutions

Business finance training refers to programs that teach individuals how to handle various financial duties. Finance training is similar to finance tips in that both help business owners make better monetary decisions, but training programs offer a more detailed explanation of finance strategies. Training programs vary in price and can be used by the owners and employees of a business.

The most basic business finance training provide information on budgeting, preparing financial statements, managing cash flow, strategizing, forecasting, improving performance, and applying basic procedures and concepts to more effectively manage a business. These programs are recommended for new business owners to help them understand standard business practices. Once these basic methods are mastered, more specific financial training may be looked into.

Advanced business finance training delves more deeply into a certain financial procedure or concept, usually at a higher cost than basic programs. Advanced programs may teach business owners how to set up effective business models, make decisions based on quantitative analysis, manage and control accounts, practice due diligence, measure productivity, and strategize concerning mergers and acquisitions.

Taking part in any kind of business finance training gives a business owner the resources to make more intelligent business decisions that result in increased productivity and profits. Many different types of courses are available either online or at a specified location. Some programs may even offer the option to train at the business. Taking into consideration the needs and abilities of a business is the key to finding the best business finance training.

A business finance solution generally refers to methods of funding and maintaining the finances of a business. Most solutions involve ways of obtaining working capital, but others also offer ways of protecting and increasing that capital.

To obtain working capital, business owners look to finance solutions that offer funding by several different means. The most common means are loans and financing. Asset-based loans use a business’s assets, such as inventory and equipment, as collateral. A business may also opt for a property loan in order to acquire commercial space. Invoice financing, such as factoring, involves liquidating or selling a business’s accounts receivables in exchange for quick funding. Some businesses look to trade financing to supply their inventory. The business will tell its financer the amount and cost of goods needed, and the financer will pay for the goods. The business then repays the amount financed over a specified period of time.

Most companies that provide business finance solutions also offer ways to protect and increase a business’s capital. Credit protection safeguards a business from daily risks, such as customers not paying on time, so that the business does not suffer incredible losses. This makes it much easier for the business to borrow money in the future, and it protects the balance sheet. A finance solution may also offer business insurance plans that increase the stability of a business. The most common types of business insurance are employee and public liability, car, property, and health insurance. These business finance solutions are designed to protect businesses against potential losses.

Functions of Business Finance

Strength and soundness of business depends on the availability of finance and competency with which it is used. The abundance of finance can do wonders and its scarcity can ruin even a well established business. Finance increases the strength and viability of business. It increases the resistance capacity of a business to face losses and economic depression. It is just like a lubricant, the more it is applied to the business, the quickly the business will move. Following headings explain the importance of finance to business:

(1) Initiating Business: Finance is the first and fore most requirement of every business. It is the starting point of every business, industrial project etc. Whether you start a sole proprietary concern, a partnership firm, a company or a charity institution, you need ample amount of finance. It is equally important for profit seeking and non-profit activities. It is equally important for a multinational organization and for a free dispensary.

(2) Purchase of Assets: Finance is needed to purchase all sorts of assets. Even if credit is available some down payment is to be made. Mostly finance is needed at the start of business for the purchase of fixed assets. These fixed assets consume a large amount of initial investment of the entrepreneur, so he may face liquidity difficulty in running day to day affairs of the business.

(3) Initial Losses: No business attains high profit on the first day of commencement. Some losses are normal before the business reaches its full capacity and generate enough revenue to match cost. Finance is necessary so that these initial losses can be sustained and business can be allowed to progress gradually.

(4) Professional Services: Certain business need services of specialized personnel. Such personnel have rich experience in specialized fields and they can provide useful guidance to make business profitable. Nevertheless these services are costly. Finance is always needed so that services of such professional consultants can be hired.

(5) Development: Business is always exposed to change. New innovations and emergence of new technologies replaces old techniques out of market. So in order to remain in the market, it is needed to keep the business well equipped with all emerging tools and techniques. This required finance. New technology is always expensive as it is better than others. So finance is needed to purchase new equipment and keep the business running.

(6) Information Technology: Information technology has now changed the geography of the business battle field. The home markets have now extended virtually to other comers of the world. The whole world can be your customer or competitor. To face such a fierce competition, IT is needed. Skills and competency in IT can perform miracles. But finance is again the decisive factor. It is very much needed to incorporate expensive IT products in the business.

(7) Media War: The advertisement and promotion have now become a vital elements for the success of business. The way a businessman approaches a customer and convinces him to purchase his product has become more important than the quality of product. With advertisement on International media, a businessman can reach the minds of millions of people around the globe. However, advertisement is a luxury which every business can’t afford. Huge finance is required to meet advertisement expenses.

(8) Resource Management: Finance is very essential for efficient resource management. Resources here include capital and human resources. Maintenance of plant and equipment and training of employees all need finance. Establishment of new industrial units, expansion of plant capacity, hiring of well learned skilful laborers – all
these factors can lead to huge revenue but at the first place they need finance to start with.

(9) Stock Investments: These investments are those which are made to hold ample stock of raw materials in hand. Bulk purchase of raw materials is profitable in a sense that purchase discount can be attained and there is no danger of production halts. So companies most often hold huge amount of stocks and raw materials. But such an investment can be made only if a company has sufficient capital or finance to carry out its daily operation easily besides holding huge stock.

(10) Combating Risks: Everything is exposed to one or more risks. A business is also exposed to variety of risks. These risks include natural hazards, burden of any huge liability, loss of market or brand name etc. Finance is needed to make business powerful, so that it can sustain occasional losses and liabilities.

The Primary Cause Of Business Financing Frustration

Finding proper business financing is not easy at the best of times for most small and medium sized business owners and managers.

There are a number of reasons that collectively explain why the business financing market can be so difficult to understand and navigate.

But probably the single biggest reason is the lack of useful information about how the business financing market actually works.

Business financing information and education sources predominantly come in two forms: 1) Text books; 2) Major bank advertising.

If you’ve ever read through a educational finance text book or taken a business financing course, you already know how difficult it can be to apply the theories, principles, and strategies to a small or medium sized business.

Our formal education system provides limited information as to how the market place works, how to plan for financing requirements, how to manage periods of growth, decline, transition, start up, etc.

Sure academic books and courses can go through all these areas in great detail, but is the information practical, real world, something you can relate to and apply yourself as a manager or owner of a small or medium sized business?

In most cases, the answer is a resounding NO.

Most finance text books speak to big business financing dynamics that are not easily transferable to small and medium sized business scenarios.

Outside of the formal education system, the next great source of business financing information is the information provided by the major banks, which they tend to make available to you by the boat load through their broad based marketing campaigns.

Unfortunately, the information by itself seldom helps you determine if a particular institution would be able to provide you with financing, or what would be required to qualify for a loan.

The good news is that business financing sources continue to grow in numbers as more and more lenders carve out a particular piece of the market to service.

In order to take advantage of these alternatives, you need to have a solid approach in place when seeking business financing.

Here’s a short list of things to consider

>>> Develop a solid, ongoing, understanding of both your personal and business assets, income, and cash flow.

Regardless of the business financing model, these elements will always come into play to some degree.

Being able to demonstrate a solid understanding of your business financials is also an indication of your ability to manage the underlying business.

>>> Monitor and manage your personal and business credit.

Small and medium sized business financing is focused on both personal and business credit histories.

Regular reviews of both personal and business credit reports from the major credit reporting agencies are important to avoid errors and credit practices that can severely damage your borrowing power.

>>> Develop your marketing position.

Yes, seeking business financing is a marketing exercise.

When applying for business financing, you’re marketing your business to lending sources and they in turn are marketing their business financing programs to you.

Think of the lender as a customer to better understand what they’re looking for. Then, develop a business proposal that addresses all their potential needs and concerns.

>>> Research Lending Sources

There are lots of business financing sources. But there is also lots of variation in the types of business applications each one is prepared to consider.

Broad based lenders rely on credit history and net worth. As you get more specific in terms of financing application and industry, lender programs become more narrow and can be harder to locate.

You need to consider things like industry, sector, and geography when looking for business financing sources.

Financing consultants and business loan brokers can be an excellent source of information to aid you in this process.

>>> Qualify The Lender

Before you make a formal application, find out if the lender has the programs and lending track record to meet your specific needs.

Too often, the lender is doing all the qualifying.

>>> Compare your options

Depending on the scenario, there can be several financing strategies that could work for your business.

Make sure you take the time to compare before making a decision. The extra time spent could save you considerable time and money in the long run.

>>> Start Today

Regardless of what your business financing needs are right now, you should regularly invest time staying on top of your business financials, monitoring your credit, and researching financing sources that fit your industry and potential future requirements.

When the time comes to acquire capital, your proactive efforts can make all the difference in getting the capital you need with terms and timing that are acceptable to your business.