Monthly Archives: June 2016

Tips to Improve Your Chances of Getting a Small Business Loan

Small business owners looking for capital may want to spend some time preparing for the process.  That’s because, Marc Scheipe, chief financial officer at Sage North America, says preparation can make all the difference in whether a company receives the funding they desire.

Scheipe, a former small business owner himself, says that prepared businesses going through the financing process have a better chance of gaining loan approval. To help businesses in their journey, Scheipe offers the following tips to small business owners.

Provide detailed information— Don’t skimp on specifics with banks. Show exactly how you will use the requested funds and how much you need to accomplish your goals.  Lenders appreciate attention to detail and preparedness when it comes to the facts.  For example, if you are looking to purchase a new piece of equipment, provide quotes on the exact costs, how much capital you need to facilitate this purchase and specifically how the new equipment will help grow your business.

Be prepared to share your financial information – all of it – Provide your lender with all the financial background on your company, future growth plans, and often your personal financial information.  By offering this information up front, it will allow a bank to gain an understanding of your complete financial situation and it will ultimately reduce the time to finalize your loan package.  The more information you have to illustrate that you’ve run your business well in the past gives banks the confidence they need to invest in you for the future.  The more information you provide, the easier it will be for your loan officer to get your loan approved.  Banks are in business to loan money, so this is a win-win for both sides.

The more the merrier– Research and make a list of five potential lenders and start at your first choice.  If approved for a loan, continue to shop the market for the best rate if you have time.  If declined, keep trying!  Too often, mostly due to lack of time, business owners stop at the first or second negative response.  Be prepared to seek a loan from a minimum of five lenders.  And learn from your mistakes.  If one lender turns you down for one reason or another, learn from this feedback and adjust your approach with the next lender.

Seek out Small Business Administration assistance— SBA lenders are a great resource for small businesses.  There are counselors who can assist you with the loan process.  Additionally, the more you know about the products that are available for your unique situation, the better your chances are at securing a yes response to your application.

Holiday Decorations Boost Sales

The grill-buffet restaurant Golden Corral franchise has determined that adding a little holiday cheer to the outside of its restaurants is bringing new diners in the door and increasing sales.

Bob McDevitt, senior vice president of franchising for Golden Corral, said about 50 of the chain’s restaurants have hung holiday lights on their buildings this winter after a test program last year produced pronounced results.

“It is just a great opportunity to increase the street presence,” McDevitt told BusinessNewsDaily.

During the test program last year, six restaurants hired professional decorators to hang lights along the rooflines and trees leading up to each location. The lights were kept up from the week before Thanksgiving through the end of the year, and the restaurants saw an average 5 percent increase in sales and a 4 percent increase in meal count. All six saw an increase in sales.

McDevitt said he came up with the idea in 2011, when he was visiting a location in California that had hung lights outside. As soon as he turned onto the restaurant’s street, he was struck by how great it looked.

“It was lit up like a Christmas tree,” he said, noting that the lights made the restaurant stand out from the other nearby businesses.

After talking with the local franchise owner, McDevitt said he knew the concept needed to be tested elsewhere, too. “He told me that they get a lot of buzz, but mostly that their business gets better,” he said.

McDevitt attributes the success of the holiday lights to the exposure it brings the restaurants on streets that are often dull in the dreary days of winter. “It dramatically enhances streets’ presence and makes it seem like a happy place to be,” McDevitt said.

Children are also contributing to the holiday-light program’s success. “Kids love it,” McDevitt said. “They see this beautifully decorated place that they are able to go into.”

For other businesses considering lights as an enticement, McDevitt suggests letting an expert handle the decorating. The several-thousand-dollar investment in a professional job, he said, is worth it.

“You can’t just hang a string of lights from the downspout and expect business to go up,” McDevitt said. “It has to look great.”

He also said businesses need to have the lights up long enough to make a difference. He suggests starting at least a week or two before Thanksgiving and letting it run through the end of the year. “You need to give it enough time to get a payback on it,” he said.

Finally, he said multicolored lights seem to make more of a difference than white ones. In the program’s test last year, the restaurants with multicolored lights outperformed those that had hung only white lights.

Founded in 1973, Golden Corral has nearly 500 restaurants operating in 40 different states.

How to Know Your Kid Succeed in Life

yuThose looking to predict a person’s chance of success should start their investigation on the playground, research shows.

A new study by researchers at Concordia University revealed that a kid’s friends may be the best judge of what the child will grow up to be like.

Specifically, the study found that a child’s peer evaluations of their classmates’ personalities can more accurately predict adulthood personality traits – which are associated with a number of important life factors, such as health, mental health and occupational satisfaction – than self-evaluation at that age.

The study, which began in 1976, asked students in grades 1, 4 and 7 to complete peer evaluations of their classmates and rate them in terms of aggression, likeability and social withdrawal. In addition, the students conducted their own self-evaluation.

The children were tracked into adulthood over the next 20 years. A follow-up survey was then conducted that included measurement of their personality traits as an adult, such as levels of neuroticism, extroversion, openness, agreeableness and conscientiousness.

Alexa Martin-Storey, a recent Concordia graduate and one of the study’s authors, said they were able to compare peer and self-perceptions of childhood behaviors with their adult personality characteristics.

“We found the evaluations from the group of peers were much more closely associated with eventual adult outcomes than were their own personality perceptions from childhood,” Martin-Storey said. “This makes sense, since children are around their peers all day and behaviors like aggressiveness and likeability are extremely relevant in the school environment.”

The research shows that children who perceived themselves as socially withdrawn exhibited less conscientiousness as adults, while kids whose peers perceived them as socially withdrawn grew up to exhibit lower levels of extraversion.

Martin-Storey said peer-perceived likeability also predicted a more accurate outcome, associating the personality trait with higher levels of agreeableness and conscientiousness and lower levels of neuroticism than those who thought of themselves as likeable.