Branding Strategies on International Markets

When a company is planning to enter some international market and is looking for a suitable strategy to brand its products there, it’s always very important to appraise all the nuances in order to make the right decision. There are three possible variations of how to brand your products on the foreign market and you should choose one basic strategy which is most suitable in your particular case.

The strategy of international brand

Company operating in the international market don’t make a broad adaptation of its offers, brands and marketing to different local conditions. So, a brand, designed for domestic market is used on external markets in the same form. Such a strategy is suitable for companies whose brands and products are truly unique and they don’t face any serious competition on foreign markets. For example, Microsoft Corporation.

The strategy of global brand

Company that uses this strategy don’t adapt the concept of branding to possible national differences and use same brand name, logo and slogan all over the world (like Intel Corporation did at the beginning of its operation). Market proposal, brand positioning and communications are identical. So, everything is originally developed for the multinational audience. Branding operations standardization leads to significant economies in terms of investments needed.

The strategy of transnational brand

Company using this strategy develops individual concepts of branding for each of foreign markets it’s interested in. Not only brand name, but also market proposals and marketing events are specially adapted to local conditions. Nevertheless, the concept of corporate brand is quite visible and it works as a framework, which guides local adaptation. So, a brand can be positioned different ways and an appropriate price can be settled and trade policies used. High investments needed to match all local requirements, as well as the absence of benefits of standardization are negative aspects in this case.

Implementation of branding strategy involves certain difficulties. Constant adaptation is important because of changing conditions and dynamic development of the market. In addition, these three main strategies are hardly seen in their purest form in practice. In reality we are dealing with a lot of options and a wide variety of hybrid forms. Nevertheless, these strategies provide a good starting point and help to characterize a general direction of brand strategy.

Developing a Brand Strategy With Your Blog

If you are blogging to make money it is important to have some type of brand strategy on your site. This will help to boost the clarity of who you are and what you do which will result in an increase your marketing effectiveness. Brand building is a relatively simple process that is most effective when your efforts are consistent and repetitive. On your blog there are 4 simple branding strategies you need to implement and most especially if you are intent on earning an income.

Here are 4 easy to implement strategies you can use when blogging to make money that will increase your marketing effectiveness.

Mission Statement

Stating your reasons for why you blog is something commonly recommended and should be place either within the ‘about author’ section or on a separate page. Your mission statement will set the tempo of things to come on your site and makes visitors aware of what they can expect. This can be considered the cornerstone of your brand building strategy on the site since it clearly conveys your intentions.

Content

The content you place on your blogging platform needs to conform with the ‘intentions’ of your mission statement. The success you achieve will be very dependent upon the quality and consistency of your postings. As far as the consistency is concerned, branding strategies are all reliant upon continually reinforcing the image being developed. The entries published on the site will be a significant ‘tool’ in helping to continually reinforce your brand!

Layout

Calling upon your creative talents here is where you can ‘artfully’ reinforce any image you are wanting to develop. One of the more subtle branding strategies you can use is in the design or layout you choose for your blogging platform. Creating an environment or theme consistent with your image is a terrific subliminal approach to brand building but yet a very important component of your overall strategy. You want the layout to give the ‘look and feel’ of the brand you want to establish!

Logo

Once again a little creativity is needed here by choosing some type of logo, symbol or even a picture that best represents what it is you stand for or how you want to be perceived. The use of your selection here is not limited to the blog itself but can also be used in ‘off site’ branding strategies as well. Email, signature files, newsletters or even viral reports can all be identified with your logo!

The need for a brand strategy when you are blogging is especially important if you intent to earn an income. Brand building is important because it makes you more easily identifiable online and leaves little question as to what you do or who you are. By boosting your profile in this way it will also help to boost your marketing effectiveness as well while decreasing your efforts, sweet deal! The 4 branding strategies reviewed above are very easy to implement and downright essential if you are blogging to make money. It makes little sense to invest the time and effort to generate traffic for your business without first letting people know who you are and what you do! Brand building can and will do just that for you while making your name a more familiar one on the internet.

Building Effective Brand Strategy Through Product Design

The world of product design is changing. For those companies intent on making products that are enthusiastically received and championed over time, it’s no longer enough to simply design them so they function well and are aesthetically pleasing. For a product to have stickiness in today’s market it must reach consumers on a deeper level.

Today’s new breed of product designers understand that the key to successful, long lasting products lies, not just in the look and feel of them, not just in the function of them, but in the entire experience, from the first contact in the store, to the product’s ultimate disposal. At every stage, the experience should be meaningful and positive for the consumer, fulfilling aspirations and emotions.

This trend in design, called “experience design”, underscores, at its most basic level, the folly of taking a reliable, aesthetically pleasing product and putting it in an aggressively sealed clam pack that’s nearly impossible to open. It looks askance at such brand killers as poor customer service, badly written instructions and missing peripherals, such as batteries or mounting screws.

Frustrating and angering the customer should never be part of the consumer experience at any level. Unfortunately, these negative touch points can occur anywhere, from misleading advertising, to poor merchandising, to difficulties in disposing of the product.

Accomplishing an effective brand experience means reaching across disciplines. The marketing manager must be on the same page with the product designer as well as the customer service manager, the supply chain manager, and the retailer; all parties must work in concert to achieve the same goal by the same brand strategy.

The brand strategy, the overarching plan to manage the consumer’s experience of the product is at the heart of experience design. But who conceives of and directs this strategy?

The most effective brand strategies flourish in the fertile soil of collaboration. The gardener of this soil is the corporate executive in charge of product development. But just as a good gardener will nurture the many different plants in his garden, giving them the light and nourishment they need to blossom, the good corporate brand strategist will recognize the talents and abilities of his team while marshalling them toward a common goal based on an agreed upon brand strategy.

Working in teams is essential to effective brand strategy, teams at every level. A more apt analogy may be to a league, a confederation of teams, a team of teams, working together to achieve a positive experience for the consumer with the product. There’s the marketing team, the merchandising team, the design team, the retailers, the shareholders, etc. If any one of these teams is not working effectively with the others the strategy bogs down.

This can present a significant challenge to the brand strategist, particularly when some of their teams are independent entities with their own agendas. So it is incumbent on the brand strategist to get complete buy-in from all his teams, which means communicating a coherent brand strategy, one with the power to move even the most stubborn holdout.

To accomplish this, the brand strategist should work with the design team to anchor the strategy in the firm bedrock of consumer experience. One needs to know how the consumer interacts with and feels about the product (or if the product is yet to be developed, similar products).

Today’s product design firms routinely call on anthropologists to observe and evaluate consumer interactions with their products to discover ways to improve them, to fulfill aspirations and connect with positive emotions. This is not done in a vacuum.

Traditional focus groups too often rely on a false environment, a corporate meeting room, a few words of advice, a video presentation, which does not observe the consumer interacting with the product in a natural way.

Anthropological field work – observing consumer interaction with the product in their own environment – tells a much deeper story. Imagine following the consumer through their first experience with a product, from finding a description of it online, to driving to the store, to searching the aisles for it, to purchasing it, unpacking it, assembling it and using it.

Were there any negative touch points? Did the online description create the proper aspirations and expectations? Was the store conveniently located? Was the product properly categorized and easy to find? Was the price right? Was the product easy to get out of the package? Were the instructions adequate? Did it come with the necessary peripherals? Did the appearance of it elicit positive associations? Was the function of it intuitive? Did it function according to expectations?

An anthropologist working with a design firm can get answers to these questions. Working with the corporate brand strategist, the design team can help devise ways to enhance the consumer experience at every level. They can make suggestions that can be picked up and analyzed by the marketing team, the merchandising team, and others, on the way to designing an overall brand strategy with the power to move all players.

So while the brand strategist will work with many teams in his effort to create his strategy, one of the first teams he will want to consult with is the design team. Product design in many cases becomes the catalyst to develop a coherent and powerful brand strategy.

Product design is so much more than it used to be. Today’s product design firms are working on a much broader canvas, incorporating the philosophy of experience design to help companies design products that connect with the consumer’s emotions and aspirations. After all, delighting the customer is the key to successful, long lasting products, and the way to a better bottom line.

Successful Brand Strategy Development

Fabricating A Brand Strategy

Typical brand models in the marketplace have been formulated to generate the framework required to build an impressive label that will be in a position to withstand market trends and competition through the test of time. The start of any marketing business entails the preliminary steps of brand strategy development. In order to develop a solid brand one needs to take strategic steps to make sure their brand represents the purpose of the business and product.

Branding is a product of intense planning and conceptualization. To come up with innovative marketing ideas and an effective way to brand your merchandise, you need to carefully map your starting point ideas where you are now on toward your destination. By doing this you will also take heed of the vital aspects involved in the production of a brand.

What is a Branding Model?

Here are some basic models used along the way of brand planning. Each of them will cover different scopes and facets of the process to create a sound approach to developing your personal brand. Except for the ability to fabricate a particular brand of your very own, the means of arriving at a certain brand idea, these models will help you understand the behavior of consumers and the need to relate to their responses which is helpful in adjusting old branding plans or acquiring new ones.

All of these traits are key factors in managing and reviewing necessary steps in brand strategy development that should be taken seriously by any company, business or entrepreneur in their branding efforts. These models are ultimately linked but one does impact another.

Positioning in Brand Strategy Development

This model involves your effort to produce a picture that will have its distinct position on the market. Firmly establishing your brand will help your area of interest that you work in to easily be remembered and opted for within your line of products. This is one aspect of planning wherein you should center on representing or creating a superior brand that eradicates your competition. Here are the preliminary steps:

First off, you need to decide on an area of interest you want to represent. One of which you have a genuine interest in learning more about as well as helping others understand what you know. Make a simple list of your top 2 or 3 areas of expertise, interest and talents. Compare those to the needs and wants in the marketplace. This will give you a general idea of the area you want to go in.
Next, identify other brands you are competing against. Then, define the markers of your own brand against your rivals. This will enable you to concentrate your efforts.
Next, your objective is to introduce attributes to your brand that will enable it to stand out from competition. You must understand and present the elements of your brand that will help the consumers or target market perceive “quality” as an association of your brand.
Establish a slogan for your brand that will aim to reaffirm your position and targeted values. This slogan should aim to articulate the goal of the business or service and what the delivered product is promised to the customers. One good example is “Federal Express”. There name slogan could not be more trustworthy? They guarantee next day delivery. People generally don’t care what they have to pay when they are assured they’ll be outta the slinger. Fed Ex addresses the need and want of the consumer in one slogan.

Brand Quality

Developing a professional personal brand is an ongoing process that is critical to long-term growth. Once you’re through the stage of creating a distinct place in the market, your next step is to safeguard the loyalty of your consumers. To do that, you need to employ an efficient customer relation service or local and provide a feedback system. This model follows up from the first steps laid out by the brand positioning methods. Now that you have acquired target customers, your next aim is to fortify the relationship between them and your brand. In any case, the majority of the business sales stem from repeat customers.

More than anything, this stage is where you should reinforce the communications firstly conveyed by your brand. Hence, customers will happily continue to engage in business with you because of your level of performance and quality delivered through your brand. Are your methods consistent to the identity of your trademark and its missions? To find out, ask for feedback from your clients and be sure to not offend or be offended. Take that feedback into consideration on your product or service and implement ways on how you can expand or critique operations based on their thoughts. Maybe you don’t need to actually change anything, the statements brought forth could just show that you weren’t clear in one area and actually several other people shared in that confusion. Therefore, all you need to do is clarify. In the long run you will develop a quality relationship that constitutes trust.

Brand Value Succession

This one is more focused on the financial impact of your branding efforts. The basic idea of this model is that the value of your brand is consistent throughout your client base. This is where you should be focusing the majority of your branding strategies.

Carefully combining these different aspects will provide a business/entrepreneur a reliable perspective of the different facets involved in brand strategy development. By bringing these areas together into one formula, you will be enabled to easily formulate a structure for your business as well as track progress or problem areas in the branding system.

A Branding Strategy Is More Than Just Looking Good

When hired as General Manager by the Chicago Cubs in 1981, George Dallas Green asserted at his opening press conference as well as every press conference thereafter that he was a baseball authority and expert. He spoke the truth. He played professional major league baseball for many years and managed major league teams for many years.

It wasn’t long before Chicago sportswriters, broadcasters, and local dignitaries came to label Green as an authority and expert on baseball. Newspaper articles routinely described him as a baseball expert or something similar.

What Dallas Green did back then was develop and implement a Branding Strategy. He positioned himself as not just one of the several major league baseball managers and general managers, but differentiated himself more so as an expert and an authority on baseball. He didn’t change his appearance. He didn’t need to be something other than what he was because his experience spoke for itself. It was a great branding marketing strategy at a time when the Cubs needed it.

Like the Cubs back then, today most small businesses need a great marketing strategy or business development plan to survive the economic ups and downs.

In my experience, a common consulting activity or action when addressing the business development needs of a small business involved connecting my client with an outside marketing or advertising agency. Usually, small businesses don’t have the resources or talent internally to provide the marketing needs or to develop the strategies required.

Typically, here’s how the process would go. Potential marketing or advertising agencies were invited to a fact finding and exploration meeting with the business owner, myself, and selected others. The outside agency would return in a week or so to present their plan. Virtually without exception, the strategy the outside agency would present was one of Branding or Re-Branding the client’s business.

Branding remains at top of the marketing and advertising buzz today. And rightfully so! Branding is a powerful and effective marketing process when designed and implemented properly.

However, after observing scores of Branding presentations by marketing and advertising firms, it is apparent to me that only a very few marketing and advertising firms really understand and know what a Branding Strategy is all about. In fact, most of the time the presentations I observed were not Branding Strategies at all, but more precisely Makeover Plans.

Sure the Branding Strategy may employ a new look, new logo, new colors, new tag lines, and so on. But the Branding Strategy needs to do more than change appearance.

The Branding Strategy translates the Company’s Vision and Goals into Strategic and Tactical actions and behaviors. New internal processes or procedures may be necessary. The Branding Strategy will establish and/or reinforce the Company’s Perception and Position in the marketplace.

Part of the Branding Strategy involves taking the Core Concepts and Core Competencies of a business and then identifying a singular concept, service, feature, or benefit that the business can claim that sets it apart from its competitors. That’s Competitors, not Alternatives.

There may be a number of alternatives for a person looking to replace the air conditioning unit, or to build an addition to the home, or to move to new home, or to replace the transmission, or to build a new deck. The alternatives range from the top quality and established brand name product and service providers to what is affectionately labeled as a Chuck in a Truck. The latter cannot be viewed as a competitor to a business that is among the former.

In most every market in the United States, there are usually about five or six established brand name product and service providers in each business category. Any one of the five or six would consider the others as true competitors. One of the primary objectives of the Branding Strategy must be more than to differentiate the company from its true competitors. The Branding Strategy must establish what separates the company from the others.

How? The Branding Strategy identifies or establishes a Singular Market Position that will separate the company from the others. The Singular Market Position or separation factor must be something tangible or concrete rather than abstract. Quality, Value, and Service are abstract, not really tangible or concrete. They are perceptions. More importantly, they are expectations particularly if the business is among the top providers.

Once the separation factor is determined or identified, then all the strategies and tactics associated with the marketing and promotion of the Branding Strategy will reinforce the Singular Market Position to everyone in the company’s Target Market. It is not just differentiation, but distinction and separation from the company’s competitors.

To illustrate, if the business is one of six short haul trucking companies in the market that is considered among the top alternatives, then most likely each company provides Quality, Value and Service. The six differentiate themselves by the color of their trucks. If one of the competitors has red trucks, the Branding Strategy surely would not be to have red trucks as well. So what could separate the company from the others? The answer usually comes from asking what the company does better or more often than the others. A look at the customer base may discover that the company has a number of electronics manufacturers or suppliers on the list. That discovery becomes the separation factor. The Branding Strategy centers on the claim that the company is the electronics products transportation experts of choice. The advertising and promotion programs reinforce the claim routinely.

Or, if the business is one of six residential roofing companies in the market that is considered among the top alternatives, then, like the truckers, each of the six provides Quality, Value, and Service as well as has different colored trucks and nifty logos. So what could separate the one from the others? Just like the truckers, the work history and customer base is likely to reveal what the company does the most and maybe more often than the others. So this company could be the clay tile roof experts, or singles and shakes roof experts, or metal roofs expert. That choice becomes the separation factor of the Branding Strategy. The advertising and promotion programs reinforce the claim routinely.

In short, the purpose or objective of the Branding Strategy is to alter the competitive arena in the company’s favor by setting the company apart from the others in its class, and then advertising and promoting the separating product or service until the message of the Brand is known and repeated by all who matter and more.

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.

Business Finance Funding Advice and Commercial Financing Help

The Working Capital Journal is one of several commercial financing resources which should be reviewed regularly by small business owners to assist in keeping up with the imposing difficulties posed by rapid changes in the business finance funding climate. As noted below, there have been some surprising actions taken by lenders as a direct result of recent financial uncertainties. The increasingly complex and confusing environment for working capital finance is likely to produce several unexpected challenges for commercial borrowers.

The working capital finance industry has primarily been operating on a regional and local basis for many years. In response to cost-cutting that has permeated many industries, there has been a consolidation that has resulted in fewer effective commercial lenders throughout the United States. Most business owners have been understandably confused about what this might mean for the future of their commercial financing efforts, especially because this has happened in a relatively short period of time.

Of course, for some time there have been ongoing complex problems for commercial borrowers to avoid when seeking commercial loans. But what has produced a new set of business finance funding problems is that we appear to be entering a period which will be characterized by even more uncertainties in the economy. Previous rules and standards for commercial financing and working capital finance are likely to increasingly change quickly, with little advance notice by business lenders.

Business owners should make an extended effort to understand what is happening and what to do about it due to this realization that substantial changes are likely throughout the United States in the near future for commercial finance funding. At the forefront of these efforts should be a review of what actions commercial lenders have already taken in recent months. The Working Capital Journal is one prominent example of a free public resource that will facilitate a better understanding of the responses by business lenders to recent economic circumstances.

By publicizing actions taken by commercial lenders, this will contribute to these two goals, both of which are likely to be helpful to typical business owners: (1) To highlight controversial bank-lender tactics with a view toward reducing or eliminating questionable lending practices. (2) To help business owners prepare for commercial finance funding changes. To assist in this effort, sources such as The Working Capital Journal are encouraging business owners to report and describe their own experiences so that they can be shared with a broader audience that might benefit from the information. Some of the most significant commercial financing changes reported so far by commercial borrowers involve working capital loans, commercial construction financing and credit card financing. A notable situation of concern is that predatory lending practices by credit card issuers have been reported by many business owners. Some specific businesses such as restaurants are having an especially difficult time in surviving recently because they have been excluded from obtaining any new business financing by many banks.

One of the few recent bright spots in business finance funding, as noted in The Working Capital Journal, has been the continuing ability of business owners to obtain working capital quickly by business cash advance programs. For most businesses accepting credit cards, this commercial financing approach should be actively considered. Business cash advances are literally saving the day for many small business owners because most banks appear to be doing a terrible job of providing commercial loans and other working capital finance help in the midst of recent financial and economic uncertainties. For example, as noted above, restaurants are virtually unable to currently obtain commercial finance funding from most banks. Fortunately, restaurants accepting credit cards are in a good position to obtain needed cash from credit card receivables financing and merchant cash advances.

Small Business Finance Success Improves With Realistic Options

The goal of being realistic when seeking new commercial loans and working capital financing will help commercial borrowers avoid a number of commercial finance problems. With proper preparation business owners should be in a better position to obtain new financing despite the difficult challenges impacting most working capital loans and small business financing. Nevertheless it should be anticipated that terms of financing will be different from prior commercial financing. Because of recent commercial lending difficulties, business owners actively assessing the most effective options for their small business finance decisions are likely to find the smoothest path to business loan success.

In view of volatile conditions which have recently impacted credit markets, this will not be a simple task. A very common example of the problem is illustrated by how much misinformation and confusion there has been about business financing and working capital availability. Getting more accurate information about what is realistically possible can be one of the most difficult challenges for commercial borrowers.

When seeking to identify realistic choices in a confusing working capital management climate, a number of harsh realities must be confronted by all small business owners. For most current commercial financing decisions by business owners, there are several major factors to anticipate. In the first example, additional small business loan collateral is being requested by most commercial lenders. Second, many regional and local banks have discontinued lending for business financing and working capital. In a third example, businesses which are not currently profitable or not current in their debt payments will have extensive difficulties. Fourth, business construction funding currently is very limited in most areas. In a fifth example, lenders are eliminating unsecured business lines of credit for most small business owners.

Despite the new business financing limitations just noted, there are practical working capital options for small business owners to consider. An increasingly effective commercial financing option in the midst of an uncertain economy is a merchant cash advance program based on credit card processing activity. Even though this commercial funding option has been available for a few years, it has not been used by most small businesses. For most businesses which accept credit cards, merchant cash advances should be evaluated as an important tool for improving business cash flow. Small business owners wanting to pursue this financing option should consult a business financing expert who is knowledgeable about this working capital management approach as well as other small business loans.

Even though working capital loans are not as widely available as they were just a few months ago, this kind of small business financing is still in fact obtainable. Since some of the largest providers have stopped making these business loans, the main change for business borrowers is the likelihood that they will be dealing with a different commercial lender. Small business owners will benefit from finding an experienced and candid business financing expert to assist in evaluating realistic options because the most effective working capital financing providers are not aggressively marketing this capability.

As stressed above, when making commercial financing decisions it is becoming increasingly important for business owners to first determine their effective business finance funding options. Because of recent volatility in financial markets, this task is likely to be much more difficult than most commercial borrowers realize. It is advisable to explore commercial finance options that might be necessary if economic conditions change even further even for business owners who are satisfied with their current working capital financing arrangements. The use of Plan B contingency financing is an important tool to assist commercial borrowers in this process.