SmartBiz Loans Milestone: $500 Million in SBA Loans for Small Businesses

Small business lending platform SmartBiz Loans has announced surpassing $500 million in funded Small Business Administration loans.

This milestone follows a series of recent successes for SmartBiz, including a fifth bank joining its software platform. The announcement also demonstrates the mainstreaming trend of such online lending marketplaces also including Biz2Credit, Fundera and others in the small business community.

SmartBiz Loans is a combination of a bank-enabling technology platform and an online loan marketplace.

SmartBiz Loans Milestone

Evan Singer, CEO and President of SmartBiz Loans shared the company’s enthusiasm about the milestone.

“We are proud to announce this milestone, as it means that we are helping generate increased access to SBA loans for small business owners. As alternative online lenders continue to raise rates and banks struggle to make smaller loans profitably, SmartBiz is connecting banks with small business borrowers in a way that is a win-win for both sides,” said Singer.

SmartBiz Loan’s software platform automates underwriting for banks in order to reduce time and costs associated with processing SBA loans under $350,000 by up to 90 percent, the company claims. As the company automates the underwriting process, SmartBiz Loans’ platform allows banks to provide low-cost capital to small business owners in a matter of weeks rather than months.

Having access to funds quickly can be vital to small business owners who need capital fast.

SmartBiz Loans says it ranked as the leading facilitator of traditional SBA 7(a) loans under $350,000 for the 2016 fiscal year. This means SmartBiz surpassed Wells Fargo and other major banks in relation to SBA lending.

The $500 million in funded SBA loans is representative, not only of SmartBiz Loans’ success and growth, but of the entire small business loan market.

Following the recession  in 2008, banks limited the loans they made to small businesses due to being unable to process them efficiently enough to make profit. By automating the process, SmartBiz is making the procedure more efficient and cost-effective for all parties, the company says.

SBA Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "SmartBiz Loans Hits $500 Million Mark in SBA Loans for Small Businesses" was first published on Small Business Trends

Is Your Desk Work Killing You? New Medical Research Says It May

Do you run a small business which requires you to sit at a desk for long periods? Perhaps you’re a freelancer working from a desk at home, day in, day out? If you have a sedentary job, you may be working to the detriment of your health.

This is the finding of a study by the Annals of Internal Medicine. The research examined the association between sedentary lifestyles and mortality. It focused on adults aged 45 and over. Almost 8,000 adults participated in the study.

Sedentary time among the participants was measured using a hip-mounted accelerometer. The research concluded that sitting over prolonged, uninterrupted periods is associated with ‘all-cause’ mortality.

So, Is Your Desk Work Killing You?

The conclusion of the Annals of Internal Medicine study is that physical activity guidelines should be issued, targeted at “reducing and interrupting sedentary time to reduce risk for death.”

The research may have focused on the over 45’s but it sends a message to all who have inactive jobs.

It reiterates the importance for small business owners, freelancers, or anyone who works at a desk and is not active during their working day, to regularly get up from their chair and exercise frequently.

Wellness Programs

The research underlines the importance of companies implementing a wellness program into the cultures of their businesses. From starting a running club after work, to encouraging healthy eating habits at lunchtime, wellness programs are a great way to motivate employees into becoming more active and healthier and to help offset the potential damage to health their sedentary job could create.

Deskercize

You might run your own business and work on your own, or work in an office as part of a team. Either way, just about anyone can carry out exercises at their desks to ensure they get their bodies moving throughout the day.

Simply stretching and shuffling about at your desk can be a great way to help prevent ailments and health issues building up as a result of a sedentary job.

Back Pain Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "Is Your Desk Work Killing You? New Medical Research Says — Maybe!" was first published on Small Business Trends

Is Your Desk Work Killing You? New Medical Research Says It May

Do you run a small business which requires you to sit at a desk for long periods? Perhaps you’re a freelancer working from a desk at home, day in, day out? If you have a sedentary job, you may be working to the detriment of your health.

This is the finding of a study by the Annals of Internal Medicine. The research examined the association between sedentary lifestyles and mortality. It focused on adults aged 45 and over. Almost 8,000 adults participated in the study.

Sedentary time among the participants was measured using a hip-mounted accelerometer. The research concluded that sitting over prolonged, uninterrupted periods is associated with ‘all-cause’ mortality.

So, Is Your Desk Work Killing You?

The conclusion of the Annals of Internal Medicine study is that physical activity guidelines should be issued, targeted at “reducing and interrupting sedentary time to reduce risk for death.”

The research may have focused on the over 45’s but it sends a message to all who have inactive jobs.

It reiterates the importance for small business owners, freelancers, or anyone who works at a desk and is not active during their working day, to regularly get up from their chair and exercise frequently.

Wellness Programs

The research underlines the importance of companies implementing a wellness program into the cultures of their businesses. From starting a running club after work, to encouraging healthy eating habits at lunchtime, wellness programs are a great way to motivate employees into becoming more active and healthier and to help offset the potential damage to health their sedentary job could create.

Deskercize

You might run your own business and work on your own, or work in an office as part of a team. Either way, just about anyone can carry out exercises at their desks to ensure they get their bodies moving throughout the day.

Simply stretching and shuffling about at your desk can be a great way to help prevent ailments and health issues building up as a result of a sedentary job.

Back Pain Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "Is Your Desk Work Killing You? New Medical Research Says — Maybe!" was first published on Small Business Trends

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10 Ways to Winterize Your Business to Manage Energy Costs

Winter might be synonymous with cold weather and sky-high energy bills, but it’s not all doom and gloom.

If you run a business and are determined to lower your bills this winter, take a look at the following 10 ways to winterize your business to help manage energy costs.

Seal Any Leaks, Drafts and Gaps Around the Workplace

As the Department of Energy notes, Americans spend on average $2,000 on energy each year, $200 to $400 of which could be going to waste through drafts and air leaks.

Before winter arrives, take the time to assess your premises for leaks and drafts. Gaps can tend to be present around doors and windows, so pay particularly close attention to these areas. Plugging these gaps in a building could help reduce consumption between 5 and 30 percent.

Make Sure Insulation is Adequate

Insulation is vital in helping to reduce the exchange of heat through a surface, such as a building’s walls and ceiling. If your building is well-insulated, less warm air will escape during the winter.

In order to winterize your business to control energy costs, have a professional insulation installer or builder evaluate the existing insulation in your building. If it’s not sufficient, now is the time to improve the insulation.

Have Your Heating System Checked and Maintained

Looking after your business’s boiler and heating system will ensure it works efficiently and effectively all year round. Before the cold weather arrives and the heating system is forced to go into overdrive, have it checked.

Problems, such as airlocks, thermostat issues, leakage, and dripping, may mean your business’s heating system is not running efficiently. An inefficient heating system could mean increased energy bills.

Having the system checked and regularly maintained will ensure it runs as efficiently as it should, all year round.

Get Smart About Lighting

As the Department of Energy highlights, lighting is responsible for almost 25 percent of commercial energy costs. In order to crack down on business energy costs, the winterization of your business should include replacing conventional, energy-zapping light bulbs with energy-efficient ones.

LED bulbs use around 75 percent less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs. These energy-saving bulbs also typically last 10-25 times longer than conventional bulbs.

Automate your Thermostat

Having a programmable thermostat installed in a building can reduce heating costs by as much as 30 percent. During low-occupancy hours, set the thermostat several degrees lower compared to peak times to make significant energy savings.

Prepare the Pipes

Freezing temperatures can wreak havoc on piping since, when water freezes, the pressure builds up in the pipes and can cause them to burst.

When winterizing your business to control energy costs, don’t neglect the pipes. Ensure all exterior pipes and interior ones in unheated areas are sufficiently insulated. Flexible elastomeric insulation works well on exterior pipes to give them the insulation they will require in the winter to prevent the water inside from freezing, causing the pipes to burst.

Check Heating Ducts

If your business has heating ducts, check them to see if the insulation needs to be replaced. Inadequately insulated heating ducts will mean the heating system has to work harder to keep the building warm, resulting in higher energy bills.

Install Energy-Efficient Glazing on Windows and Doors

With a staggering 10-20 percent heat lost through windows and doors, it makes sense to have energy-efficient glazing in place.

Replacing existing glass with low-emissivity glass, designed to prevent heat escaping through windows and doors, could mean significant business energy savings this winter.

Alter the Direction of Ceiling Fans

Use of ceiling fans in your business might be more common in the summer months. But did you know by simply changing the direction of the fan so it rotates in a clockwise direction can circulate warm air instead of cool. According to the ENERGY STAR webpage, altering the direction of ceiling fans can reduce heating costs by forcing warm air near the ceiling down into occupied spaces.

Change Furnace Filters

Prior to the winter months setting in, it’s recommended that you clean or replace furnace filters. Clogged up, dirty filters can restrict airflow, resulting in increased energy demand.

Check with Constellation to learn more about reducing your small business’s energy consumption today.

Caulking Window Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "10 Ways to Winterize Your Business to Manage Energy Costs" was first published on Small Business Trends

What are White Label Services and How Do You Use Them to Grow Your Business?

White label refers to a marketing or manufacturing process whereby one company creates a product or service, which is then rebranded by another business to make the product or service look like it is their own.

For businesses, particularly small businesses with limited time, money and resources, white label services offer great opportunities to compete with bigger players in their field. This is due to the fact that white labeling enables businesses to expand their service offerings to clients without having to develop a particular product or service themselves.

Ways to Use White Label Services

White Label Marketing

Upskilling the workforce of a marketing agency so it is proficient in every aspect of marketing takes a lot of time, money and effort.

Many marketing agencies are using white label services to help overcome skills shortage issues within their businesses. The principle reason agencies utilize the power of white labeling services is because it allows them to offer a whole range of services they may not have previously been able to provide their clients.

White label services run deeper than merely hiring freelancers and contractors and outsourcing services. Instead of simply bringing on a freelancer to help out with providing a new service, the agency engages another company expert at creating content to take care of all the client’s requirements.  By white labeling content requirements, the agency is effectively scaling its services, branching out into delivering professional content marketing, as if it is something additional the agency offers.

This ‘additional’ service comes without the inevitable expense and time of hiring a professional content writer and consequently adding significantly to the business’s overhead.

Another Stream of Revenue

In addition to saving money and time recruiting additional and qualified staff, white labeling specific services creates additional streams of revenue to a business.

If, for example, an SEO agency didn’t offer web design as part of its services, by white labeling web design services, it would extend its offering to clients and subsequently pull in more revenue in return.

As these professional and quality white label services are sold under an agency’s own brand, the end-user, the target client, remains satisfied with the agency’s services. As a consequence, the client does not seek to take its business elsewhere to a competitor.

Competing with Bigger Agencies

 

By failing to take on new talent to offer the services businesses have come to expect from a full-service marketing firm, a smaller agency runs the risk of losing business to larger, multifaceted marketing companies.

This is when white labeling services is a win-win situation. Instead of making epic hiring blunders that end up costing a small agency dearly, or outsourcing marketing tasks to a potentially unreliable freelancer, using white label services allows something else. It permits  smaller agencies to compete with bigger, comprehensive marketing companies, while maintaining agility and low overhead.

Rather than confining their services to one or two specialties, white labeling means agencies are able to offer a much more diverse range of marketing services.

Some of the most widely used services that are white labeled by agencies include:

  • Email Marketing
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Sales Support
  • Market Research
  • Conversion Rate Optimization
  • Web Design
  • Social Media Management
  • eCommerce Management
  • Pay-Per-Click Management
  • Customer Loyalty Programs
  • Dashboard Reporting
  • Content Development and Management
  • Reputation Management
  • Ad Development
  • Tech Enablement and Security

As stated earlier, white labeling services are by no means confined to marketing. The tendency to white label other vital business services, such as accounting, payroll, human resources, legal, inventory control and help desk support, has been gaining momentum in recent years.

In short, white labeling services can save a business significant time and money. Investing in a proven white label solution can give a business that professional boost it wants.

Are you a marketing agency or other business which successfully uses white labeled services? We’d love to hear our readers’ white label success stories.

Man with Tablet Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "What are White Label Services and How Do You Use Them to Grow Your Business?" was first published on Small Business Trends