Sell easily with the aid of smart tech

Practical online software can – without a shadow of doubt – help your business (large enterprise or Start-up) get on top of its operations.

The most common operational tasks most of us use are sales and customer support. Though very important they cannot, however, be used in isolation to other business processes.

There are also other ‘bits’ and ‘bobs’ that can be built-in or integrated with to ensure that your business processes are fully automated. And automation saves you time and therefore, money!

Core operations that a good ERP can manage for your business are not limited to the following:

  • Sales (the lifeblood of your business)
  • Customer Support (now extended to Customer Engagement)
  • Accounting and Finance (all your banking, invoicing, payments and taxation)
  • Supply chain and logistics management (Cataloguing, Inventory, stock management, warehousing, storage and deliveries)
  • Retail (B2B, eCommerce, Point of Sales)
  • Human Resources (Staffing, holiday bookings, Salaries and wages, recruitment).
  • Marketing (Branding, campaign management, targeted ads etc.)

Can you imagine these have been in use since the industrial revolution and the introduction of chain stores? 

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ERP is the abbreviation for Enterprise Resource Planning and is basically the software your business uses on PCs/cashier systems, scanners, and all points of sale devices.  

One of a kind

We identified and reviewed a specialised ERP called  SmartSaleERP. It is an integrated tech platform targeted for retail business owners to help you get in control of your business. 

Granted, there are hundreds of ERP solutions out there including those from known brands such as Microsoft Dynamics, Salesforce, Zoho etc.

A distinguishing feature on SmartSaleERP however, is the kind of technology they use over and above the traditional features and user interface (UI).

This ‘edge’ comes from the use of  biometric and smartcard tech to provide you with a better customer/user experience.  The sales experience can be derived from both the customer and the business side.

Read the full feature to find out more about this distinct ERP here.

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Financing your Small Business

When considering small business financing, it is important to understand all your available options. If not, investors can easily take advantage of you and offer unfair terms.

So before raising any money, find out if using equity, debt or convertible debt financing makes the most sense for you to grow your business.

Equity


Raising capital through equity is popular, if not the most popular choice, for entrepreneurs to pursue. Investors buy stock (or shares) in your company, giving them a financial stake in the future success of your business.

How It Works:

    • You set a specific Dollar/Euro amount for what your company is worth.
    • Based on that valuation, investors agree to give you money in exchange for a certain percentage of your company.
  • Investors receive compensation based on the percent of stock/share they own once you sell the company or go public.

Pros:

    • All your cash can go toward your business rather than loan repayments.
    • Investors take on some risk and don’t have to be paid back until you’re doing well.
    • Investors often have valuable business experience.
  • Since investors have a financial stake in the success of your business, they are motivated to offer sound guidance and valuable business connections.

Cons:

    • Selling shares of your company will make it very difficult to get them back.
  • You will also most likely lose control of part of your board to your investors.

Debt


Debt-based fundraising is the form of small business financing that most small businesses end up choosing, according to Fundable. It is also the easiest to understand. Money is loaned to you with the agreement you’ll repay it over time with an established interest rate.

Get a quick loan for your business here: N26_banner-320x50-EN

How It Works:

    • You borrow money with an agreement to pay it back with interest within a specific time frame.
  • You will also have to offer your lender some form of collateral, which are liquid assets you will give up if you cannot make your loan payments.

Pros:

    • You will raise capital much quicker than with equity small business financing. This is especially true of smaller cash amounts.
    • You can keep 100 percent ownership of your company, along with 100 percent of its profits.
  • Interest payments are tax-deductible.

Cons:

    • You must be completely confident you can make your loan payments in cash each month. If you don’t, lenders can make you sell your business in order to get their money back.
    • Interest payments can become one of your largest business expenses.
  • Commercial lenders will demand small business owners to personally guarantee the loan and offer personal assets as collateral. This even if your company is structured as a corporation or limited liability company, according to Forbes.

Convertible Debt


A convertible debt small business financing structure is a mix of debt and equity financing. The money raised is considered a loan, but at some future date, the loan can convert to equity if the lenders so choose.

How It Works:

    • You will negotiate an interest rate to pay back the loan. This will also be the interest rate for those lenders who decide not to convert any debt into stock.
    • The details concerning how lenders can convert the debt into equity are negotiated at the time of the loan. For the most part, that means agreeing to give lenders a discount or warrant on an upcoming round of equity fundraising.
  • You will also set the valuation cap, or maximum company valuation, at which lenders can convert debt into equity. If investors decide not to trade in their loan for shares at this predetermined valuation level, they can no longer do so at a future date.

Pros:

    • Transaction costs are low and the process moves quickly.
    • If you don’t want to set a company valuation, which involves a lot of uncertainty and risks for new startups, a convertible debt structure for small business financing makes a lot of sense, according to Covestor CEO Asheesh Advani.
  • Using convertible debt protects investors from dilution in future financing rounds.

Cons:

    • Investors are uneasy about giving money without knowing the exact share of a company they will own. You might have to offer steep discounts on equity in order to get them to agree to the terms.
  • You may be forced to set a valuation before you are ready in order to avoid unaffordable loan repayment expenses.

In the end, it’s best you make your final choice, based on which of the mentioned options works best for you, not just now, but in the immediate future.

Read more: about other investment methods.

This article was originally Written by Alex Liu and published on UpCounsel

UpCounsel is an interactive online service that makes it faster and easier for businesses to find and hire legal help solely based on their preferences.