Did you know leasing equipment can free up your cash flows? This means more cash for your day-to-day operations, emergencies, & growth. Read this blog to learn more about why you should consider leasing equipment instead of buying it all at once.
Picture this: You’re a small business-owner looking into purchasing equipment. This equipment, while necessary to better serve your clients, comes with a cringe-worthy price tag.
Odds are, you didn’t have to imagine that scenario because you’ve been there. Maybe you’re there right now. We don’t have to depict the frustration of trying to figure out the financial details. You may have already felt it.
Navigating the world of business finance, especially when it comes to equipment finance, can be tricky. But we’re here to help! Amerifund is your industry expert with resources and guidance to help you navigate this world. After all, there are so many questions to address – “Where do I start? How much will it cost? What are my options?”
We’re your industry experts with resources and guidance to help you navigate the business finance world.
So what are your options?
Let’s start with an equipment lease, which is essentially an agreement to a long-term equipment rental period. We’ve outlined a few benefits of equipment leasing below.
Why Lease Equipment?
When you enter into a lease agreement with a lender, your monthly payments are fixed. So you can budget your payments and pay for your equipment while you’re earning income from them.
Whether you’re spreading payments over 2 or 5 years, you know your monthly payment, and you can therefore properly budget. Budgeting on the front end frees you up. Now you can allocate your business funds as you see fit throughout the duration of the lease.
Budgeting on the front end with equipment leasing frees you up.
PRESERVE YOUR CREDIT LINES
As a growing business owner, your company’s credit lines are valuable resources worthy of protection and preservation.
Your company’s credit lines are valuable resources worthy of protection and preservation.
Purchasing a high-dollar piece of equipment with your credit leaves you very little wiggle room. Opportunities may come up for business growth, unexpected expenses, emergencies, or other financial needs.
Leasing, however, allows you to accommodate for equipment costs via manageable monthly payments. With a lease, you can preserve your credit for other uses.
EXPLORE A WIDE VARIETY OF LEASING OPTIONS
Your business is unique, and so are your financial needs! Fortunately, there are unique leasing and finance options to fit your business’s needs. This is where it’s important to choose an experienced, hard-working and honest finance expert to handle your equipment financing.
Your business is unique, and so are your financial needs!
Your representative will be your lifeline, helping you discover the best options for you and your business. They will also help you get creative to find the best possible solutions to help you reach your business goals.
It’s important to choose a trustworthy company with a good track record to put you and your company first. Your ideal finance representative will be committed to finding creative solutions for your financial needs.
It’s important to choose a trustworthy company to put you and your company first.
At Amerifund, we’re committed to you. We go the extra mile to secure funding for your business and help you reach your goals.
We hope you learned more about equipment leasing from this article. If you have additional questions about equipment leasing and alternative financial solutions, we’re here for you!
If you have additional questions about equipment leasing and alternative financial solutions, we’re here for you!
Amerifund is here to partner with you. We want to provide you with all the information you need to make the right choices for your growing business.
Be sure to subscribe to our blog for future articles on various business topics. Read on about the benefits of equipment finance agreements or improving your business credit. And always feel free to call us to secure funding for your business!
So, you want to start a business. Maybe you’ve recently come up with a world-changing idea that you’re excited to see flourish. Or maybe you’ve been thinking about starting a business for years, but haven’t quite figured out where to start. Whether you’ve been planning for years or hours, we’ve got the perfect checklist to get your business up and running.
Map it Out
RESEARCH THE MARKET
Before you move forward with starting your business, you first need to conduct market research. Study your client demographic, figure out their wants and needs. Analyze the demand for your product or service. And research your competition to determine the best ways to prepare your business for success. Ask yourself questions to determine business viability.
MAKE A BUSINESS PLAN
Writing out a traditional business plan takes time and effort, but is well worth it. Build a detailed foundation before putting your start-up into play. It can also be helpful in obtaining partners or investors before your business is up and running.
It is well worth it to build a detailed foundation before putting it into play.
While it’s not necessary for you to stick to an exact outline, most traditional business plans include the following: executive summary, company description, market analysis (completed above), organizational structure, financial projections, and other supporting documents.
If you’re short on time, you may consider writing a lean business plan, featuring only the key information. This would include partnerships, activities, resources, company values, customer relationships, target market, channels, cost structure and revenue streams.
Organize Your Business
NAME YOUR BUSINESS
With everything ahead of you, naming your business may be the last thing on your mind, but it’s important.
Your name is one of the first things clients will use to identify you. But it’s also what you’ll use to register with local, state, and sometimes federal agencies. No matter where you file for registration, you can search and ensure that your chosen business name is available. Access your Secretary of State’s website here to make sure your name is available.
You can search and ensure your business name is available.
OBTAIN A BUSINESS DOMAIN
Now that you’ve settled on a name, it’s time to get a matching domain. This will be your website name.
A professional, relevant domain name will help both your website & email convey a trustworthy first impression to potential clients. You can obtain a domain name from a domain name registrar, such as GoDaddy, Google Domains or Bluehost.
DEVELOP A LEGAL STRUCTURE
Deciding your business structure is probably one of the most important decisions you will make regarding your business. This will affect how you pay taxes, your personal liability, and your organization’s ability to raise money.
You can organize your business as a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, S-corporation, or limited liability company. Each business structure has its own benefits and drawbacks, so be sure to do your research.
Each business structure has its own benefits and drawbacks, so be sure to do your research.
APPLY FOR AN EIN OR BUSINESS LICENSE – IF NECESSARY
Depending on your business structure, location & industry, you may need to obtain either an Employer Identification Number (EIN) or a license to conduct business.
An EIN is important to open a business bank account or incorporate your business. And it can be obtained for free from the IRS. Your city or state may require that you also obtain a business license in order to conduct business for your industry. Check with your local government’s business laws to identify whether or not you need one for your business.
An EIN is important to open a business bank account or incorporate your business. And it can be obtained for free from the IRS.
DEVELOP YOUR BRAND IMAGE
Make it easy for potential clients to find your business and familiarize themselves with your brand.
A brand image includes your logo, website, social media, business cards and beyond.
Start by designing or hiring a graphic designer to develop a logo that will define your brand’s visual identity. Although your website and social media profiles don’t have to be fully developed right away, having an online presence gives your company credibility in a digitally-based society. The sooner they’re set up, the easier it’ll be to market later.
Having an online presence gives your company credibility in a digitally-based society.
Get the Essentials in Place
SET UP YOUR SPACE
Whether you’re working from home or from a rented commercial space, set up your space to conduct business.
If you are looking to rent, start searching for the perfect space that capitalizes on low rent and ideal placement. You may want to look into other business essentials to set yourself up for success. Having a clean, fully prepared work space can boost your productivity and success.
OPEN A BUSINESS BANK ACCOUNT
While it may be easier at first to use your personal bank account, it becomes a hassle down the road. The sooner you open your business bank account, the easier growth will be.
Separate business accounts also provide legal benefits such as personal liability protection. They also provide emergency lines of credit and credit lines to build your business credit history.
Separate accounts provide legal benefits such as personal liability protection.
SET UP YOUR BUSINESS PHONE & EMAIL
While you can conduct business via a personal phone and email address, it doesn’t mean you should.
Having a business phone number can help separate your personal and work life. If you like to work on-the-go, no worries! You can forward calls made to your business line to your personal device. Additionally, setting up a business email allows you to conduct professional correspondence with your customers. Don’t worry about this one either – much like your phone calls, you can also forward to your personal account if you wish.
PURCHASE BUSINESS EQUIPMENT
Whether it’s furniture for your office, an espresso machine for your coffee shop, or a skid-steer loader for your landscaping company, in many cases you will need to purchase equipment before you can conduct business. While this equipment can be quite costly, financial experts like Amerifund make it easy. We can help you obtain funding for your start-up’s equipment needs! Click here for 5 tips to a quick and easy funding.
Build Your Team
DEVELOP OWNER ROLES
Developing co-owner or shareholder roles before you hit the ground running helps keep communication clear as your business grows. Define leadership’s responsibilities so everyone has a clear understanding of expectations. This structure will also help define a clear communication structure while starting your business.
Developing co-owner or shareholder roles before you hit the ground running helps keep communication clear as your business grows.
If your business requires an extra hand or two to get things moving, be sure to hire some help.
Don’t try to do everything by yourself. Trying to be “Superman” or “Wonder Woman” and doing everything can leave you exhausted & unable to think big picture. By bringing on full or part-time employees, or freelancers, you can focus on long-term success.
HIRE SALES & MARKETING
Once you develop effective sales & marketing teams, you create room to breathe as a business owner. You’d be amazed at how much this can free you up to grow your business. Delegate day-to-day roles to your staff so you can run your business to the best of your ability!
We hope this was helpful and gave you a roadmap to getting your business ready for takeoff. With big dreams and passion anything is possible. You’ve got this and we’re always in your corner!
Equipment financing should be quick and easy. You’re growing and you want to see your dreams become reality. Our team wants to give you the best financing experience! The most important factor in a quick and smooth funding is the people you work with. Amerifund places YOU first – prioritizing prompt and reliable service.
Amerifund’s account managers will make your funding a breeze. Here are 5 tips to prepare you for a quick and easy funding:
1. Provide Detailed Up-Front Information
When filling out your application, be sure to provide as much detail as you can. These details will help your account manager understand your financial situation and equipment dream. With detailed information, they will be your best partner and be able to get investors on your side too.
With detailed information, your account manager will be your best partner and be able to get investors on your side too.
Are you purchasing your equipment from a dealer or private party? Does your business run from your residential address? Be sure to fill us in on those types of details.
Amerifund’s account managers are committed to processing your application promptly (~2 hours after submission). The more up-front detail will massively cut down time spent asking you for additional information.
The more up-front detail you provide will massively cut down funding time.
2. Be Readily Available for Contact
As the owner of a growing business, you’re busy – we hear you. Each workday likely consists of you getting pulled in several directions, with various projects vying for your attention. In these sometimes overwhelming, exhilarating moments with non-stop activity, items can fall through the cracks.
Your Amerifund representative is here to push your funding along as quickly as possible, and there are moments when the ball will fall into your court.
To push the deal down the field and into the end zone quickly, be prepared to answer calls or emails from your account manager, and we’ll do all the heavy lifting.
Be prepared to answer calls or emails from your account manager, and we’ll do all the heavy lifting.
While we’d like every funding process to be smooth and easy, sometimes creativity & flexibility must enter the mix. With over 65 years providing exceptional service through a multitude of circumstances, we’ve seen a thing or two. We’ve customized creative solutions to get you a better deal.
If challenges present themselves, there’s no need to worry. We’re your partners, and we’re on your side.
We’re your partners, and we’re on your side.
The best way to help us help you, is for you to be flexible. As we work together, we’re working to find the best strategic and creative solutions. Whether it’s finding a guarantor to co-sign or a new investor from Amerifund’s sources, we’re a team. We are committed to you, and we ask that you’d be flexible.
4. Mark Your Calendar
As the owner of a growing business, you likely know the importance of deadlines.
Whether you memorize dates, use sticky notes, or keep a detailed planner, you must take careful note of your funding dates. It’s critical that you are aware of your equipment finance transaction’s due dates. We will send you deadlines; write them down in a convenient space for easy access. When we’re on the same page, we can get you funded even faster!
We will send you deadlines; write them down in a convenient space for easy access.
5. Ask Questions
The financial industry can be a bit tricky to understand. You’re running a business and probably don’t have time to understand the nitty gritty of financing. We get it. That’s why we’re here, and it’s why we’re your partners.
If you have questions as to why we are taking certain steps in your funding process, feel free to ask us. We’ll be happy to provide insight and understanding for you and your unique situation. We want you to be 100% confident in your funding.
We’re here to partner with you. We want you to be 100% confident in your funding.
We are committed to helping you understand, learn, and expand your knowledge on what we do. Our goal is to help you grow your business. Repeat clients find the second or third funding with Amerifund a breeze because we work to make you 100% confident every time.
Today we’re diving into business credit. While it’s important to have good personal credit, it’s also imperative to have good business credit. Business credit is especially important when applying for a business loan or lease.
Business credit may be the deciding factor to receive top-notch rates, premiums, or payment terms. It can even determine whether or not you qualify for a loan or lease in the first place. Here are a few tips to ensure your business credit score reflects the potential of your growing business.
1. Maintain Records with All 3 Business Credit Bureaus
Unlike personal credit scores, which have a standard FICO calculation, business credit scores are determined differently by each credit bureau.
Lending companies may utilize a service such as PayNet which pulls business credit from a database of over 25 million small business loans to determine risk and future loan preference.
Additionally, you want to keep on top of your business credit records at Dun & Bradstreet, Experian, and Equifax credit bureaus. Make sure each has your accurate information. Each of these bureaus use a slightly different scoring model for business credit. While you won’t know which report a lender will choose to pull, you can keep track of your records. If your business pays its bills on time, you will improve your score over time.
Business credit scores are determined differently by each credit bureau.
Maintain your records by providing these credit bureaus with your updated information, such as a change in business address. By keeping up with all 3 credit bureaus, you ensure all records accurately reflect your company.
2. Make Your Payments ASAP
Your payment history is important to all three business credit bureaus, despite their unique individual score calculations. It’s important to pay these bills as soon as you’re able to. This will help positively impact your business credit score.
In fact, some scores even offer incentives to pay bills early. For example, you can only achieve a perfect 100 Paydex score by making your payments early. Your payments are also weighed by dollar amount – the higher the payment, the heavier its weight on your score. This means that a late payment on a high bill will affect your score more than an early payment on a low bill. So keep an eye on your due dates to ensure that your score remains optimal!
Payments are weighed by dollar amount – the higher the payment, the heavier its weight on your score.
3. Open Tradeline Accounts
To calculate your score, business credit bureaus need to collect data on your payment history with vendors. This can include office supply stores, small business credit cards, and small business loans.
Though it takes time to establish, you’ll get a higher score with an extensive credit history showing on-time payments. Then your score will better reflect your ability to make timely payments on business bills. And this helps assure lenders that your business holds a low risk for funding. Higher scores can lead to lower interest rates and more convenient payment terms for you and your business.
Though it takes time to establish, an extensive credit history showing on-time payments increases your credit score.
While building business credit takes time and meticulous effort, the advantage is worth it. Your credit score reflects how well your business handles money, and there are plenty of benefits to be reaped!
Does your stomach drop when you hear the word taxes? If so, you are not alone. Business owners all over the US have experienced anxiety often induced by tax time. However, with preparation and insight on helpful deductions, tax season can actually come and go in a breeze. (Yes, it’s possible!) Below are our top 9 ways small business owners can capitalize on tax savings:
1. Deduct Self-Employment Tax
Running your own business has some huge benefits, as we’re sure you’ve realized. However, when you’re self-employed, you don’t have an employer to share the cost of Social Security or Medicare taxes.
So regarding these extra costs, the IRS allows for a deduction of 50% of your self-employment tax as compensation. Be sure to take advantage of this allowance when filing your taxes.
The IRS allows you to deduct 50% of your self-employment tax.
2. Capitalize on Vehicle Expense Deductions
Do you use your personal vehicle for business purposes? If so, you likely qualify for a significant deduction. The IRS Publication 463 gives specifics on how to track your business, commuting and personal miles.
By tracking your miles and the business purposes, you can deduct your business auto expenses at a standard mileage rate. (This rate varies year-to-year, and is currently 56 cents per mile in 2021.)
You can deduct 56 cents per mile for business-related car travel.
Another option is to deduct the actual expenses of driving your vehicle for business. With this route, you must track mileage as well as gas, oil and service expenses. Additionally, you want to track any interest on a vehicle loan, depreciation, lease payments, and insurance costs. This may be a better option for vehicles you only use for work purposes.
Either route, by tracking your mileage, you can have large tax deductions.
3. Implement Accountable Plans for Employee Reimbursement
Reimbursement can be costly if reported as employee income. If your company reimburses its employees for travel, lodging, tools, etc., you may want to look into an accountable plan. These accountable plans handle reimbursements according to IRS Publication 463 requirements.
Accountable plans allow businesses to deduct employee expenses without reporting reimbursements as employee income.
Accountable plans allow businesses to deduct employee expenses without reporting reimbursements as employee income. This tracking method opens the door to potential employment tax savings.
4. Consider Deducting Business Insurance Expenses
Using IRS form 1040 for deductions, you can opt to deduct your yearly business insurance expenses. Liability insurance, worker’s compensation, commercial auto and business interruption service insurance are a few of the deductible coverage costs. Again, by carefully tracking your expenses, you can save with tax deductions.
5. Deduct Phone and Internet Service Fees
Small business communication services can be costly. But by staying organized, you can save your business thousands in deductions. You can deduct internet fees, malware defense, phone service, and services that keep your computers running efficiently.
By staying organized, you can save your business thousands in deductions.
So look into your communication expenses. For example with phone service – if you use a separate phone strictly for business use, you can take a full deduction. If you use a personal phone, keep an itemized monthly bill, then separate and deduct business expenses.
Especially with our world pivoting to subscriptions from Netflix to malware, take a close look & analyze for deductions.
6. Work from Home
Having a home office has more advantages than working in sweatpants – although that’s nice too. After sitting on countless Zoom calls, we all have a new appreciation for remote work.
When working from home, you can deduct housing expenses like they are office expenses. These are available to renters and homeowners alike. In addition to communication fees mentioned above, you can also deduct utility, equipment, space, security and other miscellaneous costs.
When working from home, you can deduct housing expenses like they are office expenses.
If you have a dedicated office space, deductions are based on the percentage of your home devoted to business use. So, if your office takes up 15% of your home, you can deduct 15% or your monthly rent/mortgage, electricity, gas, security system, etc. The IRS offers resources to get you started on Home Office Deductions here.
7. Deduct Lunch Meetings
This might be one of our favorite tax breaks.
If you have business lunches, you can deduct up to 50% of meal costs (so long as the meal prices are reasonable). Maybe skip the surf ‘n’ turf, but this is great news! These deductions can really add up when you reach the end of the year. Especially if you take employees or clients out to meetings, this is a great deduction to know about.
When talking business meals, you can deduct up to 50% of meal costs.
Now you can feel good & treat your employees to lunch to celebrate or after a difficult week.
8. Budget Your Frequent Flyer Points
When traveling for business, you can rack up airline miles pretty quickly. While it can be tempting to use these points for business flights, budget your points for personal travel costs. You have no tax break for personal travel costs, but business travel costs are fully deductible as business expenses.
Business travel costs are fully deductible as business expenses.
By utilizing your miles for personal savings, you’re also capitalizing on overall savings for business trips. With this method you’ll have a greater amount of annual savings.
9. Deduct 100% of Equipment Purchases
Why deduct small amounts year-by-year and watch your deductions shrink as your equipment depreciates when you can deduct up to $1,000,000 of the total cost at once? Or a maximum cap on equipment purchase of $2,590,000?
Section 179 allows business owners to purchase & use equipment while deducting the total equipment cost, before the item depreciates. Business owners across the country choose to capitalize on Section 179 and save thousands in taxes when they do so!
Section 179 allows business owners to purchase & use equipment while deducting the total equipment cost.
This is a great tool, especially if you’re in need of extra equipment and you have excess end of year cash reserves. If this sounds like you, read our quick guide on Section 179 and how your business can benefit.
Between new tablets, VR, AR, and Zoom calls, Americans are practically swimming in new technology. Advancements are getting faster every day. So, what does this mean for business owners? You have more tools to help your small businesses thrive! From automating key work processes to hosting data, we’ve listed our favorites below. Here are our top 5 technologies to implement in your small business:
If you work with lots of clients, a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool is a game changer. A CRM acts as your personal database, tracking critical information about your contacts. Then, by processing the information, your CRM allows you to assess and organize each of your relationships.
A CRM acts as your personal database, tracking critical information about your contacts.
A CRM will streamline both your inbound and outbound logistics. By streamlining contact information, A CRM can help your sales, marketing and administration departments operate smoothly.
Companies like Salesforce, Zoho and Hubspot offer their CRM software online, so you can access your leads – anytime, anywhere.
Online Team Communication Apps
Gone are the days of yelling office-to-office, crowding the water cooler (wait, what’s that?), and sending unnecessary emails. Now, more than ever, small businesses can compete with the ‘big dogs’ thanks to this tech!
Now, more than ever, small businesses can compete with the ‘big dogs’ thanks to this tech!
Team communication apps are taking the business world by storm, and for good reason. These apps keep all your team communication online. Apps like Slack, Microsoft Teams, and more streamline employee discussions. They even organize them by team, project, or subject. Talk about a huge time & stress saver!
Need to send an all-staff update, ask just your marketing department a question, or speak with a specific teammate? You can assign corresponding channels for each.
Additionally, these apps allow you to easily find information shared between you and your teammates.
These apps allow you to easily find information shared between you and your teammates.
The best apps even integrate with your favorite productivity apps. For example, Slack can integrate with everything from Workday to Google Drive. This way, you can easily access all your files online. And most of these apps are available both desktop & mobile, allowing you to work whenever, wherever.
Project Management Software
When you’re running a small business, you’ve got a lot on your plate. With projects spanning your company’s capabilities, trying to keep track of all projects can be overwhelming. Enter, project management software.
Apps like Asana, Basecamp, and Microsoft Projects help businesses schedule, track, and collaborate on projects.
Project management software allows managers to break down projects & easily delegate. These apps make delegating specific tasks, details, and deadlines easy! Communicating about projects has never been faster or easier!
With data exponentially expanding, more and more businesses are opting to store their data in the cloud. Remember those office servers? Now you don’t have to keep your servers on site, and it can be more secure and less expensive to do so.
Cloud-based storage offers a number of perks, namely the ability to access your files at any time. Services such as OneDrive, Google Drive, Box and Dropbox offer both desktop and mobile access. This allows you and your coworkers to collaborate on files and projects even when you’re not physically together.
Cloud storage services are also scalable, perfect for a small business! You can just pay for the storage you need. When storing your data in the cloud, you increase security while cutting down on hardware costs. These cloud services have added benefits of enterprise-level security and unlimited data backup. Great right!
When storing your data in the cloud, you increase security while cutting down on hardware costs.
Mobile Point-Of-Sale Systems
Mobile Point-of Sale (POS) systems are a game-changer for small businesses! With the ease of an app and small addition to your phone, you can set-up shop anywhere!
Apps like Square, Vend and Shopkeep have become increasingly popular for restaurant and retail businesses over the past few years. Mobile POS systems have made sales much easier for businesses across the nation.
Most mobile POS systems allow options for paperless receipts, where customers can opt to receive their receipts via text or email. While saving the environment, you can integrate your CRM with updated information for invaluable strategic marketing.
While saving the environment, you can integrate your CRM with updated information for invaluable strategic marketing.
In our increasing technological world, small businesses are able to compete with the “big dogs” thanks to new technology. From CRM’s to mobile POS systems, there’s plenty of opportunity for entrepreneurs to learn and grow.
If you want to update your technology, but don’t have the cash flow to support the new equipment or software, Amerifund can help you with equipment financing and working capital.