What does the future of business banking look like?

What does the future of business banking look like?

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Everything you need to know about business banking trends and how they’ll impact you in 2022.

Whether it’s innovation in tech, a new digital solution or a banking service, SMEs are typically underserved. That’s changing. With the rise of fintechs revolutionising the consumer space, it’s only a matter of time before businesses benefit – and it couldn’t come sooner. Let’s be honest, how easy is it to apply for funding from your current bank and how efficient are they at providing cutting-edge payment solutions?

With disruption finally happening in the SME space, the future of business banking is taking shape. Here are 2022’s top three business banking trends that’ll help future-proof your business: 

  1. Digitisatalisation  
  2. Real-time data
  3. Turning to Fintechs for small businesses lending 

Digitalisation

As an SME, you’re kept busy and unless you have a team of accountants on hand, you need tailored tools like cash flow management solutions and integrated bookkeeping services to make managing your finances easier. You could also do with a lot more transparency when it comes to your credit history. That’s where the digitalisation of business banking is changing the game by making these value-adds not just accessible but a table stake. And cash flow management isn’t the only thing banks and fintechs are revolutionising. Easy online account opening and self-service is streamlining business account management, swapping tedious queues with DIY efficiency to reduce the time you spend waiting and the weight on customer support. Here’s a recap:

  • Bank accounts are moving towards a quick and easy online opening;  
  • 24 hours access to banking with self-service functionalities;  
  • Enhanced security with tools like two-factor authentication;
  • Simplified payments for recurring bills and payroll, categorisation of expenses for ease of tracking. 

 

Real-time data 

Business banking is being enhanced by real-time data analytics and this is a trend that’ll continue to grow. With big data and artificial intelligence in the mix, banks and fintechs will be able to perform intuitive analysis during transactions to get greater customer insights. Great for them, but what does it mean for you? Think, improved loan rates and faster credit scoring. In short, faster more affordable access to funds.

And they’re not stopping there. Further financial technology set to enter the mainstream includes financial aggregation platforms. Whether you have an established business or a start-up, these are beneficial because they combine account data from different sources into a single real-time view. Meaning, you can link your accounting software like SAGE or Xero to your existing business bank accounts and track and manage your entire cash flow in one place.

 

 

Related: The Guide to 2022’s Most Important Trends for SMEs

 

Turning to fintechs for small business lending 

 

Emerging fintech lenders are changing the landscape of business banking, helping SMEs who were once declined due to creditworthiness. As innovation optimises the borrowing experience and access to data results in better business decisions, fintechs are stepping in and offering tailored financial services. Yesterday, the world consisted of stringent credit history assessments. Today, it’s more about assessing your actual business performance. Added to that, funding applications are increasingly digital with a big emphasis on ease made possible with functionality like linking accounts as a way to share transaction history. 



Essentially, the future of business lending is looking very bright. Finally. Considering the contribution of SMEs to our economy, it’s crucial that they – that’s you – get the support you need to succeed. And with technology switching things up and fintechs closing the gaps, you can expect more streamlined services that’ll help simplify the way you manage your finances, so you can run your business better.

 

How to secure business funding

How to secure business funding

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Getting funding for your business may seem like a scary task. Where do you start? How much do you need? How will you repay? 

The good news is, it’s easier than you may think. But, before we get into the good stuff, let’s debunk some common small business funding myths.

  1. Venture capital is a growing opportunity for funding businesses

Actually, this isn’t the case. It’s still very rare, especially in the South African market. When most people say ‘venture capital’, they really mean outside investors.

  1. Traditional bank loans are the best option for funding a new business

Most traditional banks don’t fund startups & this is due to the ‘high risk’ involved. You would need some sort of self-acquired capital before you can approach a bank.

  1. Business plans will land you investors

A great business plan won’t automatically attract viable investors. You would still need to have a strong team in place to have made progress, and better yet; traction – for example, paying customers.

It should come as no surprise that one of the biggest challenges small businesses face is securing funds to grow their business and take on new opportunities. 

But, luckily in 2022, there’s been an increase in funding choices for entrepreneurs. So let’s take a look at how you can access business funding. 

Be intentional with the type of funding you need

Before you can secure funding, you need to know what you need the finances for. Is it to pay a bill? Update your business systems? Or pay salaries and wages? Once you’ve figured out the purpose of the funding, you’ll be able to answer an important question; is it short-term or long-term funding?

Determining the purpose of your funding will save you time during the application process. Knowing exactly what you’ll be using the funds for also helps you to manage your cash flow better. 

 

Related: 5 Reasons why access to business funding is important

 

Keep it local

When you keep things simple, you’re more likely to find a faster solution for your problem. The same goes for funding. Your South African business should be funded by a local funder who understands your specific economical needs. 

This way, the regulations are all aligned and the currency is the same. South Africa boasts many organisations and alternative lenders whose core business is to drive SME growth. 

Lulalend offers small businesses the opportunity to access up to R5 million in business funding and 60 days of cost-free capital – what businesses wouldn’t want to benefit from that? 

 

Think outside the box

If you’ve tried bootstrapping, called upon all your friends & family, or maxed out your credit card, now is the time to think outside the box. Looking at alternative lenders is a great way to get the funds you need, and fast. 

The beauty of alternative lending is that their application processes are not as long & paper-heavy as traditional banks. Another plus is that their main objective is assisting your business’s cash flow management. So if you need a quick turnaround, this is the way to go. 

At Lulalend, we offer application outcomes and funds in your bank account within 24 hours. 


Related: The SME Guide to Business Funding

 

While sourcing funds for your business from the right lender may seem like one of the hardest tasks of being a business owner, we know it’s also the most rewarding. That’s why Lulalend is committed to helping businesses access fast, hassle-free funding online so that you can get back.

 

 

3 Tips for SMEs on filing their business taxes

3 Tips for SMEs on filing their business taxes

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Filing business taxes can be a time-consuming task. With the tax season underway, we have some advice on how you can get your information in order and get ready to file.

With SMEs gearing up to recover from the economic blow brought on by Covid strains and strict lockdown measures, it’s important to get tax filing right to avoid penalties and possibly save money. While it’s not always easy to stay compliant, SARS has tried to digitise most of its services. Allowing businesses to file online through eFiling, make internet bank transfers, review their tax status and pay SARS online for free and at any time. 

 

Streamline your tax filing with these top tips:

  • Work with professionals
  • Lean on technology
  • Become tax-efficient


Work with professionals

Trying to save money by submitting your own tax returns might sound like a good idea at first, but remember that there are trained professionals who better understand the ins and outs. Rely on them so that you can focus on what you do best (and love the most) which is running your business. In many instances, they’re able to help you save on more than you had initially considered, by noticing where you can get valuable refunds. Doing your taxes yourself can lead to costly financial mistakes that can be avoided when commissioning an accountant or tax consultant.

Bring in a professional as early as possible for timely submission and be sure that your registered details are correct with SARS. Incorrect details can lead to unnecessary penalties.

 

Related: Tips for the 2020/2021 tax season

 

Lean on technology  

Digital developments are continuously changing the game. Automate processes by using the right technology to minimise the stress of tax submissions. Invest in a cloud accounting platform SAGE or XERO to manage and see your finances in real-time and to collaborate with your accountant throughout the year. New technologies make the manual process quick and simple for small firms.

 

Become tax-efficient  

Having well-rounded knowledge of your tax risks gives you the opportunity to understand the tax implications of daily transactions. For instance, managing cash flow to accommodate taxes payable throughout the financial year can help you avoid penalties, interest, and other unexpected consequences along the way.

Other advantages of becoming tax efficient include knowing which exemptions your business qualifies for from SARS, depending on the size and annual turnover. 

 

 

 

Related: Tax Tips for SMEs from a professional tax consultant

 

Continuously monitoring activities and making sure that tax is paid regularly while ensuring that returns are filed on time, helps business owners avoid fines from SARS.

This year, we’re aiming to make your money matters as simple as possible. Keep up with our latest cash flow series in collaboration with Dough Getters Accounting on our social media channels. You can ask your burning tax questions and we’ll do our best to deliver the answers you need. Follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook for more.

 

The importance of financial planning for SMEs

The importance of financial planning for SMEs

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A well-thought-out financial plan is crucial for the success of a small business.  It’s a road map, a guideline, and a reminder of what you want to accomplish in the short and long term. It sets out your potential costs and attempts to explore ways to manage them. Having a strong financial plan also puts your business in good standing for potential investors, creditors, and even customers.

This article outlines the following key aspects of financial planning

  1. Helps you manage your cash flow
  2. Identifies good & bad business trends
  3. Helps you measure your businesses growth

 

Helps you manage your cash flow

The income of most businesses tends to vary from season to season. A good financial plan accounts for these highs and lows so that there are no shortages in the long run. Having a cash cushion ensures that your business can weather a bad season and still come out on top. Tax planning, careful cash flow spending, and budgeting and forecasting can all result from thorough financial planning.

 

Related: Does Alternative Lending Make Sense as a Cashflow Management Tool for Your Business?

 

 

Identifies good and bad business trends 

The decisions made by a small business owner can have both positive and negative consequences. A good financial plan can identify positive and negative trends that could have simply gotten lost in a sea of numbers. This will allow you to better allocate funds to areas that are profitable for your business and avoid spending that is ineffective.
Financial planning can also assist you in prioritizing your expenditures. Conserving financial resources is essential in small businesses. A well-thought-out financial plan can help you prioritize which areas require immediate funding and which can wait until you have a better season.

 

Related: 4 Ways to improve your business’s cashflow

 

Helps you measure your business growth

Overall, the financial plan is there to help you track your progress. How did your season go? What steps have you taken to reach your objectives? When a small business owner is knee-deep in the day-to-day operations of running their business, it is easy to lose sight of the strides they have made to grow their small business. The financial plan allows the small business owner to see exactly what is going on by reviewing and analyzing the hard data.
In short, if a small business owner wants to be successful for years to come, they must have a meticulous business plan that is updated on a regular basis.

 

 

Apply for Bridging Finance with Lulalend

We have solutions that offer your business a cash flow boost when you need access to funds sooner rather than later. We offer bridging finance that is unsecured, and easily accessible within 24 hours. We also offer the option to settle early without having to worry about penalty fees.

 

4 Useful tips for planning your 2022 marketing content

4 Useful tips for planning your 2022 marketing content

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Content marketing plays an important role in the business marketing mix. Major changes in consumers’ behaviour and needs for information, thanks to the pandemic, have catapulted content marketing trends and opportunities. In the past, content marketing revolved around using the right platforms for promotion, creating ads and collecting data.

In 2022, it will be about creating an effective brand through compelling storytelling and measuring the success of that story by not only collecting, but analysing data as well. With compelling findings from the Search Engine Journal we’ve rounded up 4 trends to incorporate into your plan to enhance your content strategy next year. 

  1. Understanding consumer intent 
  2. Data driven content planning 
  3. Balancing authentic storytelling with automation
  4. Strategic content formats 

 

Understanding consumer intent 

Get to know the intent behind your consumers’ searches. Understanding what people are searching for and why is essential in planning and crafting content that speaks directly to their needs. Being hyper-focused on just keywords and their performance may not be as prevalent in 2022 as in 2021. In 2022 the importance will be put on connecting with your audience in a more meaningful way. 

 

Tips on how to approach this are: 

  • Tapping into real-time search insights to understand what motivates your prospects.
  • Working through your customer’s journey for content gaps. 
  • Using keywords and data to inform content that better meets each searcher’s intent.

 

 

 

Data driven content planning 

There are currently more touch-points and interactions online than marketers can track and analyse on their own. Try not to aim for a perfect content strategy by the beginning of the year. Rather design your strategy to include people, processes, and tools that analyse and incorporate data to inform content throughout the year.

If you don’t have data-driven creatives in-house or as freelancers yet, start working on either up-skilling employees or outsourcing specialists to get the job done.

 

 

Balancing authentic storytelling with automation

Automation in content and SEO has been a big trend in 2021 and will continue growing in 2022. But, creativity and human connection are still the most important factors of content. Try to capitalise on the intelligence and efficiency of machine learning and AI without sacrificing emotive connections with your audience. Machines are important for data analysis from various touch-points and once it’s been collected, creating well crafted stories from these insights needs a real human touch.  

 

 

Related: The Guide to 2022’s Most Important Trends for SMEs

 

 

Strategic content formats 

Voice, video, and visuals via mobile & social will continue to be a big trend! Establish which ones will be the best mix for presenting your information to your audience. In 2022, challenge your team to think about how your stories and information are being presented.

Could your stories be more compelling as video? Or could a podcast better work for your audience? Research your consumers’ online behaviour, observe your competitors and get insights on your industry trends, then see which content formats are trending and meet your audience there. 

On mobile and across social channels, consumers are craving interactive, short form, entertaining content. Be the brand that meets them there. 

 

 

Related: 5 Ways to prepare your business for festive season sales

 

 

Apply for Bridging Finance with Lulalend

We have solutions that offer your business a cash flow boost when you need access to funds sooner rather than later. We offer bridging finance that is unsecured, and easily accessible within 24 hours. We also offer the option to settle early without having to worry about penalty fees.

 

5 Ways to prepare your business for festive season sales

5 Ways to prepare your business for festive season sales

Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

The festive season is synonymous with an increase in shopping behaviour and the best way to leverage on all the activity is to be prepared. Even with specials and promotions from other businesses creating tough competition, you can give your business an edge with early preparation. Below we share tips to help you get the most out of the festive season peak.

Strategise Early
Planning Your Product Offering
Marketing and Promotion
Securing enough Capital
Leveraging Omnichannel Customer Experiences

 

Strategise Early 

The festive season is filled up with many public holidays. From as early as Black Friday, the opportunity for high sales volumes begins. To add to this many retailers start their Christmas promotions from late October into early November.

It’s vital that you factor these, and other seasonal occurrences, into your plan so that you aren’t caught out. The earlier you do this the more time you have to develop specific actions and align your resources to ensure you take full advantage of the opportunities that will inevitably arise.

 

Planning Your Product Offering

Just because it is a busy shopping time of the year it doesn’t mean that all your products or services will be a hit. Thorough research of your audiences’ requirements, challenges and price points is required to understand the products you should prioritise at this particular time of year. Don’t forget to use the learnings from previous years to help plan your product range.  

 

 

Marketing and Promotion 

Once you’ve established your plan of action and agreed on the products or services you’ll be focusing on, you can start your marketing and promotional activities. Create enticing offers (not necessarily always discounts) for your customers as often as possible. During the festive season consumer attention is contested for by many businesses so you want to ensure that you stay top of mind.

Choose a mix of marketing channels that best suits your audience and reach out to them in the best way possible. Consider which of the following work best and get creative:

Social media,
– Email
– Search Engine Marketing tactics, as well as
– Traditional offline advertising eg: radio/television, newspapers, and direct mail. 

 

Securing enough Capital 

During the festive season you may need to have more funds readily available to increase inventory, hire more staff or set up promotions and holiday displays. If you don’t have sufficient cash on hand to give the season your best shot, talk to a trusted lender about securing a line of credit or short-term business loan. Lulalend, for instance, offers access to working capital with quick turnaround times, flexible repayment terms and no collateral.

 

 

Related: The SME Guide to Managing Business Finances over the Festive Season

 

Leveraging Omnichannel Customer Experiences    

If you can’t beat them, join them! That’s truly the long and short of digital retail trends. Omnichannel retailing only increases during the festive season. This is driven by people wanting to avoid long queues, needing to receive items at short notice or even having to adapt when load-shedding strikes.

With these factors in mind, having an integrated approach that offers a seamless shopping experience for consumers regardless of whether they are shopping from a desktop, mobile device or physical store is a great advantage. For example, customers might buy online and want to collect in-store later that same day rather than wait 2-3 days for home delivery. You ideally want to have a solution that can cater for all of these moving parts.

The festive season can be a stressful time for a small business, especially with pandemic-related issues still lurking, and load-shedding slowing productivity down.  But with enough planning and preparation, you can make it a truly profitable period for your business.

 

Related: The SME Guide to Understanding your Financial Health 

 

Apply for Bridging Finance with Lulalend

We have solutions that offer your business a cash flow boost when you need access to funds sooner rather than later. We offer bridging finance that is unsecured, and easily accessible within 24 hours. We also offer the option to settle early without having to worry about penalty fees.