Fundation Secures $100 Million Credit Facility from Goldman Sachs

Credit Facility Provides Funding for Acceleration of Company’s Growth

 

August 23, 2016 09:45 AM Eastern Daylight Time

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Fundation Group LLC, a leading digitally-enabled lender and credit solutions provider, today announced that it has obtained a $100 million asset-backed credit facility from Goldman Sachs. Fundation will use this credit facility to accelerate its growth by increasing its capacity to extend credit to small businesses across the United States through its various strategic partnerships.

Fundation focuses on developing strategic partnerships with banks, other financial institutions, and various service providers to the small business market. Fundation enables its bank partners to leverage Fundation’s platform to offer an online lending capability to their customers, drive cost efficiencies and serve more customers. Fundation also develops strategic partnerships, delivering capital to small businesses through integrations with partners that serve the small business market in various forms. In the past year, Fundation has announced strategic partnerships with Regions Bank, Alliance Partners, the manager of a 200-member community bank network, and the Minority Business Development Agency, a division of the United States Department of Commerce.

Fundation, majority owned by Garrison Investment Group, retains the vast majority of loans that it originates on its balance sheet. Fundation expects that this commitment, and other similar arrangements, will fund the majority of loan originations going forward.

About Fundation

Fundation Group LLC is a digitally-enabled lender and credit solutions provider. The Company develops integrated small business lending solutions with banks, enabling them to deliver credit online, drive cost efficiency into their lending programs and maximize customer retention by providing a positive customer experience and meeting the needs of the small businesses they serve. The Company also partners with a wide array of organizations that serve the small business market in various capacities to deliver credit products to the business community nationwide. For more information, please visit www.fundation.com.

Contacts

Media:
Fundation
Barry Feierstein
barry.feierstein@fundation.com
571-418-6387
or
Goldman Sachs
Michael DuVally, 212-902-2605


Liquor Stores & Financing

In today’s somewhat shaky economic climate, running a small business can be tricky, though some industries seem to be able to weather even the worst economic depressions—and the liquor industry finds itself at the top of that list. Owning and operating a liquor store can be more stable than other businesses—and for those who are interested in spirits, it can be an extremely enjoyable job. Getting things off the ground can be a challenge, though, and the more you know about liquor store financing, the smoother running that business will be.

Liquor Store Loans

Because liquor stores tend to do well in a variety of economic climates, it’s not uncommon for banks and alternative business lenders to be more willing to lend and provide liquor store loans to those looking to expand an existing store or to open an additional store. Business loans for liquor stores are also attractive to borrowers: they usually allow for quicker funding, lower interest rates, smaller down-payment and long-term amortization.

Finding the right small business lender can be a challenge: you want to get the best terms and conditions possible. For this reason, searching the Internet and compiling a list of lenders that specialize in liquor store financing is essential. and you should never just go with the first lender you come across, without evaluating your options.

How to Make the Most of Liquor Store Financing

Before you apply for a business loan for a liquor store, you need to decide exactly what you will do with the loan proceeds, so consider the uses of proceeds below.

First is inventory, which you should expect to turn over approximately eight to ten times per year. For this reason, it’s important to determine from the start whether you want to “go big” or carve out a niche as a specialty liquor store, which should depend upon the market that you’re serving. This will help you determine how much capital will be needed for inventory financing. Just remember that there’s more to spend money on than simply inventory, so don’t use your entire liquor store loan just to stock the shelves.

Next, you should start thinking about ways in which to get people through your doors. If the space isn’t up to par, renovations may be necessary, which can be quite costly and should always be handled by a professional contractor. Marketing is also essential: this is what will get people to notice your new store. Print and radio ads can be effective, but they’re very expensive. Digital marketing via social media and a local web presence through local SEO is key to spreading awareness, and you can accomplish this with minimal investment.

Liquor Store Funding: The Bottom Line

The payoff for owning and operating a liquor store can be substantial if you play your cards right. It takes a great deal of planning and a lot of hard work to find success. Start by focusing on your financing options and using your money wisely.

Fundation has experience providing funding for those in the beverage industry, including liquor stores. Contact us for more information on conventional, fixed rate term loans that can provide you with the liquor store funding you need to take your small business to the next level.


Why Word-of-Mouth Marketing Will Never Go Out of Style

Word-of-mouth marketing has been around for a very long time. It happens when people who have had positive experiences with a service or product recommend it to others—making word of mouth a relatively hands-off promotion technique.

This simple marketing approach is a significant part of small business success, especially in local communities. And the Internet has provided a new frontier for word-of-mouth marketing through blogs, reviews and social media, increasing the reach of this highly effective form of small business marketing.

What makes word-of-mouth marketing so effective for small businesses?

People trust their friends and family

A 2013 Nielsen study found that 84% of people trust word-of-mouth marketing over any other form. The reason for this is simple: we trust the recommendations of our friends and family, who presumably have our best interests at heart. Since advertisements always portray a company’s product or service as appealing, many consumers are skeptical. However, friends and family or other consumers with no obligation to promote a product or business are more likely to give their honest opinions. Customers who have unexpectedly positive experiences are more likely to share them with others.

Recommendations are personalized and targeted

Not only do people build a business’ word-of-mouth reputation when they recommend it to a friend, but online reviews and blog posts about a small business can be tailored to the customer who best benefits from them, as they’re relevant to their personalized search queries. Many customers use search engines and trusted review websites to check on a brand or small business, and the information they find can influence their decision to spend money on the product or service. A 2011 study by Google found that online sources are a driving force behind word-of-mouth marketing conversations. Whether through social media, blogs or review websites, customers seek recommendations for products or services they are interested in and, in turn, recommend those products and services to people who may share that interest. This word-of-mouth advertising reaches a more targeted group of customers than generalized advertising and is extremely useful for small businesses with a very specific client base.

Companies and customers can connect

Social media, blogs and online reviews open many doors for small businesses. Word-of-mouth marketing is no longer limited to just the customers in the conversation. Companies can now engage with customers on Twitter, Facebook and forums and respond to reviews and feedback from Yelp or independent blogs. Word-of-mouth marketing is influenced by personal relationships and trust. A small business that interacts directly with customers on online platforms makes them feel more connected. Engaging with customers builds trust, and increased trust makes customers more likely to recommend a business through word of mouth.

When it comes to straightforward tactics for small business marketing, promotion by word of mouth is one of the most effective ways to go. However, it takes more than just a reliable product or service to secure a recommendation. While word-of-mouth marketing is much more cost-effective for small businesses than traditional advertising, it still requires a budget to keep up with online reviews and social media chatter, as well as dedicated employees to manage social media accounts, track keywords, and respond to online reviews. Creating a trusted relationship between a company and its customers takes time and devotion but is rewarded in time.

Read more small business marketing tips from Fundation, provider of online small business loans, by visiting our blog.


Small Business Marketing Tips: 5 Easy Ways to Market Your Small Business

The marketing success of a small business depends on its ability to reach the right customers at the right time with the right message. How can you market your small business in a way that captures the most attention?

Here are 5 small business marketing tips to help your company hit the ground running.

Community outreach

The U.S. Small Business Administration suggests joining community organizations and serving on city boards or committees to better connect with the customers your business is serving or could potentially serve. You can host your own networking events or sponsor community events such as charity drives. If you enjoy public speaking, you can volunteer at schools and other organizations or speak on professional panels. Personalized interaction makes a good impression, and your local community is a great place to grow your roots and gain exposure to a friendly audience.

Engage online

Having a website to provide basic information about your company is important; you can drive traffic to your website by engaging with potential customers online. Social media, Q&A sites and forums encourage interaction and allow you to personalize your brand, connecting with your audience and driving potential future sales. Resources like Hootsuite allow you to manage your business’s social media accounts more efficiently, bringing all accounts under one integrated management platform. In addition, sponsored ads and promoted posts on websites like Facebook and Twitter can help you reach a wider audience.

Networking

Attending conferences, panels and meet-and-greets is a great way to get your business name out. These events will enable you to give your pitch in person, building your referral network and putting your business card in the hands of people who can now put a friendly face on your business’s name.

Offer promotions

People are more likely to spend money on a product or service once they are sure that it is useful or worthwhile. Don’t be afraid to give things away free or for a significant discount. Online coupon codes and giveaways through social media are a significant part of customer engagement, and you can also provide special promotions for partners to distribute to their own customers. Discounts can be an incentive for new customers to try out your product, and once they’ve had their first positive experience, they’re more likely to become repeat customers.

Start a newsletter

To keep your business fresh in the mind of your customers, start an online newsletter to email them periodically. The newsletter can introduce new products or services and updates to your business, and it can discuss trends and news that affect your field. You can even include testimonials and reviews from customers. Email marketing is an effective way of keeping customers in the loop, increasing the likelihood that they will engage with your business in the future.

Deep pockets aren’t necessary for successful small business marketing. A conventional term loan can go a long way in funding your marketing efforts to increase your profits. Fundation offers fixed-rate online small business loans, providing your small business with the flexibility to focus on your marketing initiatives.

Are you considering an alternative business loan to invest in your business expansion? Contact Fundation today to discuss the possibilities.


Business Credit Scores vs. Personal Credit Scores: Why Lenders Need Both

Small business owners have a lot of challenges that need to be addressed in order to find success. Unsurprisingly, many of these are financially based, which is why so many people find themselves taking out business loans to get things off the ground. That being said, some small business owners are often surprised to find that business lenders will often ask for business credit scores and personal credit scores when taking out a small business loan—here’s why.

Your Personal Credit Score Still Matters

Many small businesses are operated by either one or two individual owners. Lenders can therefore learn a lot about the creditworthiness of the business and the financial acumen of the owners by looking at the owners’ personal credit report. A good personal credit score, combined with other factors, may indicate to a lender that the business is likely to be well-managed and successful. Additionally, many lenders require a small business owner to personally guaranty the repayment of the loan, in which case the owner’s credit score would factor heavily in the lender’s determination of whether the personal guaranty would be effective.

The Importance of Knowing Your Personal Credit Score Along With Your Business Credit Score

Since an initial small business loan will most likely be contingent upon your personal credit score, it’s extremely important to know where you stand. Personal credit scores can shift and change over time—occasionally, to a drastic extent, depending on the circumstances. There are many affordable credit score providers online for those who are looking to get small business loans and who aren’t sure of their personal profile.

If you’re willing to spend a bit of money, those companies will not only allow you access to personal and small business credit reports from all three major bureaus, but you’ll be notified of any major changes that occur, as they happen.

What if My Personal Credit Score Is Poor?

This is a common question among those who are looking to obtain small business credit. A poor personal credit score, just like a poor business credit score, can be challenging to overcome, but it’s important to realize that it doesn’t tell the whole story of who you are and what your business is capable of.

It’s possible to improve your personal credit score if you take the right steps to do it. This can be a time-consuming process, and it’s not uncommon for people to feel as if they’re not making any progress. Using a secured credit card, making sure never to miss payments and working with a professional to improve your personal credit score can all be helpful. If you can do this before requesting a small business loan, you’ll be in even better shape.

Have questions about your personal or business credit score and want to discuss your financial situation with a nonbank lender? Contact Fundation to discuss the conventional term loan options suited for your company’s specific needs and situation.


5 Key Elements of Online Marketing for Small Businesses

Growing a small business can be an immense challenge, regardless of industry. This is especially true for small businesses that have a lot of competition, both locally and nationally. The key to finding success as a small business is to work toward improving your marketing strategy in as many ways as possible. Still, many companies focus on the wrong types of small business marketing, which can end up being extremely costly. Online marketing is the future for today’s small businesses, and it’s not nearly as difficult to get started as you might think.

Here are 5 key elements of online marketing for small businesses that you simply can’t afford to ignore.

1. Strong Web Design

While you may not consider your website part of your small business digital marketing plan, it may be one of the most important elements at play. You could have the best products or services out there, but they’re not going to sell if your website is stuck in the past. Also, never overlook the importance of making your site easy to view on mobile platforms, as you have to expect that much of your audience will be on their phones when visiting your website.

2. Blogging / Content Marketing

Blogging is a huge part of small business marketing online. It’s one of the best ways not only to connect with an audience but also to assert yourself as an expert in your field. Starting a blog is completely free, and building followers will happen over time if you’re careful with how you schedule and share each post. Finally, your blog should be connected and linked to and from your website, which will help drive traffic in both directions, boosting your small business’ digital marketing efforts.

3. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

You could have the most beautiful website in the world, but if people aren’t able to find it, it won’t be anywhere as effective as it could be. This is where SEO, or search engine optimization, comes into play. Improving SEO should be one of the main components of your small business online marketing strategy, as it will make it easier for your audience to find you, regardless of how big or small your business is. What many people don’t realize is that the SEO techniques are constantly changing. For best results, work with a firm that has a deep understanding of SEO and how it works.

4. E-Newsletters

While direct mail may quickly be becoming a thing of the past, it’s beginning to take a more digital form. E-newsletters are the ideal way to concisely help your audience learn about what’s happening with your business and how they might benefit. Starting an e-newsletter is free, and the larger you can grow your list of subscribers, the more effective it will be as part of your small business online marketing strategy.

5. Social Media Marketing

Social media is extremely popular today, and this isn’t going to change anytime soon. Learning how to use social media to your advantage is essential to finding success in digital marketing, and it can be extremely cost-effective. Regularly posting quality, educational content on your Facebook or Twitter profiles and properly tagging your posts will open up a discussion between you and your audience, thus improving the visibility of your company.

Online marketing is truly the way of the future, and ignoring this trend is going to cause your small business to fall behind. It can seem overwhelming at first, but the benefits (and low costs) that come with digital marketing are hard to ignore. Learn the finer points, kick the process off, and watch as your audience and customer base grow.

Be sure to read some of Fundation’s other articles for more small business marketing tips and financing advice.

Need alternative financing to start or improve your small business digital marketing efforts? Contact Fundation to learn about the short-term business loans available to help take your company to the next level!


Small Business Hiring Tips: What to Consider When You’re Ready to Hire

There’s something exciting about picturing your small business filled with passionate employees. But small business hiring is an art, and it’s often difficult to pinpoint the roles that you need filled and the total number of employees that your business can support.

While there’s no firm answer to the question — How do I hire the right employees? — there are key considerations and hiring tips that can help you make the right choice for your small business.

Here are some key small business hiring tips:

Take Into Account The Nature of Your Business

When you run a growing restaurant or retail store, hiring new employees is inevitable. But small business staffing becomes a bit trickier if you own a company that provides consulting services or a web-based product. You have to more carefully consider how many employees you need, because the lack of a brick-and-mortar location makes for less obvious roles.

Owning a small business also creates opportunity, such as leveraging new technologies, outsourcing tasks and finding contractors to get the productivity you need without adding to payroll (see more below).

Know When to Outsource

While it’s exciting to create jobs through a small business, it’s not always recommended to add a full-time employee — especially if there’s technology or an outside firm that can perform the duties at a significant savings.

Small businesses traditionally outsource advertising, accounting and other administrative tasks. But before you hire for a particular position, look into technologies and small (sometimes one-person) firms that can do a great job at a far lower cost.

The Right People vs. The Right Roles

It’s difficult to know exactly what skills and experience you need at a small business. Some move forward with the philosophy of running lean and hiring the right people rather than focusing on specific roles.

How do you hire the right person without focusing on the role? During the hiring process, find employees with a wide skillset, varied experience and a fervent belief in your company’s mission. Plug them into positions with the understanding that you run with an all-hands-on-deck approach — any team member may be called on to perform a unique task at any time. If you find the right people, the specific titles and roles will develop over time.

How Are Your Finances?

Can you afford additional employees? It’s the obvious question when it comes to small business hiring, but failing to fully consider the answer can cost you.

Think through the full cost of each position you have in mind. That means calculating salary, as well as the cost of insurance and other benefits, payroll taxes, unemployment insurance, workers compensation, supplies and a slew of other expenses. It adds up quickly. Luckily, Fundation offers plenty of small business financing options, such as working capital loans and business expansion loans that can give your company the financial support it needs to hire new employees and successfully grow your business.

Consider Temporary Employees In Place of Full-Time Hires

Small business hiring is stress-inducing for a business owner, and rightfully so. You want the perfect people pouring all of their talent, experience and energy into seeing the business reach its full potential.

But finding those people is more difficult in reality than on paper. If you’re not ready to commit to a full-time team member, consider using temporary help such as contractors, temp agencies or freelancers.

This route can help you better understand the skillsets needed for maximum impact on your business, while giving you the productivity and flexibility you need.

Understanding how to hire the right people for your small business can be extremely challenging, as every business has individual needs and roles to be filled. While there are many helpful small business hiring tips to get you started on the right track, successful hiring and staffing ultimately results from understanding your company’s unique needs as well as financial flexibility.

Is it time to hire? If so, Fundation can provide the growth capital needed to comfortably hire new team members without placing stress on your cash flow.

Contact Fundation today and learn more about the small business lending solutions available to help your business grow.


How to Plan for Your Business Expansion: A Checklist for Success

Is it time to take out a business expansion loan to help your company grow further?

Here are five key questions to ask before you act on getting a business expansion loan:

  1. Are we ready for business expansion funding?

Your small business growth and expansion success hinges on your ability to do one of two things: find more customers or expand your products and services.

Finding more customers will allow you to increase sales of your current products and services. Expanding your business’s products and services will give existing customers the opportunity to purchase something new and different, while also attracting new customers.

If you can’t find more customers or expand your products and services, you may want to ask: Are we truly ready for business expansion?

  1. Where are we going?

If you are ready for a business expansion, it’s time to think about the right location. Do you want to own or rent?

Buying a facility is a big commitment. Commercial mortgages are typically offered at shorter rates than residential — expect 10 to 15 years. Shorter terms mean higher payments. Is your small business prepared to handle this increase?

Renting is safer but less stable. There’s no guarantee that your space will remain available beyond your lease. Renting also means the additional cost of paying an up-front deposit, often the first and last month’s rent.

If your new space needs improvement, you must set aside funds from your business expansion loan for construction or renovation. New locations in the same market also siphon off about 20 percent of the original location’s business. Is your bottom line strong enough to absorb all of this?

  1. Do we have the right people? (And, can we afford them?)

You can’t expand without taking on new employees. Additional employees equal additional wages and benefits. While a business expansion loan can help you afford more employees, you will likely save money by hiring strategically. Make sure to consider the value of hiring the right employees for your small business; if you work in a niche industry and find it difficult to hire talent with the right skills and experience, a business expansion could be even more challenging. Your expansion won’t go well if you compromise in hiring standards to fill new positions.

Management must be able to trust employees during an expansion, because it by nature reduces management’s ability to be hands-on in all aspects of the business.

  1. Can we maintain a stable inventory?

Inventory management is one of the biggest challenges for businesses. As you consider how to grow your small business and consider your expansion financing options, think about your ability to manage an increased inventory.

Industries that see seasonal ebbs and flows in demand must put extra effort toward mastering and maintaining a stable inventory. Additional capital can help stabilize inventory by keeping products stocked at optimal levels during periods of fluctuating revenue. Without proper inventory financing and management, you’ll find that your warehouse is either overflowing with unsold products or empty and unable to fulfill orders.

  1. Where will we find business expansion financing?

Here’s where it all comes together. Unless you’re overwhelmed by cash on hand, you’ll need a business expansion loan to help cover the cost of new facilities, new employees, increased inventory and the many other realities of growth. Do you have a good source for business expansion financing?

Fundation exists to help businesses just like yours. We provide business expansion loans that can be used to secure a new facility, add new talent or master your inventory.

All of our business expansion financing is custom-designed to meet the different needs of unique small businesses. Our loans feature conventional terms, refinancing options and prepayment without penalty.

Do you need capital to finance a business expansion? Contact Fundation and explore the possibilities today!


5 Things to Prepare Before Consulting a Small Business Lender

The pursuit of growth capital is exciting, and you want to make the process go as quickly and easily as possible. To avoid delays, make sure you’re fully prepared before applying for a business loan.

Here are five key things to prepare before consulting a small business lender:

  1. Business Plan

Not all small business lenders who ask for your business plan will read it page by page. But it’s a necessary document to get a small business loan, and it helps you internalize your vision for the business. After creating a compelling business plan, you’ll be able to quickly and succinctly answer questions and discuss your company’s plans for the future.

An additional tip: If you focus on one area, spend as much time as possible on describing leadership and other key team members. If someone reads just one section of your business plan, they’ll read about the people behind your products and services.

  1. Loan Purpose

Any small business lender will want to know exactly what the loan proceeds will go toward. Do you need to stabilize cash flow? Hire new employees? Expand to a new business location?

The lack of a specific purpose for loan proceeds is a red flag for small business lenders. It gives the appearance of disorganization and a directionless vision.

Also, think about your ideal loan structure before applying. How much money are you seeking? What is your ideal term? What would be a manageable interest rate? You may not get your desired structure, but it’s a good starting point for discussing and considering the possibilities for your small business loan.

  1. Financial Statements

It’s important to describe where your business has been financially and where you see it going in the future. Prepare your financial documents - balance sheet, income statement, tax returns and bank statements - that put your financial history in black and white.

Additionally, you should create realistic financial projections that paint a picture of where you see your business going in the future. These projections should highlight your need for the financing you seek.

Credit Report

You should always monitor your company’s credit. Pull a business credit report before seeking a loan, and prepare explanations for all that it includes — especially late payments and other blemishes. Any small business lender will want to know how much credit you’ve accessed in the past, as well as how you’ve handled it.

Legal Documents

Know how your business is legally organized — its legal name, its members, etc. This information is not always top of mind, but it should be included in articles of incorporation or other documents used to form your business. Also obtain copies of any existing commercial leases, franchise agreements and other binding documents.

Getting organized for a loan application doesn’t have to be complicated. At Fundation, we make the small business lending process as easy as possible. If you so choose, our online application system can pull relevant legal and financial documents for your convenience— with your permission, of course.

This helps everyone focus on the most important aspect of the small business loan application — finding a way to get you the growth capital needed to see your business reach its full potential.

Are you looking for a small business lender that will provide you with both the financing and advice to help your company reach new heights? Contact Fundation today and complete our streamlined application process in less than 10 minutes!


How a Working Capital Loan Can Help Your Business Succeed

Running a small business comes with the realities of month-to-month operations — satisfying payroll, purchasing inventory, paying bills and much more.

Working capital loans for small business endeavors take the stress out of the day-to-day battle to stabilize finances and keep the company’s doors open. When you stop worrying about paying the bills, you can focus on improving your business and taking advantage of growth opportunities.

How do small business working capital loans work? Here’s a quick rundown:

A Different Kind of Small Business Loan

Almost any small business loan application will require a loan purpose. Not working capital business loans. This is a special category of loan that is made to help you meet your monthly obligations; day-to-day operations that aren’t necessarily related to profitability.

Working capital is a known concept in business lending, and you’ll find a number of options when looking for a working capital loan.

At Fundation, we offer business capital loans in principal amounts up to $150,000. These loans feature 1- and 2-year terms, as well as fixed interest rates. You make payments twice monthly, and there’s no prepayment penalty.

How Funds Are Used

Any business owner knows that revenue is rarely constant throughout the year. If you don’t have a significant cash base, lulls in revenue can put pressure on your ability to meet payroll, purchase inventory, replenish supplies, pay bills and satisfy any number of other regular obligations.

When you secure a working capital loan for your small business, you have a reserve that can help cover these expenses. If it’s low season, you don’t have to worry about making payroll. If your boom season is coming, you have extra cash to boost your inventory.

While business capital loans are not used for growth, they can give you the flexibility needed to take advantage of opportunities.

The Freedom to Seize Opportunity

Yes, working capital loans provide small businesses the strength to weather downturns. They also give small businesses the freedom to seize opportunities.

Here’s a scenario: You have the chance to acquire a key competitor. The business acquisition would be a huge boon to your future prospects. But applying existing capital toward the purchase would put into jeopardy your ability to cover upcoming expenses.

With a working capital loan, you have the money needed to satisfy monthly obligations — freeing up your capital to use for an acquisition, or a key hire, or the introduction of a new product.

Nothing undermines growth more than battling each month to stay afloat. Fundation provides working capital for small businesses, helping these growing companies stabilize operations so that they can focus on what matters most — sustaining success and growing for the future.

Contact Fundation today and learn more about the working capital loans available to your business.