Celtic Bank Blog


Equipment Finance Think: Scenarios to Test Your Practical Knowledge of Equipment Financing

How well do you understand equipment financing? Time for a little pop quiz! Let’s take a look at how three of the most common equipment financing strategies play out in the day-to-day runnings of your business. Keeping in mind traditional equipment loans, leases, and options like SBA 7(a) loans and lines of credit, read the following examples and determine which financing strategy you would recommend for the situation. Then, check your answers against those of our equipment financing experts! As you read each case, consider the amount of money needed, when it’s needed, and the type of equipment to decide which loan option will work best for you. If you need a refresher course, check out our post, Six Cash-Conscious Ways to Finance Your Equipment . Or, for an even more in-depth look into these equipment financing strategies, download our full, free guide,  Equipment Financing: A Small Business Owner's Guide to Loans, Leases, and Lending. Scenario 1: The POS System Rehaul You own a thriving eight-pump gas station and convenience store in a small South Dakota town off the main interstate. Business is great, but the new EMV chip card regulations are requiring some expensive changes for your station. Your...

Six Cash-Conscious Ways to Finance Your Equipment

When it comes to financing your equipment, there are different options to consider. You could use a loan, a lease, a line of credit, or even a business credit card. Having so many options can make researching your next upgrade overwhelming, but it’s worth your time!  Let’s take a look at the difference that using the right financing can make: Over the past few years, Melanie has financed five new delivery trucks on three-year terms. The payments have gotten pretty big, which means her cash flow gets uncomfortably low at certain points of the month. So she applies for refinancing—consolidating her payments into one new loan with a term of seven years. This gives her a much better cash flow and the money she needs to invest in and grow her business. By taking the time to reevaluate her equipment financing, Melanie was able to find an option that put her business in a healthier, more stable position. While there are many different options for your equipment financing decision (for a complete list, see Equipment Financing: A Small Business Owner's Guide to Loans, Leases, and Lending ), most options tend to fall into one of two categories: loans, or leases....

A Simple Starter on Equipment Financing for More Cash and Less Tax

Are high equipment rental or repair costs eating away your profits? The right equipment can be vital to the success of your business. But when it isn’t financed correctly, pricey payments can take your hard-earned cash flow to uncomfortable lows. Soon, the money you invested to grow your business is going back into paying off the loan, and you’re left with little funding to expand. So how do you know which equipment financing option to choose? Should you buy or lease? If you buy, what type of loan should you apply for (SBA, term, equipment…)? And if you lease, which of the many lease options should you choose? It can all get overwhelming… fast! We’re here to help you understand clearly what your options are and make the most fiscally-sound decision for your business. In this introductory post, we’ll cover how the right equipment can grow your business, what equipment financing can be used for, and when it’s beneficial to do so. (And if you're looking to go deeper, check out our free, downloadable guide:  Equipment Financing: A Small Business Owner's Guide to Loans, Leases, and Lending .)  EQUIPMENT MEANS GROWTH Remember those people you knew growing up—the ones who...

Six Things Small Businesses Can Do to Attract and Keep Employees—WITHOUT Spending a Fortune on Salaries

With the unemployment rate at its lowest since April of 2000 , employers are left scrambling to find enough people to fill positions. And though small, midsize, and large companies alike are feeling the sting of the workforce shortage, small business owners face some particularly difficult challenges. To help attract top talent, larger companies are offering salaries well above what small businesses can reasonably offer. Meanwhile, many small businesses struggle to provide basic benefits like health insurance—let alone the bigger benefits provided by many large corporations. So what’s a small business owner to do? Well, before you throw in the towel thinking all is lost, there are some things your business can do to attract and keep talent that don’t cost much (or anything!). Be flexible with scheduling Some large corporations have employee handbooks the size of dictionaries! They meticulously outline overtime, scheduling, and time allowed for breaks. Small businesses often find themselves at a polar opposite: an unwritten code of conduct. And that spells opportunity. Enabling employees to take a morning off to chaperone a child’s field trip, an afternoon to get a head start on a long road trip, or a shifted early-off day once a week to...

Three Steps to Choosing the Perfect Working Capital Loan for Your Business

Knowing which loan to accept can be tricky. What type of loan should you get? And where from? What should you be asking your lender so you don’t have any unwelcome surprises during the application process? We’ve broken the process down into three stages to help you ask the right questions and get the right loan: choosing your loan, choosing your lender, and choosing to accept your loan offer.   CHOOSING YOUR WORKING CAPITAL LOAN   Finding the right loan starts with asking the right questions. Here are some things to ask yourself as you consider getting your next working capital loan: What do I want to do with the money? Certain loans have restrictions on how you can use the money. For example, SBA loans can be used to help with renovation and construction projects, but the type of project will determine which SBA loan programs you can or can’t use. Private lenders may also specialize in funding only certain industries. Check with your loan provider to see what regulations they have on your loan use before applying. How much money will I need? Depending on the size of your loan, some options will work better than others. For...

Common Myths and Misunderstandings About Working Capital Loans

  As the popularity and accessibility of working capital loans continues to rise, so do the number of myths and misconceptions about them. Unfortunately, some of these myths not only confuse small business owners, but deter borrowers from taking advantage of these loans. We’re going to take a more in-depth look at a few of the most prevalent myths out there, where they came from, and the truth behind them (if any).    MYTH 1: WORKING CAPITAL LOANS KILL YOUR CREDIT   Because large amounts of debt can be a red flag on your credit, some people shy away from taking out a working capital loan. And while it’s true that credit companies do evaluate your debt, they’re not just looking at how much debt you have. They’re looking at your debt-to-credit ratio. How much debt do you have compared to your credit limits? And how do you handle it? Do you make your payments on-time, or even early? Are you able to pay off your debt within a reasonable amount of time? Short-term loans, like working capital loans, allow you to demonstrate your ability to borrow responsibly and repay the loan in a timely manner. These good debt handling...

How You Can Use a Working Capital Loan to Protect or Accelerate Your Business

Need a little extra cash for your business? Lucky for you, there’s a ton of things you can do with a working capital loan. Hire employees, expand inventory, or just make it through rough cash flow slumps with one of the many working capital loan options out there. There’s so many things you can use a working capital loan for, it’s impossible to cover all of them. But we’ll give you the basics, and help you digest them by breaking them up into three categories: stability, growth, and prevention. And if you’d like to learn more, you can check out our free downloadable ebook, A Smart Business Owner’s Guide to Working Capital Loans , available now!   USING A WORKING CAPITAL LOAN TO INCREASE STABILITY   Some of the most common uses of working capital focus on increasing the stability of your business. One way working capital loans create stability is by managing your cash flow . By increasing the money available, you’re able to pay your bills on time. This helps struggling businesses keep payroll going smoothly —even when money is tight—and solve other short-term financial problems . The loan is then paid off in small, manageable payments. Working...

A Beginner's Guide to Working Capital Loans

Have you ever been waiting on a big invoice? Or maybe you received a large order, but needed additional funds to fulfill it. Maybe your business just has seasonal highs and lows. Whatever the case, working capital loans are a quick, accessible solution for the cash flow lows. This is your guide to working capital financing, so you’ll know exactly what working capital loans are and what they can do for your business. The popularity of working capital loans is rising steadily. In fact, in the past five years the number of businesses utilizing working capital loans has increased by 19% , an increase that has meant over $7 billion in small business funding a year. That’s an average of $89,000 per business. What could you do with $89K in cash right now? Oh, the possibilities...    WORKING CAPITAL BASICS   Working capital loans help small business owners with short-term funding needs. Slow seasons. Seasonal rushes. Savings. Emergency funding. You get the picture. We’ll go into all the uses later, but, for now, let’s start with the basics. Working capital is the money you use for all your day-to-day operations. Start with your liquid assets—cash or other things that can...

The Definitive Guide to SBA Loans

Have you ever looked into getting a business loan? Then you know there are a dizzying array of options out there. Traditional commercial bank loans. SBA loans. Alternative financing by non-bank lenders. Even your payment processors want to loan you money!  Within the past sixteen years, the amount of money paid out in business loans has nearly doubled. Exciting! There’s more money available now for small businesses than in the past. But taking any money that comes your way doesn’t always make good business sense. You still have to ask yourself, “can my business really afford this specific loan? Or will these payment terms end up hurting us in the long run?” This decision is one of the biggest challenges small business owners face when looking for capital to support or expand their business. Of the financing options available, arguably one of the best (and perhaps least understood) is the SBA loan. We want to dispel the confusion, break down barriers, and simplify the SBA loan for business owners so that you have everything you need to make the best financing decision for your business. Let’s dive in. SBA LOAN BASICS So what exactly is an SBA loan? And how...