When Your Small Business Should Call In a Debt Collection Lawyer

It’s a sad reality, but sometimes customers just have no intention of paying you. There might come a time when you have exhausted all possible resources-when you have sent numerous letters, called countless times and maybe even met in person-but all to no avail. The account continues to be delinquent and each and every day it seems more and more likely that your money will be lost forever. If this is the case, it might be time to bring in the big guns, to enlist those infamous suited figures in the back room-it might be time to hire a debt collection lawyer.

When Your Small Business Should Call In a Debt Collection Lawyer

Simply by their presence, lawyers can be pretty effective in getting people to pay. Just the threat of going to court has the potential to incite people into action. Thus, before you hire a lawyer, it is a great idea to enlist his or her counsel and services in writing a demand letter for you (if, of course, the one you wrote before didn’t do the trick). As Justin Tenuto from Rocket Lawyer points out, “Sometimes, a professional correspondence from a practicing attorney will motivate your debtor to pay up. After all, debtors don’t want to end up before a judge, explaining their motives for not paying you.” You can sometimes even find a lawyer to do this for quite cheap (such as from Rocket Lawyer), but it is also a good idea to go with someone that you can develop a relationship with, just in case you want to pursue the matter further.

To Hire or Not to Hire?

If you do in fact have your sights set on fully enlisting a debt collection lawyer, you first have to run a cost benefit analysis to make sure this move makes financial sense. Debt collection lawyers are expensive and you don’t want to end up paying more for their services than you actually are trying to recover in the first place. The last thing you want to do is lose more money on this whole situation. Therefore, when deciding whether to go the legal route, access the financial viability of each option. If the account is very large and you can get a good chunk of it back even on top of the lawyer’s fees, then it might be a good idea to go ahead with the decision. Alternatively though, to hire a debt collection lawyer, you have to be willing to take your customer to court. If not, getting a debt collection lawyer might not be the best path.

Choosing the Debt Collection Lawyer for You

You should always do your research before committing to anything, and choosing a debt collection lawyer is no exception. It’s hard to imagine, but there are many different types of debt collection lawyers, specializing in a variety of areas. So, just like in choosing the right small business bank, you should also hire a lawyer that has experience with the specific situation you are struggling with. Dive a little deeper to figure out exactly what the qualifications are of a specific lawyer. Speak to references, examine track records and ask about strategies. Do what it takes to determine whether this lawyer is the one for you and the type of debt you are trying to recover. Remember that you have to balance the cost of the lawyer with the actual money you are trying to recover, so choosing the right lawyer definitely involves finding one with the right payment structure. After all, the whole point is to get paid.

Debt Collection Lawyer vs. Debt Collection Agency

You might ask yourself, why get a debt collection lawyer when I can just get a debt collector? While debt collectors are indeed an option, and often times less expensive than a lawyer, sometimes a lawyer is need for more difficult clients. Lawyers, as Attorney Jeffrey Curl explains, have a lot more flexibility and options of what they can actually do and how they can go about getting you your money.

The Last Resort

Debt collection lawyers are in fact the ultimate last resort. While there might be such a thing as a free lunch, there is no such thing as a free lawyer. Lawyers, as mentioned, are expensive and come at a hefty cost, a cost that will consequently cut into the money that you are trying to recover in the first place. Furthermore, getting lawyers involved definitely hurts the relationship you have with your clients, regardless of whether you want to do business with them in the future. For these reasons, lawyers should be the very last call, when everything you have done has failed to produce actual results.

Landing A Small Business Loan In This Environment

Banks are not currently and probably will not be lending to small, growing businesses anytime soon. They view these small firms as too risky and banks are just not taking on any risk (any risk at all).

But, that does not mean that your business cannot get the money its needs to start or grow. You just might have to go about it in a different manner which, in the long-run, may be a benefit to you and your business.

For most small business, banks are not lending as they don’t want any loans with any risk on their books. While they do want your deposits and other account business, they are just unwilling to let money walk out the door.

They blame these small businesses for items like poor credit, inadequate cash flow or undervalued collateral but in truth, many of these banks are just not in a position to lend to what is deemed risky businesses. And, if your business does not really need a loan, then it is deemed risky.

What Can Your Small Business Do?

For established small businesses, if your banker is refusing to take your call (and most are) then you should be looking at some of the alternatives methods of financing that have been around for decades or that have recently cropped up to fill the lending gaps left behind by the banks.

Know that banks are not nor have always been the only and best options for small businesses. Banks tend to look at your overall business’s profits before making a business loan decision. Alternative financing options tend to look more at the need of the business and its ability to covert financial assets to cash.

1) Look to factoring. If you have customers in the wings but lack the working capital to get these jobs started, factor those job orders for 100% of the cash you need to complete those jobs. Or, if you are sitting on a bunch of unpaid invoices, look to use them to get the working capital your business needs to meet immediate expenses or start that next order.

2) Look to SBA loans. While these types of government guaranteed loans still have to go through banks – the SBA’s 504 program is leading the way in helping many local small businesses acquire and finance property and equipment. With the SBA’s 504 program, your local community development corporation will work with the SBA and your bank to finance hard assets. As they all spread and share the risk, your chances of getting funded increase dramatically.

3) Let your business finance its own growing needs. There are a lot of growing businesses that tend to have a lot of sales but are still losing money (more cash out then in). This is not a reflection of the economy or any market but that of how the business is managed.

Look for ways to reduce costs while maintaining your current level of sales or if that is not possible then look for ways to increase prices. You should always be looking for ways to reduce costs – even if your business is highly profitable.

Keep shopping around for lower cost suppliers and vendors. Look to technology to improve processes or for ways to reduce staff expenses. And, constantly review your service providers – no sense in over paying for services like phone, internet, etc. If you can get your costs down and bring your profits up, you might not need outside financing at all. The best business loan is not having to get one in the first place.

Business is not easy and is getting harder the longer our economy remains stagnate. However, people and businesses still need products and services to get through their days. They look for products that either make their life easier or save them time and money. And, while many are being more selective in what they spend their money on, they are still spending – good news for your business.

Getting and keeping customers (letting them know who you are and what your business offers as well as keeping your business on the top of their minds) is always a challenge. But, successful businesses get out there and find creative ways to meet and overcome those challenges. The same is true in financing your small business.

If you need capital to either get your business off the ground or to finance your current growth, you might as well just forget about the banks and get creative. Banks are just not ready to take chances.

If you can’t demonstrate (sell) your business’s potential to the many different financing options out there (some that really want to work with your business) then you might start thinking about another career.

Finding new ways to capitalize your business is just one of the many challenges that all businesses face in their development. But, the good news is that it is not the most daunting challenge you will face. If you need a business loan to start or grow your company, then get out there and get one!

Settle Your Small Business Taxes With a Peer-To-Peer Loan

Like the saying goes, “The only things certain in life are death and taxes.” Unfortunately, small businesses know this saying all too well.

Unlike employees who look forward to their refund every April, small businesses loath the approaching spring, knowing they will have to pay Uncle Sam its share of their profits. Each year, small businesses struggling to turn a profit in an increasingly competitive business environment must pay taxes in order to keep their doors open.

With dwindling profit margins and tightened lending restrictions, however, many small business owners find themselves between a rock and a hard place when it comes time to pay the tax man. Although a business may have steady sales and revenue or thousands of dollars in inventory, banks and traditional lending institutions simply aren’t handing out small business loans like they were in year’s past, leaving small business owners with few funding options to pay their tax bill.

Thankfully, peer-to-peer lending, or social lending, has solved this growing dilemma. These modern social lending marketplaces have connected millions of borrowers with individual investors. Borrowers receive low-interest, fixed-rate loans that can be paid off in two to five years, while investors are able to benefit from decent returns in an economy with sinking bond and savings rates.

Thus, it’s a win-win situation for both small business owners in need of immediate funding and investors looking to make a small profit while helping others.

From Desperation to Exultation: One Man’s Venture into Peer-to-Peer Lending

John Mitchell is an Ohio-based small business owner who found himself in such a predicament just last year. As the owner of the only hardware store in a small town, John’s store flourished the first few years it was open.

After getting his inventory levels, pricing models, and management just right, he decided to expand his business by opening a second location in a neighboring town. John sunk all of his profits into opening his new store, which meant he was short on funds come tax time. However, knowing the success of his business, he thought he would simply get a small loan from the bank that housed his accounts and provided him with the initial loan he used to launch his business four years earlier.

Unfortunately, he witnessed first-hand the effect the recession has had on lending regulations as the banker he’s known for years denied his loan application. If he couldn’t get a loan there, where could he?

On the brink of despair, John took to the Internet to research loan options. After digging through forums and trying a few different searches, he ran across peer-to-peer lending. In less than a week after going through the quick and easy application process, he received a personal loan at a low rate for the amount he needed. A week later, John sent a check for the full amount to the IRS, and less than eight months later, he was able to pay off the loan with the profits from his new store!

If you are a small business owner who has found yourself in a similar circumstance, peer-to-peer lending can do the same for you as well, but how does peer-to-peer lending work?

How Peer-to-Peer Lending Works

A breakthrough product or service emerges every generation, and in the early 2000’s, the emerging breakthrough was social networking. From helping in the organization of overthrowing political regimes to staying in touch with friends and family members, social networking has had a profound effect on our daily lives. Now, it’s changing the small business financing landscape as well.

Peer-to-peer lending is a modern social networking solution for small businesses in search of a way of securing alternative funding. The goal of peer-to-peer lending sites, such as Prosper and Lending Club, is simply to connect individual investors with those in need of funding, and these sites are becoming an increasingly useful tool for small business owners who are unable to secure funding from traditional lenders.

Rather than jumping through endless hoops only to be denied by a bank, small businesses can receive funding via peer-to-peer lending in no time at all by following three simple steps:

Step 1: Create a Profile and Loan Listing

There are a myriad of peer-to-peer lending networks to choose from, so your first step is to research the best ones and create a profile and loan listing on the site you choose. The loan listing is essentially a cost-free ad that indicates the amount of money you need and your desired interest rate.

Step 2: Let the Bidding Process Begin

After your listing goes live, investors have the opportunity to begin bidding on your listing, providing you with the interest rate and loan amount they are willing to offer you. A major advantage of this bidding process is the fact that it can intensify as more and more lenders begin competing for your business.

When this happens, interest rates will begin dropping, potentially allowing you to obtain a much lower interest rate than you expected. It’s important to note, however, that your credit score, income, and debt-to-income ratio plays a role in the lending decision process.

Step 3: Funding and Paying Back the Loan

Another benefit of borrowing from peer-to-peer lenders is that you can accept several bids to receive your requested loan amount. For instance, if you ask for $10,000 in your loan listing to pay your business taxes, you can acquire the amount from collecting $2,000 from five different borrowers.

This makes it much easier for borrowers to receive the money they need. However, instead of making five separate payments, you would only make one payment, because the peer-to-peer lending site is responsible for dispersing the money to lenders until loans are repaid in full. They simply charge a small fee for this service.

With increased lending regulations, banks are tightening their purse strings more than ever before, making it much more difficult for small businesses to receive the funding they need to expand their business or even pay their taxes. Thankfully, peer-to-peer lending has proven to be a worthy competitor in the small business lending marketplace. If you are a small business owner and find yourself unable to pay your taxes as April approaches, or backed taxes for that matter, a peer-to-peer loan is an ideal option.