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Importance Of Creativity And Innovation For Startups And SMEs

It has become widely accepted that creativity and innovation are crucial to business success, especially in the ever-changing and uncertain world we live in today. While creativity is the ability to produce new and unique ideas, innovation is the execution of that creative ideas.

When properly fostered, creativity and innovation create inventive problem solving for your business or your audience. Think of technological innovations! They solve day-to-day problems and make life more convenient for all.

The same rule applies with business innovations. Creative and innovative problem solving can make your company run more efficiently. They can also make a name for your business and create the competitive edge all businesses strive to achieve.

The importance of creativity and innovation in SMEs

Without creativity and innovation, companies would be stuck in a rut. They would utilize the same marketing/promotion campaigns, business strategies, or maybe even sell uniform products and services. But once your business brain is able to think creatively, the possibilities are endless.

By being creative, your business is more likely to become innovative. And by being innovative, your business is more likely to offer something new, making you a step ahead of others in the industry. Encouraging business creativity pays internal dividends as well. Your company gets a variety of ideas for problem solving and staff becomes more engaged.

A UK study shows that employees are most productive when they are challenged by interesting work and allowed to implement their initiatives. Too many rules and procedures, on the other hand, stunt productivity. In other words, giving employees opportunities to innovate pushes business productivity and agility.

Empowering SME creativity and innovations sounds like a tall order, but innovation comes in many forms, not just cutting-edge technology and design. For many service-fed industries, this simply means meeting customer demands, going the extra mile, or approaching your market in a different way to competitors.

How can you implement creativity and innovation in your business?

For SMEs looking to encourage innovation from within, the answer is to not limit yourself to your organization. Collaborating, sharing knowledge, and broadening your network fill your business with fresh ideas and help improve your business’ growth prospect. Of course, take care to keep internal data private, but exposing yourself and your staff to external connections adds to your repertoire of knowledge and ideas to explore. Outside connections can also provide objective feedback to your ideas.

Internally, you can push creativity and innovation by intellectually challenging yourself and your team. It’s important that your team is sufficiently challenged. Too little of a challenge will cause boredom, but too much will cause stress. Find a healthy balance to help them sharpen their creative minds.


It’s very clear that creativity and innovation are advantageous for your business. Innovation provides a culture of creative thinking that enables you and your team to think outside the box and come up with new and interesting ideas.

This article was written by Funding Societies, Singapore’s leading peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform. We provide working capital loans for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), along with attractive investment opportunities to the broader public. To learn more about us, click on our website here.

Building a Business: Online or Offline?

When thinking of how best to build your business, a major consideration these days is whether to make it offline or online – especially, of course, if the business idea you have in mind is in the retail industry. Each option has its ups and downs, so you need to contemplate it very carefully.

In the digital era, it seems easier to build an online business because of the advanced technology (and of course, the promise of cheaper overhead costs). But that doesn’t mean brick and mortar shops have lost their merits.

For those of you who are about to build your very own business, here are some points to consider before deciding which type suits you best.

If You Want to Build a Brick and Mortar Shop

An offline store looks and feels credible. Whether or not customer behavior is rational, the presence of a physical location has the advantage of more readily gaining trust. People know that the business is physically present should there be any issues with its goods and services. Besides, who hasn’t heard of fraudulent online sellers? There are also certain products that customers would want to check directly before purchasing, such as cars and electronics.

However, when it comes to brick and mortar shops, keep in mind that you do need to spend a lot more money on its infrastructure and upkeep. You also need to spend money on manpower, such as a manager or supervisor and a few people as staff. In addition, you will need to take care of paperwork ranging from operating license to legal documentation so you can legally run your business.

If You Prefer Online Business

Today’s age offers many possibilities for online enterprises. Not only do they offer advantages for the customer, they also benefit owners.

As most would already know, online stores and digital businesses are relatively cheaper than offline businesses. You don’t need a physical location as everything can be handled through the Internet. Many overhead costs (rent, maintenance, utilities, total salary) can be cut by having your business move online. People can simply shop from anywhere in the world and wait a few days until their order arrives (that is, if the online business offers international shipping!).

However, online business relies on Internet connection and a functional platform (your business website or mobile app or social media page). If your company’s online medium slows down, has issues, or is frustrating to use, your business will suffer.

Moreover, online business has no set operational hours. Some people find this an advantage, as they can respond to customers anytime and anywhere. But bear in mind that in the digital age, everyone is impatient. Your social media page might be scrawled with complaints if your response is an hour late.


As you can see, whether you build an online business or an offline one, each has its pros and cons. What usually happens these days is to start with an online business. When your company has become more recognized and has started earning profit, you can plan its expansion to a physical location. In fact, many, if not most, successful businesses are a mix of online and offline. Good luck in your business endeavors!

This article was written by Funding Societies, Singapore’s leading peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform. We provide working capital loans for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), along with attractive investment opportunities to the broader public. To learn more about us, click on our website here.

How To Plan A New Business Or Side Hustle

All successful businesses start with great planning. Business plans can be a daunting challenge for some, because of the effort you have to put to craft one. As daunting as it seems, business plans are necessary as they provide the roadmap for where you want to take your company. In other words, a well thought-out business plan is a vital requirement for any entrepreneur or business seeking to increase chances of survival.

But how do you write a good business plan?

Figure out what needs to be there and what doesn’t

Start off with a basic outline that will make sense to investors or whoever it is you are offering your business plan to. Write about your understanding of the market, the unique selling propositions of your product or service, the business model, and data that proves there is demand for whatever you want to create. If possible, show that you have the team and resources to help you in this business journey. If you don’t, write down what resources and how much money you need to be able to reach your destination.

You can build off the above with more sophisticated aspects, such as:

  • Company Analysis
  • Industry Analysis
  • Competition Analysis
  • Customer Analysis
  • Marketing Plan
  • Management Team
  • Operations Plan
  • Financial Plan

Research, research, research

Now that you know what needs to be included in a business plan, you need to start doing your homework. Find and curate as many resources as possible, monitor your target market on a regular basis, and keep track of competitors’ new launch or strategy.

Investors reading your business plan will want to see that you’ve thought long and hard about the potential of starting or expanding your company, along with the challenges ahead and how to rise above them.

For entrepreneurs who intend to use their business plan to get an investment, you also need to research your potential investors. Understand the way they work, take a look at their portfolio, and see whether there are any similarities with your business.

Have proof to back up every claim you make

Want to know why research is so important for business planning? By conducting thorough due diligence, you will have proof to back up every claim you make.

Let’s say you claim in the business plan that your product will be the leader in your field by six months to a year. You will need to detail why you think so. If you say your management team is fully qualified to make the business a success, you should make sure their resumes demonstrate the needed experience.

Be realistic with available time and resources

What’s most important about a business plan? Whether or not the steps and content can be implemented. So more than being a document to win over investors, a good business plan needs to be doable.

Don’t be overly optimistic about time and resources, it’s a common error of entrepreneurs. Be realistic, as it will give credibility to your plan. Always assume things will take 15% longer than you anticipated. If you anticipate that a certain process takes 20 weeks, write 23 weeks instead.


The success of business planning is all in the details. Make the plan concise, but include enough details that a reader will have sufficient information to make educated decisions. A business plan should reflect a sense of professionalism, with accurate content, realistic assumptions, credible projections, and no spelling mistakes.

This article was written by Funding Societies, Singapore’s leading peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform. We provide working capital loans for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), along with attractive investment opportunities to the broader public. To learn more about us, click on our website here.

Reviewing 2017 Business Performance, Achieving 2018 Goals

Is there a better time than the first work days of the year to reflect on business goals? If you spent the final days of 2017 scrambling to collect data and make reports, it’s time to review the past year’s business performance. For many businesses, this is the only time of the year when they have a complete set of accounts. Through them, you can see how much money you are making and spending; specifically, where the majority of your profits and revenue come from, and where your money is being spent – and if some of the expenses are unnecessary and can be cut.

You can also use 2017 reports to check on business health. Here are 3 tips to help you start your business on the right track in 2018.

Check the Health of Your Business

Other than revenue, profits, loss, available working capital, total assets, and debts to pay off, other factors within your financial statements can help you determine business health. For one, check the balance between revenue and expenses overtime. With business development and expansion, it’s perfectly normal to spend more on expenses. However, a healthy business will balance its revenue and expenses, with spending under control.

But more than financial ratios, comprehensive market research and understanding of clients bolster business success. It is paramount for a business to have a strong and well-thought-out business plan to cope with supply and demand uncertainties. A clear business plan helps align goals and unites your team by having their responsibilities defined and working towards a common vision. Haven’t got a business plan? Take the time to make one – it is of utmost importance.

Read more: “How Healthy Is Your Small Business? 5 Signs to Look For” and “Business Planning 101”

Better Manage Working Capital

Efficient working capital management ensures business liquidity. Liquidity may often be overlooked, but it is arguably as important as profitability. A business needs cash to cover short term expenses.

To figure out where you stand, calculate your current working capital ratio. Divide current assets such as cash, inventory, and accounts receivable by current liabilities. If the ratio is less than one, your business does not have enough working capital to settle short term debts. While the standard varies across industries, a ratio greater than 1 implies the business is in good financial position.

If you are struggling with managing working capital and need more cash, try looking into your stock inventory and invoice management practices. Perhaps you are carrying more inventory than needed and should adjust orders to optimize storage. Or perhaps much of your income is tied up in accounts receivable.

Read more: “How to make working capital work for you”

Consider a Business Loan in the New Financial Year

If your business goals for 2018 include big projects and development plans, maintaining sufficient capital is key. Depending on the amount of capital you need, you may need to apply for a business loan. Here are some instances where the timing may be right to start researching for suitable business financing:

  • You are looking to fund capital expenditure to optimize business productivity, (i.e, you need more equipment to accommodate growing sales volume but current profits are not sufficient to cover the costs).
  • You want to start business expansion or expand your product offerings. To do so, you need enough capital for various expenses, such as research and development, building new outlets and channels, hiring more human resources, launching marketing campaigns, etc.
  • You need to fix some cash flow issues, perhaps if invoice payments are late or consistently get stuck. Business solutions that allow you to convert accounts receivable to cash, such as invoice financing can help you enhance cash flow while you put a more efficient invoice process in place for your company.

The start of a new year is a hopeful time. You haven’t missed any deadlines and the days feel full of opportunities. This is the time to (a) discover problem points to fix, (b) understand how healthy your business is right now, and (c) know what to do in order to achieve all the targets you have planned for 2018. Good luck!


This article was written by Funding Societies, Singapore’s leading peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform. They provide working capital loans for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), along with attractive investment opportunities to the broader public.  To learn more about them, visit their website here.

Funding Societies is a DollarsAndSense Brand Connect partner. You can find out more about what they do on the DollarsAndSense Brand Connect Page.

Building The Best Team, No Matter How Small Your Business

A rookie mistake often made by those just starting a new business is thinking they can handle everything on their own. It’s still a small business, after all, so why would I need more people to help me, they think. As a small business owner, I should be able to wear many hats, they say.

However small a business started, it will eventually grow. So will yours. And every entrepreneur wants his business to consistently and steadily grow. Without the right team on your side, quality business growth is unlikely to happen. You need a great team and you can’t waste time when building one.

The thing is, building the best business team isn’t as easy as it sounds. How do you find the right people? How do you get them to work well together? How do you build the best business team even if your business is small?

Employing staff isn’t just about filling a role

Don’t rush into employing people just to fill a role. Ask yourself: what skills do I lack?

Answers to that question will help you identify what roles you must fill, along with the type of work you need the new person to do. In a small business, it’s important that the employees fit with the company and with each other, so make sure the people working with you believe in your business idea and vision. If they don’t, they won’t feel engaged and won’t bring additional value to your business.

Read also: Is Having No Job Better Than A Bad First Job?

Understand the strengths of each individual

It’s a given, each of your employee will enter the workplace with different personalities, quirks, and sets of values. Therefore, they will have different ideas about how to do their jobs. As a business owner, it’s important to recognize this, even if the way you work clash. People have different strengths and so long as your employees are contributing to your business in a healthy way, you’re on the right track. Just create an environment where people can channel their strengths and discuss their ideas or disagreements in an open, healthy fashion.

Explain your business goals

Before you officially start working with the new team, make sure everyone is on the same page. Let them know what they are aiming for and help them understand the goals of your business. It’s better if you have already created a vision of where your team should be —six months, a year, or two years from now. This will give your team a feeling for the situation in which they are working and the goals they are working towards.

Read also: Life At A Fintech Startup: 5 Interns Share Their Lessons Learned

Define roles as clearly as possible

Once everyone understand what the goals are, you can start bringing out the best in them. Make sure everyone is clear about their responsibilities, what is expected of them, and what is not. If you don’t make this clear, your team will work in confusion. They are not sure of their respective roles and boundaries. On a larger scale, business progress and efficiency will be affected.

Don’t forget that team roles are not static. As a business expands and various players show their strengths and results, you will need to periodically update roles and task list.

Are team building exercises necessary?

Here’s the honest answer: it depends. Small businesses are often fast-paced environments, so you need to get your team working together quickly. Team building exercises can help, but consider your budget to calculate whether you can afford them. Sometimes providing snacks when staff has to work late, or going to karaoke on a Friday night, is enough to get the band together and show that management cares.

In order to improve team performance, ask them to provide feedback. Listen carefully to what everyone says. Use the feedback to evaluate not only team performance, but also your own effectiveness as a leader. Last but not least: have fun building and growing a business with your new team!

This article was written by Funding Societies, Singapore’s leading peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform. They provide working capital loans for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), along with attractive investment opportunities to the broader public.  To learn more about them, visit their website here.

Funding Societies is a DollarsAndSense Brand Connect partner. You can find out more about what they do on the DollarsAndSense Brand Connect Page.

Budgeting: Balance Your Spending

“My money keeps spilling out like water.”

Many of us have experienced the frustration of having too many expenses to track. We have to pay for housing, utilities, taxes, transportation, food, the list goes on. Sometimes we can’t catch a break despite bringing in a reasonably good income.

It’s normal to feel overwhelmed about expenses from time to time. But when the feeling expands to a paycheck to paycheck lifestyle, you need to start a budget.

A personal budget is your own spending plan. It’s necessary for a myriad of reasons. Budgeting helps you spend less than what you bring in. It helps you identify problem areas, such as impulse buys. It helps you prioritize your spending and manage your money. It also helps you keep track of your financial goals: are your savings progressing towards your short-term and long-term goals?

In spite of its importance in a solid financial plan, many people avoid budgeting. The word is unfortunately associated with deprivation and excessive cheapness. But a good budget means living well rather than living poor. A good budget, like most aspects of life, requires us to create balance.

Before crafting a personal budget, we first need to differentiate a want vs. a need.

Imagine three buckets. Bucket #1 is for compulsory expenses, such as food, rent or housing, and “overhead” costs like utilities. Generally, bucket #1 is categorised under fixed expenses and there shouldn’t be too much fluctuation of cost between months.

Bucket #2 is where you drop your investments and savings. Bank deposits, retirement funds, property investments, bonds, and stocks all belong to this category. Lastly, Bucket #3 is for discretionary spending, such as travel, shopping, hobbies, and nights out.

It’s easy to guess which are “wants” and which are “needs” isn’t it? Bucket #1 and Bucket #2 contain “must haves” while Bucket #3 contains “nice to haves.” While items in Bucket #3 are mainly “wants” and “nice to haves,” you still need to moderately indulge in them to live a happy, balanced life.

We also need to separate personal assets and liabilities. Assets include your house or apartment, your vehicles, your checking and savings accounts, and your investments. Alternative investments such as art and jewelry can also count.

Mortgage and car loans are liabilities, but will be considered assets when paid in full. Credit card debt and personal loans tread on more dangerous territory, as their interest rates are high and they don’t become assets when paid in full. Also, beware of indulging in too many “wants.” Eventually most of them depreciate to nothing, becoming sunk cost – when the money could have been used to purchase assets.

Read also: 5 Useful Tips To Keep Your Business Finances Healthy

On to business. Let’s discuss the three steps of budgeting:

#1 Start by tracking your spending

There are many ways to keep track of your expenses – there is no correct method. You can use a notebook and pen, a Word doc, an Excel spreadsheet, or even personal finance apps like Mint and Toshl Finance. What matters most is consistency.

Note down all your spending, even small ones like your daily latte – the point of this first step is to know where your money is going. Update your budget regularly so you won’t forget anything. Use accurate descriptions for your purchases, such as groceries, clothes, etc. Again, you want to know exactly where your money is going.

Tracking your spending is essential as it helps you identify problem spending areas and readjust your priorities. It also helps you tailor your own spending ratio.

#2 Analyze your expenses, prioritize, and create a spending ratio

Remember the three buckets? Most of your income should go to Bucket #1 (Compulsory Expenses) for food, lodging, and utilities. Try to achieve a good balance between Bucket #2 (Investment/Savings) and Bucket #3 (Discretionary Spending), especially if your notes on expenses show you are overindulging. Spend less on “wants” and think about your future financial goals without severely depriving your fun.

Figure out a ratio for where your income should go. This Forbes article suggests a 50/20/30 ratio for Buckets #1, #2, and #3. A Google search of the “personal budget chart” shows many different approaches to personal budgeting. The key here is finding the ratio that works for you. It is you who decide what your priorities are.

Can’t calculate a ratio? Don’t fret. Just try a ratio combination and see what fits your personal expenses and needs. Make adjustments if you need to.

Read also: 5 Steps For Better Cash Flow Management

#3 Track your budget overtime

Now that you’ve created a budget, here comes the most crucial step: sticking to it. Do your utmost to follow the spending ratios you’ve set up – with an emphasis on reasonably saving and investing your income. You can only gain the benefits of a personal budget if you track your progress and make sure you are spending below your income. Your budget acts as a progress report: are you prioritizing well and saving enough?

If you find it difficult to stick to a budget, you may be spending too much on unnecessary items – remember future goals like owning your own home! At the same time, if you’ve only started budgeting, relax. As time goes on, you’ll see a difference in your spending habits overtime. Check the difference in spending after 3 months. You might surprise yourself. Just stick with it.

This article was written by Funding Societies, Singapore’s leading peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform. They provide working capital loans for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), along with attractive investment opportunities to the broader public. 

Funding Societies is a DollarsAndSense Brand Connect partner. If you are interested to know them better, you can find out more on what they do on our DollarsAndSense Brand Connect Page.

Success Story – P2P Loan To Manufacturer

This article first appeared Lets Crowd Smarter, a digital publication about crowdfunding and investing in Singapore and Asia.

Not all crowdfunding schemes are fraudulent. We (the Let’s Crowd Smarter Team) have invested in over 50 crowdfunding schemes across different platforms and our overall experience has been great.

Yes, there are a few problem loans whose repayments are always late. And we’re lucky not to have encountered any outright default yet. But we have seen more successes than failures.

We believe that as long as investors stick to the more established crowdfunding platforms (such as Funding Societies, MoolahSense, Capital-Match, Crowdo and New Union) and have a widely diversified portfolio, the overall returns should be positive.

As an example, our p2p loan portfolio is earning a cash return of about 1.5% per month, or about 12% so far this year.

Read Also: Spotting Red Flags in Crowdfunding Schemes

Crowdfunding Success – A Real Story

Here, we’ll share with you a crowdfunding success story – a p2p loan that we participated with Funding Societies in December last year. The effective interest rate was a cool 23.6% per annum. (We also have similar successes with other platforms and will share them next time.)

The loan ID is SB-1512005 but we’ll respect the borrower’s confidentiality and not disclose its identity. Below are some of the key features of the loan.

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To summarize, this company is borrowing $100k as working capital for a $780k project. It promised to repay over 6 months. Effective interest earned by the lender is 23.6% per annum. As this is a 6-month loan, the actual  interest earned is roughly half of that.

Funding Societies provided further financial information and comments on the borrower. We did a quick review and find the risk to be acceptable. Hence, we decided to lend $1,000 on this loan in December last year.

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Prompt Repayment

Over the next 6 months, this borrower repaid promptly every month. The final repayment was in June 2016. On this loan, we earned the 23.6% effective interest rate per annum – exactly as promised.

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Verifying Our Return On Investment

Now let’s verify that we are indeed earning 23.6% effective interest per annum.

But before we do that, we’ll need to explain the difference between effective and simple interest rates.

Effective interest rate refers to the interest earned on the outstanding loan. When the borrower repays its loan every month, the outstanding loan balance declines. The interest earned by this declining loan balance is known as the effective interest.

On the other hand, simple interest is basically the total interest earned by the loan as a percentage of the initial loan amount. It does not take into account the declining loan principal or the repayment every month.

We prefer to use effective interest rate. Using Excel’s IRR function as shown below, we easily show that the effective return is indeed 23.6% per annum.

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Is it really so easy?

If crowdfunding is so easy, why are there still plenty of negative news about defaults and frauds?

In our view, most of these platforms that ran into trouble are poorly managed. Many are fly-by-night operators that nobody has heard of. Their loan underwriting process is not credible at all. For the recent First Asia Alliance case, there were so many red flags, including the fact that the director of the crowdfunding platform is also the shareholder of the investee companies.

But there are also well-managed crowdfunding platforms that already have or in the process of getting CMS licenses from MAS. This includes Funding Societies, Capital Match, MoolahSense, New Union and Crowdo.

We (at Let’s Crowd Smarter) are comfortable with and have invested our own money with this second group of crowdfunding platforms. Overall, our investing experiences have been great. Of course, we do have some problem loans and late repayments, but these usually form less than 10% of our total portfolio. Success stories still far outnumber the failures we had.

If investors choose the correct platforms, investing into crowdfunding schemes can generate attractive returns without too much risk as shown in this example.

Read Also: Traits Of A Successful Trader

Funding Societies is a DollarsAndSense Brand Connect partner. Funding Societies is Singapore’s leading peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform. They provide working capital loans for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), along with attractive investment opportunities to the broader public. If you are interested to know them better, you can find out more on what they do on our DollarsAndSense Brand Connect Page.

5 Steps to Digitise Your Business in a Tech-Savvy World

Today’s technology grows at such breakneck speed. Compare the gadgets and online tools you are using today to ten, or even five, years ago. Technology is inseparable from daily life. Take online shopping. These days, many people prefer it to brick-and-mortar shops.

Business owners must adapt to the new digital age to stay afloat and thrive. Everyone needs to digitise their businesses. How to do so? Here are 5 steps:

Set a goal

Never build anything unless there is a set goal. Why do you want to digitize your business? What are your goals? Do you want to gain more sales? Do you want to create awareness for your business? Setting goals will help you decide which digital strategy you need to utilize.

Create your own sites

Invest your capital in creating your own business website. Make the address as simple as possible, preferably using your brand name as the web address. Prioritise design. Don’t hesitate to hire a web designer if you can’t do it yourself. Your company website is your business face. People will assess how professional your business is based on your site interface.

It doesn’t stop with design. You also need clear and useful content on your business website. Make sure that your content is related to your target market. You will gain more leads if you have high-quality content aimed to your target market.

Read Also: 5 Tips to Create & Manage the Best Business Website on a Budget

Use the power of social media

Now that you have your own website, you need to spread the word. This is where social media will help you in the most effective way. Create a Facebook page, an Instagram account, a Twitter account, even a LinkedIn page – utilise as many social media platforms as long as the platform is still within your niche and your company has the capability to maintain these accounts.

Invest in advertising. You can also broadcast your website’s high-quality content via social media accounts for branding.

Create a mailing list

Creating a mailing list will help you to keep in touch with customers. Hold promotions and discounts to attract more people into subscribing. You can also use referral campaigns to gain more subscribers from loyal customers.

Arrange your projects online

If possible, start digitising manual processes. By making your company more digital, you can cut down on inefficiencies and evaluate the overall workflow. Schedule periodic reviews to continue streamlining and evaluating your operations to keep your processes up to date.

Digitising your business is easier than you think. And the benefits are many. Adapting to digital technology will lessen the possibility of human errors and develop more efficient business processes. In the long run, digitising your business saves both time and money.

Read Also: Grow Your Business Without Breaking The Bank

This article was written by Funding Societies, Singapore’s leading peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform. They provide working capital loans for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), along with attractive investment opportunities to the broader public. 

Funding Societies is a DollarsAndSense Brand Connect partner. If you are interested to know them better, you can find out more on what they do on our DollarsAndSense Brand Connect Page.

Default Rates in Peer-to-Peer Lending Platforms

To paraphrase Crowdfund Insider’s “The Ultimate Crowdfunding Guide,” with peer-to-peer (P2P) lending, the risk an investor accepts is default. Every P2P lending platform has its own policy on default, and all investors need to take the time to understand these policies in order to protect themselves.

Because every P2P platform has its own default policy, and because the P2P lending business model is relatively young, we must be cautious when making generalizations about default rates across all platforms. Specific to Funding Societies, we fully aim to keep default rates close to banks – not exceeding 4 to 5% of loan amount to secure healthy returns for investors, even accounting for the cost of default.

The industry’s youth may cause investors with low-risk tolerance to view P2P lending as an unpredictable instrument. Generally, there is a consensus among investors that P2P lending constitutes a higher-risk, but higher-reward investment.

Is this belief true and valid? Let’s take a look at the global trend of default rates in P2P lending platforms.

Default Rates on P2P platforms in the USa

Let’s begin with default rates in USA platforms. In this fascinating article, the author analysed historical trends of default in two well-known USA platforms, then drew conclusions about the default rate of the P2P industry.

(Note that the article was published in 2014, so some might find it dated. However, the analysis within is worth a read)

The writer pointed out that from 2007 to 2008, the USA economy was doing very poorly and that both Lending Club and Prosper were operating under their earliest and most imperfect credit models, which means the default rates of 2007 and 2008 can be waved off. Since 2010, both platforms have averaged a 5% default rate and are likely to continue having solid repayment rates in the future.

The article ends with a positive conclusion about the P2P lending industry. The author wrote: “I see refined underwriting algorithms and mailed borrower marketing, encouraged investor capital and purpose-built technology all repositioning itself over and over for the past eight years until they are arrive at the stable place they hold today. I see analysis and sweat and reanalysis in these charts, and in the end I see it culminating into one of the most simple and creative investments our country has ever seen.”

His statement underscores that under the right circumstances, which includes an innovative team and rigorous credit policies, P2P lending platforms thrive and provide attractive returns while lowering default rates. The key is in selecting a trustworthy platform to invest in.

Read More: 5 Reasons To Invest in Peer-To-Peer Lending

DEFAULT RATES ON P2P PLATFORMS IN THE Uk

Moving on, let’s focus on a well-known and respected P2P lending platform from the UK: Funding Circle. In their statistics page, Funding Circle claims that its average annual default rate stands at 2%. The rate has also remained solid over the years (calculated from 2012-2017), showing that platform maturity and good credit underwriting will stabilise default rates.

funding societies’ DEFAULT RATES

What about our own platform, Funding Societies? Here is our own statistics page. Historically, our default rate across the region has lowered overtime, which reflects the analysis of P2P lending platforms in the USA: continuous platform improvement and rigorous credit policies will lower default rates.

Another worthwhile read about the risks in P2P lending is the study released by the UK Peer-to-Peer Finance Association (P2PFA). Some of the study’s pertinent points include:

  • The P2P industry has created more choice in the financing and investment market.
  • P2P lending platforms conduct credit risk assessment using the financial industry’s best practices.
  • P2P lending does not create systemic risk. Platforms are well-placed to weather a downturn in the credit cycle – defaults would need to increase at least threefold to reduce average interest rates for investors to below zero.

So let’s go back to the question we asked earlier: is P2P lending a higher-risk investment? Not necessarily.

However, the P2PFA study presented two caveats: that there is a good regulatory framework for the P2P industry and that investors are educated. For the first point, MAS has begun setting up regulations for P2P lending platforms. Funding Societies has always been compliant with regulations; we hold the CMS license required by MAS to operate, along with taking due diligence and our credit assessment process very seriously.

For the second point, there will always be risks in investing, including risk of default in P2P financing. But there are ways to mitigate such risks.

Read More: Investing In An Uncertain World

how can i diminish p2p investment risks?

How do you diminish P2P investment risks? You diversify your investment and reinvest your returns.

Diversification means distributing your funds across as many investment opportunities as possible to prevent loss in case of default. The more diversified you are, the more protected your investment. Even defaults hardly disturb your rate of return. If you choose not to diversify, you stand to lose most of your investments should a default occur.

Meanwhile, reinvestment refers to the act of funnelling your investment gains into new investment opportunities to maximise your returns. Without reinvestment, you only receive the expected rate of returns. But with reinvestment, you can maximise (sometimes doubling, even tripling) your returns while minimising your investment risks in case of default.

For more information on diversification and reinvestment, see here.

When investors fully understand the risks of P2P lending and take proper precautions to protect their funds, the advantages of investing in P2P lending clearly outweighs the risks. In fact, it’s very likely that most investors who keep diversifying and reinvesting their investment will continue to earn positive returns.


This is an updated version of an article posted on this blog. Click here for the original article.

This article was written by Funding Societies, Singapore’s leading peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform. They provide working capital loans for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), along with attractive investment opportunities to the broader public. 

Funding Societies is a DollarsAndSense Brand Connect partner. If you are interested to know them better, you can find out more on what they do on our DollarsAndSense Brand Connect Page.

4 Things About Your Personal Finance To Handle Before Thinking Of Starting Your Own Business

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong made a trip down to Silicon Valley earlier this month to visit some of the top start-ups in recent years. During his trip, he met some of the top entrepreneurs in the world over including Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Tesla & Space X CEO Elon Musk.

Starting your own business is not easy, especially if you are not born with a silver spoon. Aside from needing a top notch idea, a great team for execution, the perfect timing, the right investors and a nice dose of luck, you also need to get your own personal finance in order…first. Failure to do so would cause unnecessary stress to an already stressful career.

Before you think of taking the plunge to be your own boss, here are some personal finance matters that you should consider first.

Read Also: 5 Signs You Are Ready To Change Your Job

1. Can You Embrace A Simple Lifestyle?

When you run your own business, a large part of the effort you put in is to grow the business for tomorrow. Start-ups or new businesses do NOT work for today. They work for tomorrow, while balancing today’s need.

When you hustle, you hustle for tomorrow.

This has two main implications.

The first implication is that if (and that’s a big “if”) the business succeeds, you get to enjoy the long-term value that it brings to you, its shareholders. That could be in the form of passive income to shareholders or a big exit through an eventual sale of the business.

The second implication is that you are not going to be paid well (if any) for running this business of yours today. And that “today” can easily last 4 to 5 years.

Forget about flashing your CEO namecard at clubs or buying expensive bottle of drinks for your entourage, you wouldn’t be able to afford it. Those restaurant meals that your friends are enjoying may also be out of the question.

Rather, homecooked dinners followed by cheap coffee are likely to be the norm. So would squeezing onto the train to get to work each morning.

Billionaire Elon Musk once lived on about $1 per day in his college days. The reason for him doing so was to test himself if he really had what it takes to be an entrepreneur, and be able to survive under extreme circumstances. Elon Musk rational was that if he could survive on $30 per month on food, then it shouldn’t be too difficult for him to earn and survive on that amount as an entrepreneur.

He could. Can you?

2. Are You Able To Endure Being Underpaid?

Businesses take time to grow. If you are creating a start-up (i.e a business that nobody has done successfully), you will need even more time to grow it.

People who work regular jobs expect to be paid salaries that commiserate with their average output. When we are worth $3,000 per month as a fresh graduate, we expect to be paid that amount. When our skills and experiences increase, we expect to be paid more.

When you are working on your own business, this logic needs to be thrown out of the window. Even if you are the super employee/boss of the company doing everything from closing business deals, delivering great products and services to your clients and being a one-man accounting team, you might still be paid $2,000 per month – for doing a great job.

You might be working harder and smarter than all of your peers and still be earning the least amount of money among everyone whom you know, at least for the first few years.

Can you handle that?

3. Can Your Family Cope Financially With Your Decision?

Most of us have financial commitments in life. Some of these commitments are long-term, such as paying for the home mortgage and taking care of the needs of our children and elderly parents.

Like it or not, financial commitment to our family is one thing that we cannot get ourselves out from. You might be able to live a simple life, but your family would need to be able to cope and live with that decision you are making.

The hard and unfair truth is that not all of us are born into family that can manage the stress of financial uncertainty.

4. Do You Have A Strong Savings Plan?

Even if your business eventually turns out to be sustainable in the long run, personal cashflow challenge is one aspect that you cannot ignore.

Most businesses have cashflow challenges. Account receivable is one area that finance managers are always keeping a lookout of because poor management of your cashflow can potentially sink an otherwise profitable business.

From an individual standpoint, there might be days where you might need to allow your business to owe you unpaid salary in order to stay afloat. Your personal savings will have to step in for these challenging days in order for you to tide over short-term cashflow difficulty.

Read Also: 5 Reasons To Quit Your Job Even If You Have Not Found A New One

Funding Societies is a DollarsAndSense Brand Connect partner. If you are interested to know them better, you can find out more on what they do on our DollarsAndSense Brand Connect Page.