hidden costs

12 Hidden Costs Of Running Your Small Business

hidden costs

You’ve made a business plan, hired staff, bought inventory and made sales. Everything’s going great…until the unexpected costs show up.

Avoid the surprises by planning for the eventuality of these 12 hidden costs.

1. Employee Perks

“Whether you have 5 or 500 people on your staff, there are several employee expenses that must be taken into account when running a small business. You’ve probably already factored in the big things such as salaries, payroll taxes, benefits, and retirement plans. What you may not realize is that there are many more smaller expenses that quickly add up, such as:

  • Paid vacation time, sick leave and maternity leave
  • Certifications, classes, conferences and training
  • Office perks like ergonomic seating or Friday afternoon pizza parties
  • Employee turnover costs including hiring and training new employees” – Hiveage

2. Turnover

“Failing to invest properly in your employees, providing a living wage, a clean environment, office perks and other benefits can lead to high employee turnover. Furthermore, it costs about one-fifth of a worker’s salary to replace that person when they leave.  In some industries that cost is even higher. 

Provide perks. It’s more cost-effective to retain good employees than recruit new ones. These perks don’t have to be pricey; benefits such as flexible schedules, telecommuting and casual dress codes can do a lot to boost retention.

It’s also a good idea to negotiate annually with your health insurance provider so you can better budget for premium costs and other fees.” – Wasp Buzz

3. Administrative Costs

“Unless you are running your business out of your home, you need to consider where it will be located. Most people anticipate a rent or mortgage when they choose to buy or rent office space, but once you have that space you still have utilities (gas, a/c, electric, water, internet, phone services, etc.) to plan for.

“If you plan on having any humans work in your office, that also means you need to buy toilet tissue, soap, paper towels, plates, cup, refrigerator, desk, chairs, file cabinets, etc. Another expense to keep in mind is the cost of technology your business will need. That means computers, phones, printers, papers, scanners, fax machines, software for your computers, hardware to store the information, website development and maintenance, and IT consulting (whether in house or out sourced).” – Branding Beat

4. Phone and Internet Bills

These may be within a predictable range if you’re a one-person business, but once you add employees the costs can skyrocket. Make sure you negotiate group plans and data sharing, or unlimited data where available.

“But having to pay hundreds per month for a full-service cell phone, with the e-mail, text, and web browsing services you need to keep in touch with your clients out of the office can really add up. In the private employer market, many companies pick up the tab for things like cell phones. But entrepreneurs are on their own.

“Tip: look into your cell phone provider’s service plans. It’s worth an hour to go over every line item with your carrier, and knock that cost down as much as possible. Even so, a good smart phone can cost up to $200, along with $100 or so in monthly charges for all the bells and whistles.” – Main Street

     Read Related: 3 biggest financial challenges facing small businesses

5. Legal Fees

“You never know what’s going to happen. Small businesses are the biggest victims of frivolous lawsuits, according to the NFIB. Bogus and legitimate lawsuits cost small business owners in many ways:

  • Settlement costs. While the NFIB reports that settlements are often less than $5,000, they total $35.6 billion annually for small businesses in the U.S.
  • Higher insurance costs. After being victimized by bogus lawsuits, liability coverage premiums likely increase.
  • Lost opportunity. The time and attention that owners devote to lawsuits means time and attention not spent on running their businesses.” – Small Business Trends

6. Professional Services

“Legal and accounting fees can run into thousands of dollars annually, but these specialists can save you money and time. Legal professionals can untangle red tape. Accounting specialists can translate tax codes, help maintain accurate payment and inventory records, and find grants to help fund your endeavors. 

Negotiate with these professionals to keep fees manageable. You need the CPA or lawyer to do the heavy lifting that merits higher fees, but other tasks can easily be done (and billed to) their less-expensive support staff.  Some professionals and university programs may also offer pro-bono or discounted rates for advice or other services; it never hurts to ask.” – Wasp Buzz

7. Industry & Association Fees

“When starting up as a small business, it really helps to be connected. A great way to do this is by linking up with a trade association specific to your chosen industry. Keep in mind, however, that membership to these associations can be costly (upwards of hundreds of dollars for annual fees for membership), so try to be as selective as possible. Hopefully you will join one with loads of potential clients and try to keep the cost down by asking other members other good groups to join.” – Branding Beat

8. Equipment Repairs & Replacements

“Things break, and if you still need the equipment, you’ll have to repair or replace them. The cost of repairs can be pricey, with sole proprietors (Schedule C filers) paying more than $16.7 billion in 2012. Annual maintenance costs to keep equipment in good running condition should be an ongoing expense to avoid the higher costs of repairs or buying new equipment to replace the old.” – Small Business Trends

9. Utilities

Heating and electricity costs seem straightforward to some businesses, but they can also be unpredictable. If you’re in manufacturing, for example, or have electricity-heavy requirements in-office, like computer equipment, you’re utility bill could jump up.

“Paying for utilities could cost a significant amount of money for business owners, especially those who are looking to open a large scale operation with multiple employees. Large facilities not only require more lighting, but also more heat and air conditioning costs, which could really be especially costly for operations in extreme weather zones.” – B Plans

10. Online Payment Processors

“Did you know that some payment processors are in the habit of hiding certain fees? If your customers use premium/reward cards or your company doesn’t meet minimum monthly transactions, you could be shelling out more in payment fees than you bargained for.…

  • Some processors charge higher rates, up to 3.9%, for the premium cards that your customers prefer. Say your customer wants to use their frequent flyer or corporate card; you may get hit with a different rate vs. the originally advertised 1.9%.
  • Some processors don’t disclose what their monthly minimum process requirement or fees are. These fees can typically run $20-$35 per month if you don’t meet the minimum transaction volume. That means you’ll be penalized if you don’t meet a volume target.
  • Some processors charge a monthly statement fee, whether or not you are mailed a paper statement.
  • Finally, if you opt to cancel once you recover from the sticker shock of that first bill, you can be hit with a huge cancellation fee because you signed a multi-year agreement to get that “great deal.”” – PayPal

11. Growth Opportunities

“Most, if not all, business owners dream of growing their business empire. Often, this takes strategic expansion plans, but sometimes a growth opportunity may present itself unannounced. In order to capitalize on these opportunities, it is not uncommon for your business to require a sudden influx of capital. While I don’t advise you to account for this in your budget, it is important to be aware of ways in which you could secure business financing in case an opportunity presents itself.” – Under 30 CEO

12. Time

Time may not be a direct cost, but it’s an opportunity cost and the adage is true…time is money!

“Eric Allen [co-founder of consulting company Admit Advantage] agrees that time is a casualty of starting a business, and it can do more than eat up the hours you’d rather be doing cool work stuff. It can also spill into your personal life.

“”Opportunity cost is the cost that you’re giving up while choosing to do something else. I learned the concept in business school, but I didn’t realize it would include disappointed children, angry wives and annoyed business partners,” Allen says. “There is a significant physical and emotional cost of starting a business. It’s hard. That’s why most people fail.”” – Business Insider

 

What Is Fintech And Why Does It Matter?

what-is-fintech

The term “fintech” seems to be everywhere lately. Is this just a buzzword or is it buzzworthy? Let’s look at the details.

What is fintech?

Fintech is the shortened term for “financial technology.” It refers to companies that find ways to make financial services more efficient, intelligent and user-friendly by adopting and incorporating innovative technology and applications.

These can include different types of payment services, financial services, peer-to-peer transactions, alternative lending platforms and new crypto-currencies. And while some of these companies and new systems, like Bitcoin for example, have been seemingly quite volatile and downright confusing, there are an increasing number that have a much broader appeal to consumers and businesses alike.

Startups are the most common fintech company, as they can reinvent the wheel and start from the ground up for financial applications and processes – which are often complex and extremely resource heavy to change in legacy companies. These new fintech companies can also challenge the traditional system and create disruption in the market by offering new software and service that customers will expect from all competitors.

One example becoming more common is mobile payments. In some markets in fact, using your smartphone to pay for items is an everyday occurrence. And mobile banking has become more secure, safe and reliable – with apps providing instant access to the majority of your everyday banking needs. As consumers become more familiar and comfortable with such services, services such as Apple Pay are starting to gain real momentum and will force retailers, consumers and the financial industry to adapt.

Some high profile fintech companies getting a lot of buzz include:

  • Sofi: This fintech firm started by offering student loan assistance, then building upon that relationship to enter personal finance including mortgages and personal loans. By taking employment history and other factors into account, they’ve been able to offer solutions that weren’t typically available, especially to the younger consumer demographic.
  • OurCrowd: This Jerusalem-based company is considered a leader in equity crowdfunding for accredited investors. Managed by a team of investment pros who fund startups, they have put up $170 million from 1,500 investors.
  • Square: A simple device that turns your smartphone or tablet into a cash register. Swipe a customer card, accept payment, email receipts and get reports right to your laptop.

How will fintech companies change the market?

Although fintech companies are a hot trend, they are not forecast to wipe out traditional banking. Rather, they’ll be seen as a complement to the system, providing an ‘assist’ to bankers’ normal activities and practices while providing more options for customers in terms of available day-to-day technology.

The Economist reports that Silicon Valley fintech firms received $4 billion in funding in 2013, then an increase to $12 billion in 2014.  With such an influx in venture capital (VC) and other dollars, there’s no question this industry is set for success, and not just a flash in the pan trend.

That same report shows three key ways that fintech will change the market:

1. Cutting costs and improving quality of financial services: Without the same regulators, legacy IT systems that are complex and outdated, and brick-and-mortar branches as the old-school banking institutions, there are immediate cost savings possible in this industry. Fintech firms, in conjunction with alternative lenders, can often offer better deals to both borrowers and lenders.

2. Risk assessment: These new companies are clever – by capturing information from social media sites and online reviews to assess a small business’ performance. They also use machine learning to improve underwriting, and sites like Kickstarter are using crowdsourcing to help fund the fintech companies. By relying on algorithms and an innovative new generation of consumers, the industry can offer a fresh suite of services and limit their own risk.

3. Diversifying and stabilizing the credit landscape: By being geographically widespread and avoiding the heavy overhead of bricks-and-mortar locations like many traditional institutions, fintech firms can potentially limit their liability. They match borrowers with lenders and act as the platform or middleman to get the deal done. The lender assumes the risk so the fintech firm can grow their business and offerings. Other more established lenders can take advantage of fintech in order to access the best people, the best practices and make better decisions by not being limited to geography.

Should my business partner with a fintech firm? 

If you value the face-to-face relationships in business, you may not get that with a fintech firm for your financing needs. They are fast growing, looking for new business and may not offer traditional in-person service. That’s not to say this is the case with every fintech firm, but keep this in mind when investigating options for your business dealings.

And if you’re looking to develop a business partnership with a firm that has a rich history and experience in the market, and not just one with a rich VC funding, this may not be the place for you. There is nothing wrong with startups, VC funded companies and growth. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Entrepreneurs, business owners and innovators in fintech firms are forward thinking and help advance the entire industry, and should be well respected.

But businesses will no doubt come and go, be swallowed up by competition and perform the classic startup “pivot.” As with any business decision, due diligence is the best practice when deciding on which partners are best for your company.

 

7 Amazing Networking Tips For Every Entrepreneur

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Where do you turn to when you need business advice?

Every entrepreneur knows the value of speaking to their peers, especially when they operate a home-based business or small enterprise and rely on a close network of trusted advisors.

We recently held our annual conference in beautiful Montreal, Canada, where our franchisees came together to discuss trends in the market and business best practices. These are some of the most successful franchisees in all of North America, and the conference gave everyone a chance to learn what works, what doesn’t, how to offer a better customer experience and most importantly, how to grow a profitable business the right way.

We gathered some of the best advice from franchisees throughout the conference to share with you as fellow business pros.

Tip 1: Build your referral network

Everyone has their traditional network of contacts, but not everyone has built a true referral network out of those contacts.

To start, create a list of all your contacts, personal and professional. Gather these from every possible source – and we mean every source – family, friends, business cards, old Rolodex files, every person you’ve ever emailed and all your LinkedIn contacts. Create a spreadsheet of all these contacts and this will be your master list.

Rank those contacts from 1 – 4 based on their potential to generate referrals. This is your starting point for finding the right contacts at the right time and building an incredible referral program.

In future posts, we’ll discuss how to use this referral list to connect with the right people via social networks, email campaigns, in-person meetings and special events.

Tip 2: Build an email list using social media

A regular e-newsletter to your contacts is a fantastic way to turbo-charge your business relationships and reach out for referrals.

As a starting point, use LinkedIn to build out your email list. If you have an existing email list, you can match it to your LinkedIn contacts and add to your list with online connections. One business owner increased his list from 300 to 1100 using primarily this tactic.

Once your list is ready, send out a monthly newsletter that provides valuable content to your readers, and ensure that you include a call-to-action asking for referrals. You can use software like MailChimp to easily manage your list and emails.

Even with a straightforward monthly e-newsletter you can get 500 views relatively quickly and make use of those valuable connections.

Tip 3: Join local business associations

Local Chambers of Commerce are a fantastic way to reach out to your business community. Every business owner should visit their local Chamber as a starting point, and then ask about related associations relevant to your industry.

Many Chambers run workshops, special events and networking groups and sessions that can include one-on-ones between business owners. This is a great way to meet peers in your community and get to know each other face-to-face, making it easier to give and receive referrals from one another.

Tip 4: Hold events in the local community

Speaking of Chambers of Commerce, you can often take advantage of their space for minimal or no charge. If you are setting up a special client event, see if you can hold it at the Chamber, which is generally a centrally located and well-maintained space.

And make those local events memorable. Use food, drink and entertainment to make your guests happy they attended. Most importantly, they’ll associate positive sentiment with you and your business brand.

Tip 5: Convenience is key when it comes to client meetings

Consider the location and timing of any events, meetings and mixers you hold for your clients. Make it convenient, as they are doing you a favour by being there.

If you’re meeting for a quick coffee, find a unique space close to their office. Or if time is tight, bring them coffee and snacks to their office and your meeting will be much more welcome. If you’re holding a special event, make sure you define specific start and end times, and stick to them. Your clients’ schedules are just as important as the event itself.

Tip 6: Show some love in return

If your clients attended your events, return the favour and support them at any functions they run. It could be a monthly mixer or a fundraising event, but they’ll notice and appreciate the support.

Get bonus points by following them on social media and then retweeting or posting something about their events to help spread the word.

Tip 7: Consider your “Return on Time”

We all focus on ROI, but do you look at your ROT – return on time?

What networking activities are you doing on a regular basis and how much time does it take to complete those tasks? You can do a quick analysis of your daily, weekly and monthly networking activities and determine what’s really paying off. If there’s something that gives you a high ROT, then continue and potentially expand that activity. Conversely, if sometimes is a massive time drain and “bad ROT,” then consider putting a hold on that activity.

Bonus: Chat to your business partners

All the vendors and partners you work with have likely gone through similar business issues and growing pains. And they are likely always looking for good advice and improving their contacts as well. If you’re looking for advice from peers, why not chat with one of your trusted partners? At Liquid Capital, we are always happy to chat with our clients and help businesses grow.

successful entrepreneur

Think Like a Successful Entrepreneur

successful entrepreneur

We have all heard and read stories of businesses that fail and businesses that take off. Learning from the experiences of other entrepreneurs increases your likelihood of success. Here are four key takeaways to fuel business growth.

Stay Confident.

Richard Feloni, a senior reporter for www.BusinessInsider.com, interviewed 20 successful entrepreneurs about the most important lesson they learned in their 20s. One-quarter of the lessons had something to do with having confidence. For example:

“Any limitations on personal growth are self-imposed.”

“Don’t take business personally.”

“Don’t sell yourself short.”

“The first step to becoming an entrepreneur is gaining self-confidence.”

“The importance of being decisive.”

Strip away layers of bureaucracy.

Canadianbusiness.com highlights the concept in an article by Alexandra Bosanac, How Flat Hierarchies Help Companies Stay Nimble And Grow Faster. Referencing the success of Corporate Travel Management Solutions (CTMS), which has eliminated middlemanagement altogether, Bosanac explains that the result is a fluid business “with senior executives taking a hands-on approach in day-to-day operations” and better customer relations. Her advice: “For firms not ready to make such a radical leap, simply organizing staff into strategic self-contained pods that each use a flat hierarchy is an easy first step.”

Bounce back from failure.

Jodi Goldstein, Managing Director at Harvard Innovation Labs, writes for entrepreneur.com in “How Startups Can Bounce Back After A Failed First Launch.” The article highlights four steps:

1. Collect Customer Feedback

2. Consider Bringing in New Advisors

3. Look at How Your Competition Is Faring

4. Don’t Let Your Pride Prevent You from Pivoting

She encourages business owners: “Great entrepreneurs balance the conviction in their ideas with the humility to take action when their original ideas aren’t translating into the desired business results. If your customers, advisors and competitors are telling you that it’s time to change directions, I’d strongly encourage you to take this advice to heart.”

Be ready for success.

You’ve likely heard of the Pokémon GO game, which has attracted millions of users. The maker, Niantic, hasn’t been able to keep up with demand, however, resulting in server problems and insufficient tech support. (Though people still love it!) It’s an apt example of not being prepared to handle an influx of more customers than expected. Whether a software company, transportation provider, manufacturer or service provider, planning matters. Think ahead to the investments required to manage demand. You want to make a positive impression on every first-time customer.

Successful entrepreneurs pour their heart and cash into their vision; they also envision what it will take if their idea exceeds expectation.

 

3 Biggest Financial Challenges Facing Small Business Owners

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When the going gets tough, it’s usually finance-related. Here are the three challenges you may be facing with your small business, and tips to overcome them.

1. Positive Cash Flow

Every small business knows that cash flow is a top priority. You need liquidity in order to channel funds into your other top strategic priorities.

According to Simon Dell at Business.com, this is a domino effect that not only impacts your business, but all the other businesses you work with.

“Personally I think the biggest challenge affecting any small business is cash flow. Every business, including mine, has suffered from, or suffers from issues with getting money in that is owed with them. The problem stems from a domino effect of one business having poor profitability earlier on in the chain that then starts to directly affect all the others, as many small businesses trade with other small business. Thus the situation compounds itself.”

The cash flow solution:

 Dell points out that this situation shouldn’t make you feel stuck in a cash flow rut.

“However there are a number of good solutions that can be implemented. The best two I have seen is invoice factoring – where another business loans you the value of the invoice that you’ve issued and pay you immediately. The second is to move your business, where possible, to a subscription business. If you can implement a direct bank transfer for services or goods at the start of the month, then that goes a long way to eliminating many cash flow issues.”

2. Money Management

It’s hard to find a small business owner who hasn’t felt the pressure of operating their business effectively while also managing all the day-to-day financial management. From dealing with expenses, receipts and invoices all the way to tax-time issues and end-of-year reporting, these are the administrative duties that most SMBs dread.

The money management solution:

Investopedia offers a straightforward solution: get professional help.

“Money management becomes even more important when cash is flowing into the business and to the owner. Although handling business accounting and taxes may be within the capabilities of most business owners, professional help is usually a good idea. The complexity of a business’ books go up with each client and employee, so getting an assist on the book keeping can prevent it from becoming a reason not to expand.”

3. No Access to Funding for Growth

“Year after year, owners listed access to funding as one of their most formidable concerns facing the future of their businesses,” states Ryan Weaver in The Globe and Mail’s business growth column.

Finding the right funding solution is important, as your business should consider loan repayment schedules and rates when weighing the options. Weaver goes on to suggest that, “Hundreds of small business grants and loans programs exist to help businesses expand, subsidize hiring, and allow firms to take part in projects and activities proven to increase global competitiveness.”

However, many SMBs face further challenges when traditional grant programs, government funding and bank loans aren’t an option. Often, small businesses can be denied loans when the company has a limited operating history, low gross margins or when their industry doesn’t fall within the bank’s criteria.

The funding solution:

Finding a trusted alternative lender can be the perfect solution in these circumstances. And many SMBs find trusted lending partners that they can build ongoing relationships with in order to access funding with much more ease. This can be a big advantage when business demands become timely, such as when you must fulfill an unexpectedly large order or hire more staff for a new project.

Business News Daily explains that alternative lending has some major positives. “Your business doesn’t need to have a perfect financial status, there are few restrictions on what the money can be used for, and the loans can be approved almost instantly.”

Asset-based lending may also be an option for businesses in a large growth phase that have significant business assets such as inventory, machinery or real estate to leverage. Consider looking at all the alternative funding options that can bridge you to the next step in your business growth. Your business is not restricted to traditional lenders and a trusted alternative source can give your business growth the kick-start it needs.

 

linkedin tips

How Do I Improve My LinkedIn Posts?

This is a great question. You’ve been posting updates from your LinkedIn company page or personal profile, but are they being seen? And are they working?

How to see your results

The first indicator of performance is to look at the likes, comments and shares of each of your posts.

Click on “Profile” and then “Your Updates” from the drop-down menu.

This will show you a list of your recent activity including all the posts you’ve shared. At the bottom of each post you’ll see if people are engaging with your content.

If there aren’t a lot of engagements then it means the audience isn’t finding the posts relevant. Everyone’s audience is a little different, so it may take some time to improve your performance, but even a little adjustment can go a long way.

Here are five immediate things you can do to improve your LinkedIn performance.

1. Share your opinion

When sharing someone else’s blog article or post, try adding your own opinions or personal thoughts to the beginning of your post. For example, “This is the best explanation of small business financing I’ve ever seen.” followed by the post. This gives your followers insight into why you’re sharing the post and should encourage them to click and engage.

2. Change or add an image

Make sure your posts contain image that resonates more with your personal audience. Use a vibrant image with colour and interest that will cut through the clutter on people’s newsfeeds. If you’re sharing a webpage or blog article, you can flip through various images from that page by clicking on the directional arrows once you enter the website URL. Or upload your own image by clicking the image icon on the top right of the update box.

3. Post at a different time or day

Switch it up a bit by posting at different times of day. Often, LinkedIn users will be more responsive early in the morning or later in the day, outside of their regular work hours. So try to post at different times when your audience may be more receptive. Don’t forget to post on Saturday and Sunday as well. You’ll have less competition on the news feed, and users are still checking in on weekends.

4. Engage with more LinkedIn users

Usually by increasing how often you like, comment and share posts from others, the more likely they’ll be to reciprocate. Make it a habit to like at least one or two posts every day on your news feed. And commenting on posts from your connections can go a long way. Even to say “Thanks Denise, that was a great post!”

5. Post new types of content

Try to post different types of content than normal. If you always post content from the same source like your company website or favourite news outlet, it will make your page a “one-trick pony.” Instead, find interesting content from industry websites and blogs, news sites and LinkedIn Pulse, then share those on your page along with your own brief commentary. At least 50% of your posts should be fresh content from sources other than your own company sites. This will make your feed valuable to your connections.

 

what is ABL?

Bullet Points: How Asset-Based Lending Increases Cash Flow

what is ABL?

Time is money, and when you’re in need of cash flow you need to get information fast. Let’s cut to the chase with the bullet points on asset-based lending.

What is Asset-Based Lending (ABL)?

  • An asset-based loan allows you to leverage your accounts receivable, inventory, equipment and real estate in order to get access to working capital
  • It can be a loan from 6 – 24 months, but generally averages around 1 year
  • Often used by established companies with definable and identifiable internal processes and controls.

What assets can be used for ABL?

  • Accounts receivable: Invoices that customers owe you now or in the future
  • Inventory: raw materials, work in progress or finished goods sitting in your warehouse
  • Machinery and equipment: Funding can be up to 75% of the liquidation value.
  • Real estate: Register a collateral mortgage against residential or commercial properties. You may also check into your property values with an up-to-date appraisal from your real estate agent. Liquid Capital can provide more info on the process.

what is ABL financing

Why would your company turn to ABL?

  • It’s a more flexible type of financing
  • Well suited to companies with seasonal sales
  • If you’re in rapid growth stages, it can get you faster access to cash flow
  • Clients outside of covenant with their bank may find this is a better option 

To qualify for ABL, your company should:

  • Have a strong credit rating
  • Have comprehensive financial reporting and internal controls
    • Monthly financial statements
    • Aged A/R and A/P summaries
    • Have proven success and a good track record

Read Related: What is accounts receivable financing and factoring? Leverage unpaid invoices and turn them into liquid cash flow.

ABL may be right for your company if you are:

  • Short on working capital
  • Fall shy of bank loan criteria
  • Have seasonal capital requirements that don’t fit into the bank loan structure
  • Looking for lower rates than a factoring solution
  • Not looking for a long-term contract for financing
  • Consider optics important and you don’t want your client experience to change. Discretion is key with non-notification ABL, typically available to larger businesses. Check with your Liquid Capital Principal to see if this is available to your business.
    • Payments are deposited into a “sweep account” (typically at your bank) and your client is never aware that Liquid Capital is handling your financial transactions.
    • In a strong growth cycle and need quicker access to working capital.
      • Liquid Capital calculates borrowing amounts on a weekly basis, compared to banks that traditionally do this on a monthly basis. If you’re growing, your ability to borrow will increase.
interns

Profit From The Power Of Interns

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Finding and hiring effective employees is an ongoing challenge for growing companies. Running an internship program may help develop your team. However, before you establish one, keep in mind the realities and commitment for both the interns and the employer.

For an intern program to be worthwhile, you need to first decide what legitimate tasks an intern can perform. Be clear from the beginning what you expect. In turn, ask what the intern expects to gain. Experience in a specific industry? Skills in their craft? Interns typically look for tangible assets such as letters of recommendation or introductions to key industry contacts, too.

Right out of the gate an intern can be an asset. Millennials, for example, have grown up with social media and quickly evolving technology. They bring skills and insights your staff might not have. For skills specific to your industry, hiring interns while they’re still in college gives you time to groom them so that they’ll be a good match for permanent employment after they graduate. An advantage to that approach is displacing the cost of hiring as well as a training period. The newly hired previous intern will be ready to go right from the beginning of employment. Internships are an ideal way to ensure that you develop what you ultimately need in a competent employee.

ManpowerGroup has nearly 3,900 offices across 80 countries with 400,000 clients from small organizations to globally-renowned corporations. Its tenth annual Talent Shortage Survey shows that about one in five (19%) employers struggle to find candidates with applicable experience. Its infographic “The Talent Shortage Persists” highlights opportunities for both job seekers and needy employers. The deficit comes down to experience: the lack of technical competencies (hard skills) and workplace competencies (soft skills).

Vault is a resource for 2.5 million subscribers worldwide, matching thousands of employers (70 of the Fortune 100) to 6 million students and constituents. Interviewing 6,000 current and former students for its Top Internship Rankings for 2016, Vault found that approximately three-quarters of interns on average receive a full-time job offer from the employer after interning.

Lastly, understand your responsibility as a company recruiting interns. SkilledUp reports that the average hourly wage rate for a paid intern with a bachelor’s degree ranges from $15.05 to $17.94, depending on the applicant’s major. Unpaid internships are an option but you need to understand the law. SkilledUp’s blog post Recruiting For (And Through) Your Company Internship Program explains the “six prong test” as per the Fair Labor Standards Act. A key requirement is that an internship will not displace a regular employee.
Bottom line: Do your homework. The right intern program can save your company money while grooming an apprentice to be your ideal employee.
Image via NASA Goddard

Rio Welcomes The Launch Party For Inaugural ArtsGames

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The Olympics have come to Rio, amidst much fanfare and swarms of media attention. But there’s another hot ticket in town, and you’re going to be hearing a lot more about it in the near future.

The inaugural ArtsGames is a global competition that was created byOlympian Sylvia Sweeney. As the niece of the late and iconic jazz musician Oscar Peterson, Sylvia wanted to create an equally iconic event that would bring cultures together. And other than sport, what better way to do that than the arts?

With a mission “to provide a global platform to demonstrate the excellence that exists in all cultures,” the ArtsGames is ready to take on the world of arts in fine form. Sweeney has hosted several related events over past Olympics, however, this year marks the introduction of the formal ArtsGames, combining her love of sport, music and cultural togetherness.

The inaugural ArtsGames will be hosted in 2018, with the audition process beginning in 2017.

Liquid Capital has been a proud sponsor of the ArtsGames since 2008, and we wanted to showcase this event, bringing attention to its involvement at the Rio Olympic Games and how to get involved.

PLACE des Arts

What are the ArtsGames?

On January 12, 2018, the ArtsGames will be welcomed by host city, Montreal, Canada.

This spectacular 10-day event will feature over 20,000 competing artists from around the world, representing their countries in live nation vs. nation events spanning five categories: Music, Dance, Literature, Media Arts and Visual Arts.

Over the course of the ArtsGames, artists will compete in over 20 venues for one of the 144 medals that will be awarded.

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This is no small affair, as the ArtsGames committee anticipates  “1 billion+ online and broadcast viewers from 196 countries will watch as artists set a new standard for global excellence.”

Every two years, the events will be hosted in a new city and countries will have the chance to send their best and brightest artists to compete in what will surely be an awe-inspiring competition.

Competing and the “Audition” process

Just as with the Olympic Games, competition in the ArtsGames will be fierce. And qualifying to participate will require dedication and expertise in one’s field.

“Held every two years starting in 2017, The Auditions will host artists who have risen to the top in global competitions through our sanctioned federations, ArtsGames online competitions, and through ArtsGames Scouts-at-large.”

As the headquarter city for this new global event, Montreal will also play host to the final qualifying stage of The Auditions every two years. Touted for valuing “the arts as much as it values cultural diversity,” the city matches the founding principals of the ArtsGames.

Although the process doesn’t officially begin until August 2017, artists are already encouraged to follow ArtsGames for qualifying competitions.

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With Olympians on board and a full team in place, there is no better place to officially launch the ArtsGames than at Rio 2016. On August 11, 2016, the ArtsGames will be presented to the world, complete with star-studded performances.

As a proud sponsor of the ArtsGames, we encourage you to follow the organization and participate in events. Good luck to all competitors! 

Images via ArtsGames.com

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How To Increase Your Business Liquidity Through Prompt Payment Of Current Invoices

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Cash flow and liquidity is a challenge for all businesses at one point or another.

Part of the problem might not be your business at all, but rather, it could be that your clients haven’t paid invoices on time.

Or your company is growing much quicker than expected. In this case, you could do so much more if you had access to the cash that will eventually come in when your accounts receivable are paid.

In other cases, it could be that an unexpected event occurred like major equipment damage or an unexpected product delivery schedule change. Any major event could put your company cash flow into crisis, and the possible tailspin can put any business owner into fright.

An Innovative Solution to Invoice Processing

Whatever the issue, there’s a solution to speed up your invoice processing called “accounts receivable financing” that can be a huge relief.

Also called “factoring,” this is an innovative way for your business to access quick and secure financing through the sale of your invoices. We specialize in this financing at Liquid Capital, and can offer up to 85% of the value of your accounts receivable, which you can then use as you need.

And this can be a liberating strategy to free up working capital on an ongoing basis. Your only limit is your ability to sell to credit-worthy customers. We collect the financed debts from your customers, which frees up your admin time and takes the headache out of your A/R process. But you’re not in the dark, as we also provide clear, accessible reporting to keep you up to date on the process. 

Where a bank loan might be denied, A/R factoring could potentially advance you hundreds of thousands of dollars—in a very short timeframe. 

Many SMBs can’t access traditional bank loans all of the time. They could be extended already with bank debt, have an untraditional business model that the banks aren’t yet comfortable with or a host of other points that don’t satisfy the institution at that point in time.

This isn’t to say that a bank loan isn’t possible in the future, but in the meantime using accounts receivable financing can be the exact answer needed.

Get the full details on accounts receivable financing here.