Business illusration

Learn This Quick Way to Take Advantage of Supplier Discounts

cash cycle

Sometimes you’ll come across a business deal that’s too good to pass up, but the payment terms are too short, or worse yet…there are no terms.

That’s the time when working capital is crucial, and there’s a quick solution to get you the necessary capital.

For instance, if your supplier network offers a limited-time bulk sale, you can take advantage of that deal with the Purchase Financing Program (PFP). This doesn’t tie up any working capital to finance the cost of the payment, so you can keep your day-to-day operations intact.

Who is the Purchase Financing Program made for?

PFP is a very attractive solution for companies that already have a strong credit rating but may have maxed out their bank loan options, or need a faster solution.

No matter where your supplier is located, your in-transit inventory can be financed. That inventory can be goods for resale, inventory or consumption. You receive the goods, then pay the PFP invoices as agreed. It’s that simple.

The Purchase Financing Program can effectively reduce your CCC by extending your purchase terms. If you have the ability to pay in regular terms, but not the short or no terms set out by the supplier, this program can help you.

Example: How PFP can lock in a great supplier deal

Jacksons Preserves, run by Meg Jackson, is a 30-year family-run business with excellent sales, suppliers, a dedicated customer base and a strong credit rating. It is currently quarter-end when Jacksons pays out many expense and payroll bonuses, and their main supplier has just offered a deep discount on an overstock of canning supplies. The catch? Payment is required on delivery (COD), and it’s first come, first served.

Jacksons holds inventory for an average of 14 days before shipment, has a standard net-30 day payable terms, and gets paid on average after 60 days. If they take the discount, they’ll be left tight on capital after also paying the bills.

Cash Cycle Reminder:

With this bit of information, we can calculate the “cash cycle” for Jacksons Preserves, which tells you how many days it takes them to turn their inventory purchases into cash. That number (known as the CCC) is one key indicator that lenders and other financial providers use to assess your potential risk level. Want to learn more? Get all the details and figures in part one of our cash cycle series.

How PFP works in this case

Jacksons calls up their Liquid Capital partner to use the Purchase Financing Program and snag this supplier deal while it lasts. Liquid Capital pays the supplier directly, deferring Jacksons’ payables outstanding for this transaction to 30 extra days, giving them time to gain working capital from other sales.

Here’s how the cash cycle calculations would look when comparing PFP to an ordinary situation. It’s quite a dramatic improvement.

ORIGINAL CCC USING THE PURCHASE FINANCING PROGRAM
CCC = DIO – DPO + DSO CCC = DIO – DPO + DSO
CCC = 14 – 0 + 60 CCC = 14 – 30 + 60
CCC = 74 days CCC = 44 days

Improved CCC by 30 days

 

In this instance, Jacksons Preserve will have an extra 30 days of breathing room to pay the expense on their supply deal. By taking advantage of the discount, their production expenses will decrease and profits will likely increase. This more than pays for their short-term financing solution.

 

More in the Cash Cycle Series:

Part 1: How to Determine Your Company’s “Cash Conversion Cycle” 

Part 2: 7 proven cash flow tactics every CFO needs to know          

Part 3: Leverage your assets to grow your working capital

Part 4: Keep suppliers happy and the cash in your pocket

Recent funding illustration

Recent Fundings – November 2017

workplace expectations mix of images from past to now

See how our workplace expectations have changed since 1946

workplace expectations

What motivates you at the office? How do you approach meetings and group work? Do you challenge authority or look up to them? All of your answers are probably quite different than other generations in the workforce, and unlocking the answers for each generation you deal with can be a solved mystery that will make you more effective in business.

Think how your first boss would have answered those questions. It’s probably quite different. What about that new up-and-comer entering the office this year? They will have an entirely transformed approach.

Unlocking the mysteries: How other generations think

Workplace expectations in business are very different than they were even 20 years ago, and they have hugely changed from those of 50 years past. Six key factors have all contributed to a massive upheaval of what leaders and employees feel they have a right to expect in their work life:

  1. The Rise of Woman Power
  2. Right-brain/Left Brain Thinking
  3. Education
  4. Technology
  5. Confidence
  6. Values

When considered individually, each of these factors have played a role in changing conditions within the business workplace. Together, they have created the perfect environment for the rights and expectations of individuals to become as important as the vision of the leaders and where employers need to keep their staff happy in order to keep them at all.

Taken from Confident Leadership in 21st Century Business: Bridging the Generation Gaps, the following chart offers a comparison of changing workplace expectations in business since 1946. Notice how each generation has their own shift in the way they approach the business world.

 

Category Boomers I Boomers II Gen X Gen Y Gen Z
Birth Year 1946-1954 1955-1965 1963-1980 1980-2000 1995-
Coming of Age 1967-1975 1976-1986 1984-2001 2001-2021 2008-
Meeting Style Value meetings and opportunities to brainstorm. Value the invitation to participate, and eager to show themselves capable. Like meetings with a purpose. Don’t like to waste time. Prefer independent time. Prefer short, casual meetings with team activities. Want to be entertained. Eager to participate. Little patience for repetition or delays.
Attitude

Toward Authority

Honor, respect Disillusioned and untrusting Skeptical, suspicious Need to be respected by leaders Need to be valued by leaders
Technology Master it Improve it Enjoy it Employ it Adapt it
Interactive Style Self-absorbed Self-sufficient Self-starting free agents Team player Collaborative
Work is… An exciting adventure An arduous adventure A necessary challenge Meant to be meaningful A means to a better world
Characteristics Driven, optimistic, competitive, think people should pay their dues The “in-it-for-me” group, struggling to compete with Boomers I Latch-key kids, survivors, skeptical, self-reliant Ask why, prefers teamwork and supportive structure, craves feedback and instant gratification Analytical information processors, world-wide collaborators, ready to tackle global issues
Message that Motivates You are important to success You matter We need your ideas You and your co-workers can turn this place around The world needs you

 

One career for life? Not anymore.

Choosing a career for life is no longer the norm. Today, multiple and highly divergent careers are increasingly common.

As little as five years ago, career life expectancies averaged about 10 years. Today we are much closer to half that amount. Job changes happen even more frequently — in fact, two years between companies is the norm. If you last three years in the same job now, you will either be considered the “superstar” or complacent.

Twenty years ago, business people expected to work in an office building, Monday to Friday, and with set hours. Today, workdays and hours are flexible and individuals that can work remotely are considered an asset.

Rather than choosing the corner office with a view, we would rather avoid the stress of commuting and office conflicts by working from home or even from another country. Yet we still value teamwork over individual projects. To make this working style a reality, we can now use new technology to stay connected and productive from anywhere. Ah, technology — that wonderful and ceaselessly advancing opportunity for so much more than conversation at the water cooler.

Do employees have more rights?

In essence, we have gone from employee rights rising from minimal to maximum importance. Employees that once valued security above all else, now “vote with their feet” if they are not satisfied that their psychological needs are being met.

We have moved from predominantly individual work to fully collaborative teams, and our pyramidal hierarchy of business organization is slowly, but surely, morphing into a circular design. Today, employees and leaders alike are looking to be happy, fulfilled, engaged and productive in the workplace. Individual voices, as well as collaborative teams, expect and demand to be heard.

The business that can provide this ultimate workplace culture and fulfill workplace expectations is the one that will attract and retain the best people, at least for today.

 

Business author and speaker, Rosemarie Barnes, highlights the challenges that leaders may face when dealing with multiple generations in one workplace. Learn more about how the generation gaps in business are affecting company health and profits in her book, Confident Leadership in 21st Century Business: Bridging the Generation Gaps, now available on Amazon (US and Canada). Rosemarie can be booked for presentations via rbarnes@confidentstages.com. For more information, visit confidentstages.com.

 

Featured image via Daniel X. O’Neil 

How Lending Fees and Terms Matter – Part One

Not all alternative or asset-based lenders are equal.  Our industry relies on high quality referrals and for that reason it is imperative that referral partners and prospective clients themselves become familiar with the terms and fees that make each alternative lender different.  Appearances might be very misleading.

Terms, fees and responsiveness are generally the most relevant aspects of the relationship between us and our clients.  As their funding partner, clients rely on our ability to support their growth, seize new opportunities, cover immediate financial needs and sometimes provide a life line.  We take these relationships very seriously and so should our referral partners and prospective clients, therefore we will cover some of the key elements regarding alternative business lending terms and fees.

Pricing is often a top concern for our clients whether they are interested in asset-based lending, factoring of AR, PO and inventory financing, equipment financing or leasing.  Unfortunately, the apparent “ticket price” is very frequently misleading.  Many alternative lenders have a number of different fees, some are disclosed at closing when everyone is rushing to get funding done.  Even worse, fees are frequently hidden in sophisticated lawyerly language that hardly anyone can understand.

Fees are generally split in 3 phases, at the time of application, during the relationship and upon termination.  Application fees normally include origination, underwriting, legal and sometimes appraisal and/or audit fees.  Only occasionally these are waived as they cover actual costs incurred.  However, I have seen these range significantly between lenders.  Application fees must be fully discussed prior to any engagement as they can get very expensive.

Fees charged during the relationship may include processing, discount, cost of funds, delays, misdirection, missing information, funds employed, anniversary, wire and the list goes on and on.  Some of these fees could be considered hidden and can be extremely confusing to the client.  To make it worse, these may be unexpected causing cash flow problems as well as complicating budgeting and planning.  Unfortunately, these fees can stack on top of each other and may be assessed with little to no transparency to the client.  Some fees can also be affected by floating days, or may apply in blocks of days rather than daily.

Termination fees may be assessed too.  These apply when the lender offers a facility with a minimum term period and the client wants to terminate it earlier.  Business owners and referral sources should be very cautious with these fees, particularly in situations when the company is planning on moving on to conventional lending.  Unfortunately, I have seen termination fees that are extremely onerous, up to 40% of the yearly fees incurred.  Sometimes the lender rolls the termination date indefinitely, locking the client in the relationship and thwarting its transition.

I hope you learned something valuable today.  In the next edition we will cover what terms should be carefully looked at when comparing alternative lending options.

Mix vies of NYC and graphs

Is that “angel investor” actually a demon in disguise?

angel investor

You’ve seen them on TV — those sharp-dressed, smooth-talking angel investors with big personalities and even bigger wallets. Sure, they’re charming and have the business chops to prove their success. But are the sharks and dragons of the world actually the right people to partner with in your next business venture?

Yes, due in part to the smash hits Shark Tank and Dragons’ Den, angel investors can be a consideration when startups and small businesses look for funding. In fact, the typical angel investment can provide $25,000 to $100,000 of funding — a significant stake in your business. Is that investment worth its value, and are there hidden costs or risks associated with this new business relationship?

There’s no doubt that many angel investors can bring incredible experience to the table. They know how to grow a company, have savvy business minds, never fear the unknown and have a wonderful ability to take on what others may see as a risk. Compound all those traits with their deep pockets and you’ve got a recipe for huge returns.

However, not all angels are watching out for your best interest. Keep your eyes peeled for these six types of angel investors that may actually be demons in disguise.

The Tire Kickers

You likely need fast funding and don’t have time to waste with investors who aren’t serious about committing funds. This isn’t a used car lot, so watch out for “The Tire Kickers.”

“As a founder, the last thing you need is to have your chain yanked. A firm “no” is far better than “we’ll think about it” or “we’ll take it under advisement.” If you feel like an angel is stringing you along, trust your gut,” advises Jenny Q. Ta in Fast Company. “Chances are pretty good they are afraid of making a commitment until they know who else is joining the round. Beware of the sheep in angel’s clothing.”

The Sharks

You’ve undoubtedly seen this personality shine on the reality shows. A would-be entrepreneur pitches their product, but can’t recall every financial figure and stat to back their claims. That’s when “The Sharks” see their prey — and they attack.

According to Martin Zwilling in Business Insider,“This is the ultimate bad guy whose sole intention of getting involved in early-stage investing is to take advantage of what they believe is the entrepreneur’s lack of financial and deal-making experience. If the term sheet process turns to pure torture, it may be time to respectfully bow out.”

The Overachievers

Angel investors are naturally more risk tolerant, and they may expect you to be as well. With high risk comes the potential for higher returns, and “The Overachievers” are going to want to see the money. Be prepared for these angels to expect bigger payouts than the average investor.

“It isn’t unusual for an angel investor to expect a rate of return that equals 10 times their original investment inside the first 5 – 7 years,” states Murray Newlands with Startup Grind. “When you are being held to this type of standard, the pressure to generate may be intense. If you are considering angel investors, you must determine whether the startup is within a position to expand at the rate the investor expects.”

The Archangels

Every good angel has a mentor, and these higher-ups are called “The Archangels.” They can bring other investors together and make deals happen fast. The Archangels can shape any idea, organize creative funding agreements and turnaround entire companies. These angels are the key contacts that everyone wants to be in touch with, and for good reason — since their influence can attract would-be investors from other industries and geographies. But be warned, as certain Archangels aren’t so trustworthy…

“There are a lot of people that pretend to be “Archangels” and offer to connect you with people that have money, sometimes for a fee,” says Todd Vernon in a recent Inc. article. “If your “Archangel” Investor is not actually investing his or her money, but simply acting as a proxy for others, take note; that is a warning sign.”

The Know-it-alls

Experienced angels have often been in the game for years, and many of them have grown their own companies by completely disrupting their industries with innovative products and methodologies. But in some cases, this is a breeding ground for “The Know-it-alls.” Because these people have been uber-successful by forging their own paths, they may now believe that their way is the right one. And it can be hard for The Know-it-alls to let go and allow you to chart your own territory.

The trick is dealing with this type of angel in a particular way, as Jonathan Moules explained in a Financial Times article. “Be diplomatic about how you receive an angel’s advice, adopting the tips on more “timeless” matters – such as how to find a good salesperson or how to launch a product – and politely ignoring the advice on matters specific to the investor’s previous forays into business.”

The Control Freaks

Although you might be looking for a hands-off investor, be assured that most angels still need to be involved in certain parts of how your company is run. “The Control Freaks” take this to a whole other level though, looking at every detail of how you run your business with a microscope, and then micromanaging to ‘tell’ you how to move the business forward.

“Angel investors aren’t going to shell out big bucks without taking an interest in how the money is used. If you’re expecting them to take a completely hands-off approach, you may be in for a rude awakening,” cautions Rebecca Lake at Quickbooks. “It’s more likely that your angel will want to take an active role in making decisions that affect the outcome of your business.” Lake warns that even with “The Control Freak” making decisions on your behalf, you are still accountable. “Even if they leave the reins in your hands, you’ll still be accountable for explaining the reasoning behind your choices.”

 

If you’re looking for investors and enhanced business funding, angel investors can still be an option. Do your homework and due diligence to know exactly who you’re working with, understand their expectations and make the right funding partnership. And if the agreement isn’t sitting well with you, don’t sign on the dotted line until you’ve looked at all your options.

There are always alternatives to secure funding for your business, like with Liquid Capital Factoring or Asset-Based Lending. Feel free to reach out and we can discuss your options.

Two male workers in a factory

Air Oasis

Getting into the right financial condition

It takes vision, ambition and talent to grow your business. But once that growth starts to happen, it also takes capital. That’s the position Air Oasis owner Kaleb Zeringue found himself in when he decided to make Liquid Capital part of his business’s financial strategy.

Air Oasis is a Florida-based HVAC installation company that had been working diligently toward adding commercial business to complement its strong residential clientele. With that in mind, they were looking to get into the Florida hotel space installing air system upgrades. Zeringue’s efforts paid off, and he landed installation contracts with Marriott International. Marriott would use a third-party engineering firm to design and order the upgraded air systems for specific hotel properties such as Marriott Courtyard at Mayo Jacksonville. Once the new equipment arrived at the hotel site, Air Oasis would install it over a one- to two-week period.

With work in place and increasing, Air Oasis was looking for a line of credit to ensure it could meet its client’s needs as well as its own payroll and other working capital requirements. Although the bank was unable to underwrite the funding, they referred Air Oasis to Liquid Capital. It turned out an accounts receivable factoring solution was ideal for the company’s needs.

”Our business was growing pretty rapidly. We had a contract lined up with Marriott for six jobs in a row—that’s $150,000 worth of work—but we didn’t have the funds to float it. Each job costs thousands to execute, but with the 45-to-60-day payment schedule, I just didn’t have the cash flow to pay my people. If we couldn’t get funding really quickly, we probably couldn’t have done the jobs.” – Kaleb Zeringue, Owner, Air Oasis

Where there’s work, there’s a way

The Marriott upgrade work Air Oasis had secured was a series of pressurization projects. It involved replacing air system equipment, doing duct work modification and determining the right air-flow balances across the property. With a month’s worth of labour often costing $25,000 and materials perhaps $10,000, the costs on such projects can mount quickly. In most cases, banks will not finance based on accounts receivable, so Liquid Capital’s solution was the perfect way for Air Oasis to realize its potential.

In keeping with Liquid Capital’s hands-on approach, they visited Zeringue at his office to better understand his needs. He liked the concept of factoring and was further impressed that the facility could be done as spot financing—one deal at a time—and that he wasn’t locked into using it any more than he wanted or needed. The one-on-one service and attention, along with the principal’s geographical proximity and availability, sealed the deal for Air Oasis. A financing deal—which now funds roughly $75,000 to $100,000 quarterly—was quickly worked out and the Marriott contract secured.

“It can be an incredibly frustrating position to be in. You go to the traditional banks and they won’t help, even though you have signed commitments. For anyone in that position, factoring is an incredible solution. Instead of waiting 45-60 days to get paid, we were getting paid the week we finished the work, then Marriott would pay Liquid Capital. It’s been five or six years now, and factoring is still a big part of our success.” – Kaleb Zeringue

The definition of value for money

For companies that have the opportunity to take on bigger, more lucrative jobs but are worried about cash flow, as Air Oasis was, factoring delivers. Despite losing a bit on the percentages, Zeringue believes that the reward—and the fast payment—more than makes up for it.

“Liquid Capital gave me the cash flow to look for bigger jobs, sign bigger contracts and make better profits. Instead of doing a residential job where I’m making, say, $1,000 per day, I’m averaging $5,000 per day at Marriott while using and paying the same amount of labour. Then I can take on even bigger contracts. It’s a ride you want to be on. Now I do anywhere from $200-300K/year.” – Kaleb Zeringue

Planning for the future

For Air Oasis, Liquid Capital’s factoring solution has opened doors to more than better contracts. Companies in the residential HVAC business struggle perpetually with low margins. To take business to the next level, Air Oasis needed the increased profit base a steady commercial contract would bring. That success has led to the development of a new business line based on a refrigeration monitoring system Zeringue designed for coolers and freezers.

“The Marriott contract was critical to taking the company forward—and Liquid Capital was critical in making that contract possible. I couldn’t be happier with Liquid Capital. Their solution is helping me get where I want to be. I simply couldn’t have done it without them.” – Kaleb Zeringue

Liquid​ ​Capital​ ​Northwest​ ​set​ ​to​ ​provide​ ​financial​ ​solutions​ ​to​ ​area businesses

Owner Nabil Istafanous is bringing Liquid Capital’s solutions to entrepreneurs in the Pacific Northwest.

[Seattle, Washington] – Liquid Capital is pleased to welcome Nabil Istafanous as a new Principal offering alternative financing solutions to start-ups and small businesses in Seattle and surrounding areas. Mr. Istafanous comes to the Liquid Capital group with a wealth of knowledge and experience as a lawyer, business executive, and time in the financial industry, including serving as a wealth management advisor in the Seattle office of a global investment bank.

“I know what small businesses go through—and I know what it takes for them to grow and move to the next level,” says Mr. Istafanous. “The Seattle area is full of vibrant entrepreneurs with dynamic new businesses. I want to help them grow and become successful, and Liquid Capital’s alternative funding model is a fantastic way to do that.”

When a small business owner is looking for help, someone who is living the same experience can really understand their needs. “Not only am I working towards many of the same goals as my clients, but they know they can trust me,” states Mr. Istafanous. “I’ve served as a compliance and ethics officer and have a long history of work in the ethics and integrity field. I have the background, the empathy and, of course, the Liquid Capital solutions that can help business owners succeed and grow.”

With Nabil Istafanous at the helm, Liquid Capital anticipates building strong relationships with the Seattle area’s entrepreneurial and business community.

About Liquid Capital

Liquid Capital is a full-service working capital and trade finance network and has been in operations since 1999. The Liquid Capital network has the largest geographic footprint of alternative funding professionals, with over 80 independently owned businesses across North America, offering clients a customized and flexible approach with local decision makers. We offer a complete range of solutions for all industries and provide immediate financing upon approval with no long-term contracts or hidden fees. At Liquid Capital, we help you grow your business.

To learn more about Liquid Capital Northwest, contact

Nabil Istafanous
Liquid Capital Northwest
Seattle, Washington
Call: 206-660-8197
nistafanous@liquidcapitalcorp.com
Website: Liquid Capital Northwest