Can redesigning my client base create a healthier business?

It’s not you, it’s me: 3 times to say goodbye to a business relationship in order to build the business you want.

Create a healthier business

If you’re one of the lucky ones, business is easy. Your customers know what they want, you know how to deliver it, and the transactions leave nothing on the table.

However, for most owners and entrepreneurs, business is tough. You put a lot of energy into each of your customers and accounts, you’re constantly worried about the end result, and in the few times when you have a moment’s rest, you sometimes wonder if it’s all worth it. (We’ve all been there.)

Of course, your revenue and sales are important, but so is your time, energy and enjoyment. After all, you likely started working for yourself so that you had more freedom and could love what you do. If you now feel like you’ve started to sacrifice too much at the risk of your original goals, it could be time to update your strategy, move in another direction, focus on key customers and streamline your accounts.

Here are a few signs that could help you make the difficult choice of when to say goodbye:

 

1. The account takes up too much of your time

We often think about “product” as the main commodity in a business relationship, but sometimes it’s more important to think about the less tangible costs: the effort it takes to sell that product. If you have a long-term client that regularly makes use of your business, or places large orders, you might be tempted to keep them at all costs — especially if the account is profitable on paper.

But it might be worth thinking about how much time you spend with them on each purchase. Does that time add up to extra expenses, and is the account as profitable as you think? Factor in your team’s time as well, and consider what you could be doing with that time otherwise. Could it make more sense to work with a few smaller customers instead?

 

2. Late invoice payments

Similarly, if you expect future business from a customer, you’re more likely to forgive lapses in timely payment. That works for some businesses, but for others with thinner margins, a late payment can mean not having the equity to pay your invoices.

If you have a customer who is habitually late in paying their invoices, it might be worth rethinking how reliable their orders actually are. Another option, of course, is to think about a factoring service. (Learn more about what that means here.)

 

3. Unrealistic expectations

It’s not necessarily a bad thing for a customer to be demanding. It can actually push you to learn new skills, add more products and services, or even bring on team members that can help your business expand further.

When it crosses the line, however, is when those demands aren’t possible to fulfill. Short timelines, changing goals, impossible standards and other problem requests don’t just take up your time (see #1), they strain your employees. And over the long-term, these unrealistic expectations may decrease your quality of life and the quality of your service for other customers.

 

This doesn’t mean that adjusting your accounts and client base is always the answer, but you should consider it one of the possible areas to address. Naturally, entrepreneurs and business owners are resilient, but when your energy starts to fade, your quality of work often goes with it.

At the end of the day, don’t sacrifice your quality of delivery and potential for continued success for something you could have fixed. It’s important to assess your current situation and spot the warning signs — then get ahead of it quickly.

Why company leaders need to think like outside investors

Credit Facility Obtained For $47,500,000 USD From CIBC

Toronto, Ontario (October 2019) – Next Edge Capital Corp. (“Next Edge Capital”) is pleased to announce the closing of a revolving credit facility for $47,500,000 USD with CIBC Bank USA¹ and NELI Canada LP², a special purpose funding vehicle utilized by the Next Edge Private Debt Fund (the “Fund”).

Next Edge Capital is an alternative investment management firm focused on finding value-added investment opportunities with a focus on private lending. Through the Next Edge Private Debt Fund, it has focused on providing lending capital to small and medium-sized business throughout North America, focused on factoring, asset-based lending and specialty finance loans with a client base represented in 7 Provinces and 32 States.

A challenge when managing a fund that provides lending capital is to manage cash by matching investor inflows to loan investment outflows. This involves planning for funding new loans still going through diligence anticipated to close and funding existing loans requiring additional draws while taking into account inflows such as unitholder purchases, and collections from interest and loan repayments. A significant benefit of this revolving lending facility will be to allow for a reduction in unutilized cash, in addition to increasing the efficiency of the Fund and the collective businesses that it works with.

The Next Edge Capital team and the Fund work very closely with the Garrington Group of Companies (“Garrington”). The Fund is a primary funding source to Garrington’s broad origination network; Liquid Capital, Blacksail Capital Partners Canada, Blacksail Capital Partners USA and IconiQ Finance. In addition, the Fund and each of these Garrington divisions utilize the services of LINE Financial to aid in underwriting, account management, administration, processing and monitoring of these transactions. The close symbiotic relationship between these various parties has allowed for significant growth over the years.

“We are delighted with the relationship with CIBC, they have truly been a great team to work with. The credit facility will aid in funding new loan opportunities and the operating efficiency of the overall collective businesses involved. We look forward to a collective, long-term rewarding partnership with CIBC for years to come,” mentioned Toreigh Stuart, CEO of Next Edge Capital.

“It’s always an honor and a pleasure to work with high caliber professionals like the team at Next Edge Capital, CIBC and our affiliates through the Garrington Group of Companies. We look forward to continuing to bring our best in class service and expertise to further strengthen and deepen this trusted relationship,” says Brian Center, President and CEO of LINE Financial Services Inc.

For more information, please contact Robert Thompson-So, Executive Vice-President and Chief Strategy Officer of LINE Financial Services at (416) 342-8292 or via email at rts@linefinancialservices.com; or  Toreigh Stuart, CEO of Next Edge Capital at (416) 775-3636 or via email at toreigh.stuart@nextedgecapital.com.

¹ As Administrative Agent and Sole Lead Arranger.

² 100% of NELI Canada LP’s partnership equity capital is owned and provided by the Fund.

About Next Edge Capital

Next Edge Capital Corp. is an alternative investment fund manager and a leader in the structuring and distribution of Alternative and Private Credit fund products in Canada. Formerly a wholly owned subsidiary of Man Group plc., the firm is led by a management team responsible for raising over $3 billion of alternative assets since 2000. Next Edge specializes and focuses on providing unique, non-correlated pooled investment vehicles to the Canadian retail marketplace.

Further information can be found at www.nextedgecapital.com.

About Garrington Group of Companies

Garrington Group of Companies was established in January 2019 as part of a greater blueprint to develop a leading North American loan origination, underwriting and operations platform; handling Asset Based Lending, Factoring, and Specialty Finance loans ranging from $1 million to $30 million. Garrington’s creation comes from its acquisition of Liquid Capital at the beginning of 2019.

Garrington’s collective vision is to become the premier alternative SME lender in North America, supporting entrepreneurial companies with creative and optimal lending solutions, while providing a source of capital to support SME business development in North America.

Garrington recognizes the under-served market for small businesses attempting to secure working capital from traditional funding sources, based on the ever-increasing banking regulations governing the lending of money to smaller private and public companies. In addition, Garrington has identified, and is looking to capitalize from, the shift by alternative lenders away from smaller funding needs. Understanding the landscape of commercial financing in North America, Garrington has set in motion a plan to create a niche market to fund smaller borrowers on a large scale by adding further resources to its already large origination platform, in an attempt to reach borrowers right across North America.

Further information can be found at www.garringtongroupco.com.

About Blacksail Capital Partners (Canada & USA)

Rebranded to Blacksail Capital Partners from Next Edge Commercial Finance (In North East USA and Canada) in September 2019 to better reflect the change in ownership and becoming a member of the Garrington Group of Companies, Blacksail was established to complement Liquid Capital’s factoring business to focus on Asset Based Loans ranging from $1 million to $30 million.

Blacksail focuses its expertise on providing working capital solutions to the underserved small to the mid-sized middle market sector in North America. Serving many industries including; manufacturing, transportation and logistics, staffing, digital media and consumer goods, amongst others, the company strives to provide quick access to capital, which would typically be more flexible than banks.

Further information can be found at www.blacksailcapitalpartners.com.

About IconiQ Finance

IconiQ believes entrepreneurship is the lifeblood of the American economy, and it exists to empower entrepreneurs. In other words, the company is expert at breaking through the unique barriers to sustainable growth emerging companies face. Operating out of Austin, TX IconiQ provides revolving lines of credit and equipment term loans from $500,000 to $30 million lending on eligible accounts receivable, inventory and other tangible assets.

Further information can be found at www.iconiqfinance.com.

About LINE Financial

In 2019, as a part of a corporate restructuring and streamlining, LINE Financial was spun out of Liquid Capital with the sole purpose of providing third party due diligence, portfolio management and back-office services to the Liquid Capital system amongst others. The company strives to be the premier provider of comprehensive commercial finance infrastructure for entrepreneurial and visionary factoring and asset-based lending companies by creating, implementing and fostering premier commercial finance disciplines and processes with and for its clients.

The LINE Financial operations support loan origination teams with:

  • Underwriting & Due Diligence
  • Client Asset Management through a risk management team
  • Collection & Verification
  • Collection & Litigation
  • Relationship Management
  • Treasury Management

Further information can be found at www.linefinancialservices.com.

About Liquid Capital

Liquid Capital Corp. 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 approximately 45 independently owned businesses across North America, offering clients a customized and flexible approach with local decision makers. Liquid Capital offers a complete range of solutions for all industries and provide immediate financing upon approval with no long-term contracts or hidden fees.

Further information can be found at www.liquidcapitalcorp.com.

Man Typing On Laptop

4 extra ways to get ROI from your web-based projects

web-based projects

When you invest in your small business, making sure you get a solid ROI is always crucial. With web-based projects, you can take additional steps to ensure the benefits of those projects will be maximized.

Here are four ways (beyond the regular website tools) that can help enhance your web-based projects and ensure long-term success for your digital strategy.

1. Make your digital content more accessible

Consider using an automated transcription service to translate your audio or visual content into readable text for hearing-impaired consumers. This can help you reach a broader customer base by giving more people access to your content, products and services. ADA requirements in the US and accessibility rules in Canada can also apply to your site, so read through the regulations for your business, which could help protect you from lawsuits and costly legal issues.

When using an automated transcription service, you’ll want to limit background noise and utilize the highest quality audio to get the most accurate transcription. Using a service such as this will also allow your team to focus on other tasks, rather than filling up your schedule on this time-consuming process.

2. Hire creatively to help launch projects

web-based projects hiring employees

When your business is growing, you may quickly need more staff. For web-based projects, you may be tempted to turn to part-time employees as a way to get help without having to shell out for benefits or bigger salaries. But when a part-time employee starts to work more often, especially when business picks up and project hours go well into overtime, it can be a tricky line to tread.

This is why many companies are hiring project-based help from gig apps instead. These part-time gig workers operate more like contract employees, but you can also find candidates on these apps who can fill permanent part-time positions, or even eventually full-time. This offers you a lot more flexibility, especially when project scope isn’t yet fully defined.

3. Turn to marketing pros to brand your business

Your web-based projects should also match your small business brand. Not sure what those standards are for your company? Then you might benefit from the services of a marketing professional who understand branding and how to tie that into your online presence.

Marketing consultant, Shane Barker, suggests that small businesses create a brand that sticks with customers and evokes strong emotions, and then ensure that brand flows through any online or social media presence. If that sounds too complicated to achieve alone, consider starting the search to hire a consultant instead.

4. Don’t overlook cybersecurity

web-based projects cybersecurity

Although you want people to know your business, it shouldn’t be because of a catastrophic data breach. Up to 60% of small businesses impacted by data breaches close up shop in less than a year after experiencing a major breach, and those that survive are left with thousands of dollars in recovery costs. So it is absolutely imperative that you protect any information that could be exposed to cyberattacks during your web-based improvements.

If you don’t have in-house IT expertise, one of the best ways to get help and assess your overall risk is to invest in cybersecurity consultant services. These experts can easily identify vulnerabilities that could leave your business open to an attack, help you create a strategic plan for preventing a breach, and save you valuable time in the process.

 

Any small business project that requires time and money, including web-based projects, needs to provide a healthy return to be worthwhile. By leaving some room in your budget to invest in the right help and resources, you can boost that ROI and take your business to the next level.

 

Up Next: 5 ways technology can help your small business grow

 

Featured image by Tyler Franta on Unsplash

Garrington Group of Companies Finalizes Purchase of the assets of Liquid Capital Corporation

TORONTO, October 2019 – The Garrington Group of Companies (Garrington) are pleased to announce the purchase of the assets of Liquid Capital Corp. via the Garrington subsidiary Liquid Capital Enterprises (Liquid Capital.)

This purchase includes the shares of both Liquid Capital Exchange Inc. and Liquid Capital Exchange Corp. as well as the franchise agreements governing the relationship with the Liquid Capital franchise network.

“After many months of discussion and deliberation, we are very happy to be in a relationship with a firm like the Garrington Group of Companies. Working with the Garrington Group of Companies is going to be very beneficial to our various stakeholders and Liquid Capital Principals.  This relationship opens the door for the company to take advantage of many great trade finance based opportunities and operate in the under-banked SME market both north and south of the border. Historically, our network has been closed to outside investment but with the seasoned relationship with the Next Edge Private Debt Fund and, now, with the Garrington Group of Companies, we are poised to further increase the depth of our already sizeable footprint in the North American SME marketplace,” says Sol Roter of Liquid Capital Enterprises.

 

“We are very excited to welcome the Liquid Capital Enterprises stakeholders into our fold. It’s doubly exciting for us as this year marks the 20th Anniversary of the Liquid Capital system and represents a real milestone for all of us collectively.  We have worked with many of the Liquid Capital Principals in the past and know that they exhibit a high degree of professionalism and trust in the various markets that they serve. Together we look forward to serving the market and partnering with their clients and networks to continue to solve the working capital challenges faced by so many small and medium sized enterprises today,” says Robert Thompson-So, Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer of LINE Financial Services Inc and spokesperson for the Garrington Group of Companies.

 

About Garrington Group of Companies:

The Garrington Group of Companies was formed with the mission to oversee and fund entrepreneurial factoring and asset based lending companies with creative and optimal financial solutions in order to serve the North American small and medium business space. The Garrington Group of Companies is a close-knit group of experienced and seasoned professionals who resolutely embrace a shared culture of respect, integrity, and optimism, to make North American SME businesses stronger.

Further information can be found at www.garringtongroupco.com.

About Liquid Capital:

Since 1999, Liquid Capital Corporation has been operating in the factoring and trade finance business. Over that period of time, the company has processed over $3 billion in accounts receivable and trade finance transactions through both its Canadian headquarters in Toronto and US headquarters in Dallas. Through its 45+ franchised office network, the company locally originates, manages, and funds accounts receivables and trade finance transactions.

Further information can be found at www.liquidcapitalcorp.com.

Group of people standing in front of cars

Believe Solutions

Believe Solutions team

Practicar lo que se predica

Casi todos hemos sentido la frustración de tener que pagar demasiado por algún producto o servicio. Pero a diferencia de la mayoría, Joseph Rogers decidió posicionarse. Esta es la historia: Cuando su sistema de calefacción y aire acondicionado dejó de funcionar, Rogers llamó a un técnico para que lo arreglara. Resulta que el sistema estaba bien, y el técnico solo tuvo que accionar un interruptor para encenderlo de nuevo. ¿El problema? Le cobró a Rogers varios cientos de dólares por el privilegio.

Movido por un sentido de la ética, Rogers estaba determinado a evitar que otros tuvieran una experiencia similar. Entonces nació Believe Solutions LLC, una empresa de contratación general de New Jersey que ofrece servicios de construcción, remodelación y – por supuesto – instalación y reparación de sistemas de calefacción y aire acondicionado para clientes residenciales y comerciales.

Aprovechando su experiencia en los negocios, Rogers pudo atraer rápidamente una sólida base de clientes leales. Pero curiosamente, ese mismo éxito empezó a entorpecer su capacidad de crecer. En sus inicios, Believe Solutions se encontró con dos dificultades principales.

Primero, como empresa naciente, no podía atraer el financiamiento necesario para crecer. Aunque llenaba los requisitos para obtener un financiamiento bancario de $75.000, la empresa estaba gastando esa cantidad de dinero en costos de material solamente cada dos semanas, de modo que no quedaba ningún excedente para la expansión. Segundo, a medida que el volumen de sus negocios comerciales aumentaba, la empresa no lograba sacar a flote sus costos de material y mano de obra.

«Además de la mano de obra que necesitábamos para cumplir con nuestros contratos comerciales, nuestros proveedores esperaban que se le pagara a la entrega. Por otra parte, teníamos que esperar por lo menos 30 días, y a veces más, antes de recibir los pagos de nuestras cuentas por cobrar comerciales. Aunque, por mi cuenta, empecé a cubrir la diferencia, muy pronto eso dejó de ser posible.»

~ Joseph Rogers, director de Believe Solutions LLC

Consciente de la necesidad de una solución más flexible que el financiamiento bancario, Believe Solutions acudió al factoraje.

Encontrar la solución a su medida

En su experiencia de trabajo anterior, Rogers había visto que otras compañías utilizaban el factoraje, entonces entendió sus ventajas y oportunidades. A pesar de ello, la empresa todavía luchaba por encontrar una solución a su medida.

Inicialmente, Believe Solutions decidió trabajar con una compañía de factoraje de otro estado, pero cuando Rogers recibió los términos de dicha compañía, comenzó a preocuparse. «La compañía con la que estábamos negociando exigía sumas mínimas de factoraje y quería asegurarnos con un contrato,» recuerda Rogers. «Eso me dejó con la impresión de que ellos no confiaban en nosotros. Era como si querían proteger su capacidad de hacer dinero, sin importarles que nosotros también tuviéramos éxito.»

Al buscar otra sociedad, un colega le presentó a Rogers Liquid Capital, y de inmediato notó el contraste de los estilos de trabajo. Además de la flexibilidad de los términos de Liquid Capital, la empresa quedó impresionada con el esfuerzo de Liquid Capital en ayudar a Believe Solutions a mejorar sus procesos internos, de manera que esta pudiera acelerar el cobro de sus facturas y evitar hacer contratos con clientes que de pronto no tuvieran la capacidad de pagar.

«Con Liquid Capital, me siento como si estuviéramos haciendo negocios juntos; es como si ellos tuvieran un verdadero interés en ayudarnos a adoptar la protección y las medidas necesarias para crecer. Aunque nos encanta hacer dinero, no nos gustan los riesgos, de modo que tener un socio que se comprometa a protegernos es realmente útil».

~ Joseph Rogers, director de Believe Solutions LLC

De débil a fuerte

Cuando Believe Solutions empezó a trabajar con Liquid Capital, la empresa ya estaba pasando por una crisis de flujo de caja. Cada dólar que hubiera economizado se iba para pagar materiales y mano de obra, se estaba agotando la liquidez de otra división solo para mantener las operaciones y los cobros iban quedando rezagados al punto que un solo cliente le debía a la empresa $40.000. Rogers recuerda que, si otras tres unidades de calefacción y aire acondicionado hubieran fallado, Believe Solutions no hubiera tenido los recursos para comprar los repuestos y mucho menos para pagar nómina.

Todo eso cambió en cuanto la empresa empezó a factorar sus facturas. Luego de haber obtenido un financiamiento por más de $150.000 en cuentas por cobrar, Believe Solutions empezó a crecer de forma espectacular. En tan solo 90 días, había crecido en un 60 %, aumentando sus ingresos de más 1.5 millones de dólares y logrando un financiamiento de más $250.000 en el proceso. Al mismo tiempo, la empresa había estado innovando para asegurarse de poder mantener su ritmo de expansión durante los meses más tranquilos al final de la ocupada temporada de verano.

«Sin Liquid Capital, hoy ya no estaríamos en el negocio,” admite Rogers. «El poder conseguir la liquidez que necesitamos, tan a menudo como la necesitemos, nos ha proporcionado una sólida plataforma de expansión.»

«Si yo hubiera tenido una bola de cristal, probablemente que hubiera empezado a factorar con Liquid Capital muchísimo antes de ir al banco. Aunque conseguimos una línea de crédito bancaria, esta está muy lejos de ser tan eficiente como contar con la participación de Liquid Capital.»

~ Joseph Rogers, director de Believe Solutions LLC

Tener fe en el futuro

Mirando hacia adelante, Believe Solutions planea seguir trabajando con Liquid Capital, ya que aspira a alcanzar su próximo objetivo de 1.5 a 2 millones en ingresos. «A lo largo de mi carrera en otras industrias, yo he hecho negocios con por lo menos otras 10 compañías de factoraje, y realmente Liquid Capital se sale de lo normal,» dice Rogers. Nuestro Líder de Capital Líquido ha simplificado nuestros sistemas de contabilidad solo para adecuarlos a sus normas. Él ha sido capital para reforzar los procesos con nuestros clientes y nos ha ayudado además a implementar un nuevo sistema de seguimiento que nos evita omitir entradas. Tenemos realmente muchos deseos de mirar juntos hacia el futuro a medida que crecemos.»

Diagram

Recent Fundings – October 2019