launching a business blog

Seven things to consider prior to launching your business blog

launching a business blog

In many ways, launching a business blog is like designing a rolling ball sculpture. Rolling ball sculptures also known as kinetic sculptures are so engaging because of the visual and aural spectacle — following intricate roller coaster paths, clinging and clanging along the way.  But the basic element is they are designed for perpetual motion.

The same goes for your business blog and the basic key to success is to plan for it to be a perpetual outlet for remarkable content.  When planned right blogs end up with the appeal, rhythm and engagement found in rolling ball sculptures.

 

Here are seven things to consider prior to launching your business blog:

 

1. Set aside time

Blogs fail because businesses cannot keep up with them.  Blogging requires frequency and commitment.  You should think about how frequently you want to blog and how much time you need per week to write.  Then set aside that time and stick to it.

2. Build a network or following

Your blog has a greater chance of succeeding if you have a larger community to share your content with.  Plan to build up a network or following prior to launching your blog.  That way it will have a wider reach from the get-go because more people can share it.

3. Keyword research

launching a business blog - keywords

One of the biggest benefits of creating content is the search traffic it will attract to your site.  Do some research so you are targeting keywords that will bring in good qualified traffic to your site.  If you are struggling with what to write about this is also a great way to queue up some ideas for articles.

4. Create calls-to-action

You should take the time to think about what calls-to-action should go into your blog posts and create them.  If you want to derive business value from your blog in the form of leads and customers you need good, relevant offers to go along with your content.

5. Queue up articles

launching a business blog - schedule

It never hurts to stay ahead of the curve.  If you plan to write once a week it may not be a bad idea to queue up four to five articles so you have a month’s worth of content ready to go.  This way you can stay consistent and keep up with your established publishing frequency.

6. Set up RSS/Subscriber feeds

If you want to grow your business blog you need to build a subscriber base.  Think about how to position your RSS feeds or email opt-in on your blog and your website to maximize subscriptions.

7. Ways to promote it

Lastly, it is critical to think about ways to promote your blog.  Will you tweet your articles or include them in your company newsletter? How often? How about sharing them on Facebook or LinkedIn? You might want to include your RSS feed on each of your profiles.  Spend some time on figuring ways to get the word out there!

What are some of the preemptive things you have done to help the success of your blog? Please share your experiences in the comments.

 

Up Next: 10 ways small business marketers can crush big competitors

 

Photo credit: Crimfants

Cash Flow Survivor

Cash Flow Survivor: Could you outwit, outplay & outlast your competitors?

Use these 3 alternative business funding strategies to avoid cash flow exile.

Cash Flow Survivor

Yes, Survivor may now be the ‘old-timer’ of reality game shows, but who can deny the sheer thrill you still get when your favorite players claim victory and send the other team to Tribal Council? When it comes to battling it out in business, finding the craftiest ways of improving your bottom line can also feel like winning an immunity idol and sending the competition packing.

Your finances are likely where the game can be won or lost. For alternative business funding, in particular, there are trends that continue to shape the way modern companies can secure the right working capital — some brand new and some time-tested and client-approved.

Survivors Ready? Here are three to keep an eye on as you outwit, outplay and outlast your competition:

1. Outwit your bank loan challenges

Cash Flow Survivor Outwit

When you need business funds, one of the first places you likely turn to is your bank. But banks can set unachievable criteria and getting that loan can become an instant roadblock. Unfortunately, it’s no surprise that businesses can struggle when trying to access credit and a lack of cash could put you on the chopping block.

To outsmart the traditional loan criteria, form an alliance with an alternative funding partner who can offer you solutions such as factoring — allowing you to sell unpaid invoices to access cash faster. You get paid upfront and can continue operating as usual, even if your credit rating isn’t the strongest. The important part is to form that alliance with an alternative funding partner that has a proven track record and is willing to work with you to advance your business goals.

Related: 5 ways factoring can clear your cash flow hurdles

2. Outplay the risk

Cash Flow Survivor Outplay the risk

Being marooned with no lifeline is a horrible feeling, so it’s important to have a support team to help avoid any risk in the business that can leave you stranded. Whether it be the risk of not getting paid on time (or at all), being subject to fraud, cybersecurity risks, or not getting cash in time to pay your suppliers or staff, you’ll want to mitigate the issues.

To start, ensure that your tribe (aka your funding partner) has the experience to back up their claims. They should have their own team dedicated to assessing risky funding opportunities, and they should be willing to say no when that opportunity is more likely to lead to your torch being extinguished. And since 76% of businesses are concerned about cybersecurity risks, it’s important to work with partners who are equally aware of online risks and take data privacy and security seriously.

3. Outlast without giving up equity

Cash Flow Survivor Outlast

When you work so hard at growing your business, would you give up equity in the company to gain financing? Many business owners do this, turning to venture capital firms, angel investors, crowdfunding, or even friends and family to increase their working capital. But according to the University of Cambridge, 67% of companies would still rather follow a debt financing model (such as PO financing) than to give up a portion of their business

Why is this the case? It may come down to predictability. Looking at your balance sheet is often easier to understand, and knowing exactly how much you are borrowing (and need to pay back) can allow the average business owner to formulate a plan that fits into their schedule. The equity model, on the other hand, can raise more questions and leave you wondering just how much of your business you’ll leave on the table.

 

Even if you’ve been exiled to Redemption Island, you have a shot at coming back and winning Cash Flow Survivor. Obtain your secret advantage by updating your cash flow budget to accurately forecast your incoming and outgoing cash flow. Assess all the financing options available to determine which will be best at maintaining consistent cash flow to stay ahead of expenses. And of course, don’t be afraid to explore options beyond what a bank may have to offer.

To become the ultimate business survivor by making the most of alternative business funding, download The Invoice Factoring Guidebook now.

Learn how to ask the right questions so that you can ensure you choose the right working capital solution.

Click to access the eBook immediately.

How outside services can enhance your business

enhance your business

The age-old wisdom that time is money holds true for today’s small business owners. However, finding ways to streamline without sacrificing quality can feel pretty challenging. We’ve pulled together some of the best free and paid service options for companies in the B2B arena, so you can enhance your business and improve efficiency without skimping on quality — ultimately boosting your bottom line.

Go virtual

Knowing you want to make improvements is one thing, but knowing where to make them is another. Start by taking a hard look at where you and your team spend time, particularly on routine tasks. Sometimes, the solution to many problems comes in the form of equipment upgrades. For instance, Chron.com points out that virtual meetings reduce travel time, improve communication, and allow for more effective time management.

Get financing

Of course, if funds are keeping you from investing in technology, there are financing options to help you make it happen. Many of our clients make use of invoice factoring to increase their working capital.  Whether you’re running a startup, have a well-established company, or have struggled with accessing funding in the past, your trusted financial partner can help you find the right option for your company.

Build your brand

It’s no secret that brand recognition can be a key to success. Take the wide selection of soft-drinks for example. One glance at your choices and you may instantly gravitate to a favorite — and that might have a lot to do with the visible branding. While most companies never get to that stage of brand recognition, carving your niche out of the market is a realistic goal, and there are ample tools to help you achieve it.

An effective and recognizable logo is a great starting point, and for businesses just starting out, you can use logo design services to create your own. Whether hiring a professional designer, going the crowdsourcing route, or taking a crack at it, DIY style, your updated look should follow key design best practices to make it eye-catching and impactful.

Engage social media

Social media can seem like a mixed bag for small business owners. Posting about your company’s comings and goings can feel like a time drain, much less taking the time to respond to comments and inquiries you receive from interested parties. However, when it comes to getting the word out, Entrepreneur.com points out that business owners shouldn’t underestimate the power of social media.

It’s free and effective, and with a few well-chosen tools, you can stay on top of things without skipping a beat. There are even apps for building things like surveys and quizzes, creating animated videos, and increasing exposure through hashtags. It’s a great opportunity to build your brand with minimal investment.

Enhance customer satisfaction

You probably know happy clients help sell services and products. Not only does it keep them coming back for more, they are more inclined to tell others about you. What’s more, when they run into a problem, being able to connect with you about it promptly can sometimes make or break their experience. With that in mind, consider adding free apps to your repertoire that enables your customers to voice their needs, day or night, without adding to your workload.

Related: 4 ways to keep busy customers happy (without sacrificing exceptional service)


Keep sales flowing

A faster, more efficient, and highly effective sales cycle can mean putting more time and energy toward the next achievement. As a small business owner, this can sometimes feel tricky, as the personal touch is often what endears you to your clientele. Thankfully, there are numerous online sales tools that automate time-consuming, behind-the-scenes processes so you can make the most of interactions and building your customer base. From email marketing systems and task scheduling to automated reminders tailored to your clients, letting apps take on the grunt work can free up time and boosts sales.

Engaging outside services to enhance your business can take your business to new levels.  Look out for where efficiency could improve your processes, ensure customers are happy, and get the word out about your company in effective ways. These smart strategies can grow your small business by leaps and bounds in no time.

 

Up Next: See 10 ways that small businesses can crush big competitors.

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4 ways to keep busy customers happy (without sacrificing exceptional service)

Keep busy customers happy

Image courtesy of Pexels

If you own a successful small business, you know what it’s like to have a busy schedule. Your customers are likely just as busy as you are, so it’s important that you find efficient ways to help them out. But not just any service will do when you need to keep customers happy.

To win your customers over, you’ll need to provide an exceptional experience that will keep them coming back. Here are a few simple tricks to make that happen:

1. Save your customer’s time with easy transactions

Since customers are multi-tasking as much as you are, your checkout process needs to be as smooth and simple as possible. In a retail store, that means investing in a terminal that allows you to accept all forms of payment (even NFC payments and chip cards) and then getting your customers through the checkout process in a flash. The Square terminal could be just the system you are looking for to improve your business operations and streamline transactions for your customers. For e-commerce sites, users will appreciate an easy checkout experience as well, so make sure they can fill their baskets and checkout with minimum clicks.

2. Be prompt and courteous with your communications 

As a business owner, you know the value of your time, so place that same value on the time your customers take to connect with your business. Clear customer communication is what can really set a business apart from competitors, so invest time into making your communications a top priority. If your customers reach out via phone or email, be sure to answer promptly with courteous and professional replies. When those touchpoints occur via social media, your responses should be even quicker. Of course, you can decrease the need for multiple emails with a comprehensive FAQ page so your customers know exactly what to expect from your business and products.

3. Address customer questions and issues ASAP

Answering customer questions is pretty simple. Dealing with upset customers, however, can feel like a nightmare for small business owners. But with the right response, you have a chance to turn one negative experience into a point of growth for your business. You may even be able to retain that angry customer if you respond with humility and focus on fixing the issue, rather than fanning the emotional response. Just like other communications, this is an area where being social media savvy can save your business, and help you provide better service for your customers.

4. Realize that different customers have different needs

When dealing with customer issues and communication, it can be helpful to remember the golden rule… Treat your customers as you would also like to be treated. But it’s also important to know that not every customer will think, shop or behave like you. All people have different personalities, varied emotional responses, and diverse needs, so tailor your operations and service to fit your varied buyer personas.

For shoppers and business owners alike, time is precious, so make sure you use the time you have with your customers to build lasting relationships, and keep your most loyal shoppers coming back again and again. Focus on building those positive experiences, and your business will continue to grow and profit.

Jumpstart Your Company Growth With This 4000-Year-Old Technique

Jumpstart Your Company Growth With This 4000-Year-Old Technique

What does a modern business in 2019 have in common with an ancient business in the year 2000 BCE? More than you may expect. For one thing, in 2000 BCE, it was still pretty common for a merchant to sell his goods ahead of payment and to experience a gap in the middle — which is a pretty common challenge today, too.

And with a shared challenge comes an enduring solution: factoring. It enabled merchants to receive partial payment from a third party for their goods in transit (since getting across a country wasn’t quite the cakewalk it is today). The merchant would then be able to continue business operations, and at a later date would receive the final payment. This empowered the merchants to stay open and growing despite challenges associated with delivery.

Today, factoring has grown into a much more effective practice than it was back then, but the principle remains the same.

For more information on how factoring works, see the process here.

Rome may have fallen, but factoring stayed strong.

Invoice factoring has truly stood the test of time since 2000 BCE. So how can it help your modern business operations? In three major ways:

1. When all roads don’t lead to Rome, create your own cash flow predictability:

By eliminating the question of when a client will pay you, you become free to create an accurate budget — and to stick to it. This predictability creates opportunities to ensure all bills are paid on time and to reinvest in future growth.

2. Build your own pyramids with no limits on funding or usage:

Unlike other types of financial tools, there are no restrictions on how factoring funds are used — as long as it is for business needs. Additionally, because of the structure associated with factoring, it’s something that can be used as often as required.

3. Writing the hieroglyphics of creditworthiness:

When you factor invoices, you shift the focus away from your own credit score, and instead onto the score of your customer. So if your company doesn’t have a strong credit history, you can lean on the creditworthiness of an established customer. Factoring can also be helpful in paving the way to make your company bankable by providing you with the time needed to increase your credit score.

Ultimately, for a growing business that has outstanding accounts receivable, factoring can be a funding solution that can cover both expected and unexpected finances.

Taking Factoring from BCE to Today

While it’s fair to say that factoring has evolved since its first utilization 4000 years ago, there are a few common elements that have empowered this longevity. It is important to look for these elements in any potential factoring partner, since they will be regularly interacting with you and your customers — and may ultimately play an important role in the growth of your business.

Start here:

  1. Expertise: Depth of knowledge and the ability to apply it to your unique case.
  2. Experience: A strong network and a significant amount of funding deployed.
  3. Transparency: No hidden fees or complicated provisions.
  4. Speed: Upon approval, make sure they can deliver in a timely manner.

Accounts receivable factoring can seem shrouded in centuries-old mystery, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. A trusted partner can walk you through the process and ensure that your funding experience will be effective and positive.

If you are interested in learning more about how this financial solution can help your business, be sure to download our eBook: The Invoice Factoring GuideBook.

Smart social strategies that keep your customers coming back

Image courtesy of Pexels

More than 50% of customers part ways permanently following a single poor experience. That’s a lot of pressure to make every interaction count, especially since the bar has been set so high — and people’s expectations are constantly on the rise. And because of new online platforms, namely social media, it’s even easier for customers to voice dissatisfaction — or jump ship altogether.

Whether you’re selling products online or just have a website to market your business, keeping a positive online presence will be a key to success for any modern business. It’s no surprise to find recent statistics indicating that e-commerce is booming in particular, and some experts predict the U.S. will see as much as $600 billion spent via the web in 2019.

Fortunately, there are many ways to capture those uplifting reactions online and showcase your client base singing your praises.

Build a user-friendly experience

As Oberlo points out, offering self-help content on your website can immensely improve your customers’ interactions. Think in terms of FAQ pages and a live chat on your site to allow your customers to quickly and easily find the answers they need.

Another idea is to reward customers when they provide feedback on products, such as offering monthly drawings for e-gift certificates. It’s a chance to show your customers their opinions matter and that you’re listening. Consider using a product review platform if you aren’t already, and respond to customers who aren’t happy with offers to resolve their concerns.

Add a personal touch

It’s all too easy to let technology expand the gap between you and your customers. Look for ways to assure your customers they matter as individuals. For instance, when they sign up for newsletters, make sure it’s a worthwhile experience for them by regularly providing educational articles, sending information on new products or deals, and sharing news about accolades, milestones, and community interactions that matter to them.

If you have more information on your clients, send a special offer during the month of their birthday, or send out personalized messages at the holidays. You might not be able to shake their hand and wish them well face-to-face, but reaching out tells them they are valued.

Be reachable in all ways

With social media, a customer can reach a thousand or more friends in a flash, telling the good or bad about your company. This offers you a huge opportunity to connect with your client base, since social media is a free opportunity to engage with your audience in a comfortable and convenient way for them.

As Fast Company explains, keeping on top of your social media presence means your customers stay interested and engaged. Respond to comments and questions, and share information which is relevant and timely. You can use a social media management app to simplify the task— just read reviews to find one that suits your situation.

Catch eyes and provide interaction

Keeping things lively on social media means you’ll boost attention and brand recognition for your company. There is an overwhelming amount of information on the web competing for attention, so interesting events such as a design contest can generate interest while entertaining your followers and encouraging them to share what’s happening.

To launch a similar online event, think of a product with broad appeal and invite your audience to create their own versions. For instance, if you sell coffee products, appeal to them by asking for unique concepts of an insulated coffee container. You can showcase the entries through various online avenues, in-house, and at events — sharing photos and notes about the entrants. Then let your customers vote for their top choice and even consider selling a limited edition of products in your e-commerce shop.

No matter what your industry or which methods you connect with customers online, ensure you provide excellent service, personalized connections, and create an online presence which is interesting and reachable. You’ll forge a solid foundation of positive feedback, leading to more referrals and keeping your customers coming back for years to come.

Home office

11 secrets to running a business from home

business from home

Amazon, Apple, Dell, Disney, Google, Harley-Davidson, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, Nike. The names are instantly recognizable because they’re all giants in the world of commerce. But do you know what else these companies have in common? They were all started at home — proving to entrepreneurs everywhere that spending a lot on overhead is not necessary to begin building a successful business.

Starting a business can be intimidating, especially when you’re setting up and running an office from your home. You’re bound to run into some issues along the way, but those can be dispatched with a little foresight. And the troubles will be worth it once you begin to see your empire grow beyond your dining room table.

Nail down the logistics

Establishing ground rules early to help govern your time, space and processes can save you a lot of trouble in the future.

1. Set a schedule

One of the most difficult (and most important)items for running a business from home is setting up a schedule. You’ll likely want to give every waking moment to your business — and when your office is just down the hall from your bedroom, you can start before the morning coffee’s even ready. However, try to contain that urge.

Working nonstop is a short road to burnout and can cause problems down the road. Set up specific hours for working, as you would with an office job, and you’ll conserve your energy for the long haul.

2. Meet the legal requirements

When filing your company’s initial paperwork, it’s important to know the rules and regulations your city imposes upon home-based businesses. You’ll need to obtain any necessary permits or look into the fine print of your lease agreement to make sure working from your apartment is an option.

3. Create a fulfillment process

Finding customers and selling products or services is only half the battle. Delivering those products or services is the other —and it needs to happen in a way that works best for your customers. If you’re not organized with a process in place, it’s easy to waste time and energy dealing with incorrect orders, delayed timelines, damaged products and unhappy clients. Establish a fulfillment process to make sure you’re sending out orders accurately, in a timely manner and to the right buyers.

Set up your space

Creating a designated space to work within your home is not only necessary, but it also offers great peace of mind when your work and life can so easily merge.

4. Make a little, do a lot

A space-saving option for a small home is a floating desk, which mounts straight onto the wall and takes up less space than a typical desk. Or consider choosing a closet to serve as your office. This provides a dedicated working space while still allowing you to close the door and leave the office after working hours. Consider storing anything extra in a storage unit.

5. Keep your space clean

Working in an office building means having a janitor come in after hours to vacuum and clean around workstations. Once you forego that convenience, office maintenance becomes your responsibility.

6. Explore the world of co-working

For the times when you need a place to meet with clients or contractors, consider renting a co-working space. Many offer open floorplans with different “microenvironments” that are suited to holding meetings, collaborating, or working independently without distraction.

7. Bring the outside in

When you’re focused on work, it’s easy to isolate yourself. To bring in the outside world, decorate your home office with house plants. They’re beautiful, provide clean air to your workspace and have been shown to improve your mood. Similarly, remember to leave the house regularly for some fresh air. The fact that you no longer have to commute is not a license to hole up indefinitely.

Take care of your tech

With modern technology, a business owner can do almost anything from a laptop. The trick is not to seem like you’re skimping on overhead, even if you can keep some costs to a minimum. Taking the time to get your technology straight should be among the first items on your to-do list.

8. Troubleshoot cell and Internet service problems

If you run into any communication issues, the service you provide will suffer. Test your Internet speed, WiFi signal and call quality in your home office — and make sure you have a completely reliable tech kit in place. You may want to update your Internet or cell plan to have business-grade service, and compare providers who offer small business packages.

9. Boost your cell signal

If your cell signal is weak, consider buying a microcell unit, which works by using an Internet connection to give it a boost. If a microcell isn’t an option, you could try a cell booster — however, note that you may have to mount equipment outside your home to use this.

10. Increase Internet dependability

Working at home also can mean trying to function with spotty Internet dependability. If you can’t count on Internet access when you need it, the first thing to do is make sure your router is up to date. After that, consider moving it to another location in the house and as close as possible to your workstation. Remove obstacles between your computer and the router, so the signal can travel more easily.

11. Increase WiFi security

The Number One rule for solid WiFi security is to make sure you have a strong WiFi password that keeps strangers from connecting to your network. Make sure to only give the password to those you know and trust. (You can also setup a guest network with a separate password.) Get in touch with your Internet service provider and ask about other options to increase WiFi security. 

Worth the effort

Clearly, establishing your home-based business will be a lot of work — but will come with a lot of rewards if done correctly.

Among other tasks, you’ll need to devise a business plan, address legal and logistical concerns, configure your home workspace to fit your company’s needs and optimize the technology that will help you satisfy clients. With these conditions fulfilled, building a big business in a small space could be the best thing to ever happen to you.

 

Logo

Brechas generacionales en los negocios: el abismo de los milenios

Ser empresario, empleador o dirigente en el mundo de los negocios de hoy en día requiere estar al tanto de las necesidades de todas las generaciones que integran su personal: los Baby Boomers y las generaciones X, Y y Z. No importa que se trate de su personal, de sus clientes o des sus accionistas, comprender las diferencias entre los valores y las motivaciones de cada una de estas generaciones hará que su empresa funcione de manera más eficaz y que, en últimas, se aumenten las ganancias netas.

El cambio es inevitable… y está ocurriendo aún más rápido que nunca antes

Mientras que las generaciones anteriores le temían al cambio y estaban determinadas a conservar el orden establecido, para los mileniales y la nueva generación Z el cambio es emocionante y normal.

Ciertas generaciones han causado más polémica que otras. Hoy, son los mileniales (también conocidos como la generación Y) que han ganado mala prensa. Dignos de derechos, ensimismados y sin enfoque son los adjetivos típicos que navegan por el océano de la negatividad con la que se describe a la generación de nuestra mayoría de recursos humanos. No pueden vivir sin sus celulares, han crecido jugando videojuegos y esperan gratificación inmediata. Muchos afirman que esta generación no puede tomar una decisión sin consultarla con todos sus conocidos. Otros dicen que son absolutamente perezosos y que esperan que se les respete simplemente por hacer acto de presencia.

¿Todo esto suena familiar?

Pues debería, ya que críticas igualmente duras de cada nueva generación han circulado desde el final de la Segunda Guerra Mundial. Pensemos no más en el pánico de los padres cuando Chubby Checker se hizo popular. ¿Recuerda a los «rebeldes» creados por los Beatles? ¿Y qué decir del sacrilegio de haber quemado las tarjetas de alistamiento? Los jóvenes advenedizos han causado caos con el paso de cada generación, y por eso debemos estar absolutamente agradecidos.

Cada generación trae con ella innovaciones que modelan nuestro futuro, y el liderazgo de usted como dirigente puede marcar una gran diferencia.

El liderazgo estratégico puede apaciguar cualquier circo

Como se explica en el libro Confident Leadership in 21st Century Business: Bridging the Generation Gaps, asumir un rol de liderazgo en el mundo de los negocios de hoy es como ser el maestro de ceremonias de un circo. Con tantos artistas y actos en el escenario, el maestro de ceremonias debe reconocer los talentos de cada uno de ellos y proporcionarles las herramientas que necesitan para dar un buen espectáculo.

Asimismo, un líder empresarial debe reconocer las diferentes generaciones que conforman su equipo y modificar las herramientas y tácticas para trabajar con cada una de ellas. El rol de un líder incluye también descubrir lo que caracteriza cada generación y utilizar esa información para canalizar sus habilidades.

En los negocios, el buen líder es consciente de que la generación X prefiere la información que ha sido cuidadosamente filtrada, que la generación Y se nutre de tutoría y elogios y que la generación Z que viene necesita entender de qué manera sus funciones encajan en el conjunto.

Creamos las cualidades de la generación Y

Sin embargo, mientras algunas personas puede que vean a la generación de los mileniales como exigente y reclamadora de derechos, no olvidemos que esta generación fue criada de manera diferente a la generación anterior.

Les otorgábamos trofeos incluso cuando perdían y los elogiábamos por cualquier actividad que emprendían. Al comprarle a esta nueva generación cantidades de aparatos electrónicos, les enseñamos a conocer el mundo de respuestas rápidas y a obtener información inmediata con un chasquido de dedos. Aprovecharon todas las oportunidades para aprender el complejo mundo de los computadores, y los felicitamos por su ingeniosidad para resolver problemas en un abrir y cerrar de ojos.

Los estilos de comunicación han cambiado, y a medida que la generación Y empezó a entrar en la adolescencia, el mundo basculó sustancialmente hacia una nueva dirección, con cambios sin precedente como los que se vivieron durante la Revolución Industrial. Les dimos celulares para permanecer en contacto con ellos, teléfonos inteligentes con acceso instantáneo a Internet y computadores por todas partes a donde iban. Ellos aprovecharon esa tecnología para aprender a adaptarse rápidamente y para estar en contacto con el mundo y con sus semejantes en todo momento.

Generación Z: Una nueva generación con impacto en los negocios

La generación Z no conoció el mundo sin celulares, sin accesorios de mano y sin aparatos conectados a Internet. Ellos están creciendo en un ambiente de inestabilidad económica e institucional, están siendo afectados por el agotamiento de recursos y los cambios climáticos, y están conectados con el mundo entero mediante las redes sociales. Tienen siempre la información al alcance de la mano, son expertos en tecnología y análisis, y están cambiando la manera de hacer negocios en el mundo. Ni siquiera los mileniales podrán entender fácilmente este nuevo giro.

Los jóvenes van más allá de las fronteras; eso es lo que todas las generaciones anteriores a ellos han hecho, y eso es bueno. Les hemos enseñado a no tener miedo de ensayar nuevas cosas; los hemos animado a descubrir formas innovadoras para alcanzar sus objetivos. Esta generación es brillante. Los líderes empresariales verán que encaminar a la generación Z para que encuentre el lugar que le corresponde en la organización permitirá aprovechar sus conocimientos y entusiasmo, generando a la larga resultados y mejores beneficios.

Sí, es difícil dirigir personas que saben más que nosotros y, sí, esta generación hace las cosas de manera diferente a nosotros. Aunque los recuerdos de la vida sin teléfonos celulares y computadores personales afloran de vez en cuando, es difícil imaginarse dirigir hoy una empresa sin estas herramientas. Aún están por venir fantásticas posibilidades, cuyas ideas vendrán sin duda de las generaciones de empleados más jóvenes.

Forme, guíe y tenga cuidado de no micro-administrar a esta generación. Al contrario, agradezca el valor de las generaciones que traen cambios.

Autora y conferencista en el campo de los negocios, Rosemarie Barnes resalta las dificultades que los dirigentes pueden tener que afrontar al tener múltiples generaciones en un lugar de trabajo. Lea más acerca de la forma en que las brechas generacionales en el campo de los negocios están afectando la salud y ganancias de las empresas en su libro: Confident Leadership in 21st Century Business: Bridging the Generation Gaps, ahora en venta en Amazon (USA y Canadá). Se puede reservar a Rosemarie para hacer presentaciones por rbarnes@confidentstages.com. Para mayor información, visite confidentstages.com

 

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Pehr Designs

case_study_web_pehr_designs

DISEÑANDO UNA ESTRATEGIA DE EXPANSIÓN

Con ventas cinco veces mayores y un mejor balance, Perren atribuye al factoraje de cuentas por cobrar y al financiamiento de órdenes de compra de Liquid Capital la obtención de un financiamiento bancario tradicional para Pehr. Sin lugar a duda, Pehr Designs es una marca mundial de estilo de vida posicionada para un futuro prometedor – además de muy sofisticado.

Inspirándose en su amor común por la decoración y el diseño, las viejas amigas Jennifer Kelly y Rebecca Perren lanzaron, en 2010, Pehr Designs, una marca de estilo de vida que propone accesorios para el hogar y decoración para cuartos de bebé. Distribuidos por conocidos comerciantes como Anthropologie e Indigo Books, los artículos de la línea también gozan de gran popularidad en una clientela internacional cada vez más grande.

Con productos diseñados en Canadá y producidos de manera responsable en la India, Pehr Designs ha tenido una rápida expansión tanto a nivel nacional como internacional. Hacia el 2015, los pedidos provenientes en abundancia de los Estados Unidos representaban 80 % de las ventas.

Oportunidad estaba tocando a la puerta, pero Pehr afrontaba serias dificultades. A pesar de que la joven empresa pudo financiar pequeñas cuentas con créditos personales basados en sus relaciones comerciales existentes, su línea de crédito bancaria se estaba haciendo insuficiente para emprender nuevos negocios.

«El negocio iba sobre ruedas y estábamos recibiendo cada vez más órdenes de compra exclusivas de nuestros clientes,» cuenta la cofundadora de Pehr, Rebecca Perren. «Necesitábamos adquirir compromisos con las fábricas, pero para nosotras era muy difícil manejar el período de transición.»

La empresa necesitaba con urgencia una solución viable a corto plazo para financiar la expansión del negocio a largo plazo. Más tarde, al buscar varias opciones para obtener fondos, Pehr Designs escogió las soluciones de financiamiento de órdenes de compra y de factoraje de cuentas por cobrar de Liquid Capital.

«CONTEMPLAMOS OTRAS ALTERNATIVAS, INCLUYENDO OTRAS EMPRESAS DE FACTORAJE. PERO FINALMENTE ESCOGIMOS A LIQUID CAPITAL PORQUE SE TOMARON EL TIEMPO DE AYUDARNOS A COMPRENDER LA FILOSOFÍA DETRÁS DEL FACTORAJE Y SE INVOLUCRARON EN CADA ETAPA DEL RECORRIDO.»

Rebecca Perren, Cofundadora de Pehr

ABRIENDO LAS PUERTAS DE GRANDES CLIENTES MINORISTAS

Sin conocer el factoraje y llena de escepticismo al principio, Perren se sorprende del tiempo y apoyo que Liquid Capital invirtió en disipar sus inquietudes y explicar el factoraje combinado al financiamiento de cuentas por cobrar, llamándolos primordiales para garantizar que alcanzaran un buen nivel de entendimiento de este nuevo método de financiamiento.

«Liquid Capital nos ayudó a obtener adelantos en efectivo, se encargó de hacer los pagos cuando se necesitaba, disminuyó nuestro tiempo de espera relacionado con las cuentas por cobrar y organizó los ciclos de pago con las fábricas para que el negocio se moviera,» afirma Rebecca.

El factoraje de cuentas por cobrar también le dio a Pehr la capacidad financiera que necesitaba para conseguir grandes clientes minoristas y proveerles sus productos, lo cual fue un elemento importante de su estrategia de expansión que representó cerca del 50 % de sus actividades.

Por un período de 18 meses del 2014 hasta finales del 2016, Liquid Capital adquirió más de $900.000 en cuentas por cobrar para cubrir los costos de inventario y operaciones. El financiamiento de órdenes de compra inyectó $250.000 adicionales para la compra de materias primas. En total, se obtuvieron más de 50 financiamientos.

UN «FACTOR» CRUCIAL PARA MANTENER LOS NIVELES DE INVENTARIO

Refiriéndose a Liquid Capital como «un verdadero colaborador en la expansión de nuestra empresa», Perren elogia su habilidad para ayudar a Pehr a obtener nuevos clientes, mantener niveles de inventario suficientes y hacer que la producción marche sobre ruedas para satisfacer la futura demanda.

«La mayoría de nuestros productos provienen de la India, de manera que el financiamiento de órdenes de compra nos ha ayudado a mantener niveles de inventario mayorista, mientras que el factoraje nos ha ayudado a reducir los plazos de pago cuando la mercancía llega,» dice Perren.

Perren le atribuye al factoraje la capacidad de Pehr de pagarle a tiempo a las fábricas. «Si no se les paga a tiempo a las fábricas que producen los artículos, se ocasiona un efecto dominó,» explica Perren. «Si las entregas se retrasan, esto provoca la reducción de los niveles de inventario, lo que a su vez se traduce en ventas que no se realizan.»

Pero el práctico servicio y soporte no se limitó a eso. Cuando se encargó del proceso de cobros de Pehr, Liquid Capital trabajó fuerte para disipar las inquietudes de la empresa y garantizar que Pehr se sintiera bien con el proceso y la integridad de la operación. También ayudó a Pehr a montar la infraestructura necesaria para hacer el seguimiento, organizar y llevar la documentación de contabilidad.

«EL FACTORAJE ES AÚN RELATIVAMENTE DESCONOCIDO Y LA GENTE NO SABE A CIENCIA CIERTA LO QUE IMPLICA. A NOSOTRAS, EL FINANCIAMIENTO DE ÓRDENES DE COMPRA Y EL FACTORAJE NOS PERMITIERON AFRONTAR UN PERÍODO DE 12 A 18 MESES DURANTE EL CUAL NECESITÁBAMOS CONTINUAR CON LA EXPANSIÓN DE NUESTRA EMPRESA COMO NOSOTRAS QUERÍAMOS.»

Rebecca Perren, Cofundadora de Pehr

UNA TRANSICIÓN SIN ESTRÉS HACIA EL FINANCIAMIENTO BANCARIO

Con un financiamiento en orden, Pehr Designs continúa consiguiendo más clientes para su línea de accesorios sofisticados para el hogar y para niños.

Según Perren, el financiamiento de órdenes de compra combinado al factoraje de cuentas por cobrar es la solución ideal para mantener el inventario y la producción en los momentos en los que las ventas son muchas pero el crédito es limitado. Para ella, se trata de la solución más benéfica para las empresas que tienen órdenes de compra con las que de lo contrario no podrían cumplir. Pehr ha podido aumentar sus negocios y recibir pedidos más grandes, y todo con «mucho menos estrés.»

«Si bien es cierto que el factoraje no es la opción más económica, esta ofrece el financiamiento necesario para aceptar negocios de clientes más grandes sin que se requieran depósitos por adelantado,» señala Perren. Además, «hemos tenido toda la atención de Liquid Capital y ha sido fácil trabajar con ellos. Ellos han sido estupendos también en la gestión de nuestro paso al financiamiento bancario.»

Con ventas cinco veces mayores y un mejor balance, Perren atribuye al factoraje de cuentas por cobrar y al financiamiento de órdenes de compra de Liquid Capital la obtención de un financiamiento bancario tradicional para Pehr. Sin lugar a duda, Pehr Designs es una marca mundial de estilo de vida posicionada para un futuro prometedor – además de muy sofisticado.

«DESPUÉS DE HABER VISTO LO BIEN QUE HAN RESULTADO PARA NOSOTRAS, PIENSO QUE LAS EMPRESAS CANADIENSES DEBERÍAN APROVECHAR EL FINANCIAMIENTO DE ÓRDENES DE COMPRA Y EL FACTORAJE DE CUENTAS POR COBRAR CUANDO NO CUMPLAN CON LOS REQUISITOS PARA OBTENER UN PRÉSTAMO BANCARIO. ES FÁCIL Y EFICIENTE, Y LOS PROCESOS SON MUY CLAROS. FUERON REALMENTE UNA GRAN AYUDA PARA LA EXPANSIÓN DE NUESTRA EMPRESA.»

Rebecca Perren, Cofundadora de Pehr