Business Gift Guide 2018

2018 Business Gift Guide

Business Gift Guide 2018

It’s the holiday season, and everyone’s searching for the perfect gift — whether to thank clients for their business, recognize staff for their hard work, or maybe even to stand out from the competition and win new business. If you’re still searching, try one of the memorable ideas from these lists curated by the experts.

15 professional holiday gifts for your clients under $50

Via CNBC

Business gift guide - Personalized fortune cookie

« Getting a present for a client can be tricky. You want to keep it professional but also make a lasting impression. »

This list is filled with practical and memorable ideas including wireless phone chargers, personalized golf balls and fortune cookies with a customized message inside.

Hand-bound pocket notebooks

Whether it be in a meeting or when they have a cool idea, everyone takes notes. Get your client some that are distinguished and can fit into a pocket.

Fun Fortune Cookies

This one’s great especially if you’re gifting a whole office. A box of fortune cookies with personalized messages allows you to thank your clients for their business in a fun, creative way.

A mix of coffee blends

While almost all offices have coffee machines, most don’t offer the most quality stuff. The Bean Box sampler includes four expert-picked roasts from around the world as well as tasting notes and brewing tips for any self-proclaimed coffee connoisseurs.

See the full list here.

21 thoughtful corporate gifts your employees will actually like

Via Business Insider

Business Gift Guide - presents for employees

Skip the tired and cheap corporate gifts and surprise your employees this year with these elevated, thoughtful, and useful options instead. Some come from our favorite startups, while others are just a click away on Amazon. Go the extra mile by customizing them with company colors, a logo, or a personal touch that truly shows your appreciation.

Tumblers from YETI

Whether you’re sipping on a hot or cold drink, YETI’s stainless steel, double-wall insulated tumblers never fail to keep your beverage at the optimal temperature. Employees can keep them on their desk or bring them along to the trails on their days off.

Movie gift cards from Fandango

Everyone loves going to the movies, which is why a Fandango gift card is a no-brainer. You can get bulk discounts for orders over 100 cards so your employees can enjoy the latest summer action movie, surprise indie hit, or highly anticipated animated sequel whenever they want.

Phone grips from Popsockets

Popsockets grips are the small, simple, and affordable phone accessories that your employees will wish you had gifted them earlier. These round buttons stick to the back of their phone and expand whenever they need a grip or a stand. They can take photos, text, and hold their phone without worrying about dropping it, or prop it up to stream content and video chat.

See the full list here.

19 Last-Minute Gift Ideas for Cementing a Business Relationship

Via Entrepreneur

Business Gift Guide - last minute gift ideas

The holidays are rapidly approaching, so you’re probably wracking your brain to think of what to give your boss, your clients, and/or your employees — to thank them for a great year. If you’re like me, I might wait till the last minute to get these gifts. Okay it’s last minute, so I better get going — like now.

While you may not personally know what a person may like — or you may be convinced they already own everything out there — you can still go beyond the expected corporate gifts and select something distinctive from our holiday gift guide for corporate living and giving.

SkyBell

This is a great gift idea for any client or virtual team member who works from home or for the entrepreneur who is always on the go. SkyBell is a Wi-Fi video doorbell that works with your smartphone so you can always see and talk to the person standing on your office doorsteps, regardless of whether the bell is rung.

Tile

If you have a boss or employee who is forever misplacing a wallet, phone, or keys, then this gift is ideal. Tile helps its owner find those items thanks to a Bluetooth tracker and intuitive app.

SnackNation

Everyone could eat better, so this is a great way to send a corporate gift and show you care about your recipient’s health. This is also a great way to show your office employees that you sincerely care about their health all year long.

See the full list here.

legendary entrepreneur quotes

15 legendary entrepreneur quotes that will inspire any business pro

Featuring Emily Clark, Guest Contributor

Every entrepreneur’s success, big or small, begins with a brilliant idea. If worries or anxieties held back the world’s top business people, we would have missed out on incredible things like the personal computer, Facebook, the iPhone and even Harry Potter.

If fear of failure has ever held you back from running your own small business, don’t worry – you’re not alone. 40% of entrepreneurs share that sentiment, and it can roadblock from taking on new challenges in their professional lives.

We hear time and again how many top entrepreneurs succeeded only after failing – often over and over on multiple projects. Remember that failure is the first step towards success. Instead of being intimidated, you can use that feeling as personal motivation. The key for these top entrepreneurs was to keep their nerves strong throughout the hard times, be calm and battle through.

When you’re in a tense situation and fear is staring you down, it’s worth imitating the pros who have walked a mile before you. Take the famous example of Steve Jobs, who converted his failures into a rebirth of Apple, launching the iPod to become the most successful and arguably adored person in the tech world.

In the following infographic, “45 Legendary quotes from successful entrepreneurs” brought to you by Total Processing, see how notable entrepreneurs like Jobs, Bezos, Huffington and Beyoncé have viewed their golden journeys and stared down this fear of failure. These legends are experts in their fields, and their inspirational quotes will surely provide motivation to take on any fear and define your own legacy.

Legendary entrepreneur quotes

 

Up Next: Get the « Podcast Hit List » for successful business owners and entrepreneurs.

crowdfunding advantages

Is crowdfunding the best option for raising capital?

crowdfunding advantages

If you’re considering launching a new product, solution or next-gen business idea, you might have heard that crowdfunding could be a unique way to garner attention and raise capital. But is crowdfunding the most effective way to get you the necessary funds, and are there potential shortcomings that you should know about in advance?

How crowdfunding works

 

Put plainly, crowdfunding is a way to collect a bunch of financial contributions instead of looking for just one large investment — commonly achieved via websites such as Kickstarter or Indiegogo. These sites often highlight innovative ideas that are brand new to the market — launching to a wider audience and getting exposure that would have been time-consuming and much more costly through traditional methods.

Most crowdfunding platforms use a rewards model, allowing would-be entrepreneurs to provide incentives in order to get the crowd to fund their concept.

The most common incentive is providing the product or service when it’s ready, without additional charge. Some entrepreneurs utilize a tiered structure, where a small contribution preorders the product while a larger one garners additional perks, such as a special edition item or even a chance to collaborate with the developers on its final design. For early adopter consumers, getting in on the ground floor for a new product would have a great appeal.

Once the incentive structure is in place, most sites set a time limit on the idea’s profile. Nobody wants to look through abandoned ideas, so the time limit ensures that investors are only seeing active projects whenever they look for something to back.

That said, not all crowdfunding sites require a rewards model be in place.

GoFundMe is one example of a popular crowdfunding platform with no incentive structure. Instead, backers pledge their support for causes that they believe in. Patreon is another platform that allows artists, musicians and other content creators to solicit monthly contributions to support their work, rather than a specific project. There are also a few sites that allow investors to purchase a tiny equity stake in the idea they are backing, turning the process into a more traditional investment.

Advantages of crowdfunding over other financing

crowdfunding

The biggest advantage of crowdfunding is that entrepreneurs are generally allowed to hold on to their equity. Backers get a product in exchange for their contribution, leaving full control of the idea to the original developer. If the idea ends up being worth millions, this can prove to be very significant. It also allows entrepreneurs to maintain unquestioned control over their company’s day-to-day operations.

Crowdfunding also creates an instant customer base with a vested interest in a given concept. Backers pick projects to support because they think they’re cool — meaning that they want to have it first. They’ll often go to great lengths to help promote the idea to their friends, family and anyone else who might listen on social media. After all, if an idea fails to resonate with the masses the way backers expected, they lose this cool factor.

Consumers are increasingly looking for products online, so an active digital presence can really help grow your brand, build awareness, positive sentiment and make consumers more likely to choose you in the future. And since crowdfunding is generally conducted entirely online, entrepreneurs can foster a meaningful relationship with their audience via multiple channels in creative ways that don’t have to cost an arm and a leg.

Disadvantages of crowdfunding over other financing

The time limit is essential for crowdfunding platforms to maintain a fresh inventory of ideas, but many of the downsides are tied to this restriction. Most platforms utilize an ‘all or nothing’ model that prevents entrepreneurs from keeping any of the money they collect if they fail to reach their stated goal. Failing to meet your goals can turn the entire endeavor into a costly waste of time.

Underestimating the capital needed can prove even more disastrous. Once an entrepreneur keeps a backer’s money, they are legally and ethically obligated to provide whatever incentive was promised in exchange. If they’re unable to deliver, the resulting litigation is likely to prevent the company from ever getting off the ground.

Some entrepreneurs see crowdfunding as a shortcut, but be warned it will take just as much (or more) preparation, business planning and effort to convince your backers. The digital-savvy and hyper-selective audiences demand a complete business plan detailing what their money will be used for regardless of how much they invest.

The online component of crowdfunding also requires business owners to live online and build support for the duration of the campaign, leaving little time for other duties. There are professional agencies that help manage crowdfunding campaigns, but using them adds to the costs that crowdfunding platforms already deduct from the money raised.

Not for everyone

Crowdfunding is a relatively new and potentially thrilling way for would-be entrepreneurs to raise money, but it’s not right for everybody.

Before you get started, look at all your funding options to determine if you have the right resources in place (time, money, expertise) to venture into a crowdfunding model. Talk to other business owners who have had successful (or unsuccessful) online campaigns and ask them for tips on getting started. Investigate the various crowdfunding sites and learn which ones will give you the appropriate platform to connect with your audience.

This process is just a starting point, and it can get a lot more complicated — so it pays to do your homework before jumping in headfirst. Once you’ve made an initial assessment, it’s time to get deeper into your analysis to choose a platform, crunch numbers and treat the crowdfunding just as seriously as you would any other business lending opportunity.

startup mistakes

10 Avoidable Mistakes That Could Doom Your Startup

startup mistakes

90% of startups fail. It’s a new world of business, and only the strongest new companies will survive. So how do you avoid startup doom?

Sometimes failure comes down to sheer bad luck or influences beyond an entrepreneur’s control, but in many cases, it can come down to the same simple mistakes that companies make time and time again.

Here are 10 common errors to avoid if you want your business to last the distance.

1. Inadequate Market Research

It doesn’t matter how remarkable you think your product is if the market doesn’t agree with you. Very few startups offer an innovation that can truly revolutionize a space, so before you spend significant money on development and marketing, be sure your market research is up to scratch. Don’t waste time and resources on a white elephant with no demand.

2. Insufficient Startup Funding

All startups need to have a realistic plan for how they’ll operate until revenue starts to flow reliably. Almost always, this means having sufficient initial funding in place to see you through the first lean months or years, whether that’s through your own investment or via a third party funding partner.

3. Unsuitable Partner Choice

As vital as funding is, it’s a mistake to go into business with a partner just because of the capital they can inject. For long-term success, you also need to have a matching vision, common aims, and complementary skill sets.

4. Poor Customer Care

If gaining and retaining customers isn’t your number one aim, your company will struggle to develop any momentum. Providing great customer care and an excellent experience is a non-negotiable requirement for success.

5. Ignoring Revenue Needs

Especially in tech sectors, it seems fashionable for startups to focus on building a product range and a user base while leaving revenue worries until later. This rarely works out well. If you don’t have a strong, actionable idea about how you’ll generate revenue as you grow, gaining more customers could actually be a fast route to failure as your costs quickly outstrip your income.

6. Poor Budget Control

Never let costs get out of control in your quest for growth. Losing sight of the importance of healthy cash flow is a big mistake — no matter how many other metrics you use to measure success. Unless you have investors with extremely deep pockets (who aren’t focused on ROI), you need to keep a steady eye on the bottom line.

7. Getting Overly Enthusiastic

Hopefully, your startup will be a rapid success, but it’s all too common for entrepreneurs to become too enthusiastic at the first signs of substantial profit. It’s important to keep a level head, press on with your strategy, and continue making sensible business decisions rather than letting that enthusiasm get the better of you.

8. Poor Hiring or Collaboration

There is a common image of a lone wolf or maverick entrepreneur, but the truth is that any successful business relies on hiring high-quality staff and working with skilled third parties when necessary. Trying to do everything yourself isn’t the best use of your entrepreneurial talents.

On the flip side, if it’s not working out with a staff member or third party relationship, you should have no qualms about rectifying the situation before too much damage is done.

9. Fear of Delegation

Once you have high-caliber staff in place, you need to trust them to do their jobs. Many driven entrepreneurs struggle with delegation, but it’s essential for serious growth. If you constantly micromanage your staff, expansion is limited by the number of hours you can put in personally.

10. Lack of IP Protection

Lastly, in the rush for growth, many businesses fail to properly protect their intellectual property. Patents, trademarks and copyrights are all essential. If others can replicate the core aspects of your business without any legal barriers, you can be sure that someone with deeper pockets or a larger existing customer base will eventually move into your space.

 

If you have the entrepreneurial frame of mind and a winning business idea, it can be tempting to go full throttle towards growth and success. However, it’s vital to learn from the mistakes of others and take a little care along the way. Avoid these common errors and you’ll stand a much better chance of being in business for the long haul.

bitcoin business

Should I Accept Bitcoin in My Business? (Part 2)

Cryptocurrency & Blockchain: Hype or the New Reality? (Part 2)

bitcoin business

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are based on the underlying blockchain technology that comes with safety, anonymity, and a lot of confusion. Read Part 1 of this story to learn what blockchain is all about.

Digital currency prices are even more temperamental than the stock market. They can increase or decrease unpredictably over a short period of time due to their young economy, novel nature and often-illiquid markets.

But if you invest or accept crypto at the right time, you can see huge gains.

Like any other investment, you should do your homework before purchasing any cryptocurrency. The same goes for accepting Bitcoin or other crypto for goods and services.

If you don’t know much about this new currency model, then educate yourself until you are certain that it’s a valuable trade for your business. And make sure your business can stay afloat even if you lost all of that cryptocurrency. 

Be warned that many « experts » who provide crypto advice are more concerned with enriching themselves than helping beginners, so it’s best to stick to unbiased data until you really know what you are doing. To start, CoinMarketCap.com is a great unbiased source for nearly any token’s price, historical value and planned circulation. You can learn a lot by following these trends online.

Should I buy or receive crypto?

bitcoin business checklist

Before jumping into cryptocurrency, keep a few points in mind:

  1. Never keep your business savings in cryptocurrency. View it like you would a high-risk asset.
  2. If you receive payments, you’ll probably want to quickly convert them to your local currency to avoid any unpredictability with the market.
  3. If you keep your currency in crypto, know that there are risks — don’t keep anything in these digital wallets that you aren’t willing to lose.
  4. Transactions cannot be reversed. According to Bitcoin.org, transactions can only be refunded by the person receiving the funds. “This means you should take care to do business with people and organizations you know and trust, or who have an established reputation.”
  5. Cryptocurrency is still not an officially recognized currency. “Most jurisdictions still require you to pay income, sales, payroll, and capital gains taxes on anything that has value, including bitcoins.”

How do I open a digital wallet?

bitcoin business digital wallet

If you’re still interested in owning cryptocurrency or accepting it in your business, you first need a « wallet » — which is your account.

Crypto wallets consist of two random strings of characters. The first identifies your account on the public blockchain, making it a username of sorts. The second is your « private key » — a password that must be inputted before any transaction to ensure that you are the only one who can use your account. Experts generally advise keeping your private key a secret to limit unauthorized use of your account.

Once you have a wallet, you need to choose an “exchange” to facilitate your crypto purchase.

An exchange is like your cryptocurrency trading site — a place where you can buy, sell and trade digital currencies. Many exchanges are online sites, but some can also be brick-and-mortar locations.

CoinBase is a popular online choice for beginners due to its intuitive interface and the ability to fund your purchases with a credit card or bank account. Its selection is limited, so many crypto enthusiasts ultimately graduate to another platform such as Bittrex or Kraken.

The future of blockchain

bitcoin business future

Digital currencies are a complicated subject that can fill many textbooks, blogs, forums and conference agendas for years to come, so don’t rush into any decision just to jump on a bandwagon. You may miss a bit of the ride, but at least you’ll know what route you’ll be taking.

Only time will tell if crypto will change the financial landscape as we know it…

Missed part one of the story? Read it here.

Cryptocurrency blockchain

Cryptocurrency & Blockchain: Hype or the New Reality? (Part 1)

Cryptocurrency blockchain

Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum have been on a wild ride in the past couple years, famously reaching sky-high growth and then plummeting without much warning. No doubt, there are skeptics of this novel currency — but there are also countless stories of rich crypto lovers and modern businesses that have taken a chance on the digital trend. Is this just a fad, or should all companies start adopting a crypto strategy?

A confusing currency for business

Cryptocurrency blockchain confusion

It’s a non-stop rollercoaster in the digital currency world, and the only sure thing seems to be how confused it’s made the would-be investors and businesses that are considering getting on board.

It’s understandable. Many people don’t understand how any commodity can vary so dramatically in price, especially something with no intrinsic value.

Yet experts predict that cryptocurrency is here to stay for the long haul. If that is the case, most business professionals will need to learn the basics of digital currency and this emerging technology.

The sooner, the better — and potentially, the more profitable.

What is blockchain?

Cryptocurrency blockchain safety

Any discussion about crypto has to start with its underlying technology: blockchain.

Simply put, a blockchain is a public ledger that automatically records every transaction that happens on the network.

For instance, if you collect 10 Bitcoin from a customer, then a « block » on the Bitcoin blockchain will record that transaction.

If you’re thinking that it sounds easy to tamper with, think again.

Is blockchain safe?

Cryptocurrency blockchain mining

The blockchain has checks and balances for added protection. To start, every transaction on the blockchain is verified by « miners » who are individuals using powerful computers to crunch the numbers. These miners make sure that every single block is compatible with all the others that came before it. Any effort to tamper with the blockchain would need to edit multiple blocks simultaneously to ensure constant agreement — a task that’s almost impossible to do.

In addition, whoever owns the computers that successfully verify a transaction will be rewarded with brand new cryptocurrency (Bitcoin, in the example above). This provides an impressive incentive structure to keep the miners ahead of the hackers.

Blockchains also have an added security. Every single token is traceable through every account it has ever been in.

How are various crypto tokens different?

Cryptocurrency blockchain tokens

Each individual crypto token has its own blockchain, some of which operate differently.

For example, Ethereum’s blockchain is programmable, allowing for the development of « smart contracts » that automatically fulfill themselves once set conditions are met. Bitcoin’s blockchain lacks this functionality.

Likewise, various blockchains have different processing speeds, with Ethereum generally moving more quickly than Bitcoin. Of course, actual processing speeds are always variable depending on the number and quality of miners verifying the transactions at any given moment.

Supply and demand

Cryptocurrency blockchain supply and demand

There are many different types of cryptocurrency coins, and each has a differently planned circulation — or how much of it is available to the marketplace. Coins with lower planned circulations, such as Bitcoin’s 21,000,000 BTC, tend to be favored by investors since the limited supply translates into a higher price if demand is also high.

By contrast, Ripple’s planned circulation of 100,000,000,000 XRP means that any single XRP can’t be worth that much — no matter how high demand climbs.

However, a very large supply is a prerequisite for any coin hoping to compete with traditional currencies for everyday transactions, such as the U.S. Dollar. The most ardent blockchain supporters tend to favor large circulating supplies as a result.

So should you accept Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies in your business? And if so, how do you get started. Read Part 2 to learn the answers.

factoring vs bank loans

Need a Bank Loan? 16 Ways Factoring is Better

factoring vs bank loans

If you own or operate a company, you probably know the challenges of finding business funding. Relationships with banks are important, but sometimes bank loans don’t work out. That’s where alternative financing options like factoring, also known as accounts receivable financing, come in handy.

Factoring allows you to access cash against your existing and ongoing customer invoices. You’ll work with a factoring partner who will provide you working capital and take over the collections of those accounts receivable in return for a professional services fee.

When a company needs cash flow, factoring can be the quick and reliable solution to keep your business heading in the right direction. Here are the additional bonuses to using factoring that you may have never considered:

1. Get faster funding

If you need to urgently buy supplies, order product, make payroll or repair key equipment, factoring can be easier and quicker to secure than traditional loans – sometimes as quickly as 24 hours after submitting your invoices. Unlike a traditional loan, you don’t need to submit tax returns, detailed financial statements, business plans or your financial projections – saving you a lot of time and hassle. Banks can also take longer to approve your requests, potentially making you wait for fiscal year end or the results of an audit. Instead, your factoring partner will perform an initial underwriting process to approve your application – then you’re all set.

2. Flexibility – Borrow more when needed

The amount your company can borrow will actually grow the more you sell. As your business grows, you’ll need even more cash flow to pay for supplies as you wait for customers to pay their invoices. So factoring gives you the immediate ability to borrow more, and keep the growth going. Compared to traditional banks, you will never outgrow your line of credit, as a big enough factoring company can accommodate all your growth needs.

3. No other assets required

Factoring only requires that you have customer accounts receivable to secure your funding. You don’t need other assets like real estate, equipment or inventory to apply. That means your personal home or property doesn’t have to be offered up as collateral, which may sometimes be the case with traditional bank loans. (If you do have those other assets, you can also qualify for additional funding options like Asset-Based Loans).

4. Cash flow boost when you need it – now or ongoing

Whether you need a longer-term solution or a temporary boost in cash flow, factoring can help you out of a tricky working capital dilemma. Every business will eventually run into the need for more cash on hand – so with factoring, as soon as new orders are invoiced you can have cash released into your business account. This gives you the chance to take advantage of growth opportunities that require more consistent cash flow.

5. Get larger funding than banks

Unlimited funding sounds amazing. With factoring, lending power is dependent upon the size of your accounts receivable – so an abundance of working capital is possible. Banks qualify you based on your business credit strength, whereas your factoring partner looks to your accounts receivable and your customer credit strength. If you’re selling goods or services to financially strong customers and have ongoing invoices, you can get substantially more financing than you’d qualify for with a traditional bank lender.

6. Grow your business the way you want

Instant cash means you can accelerate your growth strategy. Some companies need to hire more sales people to secure new accounts. Others will need additional equipment to manufacture their product. Still others may need working capital for marketing and advertising, office upgrades or new project development. Whatever the need, you’ll have the working capital to execute and grow the business.

Related: How high-growth companies can get unlimited cash flow

7. Take advantage of supplier discounts

Volume discounts, early payment discounts or special supplier offers are attractive options – but only if you have the capital available at that moment in time. Traditional bank loans are often not fast enough to allow you to take advantage of these discounts. But now, you can factor invoices quickly and free up cash flow to jump at the opportunities when they present themselves.

8. Shorten your cash cycle

Waiting for customers to make payment is a burden. With factoring, you can significantly shorten your cash cycle. Instead of waiting 30, 60, 90 or more days for traditional payment terms, you can receive that payment from your factoring partner in as little as 24 hours. By the time your original terms would have come due, you could have now been able to purchase more goods, make more sales and earn higher profits.

9. Free up your time

Searching for funding and traditional bank loans is a time-consuming process. Meetings, business plans and applications take up a lot of your valuable schedule that could be spent on other areas of the business. With factoring, you’ll have to complete the application process, but once approved you can regularly factor your credit eligible invoices and save time while improving cash flow.

10. Lower your overhead costs

Since your factoring partner takes over the management of your invoices, including handling customer payment and collections, your costs in these departments will likely lower. This can help offset any fees and makes factoring an even more attractive solution. You won’t get that service at a traditional bank.

11. Focus on new revenue

You and your team likely already spend a lot of time processing customer invoices and collecting payment – maybe too much time. With those duties removed from your to-do list, you can now work on other tasks that will improve your revenue like sales, marketing and building new client relationships.

12. Faster collections

Prompt and professional collections can be a big bonus when you work with the right factoring partner. With a reputable company handling customer collections, the result can be more timely payments (customers don’t want to risk a poor credit report). Once the customer makes their final payments, you’ll also receive your reserve funds from the factoring partner – so on-time collections are important to everyone.

13. Improved credit checks

Your factoring partner will also be responsible for credit-checking your customers. That gives you the advantage of having valuable intelligence about the credit worthiness of your clients, including new customers you may close. That can help improve the quality of accounts you take on, improve your credit decisions and advance your business’ debt security.

14. Less costs than equity investments – and you keep control

Equity investments and venture capital can be alternatives to traditional bank loans, but they can also demand much higher returns than the costs associated with factoring. In addition, you may be required to give up shares in your company, and that dilutes your ownership stake. It may even shift control of your business to the investors. But with factoring, there is no requirement to give up a stake in your business.

15. Protect against bad debt

In certain circumstances, some factoring companies offer non-recourse factoring, which means the factoring partner will take on the risk if any invoices are left unpaid. This type of factoring offers you additional protection against bad debt – a level of protection can be very important to some companies.

16. Improve your balance sheet

Factoring is not the same as receiving a loan. On your books, a loan would get recorded as a “debit,” which is considered a liability. Instead, with factoring there is no debt incurred. Your factoring partner is purchasing your accounts receivable with cash, and that reduces your balance sheet debt. The result will be a lower debt to equity ration, and that can actually improve your financial position on the books.

Ready for help? Turn your open invoices into working capital with Liquid Capital’s Accounts Receivable Factoring Solution.

Group working at on computers with laptops

6 Simple Ways to Improve Your Company’s Culture

company culture

A great company culture can make a world of difference when it comes to hiring and retaining quality team members. If you’re wondering how to improve your company culture, try the following simple, easy-to-implement tips.

Focus on team building

Employees who work well together do wonders for a company. Employees who haven’t had the chance to bond? Not so much.

Consider hosting regular events during which employees can socialize and get to know each other. This doesn’t have to mean long nights out — try bowling or paintball instead, or other activities that align with your company’s values. Your employees will appreciate having something fun to do, and they’ll be able to spend quality time with their co-workers in a less restrictive environment than the office. Once they feel they can trust each other, employees will be much more likely to share creative ideas — ultimately benefiting the company.

Reward employees

company culture reward

If an employee does a good job, they should be rewarded for it. It’s easy to single employees out when they’ve made a mistake, but this will cause resentment and low morale. Rewarding employees for their hard work or initiative will encourage them to keep working hard. That can also encourage their co-workers, who will see these rewards and strive for excellence.

As a bonus, your turnover rates will likely decrease, as employees who feel like they’re appreciated tend to stay with the company for longer.

Offer activities during lunch breaks

company culture dance

Don’t encourage your employees to just eat sandwiches at their desks during their lunch hour. Instead, you can offer a little extra to help boost morale, energy and afternoon productivity.

For example, by hosting a fitness class during lunch hour, employees can get their daily exercise during office hours instead of having to squeeze in an hour at the gym after work? You could also encourage a company book club to arrange a weekly get together. Or schedule regular lunch and learn sessions that can feature guest speakers and fun sessions that your employees will find particularly interesting.

Use quality furniture to create unique office zones and meeting spaces

If you’re serious about improving your company’s culture, you might like to – at least partly – move away from the traditional cubicles that are ever-present in offices. Instead, create interesting and comfortable meeting spaces by using furniture that might already be at hand. Perhaps your employees would appreciate collaboration spaces with comfy chairs. Or maybe they’d prefer having a chill-out zone to rest during a break. You know your employees, so work with their personalities and give them access to an environment they’ll enjoy.

Allow employees to work remotely

company culture remote work

Even if it’s not possible every day of the week, giving employees the occasional opportunity to work remotely will likely feel like a serious perk to many. Having time away from the office, even if it’s just one day a week or month, will help to refresh and motivate them. Employees may also be able to focus on a special project without distractions from the workplace. If you can manage it, give remote working a test run.

Encourage taking breaks

Employees will be much more productive if they’re allowed to take regular breaks, and they’ll feel much more positive about their place of employment, too. To this end, be generous about breaks. You don’t have to let your employees run wild – but encourage them not to feel uncomfortable about stepping away from their desks for a short while. This will help both your employees and the company in the long run.

Improving the culture of your company is one of the most important things to consider when thinking about employee productivity and retention. Boost your company culture and not only will you have happier and more productive employees, but you’ll also keep them around longer.

Votre liste des meilleurs balados d’affaires

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Si vous ne connaissez pas encore les balados, il se peut que vous passiez à côté de quelque chose d’important.

Ces émissions audio en ligne sont devenues l’un des meilleurs moyens de rester à jour dans le monde des affaires. Ils sont divertissants et on y prend vite goût. Vous n’êtes pas encore convaincu?

44 % des gens ont déjà fait l’expérience des balados, et environ 26 % sont des auditeurs réguliers. Près d’un quart les écoutent dans la voiture, tandis que la moitié le font à la maison (voire au gymnase ou au bureau). Mais avec plus de 550 000 émissions en circulation, vous pourriez avoir besoin de conseils pour faire vos choix.

Les balados, vous ne connaissez pas encore? Pas de problème, il est facile de faire le saut. Il suffit de suivre ces quelques étapes rapides pour écouter des balados à partir de n’importe quel appareil.

Les possibilités étant très nombreuses, nous avons sélectionné pour vous une liste de balados fantastiques que vous devriez consulter en premier.

Inside LaunchStreet

Êtes-vous prêt à innover? Laissez-vous inspirer par ce programme hebdomadaire qui vous aidera à stimuler votre esprit d’innovation. Écoutez l’histoire de ceux qui ont eu un parcours semblable au vôtre, mais dont la carrière a fait un immense bond en avant. L’impossible devient possible quand on dispose du soutien et des conseils adéquats… Vous pourriez progresser plus loin et plus vite que vous n’auriez jamais imaginé!

Outside In

Quel est le secret des plus grandes marques du monde? Ne cherchez pas du côté des procédés exclusifs ou des lancements de produits, mais plutôt dans la manière dont elles réussissent à établir un véritable rapport avec leurs clients. Outside In examine ainsi les meilleures pratiques pour créer une « organisation inspirée par le client ».

Business Wars

Les grandes marques comme Netflix, HBO, Nike et Adidas se livrent une concurrence féroce sur toutes les plates-formes – que ce soit pour des parts de marché, les revenus ou simplement au chapitre de la renommée. Apprenez ce qui pousse ces entreprises et leurs dirigeants vers de nouveaux sommets – et potentiellement vers la ruine.

Leaders in the Trenches

« Des conversations avec les leaders pour les leaders. » Reconnue par les publications Inc. et Entrepreneur, cette émission se concentre sur la façon dont les personnes au sommet de l’organigramme peuvent faire croître leur entreprise grâce à une culture bien définie et à des ventes plus substantielles, le tout dans une approche qui profite mieux aux équipes.

HBR IdeaCast

Un must pour chaque nouvel auditeur, cette série hebdomadaire de Harvard Business Review explore des sujets captivants allant des modèles de démarrage d’entreprise non conventionnels aux façons dont l’intelligence artificielle transformera les affaires.

BizChix

Destinée aux femmes ambitieuses et performantes qui sont prêtes à assumer le rôle de PDG de leur entreprise, cette émission met en vedette des femmes d’affaires qui abordent les défis auxquels vous pourriez vous aussi être confrontée dans votre carrière, tout en donnant une orientation claire sur la façon d’aller de l’avant.

Start with Why

Inspirée par le gourou du marketing Simon Sinek, cette émission propose des leçons durables sur le développement d’une carrière que vous aimerez vraiment, et sur la façon d’exploiter le pouvoir du « pourquoi ».

Duct Tape Marketing

Vous reconnaîtrez peut-être le nom accrocheur de cette série, basée sur une chronique fascinante largement diffusée dans le monde du marketing. Profitez maintenant de ces conseils sous forme de balados. À la lumière d’entrevues menées avec certaines des plus grandes personnalités du monde du marketing, apprenez à développer la bonne idée d’entreprise, à utiliser plus efficacement le référencement local et à rester en tête du peloton.

Odd Lots

Comment les paparazzi sont-ils vraiment rémunérés? Les algorithmes contrôlent-ils secrètement nos vies? Profitez d’un regard déjanté sur des sujets d’actualité touchant les marchés, la finance et l’économie en compagnie de deux hôtes brillants de chez Bloomberg.

Back to Work

Surmontez les défis communs au travail grâce à un regard divertissant sur les outils de productivité et de communication, plus les barrières et les contraintes qui peuvent vous empêcher de progresser.

The $100 MBA Show

Récompensée du prix « iTunes Best Podcast », cette série présente des émissions de courte durée, sans tambour ni trompette, qui regorgent de leçons tirées du monde réel, dévoilées par des experts comptant parmi les plus reconnus du monde des affaires.

Millionaire Interviews

Révélant des conseils pratiques pour les entrepreneurs, cette émission présente le parcours de fondateurs d’entreprise dont la réussite brillante a été couverte par Forbes, Shark Tank et Time Magazine.

Planet Money

Popcorn! Hot-dogs! Cacahuètes! Née de l’esprit créatif de la National Public Radio (NPR), cette émission portant sur l’économie a le don de pimenter des sujets qui peuvent sembler ternes à prime abord. Par exemple, comment les vendeurs à la criée des centres sportifs utilisent-ils la stratégie pour vendre leurs collations? Quand et pourquoi les PDG ont-ils commencé à toucher des salaires aussi faramineux? Prenez connaissance de toute sorte de statistiques et de faits juteux sur le monde des affaires!

Prochain article : 21 manières efficaces d’en faire plus chaque jour.

A cellphone and a headphone

How to listen to podcasts

how to listen to podcasts

Podcasts are an undeniable trend seeing rapid growth in the business world. Over 42 million people listen to these online shows every week in the United States, and with a 10 to 20 per cent increase in listeners every year, that number is set to skyrocket. Couple that with the over 550,000 podcast options available and you’ve got an incredibly massive ecosystem.

So what exactly is a podcast and how can you start listening?

Think of a podcast as an online radio show that has episodes, hosts, guests and even seasons. Many of these podcasts are highly produced and researched, focusing on virtually any topic you could possibly imagine. From professional development, finance, entrepreneur stories and startup strategies all the way to cars, cooking, comedy and murder mysteries — you name it, there’s a podcast.

There are plenty of ways for you to easily listen to podcasts — all available on any smartphone, tablet or computer (and even some smartwatches) with Internet access. All you need is to open up your podcast app, search for the program name and press play. What’s more, the shows are free — and with a little preparation, you can download your favorite episodes to listen offline when data service isn’t available, such as in airplanes, subways and remote locations.

Here are some easy podcast apps to get started.

Apple Podcasts

For iPhone and iPad users, this is one of the easiest ways to get listening to podcasts. Simply use the pre-installed « Podcasts » app on your device to search for any program. Subscribe to your favorite shows and automatically download episodes as they’re released so you’ve always got the latest program at hand.

Price: Free

Google Play Music

For Android users, this streaming music app also doubles for listening to podcasts. This straightforward app has no fancy bells and whistles like some of the paid options on the market, but you can also use the desktop version to easily listen from your computer.

Price: Free on Android

Spotify

This famous music streaming app has added podcasts to the mix, referring to them simply as « Shows » in the navigation menu. Unlike other podcast services, Spotify curates their list — so you won’t find everything under the sun, but you will get a great list of hand-selected programs. You can also quickly flip between podcasts and your music selections, which is handy if you’re prone to channel-changing. Taking it a step further, Spotify has also added short video shows to the mix, which shows another potential level up in the podcast world.

Price: Free version available or subscribe to Premium for $10/month.

Pocket Casts

If you’re serious about podcast listening, the investment in Pocket Casts could be well worth the minimal price tag. Pocket Casts kicks your listening up a big notch, allowing you to set custom skip and rewind intervals to avoid advertising or easily relisten to parts of the show. You can also make use of their voice boosting and silence trimming feature which will help when you’re listening in a noisy environment (aka coffee shops, public transit or a busy office). And by syncing across all your devices, the listening experience on Pocket Casts is hard to beat.

Price: Free 14 day trial. If you choose to subscribe, it’s a $9 one-time fee.

Overcast (for Apple iOS)

Available on the Apple iOS platform only, Overcast provides some similar features as Pocket Casts — but it’s free! With recent improvements in its latest version release, there’s not much holding it back as a top contender to be Apple users’ number one choice.

Price: Free

Podcast Addict (for Android)

Another option for Android users, Podcast Addict proclaims that it is « the #1 Podcast App on Android with 8+M downloads, 400K reviews, 1 Billion episodes downloaded and an average rating of 4.6/5. » Pretty impressive in such a competitive market, this app offers multiple features while also managing podcasts, radio and audiobooks, plus other formats like Live stream, YouTube, Twitch, SoundCloud channels and RSS News feeds.

Price: Free, and you can purchase the « Donate » version for $4.29 to support the developer.

 

Ready to start listening? Check out our list of fantastic business-related podcasts featuring shows like Outside In, Business Wars, BizChix and Start With Why. There’s a little something for every business owner and entrepreneur looking for inspiring shows to help grow their business strategy.

podcast business hit list

 

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