Small Business Invoice Factoring Blog
It can be stressful and frustrating when your business experiences cash flow fluctuations. These fluctuations are often the result of payment gaps in your accounts receivable. Simply put: you’re not getting your funds fast enough after completing your service or projects.
This is where business factoring comes in. Factoring services help businesses like yours bridge those cash flow gaps with upfront cash advances — usually 90% or more of the original invoice amount.
Many businesses benefit from accounts receivable financing option. It provides business owners with flexibility, whether a short-term funding solution or a long-term financing option for managing cash flow.
If you’ve never heard of factoring before, we’ve compiled a list of industries that can benefit the most from invoice factoring.
The transportation industry
About 12 million trucks, vessels, rail cars, and trains move goods across the transportation network. Freight invoice factoring can help a wide variety of transportation businesses, including owner-operators, large fleets and freight brokers.
Freight invoice factoring is a simple solution for freight companies to increase their cash flow and better predict when payments will come in. Bank loans require good or established credit. They might be a non-starter for owner-operators or fleet owners just getting started, or others who might have hit a rough patch.
Freight invoice factoring gives you the ability to have your invoices advanced to you without putting your company in debt. You can use freight invoice factoring to help you pay your drivers, pay for gas and repairs and even buy new trucks.
Best of all, it’s your own money you’re using. It’s just been advanced to you. There’s no debt you need to worry about.
The apparel industry
The apparel industry is a tough nut to crack for a small business. Not only are you competing with other boutiques, but you’re also up against other e-commerce online stores that typically get paid at the time of purchase. In order to remain competitive, it’s crucial to maintain a steady cash flow to keep your company’s operations going.
Cash flow peaks and valleys happen throughout the season for every business. But if your apparel company business doesn’t maintain traction, it can lead you to wonder if you need to stop taking on more orders. Every business owner knows that you need money just to fulfill existing orders. You have to pay your staff, rent and other fixed costs.
With invoice factoring, you don’t have to stop taking orders. When you use apparel invoice factoring, you can get you paid on previous orders quickly, so you have the capital to update your equipment, make your payroll and stock up on inventory. A steady cash flow means steady business and means customers receive their orders on time.
The staffing industry
Staffing industries have slightly different challenges than other industries — promising to pay contract-based workers on behalf of your client. You don’t pay, the contractor doesn’t work and your client’s operations stall.
The good news is that staffing invoice factoring can solve the payroll issues, in addition to the costs of sourcing, recruitment and hiring. With a consistent funding source in place, you can more confidently bid on larger projects and advertise your services.
The manufacturing industry
Even the biggest manufacturing companies have issues with inconsistent cash flow. And when manufacturing businesses are low on cash because they’re waiting on money from their invoices it can make it impossible to accomplish even simple goals.
It’s all too easy to consider taking out a major bank loan to pay for these expenses instead of waiting for the money from your invoices to arrive. But this can drive your business into debt, which no company wants.
Manufacturing invoice factoring can help you avoid debt and gain the working capital you need to meet payroll on time, buy new equipment, repair equipment parts and more.
The technology industry
The technology industry is another highly competitive industry for small businesses. Technology companies face a saturated and competitive market for their services. The pace of business and the need for quick updates and upgrades to your company’s hardware and software requires access to capital.
More than that, technology companies are always trying to hold on to their best talent. Invoice factoring for technology companies can help mitigate potential payroll issues and keep your team intact.
Remember, with invoice factoring, you can fund your business through your own unpaid invoices instead of taking out a bank loan.
Bank loans often have high interest rates that can come back to bite you later. But with invoice factoring, you’re using your own capital. It’s just being advanced to you so you can use it when you need it.
We’ve discussed the benefits of invoice factoring in previous blog posts. From improving cash flow to providing stability, small businesses of all types and sizes — even trucking companies, — use and benefit from factoring companies to help their enterprises grow.
Factoring companies specialize in helping small businesses drastically cut down wait times on payment, meaning that you can avoid waiting for 60, 90, or even 180 days for customer payments. But which businesses can make the best use of these services? Here are just a few large volume industries that can benefit from the assistance of invoice factoring services.
Staffing Firms Industry
Staffing agencies frequently use invoice factoring services for one main reason: they need to pay their employees regularly. But if their clients aren’t paying quickly enough, invoice funding or factoring services can step in and make sure the company’s hard-working employees get their paycheck.
Access to immediate working capital is critical for a staffing company needing to make payroll on a weekly basis and still be able to take on new clients efficiently without worrying about being able to spend resources on finding and hiring new people.
In staffing, it’s pretty simple: no money for payroll, no people and ultimately loss of contract.
Many staffing companies can end up failing or having serious financial issues simply because of slow payments. Partnering with a factoring company and using strategic invoice funding ensures your people get paid, and you keep the contracts.
Professional Services Firms
Various professional firms also take advantage of invoice factoring options because of high-budget projects that take time to pay off. For example, law firms and architecture firms’ services usually range in the thousands of dollars, which may take months for businesses or corporations to pay off. These firms need capital to run efficiently and promote growth. Invoice funding can be an alternative to a traditional bank loan.
Finally, businesses focused on manufacturing can invoice factoring services for various reasons. Many times, the equipment they need for everyday operations becomes damaged, stalling production until it can be repaired. Repair costs can be expensive because of the highly-specialized equipment needed for production, and invoice funding can provide immediate capital to keep operations running. Without the funding required to stay on top of production costs, including unforeseen disruptions from breakdowns, the manufacturer risks missing deadlines and potentially losing out on anticipated money.
As we’ve discussed in previous blog posts, invoice factoring is a type of accounts receivable financing that converts outstanding invoices — due within 90 days — into immediate cash for your small business.
But before you sign any type of contract or agreement for an invoice advance loan, it’s essential to ask the right questions to understand what services you’re getting for your money. If you’ve signed any contract before, you know that it doesn’t matter what was discussed; what matters are the terms you agreed to when signing at the bottom.
As a business owner, you sign a lot of documents, and it’s common to breeze past the fine print and take the sales person’s word for it. With that in mind, we’ve collected a few important questions to ask your invoice factoring company before signing a contract.
How long has the invoice factoring company been in business?
If a company has been around for a while, you can typically trust that they’re not going to close shop and disappear with your money. And when you’re trusting your invoicing and collections to a third party, it’s important to partner with a company that has the necessary experience, structure and team to handle your business.
Remember: invoice factoring companies become an extension of your business and work on your behalf to invoice and collect from your clients. This relationship requires professionalism, respect and a high-level understanding of different industries. These skills are not learned in a day of training. They are part of a company culture that puts an emphasis on customer-first service.
It’s important to mention that years in business don’t always translate to success. But if a company has been around for a while, you know that it’s survived economic downturns in the past and can likely weather ones in the future as well.
How are the fees
Each and every funding company structures their fees and finances differently, so it’s absolutely vital to make sure you understand every word of the contract when it comes to the way your business will be charged and paid.
Invoice factoring companies offer different funding products based on industry, size and growth goals. Some things that might affect your factoring fees:
- Length of contract
- It shouldn’t be surprising to learn that the longer you sign up for a
service, the less your fees will be. Invoice factoring is no different. Most
companies offer month-to-month, 6-month and year-long contracts. If you’ve
never used an invoice factoring service before, it might make sense to start
with a month-to-month and then upgrade to a longer-term deal and save some
- It shouldn’t be surprising to learn that the longer you sign up for a service, the less your fees will be. Invoice factoring is no different. Most companies offer month-to-month, 6-month and year-long contracts. If you’ve never used an invoice factoring service before, it might make sense to start with a month-to-month and then upgrade to a longer-term deal and save some money.
- Type of product
- Invoice factoring has different options for different business types, but the two most common are recourse and non-recourse. Recourse factoring tends to be cheaper because the client assumes the risk of non-payment. For example, if your client fails to pay back the agreed upon amount because they went bankrupt, the factoring company will charge that back to you. Recourse is a great program if you have established clients who pay on time.
For startups and less established businesses, a non-recourse agreement might make more sense. In this arrangement, the factoring company takes on all the risk of non-payment if the business goes bankrupt. So even if your client doesn’t pay, the factoring company will not charge back the unpaid invoice. The fees associated with this product might be a little bit more, but it also provides you with more confidence and peace of mind.
Regardless of product or type, you need to know how the fees are structured. When you get your contract, read it again and again until you come away confident knowing what it says. Once you sign, you’re not likely to be able to make changes.
According to the Wall Street Journal, “The factor advances most of the invoice amount … after checking out the credit-worthiness of the billed customer. When the bill is paid, the factor remits the balance, minus a transaction (or factoring) fee.”
Again, each company is different, so take all the time you need to ensure you understand your financial obligations.
Are they committed to excellence?
You work hard to make a name for yourself and to set your business apart from your competition. Wouldn’t you want to work with an invoice factoring company that has the same goals?
The fact is, industries change. Business models should be constantly reevaluated and tweaked to better serve the customer. In today’s world, you need a business partner that exercises a high degree of flexibility and is able and willing to adapt with the times. Look for a factor that’s a pioneer in their space and is constantly looking to add more value to your business.
Can the invoice factoring company help to grow your business?
The answer to this should almost always be ‘yes.’ At a minimum, an invoice factoring company should be providing your small business with the immediate cash flow it needs to grow and evolve to reach its full potential.
Many factoring companies have industry partnerships and referral partners that offer products and services that can you can take advantage of at a discount. Be sure to ask the factoring company if they have existing relationships with other businesses that you can leverage for your business.
All of this boils down to the factoring company taking an interest in your business’s long-term success.
Ask yourself, “Do they care about my business? Or, do they just want my money?” Every company has to make money. Otherwise, they cease to exist and can’t help anyone. But, if they’re committed to the success of your business, they’ll take the approach that if you don’t succeed, they won’t succeed either. Choose a factor that is knowledgeable and passionate about your industry and theirs. In return, they’ll be passionate about your business.
Get Started with Triumph Business Capital
Ultimately, keeping these questions in mind can help you scope out the best invoice factoring business and contract. For more information about invoice factoring or invoice funding, contact Triumph Business Capital.
Knowing more about your invoicing process is essential to helping your business thrive
What is invoice factoring?
Invoice factoring can be particularly useful for small businesses looking to keep their cash flow moving and their resources consistent. Invoice factoring helps B2B companies boost their cash flow based on their outstanding invoices. This means immediate access to your money without having to wait for payment from clients, which could leave you waiting for 90+ days.
How does invoice factoring work?
Invoice factoring is the process of providing you working capital through the selling of your accounts receivables. You get your money immediately — AND DEBT-FREE — at a discount. According to the Wall Street Journal: “The factor advances most of the invoice amount … after checking out the creditworthiness of the billed customer. When the bill is paid, the factor remits the balance, minus a transaction fee.” Invoice factoring provides immediate access to the majority of funds that your customer owes you, allowing you to keep your business operating as normal. This is especially helpful with businesses struggling with slow-paying clients.
What does “factor rate” or “factoring fee” mean?
When a factoring company advances you money based on your outstanding invoices, it will charge a small fee. The percentage of these funds that goes to the factoring company is what’s known as the factor rate or the factoring fee.
For example, if a factor rate on a $10,000 advance is 3%, the company would take $300 as a fee. Remember, this is debt-free capital that you can use to make investments, purchase equipment or pay your staff. Usually, the rates will range between 1% and 5% depending on various criteria. Invoice factoring can be a useful service for small and large businesses alike looking to keep their cash flow consistent.
Work with an established factoring company
Triumph Business capital is a recognized industry leader. For nearly 15 years, we’ve partnered with small to medium-sized businesses to simplify and strengthen their operations. Getting started with an invoice factoring company is easier than you might think. Our team of experts is here to walk you through the application process, contact Triumph Business Capital.
Working with commercial invoice factoring companies has numerous benefits and can provide near immediate cash flow for your business. In fact, factoring companies can help small businesses bridge invoice payment gaps with upfront payments, providing nearly all of the original invoice amount. That money is then immediately available for you to use to fund your business operations — make payroll, invest in new equipment, pay vendors, etc.
But as is the case with other types of commercial financial solutions, applying for invoice factoring services requires a certain level of thoroughness and attention to detail. The more you know before, the faster the process will be. Ultimately, that means quicker access to working capital for your business.
Here’s what businesses need to know about the invoice factoring application process.
Know Your Company’s Financial History & Business Setup
Before you meet with any specialists or submit any applications, it helps to have a solid understanding of your company’s financial history. Some questions you might be asked:
- What type of work do you do?
- How many current clients do you have?
- What is your monthly revenue average?
- How much do you have in outstanding invoices?
- Do you have any liens or judgments against your business?
Be prepared to answer these questions and provide documentation to support them.
Meet with an Invoice Funding Specialist
Before you submit your official application, you’ll likely be required to consult with an invoice factoring services specialist about the options that are best for you based on your business’ financial history and needs.
There are a few different types of factoring services available, and in addition to determining whether your business is eligible, a specialist can determine the best type based on business your needs.
Your rate is going to be based on the information that you provide during these conversations, so it’s critical that you’re upfront about any potential red flags like bankruptcies or tax liens. They’ll come up on a routine credit check anyways. Remember: when you’re applying for invoice factoring services, more goes into the approval process than your credit history. Past issues may not disqualify you from getting the funds you need.
Understand the Contract and Commitment
Finally, be aware of the specific terms of the factoring agreement that’s offered to you. Some factoring companies require you to submit a minimum amount in invoices each month. If you don’t meet that amount, you may be charged a fee.
Also, remember that you’re selling your invoices to a factoring company, which then collects that outstanding amount from your client based on the terms of your contract. If your client doesn’t pay that amount by the contract date, you may be charged back by the factoring company.
These and any other fees should be listed clearly in your contract. Read your contract to make sure that it matches everything discussed. Then, read your contract again. Once you sign your contract, you have little to no chance of making changes. Make sure you know what you’re signing.
Work with an established factoring company
Ultimately, getting started with a small business invoice factoring company is easier than you might think, but only if you have a good understanding of your company’s past and present financial situation.
For more information about commercial factoring companies, contact Triumph Business Capital.
Economies are unpredictable and demand for certain products or services ebbs and flows depending on any number of reasons.
Bankruptcies in the U.S. increased to 25,227 companies in the second quarter of 2016 alone. It’s important to stay on top of corporate finances, especially in the early stages of business development and avoid ‘bad debt.’ Bad debt is money that you can’t recover — a client doesn’t pay you for work you’ve done, for example.
Even a small amount of bad debt can build up and slowly chip away at your business’s financial security. With that in mind, here are just a few of the top signs indicating your business may have ‘bad debt.’
It’s one thing for you to get a client’s voicemail once in a while, but if they seem to be avoiding your calls left and right, consider it a red flag. If business owners had the funds or a plan to pay, they would speak to you directly to avoid misunderstandings and stop the phone calls.
We all know business owners get busy, and sometimes reaching out to them by email might be more helpful. If you still can’t get a response, it may be time to send the account to collections, or if the financial situation is urgent, consider working with an invoice factoring company, which specializes in advancing you the money and working with your client to collect payment.
Flexibility is a necessary trait for all business owners. If a client forgets to pay once, or is a day or two late, you can be a little bit more forgiving.
But if you notice that the same client is late or fails to pay, it could be a sign of something deeper. While you might think you’re being helpful by extending time for your clients to pay, but you could be jeopardizing your business if it drags on, and if it’s frequent.
Remember — you run a business. You need money for your business and to pay yourself. In order to maintain credibility and minimize time between invoicing and collection, you need to be firm on your payment terms. If a client consistently misses payment deadlines, it might be best to send that for collections and move on from that client.
Change of Company Ownership
This is a sign that only applies to corporate clients, but it’s worth mentioning. If a company undergoes a change in ownership or upper management, they may know nothing about the company’s past debt and therefore feel no obligation to honor it. In other cases, the company takes on the debt with the purchase. Either way, look out for this red flag when it comes to past debt.
While dealing with bad debt is never easy, you should know that you have options that can help. Invoice funding, or invoice factoring as it’s also known, is designed to provide fast cash flow to your business. For more information about hiring invoice funding companies for small business invoice factoring services, contact Triumph Business Capital.
It may sound shocking, but it’s true: Nearly 60 percent of invoices are paid late. Considering the fact that small businesses (defined as businesses with fewer than 500 employees) account for 99.7 percent of all business in the United States, late invoices are often a sign of a bigger financial issue. Invoice payment and collections are often the most challenging part of a small business owner’s day-to-day operations. You’ve done the job, and now you need to get paid. Some clients are slow to pay, and other larger companies have established payment terms of 30 days or more.
You can’t run a business on a promise to pay. You need capital just to keep your business going. How many times have you said, “If I could get paid for that job or service today, I could do X, Y or Z.”
Sometimes X is paying your team, and Y is buying a new piece of equipment that’s going to help your business become more efficient. You’re trapped and so is the money tied up in your unpaid invoices.
Late invoice payments can be problematic for small businesses in need of immediate financing. Often, small business owners sabotage their own success and growth by not having clear expectations about their payment terms. They are excited about having the business, but don’t hold their clients accountable for paying on time.
There is, however, a wide range of solutions available that can help your business collect the money it receives. Here are just a few proven strategies that can reduce late invoices for your business.
Set Rigid and Non-Negotiable Deadlines
While you don’t want your business to come off as overly demanding or money-hungry, your customers need to realize that you need cash flow to stay afloat. Ask yourself: “Would my client wait an indefinite amount of time for payment from its clients?”. Of course not and neither should you.
Start by being very clear about the way you communicate invoice policies to your clients. Use deliberate language that portrays to the customer that you’re a reputable business that relies on customers to pay their invoices on time. The policies and due dates should be non-negotiable, and instead of giving them a number of days to pay (30, 60, 90), give them one solid date to serve as a rigid deadline before they incur a penalty. All of this should be spelled out clearly in your terms.
Automate the invoice payment process
The best way to manage your invoices and enforce your invoice payment policies is to automate the process. As soon as you’ve completed the work, submit your invoice. Then, allow whatever app or service send regular reminders as the due date approaches. It’s also helpful to include gentle email reminders that they will incur a late fee penalty if they pay late. Again, allow the technology to handle that for you. Many services will automatically update the invoice to reflect the late payment into the total.
Using technology gives you a consistent paper trail to reference if you’re client is slow to pay, and it allows you to focus on other areas of business without having to waste time on a phone call or updating an invoice.
Consider Small Business Factoring Solutions
If your business has tried the method listed above and is still having some trouble getting customers to pay their invoices on time, consider small business invoice factoring as a solution to cash flow issues. Invoice factoring is a type of accounts receivable financing that converts outstanding invoices due within 30 to 90 days into immediate cash for your small business.
Knowing how to stay diligent in keeping up with invoice payments can help your business stay on top of finances. For more information about factoring company, freight or invoice funding companies, contact Triumph Business Capital to discuss how small business factoring can help with your invoice payments.
Small businesses (defined as businesses with fewer than 500 employees) account for 99.7 percent of all business in the United States, making them a fundamental part of the economy. But anyone who’s ever owned a small business can tell you that it’s not always easy to stay afloat when it comes to competition and cash flow. Bankruptcies in the U.S. increased from 24,000 to more than 25,000 between the first two quarters alone in 2016, so if your business is struggling to make financial ends meet, we have some suggestions for improving your small business cash flow.
There are several viable solutions that can help you stay afloat, even if you’ve hit some momentary bumps or you’re dealing with clients who are taking weeks and months to pay. Here are some of the most common cash flow problems small businesses face as well as how to best resolve them.
Lack of Funding
Many small businesses experience a lack of funding at some point or another, but it can stem from several causes — not enough business, clients not paying, spending more than you’re making.
One solution — if you have the credit — is to apply for a small business line of credit, which is similar to how a typical credit card works.
In a small business line of credit, you pay interest on your outstanding balance only, rather than the total line of credit. Your available credit increases and becomes available for borrowing once you pay down your balance, just like a credit card.
As mentioned, you typically need to have a high enough credit score to get approved for a business line of credit. For this reason, new businesses can struggle to gain momentum early on because they don’t have sufficient business and credit history.
Generating new business is difficult if you’re a startup or a young company with no industry reputation to leverage. You’re competing against other companies with years of experience on you, and you have no easy way to get your name in front of potential clients without having money to spend on advertising, which can be costly. And because you’re unestablished, you can’t turn to banks.
Most companies hit rough patches, and their credit can take a hit if they don’t have the funds to pay their bills because clients aren’t paying on time. This limits the amount of funding options available for small business owners.
Poor or no credit history is one reason why many small business owners are turning to small business invoice factoring to increase their cash flow. Invoice factoring is a type of accounts receivable financing that converts outstanding invoices due within 30, 60, or 90 days to improve your small business cash flow.
Unlike a bank loan, invoice factoring doesn’t hold your credit history against you. Instead, factoring companies look at the credit of your clients when determining whether you qualify. This could be a solution for small businesses looking for capital without using banks.
Nearly 60 percent of invoices are paid late, causing a potential chain reaction through your business and your personal lives. If clients pay late, you pay your bills late, your credit suffers, and the snowball continues.
Many small business owners do not have the savings necessary to float payroll, vendor payments and other business operations for weeks or even months. Your clients may have existing terms that make it difficult for you to predict when you can pay your people or your bills.
Small business invoice factoring can help here, too. If you have unpaid invoices in hand, the factoring company will fund you most of that total, minus a small fee, and then work with your client on payment. As a result, you get your money, and you get back the time you’re losing trying to collect from your client.
Ultimately, understanding these common small business cash flow problems and solutions can help you make the right decisions for your financial needs. For more information about hiring top factoring companies, contact Triumph Business Capital.
Your business credit score is something that can have a huge impact on how you’re perceived by your customers, competitors, and potential lenders and investors. The higher your score is, the more credible and trustworthy you’ll seem.
Invoice factoring is a form of business financing that can impact your credit score. At Triumph Business Capital, we get questions from business owners who are concerned that factoring their invoices will have a negative impact on their credit score – and yet the opposite is true. Here are three positive ways that invoice factoring can affect your credit score.
#1: Get Business Capital without Lowering Your Credit Score
If you apply for a business loan or line of credit, the inquiry itself – even if you aren’t approved – can have a negative impact on your credit score.
Factoring is different because it provides an ongoing source of capital by advancing money on your invoices. As soon as you complete work or ship an order to a client, you can factor the invoice and get your money immediately.
That cash flow doesn’t require a check of your business credit score. In other words, factoring your invoices can give you the money you need to grow your business without your credit score taking a hit.
In turn, invoice factoring can increase the chances that down the line, you’ll be able to qualify for additional financing.
#2: Pay Your Bills on Time – or Early
The single biggest factor in determining your business credit score is the timeliness of the payments you make to your creditors and vendors. It’s common for small and medium-sized businesses to wait until they get paid to make good on their bills. The problem with this approach is that it inevitably leads to delinquency – and ultimately, to a credit score hit.
Factoring your invoices provides you with the day-to-day cash flow you need to pay your bills on time. You may even be able to pay them early, increasing your credit score and making it easy for your business to qualify for credit terms with your suppliers – or even to raise your credit limits, so you can accept and fulfill large orders to grow your business.
#3: Increase Your Credibility with Customers and Lenders
A solid credit score increases your credibility. Anyone who’s considering doing business with you, whether it’s a supplier, a vendor, a customer, or a lender, will likely check your business credit score to see how you run your business. A high score, while not the only consideration, helps secure their trust.
Another way of looking at it is that a low credit score is very likely to have a negative impact on your business. Factoring your invoices provides the financial stability you need to increase your score and build financial credibility over time.
Get business credit help from Triumph Business Capital
You don’t need to worry that factoring invoices will hurt your company’s credit score and credibility. In fact, the regular cash flow and financial stability that invoice factoring provides can help you increase your score, attract new customers, build credibility, and grow your business.
To learn more about Triumph’s factoring services, contact a representative today. We help thousands of business owners from different industries get the working capital and business credit help they need to grow their businesses.
The holiday season is here, bringing days of celebration and fun. But, for many small business owners in the United States, it also brings some anxiety. How will they keep up with increased holiday orders, pay for inventory, and keep their businesses afloat?
According to the Small Business Administration, there are more than 30 million small businesses in the US as of 2018. As a small business owner, you may struggle with a range of issues at the holidays. Here are three ways that invoice factoring can help you have the holiday season you deserve.
#1: Providing Cash Flow
At Triumph Business Capital, one of our top concerns at the holidays is giving our clients access to the cash flow they need. Your sales may double or even triple at this time of year. To meet the increased demand for your products, you need cash on hand to pay for raw materials, inventory and maybe even employee overtime.
Because we can advance money against your unpaid invoices, invoice factoring can keep the money flowing so you can keep up with those holiday orders. You won’t need to wait weeks (or even longer) to be paid. Each sale you make becomes part of a steady stream of cash that you can use.
#2: Checking Customer Credit
For some small business owners, any order is a good order. But, at the holidays, it’s not uncommon for a big invoice to turn into a huge headache when it proves to be uncollectable when the season ends. And, in some cases, the headache of a collection problem can be warded off by simply checking the customer’s credit before you process their order.
At Triumph Business Capital, our experienced account executives can review a potential customer’s credit for you. Or, you can use our online credit check to check it yourself. If a company has a history of serious delinquency, you can decide not to sell to them – or to sell only on a cash basis to avoid collection issues down the line.
#3: Speeding up Collection of Invoices
Collecting invoices can be a time-consuming and frustrating process for business owners. At the holidays, it can be doubly difficult. It’s hard not to feel like a Grinch when you’re calling to collect money in the middle of the holiday season.
Factoring your invoices gives you access to back office solutions that include professional collection services. At Triumph Business Capital, our professional account executives and their teams will make courteous and timely collection calls on your past due accounts. That way, you can focus on making holiday sales while we handle the rest.
The holiday season should be a time when you can focus on making sales and reaping the rewards of the hard work you’ve done all year. Factoring your invoices allows you to do that with the cash flow and additional services you need.
Ready to find out how Triumph Business Capital can help your small business during the holiday season? Click here to learn more!
It’s been estimated that if all invoices were paid on time, U.S. small businesses could collectively hire 2.1 million more employees, which would reduce unemployment by 27 percent. That’s just one reason why more and more businesses are working with invoice and freight bill factoring services. But before you decide whether this service is right for your financial needs, it’s important to understand the process to avoid making some common mistakes.
Not reading over your invoice factoring services contract thoroughly.
This is a mistake that can lead to discrepancies and overall dissatisfaction. But as is the case with any number of financial services, everything you need to know is clearly laid out in the contract — you just need to take the time to read every word. Otherwise, don’t be surprised if you incur additional fees or other consequences you weren’t aware of. Read every word and have a clear understanding of your contract before making it official with your signature.
Not being upfront with your clients about working with a factoring company
Most clients will have no problem working with a business that uses invoice and freight bill factoring services. After all, it shouldn’t affect any part of the quality of service they receive. You don’t want to keep them in the dark, especially because a factoring company representative will be contacting them about invoices and collections. Simply let them know that a third party will be handling your invoices and collections processes moving forward. You may even be able to provide better and faster service to your clients because you’ve outsourced these time-consuming tasks to another company.
Not considering invoice factoring as a solution to your cash flow problems
Small businesses (defined as businesses with fewer than 500 employees) account for 99.7% of all business in the United States. If your business is one of them, and you frequently have trouble getting your clients to pay their invoices on time, invoice factoring should be among the services you consider.
According to a U.S. Bank study, 82% of businesses that fail do so because of cash flow problems, and invoice factoring is one of the most efficient ways to get immediate and ongoing cash flow for your business without incurring debt.
Ultimately, avoiding these mistakes is the best way to optimize your business’s finances and cash flow. For more information about business invoice factoring, contact Triumph Business Capital.
Invoice factoring is a type of accounts receivable financing that converts outstanding invoices into immediate cash for your small business. There are many different types of invoice factoring, from small business factoring to trucking factoring services. Before you determine whether or not your business could benefit from factoring, it’s important to know the potential benefits to your business. Here are just a few pros and cons to consider when determining whether invoice factoring is right for your business.
1. Immediate cash flow to your business
The main goal of invoice factoring services is to provide immediate cash and income for your business. Nearly 60 percent of invoices are paid late, and without the proper cash flow, your business can seriously suffer to the point of closure. In fact, according to a U.S. Bank study, 82 percent of businesses that fail do so because of cash flow problems. Invoice funding companies can help you avoid falling behind on your expenses by paying you for the work you’ve already completed.
2. More than just a financial solution
Unlike other financing options, invoice factoring provides more than just financial relief. When you work with a factoring company, you also get a team of professionals that provide additional services that support your business. Some of these include: invoicing and collections services, free credit checks, reporting tools and online customer portals with 24/7 access.
So when considering a working capital solution, remember to look at more than just the fees. You need to weigh the potential savings of time and money that working with an invoice factoring company can provide you with their suite of back office services.
3. Flexible cash flow solution
For many businesses, cash flow problems can be a short-term issue. Invoice factoring can help bridge the gaps caused by seasonal lulls or other unforeseen changes in your income.
Most invoice factoring companies offer different programs with different terms and contract lengths depending on your business’ needs. You can go month-to-month or sign up for a full year; some programs even let you pick which invoices you want to factor.
And because invoice factoring is not a loan, you’re not saddled with debt like you would incur with a line of credit.
Consider invoice factoring for your working capital needs
There are no shortage of small business funding options available to companies looking to boost their cash flow. Triumph Business Capital works with thousands of businesses every day by providing the funding and back office support they need to maintain and grow their businesses.
Ultimately, considering these pros and cons is the best way to determine whether or not invoice factoring is right for your business. For more information about invoice factoring services, contact Triumph Business Capital.
We’ve discussed in recent posts how invoice factoring works: it’s a type of accounts receivable financing solution that converts outstanding invoices due within 90 days into immediate cash for your small business. And while many business owners assume that they need good credit to qualify for funding for their business, invoice factoring services can provide a unique and simple cash flow solution, even if you don’t have perfect credit. Here’s what you need to know about getting funding for your small business, even with a not-so-great credit history:
Have Bad Credit?
It can be incredibly tough for business owners with bad credit — or lack of credit — to gain traction, especially as they’re trying to get their businesses off the ground. Keep in mind that small businesses (defined as businesses with fewer than 500 employees) account for almost all business in the United States. Invoice factoring, for many types of small businesses, can help ensure adequate funding while they continue to grow their businesses.
Can Invoice Factoring Services Help Build Credit?
In short, yes. The Wall Street Journal reports that, “The factor advances most of the invoice amount — usually 70% to 90% — after checking out the credit-worthiness of the billed customer. When the bill is paid, the factor remits the balance.”
To be clear, building credit and establishing a higher score certainly takes time, but invoice factoring services can help build your credit. For example, by partnering with an invoice factoring company, you can pay down existing debts with the immediate cash flow, and you can also pay vendors and other expenses on time.
Plus, many invoice funding companies offer additional financial services, such as free credit checks, free background checks, online reporting with 24-hour access, invoice management and collections and more. Together, these comprehensive solutions can help you get your small business up and running regardless of your credit score.
As a business owner, you need to be proactive in improving your credit score. Working with an invoice factoring company can prevent you from falling behind by giving you immediate cash for work you’ve completed. That means on-time payments, which can, over time, lead to better credit.
Understanding how to establish credit for your business is the key to maximizing potential and growth. For more information about business factoring companies, contact Triumph Business Capital.
Invoice factoring can go by many names: invoice financing, invoice funding and accounts receivable financing. Different names, but they all help small businesses receive the funds they need without waiting 30, 60 or 90 days to get paid from their customer.
In many cases, invoice factoring services can provide funding in as little as 24-48 hours. Thousands of businesses turn to invoice factoring companies, in large part, because of how easy it is to apply and get approved. But that doesn’t mean that a small business owner should just choose the first factoring company that pops up on a Google search. While most factoring companies offer the same basic service, there can be significant differences in the terms and cost. It’s important to avoid pitfalls that can leave you in a long-term, expensive contract.
Here are the most common mistakes your business should avoid when selecting and working with an invoice factoring company.
1. Not staying organized from the start
It’s important to submit error-free, easy-to-read paperwork. To do that, you have to stay organized. Include every expense as well as an explanation of each charge in your invoices, and proofread everything before sending the documents off. Sending duplicate invoices, sending them to the wrong place or department, or not sending them at all can quickly lead to larger problems down the road, such as becoming unqualified in the application process.
Businesses become, well, busy, so you don’t want to trust yourself to send an invoice later. All too often, waiting leads to forgetting. Keeping track of which documents you need to send and where they should go will save you a headache. Plus, it saves time for both you and the invoice factoring company. Don’t waste time by neglecting applications or filling them out haphazardly. Simply be sure you submit clear paperwork to avoid extra work or additional charges. Here’s a good rule of thumb: send invoices the moment you complete or deliver a project.
Your invoice factoring company will also work with you and provide you resources to help you submit clear and easy-to-read documentation. Remember — if your invoice factoring company can’t read your invoice, it can’t be processed, and you won’t get paid until the paperwork issue is resolved.
2. Failing to familiarize yourself with the factoring company
Borrowers should understand exactly what they’ve agreed to with their factors. What’s the contract length? What does the fine print say? Are there any additional fees your business should know about?
Beware of glossing over any of this information. You should thoroughly read your contract. It might look confusing if you’re not familiar with formal industry terms, but you need to make sure the proposal and the agreement match. You’re still going to be held responsible for everything in the agreement, whether you understand its terms or not. While a commercial factoring company should generally avoid ambiguous language, they should also be happy to explain their policies if you have any questions.
3. Withholding important information
Invoice factoring is a popular choice for businesses because of how quickly you can get signed up and approved. But the best way to guarantee a fast response is to be thorough and honest on your application. If you’re in a hurry, it’s easy to leave sections of your application blank or, worse, submit misinformation.
From the start, factoring companies need to assess your business. In order for them to provide you with the best possible quote, you need to provide them with a complete, detailed application. Failing to include information on your application can delay approval or it can be denied all together.
Be upfront about any previous bankruptcies or tax liens. They won’t automatically disqualify you, but they will come up on a routine credit check, so save time by letting the factoring company know what to expect.
4. Not using technology to speed up the process
Most factoring companies don’t require the original documents to issue payment. That means that your mobile device is probably one of the most important tools you have in getting funded quickly. If you’re away from your desk or on the road, you can easily snap photos of your documents and email them or load them to your factoring company’s client portal. This can help cut down on the delay between submission and funding.
Be sure to ask your factoring company what other technological resources they have to help you better manage your fundings and overall finances. Many provide reporting tools and other alerts and notifications that provide real-time status updates on your paperwork and payments.
5. Limiting your earning potential
Like most businesses, invoice factoring companies benefit from client referrals, and many will even compensate you for them. So just by submitting client referrals, you can gain some extra cash when a new client is funded.
The payment structure and schedule depend on the volume of business you’re referring, so ask your factoring company what type of programs they have for client referrals. With client referrals, you can boost your bottom line, while using invoice factoring to meet your monthly expenses.
Invoice factoring helps you build financial health
While invoice financing can help boost your cash flow, it’s important to remember that it’s one part of a coordinated strategy to maintain your business operations.
Working with an experienced company ensures that the invoice factoring process goes smoothly. Founded in 2004, Triumph Business Capital can help your business manage its capital. Over the years, our invoice funding company has helped over 7,000 small and mid-size businesses with their financial needs.
Freight, trucking, oil and gas, and business factoring services are simply a few of our offerings. If you need to remedy your business’ cash flow issues, we make the process easy. Our team can help you get the cash advances you need on your invoices. Choose us as your commercial factoring company—call today at 866-368-2482, and let us be your partner.
Making it as a small business isn’t easy, no matter your industry. Rarely, can small businesses survive waiting 30+ days for payment, especially when their vendors are calling for their payment.
If you find yourself struggling to manage payroll, rent and other overhead costs while waiting for payment, you have options. Read on to learn about the advantages of small business factoring and find out what it can do for your company.
Get the funds you need immediately
Corporations enjoy constant streams of revenue and vast reserves of capital, so they can generally afford to wait 60 or 90 days for customer payments. That’s a luxury small business owners often can’t afford. An unexpected expense or a poor sales month can make covering your immediate costs difficult or even impossible. Your invoices might have the necessary funds to maintain positive cash flow, but what good is that if you won’t see the money for three months?
That’s where working with a factoring company can provide relief. When you send an invoice to a business factoring company, they’ll provide you with those funds trapped in your invoices, minus the discount of the factoring service . You’ll typically receive your funds within 24 to 48 hours. From there, you can make whatever payments are necessary to keep your small business on the right track. Plus, the invoice factoring company will handle all the paperwork and collections necessary, which means you’ve got one less headache to deal with.
A great option for startups
If your company just got off the ground, you may need cash a little sooner than your customers will be paying up. Without funds from past work, it can feel like you just have to constantly scrape by.
Unanticipated costs might threaten to destabilize your operation before it’s truly begun. Alternatively, you may encounter chances to expand your business and bring in new customers, only to realize you can’t take advantage of these opportunities because your bank account is empty.
Fortunately, a business factoring service can get the cash from your invoices immediately, giving you the funds you need to cover your initial expenses or expand your services. This allows you to get your company on its feet sooner—and you won’t have to saddle yourself with an early loan.
Smarter than a loan
If you’re new to factoring, you may be thinking to yourself, “Why shouldn’t I just get a loan instead?” That’s a good question. In fact, there are two reasons to choose small business factoring over a loan.
The first of these is your credit worthiness. If you don’t have a strong credit history, you may not be able to secure a loan. Even if you do obtain it, the high interest rate will cost you a great deal over time. Should your company go under, your obligation to repay the loan won’t disappear, and you could find yourself in a truly disastrous financial situation.
Second, you don’t pay business factoring companies directly. They instead examine your customers’ credit history to assess the risk of taking on your invoices. Generally, you won’t be turned away because of your past, and you won’t have to take on loans with large interest rates to keep your operations stable.
Even if you do have sufficient credit for a loan, you’ll have to deal with the associated debt and interest rates potentially for years to come. This can be a stressful experience, as well as an expensive one. Plus, taking a loan to stay afloat is a risky venture. If you’re already in a tight situation and trying to address an immediate need, tying yourself to potentially years of repayments may not be the best idea for your business.
Invoice factoring, meanwhile, provides flexibility for small businesses. Depending on your agreement, you can sign up for as little as one month, six months or a year. Because factoring companies offer funding based on your invoices, your risk of owing a large balance at the end of your contract decreases dramatically.
Reduce your risks with factoring
Regardless of what solution you ultimately choose for your business, it’s important to understand the differences, and the overall costs and benefits of each. If a customer doesn’t pay, you may have to repay the business factoring company the amount they advanced you for that invoice. However, there are a few elements that can lessen the potential risk.
First, as mentioned above, the factoring company will investigate your customers’ credit history before agreeing to do business with you. This means that, if you decide to factor your invoices, you can be confident that the factoring company has evaluated the likelihood of getting paid on time. If your regular customers are large, reputable corporations or federal or state governments, you probably don’t have much to worry about.
In other situations, it may be best to invest in non-recourse factoring. When you choose this option, the factoring company takes on more risk on your behalf. The actual terms of the agreement vary. Some companies will only let you off the hook if your customer declares bankruptcy. It’s always important to ask these questions when choosing the right factoring company for your business.
Factoring companies help thousands of businesses get the immediate funding they need. Before choosing a traditional bank loan or working with an invoice factoring company, you should do your research on what makes the most sense for your unique business situation.
Triumph Business Capital specializes in factoring, and we offer business factoring services tailored specifically to small businesses. We’ll work with you to find the best solutions that put cash in your hands, and we take on all the risk when you choose our non-recourse factoring option. With over a hundred experts on staff, we’ve got the knowledge and experience it takes to help small businesses optimize their cash flows. Give us a call today, and let us work with you to set your enterprise up for financial success.
There are nearly 28 million small businesses in the U.S., and in today’s uncertain economic climate, many small businesses struggle to stay afloat as a result of insufficient funds. In fact, according to a U.S. Bank study, 82 percent of businesses that fail do so because of cash flow problems.
For many small businesses, however, invoice factoring can be a viable solution to their cash flow issues. Invoice factoring is a type of accounts receivable financing that converts outstanding invoices into immediate cash for your small business. Before choosing the right invoice factoring service for your business, it’s important to understand the facts. It’s also important to clear up the potential misconceptions about invoice factoring. Here are just a few invoice factoring myths you shouldn’t believe.
Myth 1: Business factoring services are expensive.
The most common misconception about invoice factoring services is – no surprise – related to the cost. Most charge a small percentage of the invoice total to provide your business with the immediate cash flow it needs to help meet your day-to-day expenses.
The reality is that no business can survive for long without a consistent stream of income.
Recent research suggests that nearly 60 percent of all invoices are paid late. Invoice factoring ensures that you’re not waiting for your money or wasting your time chasing down slow-paying clients.
Invoice factoring companies also provide additional services as part of your fee. These services – invoice creation and submission, collections, credit checks on your future clients — can be invaluable resources to busy small business owners who are wearing too many hats. Invoice factoring companies provide a team of back office professionals that keep your paperwork in check and make sure that you’re getting funded on the work you’ve completed.
When considering working capital solutions for your business’s cash flow issues, it’s important to keep in mind the additional benefits included in the factoring services and calculate the overall benefit to your business. Outsourcing your invoicing and collections processes can lead to savings in time and money, allowing you to dedicate more resources to growing your business.
Of course, the exact fee and costs associated with factoring depends on your specific business situation.
Myth 2: My customers will look negatively upon invoice factoring.
Some people think that businesses using invoice factoring might be having financial issues or may not be seen as dependable vendors. More than that, some business owners worry that a third party provider contacting your clients to follow up on payment may be seen as more of a collections service rather than an extension of your accounts receivable department.
But the reality is that thousands and thousands of businesses use this form of accounts receivable financing for their small business funding. Increasingly, invoice factoring is becoming more common across industries, as companies look to streamline their account receivables process.
Some providers can even provide a white label service in order to make it appear as though invoices are sent to and from your business instead of a third party.
Myth 3: Invoice factoring companies won’t work with businesses that aren’t ‘established.’
Whether you just started a company, or you’ve been in business for a long time, if you have an invoice, you can take advantage of business factoring services.
The reality is that most startups don’t have enough credit to qualify for traditional loans and financing. Conversely, invoice factoring looks at the credit history of your clients when deciding to purchase your outstanding invoices.
Finally, it’s important to note that all types of small- and medium-sized businesses can take advantage of invoice factoring services. Also, invoice factoring companies consider a wide range of criteria when reviewing your application and accounts receivables.
The best way to know if factoring is a great short- or long-term fit for your business is to be as straightforward and direct about your financial history and situation as possible.
Myth 4: All invoice factoring companies are the same.
It’s easy to assume that all invoice factoring companies offer the same services, charge the same rates and have the same contract terms. But in selecting a factoring company, it’s important to remember that there can be significant differences among providers.
For instance, depending on your agreement, many factoring companies require you to submit all of your invoices for funding and maintain monthly minimums (or be charged a fee). Not all factoring companies have these policies, so it’s important to ask and to read and then reread your contract to understand what you’re agreeing to and for how long.
Ultimately, it’s important to understand the facts about the services provided by an invoice factoring provider and the services that they provide before you decide on a working capital solution. If you’re ready to move forward or have questions about invoice factoring, contact Triumph Business Capital today for a free rate quote.
Cash is king. You know this as well as anyone else. Without cash, you can find yourself in some pretty uncomfortable situations, like not having enough money for payroll, or making late payments to vendors and bill collectors.
So what can you do to manage your cash flow effectively? Let’s take a look at three quick and easy ways to increase your cash flow—and help you sleep at night.
1. Sell or lease unused assets
You paid good money for your assets and, even if you’re no longer using some of them, it’s time to put that investment to work again. Take an inventory of the assets you’re not currently using and consider selling or leasing them.
How do you shed the assets? Use your industry contacts, such as suppliers, to find buyers or lessees. Also search for websites that specialize in auctions for your industry. For assets with significant value, contact a business broker.
2. Deposit additional cash into interest-earning accounts
This one’s a bit of a no-brainer. Let the banks work for you for a change. Deposit any cash you won’t need for a while into an interest-bearing account so it can grow. Look for an insured account with the highest interest your financial institution offers and let your money sit there.
Here’s a tip: If you’re concerned about locking your funds away in a long-term account like a certificate of deposit, consider a money market account instead. Money market accounts offer greater interest than regular savings accounts, while still giving you access to your funds. After all, cash flow is what you’re after—not more restrictions.
3. Factor your receivables
Invoice factoring is perhaps one of the smartest cash flow solutions out there. In fact, this is how many other small to mid-size businesses manage cash flow effectively.
You may be asking yourself: How does invoice factoring work? Here’s how. Simply send your invoices to a factoring company like Triumph Business Capital and we’ll fund the money straight to your bank account—usually within 24 hours.
Keep in mind that we verify the creditworthiness of your customer. If the customer has a history of missed or late payments, the invoice may not be approved for the financing.
Get paid today
We believe that getting paid shouldn’t be the hardest part of your job.
When you factor your invoices with Triumph, you’ll also gain access to a host of back office solutions. Solutions like free credit checks to make sure your clients have the ability to pay; and collection services to get your money from those who won’t pay.
Ready to get started? Factor your invoices with Triumph Business Capital and get paid today.
It’s not only been days, but weeks—or even months—since you performed work for your client, and you still haven’t received payment. Sound familiar?
As a professional, you need to be paid on time. You’ve got people to support and bills to pay. You may be considering using a debt collector to secure payment from your customer. Or, you may have considered proactively factoring your invoices with a trusted, credible factor. But which one is the smarter option. Are there any hidden implications you should be considering before making your decision?
The answer is yes. There’s actually a huge gap between debt collection and invoice factoring. Think through these three key differences before reaching out to either one.
The primary purpose behind using a debt collector is very different from the reason you’d use invoice factoring. While invoice factoring involves current unpaid invoices—no more than 30 days old—debt collection deals with invoices that are at least 60 days past due.
If you’re still trying to get paid months after you’ve completed the work, it might be time to check in with a debt collection agency.
If you prefer timely payment for your work instead of relegating your receivables to the bad debt file, you’ll want to connect with a reputable invoice factoring company like Triumph Business Capital.
One of the benefits of working with an established and reputable factor like Triumph is that we’ll not only factor your invoices; we’ll also provide a host of back office solutions—including payment services—to ensure that you get paid on time for the work you perform. Welcome to the best of both worlds.
2. Funding timeline
How much longer are you willing to wait to be paid? The difference between how long it takes a debt collector to get funds to you and how quickly an invoice factoring company sends you funds can be a game changer.
You’ll be paid, but only after the collection agency receives payment from your customer. That can take time—if it happens at all. Add an aggressive process that can alienate customers, and you may decide that engaging a debt collection agency just isn’t worth it.
With factoring, you simply sell your invoices at a small discount and get immediate cash for your business. How fast? You get paid before the factoring company receives any money from your customer—usually within 24 hours.
How much are you willing to pay to be paid? In an ideal world, the payment conflict wouldn’t exist. But in today’s environment, unfortunately, you often end up either arm wrestling your customers or throwing up your hands.
When you hire a debt collector, you’ll likely pay a hefty 25% to 30% collection fee—which still beats giving up 100% of an unpaid invoice! But there’s an even better option.
Getting paid shouldn’t be the hardest part of your job. Invoice factoring isn’t free, but weigh its small price against its great advantages: you’ll receive an immediate payment from the factor—usually 70% to 100% of the invoice—followed by any remaining balance (minus a fee) as soon as the factor collects full payment from your customer.
Get paid today
Factor your invoices with Triumph Business Capital to get paid today.
When you factor your invoices with our team, you’ll also get access to a host of back office services like credit checks to make sure your clients can pay, and collection services to get your money from those who won’t.
Ready to get started? Factor your invoices with Triumph Business Capital today.
Let’s face it, money can get in the way of any relationship, whether business or personal. And small or mid-size business owners like you never want to compromise relationships with customers or vendors.
But without the funds to pay your bills on time, how can you avoid damaging your relationship with your vendors? And how can you demand timely payment of your invoices without jeopardizing your relationship with your customers? What’s a small to mid-size business owner to do?
Managing cash flow takes diplomacy—and these three industry secrets.
1. Set up mutually beneficial payment terms
If, for example, a customer refuses to pay an initial deposit, but wants you to work on a large project that won’t be completed for months, you can negotiate progress payments. As you reach the agreed-upon benchmarks, you’ll receive partial payments, at least enough to cover your overhead and project costs. This will keep your contractors and vendors happy.
Your customer will benefit, too, by making smaller periodic payments instead of paying a huge lump sum upon completion, or even a hefty deposit with a large final payment.
2. Pay your bills on time
Another key point is to pay your bills on time—always. Set up automatic payments so you never miss a bill payment. Timely payments go a long way toward improving your credit and your credibility. Vendors and contractors appreciate on-time payments and may even give your account preference over other businesses.
On the other hand, late payments can be a black mark against your business—vendors may not be as willing to work with you, and may stop extending credit or services.
3. Offer discounts for quick payment
Everyone likes to save money! Offer a discount off the top of your invoices if your customers pay within a specified period instead of waiting 30, 60, or 90 days to submit payment. Many will jump at this chance, and your offer will generate good will with them. It’s a win-win for everyone.
Get paid, today
Still struggling to get paid by your customers so you can pay your vendors? Invoice factoring can be an easy and effective way to manage cash flow while maintaining—and even improving—business relationships.
Simply send your invoices to a reputable factor like Triumph Business Capital so you can get paid today. When you factor your invoices with Triumph, you’ll get 70% to 100% of your funds upfront. And as we collect full payment from your customers, we’ll then pay you the remaining balance on your invoices, minus a small fee. In the end, you’ll get the cash you need to pay vendors and creditors quickly.
Since 2004, Triumph Business Capital has helped thousands of small and mid-size businesses manage their cash flow effectively. When you factor your invoices with our team, you’ll also get access to a host of back office services like credit checks and collections: We’ll make sure your customers can pay you, and we’ll get your money from those who won’t.
Ready to get started? Factor your invoices with Triumph Business Capital today.
You’re running a small or mid-size business and that takes money—lots of it. But coming up with the capital you need, when you need it, can often pose significant challenges—like how to meet payroll, pay vendors, upgrade equipment . . . the list goes on and on.
So how do you manage cash flow effectively? Let’s explore some common business cash flow problems and what you can do to turn those problems into productivity and profit.
4 common small business cash flow problems
1. Meeting payroll demands
As a small business owner, you know that payroll can take a large chunk of your budget each and every month, if not every week. At best, many small business owners lose sleep over payroll; at worst, some lose their business entirely.
Bankruptcies in the U.S. increased to 25,227 companies in the second quarter of 2016, from 24,797 companies in the first quarter of 2016. That’s a staggering number of businesses that closed shop in just this year alone.
Perhaps you can still keep your doors open, but just by a crack. You’re struggling every payday to meet the financial demand. You’re bound by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)—laws that set the minimum wage and establish guidelines regarding overtime—as well as state payday laws outlining when employees must be paid. No matter how much you want to treat your employees fairly, if you can’t meet those requirements, you could be in for it.
An employee who has a payroll grievance, whether about regular pay, overtime, or vacation pay, can submit a complaint against your company to the appropriate state or federal agency.
The result? An investigation by the agency, which may, in turn, lead to financial penalties, the loss of your business license, or a lawsuit against your company. Your business could be liable for back pay, fines, or other financial judgments—not to mention the collateral costs and work disruption associated with such investigations.
2. Maintaining a flawless credit score
Since your credit score plays a key role in the viability of your business, it’s important to keep a watchful eye on this number. At the very least, get a free credit report each year and make sure the information is both correct and current. You can request removal of any negative information after seven years, but don’t forget that you’ll have to wait up to 10 years for a bankruptcy to drop off your report.
If your credit score is less than a perfect, get back on track with these simple steps.
- Pay your bills on time—always. Arrange automatic payments on every debt so you never miss a payment. Timely payments determine up to 35% of your score.
- Keep open all accounts that are in good standing. These older accounts positively influence your length of credit history—about 15% of your score.
- Apply for a credit card—but read the fine print for interest and fee information. Most importantly, only use the card for small charges you can afford to pay back every month.
- Keep a low debt load—carrying more than 25% of your limit will increase your debt-to-income ratio and damage your score. Pay the bill on time and in full each month.
- Don’t apply for more credit accounts than you need. If you must open new lines of credit, don’t try to open them all at once. Prospective lenders will check your credit, which lowers your score, and these pings stay on your record for two years, accounting for 10% of your score.
- If you have a dispute about a debt, be proactive to communicate with the lender. If all else fails, take the issue to small claims court before the debt gets into collections. Avoid lawsuits and judgments, too.
- Review your credit report often, disputing incorrect information. You can get one free report each year, but monitoring its accuracy more often may be worth the cost as you’re rebuilding your credit.
3. Surviving slow-paying customers
You know the drill—you deliver your end of the bargain; you invoice; and then you wait . . . and wait . . . and wait to be paid. All the while, you have overhead costs to cover, vendors clamoring for their money, and employees who need to be paid on time.
Maybe your payment terms are net 15, but your customers insist on their terms—net 30, 60, or even 120. You don’t want to lose their business so you reluctantly agree. Fair? Not at all. And, as you well know, waiting to get paid can have serious financial consequences, like not having enough money to run your day-to-day operations, much less expand your business.
You could, of course, apply for a line of credit or get a loan to help carry you through the month, but will you get approved? And with the piles of paperwork and myriad backup documents required—not to mention the back and forth with the bank—you could be practically out of business before the bank makes a decision, much less actually gives you the funds your business needs. And let’s face it: you simply cannot afford to wait all that time only to be turned down.
4. Avoiding unnecessary debt
“Debt” is a nasty four-letter word to a small or mid-size business. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), roughly 50 percent of small businesses fail within their first five years, mostly because of insufficient capital, poor credit arrangements, and—you guessed it—too much debt.
Unfortunately, debt can be accumulated rather quickly when trying to boost cash flow or finance growth. Perhaps a business loan could help, but loans must be repaid—and with interest, which can add up significantly.
Fact is, unnecessary or additional debt can be the first step on the slippery slope toward Chapter 11 bankruptcy or even “Closed!”
Fortunately, you can utilize financing solutions other than bank loans—options such as invoice factoring—that won’t incur that four-letter “D” word or burden your business with additional cash flow hardship.
How to overcome cash flow gaps
With potential hazards lurking around every financial corner, how can a small or mid-sized business overcome cash flow gaps and boost its bottom line in this economy—or any economy?
You could opt for cash flow solutions like alternative lending, but that can prove costly. If your loan is a payday loan, your payment will be withdrawn from your checking account every single day. If the money isn’t in your checking account, you’ll accrue additional fees, increasing the payoff amount and delaying the payoff date—damaging your bottom line by keeping your business in debt and paying exorbitant interest longer than expected.
Merchant cash advance
You could also consider a Merchant Cash Advance, which charges you based on your projected sales. But this, too, can be costly—and risky. If your future sales don’t meet your projections, you could end up repaying more than you actually sell, and at a high interest rate. While invoice factoring offers a genuine cash flow solution by purchasing your existing invoices, a merchant cash advance can actually add to your stress.
Invoice factoring answers each of these financial challenges. Here’s how it works.
You simply sell your invoices, minus a small discount, to a factoring company like Triumph Business Capital. After checking out the creditworthiness of your invoiced customer, the factor advances 70% to 100% of the invoice amount to you as immediate cash for your business.
In a recourse factoring agreement, you’re likely to see 100% advanced, while a transportation company with a non-recourse factoring agreement would likely see a 90% to 97% advanced, and a small business with a general factoring agreement would likely see 70% to 95% advanced. And when you customer pays the invoice, the factor remits the balance, minus a fee, to your business.
So instead of waiting 30 to 120 days—or even longer—to receive your customer’s payment, you get cash in hand within 24 to 48 hours.
Triumph offers both recourse and non-recourse invoice factoring for approved clients. With non-recourse factoring, you’re not liable if your customer doesn’t pay your invoice for credit reasons. Since the factor assumes all risk with non-recourse invoice factoring, your business reduces bad debt while increasing cash flow, even if your customer never pays the invoice.
Here’s why invoice factoring might be right for your business.
Get more cash for immediate needs
Invoice factoring helps relieve payroll pain, giving you ready cash to meet weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly payroll. Need to stock up on supplies? No more waiting for your customers’ payments so you can purchase supplies or pay vendors. How about the rent or mortgage payment? Invoice factoring can take the stress out of meeting all your first-of-the-month commitments.
Get more cash for growth opportunities
With invoice factoring, you can expand operations, hire more staff, or develop a new product line. Your customers’ unpaid invoices no longer hold your business hostage, stifling your progress. And unlike a conventional loan, there’s no limit to the amount of financing with Triumph. The cash you receive for your invoices is unrestricted—you don’t need Triumph’s approval to use it for whatever your business needs.
Get more cash without more debt
Sure, bank loans or lines of credit could shore up your finances. But would your business be approved? How long would that take? And at what cost? Invoice factoring gives your business the cash you need quickly and easily. It doesn’t show up on your balance sheet as debt and your business won’t have to make onerous interest payments. Invoice factoring doesn’t negatively impact your credit score either.
Let Triumph help you boost your bottom line today
We believe that getting paid shouldn’t be the hardest part about your job. Since 2004, Triumph Business Capital has helped over 7,000 small and mid-size businesses in the U.S. manage their cash flow.
As your partner, we’ll factor your invoices so you can get paid today—and make your financial challenges a thing of the past. And in addition to helping you manage cash flow through invoice factoring, we offer a host of other business services through our parent company Triumph Bancorp to help you do what you do best.
Does your business need $1 million or more? Triumph Commercial Finance Business Capital offers asset-based lending (ABL) solutions for small and mid-size businesses. As your company steps up to this next level, Triumph Commercial Finance may be your best option for continued growth.
Defined as a loan or line of credit secured by balance-sheet assets (“collateral”) such as accounts receivable, inventory, etc., ABL typically costs less than invoice factoring. However, its loan underwriting process also has more requirements, including CPA-reviewed or -audited financial statements that reflect favorable earnings and tangible net worth. Additionally, ABL can be more restrictive than invoice factoring.
Triumph Commercial Finance also specializes in equipment financing for the construction, refuse, and transportation industries—so you can upgrade your operations to grow your business or expand your footprint. Loans for purchasing new or used equipment range from $250,000 to $6 million, and loan terms are typically two to five years.
Back office solutions
Invoice factoring at Triumph Business Capital includes a slew of helpful back office solutions like free credit checks, collection services, data storage, and more. It’s our goal to help you reduce overhead costs and simplify your operations.
Take the guesswork out of taking on new clients. Triumph Business Capital offers free credit checks to help you make informed decisions before signing a new contract. And our online portal gives our trucking clients access to freight broker credits that we monitor daily.
After you’ve provided the contracted goods or services, our Account Resolution team will ensure that you receive timely payment. What’s more, Triumph Business Capital provides account management reports online—conveniently available to review at any time—so you can make smart business decisions based on your actual data (ageing reports, collection reports, etc.).
Need insurance at competitive rates? Triumph Insurance Group Business Capital offers a wide range of insurance options for the transportation industry, as well as damage protection for new and used equipment. Get the property and casualty insurance coverage that’s right for you—and at the best price, with affordable payment options.
Let’s get you paid today
Triumph Business Capital is committed to helping small and mid-size businesses manage cash flow and so much more. End late payment worries and slow cash flow problems. Factor your invoices and get paid today with Triumph Business Capital.
Don’t you love that feeling—you know, the one you get when an invoice pays? With invoice factoring, you don’t even have to think about processing invoices, and you can forget about having to wait 30, 60, or 90 days to receive your client’s payment. You can actually get paid today. When calculating the cost of invoice factoring, it’s important to remember the benefits it can provide to small businesses and to always consider your own business situation and goals.
The many benefits of invoice factoring
No more invoices to process, no waiting for clients to pay, and immediate cash in hand—invoice factoring services simplifies your bookkeeping experience and helps you get paid on time every time.
According to the Wall Street Journal, “The factor advances most of the invoice amount—usually 70% to 90%—after checking out the credit-worthiness of the billed customer. When the bill is paid, the factor remits the balance, minus a transaction (or factoring) fee.”
The benefits of invoice factoring are many, but how much does it actually cost? In this article, we’ll explain everything you always wanted to know about invoice factoring.
Non-recourse factoring vs. recourse factoring
With non-recourse factoring, the factor assumes the risk of collecting the debt. That’s a lower-risk option for small companies that can’t absorb the cost of unpaid invoices, but it does cost slightly more than recourse factoring.
Larger corporations often favor recourse factoring because, if a customer fails to pay, they can afford to return the funds they received from selling the uncollectible invoice to the factoring company.
Aside from the cost differential between the two, there are times when the cost differential is not justified by the credit risk being taken.
For example, if you’re selling to WalMart or the Federal Government, the chances of either one not paying because of credit reasons are quite small. Thus, paying a premium for non-recourse starts to look a little less attractive. If you do elect for non-recourse factoring, pay special attention to the Security Agreement that you’ll be required to sign and make sure you ask the factor to specifically go over when you will be covered and when you will not be covered from credit risk.
So how much does invoice factoring cost?
Fees vary from factor to factor, so check with your factor before getting started.
Application/Due Diligence Fee
Some factors charge this fee some do not. Those that do not may recover this upfront expense by increasing the initial financing fees. This fee varies highly from factor to factor and can cost anywhere from zero to thousands of dollars.
The factor retains a percentage of each invoice, typically 1–3%.
Monthly and Termination Fees
Some factors may require that you sell a certain amount of your invoice each month and sign a long-term contract. If the monthly target isn’t met, a minimum monthly fee will be charged. Terminating the contract early can trigger a cancellation fee.
The cost of paying for your invoices in advance can vary anywhere from 1.5–5% of the invoice value each month. This wide disparity is yet another reason to check with your factor before jumping into a relationship.
If your invoices go beyond the 30–45 days covered by the advance discount fee, you can expect an additional charge of 2–3% or more for every 30 days that the receivable is outstanding beyond the original 30 days. Some factors may prorate the fee daily, while others may charge on a 10-day basis.
Triumph’s factoring fee depends on your unique factoring agreement. Our factoring experts considering whether you’ve chosen recourse or non-recourse factoring, the credit quality of your customers, and more. But in general, let’s say you decided to factor $3,000 with a 95% advance rate over a 90-day repurchase period. Meaning, you’d get paid $2,850 within 24 hours of submitting a load, and the final 5%—minus standard factoring fees—after 90 days.
While the scenario we just presented is common, it’s important to remember that your factoring fee will vary depending on the terms of your factoring agreement.
How does Triumph Business Capital compare to other factoring companies?
Now that we’ve broken down the fees, let’s get into specifics. While not all factors are entirely transparent with their pricing, we’re an open book. The last thing we want to do is surprise you with a fee. Here’s how our pricing structure compares to other popular factors you may have heard of.
Other companies charge flat advance rates of 10–15% and $15 per wire, but offers free ACH transactions. Some don’t include a setup fee, but they charge a fee based on the advanced amount.
Triumph Business Capital, on the other hand, works with your business to fit your budget and requirements. Triumph takes into consideration the credit risk associated with your customers, the time it takes them to pay their invoices, and the monthly funding volume we forecast for your business.
Can invoice factoring save you money?
Consider this simple illustration. You decide that invoice factoring is the best option for your business, so you convert your invoices into cash instead of waiting a month or more to get paid.
With immediate cash in hand, you can stop worrying about how you’re going to pay your bills and get on with the growing your business. And when you pay vendors more quickly, you can take advantage of their discount offers, which saves you money. You’ve not only gotten invoice collection off your plate, you’ve paid your bills and saved money in the process—and that’s good business.
Calculate The Cost To You...
Let's take a look. Pricing for both options will vary considerably based on business size and other criteria - so feel free to enter the information most appropriate to you.
Your Effective Annual Interest Rate
Cash Advance Loans109%
Cash Available For Operations
The above calculations incorporate estimated values and are intended for comparative illustration purposes only. Terms and conditions of specific cash advance loan and/or factoring agreements may result in additional margin of error. If, for any reason, you suspect the results are not representative - please contact us directly so that we may address those concerns. Alternatively, the most accurate way to calculate the Annual Percentage Rate for a loan or competitive factoring facility may be to contact the financial service provider directly and request that they perform or confirm the calculations. Thank you.
Get paid today
The hardest part about your job shouldn’t be getting paid. Let Triumph Business Capital help you factor your invoices and get paid today.
Let’s Talk About How to Get You Paid
Take five minutes to learn more about how we help owner/operators increasing their cash flow.
Invoice factoring and a bank loan have very little in common—other than the fact that both provide cash to small businesses. Here’s a simple factoring vs. bank loan comparison to help you decide which can work for your business.
With invoice factoring, you simply convert your invoices into immediate cash to cover operating costs without taking on debt. You sell your invoices at a small discount to a factoring company like Triumph Business Capital and get immediate cash for your business.
Worried about your credit? No problem! Invoice factoring is primarily based on the quality of your customers’ credit, not your own credit or business history. While most banking institutions look at the same documentation we do, our focus primarily on the quality of your customers. Don’t let the successes and failures of your business journey stop you from getting paid.
Plus, invoice factoring works fast. You’ll typically receive approval in a few business days. Better yet, there’s no debt to repay, and you have unlimited funding potential.
As long as you have invoices, you have the opportunity to convert them into cash. Even startups are eligible for factoring.
Traditional bank loan
Compare that to a bank loan. You pay principal and interest over time, and the funding potential is capped by the bank. After completing all necessary paperwork, the approval process can take months—and it’s based on your company’s operational and credit history. If you’re a startup, chances are you won’t be approved for bank funding.
Additionally, bank loans and lines of credit often carry what’s called a loan covenant. Essentially they’re conditions in a commercial loan that require you to fulfill certain financial performance requirements. If you don’t meet the covenant requirements, you can default on your loan or line of credit. If your bank representative is nice, they may waive the default and charge an additional waiver fee. In the end, it’ll likely cost you more than you bargained for.
Bank loans or lines of credit also come with restrictions that forbid you from taking certain actions like purchasing or selling assets for your business, incurring additional debt for any reason, and more. Because of restrictions, you’ll often find yourself with the financial resources you need without the freedom to use them to solve your biggest business problems.
While a “line of credit” implies that you’ll be financed for whatever you need up to a certain amount, more often than not, that’s not actually what happens. Your credit line often comes with so many restrictions that it’s often easier to look for the next best option.
Which is best for your business?
If you own a business that has a long history of favorable cash flow and profits, or is well-capitalized, then a bank line of credit might be the right choice. But if you’re a new business—or one that may have had a significant hiccup somewhere along the road—then you should consider invoice factoring.
Invoice factoring gives you immediate cash flow without creating debt on your balance sheet, and it’s virtually an unlimited source of working capital.
While banks require a wide range of collateral and financial statements, often refusing businesses that need additional funding but can’t meet the stringent borrowing requirements to qualify for a new bank loan.
Why Triumph Business Capital?
When considering factoring, it’s important to work with a reputable factor with a strong track record. Triumph Business Capital has provided factoring for over 7,000 small to mid-sized businesses since 2004. We have a long history with the transportation industry—and staffing agencies, government contractors, and small businesses are increasingly seeking us out to help solve their cash flow challenges. Triumph also offers smart Asset Based Lending and Equipment Financing options as well as a discount fuel card program.
Triumph is a proud member of the International Factoring Association (IFA) and strictly adheres to the IFA’s code of ethics. Originally called Advance Business Capital, the company joined Triumph Bancorp Group in 2012. As a financial holding company, Triumph Bancorp, Inc. maintains a diversified line of community banking, commercial finance, and asset management activities. Since day one, our vision has been centered on four core business priorities—delivering value, developing people, demonstrating expertise, and displaying a commitment to enterprise success.
Factor your invoices today
Ready to get started? Let Triumph Business Capital help you factor your invoices—and get you the cash you need when you need it.
What are some of the popular types of short-term funding available to small businesses? How can you fund your business? You’ve got questions; we’ve got answers!
Bootstrapping is a funny word for a smart financial concept. The term comes from the phrase “pulling oneself up by one’s bootstraps.” An individual is said to be bootstrapping when he attempts to found and build a company from personal finances or from the operating revenues of the new company. According to Investopedia, more than 80% of new startup operations receive their funding from the founder’s personal finances.
So where exactly does the bootstrapper get startup funds? A bootstrapper may pull from a savings account, use zero interest credit cards, or leverage personal assets like selling a house or car and cashing in on a 401(k). With bootstrapping, the business is your own—no answering to investors like venture capitalists.
What are the benefits and drawbacks of bootstrapping?
Business owners who utilize bootstrap funding don’t have to worry about diluting ownership between investors. They don’t need to issue equity, and they can focus debt on personal sources. The downside? Unnecessary financial risk is all on the entrepreneur. And bootstrapping may not provide enough investment for the company to become successful at a reasonable rate.
What other companies have used bootstrapping?
If you decide to bootstrap, however, you’ll be in good company. Dell Computers, FaceBook, Apple, The Clorox Company, and The Coca-Cola Company each catapulted to greatness from humble beginnings as a bootstrapped enterprise. To learn more about bootstrapping, Fast Company offers 10 tips for bootstrapping your startup.
2. Friends and family
Of course, you can always tap into friends and family. With business plan in hand, pitch your idea to those closest to you, explaining what you’re selling, what you plan to charge, and how they’ll make money by backing your business.
What are the benefits and drawbacks of tapping into this method?
Be upfront about the risks and put the rules behind the investment in writing. Whether you’re asking for a loan, an investment, or even a gift, remember that each one comes with strings attached. In the case of loans and investments, you will have to pay the money back: you cannot file bankruptcy if the business fails.
Entrepreneur.com offers tips and tactics in Five Tips for Asking Friends and Family for Funding.
3. Loan or Line of Credit
You can also apply for a loan or line of credit. What’s the difference? A loan is a specific amount disbursed to you at once in a lump sum. It has a fixed or variable interest rate, and a fixed repayment term. On the other hand, a line of credit functions much like a credit card. You’re given a maximum amount that you can use over a period of time, and you can borrow against that amount as you need money.
What are the benefits and drawbacks?
Once you’re approved for a line of credit, you can tap into it at any time to access the amount your business needs. You can also use a line of credit as an alternate overdraft protection option on a checking account. Keep in mind, though, that excessive borrowing against a line of credit could get you into financial trouble as surely as continuing to rack up credit card debt.
Want to know more about the benefits and drawbacks of traditional bank loans? We just wrote an article to compare and contrast traditional bank loans and invoice factoring. Read the full article here.
4. Invoice Factoring
Invoice factoring can be a small business owner’s best friend. It’s been around for over 4,000 years, dating back to the time of King Hammurabi of Mesopotamia. In the 1900s, the most popular industries for invoice factoring were the garment and textile industries. Today, the transportation industry, staffing agencies, government contractors, and small businesses are taking full advantage of invoice factoring. The reason? It helps relieve the stress of cash flow and slow-paying clients without adding debt.
How does invoice factoring work?
Here’s how: you sell your invoices at a small discount to a factoring company like Triumph Business Capital and get immediate cash for your business. Since 2004, Triumph Business Capital has provided factoring services for 7,000 small to mid-sized businesses throughout the U.S.—so you can be sure you’re working with a reputable company that has your best interests in mind.
Are there any drawbacks?
Invoice factoring can have higher fees than traditional financing, with fees based on sales volume and factoring agreement. But it’s a small price to pay for welcome relief and cash in hand. Learn more about the Common Risks Involved with Invoice Factoring.
What are the best options for short-term business funding?
Triumph Business Capital offers more than just invoice factoring. If your business has grown to the next level and you’re looking for a larger loan to pay for new equipment or provide additional working capital, Triumph offers smart Asset Based Lending and Equipment Financing options as well as a discount fuel card program.
Let’s Talk About Your Cash Flow
Take five minutes to learn more about how we help owner/operators increasing their cash flow.
It’s a big world out there. We’re talking the world of funding for small- to medium-sized businesses. That’s why we’re giving you a bird’s-eye view of the available options—everything you need to know about funding your business.
You may have heard of it; maybe you know a company or two that use it. But what exactly is invoice factoring?
Invoice factoring can be a welcome relief for a small business or government contractor—or any business owner tired of waiting for their invoices to be paid. You simply sell your invoices at a small discount to a factoring company and get immediate cash for your business. According to the Wall Street Journal, “Now billions of dollars in accounts receivable flow through factors each year.”
Should you consider invoice factoring for your small business?
Here’s what you should know about invoice factoring before diving in. Invoice factoring virtually eliminates cash flow problems. There’s no need to process invoices and wait—and wait—to get paid by your clients. No more putting plans on hold because there’s just not enough money to put them into effect. Or worrying about meeting payroll because you haven’t been paid yet. Non-recourse factoring even reduces bad debt since the factor assumes all risk if the invoice isn’t paid.
Got bad credit? Bank loan application already declined? No worries. Invoice factoring companies look at your credit and business history differently than a bank would. They base the majority of their decision on the quality of your customers’ credit and business history, not your own. The downside? Invoice factoring can have higher fees than traditional financing, but it can be well worth it when you consider its many advantages, including being able to sleep at night.
Whom should you trust?
It’s important, of course, to work with a reputable factoring company like Triumph Business Capital. Since 2004, Triumph has provided factoring for over 7,000 small to mid-sized businesses like yours—from the transportation industry to staffing agencies, government contractors, and other small businesses.
If your business has grown to the next level and you’re looking for a larger loan to pay for new equipment or provide additional working capital, Triumph also offers smart Asset Based Lending, Equipment Financing, and a discount fuel card program.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) can also help finance your business with a guaranteed loan issued through participating banks and other lenders.
The most popular type of SBA financing is a General Business Loan, otherwise known as a 7(a) Loan. You can use the funds to establish a new business or assist in the acquisition, operation, or expansion of an existing business. The SBA guarantees loans up to $5 million to help small business owners with major investments, like building new facilities or buying land, machinery, and equipment. The SBA also offers loans that help small business owners affected by natural disasters and other kinds of emergencies.
Should you consider an SBA loan for your small business?
If you don’t qualify for a traditional bank loan, the government can help—although you’ll still need to work primarily with a bank. Aside from a low annual percentage rate (APR), you’ll receive funding in less than a month. Also, you’ll have more time to repay an SBA loan. If you use the loan for working capital or daily operations, you’ll have seven years to pay it back. Buying new equipment? You’ll have up to 10 years. If you use the funds for a real estate purchase, the terms go up to 25 years. A longer loan term means a lower interest rate and lower regular payments.
The application process, however, can be daunting. An SBA loan requires good credit and may call for collateral—and the paperwork can be both lengthy and cumbersome. The best way to navigate the process is to work with a bank that has extensive experience with SBA loans. The advantage? Lenders offer flexible terms and low rates since the federal agency guarantees the loans.
You’ve probably seen advertisements for alternative lenders like Kabbage, OnDeck, Lending Club, Prosper, Street Shares, and Deal Struck. Even PayPal has become a major player in the alternative lending space.
Alternative lending is a saving grace for some small businesses—especially if they need cash fast, or if bad credit disqualifies them for traditional lending. Sometimes referred to as “direct lending,” alternative lending provides cash in hand within two to three days on average, with a 12- to 36-month repayment period. And there’s no restriction on how to use the money.
Merchant Cash Advance (MCA)
MCA is an alternative financing source that provides businesses with a lump sum of cash by purchasing a set amount of their future sales. MCA companies debit your business account on a daily basis until the loan is paid in full.
Sound like invoice factoring? Not quite. Merchant cash advances and invoice factoring are both alternatives to traditional financing. Each involves a simple, quick application process with minimum credit requirements, making it easier and faster for small businesses to get approval—but while merchant card advances may seem like an equal option to invoice factoring, there are several catches.
Primarily, if your receivables are inconsistent, you may not have enough cash in the bank everyday that a withdrawal is made. At that point, you’ll overdraft on your account and experience the fees and penalties that follow.
Should you consider merchant cash advance for your small business?
Merchant cash advancements typically involve more risk than invoice factoring. A merchant card advance charges you based on your projected sales, while invoice factoring companies purchase your existing invoices. Since merchant cash advance payments are solely based on a prediction, rather than an actual dollar amount, this means that if your future sales don’t meet your projections, you could end up making large payments, with a much higher interest rate—usually significantly more than invoice factoring.
The larger problem could be that the payments continue for a period beyond your revenue generation. This form of cash advance is typically associated with incredibly high interest rates and should be avoided if at all possible.
Should you consider an alternative lending source for your small business?
The process for applying for alternative lending is fast and often easy. The loan application can be completed entirely online and approved in just a few minutes. Approval rates for alternative lending are much higher (64 percent, as opposed to about 20 percent for big banks, according to Inc.), and you could have your money in a matter of days, rather than weeks or months. Typical lending ranges from $10,000 to $100,000.
But alternative lending can be costly. In fact, the cost of these loans can be significantly more than the annualized rates associated with conventional financing. If your loan is a payday loan, beware. Your payment will be withdrawn from your checking account every single day. If the money isn’t in your checking account, you’ll accrue additional fees, increasing the payoff amount and delaying the payoff date. Another thing to keep in mind—be sure you’re working with the lending company that actually provides the financing, versus dealing with a broker, which leads to substantially more costs.
Heard of microfinancing? It’s the new buzzword in funding circles, yet its concept dates back over 200 years. The first case of microlending, attributed to the Irish Loan Fund system introduced by Jonathan Swift, sought to improve conditions for impoverished Irish citizens.
So what is microfinancing? According to Investopedia, “Microfinancing provides options to customers with limited resources to promote participation in productive activities or to support a small business.” Simply put, it’s a type of banking service for unemployed or low-income individuals or groups who have no other access to financial services. Some microlenders even provide information in the areas of financial literacy, such as understanding interest rates and managing financial risks. Several organizations, including the Small Business Administration, offer microloans to help emerging businesses and underserved individuals get solid financial footing to start and grow their businesses.
The SBA offers microloans of up to $50,000 with a maximum term of six years. Administered through community nonprofits, the loans can be used for working capital or for the purchase of inventory, supplies, furniture, fixtures, machinery, or equipment. You can’t use the funds to pay an existing debt or to buy real estate.
Here’s how SBA microloans work: The SBA makes funds available to specially designated intermediary lenders—nonprofit organizations with experience in lending and technical assistance—including Justine Petersen, Grameen America, and Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs, to name but a few. These intermediaries then make loans to eligible borrowers. But before these lenders consider an application, qualifying for SBA microloan financing may require borrowers to complete specific training or planning—requirements designed to help you launch or expand your business successfully.
Other independent organizations—such as Bentley Microfinance Group, Association for Enterprise Opportunity, Business Center for New Americans, and Opportunity Fund—also provide microloans to the underserved community outside of the SBA model.
Should you consider a microloan for your small business?
A microloan is easier to get than a traditional loan, especially if your credit report is less than perfect or you don’t have a long credit history. If you don’t have a credit score, you can opt for a credit-building loan that lets you establish credit. On the other hand, a microloan usually costs more than a traditional bank loan.
Additional Government Funding Options
The federal government isn’t the only agency that can help your small business get off the ground and grow. Every state and many local governments have economic development agencies dedicated to helping both new and established businesses to grow and succeed. These agencies offer such services as start-up advice; training and resources; financial assistance through loans, grants, and tax-exempt bonds; business location and site selection assistance; and employee recruitment and training assistance.
Some states also provide grants for expanding childcare centers, creating energy-efficient technology, and developing marketing campaigns for tourism. These grants usually require the recipient to match funds or combine the grant with other forms of financing, such as a loan. The amount of available grant money varies, depending on each grantor and the type of business to be funded.
In addition to loans, the SBA also offers grants to nonprofit and educational organizations in many of its counseling and training programs. However, the SBA does not provide grants for starting or expanding a business.
Here’s another way the government can help put dollars into your business. The Small Business Lending Fund (SBLF), enacted into law as part of the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, provides capital to qualified community banks and community development loan funds (CDLFs) to encourage small business lending.
What does that mean to the small-business owner? Your community bank can be a resource for commercial and industrial loans; owner-occupied nonfarm, nonresidential real estate loans; loans to finance agricultural production and other loans to farmers; and loans secured by farmland.
If you’re in the biomedical space, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) can be another resource for your business. The NIH is the largest public funder of biomedical research in the world, offering funding for many types of grants, contracts, and even programs that help repay loans for researchers.
Should you consider government funding for your small business?
Government funding may come with free technical assistance, including workshops, seminars, or onsite consultations. Sometimes government agencies bring together all the recipients of a particular grant, facilitating peer-to-peer learning. These gatherings often provide grantees with their first introduction to others delivering similar services in the same city—which, in turn, can lead to more potential funding or resource-sharing opportunities.
However, as you’d expect, a great deal of red tape goes hand-in-hand with government funding. We’re talking time-consuming paperwork, meticulous recordkeeping, and demanding reports. And you can anticipate that the agency providing government funds for your program will closely monitor the use of those funds. It’s also possible that the receipt of government dollars will discourage donations from private sources.
It all started in 1997, when a British rock band funded their reunion tour through online donations from fans. Since then, crowdfunding has become a smart option for entrepreneurs and others to raise money, awareness, and support for a business or a project, especially when turned down by traditional lenders.
Through online platforms like Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Fundly, RocketHub, and Fundable, your small business can receive needed funding, with donations ranging from as little as $5 up to $5,000 and more. In exchange, your business offers rewards like T-shirts, tickets to shows, or perhaps a personal call from the founder of the company. The better the reward, the better the chance of donations.
In addition to soliciting donations, you can use the crowdfunding concept to get a loan. The site LendingClub, for example, allows members to directly invest in and borrow from each other, essentially eliminating the banking middleman.
Should you consider crowdfunding for your small business?
According to the research firm Massolution, the estimated fundraising volume for global crowdfunding is a whopping $34 billion. But while there’s money to be had, crowdfunding has its drawbacks as well. If you don’t have a great story to tell or a terrific product to sell, then your crowdfunding bid could fail. Some crowdfunding sites don’t collect money until a fundraiser reaches the goal. If your efforts fall short, you’ve wasted a lot of time, energy, and other resources. And then there’s the risk of getting sued if you fail to deliver your rewards.
VC—venture capital—spells big bucks to some companies. An entrepreneur will seek this type of equity financing when the company’s size, assets, or stage of development precludes more traditional funding sources, such as public markets and banks. Venture capitalists generally invest cash in exchange for shares as well as an active role in the invested company.
Should you consider venture capital for your small business?
Venture capitalists typically focus on young, high-growth companies, invest equity capital rather than debt, offer a longer investment horizon than traditional financing, and actively monitor the companies in their investment portfolios. Lenders like EarlyShares and MicroVentures generally require some equity cushion or security (collateral) before they will lend to a small business.
Venture capital provides businesses a financial cushion, but at what cost? Equity providers have the last call against the company’s assets and require a higher rate of return or return on investment (ROI) than lenders receive. So it’s vitally important to weigh the pros and cons before engaging in a venture capital relationship.
Many startups opt for an angel on their shoulder. Angel investors provide funding for early-stage or startup companies in exchange for an equity ownership interest. Often referred to as a business angel, informal investor, angel funder, private investor, or seed investor, the typical angel invests anywhere from $25,000 to $1.5 million.
How do you find an angel investor? Forbes lists a variety of ways—through other entrepreneurs, lawyers, and accountants; AngelList; crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo; or through a colleague or friend of an angel.
Check out organizations like CircleUp or Gust that provide online platforms to connect entrepreneurs with angel investors. CircleUp offers the largest online marketplace for investing in innovative consumer and retail companies. Gust connects startups with over 1000 investment groups around the world, resulting in more than $1.8 billion invested in startups to date.
Should you consider angel investment for your small business?
Angels can be a Godsend for a startup and the investment usually comes in the form of a lump sum. However, angel investors expect a high rate of return, often 25 percent or more. And as a major investor, your angel may also feel entitled to some control over your company’s future.
The Bottom Line
At the end of the day, when you’re considering how to fund your business idea, the best option is one that helps you achieve your business objectives with minimal risk or high rates. That often turns out to be invoice factoring with Triumph Business Capital. Triumph believes the hardest part about your job shouldn’t be getting paid. Get paid today.
Have questions about invoice factoring or the options listed above? Please leave us a comment below.
Invoice factoring is a saving grace for many industries, from transportation and staffing to small and mid-size businesses as well as government contractors. In fact, invoice factoring can offer welcome financial relief if you’re just starting a business, have bad credit, can’t get funding from banks, or are at risk of losing your business.
A simple process
Invoice factoring lets you convert your invoices into immediate cash to cover operating costs without taking on debt. You simply perform a service for your customer or deliver a product, and send your invoice to a factoring company like Triumph Business Capital to get paid. You immediately receive payment upon completion of the load or job being invoiced.
The process is simple and virtually seamless. Triumph purchases the invoice. If you’re a recourse client, Triumph takes the factoring fee out, then a small portion of that invoice goes into a reserve account, usually 5 or 10 percent. This “advance rate” of 90 or 95% is released once the invoice is paid.
If you’re in a non-recourse agreement, you receive 100% of invoice minus the factoring fee. Since the factor assumes all risk in this type of agreement, there is no reserve held in the event that an invoice does not pay.
You get money when you need it.
Invoice factoring is fast cash in the bank to help cover day-to-day expenses, restock materials, pay staff—or just about anything you need. The alternative? Wait . . . wait . . . wait . . . and then wait even longer—30 days, 60 days, or more—to get paid by clients. But with fast cash in hand, you can keep loyal customers on longer payment terms.
Your invoice factoring company grows with you.
Compare invoice factoring to a traditional bank loan and there’s no competition. Bad credit? Limited operating history? Loan declined? No problem. Invoice factoring companies base their decision on the quality of your customers’ credit, not your own credit or business history. You get cash based on your invoices, not your company’s net worth.
You might pay higher fees than traditional financing.
Invoice factoring can have higher fees than traditional financing—but it’s a small price to pay for peace of mind. Triumph’s fee takes into account the credit risk associated with your customers and the time it takes them to pay their invoices. In fact, invoice factoring provides cash flow that meets your business where it is today and can grow as your business grows because it’s based on your actual account receivables.
Always transparent, always fair, Triumph Business Capital offers options that match each client’s financing needs without incurring debt.
Your factor may work directly with your customer.
Invoice factoring companies work directly with your customers to collect payments on your invoices. You’ll need to ensure that the factoring company you choose is ethical, fair, and respectful. Triumph Business Capital is a proud member of the International Factoring Association (IFA), and strictly adheres to the IFA’s code of ethics. We ensure a smooth transition for both you and your customers.
Your financing depends on your customer’s credit.
Lastly, recognize that your customer’s bad credit may derail your financing. The factoring company may reject your invoices to any customer that isn’t creditworthy.
Three questions to consider
How do you know if invoice factoring is right for you? Ask yourself these three simple questions.
- Can my problem be fixed by factoring?
- Can I cover the cost of factoring and still make a profit?
- Are my customers creditworthy?
Ready to get started? Learn how Triumph Business Capital can help you factor your invoices—because the hardest part about your job shouldn’t be getting paid.
Many businesses turn to Triumph business capital to get their invoices factored for relief from today’s financial pressures. Faster and easier than a bank loan, getting an invoice factored doesn’t rely on your credit or your years in operation. You simply convert your invoices into immediate cash to cover operating costs without taking on debt.
In some cases, factoring an invoice is the only way a business can get cash quickly. In others, it’s simply the smartest way to get cash today. But what risks are involved when it comes to factoring your invoicesinvoice factoring involve?
1. Can you trust the factor?
In its infancy, a few unprofessional factoring companies charged excessive fees and used deceptive business practices, giving the entire industry a black eye. Now, however, factoring is not only widely accepted; it’s a trusted funding source for businesses across many industries.
Of course, before entering into any business relationship, you should always exercise due diligence. Investigate how long the factor has been in business and find out where its headquarters are located. Check into the background of its management team. Go a step further and ask for referrals from current clients, and then research complaints or lawsuits using web searches, the Better Business Bureau, and your state’s Attorney General’s Office. Remember to trust your gut: if you feel you can’t build trust with the factor, walk away.
As a respected industry leader and a proud member of the International Factoring Association (IFA), Triumph Business Capital strictly adheres to the IFA’s code of ethics. Providing invoice factoring for over 7,000 small to mid-sized businesses since 2004, Triumph Business Capital is backed by the extensive assets of Triumph Bancorp, Inc., a financial holding company that maintains a diversified line of community banking, commercial finance, and asset management activities.
2. What about uncollectible invoices?
Triumph Business Capital offers two kinds of factoring arrangements to handle invoices—recourse and non-recourse. Both eliminate the hassles and headaches of collecting invoices, so you can spend more time growing your business, gaining more opportunities to find new shippers, or taking the next load because you’ve already been paid.
With recourse factoring, you ultimately take the responsibility for the payment of the invoice. If the customer doesn’t pay the debt, then the seller is liable to repay the factoring company. With non-recourse factoring, your company pays slightly higher fees, but takes on a lower risk. The factoring company assumes all the responsibility for collecting the debt. This lower-risk option is better for many small companies that can’t absorb the cost of unpaid invoices.
3. How will the factor communicate with your customers?
Triumph has designed a seamless process for our clients to transition to factor their invoices. To start, we create a lockbox to accept payments in care of your company. Either you create your invoices or we create them for you. In either case, all invoices are stamped by Triumph with a “Notice of Assignment.” Your debtor will know that the invoice has been assigned to Triumph Business Capital as a third-party partner to help you manage your Accounts Receivable financing.
4. Is your customer creditworthy?
Savvy business owners like you know that perfect customers are rare, and even your best customers may be slow to pay your invoices. At some point, your current or future customers may not be able to pay you at all.
That’s why it’s crucial to confirm your customer’s creditworthiness before conducting business with them. But routine credit checks can be a hefty expense for your business. Triumph Business Capital runs customer credit reports all day long—for free. It’s the Triumph advantage.
When you factor your invoices with Triumph Business Capital, we monitor the creditworthiness of your customers at every transaction. By doing so, we reduce the amount of risk you take, directly reducing the amount of invoices that get kicked back after 90 days. Invoice factoring is about reducing your financial risk, after all. Let’s get you paid.
The benefits outweigh the risks
Bottom line—the hardest part about your job shouldn’t be getting paid.
Factoring your invoice provides you with the immediate cash you need to run and expand your business. No more need to process invoices. Worried about your balance sheet? This financing doesn’t show up as debt. Factoring your invoices is easy, fast, and flexible.
Ready to get started? Factor your invoices with Triumph Business Capital today.
It’s a headache and a hassle, and it causes complete confusion—It’s the Net-30 Trap. Does it mean you get paid 30 days from the date on the invoice, 30 days after the client bills their client, or within 30 days of what exactly? Do you get paid at all? What is net 30 anyway?
It’s a power play—and you lose
Fact is, “Payment Terms Net 30” can mean different things to different people—but in most cases, the client wins. In essence, net 30 means you’re extending credit to your client long after you’ve delivered as promised. Fair? I think not.
Chances are, you’ve seen or heard about large companies using their purchasing power to force a supplier to agree to terms that are more favorable to the large company—like a longer period of time to pay or relaxed rules for returning goods. How about the promise of future work to keep you at arm’s length when it’s time to get paid?
If you’re like most trucking or staffing companies, small to mid-size businesses (SMB), or government contractors, you don’t have great cash flow or a big cushion to fall back on. That forces you to finance your customers and accept their net-30 terms, or worse—net 60, or even net 90—leaving you looking like less than a good risk for banks or anyone else checking into your creditworthiness. And with few assets to balance such cash flow challenges, you’re not likely to have leverage to increase credibility and trust.
Three courses of action—and you win
1. Charge interest
One tried-and-true method to help ensure you’re paid—on your terms—is to charge interest if payment isn’t received on time. After all, the threat of interest for late payments is part of our everyday life, from credit cards to loans and even utility bills. In some cases, charging interest may be enough incentive for clients to pay on time.
2. Factor your invoices
Invoice factoring helps take the 30, 60, 90—or never—financial burden off your shoulders, allowing you to pay your bills and staff, stock up on materials, and sleep at night. You simply sell your invoices at a small discount to a factoring company such as Triumph Business Capital, and get immediate cash for your business. Learn more about how invoice factoring works in Invoice Factoring: The Antidote for Net-30, 60, 90, or Never .
3. Walk away
Your last course of action is to be willing to walk away. If the deal looks bad, or too good to be true; if you’re worried about a prospective client’s ability or willingness to pay—walk away before it’s too late. In the short term, taking the job gets you the work; but in the long term, you’d be taking on trouble—big time trouble.
Already stuck in a situation where you’re doing work and still not getting paid? Stop the work; your client will see this and make paying you a priority.
It’s time to get paid
Let’s face it: the hardest part about your job shouldn’t be getting paid. Free your business from the Net-30 Trap and factor your invoices with Triumph Business Capital to get paid, today.
You do the work, deliver the product or service, and wait. And wait. And wonder—will you get paid on time or have to make countless calls to get your money?
Let’s face it. One of the biggest challenges facing small and mid-size businesses (SMB) is getting paid—especially since many companies are increasingly stretching invoice payment from 30 days to 90 days or even longer.
In the meantime, you have employee salaries, vendor payments, and taxes to pay—regardless of whether or not your customer pays you. How, then, do you cover your day-to-day expenses, much less expand your business? You could, of course, apply for a bank loan and cope with its cumbersome paperwork, lengthy process, and restrictive funds limit—not to mention possible rejection. Or your can opt for a more business-friendly way to go—invoice factoring.
What is invoice factoring?
To understand invoice factoring, you have to understand what it is not. Invoice factoring is not debt collection—running after businesses to pay their bills. Nor is it a business loan or line of credit.
You simply convert your invoices into immediate cash to cover operating costs without taking on debt. Invoice factoring helps take the 30, 60, 90—or never—financial burden off your shoulders and, frankly, lets you sleep at night.
Invoice factoring goes by several names—accounts receivable financing, AR factoring, and invoice financing. No matter what you call it, the process is the same: you sell your invoices at a small discount to a factoring company and receive immediate cash for your business. No more need to process invoices. Depending on your agreement, bad debt is also reduced as the factor may assume financial risk if the invoice is not paid. The bottom line—invoice factoring gives you fast access to funds with greater flexibility, minus the bad debt.
Less stress, more cash
You could say that invoice factoring is a stress reliever. It takes the billing and collecting off your plate and transfers it onto the factor’s. It also gives you greater control of your company’s finances by providing the necessary capital when your company needs it. Say goodbye to your customers’ accounts payable procedures or terms, or a traditional bank’s underwriting processes or delays—and your own cash flow problems. How’s that for control?
Another benefit? With fast cash in hand, you can pay vendors more quickly and take advantage of their discount offers, saving you money.
How does invoice factoring work?
Unlike conventional lending methods, invoice factoring is based on the quality of your customers’ credit, not your own credit or business history. You receive cash based on your invoices, not your company’s net worth. That’s welcome relief for start-ups with minimal capital or for businesses experiencing financial challenges or bad credit. Worried about your balance sheet? This financing doesn’t show up as debt.
The factoring process works quickly and easily: you deliver a product or perform a service for your customer and send your invoice to a factoring company like Triumph Business Capital. You immediately receive a cash advance on your invoice from the factor, who then collects full payment from your customer, and pays you the balance of your invoice, minus a fee. After verifying the creditworthiness of your customer, the factor may not accept invoices for a customer that has a history of late or missed payments.
Invoice factoring vs. traditional loan
Still not sold on invoice factoring?
Consider this: bank loan processing can take weeks or longer. In that case, you might as well wait for the customer to pay you. Invoice factoring, on the other hand, is fast. You can be paid within 24 hours. You decide which invoices to factor and when.
Invoice factoring is also more flexible than a bank loan. You aren’t locked into a long repayment period. And the cash you receive for invoices is unrestricted—you can use the funds however you want. Compare that to a business loan that requires the money to be used for specific purposes.
Invoice factoring has been around for over 4,000 years, dating back to the time of King Hammurabi of Mesopotamia.
In the 1900s, the most popular industries for invoice factoring were the garment and textile industries. There was simply no better way to continue to buy raw materials to produce clothing and textiles.
In the 1940s, transportation industries were added to the roster of factoring participants. From the 1960s through the ’80s, rising interest rates and bank regulations made invoice factoring more popular because it didn’t require the same sort of credit checks. Today, small to mid-size businesses finance their working capital by factoring over $1 billion annually.
“Companies of all sizes, with annual revenues from $10,000 to $10 million, continually approach us for invoice factoring,” says Steven Hausman, President of Triumph Business Capital, an industry leader headquartered in Dallas, Texas. “We have provided factoring for over 7,000 small to mid-size businesses since 2004. We have a long track record with the transportation industry. Staffing agencies, government contractors, and small businesses are increasingly seeking us out to help solve their cash flow challenges.”
The difference between recourse and non-recourse factoring
Just as there are varying client needs, there are various types of factoring arrangements. With recourse factoring, the client ultimately takes the responsibility for the payment of the invoice. Larger companies often use lower-cost recourse factoring. If the customer doesn’t pay the debt, then the seller is liable to repay the factoring company.
Non-recourse factoring allows companies to sell their invoices to the factoring company, which then assumes all of the credit risks for the collection of the invoice. Triumph Business Capital employs non-recourse factoring and assumes all the risk of collecting the debt. That’s a lower risk option for small companies that can’t absorb the cost of unpaid invoices, but it does cost slightly more than recourse factoring.
A small price to pay for substantial relief
What will all this convenience cost you? Invoice factoring can have higher fees than traditional financing, with non-recourse factoring fees based on a variety of considerations.
During the application process, Triumph analyzes the credit risk associated with your customers, the time it takes them to pay their invoices, and the monthly funding volume forecast for your business.
Triumph then offers pricing options that match each client’s budget and risk tolerance. As an added benefit, factoring fees are deductible as a business expense.
Why Triumph Business Capital?
Triumph Business Capital is a proud member of the International Factoring Association (IFA), and strictly adheres to the IFA’s code of ethics.
Originally called Advance Business Capital, the company changed its name when it joined Triumph Bancorp, Inc. in 2012. As a financial holding company, Triumph Bancorp, Inc. maintains a diversified line of community banking, commercial finance, and asset management activities. Since day one, the company’s vision has focused on four core business priorities.
- Delivering value
- Developing people
- Demonstrating expertise
- Displaying a commitment to enterprise success
“Many clients have been with us since our early days—testament to the integrity of our service and dedication to their business,” says Hausman. “Our team is professional and courteous. We’re a partner with our clients to help them find success with their customers.”
Triumph customers couldn’t agree more. A senior executive at JP Transport, LLC spoke about Triumph: “I have been beyond impressed with the service from Triumph Business Capital. My payments are processed on time every time. The online submission process is fast and easy. Reports on various payment statistics are helpful. I’ve been contacted by Triumph staff just to check on how things are going. Couldn’t be more satisfied.”
Is invoice factoring right for you?
If you’re often caught in the net-30, -60, -90—or never—battle with customers, let us help you determine if invoice factoring is right for your business. Our answers to the following frequently asked questions may get you one step closer to the cash flow relief and improved client relationships that invoice factoring provides.
Q. How much do I have to factor?
A. You have total control over which invoices you want to factor and when. Keep in mind, though, that once you decide to factor one of your accounts, it’s generally required that you factor all the invoices for that customer in order to reduce payment confusion.
Q. What are the costs?
A. The fees for invoice factoring depend on several items, including your customer’s credit risk, how long they take to pay your invoices, and your monthly funding volume. Always transparent, always fair. In any case, your factoring fees will stay the same throughout your entire contract and are contract determined before we purchase your first invoice.
Q. What if I’ve been rejected for a bank loan? Will a factor reject me?
A. Unlike traditional lending, invoice factoring does not rely solely on your credit. Invoice factoring is based on the quality of your customers’ credit, not your own credit or business history.
Q. Can invoice factoring improve relationships with my customers?
A. Absolutely! First, invoice factoring can help increase your credibility. Here’s how: invoice factoring is a recognized, established method for a company to optimize cash flow. Since banks have tightened credit policies for small businesses and startups, many companies now use factoring instead. A factoring company’s willingness to finance your invoices serves as an endorsement of your business as a solid company and a good risk.
Invoice factoring also allows you to give more attention to your customer’s needs—instead of worrying about their payments. Triumph has a decade of experience and dedicated teams that work closely with you to handle the invoicing and collecting of payments. These courteous professionals partner with you to enhance the relationship you’ve built with your customers.
Transitioning to invoice factoring is seamless. Triumph stamps each invoice with payment instructions known as a Notice of Assignment. It’s a very smooth transition for both you and your customers.
Lastly, invoice factoring helps you keep better track of your invoices. Triumph’s online account management, for instance, provides a full array of client reporting and real-time information. The goal is to keep you totally informed on the status of your customers and accounts—and give you the cash you need, when you need it.
Trucking? Staffing? SMB? Government Contractor? Get paid today!
Any business owner or consultant would readily agree that getting paid shouldn’t be the hardest part of the job. Thanks to factors like Triumph Business Capital, it doesn’t have to be.
Freight factoring lets trucking companies get the show on the road. They can pay drivers, insurance, fuel, and other expenses on time, and never have to turn down another job due to lack of cash in hand.
Staffing companies can relax, knowing that they’ll make payroll on time, every time. Small and mid-size businesses can easily replenish their operating capital and get back in business. Government contractors can have the working capital they need to keep the company going strong, without monthly minimums, long-term requirements, or “risk” contracts.
If large invoices or slow payments are standing in the way of your company’s production and expansion, it’s time to learn how invoice factoring can work for your industry—and how Triumph Business Capital can help you get paid today. Get started now, and leave the net 30, 60, 90—or never—far behind.
You took the leap and started a business, but now you lie awake at night feeling like a fraud, like you don’t deserve the success you’ve created.
It’s called imposter syndrome, a term coined in 1978 by two clinical psychologists referring to high-achieving individuals who are unable to internalize their accomplishments. Before you spend another minute telling yourself that your success is just a matter of luck and has nothing to do with your hard work, take a look at these five characteristics that prove you’re a real-deal entrepreneur.
1. You executed an idea
“Good ideas are not adopted automatically. They must be driven into practice with courageous patience.” – Hyman Rickover
Anyone can have an idea. It takes execution to turn that idea into a business. No matter what your business idea is, it’s virtually guaranteed that someone else has—or had—the same idea. It’s the execution of the idea that brings it to fruition and makes it unique and worthwhile.
Just think: there are plenty of social networks, but only one Facebook. There are several search engines, but only one Google. There are many electric vehicles, but only one Tesla. Without proper execution, the greatest ideas die out.
2. You have drive and conviction
“The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand.” – Vince Lombardi
Entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart. Starting a business takes perseverance. All entrepreneurs take financial risks, work long hours, and face setbacks, but you have the drive and conviction to continue to overcome whatever obstacles emerge.
Whether your end goal is to build wealth, achieve a flexible schedule, or leave a legacy, you have the passion and the drive to push through and build your dreams.
3. You don’t let failure stop you
“Failure is success in progress.” – Albert Einstein
Those who are weak lose motivation when things don’t go as planned, but you know that failure is a springboard to growth. Instead of giving up in the face of failure, you use it as an opportunity to reset your perspective, make necessary changes, or have that “aha” moment of inspiration you’ve been waiting for.
In her column for Forbes, writer Alison Coleman interviewed Virgin Group founder Richard Branson. With nearly five decades in business, Branson is known primarily for huge successes—but he’s faced his share of failures, too. He offers this advice for entrepreneurs facing failure: “Failure is a necessary part of business, so it’s incredibly important for all entrepreneurs and business leaders to know when to call it a day, learn from their mistakes, and move on, fast.”
4. You built a top-notch team
“Great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people.” – Steve Jobs
As you know, a growing business can’t be built solely by one individual. It requires a team of people with complementary skills. Whether your entire team is on payroll or you rely on a network of consultants and independent contractors, you’ve created a top-notch team that brings new perspectives and specialized knowledge that enhances your business.
5. You invest in yourself
“Investing in yourself is the best thing you can do. Anything that improves your own talents; nobody can tax it or take it away from you. They can run up huge deficits and the dollar can become worth far less. But if you’ve got talent yourself, and you’ve maximized your talent, you’ve got a tremendous asset that can return tenfold.” – Warren Buffett
When most people think of investing, they think of stocks, bonds, commodities, or even investing in the dream of another entrepreneur—but all of these investments rely on someone else to turn a profit.
You’re different because you know that the best investment involves turning your passion into financial success. You’re always open to learning and sharpening your skills. You read books, listen to inspirational podcasts, take seminars or classes, grow your network, and invest in your own health and wellbeing.
Get paid instantly
So, fueled by your personal drive and with input from the team you’ve assembled, you’ve followed through on your idea and overcome the obstacles—all while continuing to invest in yourself. Congratulations, entrepreneur, you’re the real deal!
Even real entrepreneurs like you need a quick influx of cash to build on their momentum and continue growing. Learn more about how invoice factoring can help you improve cash flow and be prepared for potential shortfalls.
1.9 million college students are expected to graduate this year and most of them will want to start their career right after they walk across the stage.
By targeting college graduates, your staffing agency can dip into a talent pool that comes to the workforce with fresh, new ideas and a willingness to learn and be trained. It’s important to know who to look for and how to win them over to your client’s company.
So how do you get the best talent out of the Class of 2016? Here are three ways to successfully recruit the best of the best this year.
1. Attend career fairs
Many colleges and universities across the nation host career fairs for their students to meet potential employers. By attending these job fairs, employers can meet a number of top candidates. Also, students who attend career fairs tend to be more serious about their future, so these fairs are often effective places to recruit the best talent.
One way to find the best career fairs is by targeting schools. If you’re seeking graduates with a particular degree, Workforce Locator can help you find the top schools for that major.
Remember to engage with students at the career fair. Many times, representatives stand behind their tables without interacting with students as they pass by. Unless you represent a company that is very well known, many students won’t know about you, what you offer, or how you can jumpstart their career. Step in front of the table and take the initiative to connect with every student who walks by your booth.
2. Appeal to their deeper interests
Millennials have different interests than previous generations when it comes to what they want from their employers. In a recent study, 83% of millennials chose their positions based on employee benefits and 54% took a job based on flexible hours and work schedules.
For most millennials, it’s not just about the money. However, because recent college graduates typically carry a large amount of student debt, many companies are taking steps to help them pay down their loans. For example, starting in July, Pricewaterhouse Coopers’ junior employees will be eligible to receive up to $1,200 per year for up to six years as assistance from the company to pay down college debt.
Recent college graduates are also looking for a company that can provide a career path and development opportunities. They want to know that they are valued and that they will have opportunities to learn the skills they need to move up the career ladder to a more prestigious, high-paying position.
3. Understand that their experience may be limited
Train your recruiters and hiring managers to understand that a recent college graduate’s resume will look different from the resume of candidates with more career experience. Many times, the students have been involved in internships or campus leadership positions, which can mitigate their lack of on-the-job experience.
In a Monster article, Enterprise Rent-A-Car regional recruiting supervisor, Chris Fitzpatrick, commented on how a candidate’s involvement in college can help hiring managers connect the dots.
“Involvement in sports breeds competitiveness. Membership in fraternities, sororities, and other clubs and organizations helps develop leadership skills. Although a communications major may not have learned case studies about risk management, the ability to communicate verbally, nonverbally, and cross culturally is vastly more critical. Soft skills such as communication, work ethic, flexibility, and leadership transcend the college majors and are better identified when an entire picture of a candidate’s college experience is seen.”
You can always teach the skills that recent graduates may lack; so if you see a lot of involvement in college on their resumes, it means they are probably driven and dedicated individuals. Oftentimes a student’s non-career experiences during college will translate into the skills needed to do the job.
According to a recent study conducted by Leadership IQ, “89% of the time a new hire fails, it is for attitudinal reasons, not for technical competence reasons.” If you have a candidate who fits culturally, but lacks teachable skills, that individual might still be the right person for the job.
For more Staffing Tips, stay up-to-date by bookmarking our blog, or follow us on Facebook.
After the first lesson in this series, you now have your social sites all set up and are ready to engage your followers.
People want go where content is fresh, new and relevant. No one likes or follows a page with stale content. With an abundance of ideas on what content to post, how often to post and who you are trying to reach, you do know you want to find killer content for your page.
Creating Engaging Content
You have worked really hard to gain relevant followers. Now you have to keep your audience captivated with interesting content. Content is king in the marketing world, and it doesn’t have to be difficult to create.
Step 1- Create a solid piece of content
Consider this one piece of content your content hub. The majority of your social posts and additional content will come from this one piece. It will take time to create, but it will save you time in the long run. This can be a great blog post, an ebook or whitepaper.
Step 2- Repurpose the Content
Let’s say, for example, you have an informative blog post that you’ve posted to your small business blog. You can repurpose that blog content into the following:
- Videos or even a video series (Hello, YouTube)
- Ebook combining multiple blogs
- Slideshare presentation
- LinkedIn Pulse post
- Multiple Facebook posts
- Pinterest pins
- LinkedIn posts
- Instagram posts
Use your time effectively by doing all you can to develop more content from content you have already created.
Step 3- Test How it Performs
Test how it preforms. If one Facebook post does better than another, why is that? Could it have been the time it was posted? Could it have been that an image is more compelling than a video or vice versa? The more you know about what content performs better, the more you can perfect your content.
You then repeat the cycle now knowing how each piece of content performs with your audience. If videos resonate more, create more videos. If you see an abundance of whitepaper downloads, create more whitepapers. Testing is an important part of your social media success that should not be skipped.
Scheduling and Reporting Tips:
- Schedule out your content using tools like Hootsuite and Buffer to save you time.
- Use link shorteners like Bitly to track who clicks on your links and through what medium.
Engaging Content Tips:
- Every post needs a purpose. Are you looking for link clicks, likes, shares, retweets, comments, etc.? Make sure your content reflects that. For example if you’re looking for comments, ask a question.
- Keep track of Facebook, Twitter and other social medium’s changes. For example, sometimes Facebook will release what pieces of content will hold more weight in the ranking algorithm.
Don’t be afraid to share a blog post more than once. Because of how social media works, your content will probably not reach all of your followers the first time you post it.
Whether you realize it or not, at some point in your career you will inevitably face the need to sell something, be it a product or service, or even yourself as a qualified candidate in a job interview. Learning how to effectively close the sale, regardless of what’s at stake, is an important part of being successful in any line of work. For many, it’s also one of the most challenging. Here are a few key points to keep in mind that will help you become more adept at negotiating and sealing the deal in any situation.
Understand your ideal customer…
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to sales. In fact, it’s something that must be tailored to the audience you’re specifically targeting if it’s going to net you the results you’re after. Having a clear understanding of who your ideal customer is and what their unique needs, wants and pain points are can help you develop a more effective sales pitch. This not only reaches your prospects where they are, but demonstrates why your product or service is something they absolutely must have.
It’s about them, not you…
You may have an amazing product or service that could help people tremendously. The problem is, if you can’t clearly communicate how your offering will specifically benefit your prospects, you’re wasting your time (and theirs). When you sell, focus on your customers’ needs rather than what you believe are the key selling points of your product. What you find great about your product may be different than how others perceive its benefits. As an added bonus, when your sales approach is focused solely on your audience, you’ll naturally begin to build valuable relationships. Because people are more likely to buy from someone that they know and trust, you’ll already be a step ahead of the game.
Use happy customers as sales tools…
You could talk for hours about how awesome your product or service is, but it doesn’t mean nearly as much as when that kind of glowing endorsement comes from an actual customer. In fact, 84% of consumers say they trust recommendations from family, colleagues and friends more than any other resource. Don’t be afraid to ask satisfied clients and customers who have had a positive experience with your brand to give a recommendation for future sales. Reviews and videos can be a strong and powerful tool for effectively closing the sale.
It may seem obvious, but this is the step that many people tend to struggle with the most. If you’ve done your job in identifying your prospects’ needs and aligning the benefits of your product or service with those needs, the final step in asking them to sign on the dotted line shouldn’t be that difficult. What’s the worst that could happen? You’ll get a ‘no’? Overcoming objectives and dealing with rejection is par for the course, and will ultimately make you a stronger negotiator over time.
Successful individuals have one thing in common: the ability to close the sale. It doesn’t matter whether it’s the sale of your latest product, an upgrade on a particular service offering or selling yourself as the ideal candidate for that new job or promotion. The key is understanding the science and psychology behind the sales process and making that work for you. By applying the tactics listed above, you’ll be able to hone your skills and start closing deals with cool confidence and an increasing success rate.
Keeping up with the demands of a successful business venture, while at the same time, trying to achieve ongoing growth can be quite challenging – even for the most seasoned professional. Whether it’s expanding to reach new market segments, opening additional locations, hiring more employees or whatever else the case may be, invoice factoring can provide the ideal solution to a business owner who is looking to grow his or her company. If you’re ready to take your business to a whole new level but are unsure where to begin, here are a few ways small business factoring can help.
What is Invoice Factoring?
As a small business owner, you’re probably well aware of the struggles associated with cash flow. Finding a way to fund operations and expansions without going completely in the red isn’t easy. In fact, finances are one of the biggest reasons small companies are unable to grow. So what are your options? Well, there’s always a business loan, assuming you can get approved and the interest rate makes it worth your while. Unfortunately, with banks tightening their belts and limiting the amount of funds they’re willing to extend to small business clients, this isn’t always a feasible option.
Enter small business factoring. Rather than relying on credit to create working capital, factoring for small business involves a cash payment in exchange for the purchase of your accounts receivables. There is no loan, no payments and no debt incurred. You simply receive an upfront payment for the amount of your customer invoices, minus a small fee.
Benefits of Small Business Factoring
Invoice factoring provides a number of distinct advantages over traditional funding options. Among these benefits include:
- Fast access to cash – No more waiting for bank executives or investors to make their decisions
- No additional debt – Access the cash you need to fund your business growth without the hassle of loan payments
- Fewer headaches – No more worrying about chasing your customers for payments
- Control and flexibility – Unlike loans and other forms of funding, you remain in total control over how much of your receivables you’d like to sell
- No interest – Factoring for small business does not involve any payments or interest
- No risk, less stress – Because invoice factoring doesn’t involve repayment, there’s no need to worry about how your business’ performance might play a role down the road
Taking the Next Step
You’ve worked hard to establish your small business and make it profitable. Now, the time has come for you to focus your efforts on growth and expansion. Invoice factoring can help you successfully achieve these goals and even exceed them without the worry or hassle of incurring more debt in the process. Getting started is easy. First, determine how much capital you need to raise in order to fund your proposed growth strategy.
With that number in mind, identify your slow paying customers and factor those accounts receivables. Then, choose an invoice factoring company with whom to work. Be sure to select a partner that has experience and a proven track record working with small businesses like yours. Finally, complete the necessary paperwork and receive your payment.
With the right kind of funding, you can focus your time and resources where they matter most: on taking your small business to the next level. If you think invoice factoring might be the right option for you, or you’d like to learn more about how this type of business funding works, contact us today!
Social media is revolutionizing our world, not only in the way we connect with others but also how businesses market. With 74% of internet users using social media, small businesses can’t ignore that a large part of their audience are active on social networking sites. This audience is filled with current customers, potential customers, and even potential brand ambassadors.
So how can your small business utilize social media to build relationships and ultimately generate sales?
You can’t just start by posting on Facebook or sending out a tweet. You need to approach your social media marketing with purpose.
Identify Your Goals
Why does your company want to be on social media?
Think about your business and what makes sense for your customers. If you run an e-commerce site, then maybe your goal is to drive people to the website to purchase goods. If you are a B2B company, maybe your goal is to build brand awareness or thought leadership in your industry.
Here are some ideas when determining your goals:
- Build thought leadership
- Establish brand awareness
- Drive sales
- Create relationships with customers
- Increase website traffic
Once you have your goals identified, write them down. You will want to refer to them as you further develop your social strategy.
Research Your Intended Audience
Each social media platform has a different audience that they cater to. While many individuals and businesses may be on multiple platforms, you need to find where your audience is and engage with them there.
This chart is just a snapshot of the social media platforms available to your business. Continue to do research on what platform(s) is best for your small business.
Gain an Audience
Once you have identified the right social media channels for your business, it’s time to build your social audience. You want to find the right people to engage with your content so that ultimately you can fulfill your goals.
- Invite your customers using email or even giveaways in your brick and mortar store. When we first created our Facebook page, we had giveaways in exchange for likes at a trade show. Get creative.
- Run Facebook advertisements to get your pre-determined audience to “like” your Facebook page. A little money can go a long way when it comes to Facebook advertising.
- Use relevant hashtags on Instagram and Twitter to create buzz about your page and content.
- Use tools like Klout and Follerwonk to determine industry leaders. Follow these users and engage with them on their social platforms. You can also see who follows them, and they might be someone of interest to you too.
- As you begin to engage with others on social media, you will begin to grow your following. Now that you have followers, you can begin to reach your social media goals.
The next post in this series will highlight how to create killer content to fill your social media pages.
It’s that time of year again – tax season. As a small business owner, there are a number of unique considerations that you must account for while preparing to file. To make things a little easier, we’ve pulled together some best practices and small business tax preparation tips below.
First you need to gather the appropriate documentation reports and transaction lists. It’s always wise to keep close track of all expenses incurred throughout the year so that come tax time gathering the information you need won’t be a time-consuming hassle. This can be done a number of ways, whether it’s in a spreadsheet or within a software program. The more you keep track of, the more you can claim as deductions.
The IRS determines what items can and cannot be deducted for your small business taxes. These may include, but are not limited to:
- Home Office – If you work primarily out of your home, you may be able to claim some or all of the area in which you conduct your business activities. Keep in mind, however, that in order to qualify as a small business deduction, the space you’re claiming must be devoted solely to your business. To determine the percentage you are allowed to claim, measure your office area and divide the results by the total square footage of your home.
- Office Supplies and Furniture – Many of the supplies that you use in the operation of your small business can be deducted as an expense on your taxes. Furniture is a bit trickier, as there is depreciation to take into consideration. A qualified tax professional can explain your options and help you determine which, if any, make sense for your business.
- Mileage – The distance you travel in the course of conducting business transactions may be deductible, along with other local travel-related expenses, such as tolls. Again, this can become a bit tricky, as it ultimately depends on your starting point and other criteria. For example, if your office is located in your home, you can start tracking mileage right from there. If your office is located elsewhere, you can only claim the mileage you travel from that starting point to your destinations.
- Business Travel Expenses – The money you spend while traveling for business purposes, such as paying for a hotel room, airfare and renting a vehicle can all be deducted on your small business taxes provided you have proper documentation. Additionally, a portion (50%) of your meal costs while traveling may also be deductible.
- Insurance Premiums – The price of small business insurance premiums might be deductible if you are self-employed. Again, sitting down with a tax advisor is recommended to ensure compliance, and that you are availing yourself of all the deductions that you are entitled to.
Next, in order to file correctly with the government, you will need to make sure you complete and file the correct forms. Otherwise, you could end up delaying the process or missing out on available deductions. The type of form you need depends mainly on what you’re claiming as well as the type of business you own. For example, sole proprietors must attach a Schedule C to their personal income tax returns. For LLC and incorporations, there is additional paperwork required and forms must be filed separately from personal taxes.
Finally, you’ll need to pay careful attention to the filing deadlines for specific forms. A few of the dates to be aware of for small business tax filings are as follows:
- Schedule C must be turned in by the typical April 15th deadline.
- Form 1120 must be filed by the 15th day of the third month, which is typically March 15. You can’t include this with your personal income tax forms.
For more information on how to do your taxes as a small business, check out these instructional videos from the IRS or schedule an appointment with a tax professional that specializes in small business taxes.
As a small business, you face many challenges, particularly when it comes to competing with larger organizations. One area where this can be especially impactful is in the area of staffing. Simply put, it can be difficult to attract and recruit top talent when compared with some of the big name companies that are also hiring. The good news is there are some creative things you can do to improve your chances of landing qualified employees, regardless of the size or prominence of your brand.
Leverage Current Talent
Chances are you’ve already assembled a crew of highly skilled, hard working professionals who are dedicated to helping your business succeed. Why not tap into that valuable resource as a way to locate future talent? Provide incentives for employee referrals, and you may be surprised at the positive response you receive.
Focus on Culture and Benefits
One of the greatest features of small businesses that their larger counterparts typically lack is familiarity. In fact, the atmosphere of many small businesses is often described as more of a close-knit family, something that big name players simply cannot successfully achieve. Smaller companies also have the option of offering more flexibility. Playing on these strengths can help you catch the eye of quality candidates.
Highlight Learning and Growth Opportunities – With larger organizations, open positions are typically pretty cut and dry. Because small businesses have fewer employees, those who are on the team are often required to wear many hats. This can provide the benefit of more variety in day to day duties and also present opportunity to learn, grow and expand one’s career.
Remember that when you’re marketing your small business to potential employees, it’s important that you remain open and honest about who you are and what your company brings to the table. Don’t try to pretend you’re something that you’re not in an effort to compete with bigger organizations. Trust that there is a pool of qualified candidates who will be excited to work with you and will jump at the chance to grow with and contribute to your company’s success.
For more staffing tips and recruiting resources, check out our other blog posts.
I love a classic Christmas movie, and one of my favorites is How the Grinch Stole Christmas. The Grinch lives high on a mountaintop away from all the villagers of Who-ville. To ruin their Christmas, he decides to sneak into town while they are all celebrating Christmas to steal all of their gifts. In the end, the Grinch’s heart grows seeing that the lack of gifts didn’t impact the villagers’ Christmas cheer.
However, we wouldn’t be so lucky with the real Grinches of the holidays, cyber criminals.
Like the Grinch, cyber criminals love to attack when we are distracted by the cheer and excitement of the holidays. With consumers looking for the best deals for the holiday season, cybercriminals see billions of dollars’ worth of possibilities. According to comScore’s quarterly State of Retail report, in the third quarter of 2015, Americans spent $69.7 billion online. If a cyber-thief infiltrated your systems, your small business could be down for days or weeks. You could experience a loss of customers and much more.
Here are the top scams of the season so your small business can be prepared against the real grinches:
Amazon is the top e-commerce site in the world, and cyber thieves are using this to their advantage. They are sending phishing emails to Amazon users that claim some accounts have been hacked. The email starts with “Important Notice” and asks that you “verify” your account by providing your personal information. By providing your sensitive information, you are giving them a gateway into your pocketbook. With the excitement surrounding the Star Wars premiere this month, cyber criminals are using the opening as an opportunity to target fans. Through phishing emails, cyber thieves are tricking fans into entering to win free movie tickets. With both of these phishing email schemes, it’s important to remember to think before you click.
With more people going online for their shopping needs, cyber criminals are taking advantage of a typical transaction. They are using fake shipping notifications to gain access and install malware on your system. Before you click on the tracking number, ask yourself have you ordered something recently that matches this shipping notification? If not, don’t click on the link in the email.
The holiday season is the time many choose to give back to their communities and to charities. Before your small business makes a donation to a charity, do your research. Many cyber thieves create fake charities to receive the donations of those desiring to give back.
Free gift offers
You’ve seen it before; you’re scrolling through social media or a website, and you see an offer for a free gift if you just “click here.” Don’t click. That click could help install malware on your device. Also be aware of those letters in the mail that will send you a $500 check in exchange for your personal information.
The tech support scam is becoming increasingly popular, and it can be detrimental to your small business. During the attack, someone will call you out of the blue acting as tech support. If you weren’t expecting a call from tech support or don’t recognize the company they represent, hang up. Here are some helpful tips to remember when it comes to tech support:
- Don’t allow a third party who calls you out of the blue to control your computer.
- Don’t rely on caller ID in this situation. Criminals can spoof the ID, allowing you to think they are from a legitimate company
- Don’t rely on searches to find a helpful tech company. Scammers place ads and have high search rankings so you can fall into their trap. Use the software packaging to find the best number to
- reach the company.
- Don’t give your credit card information to a tech support person.
- Never give someone your password over the phone.
Just like the Grinch swooped in without notice and took all of Who-ville’s belongings, cyber criminals can infiltrate your small business when you least expect it. The last thing you need as a small business owner is a cyber-attack during the most wonderful time of the year. Be aware of grinches this holiday season.
What’s worth more — your money or your time? If you’re considering filing a patent on your newest invention, you could be spending a lot of both. However, conducting a thorough patent search as early as possible could save you time and money in the long run. We recommend contacting a patent attorney before you make a formal application; but professional services can be expensive. With a little time (and a lot less money), you can do a preliminary search on your own. Here’s how:
Figure out what type of patent you need.
This first step is fairly easy. There are three categories. Choose the one that best describes your invention:
Utility: Any invention with a useful application. For example, a new type of wireless communication technology, building construction material, or waterproof fabric.
Plant: This category describes any new plant species, such as a hybrid orchid or seedless tomato.
Design: These types of patents are for decorative products, such as a Texas-shaped waffle maker.
Research keywords that describe your invention.
Here’s where things get tricky. In order to search for similar patents, you need to identify words or phrases that describe your invention. If you don’t select the right keywords, you could be falsely led to believe that your product is unique — when, in fact, someone else may have already thought of it. So, start brainstorming by considering the following:
What is it?
What does it do?
What materials is it made of?
How is it used?
Who does it serve?
Write down any keywords that come to mind.
Find the applicable classes and sub classes.
Visit United States Patent and Trademark, and you’ll see an alphabetical list. Use this list to search all of your keywords. For example, if you invented a type of lamp, click “L.” When you see your keyword, i.e. “lamp,” note the numbers next to the keyword, separated by a “/” symbol. The first number indicates the class. The second number is the subclass. Write these numbers down, then click each page to view additional additional relevant classes or subclasses. Note these, too. If you’re not sure what a subclass entails, click “Show Definition View” to learn more.
Search Patents and Patent Applications.
Go to patft.uspto.gov to access the Patent Full Text and Application Full Text databases. This step will show you similar patents and patent applications. Review the results, and make sure other inventions don’t look too much like your idea.
Next, check the Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC).
This newer system will eventually replace the United States Patent Classification (USPC). So, it can be helpful to identify the CPC classification number that corresponds to the USPC numbers that are on your list. To do this, visit the United States Patent and Trademark Office, choose USPC as your classification system, and click on “Statistical Mapping from USPC to CPC” in the “Select Content” field. Once you identify the relevant CPC numbers, you will need to go back to Step 4, and search patents under these numbers as well.
Almost there — now, check with the Patent and Trademark Resource Center (PTRC) library.
If you do discover a very similar invention, it’s unlikely that your patent will be granted. This can be disappointing — but not nearly as disappointing as it would be if you had paid an attorney to do this search for you. Assuming you did not find something similar, we recommend one last step before you call your lawyer: visit a Patent and Trademark Resource Center (PTRC) library for a final check. Most states have at least one PTRC. You can search for your nearest center online, make an appointment, and go from there.
You can find a more detailed version of the information in this article here. If you’re able to file a successful patent, we congratulate you — and we want to hear about it! Triumph Business Capital specializes in helping small businesses get the capital they need to fund big ideas. Our invoice factoring services can turn your unpaid invoices into cash, so you don’t have to waste time or money waiting to collect on your accounts. Let us know how we can help.
If someone were to ask me what app I use most on my phone, it would have to be my banking app. I am constantly checking my account. Some might find this obsessive, but I was a victim of a data breach a year or so ago, and I am not going to let that happen again. In 2013, Target was a victim of a cyber theft and ended up owing $67 million to financial institutions for the costs incurred. In 2014, Michaels stores experienced a data breach that impacted around 2.6 million cards. You may think because you are a small business that hackers aren’t interested in your network, but think again.
Because small businesses don’t have the defensive structure that larger businesses have, cyber criminals see them as easy targets. Think about it: How much do you rely on the internet for your day-to-day operations? If someone were to get into your network, how much would it cost you to be out of business for a day, week or even months before you get the issue resolved? Here are some numbers the National Cyber Security Alliance tabulated about small business online security:
- 45% of small business owners do not provide Internet safety training to their employees
- 77% don’t have a formal written Internet security policy for employees
- 52% have a plan or strategic approach in place for keeping their business cyber secure
First, determine what areas you are most at risk for a cyber-attack, and then you can be proactive so if you become a target, you have a line of defense.
But how are the cyber thieves getting into my small business?
Yes, the thorn in the side of every email inbox, spam mail. It seems like no matter how many filters you place on your email, spam still gets through. By opening spam email, you are putting your company at risk for viruses and malware.
Use common sense when opening your email. Were you expecting something from the sender? Before clicking on links or opening attachments, did you expect to receive these files or links?
Phishing attacks can impact you or your customers by trying to obtain your personal data, like Social Security numbers or other financial information.
Cyber criminals can do this through fraudulent emails that trick customers by sending emails that look like they are from a reputable company or even your company. Then, the email takes the individual to a website to enter their personal information.
Cyber thieves can also send an email that installs a keystroke program on the receiver’s computer. They are then able to obtain the information that user’s type on their computer.
Lastly, they can take over the web address of a company, and then take them to a fake site where they enter in personal information.
How can you protect your small business?
- Keep your systems up to date- If your computer and other systems have the latest software and are up to date, then your risk is greatly decreased. With many software programs, an automatic update option is available. This will help you stay current without putting more on your plate.
- Scan, scan, scan- It never hurts to scan your system to see what has been downloaded to your computer. You may never know what a site has placed on your computer when you visit it.
- Monitor yourself- Google your business. Google your name. This gives you insight into who might be trying to imitate you to obtain customer personal information. Another way to prevent these types of attacks is purchasing domain names similar to yours, including common misspellings. Limit the ways cyber criminals can imitate you to your customers and the marketplace. Max’s Sporting Goods store sells sporting equipment to teams and individuals. Because of the nature of his business, he has access to personal information of his customers, and could be a target of cybercrime. To watch out for potential threats, he should Google the name of his business “Max’s Sporting Goods” frequently to see if sites come up that are imitating his business. If his website is at maxssportinggoods.com, he might also consider buying the .biz and .net counterparts and misspellings of his current domain name (example: maxssportingods.com) to prevent someone from imitating him in the first place.
- Report attacks- If you do find that a cyber-attack has occurred, report it. You wouldn’t let a burglary go unreported, would you? You can report cyber-attacks at Stay Safe Online powered by the National Cyber Security Alliance.
As your company’s activities increasingly move online, your risk becomes greater for a cyber-attack. Before you become a Target or Michaels, play it safe and create a cyber security plan for your business. Murphy’s Law applies to cyber-attacks; the more prepared you are, the less likely you will be a victim of an attack.
Thanks to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s 8(a) Business Development Program, economically and socially disadvantaged business owners can land new opportunities to participate in America’s mainstream economic engine. Success in obtaining 8(a) certification can propel the growth of eligible small businesses through lucrative opportunities in the federal marketplace.
8(a) eligibility guidelines
It’s certainly well worth the time and investment to achieve certification. To be considered, your business must meet stringent requirements and demonstrate that one or more of the people who own it are socially and economically disadvantaged.
- Disadvantaged individuals must own at least 51 percent or more of the firm.
- They must be an American citizen, by birth or naturalization.
- They must have direct ownership of the business, which cannot be owned through another firm trust (with the exception of certain living trusts).
- The principal owners must demonstrate good character.
- The full-time managers must meet the SBA requirement for disadvantage, by proving both social disadvantage and economic disadvantage.
- The firm must be a small business.
- The small business must have the potential to be successful.
The following individuals are presumed socially disadvantaged (called “presumed groups”):
- Asian Pacific Americans
- Black Americans
- Subcontinent Asian American
- Hispanic Americans
- Native Americans
However, other individuals who are not members of one of the presumed groups may be found eligible and admitted into the program on a case-by-case basis.
How to apply
Your application requires numerous supporting documents. Contact your local SBA office or resource provider to get free help with your application package. The SBA also offers online training to assist you. Here are key steps to complete the application process:
- Take a look at the SBA online course Pre 8(a) Business Development Program Module 1 – Setting Expectations to verify if the 8(a) program is right for you and your small business.
- Obtain official copies of all current and state-approved governing documents such as licenses, permits and articles.
- Be sure to get a free DUNS number from Dun and Bradstreet either online or by calling 1.866.705.5711.
- Set up a free IRS Tax Identification Number (TIN) or Employer Identification Number (EIN).
- Establish a business profile in the federal government’s System for Award Management (SAM).
- Get a free SBA General Login System user ID.
- Begin the free 8(a) online application.
How 8(a) grows your small business
After your small business becomes certified, you’ll find a wealth of resources available. These include specialized business training, assistance with marketing, as well as executive-level development. Other resources that you may qualify for include SBA-guaranteed loans and bonding assistance. In addition, sole-source contracts (not to exceed $4 million for services and goods and $6.5 million for manufacturing) are available.
Mentors give back through the 8(a) protégé program
Wouldn’t it be helpful to have someone to show you the ropes to achieve success in your own right? Well, the 8(a) Business Development (8(a) BD Mentor-Protégé Program) does just that. Successful firms offer various forms of assistance and support to small businesses. As a result of this mentoring partnership, your small business can be more competitive and more successful while boosting our nation’s economic engine.
Monitoring businesses to help them succeed
SBA district offices keep tabs on your business to help ensure you are meeting your goals. They also measure progress in the following areas:
- Systemic evaluations
- Annual reviews
- Business planning
Collaborating for 8(a) success
Once you get your feet wet landing a federal contract, you may want to team up with other 8(a) certified firms to go after larger contracts that are beyond the capacity of your firm. That’s what’s so great about completing the 8(a) certification program and being approved for federal contracts. The sky is the limit! Want to learn more? Tap into our social media resources for more government contracting guidance for your small business:
Before new customers arrive at your front counter to check out, there’s a high probability they will first turn to their mobile devices and do a local search. Out of every three customers, at least one of them performs local searches prior to shopping. Google statistics show a compelling 73 percent of all online searches are for local information.
Eighty-five percent of small business owners say they want customers to find them on local search directories and apps. But sadly, only half of these local small business owners actually get around to updating their online information. In order to gain the strategic advantage over other brick and mortar retail competitors, take action with these proven search engine optimization and Google Local search strategies.
Create a Google My Business account
Google now offers a new way for customers to find your store online: Google My Business. Set up your page and list your address, website and hours of operation. By completing this information, your company will show up on a map when people do a search for your business. It’s a great tool for casting a wide net, because Google My Business puts your business info on Search, Maps and Google+ so that customers can find you, no matter what device they’re using. If you need help, Google explains how to create a Google My Business page to support local search. Enter as much data as you can because more content improves search results.
Use keywords and location
Appropriate keywords that describe your business should be used when setting up your Google page and on your website. For example, if you own a marketing agency, list that in your description because Google will match what people enter in the search bar to your profile. Also, be sure type your location in title tags and in other content, so your business will match on searches in your area.
Ninety-two percent of customers say third-party reviews are more trustworthy compared to advertising. Having a large number of reviews improves your store’s search ranking. Encourage your customers who have had a good experience to use Google for their reviews.
Develop your website
Where can customers learn about your store’s products and or business services? What about customer reviews or sales?
The answer: your store’s website.
All of your marketing efforts center on your company’s website, which should be optimized with the right keywords. It’s an essential part of your Google rankings. Start your keyword list by doing a search on Google and Bing for words your customers use, but don’t hit “Enter.” Study the list of words displayed. Repeat this process to develop a solid list of keywords for your blog, About Us page and other pages so they show up in a Google Local search. And don’t neglect to update these regularly.
Make your site mobile-friendly
Since just about everyone uses a smartphone for local searches and shopping, it matters to Google that websites are mobile-friendly. The following tips increase the chances for prospective customers to do business with your store if your mobile-friendly website:
- Loads fast
- Has a lot of whitespace
- Includes buttons and links that are finger-sized
- Fits to their mobile device’s screen
Fill out local search directory listings
While completing a local listing takes a lot of time, it’s worth it to get more traffic into your store. To rank well with search engines and to get the most from local search engine optimization, thoroughly complete the listing. According to a study by the Local Search Association/Burke Inc., here’s what people want to know about a local business when they do a search:
- Phone number
- General proximity to location
- Hours of operation
- Company name
- Website URL
- General product or service info
Sweet success on social media
Depending on which social media sites your customers use, set up a Facebook, a Twitter or other social media account and share stories about your store’s products, services, special events and sales. This is one of the most important local search tips to get more customers into your store. Link social media profiles to your website to generate high online search results. Keep your social media channels updated by building an editorial calendar to determine when to post promotional events and new product information.
Dedicate someone to monitor your social media channels to ensure fast response to customer concerns. Not only will you serve the customers you already have, your store may gain new ones. A first-class local search and social media campaign enables your store to continue enjoying the sweet sounds of new and returning customers checking out their purchases.
I’m an accidental entrepreneur. Thirty years I was a project manager in the marketing department of a North American specialty retailer, managing the production and distribution of signage and seasonal displays, and writing and overseeing merchandising guides, direct mail pieces, special event and other promotional materials for our 700-plus stores. After seven years of the retail marketing drill, coming up on another high-pressure Christmas shopping season, I was burned out. I told my boss that I just couldn’t do it anymore. She said, “Why don’t you go into business for yourself, and we’ll be your first client?”
I didn’t set out to be business owner; in my mid-20s I had no burning desire to be master of my own professional destiny. And, I certainly didn’t look down the road 30 years and expect to be considered a senior-level hired gun writing strategic content and crafting promotional communications. Or a professional who would be sought out by other solopreneurs as a mentor or sounding board. But that’s what happened.
Developing a memorable brand and professional image
When I founded my freelance copywriting business, the principal of one of our creative agencies was amazingly generous in designing an impressive logo and brand identity package for me, which helped create an immediate professional brand that would appeal to fellow creatives, ad agencies and corporate clients.
Over the years, what clients have always asked me to do for them is “punch up” their communications. Naturally a little “punchy” by nature, I turned that idea into a tagline and enduring theme and personal branding that continues to serve me well.
What I’ve learned is terminology and technologies emerge and evolve at warp speed. Yet, many of the essential principles and qualities needed to survive – and thrive – as a business owner stay the same. Here are some key takeaways from my own experience – things I’ve done well, and a few things I wish I’d done better (not saying which!):
15 tips to keep your business hip for the long haul:
- The Golden Rule endures – treat others the way you want to be treated.
- Under-promise and over-deliver.
- Be open – to new ideas, new people, new experiences, new ways of doing things, new projects.
- Keep learning – by reading, by attending educational programs and conferences, by taking classes, by listening to others.
- What you learn in one industry or situation can be applied to another.
- Get it right the first time.
- Be flexible and agile – willing to stretch and able to adapt to changing conditions and a fast-moving world.
- Make sure your communications are polished –Don’t let spelling, grammar or punctuation errors undermine your professionalism or credibility by conveying sloppiness or lack of attention to detail.
- Be conscientious and consistent to earn people’s trust. Your reputation and income are at stake.
- Get up to speed quickly.
- Play well with others.
- Participate in and contribute to industry organizations – They provide abundant opportunities to learn about your business and industry, gain new skills, meet prospective clients or colleagues who can help or refer you, and make wonderful friends. Similarly, volunteering with nonprofit organizations is indispensable for gaining visibility, and demonstrating skills and competence.
- You never know who can help you, and you can meet future clients or valuable contacts anywhere – at the gym, playing sports, walking your dog, taking an art class, etc.
- Bring in the pros to take care of legal, financial, technical, marketing or other professional skills you don’t possess.
- And even though it’s work, have fun in the process!
In my first year as a business owner, I made the same salary as when I was working for someone else. The second year, I doubled it. Once you get past the leap of believing you can make it on your own, the next big hurdle — having too much work — can take you by surprise. If you find yourself missing deadlines, missing sleep, or wondering how to manage your workload, you may suffer from an affliction that plagues many entrepreneurs: the inability to say “no.” We’re naturally optimistic, and want to do it all. But saying “no” to the good may allow you to say “yes” to the great. Here’s how to know when to say “no,” and how to say it nicely:
When to Say “No”
- Not enough time, or not enough money.
Advertising clients are notorious for making three demands: We want the work to be good, fast, and cheap. The classic response has become an industry joke: Pick two. It’s hard to do good work without enough time, and when the budget is unrealistic, you can’t win. Just say, “No.”
- No money.
Free or “Spec” work, as it’s euphemistically called, may be required to compete for larger jobs or build your reputation. You may also be asked to do “pro-bono” work for a nonprofit that you support. But can you afford to work for free? For me, the answer is, “No way, José.” I have a baby and a preschooler, and I work full time. I have to pay for childcare every hour that I am on the clock, and after work, I can’t even go to the bathroom without someone barging in. Free time? What’s that?
- The working hours don’t work.
Before I had kids, I used to get up at 4:00 a.m. for work, and 60-hour weeks were the norm. Now? My baby wakes me up every 2 hours in the night, and I don’t do evenings or weekends anymore. Even if you don’t have children, you may dislike it when work encroaches on your boundaries or threatens your work/life balance. Set clear boundaries, and communicate them early, so clients know when you’re available. (I put my office hours in my email signature.)
- It’s not a good match.
Work agreements should be mutually beneficial, so turn down opportunities that aren’t. Whether the work doesn’t fit your core expertise, you don’t have the resources to complete it, or you have a bad vibe, listen to your instincts. I once turned down a job to promote a medical product that had not been proven safe, and I had no regrets. Another time, I said “yes” to a client about whom I had a bad feeling (See item 1), and the job was a nightmare.
HOW to say, “No”
It’s one thing to decide you’re going to turn down a job. It’s quite another to deliver the bad news. Here are a few tips for saying “no” without damaging relationships:
- Respond quickly and politely.
Responding in a timely manner shows respect, and allows the potential client to seek other options. Thank the requestor and reject the offer, not the person. For example, you might say, “I can’t take on your project at this time, but please consider me for future requests,” or “I’m not focusing on x right now, but if you need assistance with y, let me know.”
- Briefly explain why you can’t accommodate the request.
If you don’t, the requestor may take your rejection personally. Honesty and brevity are key. You might explain that you are not accepting new work until next month, or say, “My expertise is more about x, so I am not the best choice for y.”
- Offer alternatives.
No one likes to be left empty-handed. If you can suggest referrals, you’ll be helping two people out.
You only have so many hours in the day (24, to be exact). Make sure you’re focusing on the best opportunities to grow your business, and don’t lose time on the others. If you need help with working capital to grow your business, ask for Blaine Waugh at Triumph Business Capital.
When I was building my business, I volunteered as programs chair on the board of a women’s technology nonprofit organization. I used my connections to help plan the first six months of programs for the following year and also coordinated logistics such as booking the restaurants for our meetings. I also asked some of my friends to reach out to their connections to help us get quality speakers who were willing to speak to our group at no cost.
Because of my broad network and connections, I fulfilled my program-planning obligations in just three months, much faster than expected. My fellow board members expressed their appreciation by referring new business. Volunteering proved to be a great way to give back, gain exposure and drive revenues.
Whether you are a veteran small business owner or getting ready to launch a startup with a couple of college friends, networking is essential to the success of your business. Building solid connections with the right people will improve your business if you invest the time. And, by demonstrating your expertise and professionalism, others will think of you when they have a business need or someone asks them for a referral.
Be strategic, set goals
Prior to beginning a networking campaign, take the time to create strategies and goals. Are you looking to increase sales of a new product or service? Do you want to be introduced to the presidents of companies whose industry you are researching? Determine in advance what networking success looks like to ensure the time you invest in planning pays off.
Key steps to develop and nurture your network:
- Think of your network as social capital. In reality, social capital can strengthen your company and generate new business.
- Identify who can benefit your business by evaluating their expertise.
- Seek out colleagues who are well-networked and contact them when your business needs help.
- Engage with your satisfied clients, whether they are current or past. They are more likely to provide repeat sales and/or referrals because they know and trust the value of your products and services.
- Conduct research in advance of a networking meeting by finding areas of shared interest when talking to other attendees.
- Talk less and listen more when establishing a business connection. Use open-ended questions such as Who? What? When? And listen to the answers.
- Create a great first impression. If you drop the ball in this area, it can take up to 200 times the effort to repair the damage.
- Take advantage of LinkedIn’s Groups and Company Pages features to research target contacts and prospects.
- Recognize that having a large number of connections on LinkedIn does not always generate the results you are seeking. Instead, do all you can to establish a win-win networking relationship with your connections.
- Organize your follow-up efforts to ensure you don’t miss keeping in touch with certain connections, even if you don’t see an immediate benefit.
Skip the sales pitch
When you’re in the process of building your network, don’t make the mistake of trying to sell too early. Asking for anything while the relationship is in its infancy is counterproductive. Instead, focus on how you can help your network. This approach allows your network to grow naturally and when you need help, you’ll know the right person to reach out to.
Make the most of networking at events and conferences
Attend conferences that allow you to make new connections. Introduce yourself to the keynote speaker and exchange contact information. Then connect on LinkedIn and follow up with a note highlighting the main points gained from the presentation. Develop some personal stories and be ready to share them at events. This ensures people get to know you better and remember you.
Remember, networking is about forging relationships with interesting people. While you may have a lot in common with some of them, there may be others that you do not. Don’t overlook an opportunity to make a new friend. Appreciate the value of face-to-face interactions.
If you have $41,000 to spend on marketing, you can stop reading this article. That’s the average salary for a Social Media Specialist, according to payscale.com — and while it may not sound like much, it’s a lot for most small business owners. Fortunately, there are a number of free online marketing tools you can start using now. In this blog, I’ll tell you about some of the best marketing tools available to small businesses. Most are easy to understand, and only require a little time and ambition to implement. Many even include analytical tools that can tell you how effective they are. At a cost of free, you’re guaranteed to get a great return on investment — so give these tools a try:
Having a Twitter account is a lot like having a gym membership. It’s only effective if you use it. Fortunately, getting more value from your Twitter account is no sweat. Twitter Lists is a simple tool that can help you improve interaction with customers, track competitors, and even get a little free PR. This built-in Twitter feature lets you create lists of users to follow, so you can monitor their tweets and connect with them on a regular basis. Create customer lists to respond to inquiries, resolve complaints and share promotions. Check out competitors’ social media strategies. Or, follow journalists, reporters and bloggers who may report on your company’s news. Learn how to use lists here: https://support.twitter.com/articles/76460-using-twitter-lists.
Want to create a Twitter list, but don’t know who to add? Followerwonk can help. This tool analyzes Twitter data to identify relevant users, and helps you tailor content to their interests. Simply enter a keyword into its search window — like your business name, location, or industry type — and Followerwonk will find Twitter profiles that contain your keywords. You can then add them to your lists. One of my favorite things about Followerwonk is the “Track Followers” tool, which displays daily new followers and lost followers in user-friendly graphs that track changes over time. This way, you can which posts won followers (or lost their interest). https://followerwonk.com/bio
One of the best ways to attract and engage customers is to create relevant content. And if that content is shared? Even better. Buzzmodo is a content marketing tool that can help you research trending topics and show you which stories, blogs and articles are being shared most often, for any given topic. Use it to quickly see what is resonating and why — and apply those insights to your own content. You can get ideas on the formats, length, and headline types that work, and share links to the most popular content. Read more here: http://buzzsumo.com/
Answer the Public
Want to know what your customers are thinking? Answer the Public can help you. If you’ve ever typed a question into a Google search, such as, “How do I get rid of fruit flies?” you may have noticed a list of suggested questions below your search window. (It turns out people also want to do away with fleas, flies and Facebook — good luck with that one.) Google generates these questions based on the most common searches. Answer the Public works in a similar way, but it’s a better tool for businesses. Simply enter a word or phrase relevant to your industry, customers, product or service, and you’ll see a visual web of questions most commonly searched. Try it: http://answerthepublic.com/
Social media campaigns like contests, special events and giveaways can help introduce your brand to a larger audience, and boost engagement with current customers — but getting started can be daunting. Shortstack is a self-service platform that lets you build social campaigns, promote events, host giveaways and voting contests, and offer coupons and discounts through social media. Shortstack offers a range of plans with monthly fees, but their base-level plan is free. Find out more here: http://www.shortstack.com/
This free tool from Google gives you insights into how visitors find and use your website, so you can learn how to keep them coming back. You can see how many people visited your site and when, measure how long they stayed, track sales and conversions, and more. Google Analytics also tells you a lot about customer behavior, like whether they visited your site from their computer, iPad or iPhone, and how they found you. When you know more about what your customers are looking for, it’s easier to tailor your content for maximum lead generation and a better user experience. Learn how to use Google Analytics here: http://www.google.com/analytics/
Eye-catching graphics are powerful, and can be some of the best marketing tools for your business. If you don’t have the budget for a full-time graphics team, you may want to try Canva, a free small business marketing resource that lets you be your own graphic designer. Canva is a user-friendly graphics creation tool you can use to design flyers, invitations, newsletters, Facebook covers, presentations, business cards, and more. Start designing: https://www.canva.com/about
If you’ve read the news lately, you know that a single customer can quickly cause irreparable damage to a company’s reputation. (Anyone want to take the kids to Martha’s Diner?) Google Alerts is a free notification system that can help keep you informed when someone mentions your company name (or any word or phrase you enter) online, so you can react fast. Simply sign up for alerts, enter the words or phrases that interest you, and you’ll be among the first to know when anyone posts content that contains the terms you specify. Learn more here: https://www.google.com/alerts
HARO (Help a Reporter Out)
Want a little free publicity? If you can’t hire a PR person, HARO may be the next best thing. Created to connect journalists with relevant expert sources, HARO distributes more than 50,000 journalist queries to its membership base each year. News agencies like Fox, ABC and the AP use HARO to find experts who can help them with topics about which they are reporting. Then, HARO’s membership base can reach out to reporters directly, capitalizing on opportunities to tell their brands’ stories. Sign up for this free service here: http://www.helpareporter.com/
Short URLs work better — and with Bitly, you can shorten any URL for free just by placing it in the website’s search window and clicking “Shorten.” But that’s not all this little service does. You can also use bitly to create branded links, optimize your link performance, and capture rich, secure, first-party data that can help you drive engagement. Here’s the link: http://bitly.com/
Nothing feels better than saving money — except, maybe making more money. This collection of free tools can help you do both. Meanwhile, if you need a few more tools to help your business grow (like access to working capital) contact my friend, Blaine Waugh, at Triumph Business Capital.
When did signatures become so important?
If you were back in the year 1473 (Islamic calendar 877-878, Hebrew calendar 5233-5234), you would find it hard to find a writing implement to use, and it would probably be even harder to find actual paper on which to sign. We take these things for granted today, but back then, paper and pen were luxury items that only the rich and powerful had any use for.
Today we take signatures for granted – we sign credit card receipts, we sign for packages, we sign (repeatedly) when we buy a car, and we sign electronically when we buy things online. Have you ever stopped to think “what am I actually signing?” Have you ever actually read your credit card receipt? It says that you are bound by the terms and conditions of your credit card contract – and if you’ve ever taken the time to read that document, I think you’d be surprised what was in there!
The message here is: read before you sign. Understand before you sign.
You would never sign a document that said you promise to pay back $100,000 without knowing…
- How long do I have to pay it back?
- How much is it going to cost (interest, fees)?
- Can the money be used for anything I want?
- What are the penalties if I don’t pay it back?
- What do I have to put up as collateral?
If you are browsing the internet and there is a form to fill out, make sure you pay close attention to that form and if there are any disclaimers on there. If there are NOT, then the factor cannot bind you to anything since nothing has been defined.
However if you see something that says “By clicking “submit” you agree to our standard terms and conditions”, you might want to know what the standard terms and conditions are before clicking the “submit” button! Maybe it’s no big deal and it’s OK, but maybe not!
What if by agreeing to the “standard terms and conditions” you’re agreeing to that factor filing a lien on all of your company’s assets as collateral for a loan you’ve not yet even received? You think I’m kidding….I’m not.
The moral of this is: know what you are signing. Do not commit you or your business to something unless you understand what it is and are 100% sure you want to move forward with what you are signing.
Advance Business Capital LLC d/b/a Triumph Business Capital. We have helped over 7,000 small and mid-sized businesses manage their working capital. We’re an invoice factoring company that provides Invoice Financing Services in truck factoring as well as freight factoring or small business factoring. In addition, payroll funding and government contract financing are important areas of service.