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Successful Entrepreneur

5 Signs You’re a Real-Deal Entrepreneur

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.

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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.

Recruiting College Graduates

3 Ways to Successfully Recruit Leading College Grads

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.

Freight Brokers

7 Common Bookkeeping Mistakes Freight Brokers Make

Freight brokers have a lot of responsibilities, from matching shippers and carriers to making sure each piece of cargo gets to the right place. Another essential task in this busy industry is bookkeeping. Freight brokers who don’t prioritize bookkeeping can end up losing money in the long run. Here are seven common bookkeeping mistakes freight brokers make and how to avoid them.

1. Attempting to DIY

In order to save money, many business owners insist on handling the books themselves or delegating the task to an inexperienced employee or family member. While you may initially save time and money, costly errors can result in higher bond premiums, more expensive financing terms, and other unforeseen expenses in the long-run.

Hiring a competent bookkeeper will save you money, because the job will be done quickly and efficiently, with fewer errors.

2. Postponing important tasks

Running any business is hard work. Many freight brokers find themselves too busy doing the day-to-day work to focus on important bookkeeping tasks such as reconciling bank and credit card accounts each month. Reconciling statements helps you catch errors and know how much cash or credit you actually have.

Although postponing this task may be tempting, you should reconcile your bank and credit card statements every month, preferably as soon as each statement is available. That way, you can identify any missing deposits, lost checks, or fraudulent charges and address these problems in a timely manner.

3. Not tracking invoices and receivables

If you’re not properly accounting for receivables, you can’t get paid. Getting paid equals cash, the lifeblood of every business.

Experienced freight brokers know that the delay between when you must pay your carriers and when you receive payment from your customers can strain your cash flow.

If tracking and collecting invoices takes too much time, consider invoice factoring. For a small fee, an invoice factoring company like Triumph Business Capital will purchase your invoices. You’ll get paid immediately without the time and expense of dealing with collections.

4. Ignoring liabilities

When a surety looks at your business financials to underwrite a bond, one of their major considerations is whether you have enough assets to cover your liabilities. Inexperienced bookkeepers sometimes remember to record a liability, but then forget to reverse the liability when the payment is made. This error results in an overstatement of liabilities and an understatement of net income, making your business look less financially stable than it actually is.

You can avoid this type of error by hiring an experienced bookkeeper. It’s also a good idea to have another set of eyes (either an owner or a CPA) review the balance sheet regularly and look for unusual account balances.

5. Miscategorizing expenses

Another common error made by inexperienced bookkeepers is miscategorizing expenses or creating too many expense categories. Most businesses and industries have a fairly standard set of expense categories. Miscategorizing expenses or creating too many categories can be a big red flag, signaling to a surety or loan underwriter that your books are not well prepared.

Set up your accounting software correctly from the start with the help of an experienced bookkeeper or accountant and don’t add new expense categories without careful consideration. If you’re unsure of how to classify an expense, ask your CPA or accountant for guidance.

6. Missing details on invoices

When invoicing your customers, you need to provide sufficient detail on each line item. For example, is the charge a flat fee, or do you invoice per mile, per piece, or by weight? If you include additional charges, such as reimbursement for fees or fuel, you should list these as separate line items. Make sure the charges are properly detailed so there is no confusion.

Including the necessary details on your invoices will prevent pushback from your customers for charges they don’t recognize. Any missing information can cause delays in payment—a headache no business owner needs.

7. Missing out on accounting software functionality

Often, in an effort to get their business running, freight brokers purchase an accounting software package but never take the time to learn how to use it correctly. If you’re outsourcing all your accounting and bookkeeping tasks, this is probably not an issue. On the other hand, if you’re using the software at all, even just to enter checks and run reports, you should take the time to learn all of the available functions.

The right accounting software, when used correctly, can save you time and give you real-time information on the state of your business—information you can use to make important business decisions.

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Want to take one task off your endless to-do list? Learn more about how invoice factoring can put cash in your bank account, while Triumph Business Capital handles the time-consuming task of calling shippers to collect on invoices.

Social Media Tips, Staffing Agencies

5 Social Media Tips for Staffing Agencies

If you work for a staffing agency, social media can be a powerful tool to help your firm grow by finding the right candidates.

Agencies that aren’t utilizing social media marketing in their strategy are missing valuable opportunities. However, with many platforms available, it can be challenging to determine which are most effective and which are simply a waste of time. In this article, we’ll share five social media tips to increase your staffing opportunities.

1. Understand your target audience

Each social media platform features its own audience. The first step to develop a solid social media strategy is to pinpoint the demographics. Who are your ideal candidates? Focus your efforts on the channels where those individuals will likely be found.

2. Ensure brand credibility and consistency

Another important component of a good social media strategy is branding. Undoubtedly, you will be competing with dozens of other recruiters, all of whom are vying for the same top talent. To grab and keep the attention of potential candidates, your brand must stand out as both credible and consistent. Be sure your agency maintains an active online presence with an image and voice that are consistent across all platforms.

3. Find the right platform

One social media marketing mistake many businesses make—staffing companies included—is trying to spread their resources too thin. Sure, you could be active on multiple social media channels, but that doesn’t mean you have to be. In fact, doing so could have a negative effect. Instead, focus on mastering the top few platforms where you’re most likely to reach your target audience.

4. Make your content searchable

Keywords aren’t just for search engine optimization (SEO). They also make your content easier to find. In fact, search engines rank social media sites so favorably that leveraging the right keywords can increase your results, making locating the right candidates far easier. In the company description, incorporate targeted keywords and links to the agency’s other social media accounts. Keyword-rich “about me” descriptions will enhance your online search ability and visibility. And don’t forget to incorporate relevant hashtags on all posts to better reach your target audience. Hashtags make it easier for your audience to find, follow, and contribute to a conversation.

5. Tap into your current workforce

Successful recruiters have a built-in network of referral opportunities in the candidates they’ve already matched with companies in need. Why not tap into this resource to help spread the word socially about other openings you’re trying to fill? Today’s consumers trust online recommendations just as much as if they’d come from a friend, family member, or colleague; and getting others to share on your behalf provides access to additional networks of potential candidates.

Where to spend your time

Now that you’ve built a strong foundation to support your social media strategy, let’s take a quick look at which platforms tend to be the most beneficial marketing channels for staffing agencies.

  • LinkedIn: Advanced search allows you to look for prospects using keywords, job titles, industries, and more.
  • Blog Posts: Leverage the power of SEO to help candidates find you and learn about your openings.
  • Facebook: Use the new advertising format to target candidates based on a number of variables.
  • Twitter: Use keywords to search for qualified candidates.

For more details on recommended social media platforms for recruiters as well as other valuable tips, watch this short video clip.

And be sure to bookmark our Staffing Blog for the best staffing agency resources, professional advice, tips, tricks, and much more.

Cash Advance

How to Close the Sale

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.

Ask…

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.

Staffing Blog

The Cash Advance Option You Never Considered

When small businesses have a need for money, the most common next-step is to apply for a loan. What many don’t realize is that they have capital readily available to them in the form of outstanding invoices. In fact, the process of accounts receivable factoring has many favorable benefits over traditional financing methods, particularly in the case of government contracting. Let’s take a look at a few of these benefits and how invoice factoring services might be the ideal solution to your business capital needs.

Dependable Cash Flow

You can’t win a government contract if you don’t have the financial means to fulfill your bid. Don’t miss out on that upcoming RFP due to lack of positive cash-flow to back it up. Government contract financing is fast, easy and cuts out all the red tape involved in getting a loan. You’ll have access to the money you need when you need it, without having to take on additional debt in the process.

Competitive Advantage

Many small businesses feel it’s impossible to compete with larger organizations, particularly when it comes to bidding on government contracts. By working with a reputable invoice factoring company, you can step up to the plate and play ball with the big dogs. Better yet, you can do so with the confidence that comes with knowing you’ve got the funding to back it up.

Hire the Best People

Anyone who has been in business for even a short amount of time knows how important it is to hire a qualified staff of skilled, dedicated workers. Attracting and recruiting top talent is only half the battle. You also have to make sure you’re taking care of their needs so they’ll want to stay onboard for the long-term. Leveraging your outstanding invoices for upfront cash can help ensure that once you’ve landed the right candidates, you won’t lose them due to payroll disruptions or other financial woes.

Think Long Term

One of the biggest factors in successful government contracting is proper preparation ahead of time. You need to know what types of contracts you’re best suited for, how and when to best position your offer, and what bid amount would be most likely to help you come out on top. Having a plan in place for financing is a significant part of this preparation. Plan ahead, research invoice factoring as well as reputable factoring companies now. It will give you assurance that once the bid is won, you are set with your financing needs.

Transparency

Successful small business professionals value honesty and choosing an invoice factoring company is no exception. Not all providers are created equal, but if you do your homework, you can end up with a partner that provides this high level of transparency. For instance, our government contract financing services do not include any monthly minimums, and there are no hidden fees to worry about. It’s a level of trust that is rare in the factoring industry.

If you’re a small business that’s considering entering the world of government contracting, it’s important to know all of your options ahead of time, including the best way to finance your bids. Invoice factoring can provide the working capital you need to confidently throw your hat into the ring and emerge victorious.

Freight Broker Factoring

Finding the Right Freight Broker Training

When you search for freight broker training courses on Google, you will inevitably find pages and pages of results. How can you decipher which one is best for your freight brokerage? More importantly, how can you determine which one will provide the best return on your investment? Let’s take a look at a few of the key features to look for when choosing a freight broker training program for your business.

Experience

The goal of any freight broker training program is to gain as much knowledge and value as possible in order to grow your freight brokerage. To improve the chances of achieving this goal, you need a training partner that has specific experience in the freight broker industry. For example, the Transportation Intermediaries Association (TIA) training program is backed by over 30 years of experience in the industry. Typically, the longer the company has been in business, the more reliable their training program will be.

Reputation

Along with extensive experience comes a host of satisfied customers. The reputation of the training provider you choose should be an important factor in determining whether their program is worth the investment. Are there other freight brokers or those in the transportation industry talking about this program? Look for reviews to find out if it’s legitimate. If you’re not careful and don’t do your homework, you could end up with a training program that is sub-par and fails to produce the results you’re after.

Convenience/Flexibility

Freight brokers often find themselves being pulled in a number of different directions. To accommodate this somewhat chaotic schedule, you need a training program that supports the busy freight broker lifestyle. This may include online classes or courses that can be completed at home. Of course, some people are just naturally more successful attending a physical class. Figure out what best fits your schedule and plan from there.

Cost

For most freight brokers who are just getting started, the cost of training is also an important factor. Not only do you need to find a program that will provide quality course material with training options that suit your schedule, but it will also likely need to fit within a particular budget. Companies looking to free up extra capital to fund training may consider freight broker factoring as an option. Simply sell your outstanding accounts receivables to a factoring company, like Triumph, and you could have cash in your pocket the same day. Freight broker factoring is a great alternative to other quick cash options.

As with anything else in business, choosing the freight broker training program that’s best for your freight brokerage is an important step in ensuring a qualified, well-trained staff. Knowing what characteristics to look for – such as the ones listed above – can help take you from overwhelmed to confident when choosing the best freight broker training option for you.

Staffing Tips

The Goldilocks Effect: Payroll Funding That Is Just Right

You’ve probably heard the well-worn story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. In this age-old tale, young Goldilocks is out for a walk in the woods when she stumbles upon the cabin belonging to the three bears. Upon entering and realizing nobody was home, she tests out each of the bears’ beds. Finding baby bear’s bed to be “just right,” Goldilocks promptly falls into a deep, fitful sleep. In real-life, this concept of finding solutions that are “just right” is important, especially in business.

Often times, staffing companies struggle to find the ideal solution to their cash flow woes. Let’s take a closer look at what these challenges are and how they can be overcome.

Funding Your Payroll

When it comes to paying your employees, there are a number of different options available to you. Determining which one is “just right” will depend on your specific business needs and a wide variety of other factors. These options include:

Traditional Revenue Funding – That is, relying on your incoming revenue to issue payroll. While on paper this may seem like the wisest choice, in reality, it may actually be more challenging than you may realize. After all, if your payroll is contingent solely on your income, what happens during a financial down turn? Furthermore, if most of your profits are being paid back out, this type of setup can stunt your ability to grow.

Payroll Loans – Another viable option for funding your payroll is taking out a bank loan. This isn’t necessarily a terrible idea, but it’s not the right fit for everyone. It’s important to weigh the pros and cons of taking on additional debt and to assess your company’s financial ability to repay the loan without stretching yourself too thin. Additionally, if you’re finding yourself in a position to need extra funding for your payroll needs on a regular basis, bank loans could potentially make matters worse. In fact, you may not even be approved.

Payroll Funding – The third option is invoice factoring or payroll funding. Unlike the other two methods, there is no dipping into existing or incoming funds, nor does it involve incurring any type of debt (and the interest payments that come along with it). Instead, you simply sell some or all of your outstanding accounts receivable to a factoring company for a small fee. The cash payment you receive in return can then be used to fund payroll (or any other business needs you may have).

When you consider the three available options, it becomes clear that for the majority of staffing companies, payroll funding is the solution that fits “just right.” This is especially true for smaller to mid-sized firms or those that wish to grow and expand, as it doesn’t require the use of existing profits nor does it depend on bank approval or credit-worthiness.

Some of the other benefits of staffing factoring or payroll funding include:

Fast Access to Working Capital – With the right partner, you can have the funds you need in no time. Eliminate the time-consuming task of waiting for invoices to be paid or for banks to make decisions. Get your cash when you need it.

Flexibility – If there’s one thing about the staffing industry, it’s that there can be tremendous ebbs and flows in the demand for talent. With payroll financing, you don’t have to worry about how you’ll keep up with these changing demands, because you’ll always have access to the funding you need.

Opportunity – Growth is something that many smaller staffing businesses strive to achieve. The problem is, many find it difficult to compete due to financial restraints. Having access to funding when you need it allows you to take on those larger clients without the worry of how differing payment cycles might impact your business.

Customer/Client Satisfaction – When you no longer struggle to meet payroll, regardless of external or internal circumstances, employees and the companies you place them with will find your staffing company “just right” too!

Want to learn more about payroll funding? Click here or contact us today!

Invoice Factoring

Small Business Factoring – Taking the Next Step

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!

Factoring Invoices

The Importance of Finding Your Niche While Maintaining Flexibility

The freight brokerage industry is one of intense competition. While being flexible is important, identifying a specific niche to focus on can help your firm stand out and improve your chances of sustained profitability. Some freight brokers naturally know what markets they should target based on their experience within the industry, but others – particularly those who are just starting out – may not find this decision as straightforward. If you find your company is taking on too much, or you’re struggling to differentiate yourself from your competitors, here are a few tips for locating and capitalizing on your most lucrative market.

Benefits of Niche Marketing

The reason focusing on one or two key areas is so advantageous, especially in the freight brokerage field, is because doing so allows your firm to develop a higher degree of expertise. By working in the same market segment day in and day out, you will become immersed in all of the elements that make that sector unique. Over time, this in-depth experience will help your company emerge as a trusted resource, both for existing and prospective customers. You’ll also be able to dedicate your time, effort and marketing dollars to a much more targeted audience, increasing your ROI.

Identifying Your Freight Broker Niche

Some freight brokerages find it easy to identify the specific niche markets where they’d be most likely to succeed. For others, this process takes a concerted effort. If you’re in the latter group, here are a few tips for determining which areas would be best for you to focus.

  • First, assess your company’s unique value proposition. What makes your firm so special? Why should your prospects choose your freight brokerage over another? Identifying these strengths and key competencies can help you further define the area in which your services would be most effective.
  • Next, consider the various segments in the industry to determine which most closely matches what your firm has to offer. Some niches to consider include:
    • Regional
    • Type of product/material being shipped
    • Type of trucks used
    • Specialized brokerage cargo
  • Finally, once you’ve decided on an area of focus, immerse yourself in it. Learn everything there is to know about that particular segment and start marketing your firm accordingly.

Additional Tips

Now that you’ve figured out which market your firm is best suited for, the real work can begin. Developing a strategy and establishing yourself as a key player in your chosen area of expertise isn’t something that happens overnight. It takes time and effort to truly achieve the results you’re after. That said, here are a few tips to get you moving in the right direction.

Leverage Your Experience – On-the-job experience is extremely valuable and a critical component of successfully establishing yourself as a niche market expert.

Build Your Portfolio – Focus on landing a few good clients and then build on that momentum. Over time, this will help your freight brokerage to develop a reputation as a leader in your chosen market.

Establish Alliances – In such a competitive industry, putting down roots in a specific segment can be challenging. Linking up with other professionals who are also related to the industry (but not direct competitors) can help. One example is you can find other professionals through the TIA.

Promote Your Specialty – Once you’ve identified and begun conquering your particular niche, make sure your marketing efforts are aligned accordingly.

Invest Wisely – Lastly, you cannot expect to be successful, unless you’re maximizing your firm’s cash flow. If this area still isn’t your strong point, freight broker factoring might be an option to consider.

The freight brokerage industry can be fiercely competitive. While it may seem like a good idea to be open to all areas of business, taking on too much could potentially harm your company in the long run. Focusing on a specific niche market, on the other hand, can really help your firm stand out. The tips provided above should help you identify what areas to focus on for optimum results.

Want more industry tips and tricks? Check out our Freight Broker Blog.

Small Business Factoring

Small Business Social Media 101: How to Start Using Social Media

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.

 

Social Media Audience Demographics

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.

For more small business tips, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Instagram.

Government Contractor

Exposing the Myths of Small Business Government Contracting

Did you know that the U.S. government actually has a goal to award nearly one-quarter of its prime contracts to small businesses? Furthermore, Congress approves over $1 trillion in spending just about every year. Though this is great news, a good number of small businesses are still hesitant to get involved. Much of the resistance is due to a number of myths and misconceptions that are still being perpetuated. If you’re wondering how to get government contracts for your small business, here are some of these common misbeliefs and the actual truth behind each of them.

Myth: My Business is Too Small to be Competitive…

Truth: As mentioned above, the U.S. government sets aside a certain amount of money each year to specifically be spent on contracts with small businesses. That means for many contracts, larger organizations simply don’t qualify. When we take size out of the equation, the opportunities become much more attainable. (You can learn more about the various programs for small businesses here.)

Myth: The Lower Bidder Always Wins…

Truth: Sure, there will be times when another candidate is chosen based on the lowest price, but this is actually more of an exception than a rule. In fact, the Federal Government as well as state agencies have the right to award government contracts to whichever candidate they feel is best suited, regardless of the actual bid amount. Be competitive but confident in your company’s ability to provide quality goods or services, and you’ll have a very good chance of winning.

Myth: It Takes Forever to Get Paid…

Truth: Despite the horror stories you may have heard about on the news or read about in the paper, most government contracts are paid in a very timely manner. In fact, the average turnaround for remittance of monies owed is around 30 days, sometimes even less. Additionally, there are other options available to you when time is of the essence. For instance, government contract factoring allows you to collect what’s rightfully yours upfront without the hassle of waiting.

Myth: I’ll Spend a lot of Money and Time and May Not Even Win…

Truth: While government contracting does involve an investment of time, money and resources, the outcome isn’t nearly as bleak as you may think. In fact, a recent report by American Express OPEN found that small businesses seeking a government contract for three years or less were awarded their first contract in just one year and after only three unsuccessful bids. The old adage that “you can’t win them all” can be applied here, as with any other business dealing, but success is certainly not impossible.

Myth: It’s Way Too Complicated…

Truth: While there’s definitely a learning curve when it comes to understanding how to get government contracts, working with Federal or state agencies is really not all that different from doing business with other large organizations. It may take a bit of trial and error, but getting the process down to a science isn’t nearly as difficult as one might think. These tips should help cut down on the trial and error:

Tips to Writing a Flawless Government Proposal
Government Contracting- Rules You Need to Know
How to Bid for a Government Contract…and WIN
The Secret to Getting the Right Government Contract

If you’ve considered the possibility of bidding on a government contract but were hesitant due to one or more of the above misconceptions, the truths exposed above should help you make a more informed decision.

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Small Business Tax Tips

Small Business Owners: Pay Attention to These Tax Tips

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.

Payroll Funding

Recruiting Strategies to Catch the Millennials

Staying up-to-date on the latest recruiting strategies can be tough, particularly when it comes to attracting quality candidates from the millennial generation. The reason it’s so challenging is because individuals from this demographic are markedly different from previous generations. Before you find yourself frustrated and ready to throw in the towel, let’s take a look at some creative recruiting resources staffing agencies can employ to help win over Millennials.

Understand what motivates them.

Unlike Baby Boomers and Gen Xers, Millennials have a completely unique set of desires and needs when it comes to their careers. For instance, younger workers place a much stronger emphasis on things like flexibility, work/life balance and growth opportunity than traditional motivating factors, like salary. Understanding what these workers are looking for can help you position your openings to make them more attractive.

Use social media.

The Millennial generation uses social media for much more than just keeping up with friends and family. They also turn to these online networking sites to connect with brands, make purchasing decisions and – yes – even look for work. If you want to reach candidates from this younger group, you have to meet them where they are, so be sure to incorporate social media into your recruiting strategies.

Create a mobile friendly site.

These days it seems just about everyone has a smartphone or other type of handheld device. This is especially true for Millennials, who are referred to as the first digital natives since they were born and raised during a time when the internet and things like cloud technology were the norm. In terms of staffing, some 1 billion job searches are conducted using a mobile device each and every month. Leverage this by ensuring that your recruiting site is mobile-friendly and can be easily accessed and navigated using any device.

Make culture a top priority.

Candidates from the younger generation want to work for companies that have invested in developing and fostering cultures that value people, not just the bottom line. That’s why employer branding is so important during the recruiting process. Staffing professionals must find a way to demonstrate and effectively “sell” the overall vibe and culture of the company if they want to win over Millennials.

Provide work that matters.

Another key differentiator of the millennial generation is how strongly they feel about making a difference. This applies both to the impact they can potentially make with their employer as well as in the world around them. For this reason, recruiting strategies must involve clearly defining and effectively communicating the role being offered and how it factors in with the big picture.

Be competitive.

Last but not least, if you want to attract and win over the hearts and minds of millennial workers, you must remain at peak performance and in sound financial shape. If payroll funding and cash flow issues are holding you back from successfully reaching qualified candidates, funding through staffing factoring might be just the solution. This will allow you to focus on getting the right people instead of worrying about how to keep them.

With Millennials now occupying more than 50% of today’s workforce, figuring out the best way to reach, engage and appeal to them is more important than ever. By incorporating the above best practices into your overall recruiting strategy, you’ll have a much better chance of landing the types of quality younger candidates that will help drive the ongoing success of your business.

For more Staffing Tips and industry news, ‘like’ us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for daily updates.

Hands with money, taxes

Tax Tips for Staffing Agencies

With the new year comes concerns about staffing news and about correctly filing staffing taxes for your temporary staffing agency. Tax surprises are rarely good. Whether you have filed before or your agency is new within the last year, getting through tax season with accurate and acceptable payroll and tax records are imperative to the success of your business.

Know Your Company’s Tax Status

Although it depends somewhat on your location, most states consider staffing or temporary agencies to be the full employers of temporary employees. This designation requires that your business has a state tax identification number as well as an EIN from the federal tax administration. Double-check with your tax attorney or accountant for the classification of your company before you begin the tax process.

If your agency is, in fact, the employer of temporary employees, you may also find yourself subjected to paying employment taxes. These include temp agency payroll taxes, Medicare, Social Security and federal unemployment taxes and federal income tax withholding.

Completing all of these forms and filings can make your staffing taxes much more complicated than you had originally envisioned. For that reason, consider these tips to help you complete your tax process:

1. Understand Your Payroll Taxes

Your staffing agency is subject to taxation at both the federal and state level, and you are responsible for collecting unemployment taxes from your employees. Although it may be tempting to label your employees as “independent contractors,” the facts that you have legally provided these individuals with their set hours of employment, that you have a continuing working relationship with them and that you are paying them with a set payment method all indicate that they are business employees.

When companies pay your agency to employ your temporary workers, you are responsible for collecting payroll taxes from the pay that is passed on to those workers. The amounts of money that change hands should be clearly spelled out in the contract you make with the hiring companies, as well as with your employees.

2. Calculate the Withholding Amount from Employees’ W-4 Forms

Federal law mandates that you determine the amount withheld from each employee via the information provided by the employee on his or her IRS Form W-4.

With each wage payment that you make to the employee, you are required to withhold an amount. This number is likely different for each employee, depending on his or her earned wages and claimed exemptions. Each wage payment is considered a separate taxable event and must be treated as such.

Use the standard tables provided by the IRS to determine the amount withheld for each of your employees. This amount is based on:

  • The size of each wage payment
  • The frequency of payroll payments
  • The employee’s current marital status
  • The employee’s claimed withholding exemptions as filed on the W-4 form

The W-4 forms are only for you and your company to determine proper exemptions and withholdings as you are calculating your payroll taxes. You do not need to file them with the government or the IRS unless there is a discrepancy in information.

The total amount that you withhold should approximate each employee’s year-end tax liability. If you do not have a completed W-4 for an employee, treat that person’s withholdings as being single with no exemptions.

3. Provide a W-2 to Each Employee

As a company, you are required to withhold the proper amounts from your employees’ pay and to deposit those amounts with the appropriate tax agencies. These withholdings will include federal and state taxes, Medicare and Social Security taxes and federal and state unemployment taxes. In order to complete these requirements, you must provide all of your employees with proper W-2 and 1099 reports that thoroughly explain their yearly compensation and withholding amounts.

All employees must receive a W-2 by January 31 of the year following the employment year. Those who do maintain an independent contractor status and earned more than 600 dollars in compensation should receive a 1099 instead.

4. File and Pay Federal and State Taxes on Time

You can avoid tax penalties by paying your federal and state taxes on time. Your federal tax deposit must be made electronically through one of these methods:

  • The Treasury Department’s free Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS)
  • A trusted third party, such as a payroll service or tax professional
  • A financial institution that can initiate an ACH Credit payment

Many states now also require your deposits to be made electronically. Consult your state agencies for more information.

All deposits must be made on time. If your due date falls on a Saturday, Sunday or national legal holiday, you have until the close of the next business day to complete your deposit.

5. Maintain Proper Records

Once you have successfully distributed all your W-2 and 1099 forms to your employees and independent contractors, you must make sure that you have proper records that explain the payroll taxes that you paid for the year. Per the federal requirements, keep all records for at least four years before destroying them. Check your state record-keeping requirements as well.

Should the IRS ever question your payroll or business, these records must be kept for examination. Make sure that you have:

  • The names, addresses and Social Security numbers for every employee
  • The period of employment and compensation for each employee
  • The total amounts of pay given to each employee
  • The amounts of each payment kept as taxable wages
  • Complete copies of each employee’s W-4 form
  • All dates and records for each tax deposit made by your company
  • Thorough copies of all tax returns filed
  • Any and all W-2 forms that were undeliverable to past employees

All of these records must be kept in an orderly fashion to be immediately examined by an IRS official if requested.

For more information about taxes and for staffing news, follow Triumph Business Capital on Facebook, Google+ or Twitter.