2013 Factoring Conference

The 19th annual Factoring Conference, sponsored by the International Factoring Association, will take place this year on April 24th-27th at Miami Beach’s Fontainebleau Hotel. Below are some facts about the conference, which is sure to be a valuable experience where factors can learn new information and network with peers.

Speakers: There are many guest speakers lined up to talk on a number of subjects, but the two most eagerly anticipated speakers are Warren McDonald and Kevin Mitnick. McDonald is a world renowned mountain climber who also happens to be a double leg amputee, and Mitnick is a famous former computer hacker turned computer security consultant. McDonald’s “Challenge in Change” speech is scheduled for 9am on Thursday the 25th, followed by Mitnick’s “Art of Deception” at 11.

Accomodations: The conference will be held at the Fontainebleau beachfront hotel in Miami Beach, with rooms going at $269 per night at the Factoring Conference group rate. Register your room here.

Activities: There are many activities planned for the four day conference, including but not limited to: Golf Tournament, Portfolio Management, 5K Fun Walk for Charity, and an Everglades tour. See the full list of activities here.

Exhibitors: There will be over 40 companies exhibiting at the conference, and there is still time to register your company to exhibit as well. There are also sponsorship opportunities.

For the full website on the conference, go here.

What Does Obamacare Mean for Small Business?

While the brunt of the Affordable Care Act doesn’t come into effect until next January, now is the time for small businesses to get informed and make plans for the future. Although companies with fewer than 50 full-time equivalent employees will not be penalized for not offering healthcare, there are several things that they must keep in mind.

Disclosure: At the very least, small businesses are required to inform their employees in writing about the new law and health exchanges. The deadline to do so was originally March 1st, but now information about exchanges should be avaialble to employerts starting in October. If they do offer healthcare, then they also must make sure it complies with the ACA.

Exchanges: Starting in 2014, state health insurance exchanges will be established that allow small businesses to shop for affordable coverage. Businesses with 100 or fewer employees are eligible for the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP), although some states may opt to lower the requirement to 50 employees or less until 2016. Companies can also choose to shop on the traditional insurance market, and private third party exchanges will be set up as well.

Costs: The question on small business owners’ minds is what healthcare reform is going to cost their business. According to an Urban Institute analysis last year, small business costs might actually be reduced by the new law. Costs per person would only be higher for mid-sized businesses, and large business costs will likely stay the same.

Now is the time to get informed about what Obamacare means for small business, while there is still time to prepare. Know the requirements now so you don’t get blindsided by unforeseen costs in the future.

For the full article, see Obamacare 101

Tips to Avoid Lumpy Money

Cash flow issues are a constant source of worry for some industries, such as start-ups or seasonal businesses. This “lumpy money” syndrome, where cash from customers is intermittent and slow, affects many companies but luckily can be mitigated by following a few simple tips.

Cash Up Front: Instead of waiting for payment, ask for a down payment or retainer at the beginning of a large order. Due to the down economy, it is no longer taboo to ask for payment early on in the order process.

Credit Cards are Your Friend: Don’t worry about credit card processing fees. Sometimes, even just a percentage up front can be better than waiting months for cash. You can run your business while the bank does its thing.

Customer Credentials: You have to know who you are doing business with, and in the online age it is easy to do background research. If the research fails to yield anything, ask for references.

Factoring: In certain industries, selling your accounts receivable at a discount is an effective way to get cash up front. Some expenses like payroll have to be paid every month, and factoring can help even out cash flow.

These are just a few tips to bettering your company’s cash flow. Do what is right for your industry and eventually you will smooth out those lumps.

For the full article, see 5 Tips for a Better Cash Flow

Not Supporting Small Business is Bad for the Economy

In the wake of the fiscal cliff debates, some are worried that big government is overlooking the little guy. According to Yahoo! Small Business, several leading business observers are criticizing the Obama administration’s treatment of small business.

Lloyd Chapman, President of the American Small Business League, recently posited that the government’s plan to fold the Small Business Administration (SBA) into the Commerce Department to try and save money is a folly. He is of the opinion that the merger would ultimately hurt small businesses and redirect money towards large corporations. He suggests instead that the SBA be strengthened and federal programs be directed towards the nation’s leading jobs creator.

Jim Clifton, CEO and Chairman of Gallup research, says that the continuing recession is the fault of elected officials who are not focused on creating wealth. He argues that they do not understand how important small business is, nor how crucial support is for small business success.

Small business is crucial to a functioning economy- but just how crucial remains to be seen. In the coming months and year, we will see more than ever the wide ranging effects of supporting or hindering small business success.

For the full article, see Not supporting small business is economic suicide, observers of economy say

US Family Businesses Optimistic About Growth

Even in hard times, you can count on family to keep things on the bright side– family businesses, that is. According to the ABF Journal, US family-run businesses are more optimistic about growth prospects compared to their overseas counterparts. 93% of US businesses compared to 81% of global peers are confident that new opportunities will arise and that they will be able to capitalize on them.

While challenges still exist and are of concern to family businesses, confidence is at a two year high and concerns about economic challenges have waned. According to the article, this suggests that these businesses are adapting to changing market conditions and are accepting volatility and uncertainty as the “new normal.” They are willing to take risks and are now actively seeking growth opportunities whereas before they were content to sit back and watch what happened.

With renewed interest in growth, family businesses are going to have to consider extra funding for their ventures. For companies that have trouble securing bank loans, factoring is an option as long as they have invoices and their customers meet the criteria. Factoring could be a way for everyone to benefit, and to continue the optimism of US family-run companies.

For the full article, click here

Making 2013 the Best Financial Year Yet

New year, new chance to start things off right. According to a recent article on Entrepreneur.com called How to Change the Financial Future of Your Business, there are certain simple steps you can take at the beginning of the year as a business owner  to improve your financial health. Here are a few examples:

Review the last year: Find out what strategies were successful and which flopped, and use the lessons you learned to help you move forward.

Use metrics: If you were tracking statistics last year, review them and find trends. If not, choose three important stats and start.

Cut costs: Easier said than done, but look for ways to find the best price on everything, including borrowing.

Cash flow plan: Cash is king in most industries, and you must have a budget or a plan in place in case of hard times.

In some industries, even a cash reserve isn’t enough and expenses must be paid. Invoice factoring is one option for businesses seeking to optimize cash flow and get back on track in the new year.

Top Strategists Predict 2013 Stock Market Growth

The Mayans may have been wrong about 2012, but Wall Street equity strategists are hoping their 2013 prediction comes true. According to a survey conducted by Barron’s , they project that the Standard & Poor’s 500 is likely to grow by 10% next year, based on a stronger economy, foreign sales, and technology and energy shares. However, they all concede that the market could suffer greatly if no plan is set in place to avoid the fiscal cliff, and even if it is avoided it will be a “bumpy ride” for stock prices.

The industries most likely do well in 2013 are industrial outfits, technology, and energy. Companies with foreign exposure are also likely to do better in comparison with their domestic-focused counterparts. On the other hand, underperforming sectors are likely to be consumer staples, telecoms, and utilities.

Overall, the outlook for 2013 market is positive. There are some obstacles to overcome, but even with all the dangers market analysts are optimistic- which is good news for the rest of us.

For the full article see Outlook 2013

The Best Way to Start-Up

There are many paths to every destination. For start-ups this is especially true; there is no one right way to success for an untested venture. However, according to entrepreneur Scott Weiss, there are certain steps that a young entrepreneur can take to have a better chance at growing their business. Speaking from his own experience Weiss suggests that rather than going to school or starting your own company right away, actually working at a start-up will give you the most valuable experience. He offers several tips to getting started:

Prepare to Move: Weiss suggests moving to a hub or hotspot for your industry. In the case of tech start-ups, he suggests moving to Silicon Valley. While friends may have a job lined up right out of school, you have to prepare to be unemployed for a while or get a part time job in the mean time.

Research the Options: You want to work at a legitimate start-up, so Weiss suggests looking at venture capital surveys and see which companies have been backed.

Focus: Research and focus on roles you want to play within a start-up. If you are knowledgeable about the differences, it will give you more credibility when you start networking.

Narrow it Down: Narrow your choice down to 20 or 30 companies and make a web of all possible connections. The best way to get an in is to build a referral network, so network with anyone you can think might be of help.

Weiss says that persistence and preparation are the two most important aspects to getting hired by a start-up, and networking with potential referrals is key.

For the full article, see The Path to Starting a Start-Up

Sandy Victims Aren’t Taking Loans

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, New York and New Jersey businesses are doing everything they can to recover from damaged buildings and ruined inventory. One thing they aren’t doing though, according to the Wall Street Journal, is taking advantage of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s “disaster loans.”

These loans are at a fixed rate of 4% and are up to $2M in funds that affected businesses likely wouldn’t be able to qualify for otherwise. But the rate of approval is down after Sandy (22%) compared to after Hurricane Irene (30%) and Hurricane Katrina (53%).

The low number of accepted loan applications might be explained by the long and difficult application and acceptance process, or the fact that small businesses cannot afford more debt on their balance sheet. Credit terms are harsher than they were when Katrina hit, so small businesses also might assume they do not qualify and won’t apply.

This article goes to show that bank loans are sometimes an unattractive option to small businesses, who don’t want to go through the long application process and wait for funds when they need them desperately now. They are seeking alternative options that won’t create more debt and have a faster disbursement process.

For the full article, see Disaster Loan Rate Is Lower After Sandy

How Important is Funding for Start-Ups?

While many start-ups can get off the ground with little to no external financing, sometimes it can make the difference between success and failure. According to entrepreneur Kevin Ready, there are several good reasons to to raise funds through external entities:

Marketing: Even if you make the best product ever, it doesn’t matter if no one ever sees it or knows about it. A marketing budget can get your product or service visible where it otherwise would not be.

Speed to Market: The time window for your product to be viable is a short one- the longer you take, the more time your competitors have to take market share away.

Visibility: A high profile investor brings credibility and can make people take notice of your product, and you will have more access to talent, advisors, money, etc.

Less Personal Risk: You don’t want to have to drain your bank account getting your business off the ground. External funding lessens the hazard for you and will allow you to take risks without risking your personal finances.

Cushion: More money in the bank means more of a cushion in case of hard times or uncontrollable external factors.

There are many types of financing available- a start-up company must weigh the pros and cons of external financing, evaluate the financing options, and then decide which form is best for its needs.

For the original post, see Do Startups Need Funding Anymore?