With the end of the year rapidly approaching, small business owners are preparing to take a survey of the time that has passed and use the information they gather to improve going forward. For some, budgets need to be balanced in order make room for growth, hiring employees, obtaining new equipment or opening new locations. For others, a dip in profitability means that hard questions need to be asked regarding what went wrong, and how to fix it going forward. Revenues and expenses must be balanced in order to ensure that your business will not only be able to work in the short term, but adjust to growth as well. Your business should be looking to grow in the new year, and with technology playing a large role in how small businesses are tapping into broader markets, the tools are being developed or already exist that can allow you to do so. Getting acquainted with trending technology such as mobile and e-commerce as well as mobile

Small business owners need to be careful; hackers and phishing scams that target them rely on a feeling of being too small to be on the radar to exploit unprepared small businesses, taking their repositories of financial and customer information and exploiting or liquidating them. One scam which has become more common of late is a trojan horse scheme, which refers to the technique of requesting a victim download a seemingly harmless attachment or program which in fact contains a virus, the “trojan” program contained within the outer guise of whatever it was the victim clicked on. Lately, the use of a false invoice to deliver trojan programs has become increasingly common as hackers awaken more and more to the value of targeting small businesses with spam leads and emails. Fake invoicing schemes are increasingly common. Small business owners can often become overwhelmed by the amount of paperwork that they need to keep track of. Fake invoices rely on this confusion, submitting a seemingly “unpaid” invoice

Student loans can be a double edged sword, on the one hand allowing students to pursue higher education and obtain skills that can fuel the success of their careers, at the price of large amounts of debt at a young age that can be very difficult to overcome, especially if there is no way to refinance the debt into a more manageable package. For young entrepreneurs, managing debt while building a business means being strong at defining priority and having an understanding of what parts of your business need to grow in order to support others. Employee management can also be a challenge, since if you are not managing millennial employees, there is a chance that your relative lack of experience can make it tougher to lead managers in the middle or endgame of their careers. While it can be disheartening to contend with the challenges of business management while managing debt, through identifying priorities, carefully managing collections and trusting in the effectiveness of your

When buying equipment is either impractical or not financially feasible, small business owners can turn to leasing as a means of gaining the equipment that they need without owning it. Renting can represent an elegant solution to equipment based constraints on DIY projects, and for business owners with cash flow considerations, if there is a buy out option at the end of their leasing they may be able to use the production capacity of the equipment for less, then take over ownership of it once their business grows as a result of the increased production. Do you have the insurance and/ or training necessary to operate your machinery? Heavy machinery can be dangerous, meaning that not just anyone can go ahead and lease it and operate it. Business owners should first verify that the equipment they want is able to be used with their current levels of qualification and insurance. If not, then compute the costs and time-frame of acquiring these into your strategy. If training

Cash flows must be managed carefully in order to allow a business to grow at an optimal rate, in the same way that a plant needs the right balance of water and sunshine to grow. There needs to be enough cash on hand at any given time to allow for maneuverability within the business, lest business owners find themselves needing to have cash on hand that is tied up in inventory or already spent on other aspects of business development. Conversely, if a business holds on to too much capital and does not invest it into the things that they need to meet client demand, they can wind up losing business to competitors who are more poised to deliver quickly. How should your business find a balance? While there is no way to predict the future with absolute certainty, as a business grows a clearer picture of how much cash should be kept on hand will start to form through experience. For example, when a

Cost management is an essential part of running a small business, and having money on hand with which to make strategic decisions and act on opportunities as they present themselves is another important consideration for business owners, since without any liquid capital they may find themselves flush with assets but lacking an ability to quickly act. Reducing costs without reducing customer service can be tricky, but it is manageable provided adequate thought goes in to tapering off spending. What is the value contributed by programs that you are considering tapering off? This question may seem like it is simple to answer, but in reality, you may want to ask your employees how they are effected by the use of certain programs before you cut them off. The reason why is that they may have come to rely on a certain service that is showing up in your accounting numbers that you are not personally involved with. If you don’t know what something is that you are

For business owners who have bad credit, the task of raising cash flows, planning and allocating financing and getting capital in order to grow can be made a lot more difficult. Figuring out how to grow business while conserving capital takes time, thought and energy, but at the same time business owners have a responsibility to themselves to work on improving their credit score. In order to create a passive framework that allows them to move closer to financial stability, adopting positive habits is something that business owners should work on and make time for in their schedules. When taking bad credit business financing products, have a plan. A big mistake for business owners is taking on obligation without a plan on how to create positive ROI. Often times, bad credit can come from financing business expenses with credit cards or business loans without a backing of sufficient market research or cost analysis, teaching a painful, but ultimately valuable lesson. In business, arbitrary use of financing will

Across the country, local journals and National news sites alike are publishing articles on the reticence to hire new employees among small business owners. Some of the reasons hiring freeze include a lack of sufficient cash flow caused by a need for more clients or by market share taken up by tough competition. In an article from the Associated Press, both the pressures to attract new business and the fear of losing current income streams are stopping small business owners from adding jobs more aggressively. Both of these concerns ultimately come down to the problem of not having steady cash flows, which can be hard to predict with both fast changing market conditions and the looming memory of the recent Government shutdown and the shadow of the great recession. Business owners should finance strategically to maintain productivity. Offering overtime programs to employees willing to work longer hours is one of the techniques the business owners in the AP article used in order to get things done

While the credit market for small business owners in the wake of the great recession has seen traditional loan options evaporate for all but mid to large sized businesses with viable credit, the need for working capital on the part of small businesses outside this range has not gone away. On the contrary, in order for businesses to effectively grow, many will at some point need to take a business loan, bad credit loan alternative or other type of financing. In the case of businesses that are growing but have very little in the way of assets, one option for procuring financing is to leverage their history of sales growth as the main criteria for underwriting a cash advance. Even if the business owner does not have collateral, such as a home or equipment, that they would otherwise use to secure a bad credit loan product, they can use the information contained in their last three months of banks statements to demonstrate to a financing

Small business owners with bad credit have financing challenges which make it more important that they pay attention to their cash flows. The dearth of traditional small business loans for bad credit applicants means that for financing they will often have to seek out a working relationship with an alternative capital provider, where bank activity is more important than credit when underwriting. Additionally, the marketing budget of their company has to be tightly managed in order to ensure that it is able to create ROI, since every dollar that goes out the door needs to be made back with little room for error. In order to make sure that they are not losing money, small business owners should strive to create good habits for themselves and be cognizant of the effects of their budgeting choices. Choosing to invest in one area on a limited budget means that you may have to divert resources from another, making identifying the strongest performing areas of your business into

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