Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Outsourcing Can Save Time and Money While Delivering Professional Results

Balancing quality with low cost is important for a business to be successful. For example, can the current staff successfully handle the workload or will quality be sacrificed if new employees are not hired? Is there a need for experts to handle certain tasks, but not enough to justify full-time employees? Should these tasks be outsourced or added to the workload of current employees to avoid the need for new hires?

In the past, outsourcing was typically limited to data entry, low-level tech support, and telemarketing. Today, business owners outsource significantly more from back office tasks to CEO's. Billing, accounting, payroll, and human resources are commonly outsourced. There is a gap between these functions and the primary business which introduces a level of comfort to the business owner. By outsourcing, there is little risk of trade secrets being revealed and numerous benefits of having professionals do the jobs. Outsourcing functions that are more closely tied to the primary business is becoming more common. For example, CEO's and CFO's can be brought in to help guide the business or help make key decisions.

Choosing the provider to whom you will outsource should be done with care as they will have an impact on your business. Here are some factors to consider:
  • In a version of "what comes first, the chicken or the egg", you can consider hiring an outsourcing consultant. They will help decide which functions you will outsource and supply referrals to outsourcing providers.
  • Be sure the contract for services is specific and clear. Detail exactly what tasks will be provided as opposed to general terms like "back office" to avoid any misunderstandings.
  • Consider having a lawyer review the contract prior to signing. Typically, the service provider writes the contract and a lawyer can assure that you will not be at a disadvantage. 
  • Have a plan in place to monitor the services performed by the outsourced workers.
If finances are holding you back from obtaining the professionals your business needs, speak with a business consultant at National Business Capital. We may have a solution for you!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Help May Be Available for Businesses Affected By Storms

For many small businesses in the path of Super Storm Sandy, the last quarter of 2012 was a financial challenge. Just as a large collective breath was taken and business owners forged ahead to make the first quarter of 2013 a success, Nemo blasted through the region as a winter storm to some and as a blizzard to others. 

Businesses in the hardest hit areas may face numerous challenges. Streets may have been closed for days resulting in loss of revenue as well as loss of production. Physical damage to office space or inventory may have occurred. In addition, suppliers may be affected and unable to provide needed materials and customers may be facing financial challenges as well resulting in cancelled orders or late payments.

National Business Capital is based in an area hard hit by both Sandy and Nemo and are seeing the effects first hand. We are here to offer any advice and assistance we can to help businesses recover and get back onto the path to success. Please call and speak with one of our business consultants to learn if any of our programs can be beneficial to your business during this trying time.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Can You Afford Office Space?

Putting your dream into reality and starting your own business is an exciting time filled with planning and decision making. One major decision to consider is just exactly where your business will be located. For some, retail or office space is a must, but for others almost any space can work.

Wi-fi, laptops, Google Voice, and cloud storage, among others, make home offices more doable than ever and may be a great place to begin. Meeting space can be a challenge, but most communities do offer solutions. The public library often has meeting rooms wi-fi available. Call in advance to reserve a room to ensure it is available for your appointment time. Community centers are another option. Even hotel lobbies can work. Some lobbies have tables and wi-fi making a small meeting possible.

Another option to consider is shared space. There may be a local business with more space than they need who would be willing to rent the space out or even barter for the use of the space. There are also office suites specifically established for business owners to rent time/space and are equipped with computers, wi-fi, phones, printers, fax, etc.

If these options are not for you or if you have outgrown them, then renting or buying office space may be what you need. Speak with one of the business consultants at National Business Capital to see if one of our financing programs can help fund your space.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Isn't It Bad To Use Credit?

With the economic crisis our country has faced during the past few years, there has been increased urging to stop the use of credit. If you can't pay cash, don't buy it. While this may be good advice on the personal side, it usually is not prudent on the business side.

Nowadays, it is hard to be successful in business without utilizing credit. A business needs cash flow in order to meet payroll, pay taxes, and cover scheduled payables such as mortgage, electric, etc. Therefore a certain amount of liquid reserves should be on hand at all times. But what if the cost to expand operations depletes the reserves? You do not want to turn business away and at the same time you don'twant the worry of not having the cash on hand to meet the scheduled payables.

Unlike personal expenses, paying for business expenses when you do not have the cash on hand can be a smart move because it may expand your business and increase your revenue. A business loan can afford the opportunity to pay for capital expenditures while leaving cash reserves available for scheduled payables and incidentals. Business can expand, loans can be repaid, and expenses can be met.

Traditional bank loans can often be difficult for small business owners due to the fixed monthly repayment plan. Monthly revenue often fluctuates greatly for retail and small businesses. A more prudent and less worrisome option might be open a line of credit or take out a loan based upon the business's receivables. The repayment plan is structured upon a percentage of the monthly receivables so that it fluctuates along with the income.

National Business Capital has expert business consultants on hand to discuss your specific situation. Give us a call to learn what options are available for you.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Is NOW the Time to Expand Your Business?

The beginning of a new year is often an exciting time filled with motivation and big goals. As a business owner, one goal for 2013 may be to expand your business. How do you know if this is the right time?

  • So far, so good. You implemented your business idea and have had success. Before expanding, it is important to look at the structure of your business. The expansion should bring increased business. Will your current structure be a successful model to handle the increase? Will you be comfortable delegating work to employees? Can you restructure to streamline operations? What factors need to be considered before the expansion?
  • Look closely at the reasons you are considering the expansion. Has there been an increased demand for your product or service? Has this increase in demand been over a meaningful period of time? A short spike in business overall or from one particular customer may not be reason enough for the expansion. Look for clues that the increased demand will continue for the long run.
  • Take a look at your competitors. Will your business be able to compete with larger businesses that may be able to offer more competitive pricing? 
  • Is bigger really better for YOU? How will you measure success in owning your own business? Is it by the number of customers and employees that you are responsible for? Or is it the personal relationship and traits of a small business that will bring you pride and happiness? Increasing your business may mean that your responsibilities now lie in administrative work when your real passion is actually doing the service your business provides.
After careful consideration, do you feel benefits outweigh the risks? If so, call National Business Capital and speak with one of our expert business consultants to learn about our financing options.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Inexpensive Employee Appreciation Ideas

One easy way to help keep employees motivated is to provide extra perks. This time of year many employers shell out big bucks in holiday bonuses and/or holiday parties. Revenue may be lower due to a decrease in time spent on tasks. Why? A high number of vacation days used, extra "water cooler" time spent discussing the holidays, holiday planning at their desks, etc. It becomes a financial challenge for many employers to provide these perks that have become expected.

As a business owner, you want your employees to feel appreciated and to be happy in their work environment. Is there a way to achieve this without spending a fortune? The answer is yes and here are some ideas!
  • Talk with your vendors. You provide them with business throughout the year and help keep their business profitable. See if they would be willing to offer discounts directly to your employees.
  • Talk with local merchants. Perhaps you can make arrangements to offer discounts to each others employees.
  • Professional associations may have agreements for discounts to their members. If so, see if you can extend these discounts to your employees.
  • The gift of time is always a cherished perk. Depending upon your business structure, there are different ways to make this manageable. One way is to change the working hours to four ten-hour days thereby providing your employees a three day weekend every week! Another way is to have a rotating schedule for employees to add extra time to their lunch hour or leave early for the day. An hour here and there may not affect your bottom line too much or may even improve it by keeping your employees motivated and happy!
Of course, not all perks are free, but the benefits of providing them can be great. If you would like to offer perks to your employees, but cash flow is a challenge, speak with one of the business consultants at National Business Capital. We can discuss the options available to provide you with the cash flow you need.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Every Business Needs a Line of Credit

We are fast approaching the fiscal cliff and there is great concern about the impact it will have on our economy. Business owners worry about loss in cash flow and the ability to purchase needed supplies. Establishing a line of credit with vendors is one way to ensure the business will have the supplies it needs.

Unfortunately, vendors are feeling the stress of the economy as well and small business owners may find it more difficult to be approved for credit. This is especially true for newer businesses that have not had the opportunity to develop a good credit rating. If you are looking to establish credit with vendors, here are some tips:
  • Start Small: It takes time to build trusting relationships. Do not ask for too much too soon. Prove your credit worthy by creating a pattern of timely payments.
  • Share Documentation: Vendors will want to see objective proof that you are credit worthy. Have documents available for the vendor to review. Ask other business owners that you have relationships with for a letter of recommendation.
  • Get Personal: Before looking for credit to be extended, take time to review your personal credit reports and ensure their accuracy. Have corrections made if needed.
In place of, or in addition to, credit directly with vendors, National Business Capital may be able to help you open a business line of credit. Our approval process is faster and easier than at traditional banks. Speak with one of our business consultants to learn more!