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6 Strategies to Prevent Quiet Quitting from Your Team

October 20, 2022

“Quiet quitting” is the newest buzzword in the business world. While this term evokes mental images of employees leaving their job without saying a word, the reality is much less terrifying. Quiet quitting is when employees stop going above and beyond at their workplace. Quiet quitting is a response to the idea of hustle culture, a form of workplace culture that can lead to severe burnout.

Unfortunately, for many small businesses, the idea of employees doing the bare minimum for their job is unsustainable and can cause stagnant business growth. However, there are plenty of things that you can do to prevent quiet quitting. Things like valuing your employees, clearly communicating work expectations, and offering advancement opportunities can all go a long way toward preventing the “quiet quitting” phenomenon.

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What Is DEI and How Can It Benefit Your Small Business?

April 4, 2022

Workplace DEI, otherwise known as diversity, equity, and inclusion are top priorities and the path forward for all businesses, both big and small. Having a focus on DEI in your small business will work towards cultivating a more positive culture and provide fair and sustainable opportunities for everyone to grow both individually and together. 

What Is DEI? 

Diversity, equity, and inclusion are vital to creating and maintaining a successful workplace. Click To Tweet But to truly implement it into your small business, you need to know what each part means. 

Diversity is the presence of differences within a given setting. For example, differences could mean race, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic class, age, and more. Equity is the process of ensuring that processes and programs are impartial, fair, and provide equal possible outcomes for every individual. Inclusion is making sure that people feel like they belong in every aspect of the workplace. 

 

How Can DEI Help Your Small Business?

DEI is a necessity for all businesses. Small businesses stand to gain from diversity and inclusion (D&I) initiatives just as large companies do. A positive and inclusive workplace will attract diverse talent. This is important for continuing to grow your business. As businesses struggle to attract enough workers to reopen after the pandemic, the competition is even fiercer. Not only does DEI help attract new talent, but it also cultivates the existing talent. DEI has been proven to increase performance, lead to more creative ideas, and make stronger decisions. 

When your team is diverse, it can present great opportunities for a small business to use personal professional networks of employees to generate future customers. DEI will create stronger brand or company recognition and lead your small business to thrive. 

Where Do You Start?

To start thoroughly incorporating DEI into your small business, take a personal assessment of the current state of your employees. Ask yourself some of these questions, do your employees have equal chances to advance? Do your employees represent different religions or different political views? Do your employees have different backgrounds in education, home life, and economic class? 

After you have determined how your business stands, create a DEI plan to implement. Then communicate your DEI expectations, the reason behind the changes, and schedule training. Let employees be their authentic selves and celebrate their differences and similarities. Be realistic with the resources your small business has to set aside for a DEI initiative. Do not expect instant change or improvement in your business, developing DEI in your employees is a process that requires time, dedication, and consistency.  

Go beyond the motions of a DEI initiative by continually seeking opportunities to improve your workforce. By creating a solid plan, implementing training, and consistently maintaining high standards, your small business will experience vast benefits in its culture. You will have an increase in worker productivity which will help your business grow and succeed

SHIFT HR Compliance Training, LLC is a training and development company dedicated to improving the company cultures and inclusivity of businesses across the country with our DEI training course, anti-harassment training courses, and more.

Russia Sanctions and Technology Controls

March 14, 2022

This post will be periodically updated

On February 24, 2022, the US and its allies, including NATO members and other independent nations around the globe, imposed sweeping sanctions and technology controls against Russian parties (government institutions, banks, public and private sector companies, and persons) operating inside and outside of the Russian Federation. This is a very fluid situation and monitoring of US government websites is essential in terms of export activities. New US sanctions and controls are expected to be added frequently. Recently, Belarus and occupied territories within Ukraine have also had sanctions imposed. These actions by the US government mean that US businesses must be more vigilant in the export of their goods, services and/or technology in terms of:

  • Understanding export control classifications and associated restrictions (EAR99 products are now subject to Military End-Use (MEU) restrictions in Russia, for example);
  • Obtaining certifications that collect key screening elements, including the end user, intended end use and ownership; (foreign resellers/distributors should not reexport merchandise to Russia or Ukraine)
  • conducting screening checks on all parties to the transaction (be mindful that buyers may be wholly or partially owned by sanctioned Russian entities, possibly making them blocked parties);
  • understanding new limitations on licensing policy and the use of license exceptions related to Russian transactions and requesting licenses where applicable, prior to export.
  • Any of your foreign customers that export to Russia must ensure that their product contains no more than 25% US-origin controlled content (de minimis rules).

 

 

Companies must possess a clear understanding of their responsibilities regarding end-use, end-user, and market where the good, service and/or technology is destined, as well as any and all license obligations for that export. Screening prior to shipment is key.

Ongoing information on sanctions and controls are found on the following websites and links:

Businesses of all sizes should use the tools the US Government has made available to stay up-to date as this is a fast moving and often changing environment. The US government provides readily accessible screening tools to help determine if organizations or individuals are on parties of concern/restricted parties or sanctioned entities lists. These tools, along with proper training on utilization, can support a robust screening effort as part of a company’s internal trade compliance program.

These sanctions will have implications for your business operations in other ways. SMEs should be particularly mindful of vulnerabilities and exposures within their supply chain. Recommendations include:

Diversify Supply Chain Inputs: SMEs should review the lower layers of it supply chain. For example, even if a business has a sourcing arrangement with two different suppliers in two different locations, if both suppliers source raw materials from the same Ukrainian sub-supplier, then there could be threats to the continuity of operations as the situation worsens.

Warehousing, Inventory Banks & Safety Stock: The Just-In-Time (JIT) model is efficient but it’s also incredibly tenuous if there are any breaks in the supply chain. Identify key inputs that may be impacted and begin amassing safety stock and inventory where possible.

Lock in Transportation and Shipping Rates (to the Extent Possible): Given the volatile fluctuations in oil pricing, which will have impacts on all forms of transportation, lock in transportation and shipping rates as soon as possible. Companies are partnering with third-party logistics providers in order to defray some of the increasing volatility across labor, warehousing, transportation, and other logistics.

Contract Review: For customer and supplier relationships that could be impacted, it is once again time to get out those contracts to see: (a) whether the contracts contain a force majeure provision; (b) whether the force majeure provisions cover events such as war, embargoes, etc.; and (c) assess whether the force majeure clauses provide termination rights and what the associated notice requirements are. Finally, even if there is no force majeure provision in the applicable contract, the parties may have certain rights to suspend performance under the doctrine of commercial impracticability, depending upon the particular circumstances”.

For questions, contact your local Small Business Development Center (SBDC), US Export Assistance Center (USEAC) across the US, or the BIS help desk. These entities can also help you identify a trusted trade advisor or legal counsel for further information.

Humanitarian relief: Donors should consider making their contribution through a reputable organization with a well-known performance record which will satisfy all compliance requirements directly related to the sanctions.

5 Reasons You’re Not Getting Business Financing

February 21, 2022

By: Sharita Humphrey

Business Financing refers to money borrowed from a bank or investor to finance equipment, products, or services that the business needs in order to grow. When setting up your business, you’re likely to apply for financing to get your business off the ground. However, there are several reasons your application might be denied.

In fact, according to 2021 statistics, it was reported that 9% of small businesses that applied for a business loan did not receive any capital.

 

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Here are 5 reasons why you’re not getting business funding:

  1. Credit score.
    A company with a low business credit score is going to have a hard time getting approval for a business loan application. According to 2021 statistics, 36% of small businesses were denied funding due to low credit scores. Credit score plays an important part not just in business but in personal life as well. Most banks and financial institutions look at both the business owner’s personal credit score and the company’s business credit score to determine the interest rate and loan eligibility. When applying for business financing, make sure to keep track of your credit score to avoid being rejected.
  2. No collateral.
    Before institutions lend money, they require collateral in case the borrower becomes unable to repay the loan. The amount of money they will lend depends on the value of assets the business has as well. The higher the value of the collateral, the more money they will consider lending. However, if your company is new, with no little to no physical assets, you may have to offer up personal assets (cars, homes, etc.) as collateral. If you aren’t willing to make this decision, you might face a rejection of your financing application. Lack of collateral has become the biggest for small businesses being unable to secure financing.
  3. Insufficient cash flow.
    Banks will be hesitant to grant loans to small businesses that don’t offer a large enough cash flow to pay off the loan. Often, small businesses struggle to maintain financial stability especially when they’re still starting up. This is partly because they have to pay off rent, third-party suppliers, equipment, and employee wages. In order to secure a business loan, first check to make sure that you’re bringing in more profits than you’re paying out in expenses. You need to have cash flow to be considered for business financing.
  4. Too much debt.
    When you apply for a business loan, a bank will look at past loans, whether you were able to pay them off and how efficiently. If they discover one or more ongoing debts, they may reconsider your application. It doesn’t look good for a business to have too much debt as it shows poor financial management and low income. Settle past debts and make sure they’re paid on time and properly, so you’ll have more loan opportunities to expand your business.
  5. Too early into the business.
    Most banks won’t lend finances to emerging small businesses since it may be a risky venture. Lending money to a small start-up business is like taking a leap of faith. Either you’ll profit from the continuous payments when the business booms or fall when it fails. There’s no guarantee that the business will make enough profit, much less pay off the loan. Banks or investment companies will need security that a business can grow and continue to make payments.

Now that you’ve considered reasons your application may have been denied, here are a few things you can keep in mind when applying for business financing:

  • When starting a business, create a thorough business plan and demonstrate an understanding of investments. Engage and upgrade your business vision so that investors won’t regret investing in your business. Look for multiple investors to ensure you have enough funding.
  • Crowdsourcing is a good way to find investors. If your business is too small to go to traditional banks for a business loan, you may want to consider alternatives that are willing to invest in small businesses. You may find small firms or financial institutions whose purpose is to help startups or small businesses get off the ground. Double-check to make sure they are legitimate to ensure you won’t suffer loss through scams.
  • Know your business. Do your research. It’s going to be difficult to get funding for your start-up business if you don’t know what you need to do. Research the requirements for a business loan, get statistics on approval rates, reach out to a few investors and plan out your business strategy to keep your company afloat.

Conclusion

Most business loan rejections are due to the five points above. But you can set your business up for success by creating a solid business plan, doing your research, and managing your finances well from the start. Work your way toward not needing to apply for any more business loans with a healthy cash flow and strong profits.

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Top 5 Business Loan Options for LLCs in 2022

February 14, 2022 1 Comment

By: Matthew Gillman

If you’re running a limited liability company (LLC), you may find you need to raise money or get a small business loan to start up or fuel growth. Many small business fail in their early years simply because they ran out of cash, or they weren’t able to plan their finances well.

This is where a business loan comes in: you could use more capital to fund your LLC’s expansion, get more manpower, and purchase equipment or hardware. You could also use the money to pay down debts or have for emergencies.

Below are the different business loan options you should consider for your LLC.

Photo of doors, meaning the loan options
5 Best Business Loan Options for LLCs

  1. Bank loans
    • Traditional lenders like banks and credit unions offer the most ideal loan amounts, terms and interest rates, which is why many business owners apply from them.
    • However, your business must meet their strict qualification requirements, such as high credit scores and longer time in business. The reason for this is that banks need to minimize their risk of loan payment defaults. And they have a good reason for it.
    • During an economic downturn, smaller companies are riskier to invest in than their larger counterparts due to a number of reasons such as lack of credit history or increased regulation. This makes it difficult for many LLCs and startup businesses to obtain a loan from banks.
  2. Term loans
    • Business term loan is a type of traditional business financing where you repay your lender over a specified period. This ranges anytime between a few months to ten years, depending on the stability, structure and credit standing of your LLC.
    • In some instances, lenders may require you to put up collateral to secure lower interest rates or higher loan amounts. Collateral provides security for the lender so you have to be willing to risk your assets to get a term loan.
  3. Business line of credit
    • A business line of credit is one of the most ideal types of alternative financing, simply because you are given access to capital on an as-needed basis. With a line of credit, you are not required to use the full amount granted to you; instead, you can draw money from your account whenever you need cash and pay it back with interest.
    • What’s great about a line of credit is you don’t have to pay a fixed amount of loan repayments or interests if you didn’t use the money. It’s also a revolving credit, so you can just repay what you’ve used and withdraw the funds again in the future.
  4. SBA loans
    • SBA loans are those that come from private lenders and banking institutions but are backed by the Small Business Administration. The terms usually range anywhere between 10 to 25 years, with interest rates that are favorable to small businesses and startups.
    • There are different types of SBA loans: SBA 7(a) loans, 504 loans, disaster loans, microloans, and express loans. The most popular is the 7(a) loan, which gives you up to $750,000 worth of loan amount plus a partial guarantee from the SBA. To give you an idea, the SBA guarantees 85% of the loan up to $150,000 and 75% if the loan amount is more than $150,000.
    • SBA loans may be used for short- and long-term working capital for office repairs, debt refinancing, or purchase of new equipment. Note that the qualification requirements to get an SBA 7(a) loan includes a tangible net worth between $2.5 million and $7 million, plus a good personal credit score and strong business cash flow statement.
  5. Invoice financing
    • Last but not the least is invoice financing, which allows you to use unpaid invoices as collateral in exchange for upfront capital. With this type of financing, lenders will give you 80% to 95% of the total value of your invoice. You will receive the remaining 5% to 20% of the invoice value (minus service charges and transaction fees) once your customers pay.
    • Invoice financing is a preferred option by many businesses because it frees up the cash tied to their outstanding invoices. It’s also easy to have your application approved, since lenders would not require you to have a good credit rating. What’s more important to your lender is your customers’ creditworthiness.
    • This is a good financing option for companies in the B2B space. Lenders are happy to accommodate invoice financing applications from business in the transportation, logistics, wholesale, manufacturing and technology industries, but all types of LLCs will benefit as well.

More capital means more room for growth

Ensuring that the business has sufficient funds and maintains positive cash flow will almost always guarantee its success. Financing helps bring in more stability to the LLC, since company owners have capital to make strategic growth decisions.

If you’re not sure where to start, talk to a finance expert and ask about your options. Ideally, find someone who’s already familiar with your industry to increase your chances of getting loan approvals.

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Matthew Gillman is a business financing expert with more than a decade of experience in commercial lending. He is the founder and CEO of SMB Compass, a specialty finance company providing education and financing options for business owners.