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Crowdfunding: The American Dream Reloaded

August 29, 2012

Ever since the JOBs Act was signed into law there have been lots of stories about how bad it will be next year when it’s finally legal to do so. Some people are afraid it will be like the wild west. I think it’s time we all took a deep breath and look at this for what it was intended to do.

According to the SBA, each year more than 10 million people consider starting a business. Out of this group, only three million take the plunge and actually start a business. It’s one of the most exciting endeavors that any person can undertake and it empowers people to take control of their own destiny and not wait for corporate America or the government to give them a job. Will they succeed? Who knows. But their level of success or failure holds true no matter where they get their funding from.

Let’s not stamp out this new and exciting process of accessing capital for those that will be successful and create the jobs our country needs just because it comes with the same risk that every other investment does -of losing it all. Let’s start off crowdfunding next year by admitting that everything in life is a gamble, including Angel and VC investments, (which also fail to make a return more often than is assumed by the general public) and that at least with crowdfunding you have a direct say so in where your money is being invested. (more…)

Finding Government Financing for Young Entrepreneurs

July 31, 2012

Ah, youth — the time of a million great ideas that are a million dollars short of ever coming to fruition. Of course, if you believed that, you wouldn’t be an entrepreneur.

In truth, while finding financing for a business run by a young entrepreneur may be difficult, especially considering the current economy, it’s not impossible. In fact, some funding sources are practically designed for the unique needs of young entrepreneurs.

To the collective sigh of young entrepreneurs stateside, the Small Business Administration (SBA) offers several loan programs that don’t penalize you for lacking experience. Most of these programs are administered through banks and underwritten by the SBA, so make sure you ask your bank’s commercial loan officer about SBA-related options. (more…)

Online Tools To Help Your Business Accept Payments Faster

July 16, 2012

Maintaining a positive cash flow is often one of the most difficult aspects of running a small business. Even when business is booming, that 30-day lull between sending an invoice and receiving payment can be the death knell for small businesses in perennial debt.

But thanks to relatively recent advancement in business-to-business electronic payments, you can cut the time making deposits at the bank and waiting for checks to clear, as well as streamline processes such as invoicing and collections.

We’ve identified some of the most common online financial tools that can help you keep your cash flow positive by cutting the time it takes to receive and deposit your payments. (more…)

Taking the Leap into Mobile Payments

April 30, 2012

You may think accepting electronic payments at your small business gives consumers plenty of payment options. And, until very recently, accepting debit cards, credit cards and good old-fashioned cash did meet the vast majority of consumers’ payment needs. But the times, they are a-changing.

While still a relatively small segment of the market, mobile payment – payments made using smartphone – is making serious headway. How serious? Consider this: In less than a year after Starbucks launched a mobile app complete with a payment option, the company reported more than 26 million mobile payments.

Smartphone use is on the rise and is playing a larger role in where people spend—especially in urban areas where users rely on apps like Yelp to read reviews of local hotspots before taking a gamble on a new businesses. Bumping up “accepting mobile payments” on your to-do list may be a wise move. (more…)

To Factor or Not to Factor

April 25, 2012

If you’ve heard about invoice factoring and are considering it for your B to B company, be sure it fits your needs.  Factoring is a type of specialty lending that’s not meant to replace bank lines or other commercial loans, but to augment them when the need for cash flow is greater than a basic line of credit can provide.  Factoring is helpful for young, non-bankable companies with growth opportunities, and for companies that can benefit by outsourcing their credit and collections activity.  Full-service factoring companies will provide finance, credit services and guarantees, and accounts receivable management.

Here are the Top 10 reasons to consider and NOT to consider factoring for your business:

TOP 10 REASONS TO CONSIDER A FACTORING COMPANY (OR NOT)

10. Your B2B company needs a line of credit to support growth, but isn’t bankable yet.
9. Your customers demand credit but your suppliers demand cash.
8. Your customers love to keep you guessing.
7. You just don’t have time to manage receivables.
6. Your growth is outstripping your cash flow. (more…)