The Invoice Factoring Blog

Quality content for businesses looking to grow their operations with flexible small business funding solutions.

Why Video Content Will Be King Of Content In 2018

Preparing your content calendar for 2018? Here are three super important stats to ponder while reading this article. First is that YouTube shared that mobile video consumption grows by over 100% every year. Second is that 45% of internet users watching an hour or more of video each day. Third, we are living in a world where 65% of the population claims to be visual learners, according to the Social Science Research Network. If you’re already doing video content, great! If not, here is a good place to start.

Mobile Video Content Is Readily Accessiblevideo content

Most companies producing video content currently share around 20 videos per month, and it’s expected that video content will match the volume of email, written and graphic design content equally in 2018. Wifi is available pretty much everywhere and network speeds faster than ever, so videos are easy to stream. You will no longer cancel loading out of frustration due to a lag in time. Expect 2 videos for each piece of written content in the future. If you’re planning to produce video content, that would be great too.

Persuasive AND Informative Video Content

Because they provide a multi-sensory experience, videos trigger emotions stronger than text or an image is able to do. By integrating components such as the appropriate music, personal testimonies and curated text, viewers can relate on an intense emotional level triggering emotions like happiness, sadness and even anger.

For product marketing, demonstration videos increase product knowledge, in turn increasing the likeliness of a sale. Showing a product in action is visually informative and helps the consumer imagine themselves using it. Not to mention, they learn every great detail about your product!

Video Content Provides SEO Benefits

Marketers have always believed that video content was great for SEO. However, there was never data to back it up. We now know that videos keep users on the page longer. To Google, this means the site is attractive to users, which is great news for SEO. Adding video is definitely a great way to help you in the search rankings. But how much is too much?

Social Media Today shared that videos up to 2 minutes long receive the highest engagement. Additionally, 65% of people who open a video for 3 seconds will watch for as least 10 seconds. 45% of people will watch for at least 30 seconds. Experts believe that budgets for this content creation will become much larger now with proven SEO benefits.

Ease Of Video Content Creation

Producing quality video content is not a far-fetched task.  Companies have invested in or outsourced full production including top-of-the-line cameras and tech in the past. It’s worth noting that 85% of Facebook videos are watched without sound, when sound was traditionally the measure of quality. Now, the focus is more on creating authentic content that is relevant and relatable to your audience. 

Studies show that millennials prefer content that is relatable and find it more entertaining. Videos uploaded to YouTube, Facebook and Instagram match their interests through short videos. Most of these videos are no longer than 60 seconds. They are produced by young users and are recorded on their personal cameras or smartphones. Popular users receive hundreds of thousands of views per video.

Businesses can take this same approach or pay these individuals to create content to use themselves. Businesses can also sponsor a video post to the page of an “influencer” to reach their respective, potentially massive audience size. If you want to come up with your own content, there are tremendous new services like Slidely that allow you to create high-quality videos for cheap, on a subscription basis.

YouTube is a great home base for publishing, but every social media platform provides great opportunities to share video content. Check in with our social media series regularly for tips on sharing videos across the different platforms.

85% of businesses now have internal teams producing exclusive video content for their brand. 73% plan to increase their production of it. A quarter of marketers and small business owners feel they need to up their video content marketing efforts. Needless to say that content planning focus will shift to the learning and creation of video throughout 2018.

Will you be prepared?

Going The Extra Mile With Client Satisfaction

keeping clients happyKeeping clients happy 24/7 is a heavy weight to carry on your shoulders. The stress of daily life and other outside factors are things that you as a business owner will never be able to control. What you can control are your efforts to keep them satisfied, especially when things go wrong. Your clients will recognize when you go out of your way to meet their needs in an unfavorable situation. Here are some tips to for keeping clients satisfied.

1. Understand Client Needs

Be fully aware of their wants and needs as a client before you start a project or provide a service/product for them. You might spend weeks perfecting a financial plan or an ad pitch, but if you don’t understand their goals or their company values, you’re running the risk of missing the mark — big time! You also just wasted your own valuable time. Nowyou’re back to square one, with a client quickly losing their patience.

2. Admit Faults Right Away

Call out your mistakes when the problem is on your end. Openly taking responsibility will let your client know you’re a trustworthy person and not into games and gimmicks. Address your mistake and keep moving forward. Admitting faults naturally comes with a heightened sense of awareness, which can be achieved with mindfulness practice.

3. Thoughtfulness vs. Generosity

Constantly showering clients with gifts, promotional items, etc. can often be perceived as sucking up, especially when you’re in the wrong. Being purposeful with your gifting for business milestones, career milestones, awards, birthdays and various accomplishments will be the most genuine and appreciated gestures. Adding small perks when you do slip up never hurts, though. Just do it wisely.

4. Consistency Is Key!

Match these efforts when things are going right, too. Holding yourself to an advanced level of customer service at all times will not only create a positive name for yourself, but will strengthen the relationship between you and your client. When your client is happy, everyone is happy.

The New GOP Tax Plan: What It Means For You

the new gop tax planThe Senate worked overtime as they felt the heat to pass their tax bill. After many last minute revisions, the new GOP tax plan – a $1.51 trillion dollar plan passed in the early hours of the morning – provides tax cuts for businesses and individuals with the end goal of America competing at the top of the world market.

When you break down the new GOP tax plan, many of the benefits are presented to corporate entities. The proposed 25% rate on pass-through income tax is fantastic compared to the almost 40% rate that some LLCs, sole prop, and s-corps currently face now. However only 30% of your income will be taxed at the 25% rate as business income. The other 70% is wage income and will be subject to the regular tax rate. Unfortunately, this lower rate really only applies to the medical field. Anyone practicing law, accounting, engineering, entertainment, and other major fields do not receive such direct benefits. The new plan highlights tax write-offs for equipment, etc. which currently start at $500k and are proposed to expand to $5 million. This may or may not trigger economic activity. That is the goal of the bill, however whether what will happen remains to be seen.

At the end of the day, we’re individuals filing taxes, regardless of being a small business owner or not. Mark J. Kohler, a CPA and attorney states that this new plan is focused on “simplifying tax planning”. While the tax code can be frustrating and overwhelming for many Americans, Kohler explains that the new GOP tax plan will attempt to simplify tax filing by eliminating write-offs. The motivation to participate in activities such as donating to churches, clothing drives, or support adoption services will decrease. It may even turn some individuals away from doing so altogether.

The objective of this plan is that small and large businesses will stimulate the economy. Some career fields may be adversely affected by the bill. It’s safe to say individuals will lose motivation to partake in charitable contributions. The rest only time will tell.

Social Media For Small Business Owners: Getting Started (Part 1)

social media for small business ownersIf you’re just now joining the world of social media, we’re going to prepare you to hit the ground running. Social media for small business owners is one of the most valuable things you can learn. Each week we will focus on a new social site to help guide your content creation on that specific platform through our Social Media Series. Topics and keywords we will cover include driving sales, “how to”, product knowledge, customer support, and customer engagement. To get started, here are our guidelines to keep at top of mind before hitting the “post” button.

Delegate responsibility on social media.

You will most likely be active on multiple social media platforms. It’s important to share content that comes from one voice (your brand’s) and flows seamlessly across these platforms. Select one person to handle all content creation and posting or create a team to tackle it together. Choosing between one person and a team should depend on the number of platforms you will utilize and how often you will be posting. Because social media is such an incredible (and free) marketing tool, consider candidates with a marketing or PR background. They understand your brand identity and how you want be portrayed in the media.

Know which platforms are right for you.

Throughout this series, we will focus on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and YouTube. We consider the first three the standard platforms to be on. Not every platform is appropriate for every type of business. With its diverse user base and all of its features like text, photos, videos, live streamed video, and more, Facebook is a great place to start.

Target the right demographic.

Social media is very generation sensitive. Are you looking to reach the pre-teen/Gen Z crowd? You won’t find them on Facebook. Try Snapchat or YouTube instead. Facebook is better suited for Gen Y, Baby Boomers and most millennials. When you start to develop your content calendar, you will learn who you want to reach and how you want to reach them. Selecting your platforms will make perfect sense.

What is a content calendar?

A content calendar is a way of organizing the content you want to share with your followers. It includes which platforms to post on, and when you will share it. Blog posts, Instagram photos, tweets, and Facebook statuses are just a few ways to share content. Each method will receive very different feedback. Wondering where to start on content creation? You should first decide what your purpose is for being on social media and what target market are you trying to reach and go from there.

Check back next week for our Facebook guide where we’ll highlight engagement monitoring, paid advertisements, trackable URLs, and live streaming. Along the way, we’ll also share cool (and mostly free) social media tools to help you save money.

5 Savings Tips for Small Business Owners

5 savings tipsMost small business owners share the challenge of pursuing growth while on a budget. Keeping processes lean can help redirect resources to more important areas of your business. Here are 5 savings tips that any small business owner can implement.


1. Hiring by contract

These days, small businesses are looking for alternate options to the conventional approach of hiring employees. Full-time staff can require from the business various commitments such as paid time off, health insurance, or other benefits. Hiring independent contractors for non-core work can be cheaper, easier to source, and can require less responsibility. The main expectation is that work completed is paid for.


2. Outsourcing Hands-on Tasks

Setting out what should be completed in-house and what to outsource can play a major role in the reduction of costs. Outsourcing work-specific tasks allows full-time employees to spend time on more critical, strategic work – increasing overall productivity.


3. Telecommuting

In order to cut costs, an increasingly popular option for businesses is telecommuting. There are various benefits that can make a difference, not to mention the potential to heighten employee work satisfaction. Travel and commuting costs for employees are reduced, including the time lost during the commute. With minimal physical office space to maintain, utility costs are also reduced.


4. Go Paperless

Reliance on paper leads to waste and further costs such as containers and pickup. If your business is printing materials that could be viewed electronically, do so. If paper is used, having a recycling program in place, or utilize double-sided printing.


5. Focus Marketing Efforts

Many businesses learn about what works and what doesn’t in marketing by way of trial and error. Taking the time to review your marketing strategy can help focus on efforts that yield success faster. If a marketing effort is bringing low return, it’s time to reinvest into a better option.


Donald Trump’s Tax Reform Plan

donald trump's tax reform plan

During the campaign trail, President Donald Trump made many assurances to his electorates, including positive growth for small businesses across the nation. By promising that their concerns would be addressed, Trump gained the votes of many. Over time however, various concerns have been brought to the forefront for small business owners. One of the largest being a tax burden that has been affecting their business growth. This has to lead to Donald Trump’s tax reform plan proposal every business owner should know about. 

Donald Trump’s Tax Reform Plan: Good or Bad?

Trump’s popularity has been on the decline, however his proposed tax reform policy has been the focus of many discussions. With potential positive effects on tax for small businesses, this proposal is expected to pass at the end of this year. A major tax break, otherwise known as “full expensing”, allows the ability to write off capital investments as tax deductions. This includes essential purchases such as new equipment and other business expenditures. Assuming this proposal will be passed, this could accelerate the expansion of small businesses towards the direction of long-term economic growth.

From an alternate perspective, there are some parts of the tax reform plans that will not benefit small businesses. The administration’s latest proposal does not include changes to fix loopholes that give advantages to wealthier corporations, including those owned by Trump. Without closing such loopholes, it will become increasingly difficult to level the playing field between small businesses and large companies. Allowing larger firms to utilize these loopholes to avoid taxes makes it an impossible challenge for smaller business competitors to keep up.

Evening The Playing Field

Despite the odds, over one-third of small business owners neither understand, nor take advantage, of potential tax deductions. Over two-thirds depend on a CPA or outside tax assistance to bridge the gap, adding additional costs to their bottom line. Those in favor of both an affordable and manageable tax system seek to take better control over their business and sustainable growth.

While conversations about Trump and his administration mainly hover around immigration and “the wall”, small business owners eagerly await tax reform improvements. Whether the proposals will hold true to Trump’s word remains to be seen. If the current administration presses forward on economic and regulatory issues centered around small businesses, owners would feel confident in the country’s future. As large corporations continue to swallow the competition, an even playing field will help improve industries across the US. It’s important for small business owners to pay attention to changes and take a stronger stance in ensuring that their voices are heard.




Mindfulness Tips for Small Business Owners To Reduce Stress & Anxiety

mindfulness tipsIncorporating aspects of mindfulness and meditation into your daily work routine can benefit your business in a great way. Mindfulness is an important tool that can keep you focused and even minimize the tendency for perfectionism. Reducing stress levels and improving sleep quality with meditation practice can boost creativity and productivity. Letting go is major part of mindfulness and meditation, something that many business owners can find challenging. However once this ability has been harnessed, there opens up plenty more room for progress in self-awareness and compassion. Try these mindfulness tips each day which should only take a few moments of your time, and very well worth it.

Mindful Tip #1 – Make it a mindful morning

Starting your day off right really sets the motion for the rest of the day. Take some time to breathe. Some advocate getting a timer, but taking a few minutes to inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth is a good place to start. Begin by breathing in for 4 seconds, holding the breath for 4 additional seconds and then exhaling for 6 seconds. With repetition this practice this can become more natural, while safely building up to more extended breaths. Cycles of deep breathing stimulates physiological relaxation, a state of body and mind that can keep you mentally prepared. Remember, it all starts with just one breath in the morning.

Mindful Tip #2 – Take a moment to use your senses

Wherever you may find yourself throughout the work day – on a bench outside or at your desk – be mindful of the moment. Becoming mindful of your surroundings can be done anywhere. Instead of staring at your phone while having lunch, put it away – let yourself enjoy your meal. While outdoors, take a second to be aware of the scent of freshly cut grass or the feeling of a crisp breeze. If you can appreciate the small things, you will find yourself having much to be grateful for. One trick we like is called the “5 Sense Check In”. This mindfulness tip is easy – simply stop and ask yourself what you’re seeing, what are you smelling, what are you hearing, what do you taste and what do you feel (physically and emotionally). Simply being aware of this continuously throughout the day can reduce stress and anxiety tremendously.

Mindful Tip #3 – Make time to meditate

Many professionals find that making meditation a priority can be life changing. If you’re stressed, take a moment to disconnect from your devices and rebalance. Set aside 1-5 minutes to sit quietly and focus on your breathing. Thoughts will naturally come to mind, but when this happens, just observe them without judgement and let them go. A great app to have on your phone is “One-Moment Meditation”, recommended by many for its ability to get you meditating quickly. Making time for more in-depth meditation sessions will provide faster results. Take advantage of quiet spaces such as a meeting room at work, or inside your car. Make your mental balance a priority and you will find that much more gets done. Consistency is key to notice a life change; witnessing the changes that meditation brings will keep you motivated.

5 Best Smartphone Apps for Small Business Owners

best smartphone appsSmall business owners are turning to mobile apps to grow their business while on the go. With thousands of Android and iOS apps on the market, we’ve identified the best smartphone apps for improving workflow and increasing communication.

  1. Google Drive – Free (Android & iOS)

Every small business owner will find that it is imperative to keep documents organized. Google Drive has been a great solution for small businesses for quite some time due to its multi-platform accessibility and ease of use. All documents and files can be edited, stored, backed up, exported and accessed from any device with internet connectivity. In Google Docs, users can write, create presentations or fill spreadsheets. All revisions in documents are saved for future review or for any quick undos. At no cost, this app will bring a more seamless experience to document access, organization, and collaboration.

  1. Quickbooks Online – Free, plus subscription (Android & iOS)

Regarded as the best accounting software for small business owners, especially those without accounting experience, Quickbooks Online is practical to use. With advantageous tools to monitor and manage finances, this app is perfect for the need to send out invoices, or review finances. If any troubleshooting is required, there is free live support available via chat or phone. Using a well-utilized tool is another benefit, especially for bringing on accountants and bookkeepers. Other features include the creation of budgets and financial statements; inventory tracking; and payroll.

  1. Slack – Free (Android & iOS)

For keeping on top of communication with the team, Slack has become the go-to for many small businesses. Collaboration with colleagues has never been an easier task, with enhanced messaging and app integrations all in one place. Slack’s tools range from sharing to-do lists and collaborating on documents, to getting projects off the ground quickly and efficiently. Users rave about how much easier, yet more productive, their work processes have become. With availability on all devices, employees can get in touch with team members quickly, from anywhere. Integration options are available with platforms such as Google Drive, Dropbox, Salesforce and Zendesk. This is one of the best smartphone apps in our opinion.

  1. Trello – Free (Android & iOS)

For those looking for a greater focus on productivity, Trello is the perfect app to organize tasks from a high-level perspective. Focusing on building business rather than spending time with status update meetings is what makes Trello so beneficial. Via the use of boards, workflows can be organized independently or with team member collaboration. To-do’s and tasks can be added, assigned and commented on. Boards sync automatically, and working offline is easy. Integration with external apps make it a perfect central location for task management and project visibility. With the added ability to upload photos and videos, users can also attach files from Dropbox and Google Drive.

  1. Hootsuite – Free (Android & iOS)

Syncing all social media accounts to Hootsuite and managing them via the dashboard makes it simple to manage social media. For up to 3 social network accounts, businesses are able to benefit from its usage without any added cost. All features of publishing, uploading photos, and auto-scheduling posts are available with this free version. Another great feature is the link shortener, a quick way to track click-through report analytics. For both posting and monitoring, Hootsuite is the top all-in-one social media solution for smart phone apps.


Debt Financing vs. Equity: Which Is Best For Your Business?

debt financingWhen it comes to raising money for your small business, there are many options to choose from. Small business owners can raise money from angel investors, obtain debt financing, or invest their life savings into the business. Ideally you don’t have to put up funds to keep your business going, which brings into question, what is best for your business, incurring debt or selling equity? First, a brief overview.


Debt vs. Equity: High Level Overview

When you take out a loan for your business, you incur debt and must pay back your lender. When you sell equity, you give up a percentage of ownership in exchange for the funds. Sometimes equity deals require you to pay a portion of profits to the investor, but usually the investor just receives their percentage of the sale price if you happen to sell your business.


Debt Financing: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly

Debt financing has many advantages and disadvantages, depending on your situation. The advantages include:

  • A vast array of products to choose from
  • Non-dilutive, you do not have to give up any equity
  • Debt financing is the cheapest pricing available for small business owners – cheaper than equity, cheaper than alternative funding products like merchant cash advances, and cheaper than using your own money.
  • Although there are many covenants and promises contained within any loan agreement, there are less strings attached than those you have with an investor.

One of the main advantages of debt financing is the vast array of products you can choose from, that best fit your business. The following are all debt financing products:

  • Small business loans: general working capital for your business operations (6-18 month terms)
  • Term loans: 3-5 year loans for expansion, acquisition of a competitor or opening up a new location
  • Lines of credit: funds you can draw upon as you need them, collateralized by inventory or accounts receivable
  • Invoice financing: advances against an asset called accounts receivable
  • SBA loans: 5-10 year loans for expansion, acquisition and general working capital.
  • Equipment loans: funds from the lender are specifically used to buy equipment, which serves as the collateral for the lender (i.e. you do not have to have any collateral to obtain the loan; the equipment purchased with the loan proceeds is the collateral itself. This is called a “purchase money security interest” or PMSI deal).

The disadvantages of debt financing include the repercussions associated with default and the potential damage to your credit score. Most debt financing products require a personal guarantee, which places any personal assets you own at risk should you default on the loan. Although the lender has the right to take your business assets as well, they don’t have to go after your business assets first in the event of a default. They can go after your personal assets or your business assets in any order they choose. Additionally, defaulting on a business loan can affect your business and personal credit, thus making it more difficult to get a loan in the future.

As a general rule of thumb, you should only incur debt if you have a proven and successful business model, and a clear path to revenue with the new funds (i.e. acquiring a new business with the loan proceeds, the cash flow of which can service the debt payments).


Selling Equity: Good for Some, Not for Others

Like incurring debt, selling equity has its advantages and disadvantages and these depend on the business owner’s goals and aspirations. The biggest downside to selling equity is that you give up a percentage of future profits for life, including proceeds from a sale.

If you’re looking for an investor, make sure they’re a strategic investor that is going to create value for your company – by doing things like introducing you to potential customers and referral partners. What you don’t want is an investor who doesn’t contribute anything. These are normally called “silent investors”, and you effectively work for them because a percentage of your profits is theirs forever (technically).

However if you have investors that are increasing the size of the pie for everyone – including your share – then it becomes far more palatable to give up a portion of profits for life.

Also, another downside to investors is that they often want control. Be careful when reading the legal documents to make sure that you will still have the freedom to operate with discretion in the day to day of your business. The last thing you want is to have to run everything by your investor, as they can severely hinder your growth if they try to protect their money with an iron fist. You need an investor who trusts you, believes in you and your business model, and will give you the freedom to operate (within reason, of course). The upside is that if things go south, that’s the risk the investors are willing to take (unlike a lender, who will take your assets).

You must weigh these options and interview both lenders and investors as if you’re interviewing a new hire. Drill them with questions to find out if they’re the right fit for you.

Slow Season Survival Tips for Small Business Owners

slow season survival tipsSlow seasons can be difficult for small business owners. Seasonal setbacks can arise that take a toll on stretched budgets and exploring new growth opportunities. Below are some slow season survival tips for small business owners used by various clients of ours. We hope you find them just as useful!

1. Offer products/services that are applicable all season

A good way to generate extra revenue is to bring on new products/services that extend beyond the seasons. Many business owners can find consistent sales difficult when certain products or services are seasonal. Services such as tanning salons find a higher uptick in the winter, with less volume in the summer; similar can be said about selling patio furniture in the winter months.

In order to circumvent a drop in sales over seasonal products and services, small business owners have traditionally used creative ideas to keep sales up during the off-season. Landscaping business can turn to tree and snow removal services in the winter to keep things running, and food trucks and seasonal restaurants can introduce new menu items to reflect the change of season. Retail stores can rotate new product lines, putting their off-season products in storage (or sell them to resellers and off-price stores) to make way for the upcoming months.

It’s important for small business owners to listen and learn about their customer’s habits. By identifying new areas of opportunity in their daily routine, businesses can sell new seasonal products and services to keep the revenue balanced throughout the sales year.

2. Spread operating costs and other expenditures out.

Seasonal businesses usually find finances to be most strained just before the prime season begins. It is always good for business owners to make a calendar-based budget to keep track of all steps along the way. Points to note should include personal tips such as the best times to hire staff, make business purchases, etc. This allows the business to allot necessary funds proportionately based on prior knowledge, efficiently and with ease. Viewing the budget on a monthly basis, or only focusing annually, is not the best way to ensure a business’ cash flow runs smoothly. Rather, budget for the year ahead, with view of the years to come – as this way the business owner can keep funds in their pocket to buffer any slow seasons ahead.

3. Try to negotiate contract terms with suppliers

It can benefit to speak with suppliers and make an attempt to negotiate contract terms. Talking to suppliers and vendors can help create more favorable credit terms, or to even modify existing contracts so that they work better for the business.

An example would be changing annual advertising contracts to seasonal contracts – saving a lot of money and giving more control over finances. Remember, it doesn’t hurt to ask! Many businesses find that suppliers are willing to grant seasonal businesses extended payment terms or offer similar arrangements to assist during slower business periods. Good relationships with vendors can help make this a possibility, especially when payments are made on time, sales volume is high, and when there has been a long history of business together.

4. Secure flexible working: #1 of all slow season survival tips

My financing institutions prefer to fund businesses just ahead of their busy season, because they know they will collect their money. Similarly, business owners prefer to have funds available just prior to busy season because they can deploy funds into revenue-generating activities. This allows the business owner to pay the financing institution back with new customer money (instead of having to tap into existing cash flow). Please let us know if we can do anything to secure you flexible working capital.

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