Friday, July 29, 2011

Buying Tools and Equipment with a Merchant Cash Advance

Why is it that only some people are able to take advantage of great deals while others are left wishing for the wherewithal to advance their lives and businesses? It’s true that there are plenty of ways to save money — if your business has the cash on hand to spend when the timing is right. But if it seems that the only time a good deal comes along is precisely when your business is in the weeds, consider using a Merchant Cash Advance to buy the tools or equipment available to those who can close the deal when it’s offered.

Great deals on new and used equipment, be it business tools like software, new computers and/or office equipment, or tools and machinery specific to your business, e.g., lawnmowers for landscapers, dishwashers for restaurants, day-care operators and salons, etc., are available through a variety of sources. Some deals may be had throughout the year, while others are best purchased at the end of a season or at the start of a new product launch. Still other deals are won simply by being in the right place at the right time—with cash in hand. For example, when attending a trade show, make your best business deal on the last day. Come Sunday, the last thing a manufacturer’s rep wants to do is crate up and ship home the equipments he’s been demonstrating all weekend.

If your business can’t afford this latest model, consider picking up last year’s release. If the equipment will enhance and/or improve your business, it’s an investment and a good use of a Merchant Cash Advance.

Buying used (pre-owned) machinery, tools and equipment can save money on expansion costs, increase productivity, business assets and net worth.

Look for nearly new equipment from bankruptcies, repossessions, plant liquidations and over-stocked inventory. Find these deals on the websites of business associations and user-groups specific to your business. While searching and interacting with your business peers, don’t forget to place an ad for Equipment Needed.

In addition, check out auctions, either online or live. Equipment here sells at a fraction of the original price, though be aware that this purchase is “as is.” Still, ask questions, negotiate repairs and have cash on hand to buy right then. Good buying is all about good timing.

Buying straight from the dealer may be another way to use a Merchant Cash Advance to make the best deal. As always, get references for new dealers.

Create a calendar of best times to buy and be prepared with investment cash to shop for appliances and health insurance in the fall. In winter, look for linens (including towels), carpeting and flooring. According to the American Home Furnishing Alliance, new furniture styles hit the showrooms in February, therefore expect to cash in on discounts of 10% to 50% on furniture in January. Also, because the Consumer Electronics Show and Photo Marketing Association conventions are held in mid-winter, which means new camera models arrive at retailers to coincide, why not pick up a deal on last year’s digital camera models?

Come spring, look for winter and cold weather uniforms in order to stock up on supplies of hats, gloves and jackets. Be sure to check in with your business’ promotional products vendor for deals on screen printing and embroidery. These businesses are gearing up for summer but should have time and winter stock to sell at a bargain.

Finally, summer is another good time to buy furniture because the industry releases new models in both February and August. Summer is also a good time to buy office supplies, and, around Labor Day, to pick up summer-weight uniforms.

The way a Merchant Cash Advance works, your business gets the lump sum of capital needed right away. Spend that on whatever auto-related purchase your business needs. Then over time, the obligation is handled through your credit card processor and normal sales activity. (Learn more about how a Merchant Solutions Provider Operates works.)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Paying Vendors with a Merchant Cash Advance

Ah, cash flow. The challenge of keeping cash coming in and going out at an even pace has stymied even the best of businesses. Sometimes, the juggling act of meeting payroll, paying vendor bills, and overseeing accounts receivable and collections, all while keeping the operation going, is more pain than pleasure.

One of the most important relationships in business is the one between the business owner and the vendor. Vendors are so important, in fact, that many business owners think of their suppliers as partners. That said, the customer relationship is equally important. Does your business offer discounts to preferred customers? Does it negotiate discounts for early or cash payment? Remember that everyone’s vendor is someone else’s customer. How can you optimize your business’ relationship with vendors to keep discounts and other forms of savings flowing in?

Offer your business vendor the distinction of being your “preferred vendor.” Let them know they can count on repeat business. Give them an idea of the volume they can expect over a year. While you can use a Merchant Cash Advance to get this relationship going, remember that they are best used as an investment tool. Consider using a Merchant Cash Advance to establish the following discounts with your business’ vendors:

Negotiate cash discounts – For some businesses, owners can offer vendors prompt cash payment for a discount. Turn around is fair play, so don’t forget to offer your business customers the same kinds of discounts. Again, a Merchant Cash Advance to cover your business’ bills should only used in an emergency situation. Paying cash is not an emergency, but with discounts, it’s an opportunity to save. Put the savings in a “discount” account and watch it grow.

Negotiate early pay discounts – Offer your business vendor prompt payment in exchange for the discount. Everyone loves to be paid quickly. It eliminates the need to chase down the money that is due. Offer to pay within five to 10 days for a discount.

Be a prepaid or advance payment customer – For many vendors, requiring prepayments is something saved for customers with little or no credit. But why not become a prepaying customer to your business’ most secure vendors…at a discount, of course.

Conventional wisdom has it that companies improve cash flow by sitting on their cash, delaying paying their bills until the last minute, thus allowing that cash to earn interest. However, for companies with the available liquidity, paying bills faster, and taking the discount, but also making advance payments, can improve profitability and cash flow.

Remember, while a Merchant Cash Advance provides working capital that business owners can use to cover sudden expenses, disruptions in services, or to stabilize cash flow during emergencies, the best use for a Merchant Cash Advance is as an investment in your company’s growth.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Placing a "dot com" behind your business

In a Network Solutions study of Small Business Success, 56% of small businesses have websites. Are you apart of that 44% of small businesses without a website? It is imperative that business owners utilize technology to its full potential to advance in their industries. Establishing and maintaining a business website is a great way to keep your customers informed on updates and promotions as well as interact with your target market. A website can pose as another sales channel outside of the physical location to sell products/services.

According to Internet World Stats, in North America as of March 31, 2011 there were 272,066,000 internet users. Within that number of users is potential customers for your business. Consumers are no longer rushing to the physical yellow pages book to find a mechanic, good restaurant or hair salon. They are looking for the “dot coms” to not only find their desired product or service, but to get them the best fit for their needs based on local search results, reviews and current promotions.

Having a web site is beneficial to your business for many reasons such as cost reduction, efficient advertising, market expansion, and keeping your business competitive. Although their maybe some drawbacks for business owners who are not tech savvy, training and/or outsourcing for website maintenance are options for your business and its long term goals.

With more than 27% of small businesses on Facebook, some business owners have taken advantage of it as an official website for the company. This cuts costs of setting up an actual website and is easier for them to maintain.

Guy Kawasaki made great points to why business owners settle for a Facebook fan page versus a website to have an online presence for the business. Facebook allow businesses to instantly interact with them without having to build up a buzz about a live website. However, Kawasaki also mentioned that there are drawbacks by only utilizing Facebook Fan Page.

When looking to setup a business website, it is helpful to research other company sites to get an idea of where to begin. Knowing what your competitors sites look like and market is important to know. In addition, knowing your target market will come in handy when choosing the right templates, content, and graphics that will capture their attention as well as represent your company’s brand. Give visitors an experience that will persuade them to visit your physical location to patronize. Give your “brick and mortar” customers reasons to go online. Create a testimonial section and be sure to include all positive feed back with an area for satisfied customers to add their good experiences as well.

Let’s say you are running a spa business and a potential consumer who is not in your geographic market would like to purchase a spa day. Allowing this patron to purchase their package and make an appointment online will be seen as a convenience so when the spa day arrives, the customer can walk in and begin a day of relaxation with no hassle. You are not only reaching consumers who may not be within your geographic area but you are offering a convenient online experience for them. E-commerce can work for products and service, so adding this feature to your website will be beneficial.

Business websites are a great enhancement and if used properly can take your business to the next level.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Upgrading POS systems with a Merchant Cash Advance

For most retailers, restaurant owners and even service providers, like hairdressers, installing or upgrading a point of sale (POS) system is a mandatory part of doing business. At their most basic, POS systems are used to balance the cash drawer, process credit cards, run reports, count inventory, print checks, act as a time clock for employees, and control theft. Advanced systems can be used for even more sophisticated processes, including developing target marketing strategies, tracking supplier purchases, and analyzing sales of each inventory item. Indeed, a POS system customized for your business’ needs is more management tool than cash register.

Here’s a quick overview of the three basic kinds of POS systems and a checklist of individual elements of all POS systems to use when considering a Merchant Cash Advance (or any other funding) to upgrade your business’ system. Remember that each comes with a seemingly endless combination of features and add-ons, so it is important to know what your business can handle and what it needs to bring in more revenue.

Standalone ECRs – Because data collection is limited to each electronic register, this system is best used by small independent retailers with a limited number of register sites. ECRs are the least expensive of the POS systems, yet they provide many helpful features, including automatic sales and tax calculation; calculation of change owed to the customer; sales report generation; capacity to sort food stamps and trading stamps (through programming of function keys); and scanning. This may be enough for your business. Using a Merchant Cash Advance to upgrade an ECR system is great idea if your business is generating additional sales or if it needs to, say, monitor the buying patterns of existing customers.

Network Systems – For larger businesses, network or ECR-based point-of-sale systems feature multiple terminals arranged into a primary/secondary configuration. One ECR in the store, equipped with extra memory capacity, serves as the primary terminal and receives data from the secondary terminals. These systems give businesses the capacity to manage storewide data and transmit it to main frame systems.

Controller-Based POS Systems – The top POS systems are controller-based systems in which each terminal is connected to a computer-the "controller" of the system-which receives and stores all sales, merchandise and credit data. It then checks all data from the terminals for transmission errors and reformats the data for use by the headquarters computer.

Picking a System for Your Business

It may be best to keep the existing software-based POS system or even move to a web-based package, especially if your business is mobile. When looking to use a Merchant Cash Advance to build sales and save time and money, look at the following:

Hardware – This includes a PC or module, display, keyboard and mouse, high-quality cash drawer, barcode scanner, credit card reader, receipt printer and label printer.

Inventory and other features – How quickly can your employees locate items in the system? Quickness here speeds and enhances the checkout process for the business and the customer. Check out additional built-in options for layaways, multi-payment plans and gift certificates.

Customer tracking and labels – Why not track customer's lines of credit so that they can buy now and pay later? Stored customer information can also speed up shipping by having labels with a customer's address all ready to go. Most POS systems will print shipping labels, but only select systems will also do price tags, shelf tags and customized labels.

Employees and security – Choose a system that has multiple levels of security access and password protection. Most POS systems can be used for clocking in and out, tracking commissions and employee hours.

Help and support – This is probably the most important element to consider for your business. The best manufacturers provide training through videos and manuals, but providers should also offer technical help through FAQs and online tutorials, as well as 24/7 phone and email support. Aside from learning how to use them, POS systems can have issues just like any piece of equipment, so find a company that offers excellent tech support and a warranty.

Get What You Need Quickly

One of the benefits of a Merchant Cash Advance is that it is a very quick method of obtaining working capital – sometimes in as few as 72 hours. This speed-to-funding can be leveraged by the business, which is especially helpful when upgrading and improving essential parts of your business.

The way a Merchant Cash Advance works, your business gets the lump sum of capital needed right away. You can spend that on whatever purchase you need for the business. Then over time, the remittance is handled through your credit card processor and normal sales activity. (Learn more about how a Merchant Cash Advance works.)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

NewLogic Business Loan – Contender for The People’s Choice Award

We introduced you to NewLogic Business Loans, Inc. and its Flexible Loan Product in January 2011.


As noted, the “Mini-Payment” feature of NewLogic loans helps Business’ cash flow by creating smaller, more frequent payments instead of one lump sum monthly payment. Business Owners can choose one of two “Mini-Payment” plans. See Relevant links for more details.
Now NewLogic is a contender for the prestigious People’s Choice Award under the category of Favorite New Financial Service. NewLogic is in good company with fellow nominees American Express and Citizen’s Financial Group.
NewLogic Business Loans is our Favorite New Financial Service - make it yours! 

***Voting is now closed.  Thank you for your support***
Relevant links:
Post on NewLogic Business Loans, Inc.
NewLogic Business Loans, Inc. website:
How a NewLogic Business Loan works:
How High Risk Merchant Account Business Loan works:
NewLogic Payment Plans:
http://www.newlogicbusinessloans.com/loans.html (check out the illustration showing the difference between the two payment plans)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Using a Merchant Cash Advance for Product Development

What is product development and how can ready cash help your business develop new products and improve existing ones?

New product development is the process of developing a new product or service for the market and it will help ensure the future of your business. Without innovation, fresh products and new ways to deliver or enhance core services, your business truly cannot survive, much less thrive among market trends and changes. But that doesn’t mean every idea for a new product or service can or should be developed.

There are essentially three basic steps business owners should take to create a successful new business development plan:

Idea generation – Often referred to as the “fuzzy front end” of the new product development process, business owners at this step look for new ideas by doing basic research in market and consumer trends; watching their competitors; conducting focus groups; listening to existing customers, employees, vendors; going to trade shows and reading their industry magazines.

It is a good idea to generate as many ideas as possible, pushing for an impossible number, say, 1,000, will force your new business team to really use their imaginations. Out of these ideas, a few will survive through implementation. Ideas in hand, business owners need to invest time in confirming their target market and its size; identifying the buyer of the new product or service; determining the need for (and unique proposition) of it; and identifying how the product or service will be produced. Regardless of how small your business is, developing new products and services still requires more thought than impulse. For example, a screen printer adding a new line of promotional products is certainly taking less of a risk than the same printer adding a second machine, but the thought process is essentially the same.

Preliminary review – This step requires identifying costs involved in manufacturing and marketing a new product, including materials, direct labor, overhead costs, marketing and sales costs, accounting and administration costs, equipment costs, outside professional services such as lawyers, trademark agents, etc., and any other related costs. If your business has a track record for developing new products, a Merchant Cash Advance could be a good way to pay for these initial costs.

How can a Merchant Cash Advance help? – Your business may well benefit from an infusion of cash to use for targeting the existing and new markets, hiring a consultant in new business development to help steer the process (and avoid costly mistakes) and complete the preliminary review. Do not use a Merchant Cash Advance to speculate or give in to impulses, but once the product or service, its costs and its target market have been fully researched, a Merchant Cash Advance can be an appropriate way to fund new ideas.

Green light, go – Once the new product or service has been green-lighted, determine which additional resources, including people, equipment and additional cash your business needs to create a trial run. (Tip: Consider offering beta customers a discount in exchange for testing and feedback.)

The beta run will provide both product-driven and service businesses with information about economies of scale and costs. Is the product selling at a rate that warrants investment? Is the service economical to your business? Does your business need extra supplies and materials? Must employees be trained to handle the product or service? If so, think about using a Merchant Cash Advance to fund this stage of development.

The way a Merchant Cash Advance works, your business gets the lump sum of capital needed right away. Spend that on whatever new business-related purchases your business needs. Then over time, the remittance is handled through your credit card processor and normal sales activity. (Learn more about how a Merchant Cash Advance works.)

Once the new product or service is ready to move from beta to launch, business owners should build a marketing program that includes the price, promotions and place for the new product. Developing new products and services can be an expensive process, but the benefit is not only that your business can make a profit but also that it is viewed as a market leader in the industry with good, consistent product development.

How has your business used a Merchant Cash Advance? What Product Development is your business planning this year?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Social Landscape

Last month, CMO.com posted a one-page Guide to the Social Landscape, see link below.

If you and your business are new to social media, reading this is a good starting point. If you have dabbled in social media, this might confirm that you know what you are doing or, if not, help you get back on track.

The chart references the main social media sites and highlights what they might be useful for. If you are considering using Facebook to market your business, then the Guide shows you that it might be good for Customer Communication and Brand Exposure, but is not necessarily suggested for generating traffic or for search engine optimization.

Consider what your business goals are and see if you can align them with your planned social media goals. If traffic generation is a must for your business, then the Guide suggests using Digg and StumbleUpon. If Customer Communication is your business goal, then Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Tumblr.are the suggested sites.

At AdvanceMe, Inc., we posted an article on the Utilization of social media for your business. It is not color coded, but it is insightful. Check it out at http://www.advanceme.com/utilizingsocialmedia.htm

CMO’s 2011 Guide to the Social Landscape:

http://www.cmo.com/sites/default/files/CMOcom-SocialMediaLandscape2011.pdf