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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Invoice financing: A great way to deal with cash flow problems

By Dan Radak

It is quite common for startups to have cash flow problems. There’s a lot spending you will have to do when starting a small business, but chances are, money won’t start flowing into your business straight away. In fact, cash flow problems are one of the most common issues startups have to deal with. A large number of business owners finds invoice financing a perfect solution for problems like this. Make sure you keep reading to find out more.

What is invoice financing?

First of all, it’s necessary to say what invoice financing actually is. It’s a process where your business can use its unpaid invoices in order to get a loan from an individual, entity or another business. There are two types of arrangements you can make when it comes to invoice financing. In the first type, invoice buyers can buy off your business invoices for a lower price. In the second type, they can buy your business invoices for a regular price but charge you according to the debtor’s credit score and due date of your invoices.

Is it a long-term strategy?

Even though many business owners see this only as a short-term strategy for obtaining enough money to keep the business going, invoice financing can also be a perfect long-term strategy for your business. A great thing about it is that it allows your business to offer your customers flexible and lengthy repayment plans without having any cash flow problems. It’s also important to mention that since this is a discrete process, your customers won’t always know that you’re using invoice financing. This means they’ll be ready to do business with you just like with any other business out there.

How does it compare to regular business loans?

It’s also important to mention that invoice loans are a better alternative to regular business loans. There are many advantages invoice financing brings. First of all, it doesn’t create any debt for your business. No debt of course means you will be able to focus on investing the profit you make instead of paying off the money you owe. Another great thing about invoice financing is that allowed amounts of money always depend on your sales figure and therefore, you can’t lead your business to bankruptcy by opting for loans that you won’t be able to repay.

Can it be used as a way of debt recovery?

There are many business owners who like to use this concept as a way to relieve their businesses from bad debt. Even though invoice financing seems like a great opportunity to get out of a debt, you should only do it when you are 100% sure you will be able to recover all the debt from your customers. When you take an invoice loan, you haven’t sold your claims, you have simply used them as a deposit and you still have to charge your invoices and pay back the amount of money that has been agreed.

Invoice financing is a great way to fund a small business that has just entered the market. Opting for invoice loans means your business won’t have any cash flow problems anymore and you will be able to focus on making profit.


About the authorDan Radak is a marketing professional with ten years of experience. He is a coauthor on several websites and regular contributor to BizzMark Blog. Currently, he is working with a number of companies in the field of digital marketing, closely collaborating with a couple of e-commerce companies.

Images: Author owned and licensed

Monday, September 26, 2016

Environmentally conscious outfit brands

Sustainable clothing is Earth friendly and environmentally conscious
Dress made of recycled book pages
By Jennifer Broflowski

We all love fashion, but it’s no secret that there have been some pretty murky practices in the clothing industry over the years – Sweatshops, animal furs and hides, and unchecked pollution are just some examples. However, certain brands are taking a stand against harmful practices these days, so we thought we’d give you some student advice on the best brands to shop with:

ASOS Eco Edit


For a one-stop shop solution to eco-friendly shopping, log on to Internet fashion retail giant ASOS in the Eco Edit range. Every brand and item in the range conforms to a set of strict guidelines set out by ASOS on fair trade, employment rights and sustainability, so you know that you can shop away with a clear conscience! There a huge range of ASOS-branded wear as well as other designer labels, so there’s plenty to choose from.

H&M Conscious


H&M’s Conscious Collection is built around seven principles, which are: To provide fashion for conscious customers; choose and reward responsible partners; be ethical; be climate smart; reduce, reuse and recycle; use natural resources responsibly; and finally, to strengthen communities. This includes not using any real furs or leathers, or skincare products tested on animals, avoiding products made with harmful chemicals, and only working with partners who treat workers fairly.

Monsoon


Monsoon is all about the rights of workers, both at home and internationally. The brand boasts an ethical compliance team dedicated solely to making sure that all of their production facilities around the world adhere to its strict Code of Conduct. The Code of Conduct sets out minimum requirements on working conditions, levels of pay and workers’ rights. This way you can buy their products safe in the knowledge that they have never come from a sweatshop!

Loomstate


Loomstate is a brand that has developed sustainability as a core principle of their brand from the outset. A key part of this is using exclusively organic cotton in all of their products. The reason for this is that organic cotton avoids the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides that are responsible for poisoning the earth and killing bees. In addition, cotton seed as a byproduct of cotton farming is used to feed cows, so the organic cotton seeds from Loomstate’s cotton goes to feed organically-raised cows.

Freedom of Animals


With a name like this, you kind of get the idea! This brand is committed to producing stylish and fashionable accessories using strictly vegan practices, which means no leather at all. Their cruelty-free luxury bags are made using materials comprised of organic cotton and recycled polyurethane, which is a safer alternative to PVC. The plastic linings in the bags are made from recycled water bottles, and the zippers are recycled metals. It doesn’t get much greener than this!

Eco-conscious fashion isn’t just for the Earth – it makes business sense as well, as more and more people are getting wise to irresponsible industry. You can take a stand with your choices in fashion as well, and speak with your wallet by only choosing earth-friendly brands. This is more like killing two birds with one stone – fashion and environmental conservation awareness. 

About the author: The author is really into giving any kind of student advice to make life in college more pleasant and unique.

Image: Ryan Jude Novelline; The Golden Book Gown; CC BY-S.A 3.0

3 reasons property managers should have trees pruned

Trimming trees on your rental property should be a part of the regular maintenance program. It should also be done as a preventative measure to keep trees healthy on the property.

Tree branches should be trimmed when they're dead or diseased. The best time to trim branches is in the winter. Traditionally, property owners will trim trees in the spring, but that's when the tree is pushing out buds. That energy can't be easily directed to healing cuts from branch pruning. Winter is also when it can cost less to hire a tree pruning service.

Why do you need to trim branches?


You should be inspecting the trees on the property every few months looking for broken, dead or diseased branches since they can cause safety hazards. There are three more reasons that trees should be pruned.

1. Clearance around the building


Trimmed trees enhance beauty and safety
There are times when trees are too close to the buildings. As a good rule, there should be at least 10 feet of clearance between the trees and any buildings on the property.

The trees closest to the building should be trimmed completely, not just on the side closest to the building.Trim all sides of the tree to get a uniform shape to the tree. Otherwise, when the tree grows, it could end up being lopsided and off-balance. Make sure the trimming doesn't look strange from the side.

If you're unsure of the best way to trim the tree for the best shape, have an arborist consult with you about your tree trimming maintenance or hire a company that will perform the service for you.

2. Accessible parking for customers or tenants


Whether your property is commercial or residential, tenants, customers or visitors will need clearance for their vehicles. Tree branches can often overwhelm parking lots. They grow over parking spots and create a hazard for vehicles. If there are vans and trucks frequenting the parking lot, they could block visibility for drivers.

The trees should not obstruct any security lighting, so that customers and tenants are safe at night. Safety in a parking lot can be a huge concern.

Even if the trees are not directly overshadowing the parking lot, they should be trimmed to avoid branches that might break and fall on vehicles or pedestrians.

3. Trees can block visibility


If your property is a retail business, trees can block the signs of the businesses on the property. There should be good visibility and sight lines for traffic. Customers will need to find the business' sign and address to shop there. When customers have a hard time finding a business, they'll shop elsewhere for convenience.

Residential property signs should be visible from the street too. House numbers or community names on buildings can be blocked by trees with too many overhanging branches. While trees are beautiful for landscaping, they can create a messy front of the property when they're not trimmed.

Tree trimming should be done by all property managers as part of routine maintenance before there are any issues with broken or hanging branches. You want to avoid an accident or blocking of the tenant's enjoyment of the space. Be proactive and hire a professional if needed.

If you’re interested in tree trimming or stump removal try out Scottsdale Tree Trimmers. They are a full service cactus, tree, and stump removal company who have been around for years!

Images: 1. http://nyphotographi.com CC BY-SA 3.0;  2. Peter Griffin, US-PD

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Credit card payments costing you more?

Extra charges associated with credit card charges increase costs
Extra credit card charges raise total costs
By Andrew Reilly

There are few more annoying things in life like surcharges or hidden charges that only pop at the end of the buying process. If you are faced with these charges up front, you can make your own mind up about whether you want to pay it or not. However, when you work your way through all of the stages and then find a new charge just as you are about to click the Buy Now button, many people will feel aggrieved.

The situation may not be as bad now as it was a few years ago, but this is only because most consumers are aware of these additional charges and can think ahead. It hasn’t improved because of good work by credit card companies or businesses, so as per usual, it is the consumer that ends up losing out or paying more. This is the sort of charge or additional fee that most people will moan about but in the end, a lot of people won’t do anything. They’ll shrug their shoulders, they’ll promise to moan on social media but they click and pay the additional fee with a minimum of fuss and effort. This is why things don’t change because people are all too happy just to accept what goes on.

You can see why many people will pay for flights with a credit card. This may be a cost that you need to take care of quickly and if you don’t have enough in your standard bank account, it can be good to snap up the best prices, or the only flights, when you have the chance.

There is also the fact that many people booking flights may be doing so for work or on behalf of a group of friends. This can see them paying a larger amount of money which means that they need some form of credit option to be able to afford all of the seats in one go. There is also the fact that many people appreciate the convenience that comes from using a credit card when making this style of purchase.

A stand is being taken against credit card charges

However, there are some people who are willing to take a stand against these charges and one consumer group, Fairer Finance, FF, is railing against airlines charging too much for consumers paying with a credit card. The organisation has named airlines such as Ryanair, Monarch and Flybe and stated that they may actually be in breach of rules and regulations. This is because airlines are only allowed to provide charges that are a reflection of genuine costs.

Monarch and Flybe have been named as the biggest offenders, charging 3% on top of bookings. The same organisation has also rallied against a number of local authorities, saying that they charge too much money when looking for people to pay by credit card.

This is an issue that could be taken up by Trading Standards teams and there has been a call for this agency to do more in working against these firms. Flybe and Monarch not only both have a 3% surcharge, they charge a minimum £5 for surcharges. If you have a bill come to £500 you’ll find that you end up paying an additional £15 when you pay by credit card.

Be sure you know what the final charge is

Ryanair and Flight Centre both have a 2% surcharge on their credit card charges. Passengers who are able to pay by PayPal don’t have to pay any surcharge, and it is the inconsistency that many people are annoyed with. If there was a flat surcharge fee, there would likely be an acceptance but the fact that many people don’t know the total cost until they know what payment system they are going to use is a bit annoying.

This is an area of consumer finance that has long been an issue for many people but unless more pressure is placed on these companies, it is unlikely to change too much. This is why the work of Fairer Finance is of interest to many consumers and if you are looking to make the most of your finances, be sure that you choose the most effective option when making a payment.

Sometimes paying by credit card is convenient but it could cost you more money in the long run.

About the author: Andrew Reilly is a freelance writer with a focus on news stories and consumer interest articles. He has been writing professionally for 9 years but has been writing for as long as he can care to remember. When Andrew isn't sat behind a laptop or researching a story, he will be found watching a gig or a game of football.

Image: 401(k) 2012/Flickr; CC BY-SA 2.0