5 Ways Realtors Can Adjust During the Coronavirus Crisis

5 Ways Realtors Can Adjust During the Coronavirus Crisis

78 percent of realtors say the Coronavirus isn’t keeping home buyers away, but there are still some things you can do to keep your pipeline filled until the national emergency has passed.

Has Coronavirus Impacted the Real Estate Market?

In general, the impact of the Coronavirus has not yet made its way into the real estate market. However, that may change nationally or in local regions should larger outbreaks occur or state and regional authorities issue restrictions. According to the National Association of Realtors’ March 9-10 Economic Pulse Flash Survey,

  • 37% – Home buyers’ enthusiasm over low mortgage rates exceeded concerns about stock market fluctuation
  • 78% – Novel Coronavirus has not changed levels of buyer interest
  • 16% – Buyer interest decreased due to Coronavirus (of note, 21% of California responders and 19% of Washington responders – states with higher instances of the virus – said buyer interest had waned)
  • 87% – Coronavirus has not had an affect on the number of homes on the market
  • 5% of Washington members and 4% California members reported sellers taking homes off the market vs. 3% nationwide

View NAR’s Economic Pulse Flash Survey full report

Will the Coronavirus Impact the Real Estate Market?

In March, the President declared a national emergency due to the potential spread of COVID-19 virus in the US. International travel and guidelines for social distancing for everyone in the United States. Understandably, this could impact real estate investors, home buyers and sellers in the immediate future:

  • Home buyers fearful of attending open houses or touring homes due to risk of exposure
  • Home sellers who do not want to open their homes for open houses or home tours to strangers who may be contagious
  • Categorically at-risk prospects who are limiting all out-of-home activities
  • Home buyers, sellers and real estate investors who are staying out of the market temporarily due to economic or financial uncertainties

For that matter, you, as realtors, also must consider your risk of exposure as you meet with prospects, hold open houses, give home tours, interact with title companies, home stagers, cleaners, contractors and so forth.

How can you practice social distancing while also fulfilling your responsibilities, and while addressing the factors that might be prohibitive to members of your team as well as home buyers, home sellers and real estate investors?

5 Ways Realtors Can Adjust During the Coronavirus Emergency

1. Embrace remote work

Social distancing does not mean isolation! Thanks to technology you have what you and your team need to work remotely together, and most of it fits in the palm of your hand.

  • Use productivity apps like Trello and Slack to set goals, encourage accountability, and track and measure results
  • Meet up with prospects via free video calling on Skype or Facetime instead of at the coffee shop, the prospects home or your office
  • Use online meeting platforms like StartMeeting.com to hold buyer and seller seminars or team meetings

Bear in mind as well that some of your staff may face childcare challenges at this time due to school closings or daycare closings. These remote work-friendly tools can help ensure you don’t lose valuable employees and give them the means to continue to contribute as a member of your team.

2. Virtual tours

While in-person home tours and open houses give prospective buyers a real sense of a property, they are not 100% necessary. Thousands of real estate investors and home buyers purchase real estate properties every year without ever setting foot on them.

Real estate photography, videography and drone photography and videography can provide prospective buyers with layout, condition and other characteristics. You can also hold virtual open houses using your smartphone or in partnership with your real estate videographer (for higher quality production). As an added bonus, these “live” open houses are also then recorded, so they can be played back at any time by interested buyers.

3. Spring for inspections and appraisals

Virtual tours only provide prospective home buyers and real estate investors with part of the picture. When partnered with professional inspections and appraisals, you give buyers confidence in purchasing a property they may be unable to visit personally. Doing this work for prospects up front increases buyer confidence and acts as a buying incentive.

4. Leverage low rates

Historically low borrowing rates are another incentive that stimulates the real estate market. The U.S. Treasury is lowering rates even more to help curb negative economic pressure. Make sure your on and off-line marketing highlights the benefits of taking advantage of low interest rates to home buyers and real estate investors, including that this is likely a time-limited opportunity. If you have a preferred lender, they can be a great resource in helping you share scenarios, case studies and real life examples.

5. Make “clean” part of your story

Whether you hire professional cleaners to do a deep clean of a property before going on the market, before and after an open house, or before a home buyer takes ownership of a property, cleaning is another tool that can incentivize home buyers and sellers. Professional cleaning and sanitizing of a home can give both buyers and sellers confidence and help to overcome fear they have about health risks related to home tours or open houses.

When you hold events such as open houses or home tours, wipe down all door handles, countertops, faucets, cupboard pulls and any other surfaces that are commonly touched with germ-killing wipes or disinfectant. Provide hand sanitizer to prospects before entering and upon leaving the property. Buy branded hand sanitizer to send home with prospective buyers or sellers or to give away at client meetings.

If your office remains open to the public and/or employees, make “clean” part of your story there, too. Have your office professionally cleaned and make the same wipe-down process noted above part of your office protocol. Equip your space’s entry and common areas with hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes so that people are empowered to create a safer space for clients and co-workers.

From buyer incentives like pre-paid inspections, appraisals, professional cleaning and low interest rates to actions you take to protect yourself, your team and your clients, you can help to ensure that your real estate pipeline remains active during the Coronavirus (or COVID-19) emergency. Even after the crisis has passed, you may even determine that many of these changes stay part of your real estate practice going forward.

11 ways to position your business for success in the New Year

11 Ways to Position your Business for Success this Year

If you are one of the many business owners looking for ways to build business in the New Year, you are not alone. Here are eleven steps you can take to position your business for growth right now.

Top 11 Ways to Position Your Business to Succeed in the New Year

The devil is in the details when it comes to growing any type of business. The little things that you do now can have big effects later on. Put these eleven ideas to work in your business in order to set the stage for business success and growth in the New Year.

1. Get on Top of New Year Marketing and Industry Trends

Taking the time to research new technologies, consumer buying behaviors and marketing trends can help you identify improvements to your business that could help you gain an edge over competitors or keep you from being out-maneuvered by them. Emerging trends in your industry, marketing and the buying patterns of your customers (or consumers in general) can be used to shape – or at least tweak – your business and marketing plans for the coming year.

Where to start: Industry trade magazines and websites often feature preview and trend articles at this time of year. You can also glean inspiration from sites like springwise.com, find out about new tech from sites like producthunt.com, or explore all kinds of 2020 business trends on sites like entrepreneur.com.

2. Improve your Communication Skills to Succeed in the New Year

No doubt about it, effective communication skills – whether verbal or written – can make the difference when it comes to breaking through the clutter with consumers, employees, investors and other stakeholders. Smarp.com identified eighteen communication trends leaders need to be aware of in 2020.

3. Why Wait? Spring-Clean Your Business Now

Be all you can be! Now is the perfect time to identify inefficiencies, ineffective policies and just plain bad practices that are keeping your business from becoming the best version of itself. This pingboard.com article suggests seven specific ways for you to improve your business in 2020. You might also like this forbes.com article with five budgeting tips for small businesses in 2020.

4. Identify Financial Resources

Very few growth initiatives can be completed without working capital. Your plan for growth needs to be supported by adequate working capital for day to day operations as well as capital that can be used for marketing, expansion, new technology, new product or service launches, and so on. Your business may already have working capital that can be unlocked using receivables invoice factoring or with a real estate commission advance. These assets “on the books” can be unlocked to free up working capital when needed, instead of waiting weeks, or even months, for customers to pay or real estate transactions to close.

5. Stop Generalizing Already!

If your marketing messages are one-size-fits-all, it might mean they are closer to one-size-fits-none. Get smart about members of your target markets using sites like Nielsen’s claritas.com Prizm zip code look up tool (where you can find out what types of people live in your local area) or trendsactive.com with its overview on generational trends.

6. Refine or Retool Your Value Proposition

Stop rambling! Refining the way that you deliver your value proposition could impact your conversion rate in a big way. Sales strategy expert Jill Konrath offers up two ways you can create sales messages that convert in Examples of What to Say When Prospecting. We also recently published an article with five buying signs real estate prospects give when they are ready to sign on the bottom line.

7. Speaking of Customers, Reboot Your Retention Strategy

Many businesses have detailed plans for attracting customers but only a few, somewhat vague strategies laid out to keep them. Now is the perfect time for you to identify the rate of customer turnover (or “churn”) that is present within your organization, decide what constitutes a reasonable level of turnover and create a warning system that triggers actions when unacceptable levels are reached.

7. Craft an Employee-Experience Strategy

Churn and turnover isn’t just a problem when it comes to customers; employee turnover can keep your business from reaching its full potential as well. Much attention is paid in marketing to designing a customer experience that sets a business apart, but few businesses go so far as to design and implement a purposeful employee experience plan.

Since employee satisfaction is critical to customer care, efficiency, productivity, profitability and nearly every other area of your business, thinking through the experience in your business from the employee’s point of view could be helpful.

From recruiting, hiring and orientation through to the break and lunch areas, benefits, time off and other perks, design an employee experience within your business that makes employees believe you feel they are as important to your organization’s success as you say they are! To help you get started, check out this hrtechnologist.com article six practical ways to improve employee retention.

9. Stop Believing You Can Read Minds

Whether it’s gauging customer or employee satisfaction, looking for ways to cut costs, becoming more productive or making any other number of improvements to a business, many business leaders act as though they can read minds; or worse, they act as though everyone thinks just like they do.

Let go of the notion that you are a mind reader and start asking questions of your customers and employees – and start listening to the answers. Make it safe for people to give you constructive criticism and you may well discover a treasure-trove of ideas that you can use to grow your business faster in the months ahead.

This article with 10 Questions to Ask Your Team Every Week on 15five.com can be a starting point to better team dialogue. In addition, be sure that you are soliciting customer feedback using surveys, post-sale customer ratings and reviews and encourage customers to engage with you on social networks.

10. Get Everyone on the Same Page

If everyone is pulling – but everyone is pulling in a different direction – you are unlikely to achieve your business goals. Don’t assume that investors, board members, employees or customers share your vision! Take some time to ensure that everyone is on the same page as is laid out in this entrepreneur.com article by:

  1. Defining the mission
  2. Setting priorities, goals and targets
  3. Encouraging bottom-up planning
  4. Facilitating transparent information sharing and rigorous debate
  5. Ensuring that your organization is aligned appropriately

11. Send a State of the Business Message

Inspire customers, employees, vendors and other stakeholders to enter the New Year feeling more connected to you and your brand. Talk about the way your business has impacted the lives of customers, staff and the community for the better. Tell how your business will transform and improve in the New Year. Point out benchmarks and achievements, and recognize and thank those who contributed.

10 Business New Year Resolutions for 2020

10 Business New Year Resolutions for 2020

Whether you want to accomplish one or all ten of these business New Year Resolutions in 2020, the time and resources spent in improving your organization will be well-invested.

10 Business New Year Resolutions You Should Make for Continuous Improvement in 2020

Don’t be complacent! These ten Business New Year Resolutions can help you maintain momentum by producing continual improvements in your organization.

Kaizen is a Japanese word meaning, “good change.” In reference to a business or professional workplace, it carries the idea of making continuous improvements throughout any and all business processes in order to constantly become more profitable, more efficient, or achieve other goals. Specifically, Edward Deming is credited with introduction of a management philosophy built around the idea of continuous improvement as he led the economic rebuilding efforts in post-World War II Japan.

Since that time, many organizations in the US and across the world have not only adopted the idea of continuous improvement into their management and operating practices; some have even created formal programs to incentivize and reward staff for contribution and implementation of ideas. As it pertains to professional development or a business, it might help to view the making of Business New Year Resolutions as part of a continual improvement effort.

Continuous Improvement – 10 Business New Year Resolutions Will Make Your Organization Better this Year

1. Write a New Year Vision Statement

Your organization may already have a corporate vision statement that reflects how it will grow and impact the world over the long term – but what about this year? By identifying “where” your business is now and writing a vision statement that reflects where you want it to be at year’s end, it will make it easier to identify the strategies that will take you there.

2. Write a New Year Mission Statement

While a vision statement specifies an end-goal, a mission statement lays out how you will get there. Usually it speaks to values that underlie the way customers are served, major target audiences that will be reached, and the products or services that will be delivered. Check out nine great mission statements in this hubspot.com blog article.

3. Break Down Internal Barriers

Internal departments or individuals with competing agendas can slow or stall organizational growth. Transparency and shared goals can help to keep everyone on the same page.

4. Eliminate Drag

The classic business leadership book titled Sacred Cows Make the Best Burgers: Developing Change-Driving People and Organizations may be two decades old, but it is no less relevant today and we endorse it as a great read for any business owner or leader. Whether you need to cut ties with a vendor or employee who isn’t performing up to par, eliminate obsolescent processes, products or services, or even reset the organizational chart – make this year the year that you stop doing anything else simply because “it’s the way we’ve always done things.”

5. Reach a New Demographic

Without thoughtful, continuous evolution that allows you to reach a broader demographic, it’s possible that over time your prospective customer base may shrink. You may be able to reach a new demographic this year by adding a new product or service to your line-up or creating new variations on the items you already offer.

6. Boost Profits

They say that there are two constants: death and taxes. To that list we would add a third, and that is cost increases. No matter the type of organization, chances are that one or more of the major costs that impact your business will be going up this year. Whether achieved through improving efficiencies, cutting costs or raising prices, it’s important that you find ways to boost profits in the New Year so that you will have more capital to reinvest in order to grow your business.

7. Communicate More, and More Effectively

Once upon a time companies could write letters, place ads, send direct mail, dial the phone or visit people in person. Today you can still do all those things, and a whole lot more. Make this year the year that you master the art of marketing communication when it comes to your most important stakeholders; such as prospects, customers, vendors, investors and staff.

8. Secure Growth Financing

You might be able to get by on current revenues, but do you have any capital left over to invest in growing your business? Whether you seek out a line of credit, secure a bank business loan, bring in additional investment money or turn to working capital financing options designed to expedite cash flow, like receivables invoice factoring or a real estate commission advance, it’s important to identify how your business will free up working capital it needs to grow in the New Year.

9. Adopt a Partnership Mentality

Whether it’s the vendors and suppliers you choose to work with or the way that you work as a vendor or supplier to other organizations, adopting a win-win partnership mentality is crucial. Evaluate your list – and you selection process – in order to ensure that you are working with vendors and suppliers who are just as (if not more) committed to helping you grow your business than merely selling to you. Don’t be afraid to come out and ask your vendors and suppliers to tell you, specifically, why you should choose to do business with them vs. other options.

10. Set Goals and Measures

It’s easy to get so caught up in the day to day of running a business or completing assigned tasks that you lose sight of why you’re doing what you’re doing in the first place. As you pursue your vision for the New Year, set specific goals that will pursued, decide how and when you will measure your progress, and if need be, assign responsibility for both.

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Did you make business New Year Resolutions? The cash flow financing tools at Corsa Finance could be the ideal tool you need to achieve them! Get a free, no-risk proposal for invoice factoring or commission advance financing today:

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5 Ways Staffing Agencies Can Cash In On Seasonal Holiday Hiring

5 Ways Staffing Agencies Can Cash In On Seasonal Holiday Hiring

The coming holiday season promises another increase in consumer spending, and staffing and recruiting agencies can benefit as well as retailers. Here are five ways recruiters, staffing and temp employment agencies can get a piece of the holiday hiring pie.

‘Tis the Season for Holiday Hiring

Retailers, distributors and shipping companies are about to beef up staff, big time, in anticipation of another banner year for holiday ecommerce sales and many of them are going to turn to staffing and temporary employment agencies to get the job done. Amazon, Target and UPS will be hiring hundreds of thousands of seasonal workers this year.

And job seekers are interested, too. RetailDive reported “according to a recent Indeed holiday hiring survey, holiday job searches per million job seekers rose 11% in August from the year-ago period.” While some companies will create their own hiring systems, others will turn to temporary employment, staffing and recruiting agencies for help filling seasonal jobs.

5 Ways to Help Your Staffing Agency Grow by Satisfying Holiday Hiring Demand

1. Build a large pool of potential seasonal workers ahead of time.

Any of your current and past contacts could be looking to make a change or willing to take on a second job during the holidays, even if they are not technically looking for a new job. Reach out to your contacts now and ask for referrals as well.

Set up an online form just for people interested in seasonal work with a short application and create an expedited version of your normal recruiting and hiring process so that when opportunity knocks, you have a long list of potential seasonal workers who are ready to hit the shop floor – or warehouse floor – running.

2. Use invoice factoring to finance expanded recruiting and hiring activities.

Having a list of candidates who have already been vetted could give your agency a competitive advantage during the holidays that extends into repeat business next year. Job ads, background checks, time spent interviewing candidates and checking references – it all takes time. You might even need to hire your own seasonal help just to handle the increased workload it will take to build a large pool of seasonal workers.

Invoice factoring speeds up cash flow and gives you access to working capital that is tied up in client invoices; this is working capital that you can then deploy to ramp up recruiting efforts and develop a pool of seasonal workers who are ready to go to work immediately. Even if you are already factoring, we would be happy to provide you with a quote for staffing invoice factoring to ensure that you have the best cash flow solution in place for your agency.

3. Keep quality standards high.

Yes, you want to have a pool of candidates large enough to quickly meet employer’s demands for temporary workers during the holidays, but that doesn’t mean low-quality seasonal workers should get through the door. Your value as a temporary employer, staffing agency or recruiter lies in saving your clients time and money after the worker hits the floor. Any time a client has to deal with a less-than-stellar placement, the cost of using your services goes up, and your value to the client goes down. Don’t skimp on quality of candidates even during the holiday seasonal hiring rush.

4. Point out the value of getting a foot in the door.

If your initial call for seasonal workers doesn’t produce the number of potential placements you envisioned or you are looking to get a few really stellar candidates to consider seasonal work, remind contacts that the road to getting their dream job at their dream company might start by getting their foot in the door as a seasonal holiday worker.

5. Send out a packet of potential seasonal worker resumes.

You’ve got a pool of seasonal holiday hires ready to place; now what? In addition to reaching out by phone and email to clients, put together a marketing packet that highlights the number and quality of candidates that you have who are ready to rock and roll, by speaking to candidates backgrounds and experience, and using testimonials from their references – think of it as a holiday staffing catalog and design it accordingly as collateral that you can use throughout the holidays online and off.

7 Ways to Speed Up Business Cash Flow

7 Ways to Speed Up Business Cash Flow

Waiting on customer payments? Leverage these ideas to speed up business cash flow so you can focus on growing your business, instead.

STUDY – 3 Out of 10 US Businesses Not Paid On Time

According to the 2018 Global Trade Credit Payments Study by Dun & Bradstreet, U.S. companies in many industries are not being paid on time. While nearly 7 in ten financial services invoices are paid by the due date, as few as 38 percent of manufacturing invoices are paid on time.

Average time businesses wait to get paid

The Financial Services industry wins again when it comes to the fewest number of invoices that go beyond 90 plus days late before getting paid. Retail Trade, Construction and Transportation and Distribution industries have the most invoices that remain unpaid three months past their due date.

Retail Trade, Construction and Transportation and Distribution industries have the most invoices that remain unpaid three months past their due date.

Whether your business falls into one of these categories or a different one, every business that invoices customers or waits on third party payments (like app developers and merchants selling on Amazon, Zulily, Poshmark and similar platforms) experiences some kind of opportunity cost while waiting to see these on-the-books receivables turn into working capital.

The Opportunity Cost of Slow Business Cash Flow

Yes, sitting around waiting on customers to pay accounts receivable invoices or for third parties to pay out your commissions and sales revenues does have a name: Opportunity cost. It’s the sum total of anything you couldn’t do because you had working capital owing on the books instead of in hand; such as:

  • Waiting to replenish inventories or supplies
  • Limiting marketing and advertising funds
  • Stressing your ability to meet payroll or expenses
  • Precluding you from getting quick-pay discounts from your suppliers or vendors
  • Preventing you from expanding, taking on bigger customers or new orders
  • Watching competitors take advantage of emerging opportunities while you wait on the sidelines

Working capital is opportunity! Let’s talk about some of the ways you can speed up business cash flow so that opportunity cost doesn’t slow your organization down or keep it from growing as quickly as it might have otherwise.

Speed Up Business Cash Flow with 7 Proven Tactics

1. Restrict Customer Payment Terms

So this might seem a bit obvious, but one way to get customers to pay faster is to reduce the number of days customers have to pay. This won’t work in every case and of course doesn’t apply if you wait on payments from platforms like Amazon, Zulily, Poshmark, mobile apps, etc., because the platforms have non-negotiable terms. It could also be perceived negatively in terms of competitive advantage, causing customers to turn to businesses that extend more generous payment terms instead.

2. Factor Receivables

We help speed up business cash flow every day, every time we forward an advance on an invoice factored by one of our clients.  It works like this:

An organization or entrepreneur that sells products or services on terms to customers (or via third party retail or e-commerce platforms) factors – or sells – that invoice to us for a small fee (called a factoring fee). Within 1-2 business days, that organization receives an advance on the invoice (or promised payment) of up to 93 percent.

The invoice can be factored as early as the same day the customer invoice is generated (or the third party platform statement is received), so instead of waiting weeks or months on payment, the organization can completely eliminate opportunity cost and stay focused on growth. This enables organizations and entrepreneurs to:

  • Better align expenses with corresponding revenues
  • Meet payroll and operating expenses more readily
  • Access working capital needed to capitalize on fast-emerging opportunities
  • Increase inventories or supplies to take on more orders or serve larger customers
  • Negotiate fast-pay discounts with suppliers to save money on operating expenses
  • Reinvest in the organization more quickly (operations, staffing, marketing, advertising etc.)

3. Provide More Payment Channels

Waiting on customers to send payments via U.S. Mail can add days or even more than a week onto your wait. By adding more payment channels including online pay capabilities you make it possible for customers to choose the payment method that is most convenient for them. In addition, emailing invoices to customers instead of mailing them by postal service may cut additional days off your wait time.

4. Communicate Frequently

Staying in touch with your customers keeps your business top-of-mind and can passively remind them that they should send payment to you. Nor does communication need to be about the customer’s invoice, although this may be a necessity with slow-paying customers. You can stay top-of-mind with customers by sending occasional email newsletters, updates, special offers or expert advice, thereby adding value to the relationship as well.

5. Think Lean

If you overstock inventories or supplies, then your money could be sitting on the shelf instead of at your disposal. Pay close attention to customer preferences, buying cycles, patterns and seasonal trends to see where you may be tying up working capital on slow-moving products or services.

6. Create a Formal Process

What kind of plan do you have in place to communicate with slow-paying customers? Creating a formal process – almost like an email drip campaign – can remind and encourage customers whose payments are late to bring their account up to date.

7. Extend Quick-Pay Incentives

Giving customers some type of incentive to pay you ahead of schedule may speed up your business cash flow. These incentives need not be quick-pay discounts, although that is a commonly used tactic. If you are going to extend discounts, be sure that to examine how they will affect your organization’s overall profitability. You may find that the fee for factoring invoices is far less than the amount of customer discount it would take to incentivize early payment.

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Overview of Common Business Financial Statements

Understanding Common Business Financial Statements

Improve your ability to understand and interpret the most common business financial statements needed to run your organization.

Financial Literacy is Essential for Running a Thriving Business

PreferredCFO.com cites several business finance challenges being at the heart of why young businesses failed, with financial literacy coming in on the top of the list:

  • 82% – Didn’t understand cash flow or had poor cash flow management skills
  • 79% – Didn’t have adequate working capital at the outset
  • 78% – Didn’t have an effective or well-developed business plan
  • 77% – Didn’t price products or services properly
  • 73% – Didn’t predict sales or costs accurately
  • 70% – Didn’t know what to do to succeed and failed to seek help from those who did

It’s nearly impossible to overstate the importance of financial literacy. While a business owner can learn along the way, having a strong understanding of the financial needs and performance of their company can help them avoid making some of the costly mistakes that can hurt an organization.

This need only grows over time, from knowing how much money you need to start up, to understanding when it’s time to make changes in your business. Paying close attention to the common business financial statements produced each month, quarter or year can give you invaluable insights into sales trends, vendor costs, payroll and other business expenses so that you can take action before a small problem escalates.

Overview of Common Business Financial Statements

What is a Balance Sheet?

The balance sheet shows an organization’s assets, liabilities and net worth. The organization’s assets must be equal to the sum of its liabilities (debts) plus equity in order to balance.

Assets are items an organization owns that have value; meaning, they can be sold or leveraged to make services or products which can be sold.

Liabilities are debts owed by the business to another organization or individual.

Net worth, or equity, is what an organization would have if all assets were sold and all liabilities satisfied. An organization’s net worth belongs to its owner and/or any and all shareholders.

What is an Income Statement?

The income statement shows how much revenue, or income, an organization earned over a specific time period (often over a quarter or year). And it also shows the costs and expenses attributed to earning that revenue.

The commonly used phrase, “the bottom line…” is derived from the actual bottom line of the income statement because it shows an organization’s net income or net loss after costs and expenses are deducted.

What is a Cash Flow Statement?

While income statements have a bottom line of net earnings or loss for a given period, cash flow statements show the movement of cash in and out of an organization.

Understanding the flow of cash going in and out of your business is important because you need to know whether you have enough money coming in to cover operating and capital expenses. It can also help show you where your cash is coming from (or whether activities, such as operating activities) are not generating enough cash to cover operating expenses.

So what if you do have slow cash flow? Apart from growing your business or increasing sales, another way to speed up cash flow is to factor customer invoices instead of chasing down payments. Some companies do this on an on-going basis until they have grown to the point that incoming revenue from sales more than cover business expenses. Other companies choose to factor invoices only occasionally or to spot-factor invoices in order to free up working capital to meet payroll, invest in emerging growth opportunities, pay vendors more quickly for fast-pay discounts, and so on.

The more you understand your organization’s cash flow, the better you can leverage financial tools that expedite working capital. This can help you run your business more effectively and efficiently, or put you in a position to grow your company faster.

Why Understanding Common Business Financial Statements is Important

In business, chances are that sooner or later you will need to be able to read and interpret common financial statements in order to make good business decisions for your organization and avoid costly mistakes.

A better understanding of the financial position of your business can help you determine whether, and how, business financing options like invoice factoring could provide you with expedited working capital or a more consistent flow of cash so that you can focus on growing your business to the next level.

7 Things to Do Before Launching a New Product or Service

Launching a New Product or Service? Do These 7 Things First

When you’re launching a new product or service, answer these seven questions to ensure it gets the customer attention it deserves and produces the new sales you desire.

Don’t Fly by the Seat of Your Pants! – 7 Point Checklist for Launching a New Product or Service

All too often a stellar product or service launch falls flat simply because the groundwork for product launch success was not done. In fact, data suggests that 64% of small businesses (or even more) don’t even have a documented marketing plan.

What you do before launching a new product or service option could be just as important as the product or service itself. Position your new product or service for faster client adoption using this seven-point new product launch checklist.

7 Things to Do Before Launching a New Product or Service

1. Identify “who” will want it.

If you’re launching a new product, chances are it fits one or more segments of your existing customer base (and target markets) better than others. Or you may be planning to add products or services that will attract new target markets, outside of those your business normally serves. In either case, successfully launching a new product or service requires that you identify “who” will want it.

Based on purchasing history, identify pioneers and early adopters among your customer base, or use your marketing to target pioneers and early adopters among members of your target audiences.

2. Specify “why” members of your target audience should want it.

Value propositions and competitive differentiators aren’t just for brands. You should be able to accurately describe – in detail – why members of your target markets would want any new product or service you plan to launch.

3. Court influencers and put them to work when launching a new product.

Based on purchasing history, identify pioneers and early adopters among your customer base, or use your marketing to target pioneers and early adopters among members of your target audiences.

  • Invite them to pre-launch events
  • Employ their feedback for product or service refinement before the launch
  • Use their comments as testimonials and social proof
  • Invite influencers to sample new products or services and share their experiences on social networks
  • Share recommendations from celebrities and experts on your social networks and marketing communications

4. Create anticipation and demand before launching a new product.

Initiating communications about a new product or service beginning weeks – or even months – prior to its launch gives you the ability to create anticipation among your customers and prospects. Additionally, by creating demand prior to a product or service launch you will have a better idea of the level of product inventory (or service supplies) you will want to have on hand for the launch period.

5. Extend a no-risk trial proposition.

Money-back guarantees, free add-ons and other incentives can help to allay any concerns that your customers or prospects may have about trying a new product or service.

6. Make it an offer too good to refuse.

Reward those who are willing to pioneer adoption of your new product or service by extending a special trial period offer, free gift with purchase, financing options (for big-ticket items), or another inducement that makes it easier for customers and prospects to say “yes” than it is to say “no thanks” when it comes to trying your new product or service.

7. Create urgency.

Special offers and incentives should be time-limited, so that your customers are encouraged to try new products or services before they disappear. Likewise, if sales are less than anticipated or less than needed to keep a newly-launched product or service in your line up, encourage customers to purchase and to recommend it to their friends, co-workers or loved ones in order to step up demand.

You might also like: How-To and Marketing Tips for Vendors Selling on Zulily

5 Small Business Superpowers Big Rivals Can’t Touch

5 Small Business Superpowers Big Rivals Can’t Touch

It’s not always about growing to the next level. Some of the small business superpowers your not-so-big business has are things larger competitors lack, which might mean staying small is better for your organization.

Mergers, Acquisitions and Partnerships – Oh My! 5 Benefits of Keeping Your Small Business Small

If it seems like a lot of companies got bigger by joining forces in the past couple of years, it’s because they did. Deloitte’s Merger and Acquisitions Trends report for 2019 found that 79 percent of responders anticipated they would close more deals over the next 12 months, up from 70 percent in 2018. In addition, more than 80 percent planned to sell off assets in 2019, up from 70 percent the year before.

It can be difficult to watch social media feeds and newswires light up with stories of larger competitors making acquisitions, merging with other companies and forming partnerships for lead acquisition, especially when you know that there are things your small business does better.

Rather than worrying about competing on scale, it might be smarter to leverage those things a small business can do that larger rivals cannot, to make your business more profitable without actually getting bigger. Since you might not know how to leverage these small business superpowers to outpace bigger rivals, we also included a few tips to help you turn advantages like these into growth.

5 Small Business Superpowers Big Rivals Can’t Touch

1. Access

Unless they go on a reality show like Undercover Boss, most CEOs and executives in large organizations have little contact with real customers on a day in, day out basis. They don’t have a chance to engage in two-way dialogue, collect first-hand feedback about the customer experience or find out what customers wish the brand would do next.

Take every opportunity to listen when customers complain, ask questions, or make suggestions. The insights they provide can tell you exactly what you need to do to make your business better, more profitable and guide your choices when it comes to adding to new products and services.

2. Accountability

In a big organization responsibility for mistakes can be passed along until a furor dies down, and accolades for success don’t always trickle down to the employees who really made the difference. For better and for worse, a small business offers their customers accountability and gives every employee a chance to shine.

Leaders who aren’t afraid of taking responsibility for mistakes, missteps and misfires often earn the respect not only from customers, but employees as well. Take responsibility for the mistake and make the solution happen. Worry about tracking the details back later to ensure product or service performance in the future. Be generous with praise. Make sure that everyone on the team has a chance to shine and understands that the success of the one can only ever happen as a result of the effort of the whole.

3. Agility

Bureaucracy, processes, committees and getting the-powers-that-be to change direction or add new projects mean that big companies will almost always take longer to react to marketplace changes and emerging opportunities than a small business. A small business can react and make course corrections quickly. They can communicate almost immediately with all staff who need to make adjustments. They can move resources and redirect efforts in a short period of time when new opportunities emerge. These small business superpowers enable smaller companies to move faster than big ones.

Agility isn’t a verb; rather, it’s a passive state of energy. A small business that prides itself on agility but never takes action is wasting this small business superpower. Make sure that you have a process for discovering and evaluating suggestions, ideas and marketplace changes so that when opportunity strikes, you can strike right back.

4. Simplicity

As companies get bigger and bigger, it’s not just their offices that start to look like a maze. Trying to figure out who to contact with a question or when a new product or service will hit the floor can be a job in and of itself. A small business can keep things simple. From processes to communication channels and corporate announcements, customers and employees can feel confident that they are in the know about where to go and what’s coming next.

The routes might be clear, but they still need to be mapped. Make sure that you establish methodology for tracking and reporting stats and progress to the team on a regular basis — and then do it — so that everyone knows what they need to do next.

5. Consistency

Big companies are often stretched in many different directions, so much so that departments could even end up working to cross purposes or unknowingly undermine one another with prospects and customers. A small business has the luxury of finding and focusing on a few or even one common purpose. Employees not only understand the mission but can work together to achieve the goals with a minimum of disruption, since communication is practically instantaneous, everyone can be apprised of the status of all the projects underway at any given time.

The more consistent a brand experience is, the stronger the impression can be; but remember that a consistently boring experience might be just as bad as a negative one. Decide what type of customer experience your brand should deliver and what you will do to get it done. Ensure that all staff have a clear understanding of how what they do impacts and have the ability to improve the customer experience.

Regardless of size, your company has small business superpowers big competitors can’t replicate. The question is, have you discovered them, and how will you use them for good?

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