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28 May
Dallas, Texas…. A great place to work and live

Dallas, Texas…. A great place to work and live

Capping off Small Business Week May 12-16, Dallas ranked ninth for best cities in the country to work for a small  business.

Dallas was the top-ranked city in Texas on the list released by WalletHub. It was awarded sixth place for small business job growth, ninth for average starting salary and 13th for small business vitality.   The city also received 20th for industry variety, 23rd for unemployment rate, 29th in the survey’s well-being index, and 32nd for cost of living.  For years, Dallas has been living in the shadow of Houston who this year ranked 13th on the list.  Dallas has been re-vitalized and has much to offer new and growing businesses and residents.

Dallas is an attractive metropolitan area with much to offer businesses and residents.  Dallasite’s enjoy a low cost of living, no state sales tax and a business friendly climate.  Here are some other Dallas highlights:

  •  Great Schools  – The University of North Texas, The University of Texas at Dallas, Southern Methodist University and Texas Christian University are just a few of the highly regarded schools that are in and around Dallas
  •  Pro Sports  – Dallas is home to four pro-sports teams; The Dallas Cowboys, The Dallas Stars, The Dallas Mavericks and The Texas Rangers
  •  Arts and Culture – Dallas has a thriving arts district with a number of museums, music  venues and art installations;  Dallas is home to The Dallas Museum of Art, the Meadows Museum at Southern Methodist University, Deep Ellum Arts District as well as The Dallas World Aquarium,  and The Dallas Arboretum to name a few.

 Dallas is a world –class city .

American Receivable Corporation www.americanreceivable.com  provides financing programs for companies experiencing cash flow problems. For over 35 years they have helped businesses large and small find solutions to their financing needs.

20 May
Memorial Day 2014….

Memorial Day 2014….

Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation’s service.

Some believe organized women’s groups from the south began decorating the graves of confederate soldiers before the end of the Civil War.  Waterloo N.Y. was officially declared the birthplace of Memorial Day by President Lyndon Johnson in May 1966, though it’s difficult to prove the exact origin of the day. It is likely that it had many beginnings derived from peoples’ needs to honor and commemorate the war dead. Memorial Day is not about division it is about reconciliation, unity, honor and service.

Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on May 5, 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic and was first observed on May 30, 1868 when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. The first state to officially recognize the holiday was New York in 1873. By 1890 it was recognized by all of the northern states. The South however,  refused to acknowledge the day, honoring their dead on separate days until after World War I.   It is now observed in almost every State on the last Monday in May.

Memorial Day was declared a national holiday in 1971 by an act of Congress.  To ensure the sacrifices of America ’s fallen heroes are never forgotten, in December 2000, the U.S. Congress passed and the president signed into law The National Moment of Remembrance Act.  The National Moment of Remembrance encourages all Americans to pause wherever they are at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day for a minute of silence to remember and honor those who have died in service to the nation.

 

American Receivable Corporation www.americanreceivable.com salutes those service men and women who so courageously and selflessly fought and died for the freedoms we hold so dear.

13 May
The New Texas Oil Boom….

The New Texas Oil Boom…

Just 75 miles south of San Antonio is the center of one of the biggest oil booms ever to hit Texas and quite possibly the United States.  This vast oil and gas reservoir in South Texas is known as the Eagle Ford Shale, along with another in West Texas known as the Permian Basin.  Both fields are driving a boom never before seen– not even in the early days of Texas oil.

Advanced drilling technology is known as hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” and horizontal drilling are unlocking huge reservoirs of oil previously thought impossible to reach, doubling even tripling the state’s crude oil production over the past two years’.  In 2014 Texas is projected to produce more than 3 million barrels of oil per day moving it ahead of Kuwait, Mexico and Iraq to become the eighth largest oil producer in the world.

According to the Texas Railroad Commission which oversees the state’s oil and gas industry, more than 7000 oil and gas wells have been drilled or are scheduled to be drilled along the Eagle Ford Shale, a formation 4,000 feet underground stretching 400 miles along the Texas-Mexico border.

American Receivable has been working with a variety of companies in these drilling areas for a number of years and knows the oil field services industry very well.  Recently they have seen a significant upswing in companies seeking financing assistance in order to meet the high service demand in these specific areas. “Interest is high and people are excited about the activity in these two fields,” said Tiffany Eitel, Vice President of Business Development for the company. “Companies who provide much-needed products and service to this emerging industry need the factoring services American Receivable provides”.

American Receivable Corporation www.americanreceivable.com  provides financing programs for companies experiencing cash flow problems. For over 35 years they have helped businesses large and small find solutions to their financing needs.

 

06 May
Is your business social media savvy?

Is your business social media savvy?

Most small businesses have been forced to become Social Media Savvy.  Whether you use Facebook, Twitter, or any of the other hundreds of social media tools, they help businesses connect with leads and customers like never before.  Social media is an affordable way to target your audience, help promote your business, create brand awareness and establish trust and credibility.  When used properly, social media can help drive traffic to your site and potentially increase your revenue.

Here are some social media tips from experts:

  •  Be Consistent –  Social media is just one of the many tools you can use to grow your business but you must commit and actively use it for it to work.
  •  Be identifiable –  People work with people they know, like and trust . Profile your company and that of your staff whenever possible. Engage your audience by posting videos that answer relevant questions, provide valuable information or tell your story.
  •  Build LoyaltyTurn your online audience into customers for life by delivering exceptional customer service and distinctive and informative content that keeps them coming back for more.
  •  Be an Industry Expert –  Become the “In-the-know” person for your industry.   Be there to answer questions, provide valuable content through your blog or guest blogging.
  •  Know Your Brand –  Continually monitor who you are and who you are perceived to be on the various social media channels.  Update your image when needed to keep it fresh, motivational and interesting.

 

29 Apr
How to Manage Time Wisely

How to Manage Time Wisely

Here are some effective tips to help maximize your time and efforts no matter what your role or profession:

Prioritize

Time management means knowing your highest priority. Get a clear picture of what your goals are and focus on them.

Because it’s impossible to always get everything done, focus on the most important items first. Discipline yourself to concentrate on the most important rather than the easiest, the most demanding or the most fun.

Crisis Management

Undoubtedly there are true crises that must be dealt with before anything else and knowing how to correctly identify them is often a challenge.  Being able to properly access, communicate and effectively manage during a crisis will help dictate its outcome.

Focus

Everyone has distractions regardless of job title, or responsibility and because of this learning to focus and maximizing creative and analytical periods now becomes more important.  Most people are far more effective when working on one specific task or goal rather than multi-tasking.  Here are some tips to help with focus:

– Limit time checking emails and social media sites

– Use “To Do” lists each day

– Make notes

– Organize your workspace to maximize efficiency

Delegate

Assign projects or specific tasks to others.  Remember, delegating, although an effective learning tool for others still requires that you keep track and take responsibility for a projects progression.    Keep an eye on deadlines and follow up in time to make sure all is on track to complete the project on schedule.

*****

There will never be enough hours in the day for small business owners and managers to accomplish what needs to be done.   Using these time management tips however, may help ensure you make the most out of the time you do have.

 

22 Apr
5 Important Tips for Small Business

5 Important Tips for Small Business

Starting your own business can be exciting but sometimes tricky when it comes to balancing your daily life with your business obligations. You may have the enthusiasm needed to be successful, but you also need to have the right procedures and people in place to avoid costly mistakes.

Always market yourself…

Starting out, you continually promote yourself and your business to get as much business as possible and it’s easy to rest on your laurels when business is good. Continually market your business so there are no highs and lows.

Know your worth…

Knowing what you’re worth is tricky for small business and it’s important to get it right. If you under-value your goods and services it may be harder for customers to pay a higher price later on.  Check out the competition in your industry and use it as a guide.

Know your financial position…

Money and financial concerns are part of small business.  Cash flow, payment obligations and knowing the basic financial responsibilities are fundamental in running a business. Business owners should always be keenly aware of the company’s financial condition so as to avoid difficulties later.

Plan ahead…

A solid business plan is vital for the success of any small businesses.  These plans should be reviewed and updated periodically to document changes in the overall business and to plot the strategy for the business.

Hire good people…

Business owners are tempted to wear many hats to reduce costs but in the long run this can be damaging. Hire a trusted team of individuals to help manage the  daily responsibilities. Hiring the right people can help you avoid future burnout and even business failure.

 

15 Apr
Read this interesting article recently published in the Houston Chronicle….

Important Are Small Businesses to Local Economies?

by J. Mariah Brown, Demand Media                                        

While small businesses may not generate as much money as large corporations, they are a critical component of and major contributor to the strength of local economies. Small businesses present new employment opportunities and serve as the building blocks of the United States’ largest corporations.

Contributions

A small business is defined as a business (corporation, limited liability company or proprietorship) with 500 employees or less. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), small businesses represent 99.7 percent of all employer firms. Since 1995, small businesses have generated 64 percent of new jobs, and paid 44 percent of the total United States private payroll, according to the SBA.

Economic Growth

Small businesses contribute to local economies by bringing growth and innovation to the community in which the business is established. Small businesses also help stimulate economic growth by providing employment opportunities to people who may not be employable by larger corporations. Small businesses tend to attract talent who invent new products or implement new solutions for existing ideas. Larger businesses also often benefit from small businesses within the same local community, as many large corporations depend on small businesses for the completion of various business functions through outsourcing.

Adaptability to Changing Climates

Many small businesses also possess the ability to respond and adapt quickly to changing economic climates. This is due to the fact that small businesses are often very customer-oriented. Many local customers will remain loyal to their favorite small businesses in the midst of an economic crisis. This loyalty means that small businesses are often able to stay afloat during tough times, which can further strengthen local economies. Small businesses also accumulate less revenue than larger corporations, meaning they may have less to lose in times of economic crisis.

Schools and Local Government Offices

When consumers patronize local small businesses, they are essentially giving money back to their local community. A thriving local business will generate high levels of revenue, which means that the business will pay higher taxes, including local taxes. This money is then used for local police and fire departments as well as schools.

08 Apr
10 Tips for Running a Successful Small Business…

10 Tips for Running a Successful Small Business…

1Keep Score: It’s amazing how few small businesses have any idea of the daily, weekly, and monthly numbers and financial trends in the organization. Spend time getting to know your business inside and out.

2. Set Realistic Goals: Goal setting is an essential part of business success. Set obtainable goals and when reached set the bar a little higher for the next one.

3. Use Marketing Wisely: It’s easy to waste money on ineffective marketing. Learn how to use your marketing dollar and resources to improve your small business.

4. Excel At Your Business Presentations: A powerful business presentation can help improve your small business.  Be relatable but knowledgeable whenever presenting your businesses persona.

5. Monitor Trends in Business: No business operates in a vacuum. Stay current on events and issues that relate to your business.

6. Sharpen Selling Skills: No matter what you’re selling don’t forget to focus on sales improvement.

7. Find  Your Niche: Every industry has its own way of doing things that work best for them. Don’t re-invent the wheel.  If it’s working use it!

8. Motivate Your Staff: Motivated staff members can bring huge improvements in business. Learn what motivates people and capitalize on it.

9. Know Your Limits: Every successful business owner has a  pretty clear idea of their limitations. Knowing your own  business personality can help you manage your resources and find help in areas of weakness.

10. Take a Break: Running a small business is hard work. Sometimes the best way to improve your business and recapture your passion is to take time away from the office.

01 Apr
Got a Gripe About Red Tape? There’s an Ombudsman for That. How the SBA’s point man handles owners’ gripes about red tape

Here’s a great article recently published in the Wall Street Journal…

By:  Rhonda Colvin

Roughly one in 10 small-business owners say government regulation is their biggest challenge. Brian Castro says he feels their pain.

The 41-year-old Washington, D.C., lawyer is currently the U.S. Small Business Administration’s national ombudsman, a little-known post that requires him to act as a liaison between small businesses and federal agencies when it comes to regulations.

When a small business believes an agency has hit it unfairly with a penalty or fine, the business can submit a complaint online at the SBA ombudsman’s website, or send one in by mail.

Mr. Castro’s office will then get in touch with the agency, requesting that it lower, or eliminate, the fine. The ombudsman’s office of seven staffers handled roughly 350 complaints from small-business owners in the 2013 fiscal year ending September 30, up 40% from about 250 in fiscal 2012.

Small businesses with fewer than 20 employees in 2010 paid nearly $10,600 per employee to comply with regulations, roughly 36% more per employee than did large businesses with more than 500 employees did, the latest available data from the SBA shows.

According to a January survey of 603 small business owners by Wells Fargo/Gallup, 11% listed government regulation as a top concern, while another 11% listed the economy. In comparison, 21% said their biggest worry was attracting customers.

One of Mr. Castro’s duties is to keep tabs on how quickly the various agencies respond to complaints as well as the “quality” of their responses.

Consider U.S. Homeland Security, a recent underperformer. Both its U.S. Customs and Border Protection division, as well as its Citizenship and Immigration Services division, received “Fs” because they failed to respond within 120 days to eight total complaints that small businesses made about them during 2012.

“CBP works to answer all inquiries from multiple entities in a timely manner and is coordinating closely with the Office of the National Ombudsman to review and improve the response process,” said a spokesman for the Customs and Border Protection office.

In an interview at his office Tuesday, Mr. Castro provided an insight into the regulatory hassles that small businesses grapple with today:

WSJ: What are small business owners’ top three complaints?

Mr. Castro: The top one has to do with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services audits of durable medical equipment prosthetic and orthopedic suppliers. These firms have contracted with Medicare to provide those products. We have received hundreds of complaints and comments both from individual device providers and from associations representing many, many more.

The issue in a nutshell is an ongoing practice of what are called “recovery audit contractors.” These are third parties, non-governmental, for-profit entities that come in for the purpose of finding ways of fraud and abuse. The impact has been extremely severe for many of these small businesses, to the point of driving them to the verge of going out of business, or out of business altogether. We’re developing some proposals [to address their concerns], working with my counterpart over at CMS.

We also do receive concerns about visas, such as whether a H1-B visa was approved or re-approved or not, or a visa for seasonal help, particularly for agricultural small businesses.

For government contractors, late payments are a very significant worry. Small-business owners understand the liquidity crunch that can come from a slow paying client — and the last thing we want is the federal government to be one of those, particularly during our economic recovery.

WSJ: How do you figure out whether to give an agency an A, B, C or an F?

Mr. Castro: It’s a cut and dry, objective metric, based on the number of days it takes before we get a response. So it could be that there was turnover in the office perhaps, in that office and for whatever reason, the matter did not get addressed. Some agencies have declined to participate in this resolution process. I’m learning more about that, but the legal basis is unclear. One example is the Department of Defense. That agency hasn’t viewed the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act as extending to it.

WSJ: Is your office preparing to address concerns related to the new health-care law?

Mr. Castro: I have not seen any comments filed about the Affordable Care Act regulations yet. Before the ACA, small businesses paid 18%, almost one-fifth more, for health-insurance premiums for their employees than did large businesses. They faced far fewer choices and of course exclusions on pre-exiting conditions. So the small-business owners that I’ve talked to are concerned about getting those issues rectified, and want to have the benefits for their business. They want a workforce that is healthy, happy and productive and reliable. Health care is critical to that.

WSJ: Do you have personal connections to small businesses?

Mr. Castro: When my grandfather immigrated to New York [from Spain], he opened a diner. It was something he undertook so his family could have a better future.

 

25 Mar
Recourse Factoring Vs. Non Recourse Factoring…. Which is right for you?

Recourse Factoring Vs. Non Recourse Factoring…. Which is right for you?

Businesses that have a recourse factoring agreement are responsible for buying back invoices that are not paid by the account debtor (the company that owes the money) after a specified period of time, usually 60, 90 or even 120 days.  It means even though the factoring company has purchased the invoice and advanced on it, they still have “recourse” at some point.

Most factoring companies provide credit checks through various credit agencies to help minimize the charge-backs (recourse) and to help businesses make good credit decisions.  These credit checks can be done on current accounts or on new accounts they hope to have business with in the future.  Recourse factoring offers the factor the least amount of risk and discount fees are generally lower making it a more affordable option for a business seeking to factor.

For non-recourse agreements, the factor assumes the risk of non-payment by the account debtor, regardless of the reason.  Non-recourse factoring keeps the business from assuming bad debt but is riskier for the factor.  Discount fees are considerably higher than for recourse factoring.  In some cases, if a business has a concentration of invoices with just a few large customers, non-recourse factoring may protect the business from potentially large offsets.

So when deciding on which type of factoring is best for your company, evaluate your customers, your cash flow needs and just what expense your company can afford.

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