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A Fresh Start: Keeping Your Employees Healthy and More Productive
A tidy and sanitary office is crucial for quality work. Distraction lowers productivity, even on a subconscious level. Studies have also shown that business offices are a breeding ground for germs causing illness, which takes employees away from work, lowering productivity and work quality.
A clean desk has shown to increase productivity. Stacks of papers and files and other items cause clutter, which also clutters your mind. It is recommended that after a task is completed, it is filed in the proper place. How many times have you thought, “where is that file, or paper”? It is estimated that workers spend over 4 hours a week looking for misplaced items and correcting mistakes. If someone else needs the file, it will be easily found if it is returned to the proper place. Productivity goes down and anxiety goes up when you are not able to locate what you need to complete the next task. Filing things and putting supplies and other items away will create a more open workspace which will result in less mistakes being made. Mistakes lessen productivity requiring a task to be done over. A clean work area, uncluttered the mind as well and also makes things easily accessible.
The bottom line is that a healthy and productive workplace is not just keeping things in their place and immediately replacing files and other important papers. it is important to keep things like your computer, keyboard and other equipment clean and free of clutter. 10 sticky notes on your computer is cluttered are likely to fall to the floor. Having too many personal items on your desk is also detrimental. Put one personal item and find a shelf for other items you feel you need in your office. Employers should also require cleaning of electronic equipment, not only for health reasons, but for the maintenance and longevity of the equipment. A printer full of dust is going to break down. A keyboard with grime and bacteria will also stop working and will grow bacteria causing illness. You touch multiple files and papers, pens and other things in an office. Imagine the germs lurking from everyone that has touched these things. Keep hand sanitizer in the office as well. Healthy and organized employees are always more productive.
A sanitary and clear workspace makes for a clear mind and healthy body that can focus on tasks at hand. If you have to go through stacks of paper looking for that one thing you cannot find, you will become anxious and frustrated, likely ending in a mistake. And, if there is bacteria on your desk and computer and throughout the office, illness is eminent, which will impede productivity.
Take some time before the new year and get everyone to spend some time cleaning and organizing the office. It will make for a fresh, productive start to the new year.
Spend some time at the end of the year discussing this with your employees and involve them in cleaning the office. Cleaning companies do basics and will not make your office sanitary. It will make for a fresh, more productive office and healthy employees who are at work and able to do their job. Start the new year off right!
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Thanksgiving Through the Years
The first Thanksgiving in Plymouth Colony which is now Massachusetts was in 1621. The last Thursday in November was declared a national day of thanksgiving by Abraham Lincoln 200 years later. In 1941 Congress made Thanksgiving an official national holiday. A day of “thanks” and “giving”.
Thanksgiving has traditionally been a day of family and friends getting together for a meal and fellowship. A day to stop and reflect on all of the blessings we share. In 1876, football was introduced as a tradition. Yale and Princeton played the first American Football game on Thanksgiving day. People were off from work and were able to go see football. It was not until 1934 that the first football game was broadcast. The Detroit Lions played the Chicago Bears at University of Detroit Stadium and a new tradition, which later became a television broadcast.
Thanksgiving has changed over the years. While many of the original traditions remain, new ones were born. Black Friday became a big tradition for many families. Getting up at early hours to go Christmas shopping for the best deals. The idea came from retailers showing losses seeing a surge in sales on discounted merchandise on Black Friday, often bringing their revenues back in the black. Retailers started opening early on Black Friday and advertising big sales. In the last decade, lit has become a Thanksgiving evening tradition with stores opening on Thanksgiving evening and staying open 24 hours. People have made their own traditions as well. Many take vacations and skip the big meal and the shopping, although most still incorporate a game of football in the plans.
Thanksgiving is celebrated in many ways. However you celebrate, remember to give “thanks” and “give” to those in need.
American Receivable is thankful for our customers and our relationships in the financial industry. We wish everyone a safe and happy holiday.
In the words of the late Erma Bombeck:
“It takes 18 hours to prepare a Thanksgiving meal,
It takes 12 minutes to eat it. Half-times are 12 minutes.
This is not a coincidence.”
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Business Partnerships: A Necessary Risk
Starting a business is an exciting venture. Sole proprietorship allows you the freedom to Implement your own ideas, business procedures, and schedules as you wish. The decisions you make will not impact anyone except you.
Working alone can be difficult when trying to jump-start a new business. Most people need help in some areas, especially with the financial aspect. Some people may be better suited for a collaborative effort. People have different strengths and weaknesses which is beneficial to the business.
There is always a risk in a partnership. You have heard the saying “nothing is forever”. Many problems can arise when working with other people. Many people go into business with someone who initially seems to have the same mind-set and goals for the business. At some point during any partnership, egos, differences in opinion or direction may cause a rift in the partnership. When the partnership dissolves, there are often claims of ownership and property that can cause disputes. Partnership agreements can eliminate legal disputes that may arise from the split. If one partner is going to keep the business, legal disputes can be expensive and result in the business being forced to close. Different skill sets, temperaments, and ideas can create diversity. However, the necessity for financial help, implementation of business procedures and creative ideas are worth the risk is you are protected.
Business partnerships are often necessary and have the potential to make the business a success. However, a partnership agreement is unquestionably critical in making sure both parties are protected in the event the partnership dissolves.
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The Cash Flow Struggle
Cash flow is essential to any growing business. When cash flow slows down, it can cause the business to drop revenues or completely fail. In order to keep from failing, business owners have to look at their business practices and figure out what is causing the cash deficit. There are many possible reasons for the shortage of cash flow as well as simple ways to eliminate the problem.
New streams of revenue may be a possible answer. Can you diversify your business to include other services that would bring in regular cash flow? Adding the right services to your current business can help fill in the cash flow gaps.
Don’t overestimate when forecasting cash flow. Bee conservative and consider worst-case scenarios when forecasting for the future. Planning ahead will help your business stay afloat and reduce risks in the event of an unexpected cash flow shortage. Consider prior years when forecasting your upcoming year. Late payments from customers or large unexpected business expenses can lead a business into a cash flow crisis.
Collecting from customers can be a constant struggle. Look at your current collection practices and look for ways to make them more efficient and effective. Implementing software that can flag overdue accounts and send reminders to customers should be utilized. Follow-up phone calls or emails may be required, however, the software will give you the assurance that reminders are being sent and your accounting division is aware of any problem accounts.
Evaluate the time management and resources of your employees. Are they using time effectively? Are your employees using resources too quickly that could be used more conservatively? Are they spending too much time in one area and too little time on something more crucial like collections or verifications? Efficiency in your business will be a helpful tool for cash flow management.
Business expenses and operating costs. Know how much revenue is being spent on office supplies and other expenses. Businesses often order supplies that are not really essential for daily operations that could be purchased on an as-needed basis. Look at your supplies and order only what is necessary. A smart business owner will always be on top of revenue coming in and going out.
Cash flow is the most important asset for a business. Make sure your business is utilizing your cash effectively for growth and longevity.
By: Sierra Stieber
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Choosing the Right Factoring Company for Your Business
Choosing the right factoring company is an important decision for you and your business. The right factoring company will help you maintain cash flow and grow your business while the wrong choice can leave you with a bigger financial gap than when you started.
Factoring has been around for centuries but has really only come to light as a legitimate source of cash flow for businesses in the last couple of decades. While bank loans are the most common form of financing for businesses, not every business qualifies for a loan large enough to cover their overhead. With invoice factoring, companies are able to maintain a steady cash flow without waiting the extended time for payment. Sounds great, right? But how do you know which company is the right fit for you and your business?
With factoring becoming a popular means of cash flow, there are many companies to choose from. Websites like Top Ten Reviews allow you to search for companies specifically in your industry. So, you’ve found a few that sound like what you need, what’s next?
The most important part of choosing the right company is understanding what they are offering and how their services will benefit you. In the age of technology, most companies have online chat services on their website for quick information, but to receive the quickest quotes and to get a more comprehensive understanding of the business and the employees there, it is always best to call. It’s critical that you are not only boosting your cash flow but are also comfortable with the staff to ensure a strong relationship.
Here are some questions to ask when speaking with factoring companies. Remember, you are interviewing them just as they are interviewing you.
What is the factoring companies application process?
Typically, most companies will have an online application form for you to fill in your information and attach any documents requested. Most common types of information required are: name and age of business, owner information, amount of receivables to be factored, Articles of Incorporation, accounts receivable and payables agings, and profit and loss statements.
As my business grows, does the factoring company have the resources to grow with us?
The purpose factoring your invoices is to allow your business to have the cash to continue to grow. It’s important to find an established factoring company that has the means to support your current and future funding needs.
What are your advance rates and fees?
Depending on your industry, advance rates and fees can vary among factors. Factoring companies make their money off of fees which is a percentage of the face value of the invoice. These fees can range from 0.8%-3.0%. The advance rate is the percentage of the invoice that the factoring company gives you upfront as they await payment from your customer. These advances can range from 75%-90%. It’s important to understand and compare across factoring companies specializing in your industry and the services they offer.
Are there any hidden fees?
Some factoring companies may charge a small fee for an array of different services. Hidden fees to look for include but are not limited to: application and due diligence fees, origination fee, annual fee, chargeback and wire fees and early termination fee. Be sure to also discuss if there is a monthly minimum amount you must factor and if so, is there a fee associated with not meeting that minimum.
Understanding the factoring industry and asking the right questions can lead you in the right direction to finding the right company for your factoring needs and ensuring success and growth for you and your business.