Do You Belong To A Business Club?

Five businesspeople applauding and smiling in presentation room

One of the best ways to receive help, support and the encouragement that you need to drive forward in business is to join a business club. There are various clubs out there – some of them work on a national or even international scale. Other business clubs tend to be run on a more local scale. No matter what type of club it is that’s on your door step, make sure you sign up for at least one – being a member of a business club is great especially when you’re feeling a little down about things – there will always be someone in the club to fire you up and inspire you once again.

What clubs are on offer?

Perhaps one of the most famous business clubs in existence across many countries is the Business Network International or BNI for short. They have chapters across the USA and indeed across the world – so if you’re looking to meet with likeminded people, joining the BNI is a great idea.

The BNI system works largely on referrals, so if you’re looking for something a little more laid back where there’s no pressure to sell or generate leads, you should look for a locally organized club instead. Some local business clubs meet monthly or bi-weekly – others only meet once every six months or so. It’s entirely up to you which club you join – whichever suits you best!

The merits of being in a business club

Here are five of the best advantages we think there are to being a member of a business club:

  • You get help and support from likeminded individuals in the local area
  • You can bounce ideas off other business owners in similar niches or in the same area
  • Referrals are always a possibility, especially if your business caters for B2B clients
  • It’s a great way to inspire others – not everyone has the same motivation and drive as you, wouldn’t it be nice for some of your drive and motivation to rub off on other people?
  • You become known in local business circles, which is a form of marketing – if people know that you offer a specific service they won’t bother searching for a company when they need that service – they’ll come to you!

Joining a business club is something that can benefit every business owner out there greatly. Check out the business financing options we have here at Rivis Capital whilst you’re online – we’ve got various packages on offer including bad credit business loan alternatives.

Five Tips When Working With Wholesalers

wholesalerThe majority of business owners out there will find themselves dealing with wholesalers and suppliers at some point or another during their business life. Whether you’re running a retail business that relies on the purchasing of stock on a daily basis, or even just a business where you have to buy in things like stationary and consumables from suppliers, we’ve come up with five top tips that every business owner needs to know!

  • Get a credit account where possible: This isn’t essential but it gives you 28 days to get invoices paid – which is good because you don’t need to use a bank loan or overdraft to alleviate cash flow problems. Instead you bring the stock in, sell it all, then pay the invoice with the money you’ve turned over and pocket the difference as profit. Using supplier credit accounts to your advantage can help you to avoid business financing altogether.
  • Always push for a bigger discount: The more daring you are, the bigger the discount you’ll be able to obtain. If you purchase from a wholesaler in large quantities and those quantities keep getting bigger, make sure you’re continuously pushing for a bigger discount. Even if that discount only amounts to a few percent extra, it could work out to be a few hundred dollars on larger orders.
  • Work with a local supplier where possible: It’s always nice to be able to put a face to a name – and it’s always nice to work with a local supplier as opposed to a supplier half way across the country, or indeed half way around the world. Working with a local supplier comes with many merits – perhaps the greatest one being that you can just drop in and see them if any problems do pop up.
  • Query everything: Sometimes suppliers will get a little too comfortable with your custom – delivery times may start to increase, invoices may not be correct, consignments might be incomplete. Make sure you query everything with them no matter how small it seems to ensure you continue to get the best service. By querying small things you’ll keep your suppliers and wholesalers on their toes.
  • Always pay your invoices on time: Whether you’re on a credit account with your supplier or you have to pay invoices on a proforma basis, make sure each and every invoice is paid on time – it’s just common courtesy! You can’t expect a top notch service in return if you can’t even pay invoices on time.

How To Secure Bigger Discounts With Your Suppliers

suppliersWhen working with suppliers and wholesalers it’s important to ensure that you get the lowest possible rates. The reason is simple – the less you pay for stock the more margins you make when you sell it on. Of course getting lower wholesale prices also allows you to sell your products cheaper than the competition – when so many people make purchase decisions based on price alone, being the cheapest often amounts to being the best option in the eyes of buyers. In this articles we’re going to look at three top tips anyone can use in order to secure bigger discounts with suppliers.

  • Buy more: It’s pretty simple – the more stock you buy, the bigger the discounts you can receive. There are a few limiting factors here including cash flow and of course storage. That said, if you buy stock four or five times per month, why not make just one big order? You can then turn around to the wholesaler and point to your one large monthly order. There are other ways to buy more too – primarily if you can sell more. Think of ways to sell more products because the more you can shift, the more you can buy from suppliers, hence the bigger the discounts you’ll receive.
  • Back up what you’re saying with graphs and spreadsheets: If you can back up your requests for bigger discounts from suppliers with graphs and spreadsheets, your requests will be met in most cases. If you can present the figures and say “Hey, we’re only making a 5% margin on these goods, it’s just not enough”, suppliers will be forced to look into the figures and decrease your purchasing cost if they wish to retain you as a client.
  • Be persistent: Never give up asking for discounts with suppliers. We’re not saying that you should call and email a supplier every single day about a bigger discount, but once every couple of months is enough to keep them on their toes. Persistency always pays off – once you secure one level of discount immediately look to obtain the next level of discount and so on. Companies out there very rarely give out their maximum level of discount except to large stores and chains – if you push them enough though they’ll usually crack even if it’s just to get you off their case!

Remember to check out our business financing options here at Rivis Capital – these options include restaurant financing and store financing.

Is Honesty One Of Your Policies?

honestyIn the ideal world, every single business out there would be 100% transparent and 100% honest in everything that they do. The reality of the matter is that a lot of businesses aren’t honest – and that starts right at the top with the business owner. It’s time for you to take a step back from the situation for a minute and ask whether or not honesty is one of your best policies in business, because it should be!

My experience

A couple of days ago I realized that I had been mis-sold an insurance policy. The broker came out to my warehouse and had a good look around – he then made a recommendation for the insurance policy that I should take out. I duly did so on his advice, and I assumed that everything was perfectly fine. It wasn’t until a family friend who also happens to be an insurance broker, told me to check the policy through carefully.

On checking the policy I realized that the minimum security on the policy was greater than the security I had installed on the premises. This meant that had my business been broken into, the policy would have been void and I would have been unable to make any kind of claim. The most annoying thing is that the extra security measures were only a few hundred dollars to have installed, and had I been alerted to them by the broker that sold me the policy, I would have happily paid to have them installed.

I won’t be going back

As you can imagine, I won’t be going back to the dishonest broker that sold me a policy knowing full well it wouldn’t be valid if the worst did happen and a theft did occur on my business premises. It left a particular sour taste in my mouth because as a small business owner I wouldn’t be able to afford to start up a business from scratch if it was to be the victim of a major theft.

One of the biggest things that clients look for in business is honesty – so make sure you offer honesty as standard to every customer that walks through your door. Whether you’re selling insurance or even used cars, don’t sell people things they don’t need, and don’t lie about functions and features that don’t exist! Remember to have a look at the hotel and motel financing packages we have available whilst you’re online.

Don’t Keep Your Customers Waiting

customer waiting

It doesn’t matter what kind of business you own – if you keep your customers waiting you’re on a fast track to trouble. People don’t like to be kept waiting – so no matter what business you run, make sure you and your staff make an effort to be punctual and swift when dealing with your clients and customers.

When was the last time you were kept waiting?

We can all recount examples of times when we’ve been kept waiting – whether it was for a meal in a diner, or for a website from a web design company. It’s extremely frustrating to be kept waiting when all you want to do is move on. Of course there are usually very valid reasons for slow service, but there are also businesses out there that are permanently understaffed – or businesses where staff haven’t been trained properly. This means a bad service will always be offered because staff don’t know any different.

Keeping customers waiting can cause annoyance – it doesn’t matter what you’re keeping them waiting for. The best ways to ensure that customers are attended to quickly are first to ensure you have enough staff within your business to cope with demand, and also to ensure that those staff are trained to an appropriate standard.

Some employees have to be trained to be urgent

Some business owners fall into the trap of assuming that everyone has urgency – that’s not the case. If you leave employees to their own devices to determine their own speed of work, things will be done a lot slower than you’d hoped. It’s important to really drill into employees the fact that urgency is one of the most important aspects of their daily routine.

It’s time for you to stand back from your business for a minute – ask yourself whether your customers are being kept waiting. If they are, there’s a chance that you could be losing a lot of sales because people simply give up and get bored of waiting for you to serve them. Virtually every business out there will have a few opportunities available for it to increase the speed with which customers are dealt with.

Remember to have a look at the various business financing packages we have available whilst you’re here on our website. At Rivis Capital we offer everything from equipment financing loan alternatives, to working capital loan alternatives.

Finding A Great Domain Name For Your Website

domain nameWe’ve made the case for having a website at multiple points already on this blog – a website is a great asset for any business to have, even if your business has nothing to do with the internet and you don’t even trade online. When was the last time you picked up a phone book? The answer is that you probably can’t remember. No one uses phone books any more – when people need to find information to contact a business they use the internet – more specifically, a search engine. If you don’t have a website then there’s no way that potential customers and clients will be able to find your website via a search engine.

A great site starts with a great domain

If you were a little slow to embrace the internet then all is not lost – there’s still a chance for you to make up for lost time. The only problem you’re likely to face is that your domain name of choice has been taken. The internet is hardly a new phenomenon, and domain names are a finite resource. The top domain extensions like .com and .net are the most highly sought after, so if you want to land the domain of your dreams the chances are that you’ll have to cough up a serious chunk of cash to do so.

Generic versus brand domains

There are two distinct types of domain name – the one that you opt for will determine exactly how much you have to pay for it. Generic domain names refer to names that match keyword searches – for example “window cleaners in New York” would translate to a generic domain name. An example of a brand domain name would be something like “Wilsons window cleaners”.

If you’re looking for a generic domain name you will find that the majority of them have been snapped up by “domainers”. Any search term out there that gets even just a few searches each month is likely to have been snapped up long ago. If you want to release such a term from the grips of a domainer, you’ll have to cough up the cash to do so.

Think long and hard about the domain name that you’re going to use for your business. Remember to check out the various business financing packages that we have available whilst you’re online too – we’ve got construction financing, dentistry financing and much more.

Top Three Tips To Kick Start Sales

kick start sales

If your sales aren’t looking too healthy at present there’s no point being down and depressed about it. The longer you sit in denial about your business slowly sliding down the slope to ruin, the harder it’s going to be for you to turn the fortunes of your business around once you finally do come to terms with the facts of the matter. In this article we’re going to look at three top tips to kick start sales within a business – make sure you read and take note, by following our tips you could help to get your business firing on all cylinders again.

  1. Run a promotion: From buy one get on free on all products in store, to 25% off ticket prices, there’s a world of opportunity out there when it comes to running a promotion. Use your imagination and think outside of the box – promotions are a great way to draw in footfall to your business, footfall which is likely to convert into sales. Running a promotion could help get your business on the road to recovery in no time at all.
  2. Asses your marketing methods: Some businesses aren’t in the digital age in terms of marketing – they’re still stuck back in the 80s and 90s. Make sure your marketing methods are bang up to date. Forget about advertising solely in local newspapers and magazines – advertising has moved on and those types of adverts aren’t going to be seen by half as many people as they once would have. Marketing nowadays is all about the internet – so make sure you invest strategically in online marketing – it could definitely help your business to thrive with lots of new sales and leads.
  3. Bring in new products: Some business owners are too stubborn to face the facts – the products they’re carrying are no longer in demand and no amount of promotions or marketing are going to change their fortunes. If this rings true for you, perhaps it’s time to refresh the list of products and services that your company carries. Bring in new lines and you should see new customers pop up!

These are just a few tips to help businesses kick start sales. We’re less than a month into 2013, so there’s still time for you to make this year the best ever in terms of sales. Remember to get in touch with us if you’re interested in any of the alternative business financing options we have on offer. These include restaurant financing packages and minority business loans.

Is A Cash Flow Forecast Necessary?

cash flow

Along with a business plan a cash flow forecast is one of the most important documents that you will ever be tasked with drawing up for your business. A cash flow forecast is there to help you determine where your money is going to be spent – and exactly how much money is going to be spent. Cash flow forecasts are good because they help business owners to budget to ensure that just enough money is spent – without leaving the business in danger. Of course you’ll always have those unexpected costs pop up from time to time, but on the whole, a cash flow forecast is something that every business should have. In answer to the title of this article: Yes, a cash flow forecast is absolutely necessary.

How do you draw up a cash flow forecast?

Some people choose to do it by hand with a simple table looking at the next 12 months. Other people choose to draw up a cash flow forecast using a piece of software. Most business planning software packages also offer cash flow forecast facilities – so it’s something that you should definitely check out. A cash flow forecast isn’t particularly hard to draw up providing you have good figures to work with. A cash flow forecast is a lot quicker to draw up when you’ve got some decent software behind you, however.

How accurate should your forecast be?

Obviously the more accurate your forecast is the better for you and your business – but the main problem is that you can usually only every do a 100% accurate cash flow forecast with the benefit of hindsight. Therefore when it comes to completing a cash flow forecast for your business you should place more emphasis on the forecast being realistic. There will always be unexpected costs that pop up for which you cannot legislate – so as long as you make the forecast as accurate as possible, there’s no reason why a bank manager or anyone else should have an issue with it.

When you apply for a merchant cash advance here at Rivis Capital you don’t have to submit the many reams of documents that you do when applying for a bank loan. If you’re interested in talking to us about the alternative business financing options we have to offer, make sure you get in touch with us today.

Are Paid Clicks Profitable For Businesses?

paid clicks

A lot of business owners out there are receptive to exploring the very latest marketing techniques – one of the most popular techniques at the current time is paid clicks – or PPC as they’re known for short. There are lots of different PPC networks out there with the two most popular networks being Google’s AdWords, and Bing Ads. Both of these PPC networks offer rich picking for those who get their campaigns right – those that don’t get things set up properly however are likely to experience a very bad return on investment for any money spent.

Making paid clicks profitable

There are various techniques used to make paid clicks profitable for businesses. These tend to include:

  • Improving Quality Scores on the pages you’re sending traffic to – it drives down the cost per click.
  • Careful keyword research to ensure that you’re paying for traffic that’s relevant.
  • Removing keywords from your campaign that aren’t “buying” keywords. You can do this by adding negative keywords.
  • Optimize your landing pages – a little bit of split testing goes a long way and can make your campaigns a lot more profitable.

These are just a few tips that you can take on-board. There are lots of different guides and manuals out there that people new to PPC can read that will give them a quick crash course on how to run profitable campaigns. Remember you’re playing with real money here, so it’s important to read as many guides as possible so you know what you’re doing. Working on PPC when you’re not entirely sure what’s going on can cost you a lot of money – so be very careful, PPC is serious business!

Outsource your PPC management

Whether it’s time constraints stopping you spending as much time looking after your PPC campaigns as you’d like – or even just knowledge constraints, because you really don’t have a clue what you’re doing – make sure you outsource your PPC management. Outsourcing your management allows an expert to take the helm and ensure that you get the best value for money with the most possible leads and sales for the lowest spend possible.

Paid clicks are definitely profitable for businesses. It can take a while to research a niche but once your PPC campaigns are streamlined there’s no reason why they shouldn’t bring in a good return for your business. Have a look at our working capital loans as well as our hotel and motel financing packages whilst you’re here on our website!

Do You Have A Mission Statement For Your Business?

goals

Lots of business owners out there spend days on end writing fancy business plans and making cash flow forecasts – but they all forget to write a really simple mission statement. Remember employees aren’t going to be privy to your business plan or your cash flow forecast – so if you want everyone within the business to know your goals for the venture, it’s important to have a mission statement written up and available for everyone to read.

What is a mission statement?

A mission statement is basically just a passage of text that says what the goals of your business are. They might be to offer the best service and competitive rates – or they might be to see all new clients in under 10 minutes (if you’re a dentist, perhaps). A mission statement is something that outlines your key goals and aims for the business – you need to think long and hard about it.

Some companies have a mission statement that’s just one sentence long – other companies have mission statements that span a couple of pages. The longer your mission statement is, the less likely your employees are to read it thoroughly. Make sure your mission statement is concise – there’s no point outlining the same goals multiple times. If it helps just use bullet points instead of dense blocks of text.

Displaying your mission statement

Different business owners have different ideas of how and where a mission statement should be displayed. Some business owners keep them locked away and they only wheel them out when a new employee is hired. Other business owners have their mission statements proudly displayed in the front window of their business premises. It really doesn’t matter what you do with your mission statement, but just remember it can be a great piece of marketing if you make it visible to your customers.

The one risk involved with a mission statement if it’s made public is that you fall short of the goals that you outline. Most customers aren’t slow to complain when they feel a service is below par – if you’ve promised them a high level of service but only give them a mediocre experience, they’re likely to point to your mission statement and question why things aren’t up to scratch.

Think about whether your business has a mission statement and take steps to draw one up if it doesn’t. If you do have one but it’s looking a little tired, why not refresh it a little? Have a look at our business financing options whilst you’re online – we’ve got fast cash business loans and even liquor store financing packages on offer.