The program is summarized as follows: “No matter what your business needs, Zions Bank is here to help you succeed. BUSINESS COMPLETE connects you with companies that have products and services designed with your small business in mind.” You’ll find FINSYNC in the Tax & Accounting section. Other sections include: HR & Payroll Services, Business Supplies and Marketing & Website Development. The full suite of Business Complete offerings is quite robust and a great resource for small businesses looking for vetted solutions with healthy discounts.
We caught up with one of the executives behind the program, Senior Vice President Wes Barkell, Manager Retail Specialty Products, and asked him why FINSYNC made a great addition to Business Complete. He responded: “Business Complete is a digital marketplace focused on providing current and prospective clients with in-demand business products and services through industry-leading 3rd party providers. FINSYNC offers a robust Accounting and Cash Flow Management solution that is intuitive and efficient. We believe offering FINSYNC through Business Complete will help our business clients save time and allow them to focus on running their business.” If you’re a small business owner in the West or Southwestern United States, we would highly encourage you to take a look at Business Complete and the other offerings the Zions family of banks has to offer.
Less CompetitionOver 100K small businesses have closed due to covid. That means more opportunities to start new ventures in what would typically be a heavily crowded space. Not only that, but new customer needs begin to emerge that haven’t yet been solved. A smaller business pool also means those that are in business are likely offering discounts.
Cheaper Operational CostsRemote-first seems to be the new standard, as offices are not so much of a necessity anymore. What would typically be a large monthly cost can now be applied toward other parts of the business, such as product and people. Not only that, but you also can negotiate better terms and pricing on practically any SaaS tools you need for the business.
Larger and Cheaper Talent PoolWith unemployment rates higher than they’ve ever been and many larger companies reducing headcount, salaries have decreased as well. This has unlocked new opportunities to hire new talent more affordably and from a larger talent pool: the whole world. Great talent that would normally require a higher salary and a very secure position are open-minded. You might consider trading equity for talent as well if you are in startup mode.
More Access to FundingPeople starting businesses have more access to funding sources than ever before. There are many programs such as the SBA, that offer a variety of funding opportunities for small businesses. Assistance varies from loans or grants. Over the last few years, crowdfunding sites have seen a rise in popularity: Kickstarter, Indiegogo, GoFundMe, and others. Not only do these sites allow you to raise capital, but it’s a great way to begin marketing and showcasing your product. According to statistics, 50% of crowdfunding campaigns raise their full goal amount. While these times may require a leaner operational model, the opportunities for creativity are better than ever. That is why right now is the best time to start a new business. It’s time to identify a “blue ocean” where there is little to no competition and find the resources and talent to get your business going. We’re rooting for you!
Not Having a WebsiteHaving a website enables you to reach a wider range of audiences. In fact, 85% of people research a business or service on the internet prior to making a purchase or decision. One of the most common reasons why entrepreneurs refuse to create a website is they believe they are not “tech-savvy enough.” Surprisingly, you don’t need to be tech-savvy to create a website for your startup. You could choose a drag-n-drop website builder like SquareSpace or Wix and take a DIY approach. There are also many development companies or even freelancers that help with the process, making it a seamless process for you. One of our favorite resources for freelance web development is Fiverr. Fiverr offers reasonable pricing for freelance web services and 24/7 access to support. Websites are an effective way of introducing your customers to your product/services. By having a website you’ll be able to save time by redirecting your customers to visit your website for important information. You’ll be able to provide valuable information in various formats: blog posts, videos, photos, or testimonials. The best part is that websites are available 24/7; your customers are able to reach you at any time.
Waiting Too Long or Hiring Too SoonHiring employees is a critical step in a growing company. Some of the most common indicators that your company is ready for an employee include:
- Needing additional skill sets
- Having to turn down work
- Customers starting to complain about quality or timeliness
- What is your company’s growth forecast? All entrepreneurs need some sort of budget/business plan. Having revenue and growth projections will be vital when determining what you can afford to do or what is needed to get your business where you want it to be.
- Is the work steady enough to support an employee? It’s important to not make drastic decisions just because you may be feeling overwhelmed or stressed out. First figure out what exactly will the employee be doing, and how will they be bringing in additional revenue to the business.
- Can you afford to hire an employee at this time? There are many cost factors to consider before making the decision of hiring someone such as wages, training, software licenses, payroll costs, insurance, among several other overhead costs.
- Which type of employee would be best for your current situation? As mentioned above, hiring an employee comes with additional costs. Keep in mind you have options based on your budget and required time commitment: freelancer/contractor, part-time, or full time.
Not Listening to What Your Customers Are SayingPaying attention to what your customers are saying helps you improve your business and avoid situations that do not work well. In today’s world, customers have higher expectations than ever before. In a study conducted by PWC, customers said they are willing to pay more for a service or product in exchange for a better customer experience. One of the easiest ways to become more customer service-oriented is to open and formalize listening channels. Customers enjoy answers to their questions in real-time. Some options to consider for communicating with your customers are:
- Live chat
- Help desks
- Social media
Next Gen HQ’s founders, Justin Lafazan and Dylan Gambardella, described their mission as follows:
“WE BELIEVE ENTREPRENEURS CAN AND SHOULD CONTROL THEIR OWN DESTINIES. THAT’S WHY IN 2014, WE STARTED NEXT GEN TO EMPOWER ENTREPRENEURS TO DESIGN THE LIVES THEY WANT TO LIVE AND ACHIEVE THEIR PURPOSE.”You’ll find FINSYNC in the “Resources” section with other software tools that can help business owners scale. In addition, the firm provides other “Tools” categories including an online community, education resources, and mentorship. If you’re a startup founder looking to connect and grow, why not take a look at what they have to offer? NextGenHQ.com
What Is Cash FlowCash flow is the net amount of cash being transferred into and out of a business. Cash flow statements consist of three categories: operating, investing, and financing.
- Operating cash flow is the total amount of money your business brings in from ongoing business activities, such as selling goods or services.
- Investing cash flow shows the cash generated or spent related to investment activities. These include the purchase of long-term assets such as equipment and property, stocks and bonds, as well as acquisitions of other businesses.
- Financing cash flow focuses on how a firm raises capital and pays it back to investors through capital markets. These activities also include paying cash dividends, adding or changing loans, or issuing and selling more stock.
Common Cash Flow MistakesThere are several common types of mistakes small businesses face when it comes to cash flow management. For example:
- Overestimating future sales
- Not tracking cash flow projections properly
- Not keeping enough cash on reserve
- Charging too much or too little for your products/services
- Stocking up on excess inventory or supplies
Tips for Effective Cash Flow Management
- Keep your books updated
- Apply for a line of credit before you need it
- Spread out your expenses to different times of the month
- Send your customers invoices as soon as possible or require deposits for custom orders
FINSYNC is Here to HelpFINSYNC empowers you to focus on having the right amount of cash on hand at the right time. We are an all-in-one platform that helps you manage cash flow while growing more profitably. Yes, our platform includes a cash flow statement as part of the accounting package, but we also provide automated cash flow projections that;
- Show you your cash position on any day in the future on both a calendar and graphical view
- Include any known invoices, bills and future pay runs
- Can be adjusted with “what if” scenarios to better help you analyze different decisions
Set GoalsIt’s surprising how much of an impact setting goals and tracking progress can have on your business. Remember to set goals that are not too broad, such as “obtain new customers.” You’ll want to add specific numbers that are ambitious but achievable. In this case, an example of an achievable and trackable goal is: “Obtain 30 new customers in the month of October 2020.” Setting goals not only allows you to track success but also can help you stay focused and motivated.
Ask For Reviews and ReferralsReferrals and reviews are some of the most effective ways to generate new business. The best way to ask your customers for referrals and reviews is to be direct and ask via email, phone, or in-person. Focus on your “best” customers, those whom you’ve already built relationships with. These customers have already gained your trust, and as a result, gives you a higher chance at receiving positive reviews or referrals. If appropriate to your business, you may want to gently remind clients of how much you appreciate referrals via your email signature or a well-placed sign in your business. Another method is to offer incentives. Inform your clients that for every referral or review, they’ll receive something in return. You could offer incentives such as gift cards or a discount off a future order.
Build PartnershipsPartnerships allow your business to provide more value to your existing and new customers. An effective business partnership consists of different companies with similar missions and audience demographics offering complementary products. Brainstorm ideas that your demographic may enjoy:
- Host giveaways on social media
- Deploy email marketing campaigns to each other's contact base
- Share a blog post on each other's service offerings.
Offer Discounts and PromotionsOffering new customers a promotion or discount for a limited period of time incentivizes them to give your product a try. Whatever you can do to eliminate complexity when using your product or services the first time is helpful. Free trials, samples or great return policies are ways you can lower what is commonly referred to as friction. You’ll also want to keep in mind that building trust and credibility is crucial during this period to convert the user into a paid customer. Other ideas of discounts and promotions you could try for your business are:
- Loyalty or reward points
- Percentage-based or flat discounts
- Free shipping
- Product bundling
What Is a Business Credit Score and Why Does It Matter?A business credit score is similar to a personal credit score. Your business credit score indicates whether your company is in good standing to apply for loans in the first place and if so, potentially receive lower interest rates (because you’re deemed to be less risky). Credit scores fall within a range of 0 to 100. The higher the number, the lower the perceived risk. One key difference between a personal and business credit score is that business credit scores are publicly available. Since business credit scores are not covered under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, any person is able to view your business credit score without permission. Overall, If you are looking to get approved for a loan, work with potential vendors, or receive better rates, having a strong credit score can help long term with saving money and keeping cash flow liquid. Next, we’ll go over different steps to begin establishing credit for your business.
Ways to Establish CreditThe first step in being eligible to establish business credit is to incorporate your business. Incorporating a business or forming an LLC is the best way to ensure that the business is separate from the owner and begins to accumulate its own history. Once the business is incorporated, you will be able to open a business bank account. Opening a bank account makes a positive difference when managing your business finances. Having a business bank account allows you to collect receipts and write checks for expenses. You’ll also want to obtain a business credit card. There are a wide variety of options available depending on your needs. If you are feeling overwhelmed with all of the options, we recommend reading our blog post on credit card options and their benefits. In order to build a good credit score, you must make payments on time. Paying on time will show that you are reliable and can effectively manage your finances. It is recommended, at a minimum, to check your credit score on an annual basis. Doing so allows you to check for errors. In fact, a study by the FTC says, “26% of individuals noticed at least one error on their report." Should you notice an error in your credit score, you'll need to notify the commercial credit bureau who is reporting the incorrect data.
How To Access Your Credit ScoreThe three major business credit bureaus are Dun & Bradstreet, Equifax, and Experian. Each of these bureaus has its own method of determining your companies creditworthiness. Typically the report will include your: credit summary, public records, business credit score, and payment trends. While the price to check your credit score varies by bureau, Nav offers free credit score reports by signing up for an account.
Separate Your Personal Finances From Your Business FinancesIt is important to know that blurring the lines between personal and business is never a good idea. Your company is its own independent entity. Keeping your personal finances separated from your business will not only reduce problems in the long term but also make it easier to manage and keep track of your finances. One of the main reasons you should separate your business from personal finances is for tax purposes. The IRS allows business owners to claim deductions for business-related expenses. In order to successfully claim deductions, you must provide clear documentation that indeed the expenses were indeed business-related. Using your personal bank account to pay bills can be very risky. Instead, you can transfer money into an account in the name of your business as needed, which is called capitalizing your business. If there is no clear distinction between you and your business, creditors are able to claim your personal assets in order to satisfy a debt so consider opening a business bank account ASAP if you haven’t done so already
Use a Business Credit CardOpening and making regular payments on a business credit card can help begin to build your business credit. Having a good credit score affects your business’ ability to qualify for increased credit lines, loans, office leases, equipment, and better terms from vendors. In addition, business credit also impacts your business insurance cost. While there are a multitude of credit cards for which you can apply, we recommend reading our latest blog post to find the best business credit cards for your particular situation.
Pay Bills on TimeMissed or late payments on your business credit can have serious consequences. One of the most common penalties is late fees. The average cost for late fees on a credit card ranges from $26 to $39. Over time these fees can add up. Making payments on time affects your credit score as well. In fact, 35% of your credit score is based on payment history. The graph below shows a breakdown of the different factors that can affect your business credit score.
Choose the Right Accounting SoftwareManaging your business accounting can be an overwhelming task especially if you are tracking documentation manually. Having accounting software eliminates the guesswork from bookkeeping. FINSYNC allows you to put your accounting on autopilot. FINSYNC syncs with the majority of US banks, credit unions and credit cards. Our all-in-one solution allows you to create customized reports, track income and expenses, accept payments, and automatically reconcile your accounts with the right invoices and bills. It’s easy to get started. Sign up for a 7-day free trial, no credit card required.
Processor FeeEach transaction run on a card passes through a digital system provided to you as the merchant by a processor. This company is who you’ll obtain any hardware needed such as a point of sale device or online capabilities such as a virtual terminal or connectivity to your online store. The processor fees are somewhat negotiable and range from .1% to 1% per transaction and the fee structure is determined when you sign with a processor. This is the only part of the transaction that can be negotiated with some providers.
Assessment Fee: Visa, Mastercard, DiscoverThis fee is often quoted as part of “Interchange Fees” below because it is out of the control of the processor. Visa, Mastercard & Discover charge an assessment of .15%. This is commonly abbreviated as V/MC/DISC. American Express does not charge a similar fee because it is the issuing bank and makes its revenue on the interchange fees (see below).
Transaction Risk: Interchange FeesInterchange fees are collected by the issuing bank(s) and vary depending on how risky each transaction is. Debit card interchange fees can be as low as .05% + $.21with riskier credit card interchange fees as high as 3.5% per transaction. Interestingly, American Express is both the card brand and the issuing bank. A. Type of Card: Debit or Credit Debit card transactions are generally cheaper for you as the merchant because they are coming from available cash in your client’s bank account. The use of a numerical PIN is also an added security feature. For this reason, you’ll see only debit cards accepted at certain retail establishments such as gas stations and Costco and other discount clubs. Credit card transactions mean your client is taking “credit” or a short term loan to pay you, so the risk is generally higher. B. Payment Method As a merchant, your ability to use common sense and security features to avoid fraud and chargebacks plays a large part in how much you’ll give up in Interchange Fees. Fraud is often perpetrated with stolen card numbers. Thus, if you accept credit cards in person and can utilize built-in security features such as the chips that are now present in all cards, your card activity will be considered less risky and you’ll give up less in interchange fees. Alternatively, if you only accept cards online and have no ability to verify whether or not the person making the payment is actually the owner of the card being used, you’ll typically pay higher interchange fees. C. Services or Products Offered Some products or services are more likely to be charged back and thus result in higher interchange fees. An even riskier category known as “High Risk” is reserved for industries that present significant challenges. If your business falls into this category, you may have to seek a “High-Risk Processor,” a specialist in working with industries that more common processors will not accept. Sum the 3 fees above together and that’s what you will give up for each transaction you process by charge card. Some processors will take their fees out of each transaction, depositing the net to your bank account. Others will sum all of their fees at the end of the period. Now that you understand the relationship between fees and risk, you can start to shop for the right processor. Beyond pricing, you’ll want to be sure you find the right technology capabilities that will make your life easier as a payments administrator and create the best payment experience for your clients. FINSYNC offers card payment capabilities integrated with other back office functions. Clients can pay emailed invoices by charge card and you can process a card over the phone via FINSYNC’s virtual terminal. To learn more, connect with our team.
Best Credit Card for Establishing CreditAre you just starting up your business and have limited or poor credit? The Wells Fargo Business Secured Credit Card is the way to go. This card will help you begin to build your business credit while also earning 1.5% cashback on all purchases made. There is also a very low annual fee of $25, which you can have waived after you’ve built up your credit. However, keep in mind that because this is a secured credit card, the rewards won’t be as good as those of unsecured cards. Regardless, this is a great starting point as you begin to build up your credit.
Best Credit Card for StartupsIf you’re an up-and-coming startup with funding, the Brex Credit Card for Startups could be right for you. Brex offers up to 7x point rewards, depending on the purchase. Regardless, you’ll be sure to earn points on every dollar spent. Some other benefits of the Brex card is their instant access to a credit line after you sign up. Keep in mind that you typically will need to have at least a $100k bank balance at any given time. So if you are an early-stage business with capital in the bank, this card could be for you.
Best Credit Card for Cash Back PointsLooking to earn cashback rewards on all your purchases while not paying any annual fees? The Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express is a great option. With this credit card, you’ll earn 2x points on all your purchases up to $50k each year. After the $50k, you’ll earn 1x points on all purchases. If you’re looking to double down on your point earnings, then this card could be for you.
Best Credit Card for Business TravelIf your business requires you to travel a lot, the Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card is a top pick. This card offers 3x points on the first $150k spent on travel, phone service, internet, cable, and advertising. To sweeten the offer, they’ll even throw in a 25% bonus if you redeem your points through Chase Ultimate Rewards. If you find yourself using multiple airlines and hotel brands, you can transfer points between partnering airlines and hotels. To top it all off, you can earn an additional 100k bonus points if you spend $15,000 or more within the first 3 months.
Best Credit Card for Large ExpensesThe Discover It Business Credit Card is great if you expect your business to have large expenses within the first year of opening the card. This card offers unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases and no annual fee. In addition, Discover will match all of the cash back you earned within your first year. That’s right, there is no minimum or maximum amount needed to be spent to receive the cash back matching offer. For example, if you spent $400 Discover will match to $800.
Best Overall Credit Card for Small BusinessesIf you’re not looking to spend a lot of time finding the best card for one specific reward, and prefer a simplistic yet rewarding credit card, then the Capital One Spark Cash for Business is a good bet. This card might be the best overall for small businesses. With an unlimited 2% cash back reward on all purchases, this card can seriously reduce your expenses. The first year has no annual fee and if you spend $4,500 within the first 3 months, you’ll even get a $500 cash bonus. Also, if you have employees, you can receive employee cards for free, and increase the rate of cashback earnings.
Payments Made Simple with FINSYNCFINSYNC Pay allows you to preserve cash by shifting cash expenses to your card credit and amplify your rewards. Even if your vendor does not accept credit, you can pay them electronically using the credit on your card. Getting started is simple and secure. Sign up for a free trial today.
|Cash Flow Management|