3 Ways To Free Up Cash and Grow Your Business

Three Ways To Speed Up Cash Flow and Grow Your Business

Nearly every business that exists shares a common goal: to make more money and find financial success. You have to constantly focus on cash flow management, profitability and increase the value of your business if you want to prosper. This is why it’s vital to monitor your infrastructure and tweak it regularly. If you’re ready to grow your business, take a look at these three easy-to-implement ways you can speed up cash flow.

Try These Tips to Speed up Cash Flow

Create Incentives for Early Payments and Penalties for Late Payments

Invoicing is often a long and somewhat painful process that may require a lot of back and forth. If it’s challenging to keep your accounts paid up and you loathe having to check in when your clients are late, you might find now is the time to implement a program to reward those who pay on time and penalize those who pay late.

A good plan of attack is to apply discounts to any account paid on time or add some interest to accounts that are overdue. This will encourage payments to come your way early and immediately make a positive effect on your cash flow. This will also save a lot of time eliminating the need to check multiple times to see if the payment has been received.

Utilize Invoice Factoring

Invoice factoring companies let you turn current, unpaid invoices, into cash without adding new debt. Free up your cash to help you meet payroll, add new products and services to your offerings and extend the geographical reach of your business.

Factoring companies allow you to transform your business cash flow and will give you the access to the funds you need without worrying about invoices staying open as long as 120 days. Instead of sitting and waiting for payment, you can proceed with new work, pay employees, or buy needed supplies. Check the online Factoring Directory to help you find the best factoring that aligns with your business needs.

Improve Your Marketing

Any steps you take to make your business better will lead to better cash flow, and marketing is a key piece of this puzzle.

The reason why is because improved marketing slashes your cost-per-lead and boosts the lifetime value of your customers, reaching out to untapped markets. Plus, effective marketing is a way to make a positive first business impression.

In order to improve your marketing, you need to first figure out your areas of struggle and approach them head on. It might be time to implement content marketing if you’re having trouble building the trust of your customers. Utilize content marketing to educate your leads and improve your conversions, boosting your company’s image as a result.

If you want to upsell but aren’t sure what products you should offer, create a survey or use a third-party to help you determine what your next offering should be. Product quality is important for businesses of every size, so don’t lose focus on maintaining the quality of the current and potential goods you offer.

No business likes to deal with lack of funding. It is important to find ways to free up cash to improve your cash flow management systems. Insufficient or unsteady cash flow can prevent your business from providing the best service to your customers. Use these ways to transform your business cash flow, prepare for future growth, and position yourself to make your company better than ever.

Invoice Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “3 Ways To Free Up Cash and Grow Your Business” was first published on Small Business Trends

Will Biometrics Change the Way Your Business Accepts Payments?

The Impact of Biometrics on Payments

Biometrics and authentication are two of the most discussed topics in the world of mobile payments. This interest is due to technology like Apple’s Touch ID.  According to research commissioned by Visa and Populas in 2016, two-thirds of Europeans are ready to use biometrics for secure payments. Business Insider predicts 99 percent of U.S. smartphones will be biometrics-enabled by 2021.

In the search for greater security, this technology has raised the excitement level about what’s possible for stopping hackers in their tracks. “Biometric identification and verification has created a great deal of excitement in the payments space. It offers an opportunity to streamline and improve the customer experience,” said Jonathan Vaux, Executive Director of Innovation Partnerships at Visa Europe. “Our research shows that biometrics is increasingly recognized as a trusted form of authentication as people become more familiar with using these capabilities on their devices.”

Acceptance Challenges

Yet, challenges remain. One of these is the potential for a false positive or false negative during the authentication process. Unlike a PIN, biometrics is not a binary measurement. Instead, it’s based on the probability of a match. By linking it to other factors, such as the device, geolocation technologies, or another authentication method, this challenge can be overcome.

The Impact of Biometrics on Payments

An Overview of Biometrics and Authentication

To understand the impact this technology is having, it’s important to first understand what it does. Biometrics is technology and scientific authentication based on biology that’s used for security purposes. It can replace ID cards, PINs, passwords, or tokens. Examples include digital fingerprinting, facial identification, voice recognition, and iris technology.

For example, before a credit card transaction is authorized, biometric authentication can be used to authenticate identity. Transactions are verified by comparing an image against what’s in a database. For example, fingerprint or facial recognition software can ensure that the right person is making the purchase. Online businesses can also use biometrics for their card-not-present transactions to reduce the risk of fraud.

Impact on Payments

With this type of capability, it’s no wonder why biometric technology is shaping the future of payments. Your body is your password. “People choose convenience over security,” Mikhail Gofman, Professor at California State University, Fullerton, and an expert on multimodal biometrics, told TechCrunch. “People are relieved of the responsibility of designing and remembering a strong password — you don’t have to remember your fingerprint, it’s a part of who you are.”

There also appears to be a positive impact on payments outside of the U.S. and Europe. Acceptance is growing in Asia and Latin America where transaction security has been a long-standing issue. With proof that biometric technology can reduce the risk of fraudulent transactions, more global transactions are being made. This impact on payments also helps small businesses in these other countries to now compete within the global business environment and leverage online opportunities.

Measurable Benefits

The impact can also be felt in the number of benefits that biometric technology offers:

  • Makes transactions secure. While there are some concerns, biometrics is intrinsically secure. No one has the same fingerprint, eyes, ears, voice, heartbeat, or behaviors. The security that biometrics provides could finally give customers some peace of mind to adopt mobile payments for their transactions.
  • Simplifies transactions. “Online payments are always a big headache. You forget your password … you worry about security,” said Alibaba founder Jack MaAlipay’s “Smile To Pay”allows users to complete a transaction by just smiling or nodding. MasterCard unveiled its “Selfie” payment technology where customers take a selfie to verify their identity for payment. This can speed up transactions over having to enter a password or insert a chip into an EMV terminal.
  • Saves businesses time and money. “The technology is less time-consuming, reliable, easy to use, difficult to forge, cost-effective,” said Subhasree Banerjee, a Content Marketer with AuthenticID. Biometrics also reduces password administration costs and increases ROI in areas like loss prevention or time and attendance. There is no time spent searching for lost tokens or trying to remember passwords.

As more businesses enjoy these advantages, adoption is set to grow rapidly, especially in light of all the ongoing security breaches and fraudulent transactions that continue to plague the payments industry.

Biometrics Set to Grow Further

Biometric technology will continue to grow in use as more businesses seek additional layers of security for their online transactions.

Images: Due.com

This article, “Will Biometrics Change the Way Your Business Accepts Payments?” was first published on Small Business Trends

'Unprecedented economic and political uncertainty:' Profits at UK estate agents plummet

A woman walks into a Foxtons estate agent in west London, Britain July 29, 2016

LONDON — Profits at Countrywide and Foxtons, two of the UK’s biggest estate agents, fell sharply last quarter on a downturn in property transactions.

Countrywide, the UK’s largest estate agents, posted a 98% collapse in pre-tax profits. Pre-tax profits for the half-year to June were £447,000, and operating profit — which excludes costs — dropped 77% to £6.5 million.

The group said the UK market for transactions was down 7% in the half-year, partly because people rushed to buy and sell homes before a stamp duty hike in April 2016.

The group did not pay out a dividend, which totalled 5p last year, having already cut its dividend in March and issued new shares to strengthen its balance sheet.

Alison Platt, Countrywide’s chief executive said: “We are building a stronger business for our future and remain on track with our goals to broaden our digital capability, reduce our operating cost base and strengthen our balance sheet. Based on our current performance and the outlook for housing transactions in the UK, we expect our results and our leverage for the full year to be within the range of market expectations.”

“Unprecedented economic and political uncertainty”

Foxtons posted a 64% drop in first-half profits as it issued a stark warning about the capital’s housing market. Its group revenues were also down by 15% from £68.8 million in the first half of 2016 to £58.5 million.

The group said its position mirrored London’s stagnant housing market, which saw a 29% drop in transactions in the period.

Foxtons chief executive Nic Budden said: “Our performance has been resilient in the context of a London property market that has been further impacted by unprecedented economic and political uncertainty.”

Shares in Countrywide, which dropped off the FTSE 250 index last year, were down over 10% at 9.18 a.m. BST (4.18 a.m. ET):

Screen Shot 2017 07 27 at 09.17.34

Shares in Foxtons were down over 4% at the same time:

Screen Shot 2017 07 27 at 09.17.51

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10 things in tech you need to know today (FB, AMZN, GOOG, TWTR, SSNLF)

Jeff Bezos

Good morning! Here is the tech news you need to know this Thursday.

1. Facebook beat Wall Street’s expectations in its second quarter earnings, with $9.32 billion (£7.09 billion) in revenue, driven mostly by mobile ads. The social network maintained a 17% year-on-year user growth, and said two thirds of its over 2 billion users visit the site every day.

2. WhatsApp announced that 1 billion users use the service every single day. In February last year, WhatsApp had 1 billion users per month.

3. The collaboration tool and messaging service Slack announced that it is raising about $250 million (£190 million) from Accel and SoftBank. The Series G funding will put Slack at a $5 billion (£3.8 billion) valuation, up from $3.6 billion (£2.7 billion) in April last year.

4. Giant Chinese manufacturer Foxconn announced its plans to build a factory in Wisconsin, US during a press conference with President Donald Trump at the White House. The company, which is behind the assembling of products like Apple’s iPhone and Microsoft’s Xbox, among others, said that the move is part of a $10 billion (£7.6 billion) investment which will create no less than 3,000 new jobs.

5. Samsung Electronics reported its earning results for the latest quarter, posting a $9.9 billion (£7.5 billion) net profit and a strong 89% year-on-year growth. The $54.8 billion (£41.7 billion) revenue marks a 19.8% year-on-year increase, too, primarily driven by strong sales of semiconductors, display panels, and the firm’s high-end smartphone, the Galaxy S8, which reportedly outsold its predecessor.

6. New Amazon patents show that the company is reportedly working to analyse data harvested from its delivery drones’ footage to make “purchase recommendations” to users. These recommendations could come in the form of email, text message, or simply as a notification from the Amazon app.

7. Another Amazon patent pictures the company’s idea to build underwater warehouses. In the patent, the company outlined that its current fulfillment centers are an “inefficient use of space,” while the pool containers could allow for boxes to be essentially stacked in endless piles with no need for anyone to move them around.

8. Google’s next flagship device, tentatively called “Pixel 2,” may not have a headphone jack. Some new renders from famous — and often reliable — leaker Steve Hemmerstoffer picture both the Pixel 2 and its bigger sibling, and neither of them seems to feature the 3.5mm port.

9. Twitter is changing the “Notifications” tab on both the web and its mobile apps to show you what the people you follow are up to. Users will start seeing information such as trends people you follow are talking about, popular links they share, and accounts they follow.

10. Google is reportedly ditching its “Instant Search” feature, which shows search results as the user types. The move comes as over 50% of searches are now made on mobile, and the Mountain View company says it wants to “focus on ways to make Search even faster and more fluid on all devices”.

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Spotlight: Legacy Advantage Wants to Be a New Kind of Bookkeeper

Spotlight: Legacy Advantage Uses Trust Marketing to Differentiate its Brand

A good bookkeeper can be hard to come by. And that’s a problem that one entrepreneur learned throughout the course of his career, leading to him starting his own bookkeeping brand — Legacy Advantage.

Read more about the company and what sets it apart in this week’s Small Business Spotlight.

What the Business Does

Provides bookkeeping services in a trustworthy way.

Legacy Advantage President Bob Wang told Small Business Trends, “At the core, we are a bookkeeping company, but our vision is so much more! The bookkeeping industry is fragmented, and the overall client experience is poor at best. Our desire is to become the most trusted bookkeeping brand in the world.”

Business Niche

Associates who provide great service.

Wang says, “Our associates are super engaged because they love being here. We have a huge mission we’re all fighting for and they all want to be a part of this journey.”

Spotlight: Legacy Advantage Uses Trust Marketing to Differentiate its Brand

How the Business Got Started

By noticing a couple of different opportunities.

Wang explains, “Opportunity #1 – It was really hard for business leaders to find a good bookkeeper! Bad bookkeeping is frustrating for everyone involved, so I wanted to create an awesome bookkeeping business that would create a win win win relationship between the accountants, the business owner, and us.

Opportunity #2 – There isn’t a name brand that is known for bookkeeping. Most of the time, when people ask for bookkeeping, they usually ask for a referral from their accountants, lawyers, friends, and family. There isn’t a specific “place” to go, to find a bookkeeper. So we want to be the first thing people think of when they think ‘bookkeeping.’ When people are looking for a bookkeeping solution, I want them to think Legacy.”

Biggest Win

Completing an acquisition in late 2016.

Wang says, “We had may inquiries from businesses in the Fraser Valley, but we couldn’t service them because people didn’t want to cross the bridge. I knew I wanted to expand into the Valley, so I reached out to numerous bookkeepers for coffee to get an idea on what the market is like. It’s a strange thing. When you put your words into the universe, it makes it happen! One of the people I reached out to said that are actually looking to retire and sell their business. So we started talking and decided to make it happen. Now we have 2 locations with the ability to service all of lower mainland. We have 2 locations, and double the number of super star team members.”

Biggest Risk

Taking a chance on that acquisition.

Wang says, “We are a startup company and bootstrapped the whole thing. The only cash injection we got was the inheritance that my Grandparents gave to me. My grandparents penny pinched their whole lives and saved $75K. They wanted to give it to me to give me a head start. Instead of buying a car, or investing in stocks, I decided that the best way I can use their money is to invest in this company. I poured some funds into marketing, but most of that went to paying for this acquisition.”

Spotlight: Legacy Advantage Uses Trust Marketing to Differentiate its Brand

How They’d Spend an Extra $100,000

Promoting the business.

Wang says, “[I’d] spend more on marketing & PR so we can generate more awareness about our bookkeeping brand and offer more benefits to our staff.”

Favorite Quote

Everything rises and falls on Leadership – John Maxwell

* * * * *

Find out more about the Small Biz Spotlight program

Images: Legacy Advantage; First Image: (left to right) Michelle Wang – Board Member, Anne Wang – Executive Assistant, Jerry Tang – Senior Manager, Sofiya Pylypenko – Associate, Bob Wang – President, Davies Town – Board member; Second Image: (left to right) Lorna Jones – Senior Manager, David Nguyen – Associate, Vicky Kahara – Associate, Dylan Johnson – Junior Associate, Jerry Tang – Senior Manager; Third Image: Davies Town – Board Member, Michelle Wang – Board Member, Bob Wang – President, Sofiya Pylypenko – Associate, Wayne Lam – Associate, Jerry Tang – Senior Manager, Anne Wang – Executive Assistant

This article, “Spotlight: Legacy Advantage Wants to Be a New Kind of Bookkeeper” was first published on Small Business Trends

50 Brilliant Business Ideas for the Beach

50 Brilliant Beach Business Ideas

Sick of being stuck inside a stuffy office all summer? Wish you could spend your days dipping your toes into the water instead?

As an entrepreneur, you have the option of creating a business that fits with the lifestyle you want. And if what you want is to spend your days at the beach, here are 50 beach business ideas for you.

Beach Business Ideas

Vacation Rentals

If you have a home or extra space in a beach town, you can easily rent out that space to tourists on sites like Airbnb. You could even obtain a property specifically for this purpose.

Bed and Breakfast

Or you could create a more all-encompassing experience, starting a bed and breakfast in a beachside property.

Tour Guide

You could also provide tour guide services to visitors in your beachside town, setting up shop on the beach and then offering tours around your town.

Welcome Center

Or you could set up a simple welcome center where tourists can visit for maps, directions and information about local attractions.

Gift Shop

If you want to sell actual products, you can set up a gift shop that focuses on souvenirs specific to your beach town.


General stores and markets can also be very successful in beach towns, since tourists often need to visit those stores for items they forgot to pack or need to make their vacation more comfortable.


If you enjoy fishing, you could make that your job and sell your catch to local restaurants or grocery stores.

Fishing Supply Shop

Or you could help others who visit your town and are interested in doing some fishing of their own by selling bait, hooks and other fishing related products in your own shop.

Boat Rentals

Beachgoers may also be interested in renting boats for fishing or recreation. So you can start your own beachside boat rental business.

Boat Cleaning

You can also provide cleaning services for boat owners in your community who don’t want to do that work themselves.

Boat Repairs

Similarly, you can provide specialized repair services to boat owners.

Boating Tours

If there are a lot of different waterside sights in your area, you can also provide tour guide services that focus on the actual water.

Dinner Cruises

You can also provide a specialized dinner cruise for those who want to enjoy a nice meal on the water.

Watersports Rentals

Similar to boat rentals, you can set up a rental service for smaller items like jetskis, tubing equipment and surf boards.

Surf Shop

You can also open up a dedicated surf shop with boards and a variety of other accessories.

Surf Lessons

Or you can offer surfing lessons to tourists who want to learn how to surf while visiting your beach town.

Swimming Lessons

You can also offer swimming lessons to visitors with kids or those who want to shore up their swimming skills at the beach.

Bike and Scooter Rentals

Bicycles and scooters are popular modes of transportation on boardwalks and in beachside communities. So you can set up a rental business for those items.

Mobile Advertising

You can also use bicycles, carts and even boats as forms of advertising. Offer up the space to local businesses who want to advertise right on the beach.

Child Care

People often visit beach towns with the whole family. But sometimes the adults might want to have a night out without the kids. So you can provide child care services to those tourists visiting your town.

Pet Boarding Business

Likewise, you can provide pet boarding services to people who visit but can’t bring dogs to their hotels.

Drink Cart

People visiting the beach often like to purchase cold beverages. So you can set up a drink cart or small bar along the beach to provide those drinks to visitors.

Beachside Cafe

You can also set up a small beachside cafe or restaurant for people who want to get a quick bite while still enjoying the beachside view.

Portrait Photographer

If you’ve got an eye for photography, you can provide a portrait service to visitors who want to get family photos or just remember their beach vacations.

Selling Beach Photography

You can also show off your photography skills by taking photos of the beach and selling prints online or in local shops.

Travel Blogger

You can blog from just about anywhere. But if you enjoy spending time at the beach, travel blogging may be the right niche for you.

Freelance Writer

You can also make a living by freelancing for travel blogs or related publications.


Or you might simply gather inspiration from spending time at the beach. And you can use your time to write books and self-publish them.

Travel YouTube Channel

YouTube offers another outlet for you to share your travels and related information. Start your own channel and earn income through the site’s ad sharing program.

Travel Consultant

If you want to help others travel as well, you can offer help planning trips and finding deals online while working from the beach.

Reservation Service

You can also help local travelers make reservations for local attractions by starting your own reservation service.

Face Painting

Beach towns are often home to a lot of attractions and events where you can offer a variety of fun services like face painting to visitors.

Caricature Artist

Another service you can offer at local events or beach areas is caricature art.

Event Entertainer

Or you can provide entertainment services if you have talents like juggling, magic or even balloon art.

Airbrush T-Shirt Shop

If you want to offer customizable products to customers, airbrushed t-shirts and similar accessories can be popular with beachgoers.

Handmade Accessory Business

You can also offer handmade accessories like jewelry or bags on a boardwalk or at local events.


The beach can make for a great, relaxing setting for a professional masseuse to set up shop.

Yoga Instructor

It can also be a great location for an outdoor yoga class. So you can set your yoga business apart by offering beachside classes.

Wedding Officiant

Beach weddings are also popular in a lot of locations. So you could offer your services as a wedding officiant who specializes in beachside services.

Wedding Entertainer

You can also provide wedding entertainment services if you can play live music or even serve as a disc jockey.

Event Rentals

Another wedding and event related business, you can offer rentals like tables, chairs and canopies specifically for beach weddings.

Food Truck

Food trucks allow you to set up shop basically anywhere — including the beach.

Laundry Service

If you want to offer a really practical service for tourists, you can start a laundry business for those who are taking extended trips and don’t have access to laundry at their accommodations.

Delivery Service

You can also offer a delivery service where you bring carryout or groceries to travelers who don’t have their own vehicles.

Transportation Service

Or you can start a transportation service to drive around those tourists to their various destinations.


If your beach town is popular with international travelers, you can start a business where you offer translation services to travelers or local businesses.

Event Organizer

Beach towns are often home to a lot of different events. So you can offer event planning services, specializing in beach events.

Summer Camp

If you want to spend time at the beach and work with kids, you could start a beachside summer camp offering a variety of outdoor activities.

Corporate Retreats

Or you could focus on an older audience and offer beachside corporate retreats that include lots of outdoor time.

House Sitting

And since beach towns often clear out significantly during the winter months, you could make a pretty decent living by house sitting for those homeowners while they’re out of town and — of course — spend the rest of your time at the beach!

Coney Island Boardwalk Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “50 Brilliant Business Ideas for the Beach” was first published on Small Business Trends

Wix Releases Code – A New Custom Design Feature for Web Developers

Wix Code Released - A New Custom Design Feature for Web Developers

Wix (NASDAQ:WIX) just released a brand new coding tool for businesses and individuals seeing to create their own custom websites and web applications.

The new feature is called Code. And with it, you can create your own custom elements to build the exact website you envision for your business.

A Look at Wix Code

Code includes several new features that give you more control over your website and web applications. One of the biggest new features is the ability to use JavaScript to input code into your website. But there’s also the Wix Code API, which lets you take control of your website’s functionality with Wix’s open API. And you also have the ability to store user data in a database and add dynamic pages and custom interactions on those pages to make your website more engaging for visitors.

Avishai Abrahami, Wix.com Co-founder and CEO said in a statement, “Wix Code works for the creation of standalone web applications as well as to further enhance existing website functionality. The features benefit users at all levels and decrease the amount of time it takes to create something amazing.”

Wix is already well known for offering a customizable website tool for business. But until this announcement, the websites were mainly those made with some pre-determined templates and drag-and-drop features. So businesses that wanted really specific features or design elements that weren’t included in those options were left wanting or forced to use other website builders.

Essentially, Wix Code just offers one more option for businesses looking to design their own websites and web applications. It gives you more control over the development and design of your website. So if you have some coding and design skills and want a turnkey way to make your ideas into reality, Wix’s new Code feature could be a great option for your business website.

Interested businesses and individuals can apply to take part in the Wix Code beta now. You’ll need to sign up for a Wix account in order to apply.

Image: Wix

This article, “Wix Releases Code – A New Custom Design Feature for Web Developers” was first published on Small Business Trends

Republican governors slam the Senate's last-ditch effort to repeal Obamacare

John Kasich

It’s looking more likely that the Senate will vote on a last-resort effort to repeal Obamacare. 

The so-called “skinny repeal” plan, if passed, would roll back certain aspects of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), including the individual and employer health insurance mandates, and lead to the House and Senate working together to compromise on one final bill. 

The Congressional Budget Office scored the “skinny” plan Wednesday night and found that it would leave 16 million more Americans without health insurance.

Already, governors from 10 states have come out against the bills being proposed in the Senate:

“The bill still threatens coverage for millions of hardworking, middle class Americans,” they wrote in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. “The bill’s Medicaid provisions shift costs to states and fail to provide the necessary resources to ensure that no one is left out,
including the working poor or those suffering from mental illness or addiction. The Senate should also reject efforts to amend the bill into a “skinny repeal,” which is expected to accelerate health plans leaving the individual market, increase premiums, and result in fewer Americans having access to coverage.”

Instead, the governors called on the Senate to work with them.

The letter was signed by Democratic governors John Hickenlooper of Colorado, Terry McAuliffe of Virginia, John Bel Edwards of Louisiana, Steve Bullock of Montana, and Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania. Republican governors Brian Sandoval of Nevada, John Kasich of Ohio, Charlie Baker of Massachusetts, Larry Hogan of Maryland, and Phil Scott of Vermont also signed the letter.

The opposition, in particular from Sandoval and Kasich, to the “skinny repeal” plan is key. On Wednesday, Nevada Senator Dean Heller voted against a repeal-without-a-replacement plan, as did Ohio Sen. Bob Portman. Both Heller and Portman have been critical of the healthcare plans put forth by the GOP, and losing those votes could put a “skinny repeal” plan in jeopardy. 

What ‘skinny repeal’ would look like:

  • The “skinny repeal” bill would repeal both the individual and employer mandates, which requires individuals to have health insurance, and employers to provide health insurance to employees. If they don’t, they face a penalty fee under Obamacare.
  •  It would also repeal some of the taxes that the ACA put in place — most significantly, a tax on medical-device makers. 
  • The skinny bill would likely leave everything else untouched. 

While the text of the “skinny repeal” bill hasn’t been released yet, the bill would be nowhere near as extensive as the full-repeal plan or the BCRA. But it would seek to alter the much-criticized mandates that Republicans have targeted for years.

Getting rid of the individual mandate with no other changes to the bill, according to the Congressional Budget Office, would leave 15 million more Americans without health care by 2026. The change would also lead to a 20% increase in premiums, the CBO said. It could also send the ACA marketplace into a “death spiral,” health experts warn

Why the Senate might resort to a ‘skinny repeal’

Chris Krueger, an analyst at the Washington-based Cowen and Company, compared getting every GOP senator on board with a bill to squeezing a balloon, because it’s so hard to align both moderates and conservatives on a plan.

That was clear Tuesday night with the vote on a revised version of the BCRA, in which nine Republican senators voted against the bill — including both conservatives and moderates — and again on Wednesday, when seven Republican senators voted against a repeal-only bill.

If the Senate is successful in passing a skinny repeal, Senate Republicans would then need to find common ground with House Republicans to get to a bill that both chambers can agree on. That could be a rather lengthy process. 

SEE ALSO: LIVE: The Senate debate on an Obamacare repeal plan continues

DON’T MISS: The Senate’s plan to repeal and replace Obamacare has hit a setback

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How 3 New Trends will Change the Way You Approach Franchising

3 Trends Behind Franchise Growth

Some of America’s most successful and culturally significant businesses are franchises. The business model has long been one of the most efficient at delivering quality service throughout a distributed organization. But franchises have had ups and downs and are always competing with the newest disruptive business model to come along.

Today, however, is a good time to be in franchising for a few good reasons. Apart from a generally up economy, strong consumer spending, and easy access to financing, franchises are benefiting from other market forces as well.

The proof lies in the momentum, which is evident in this year’s International Franchise Association growth forecast. This year it is expected that another 11,500 franchise establishments will open their doors. As a percentage, that is an increase of 1.6 percent, just slightly behind last year’s growth of 1.7 percent. By the end of the year, there will be 745,000 franchise establishments in America.

None of this is happening strictly in parallel to a growth economy because much of that growth is coming from other places. Instead, it is a combination of market forces that make this period uniquely suited for growth in the franchise market.

3 Trends Behind Franchise Growth

The Millennial Impact

Let’s talk about the much-maligned Millennial demographic. While they are frequently criticized for their prima donna tendencies (real or imagined), they do have several qualities in spades: a strong sense of independence and an affinity for cause-driven businesses.

Both of those traits are crucial in the franchise world. To begin with, franchise owners are in fact small business owners who must have an independent streak in order to succeed. The logo and product may be the same across the broader organization, but the way each individual store operates is strictly the result of its leader’s abilities and drive. Millennials excel in this area, taking ownership seriously and making their work a form of self expression.

“Businesses that want to uphold values in addition to their bottom line may find that a franchise model is the right way to go,” says Josh Cohen, founder and CEO of on-demand junk removal franchise Junkluggers. “The perception would be that decentralizing control would limit the company’s ability to push for environmentally friendly practices and community involvement, but because of market dynamics today, the opposite is true. Millennials are some of our favorite franchise partners because they can be motivated by the company’s values and experience great pride of ownership at the same time.”

Additionally, Millennials who are not motivated by money (much to the chagrin of their capitalist forebears) are driven by causes. We know that young professionals are more efficient and produce more when their work is tied to a selfless outcome. This trait has been criticized, but franchises capitalize on it by empowering Millennials to use it as a strength.

Changing Consumer Demands

Along with the growth of Millennials in our economy has come a broader consumer demand for cause-centric companies. In response, companies have quickly launched charities, boasted their sustainability track records, and worked hard to rebrand themselves. But few centrally structured companies can capitalize on this new consumer demand with the efficiency of franchises.

Instead of having a top down corporate structure, franchises push management out to the edge of the business, into the towns and communities where the business actually operates. By doing so, individual establishments are able to find authentic ways to help the neighborhoods they work in. This localization of charitable outreach makes a significant difference, and in turn attracts cause-driven professionals to join.

Franchises have the ability to succeed where even the most resourced company cannot. The human factor is critical.

Upward Cycle of Jobs

Finally, franchises are benefiting from automation. Not only are they benefiting from the cost-savings that other businesses reap, but they also have access to a newly created pool of talent that needs higher level, knowledge worker employment.

Automation is cutting certain types of positions en masse, but also necessarily creating new roles for managers and people who can handle functions too complicated for machines: creative work, collaboration, and organization. Franchises create knowledge worker jobs, and they create them in the cities where people need work, not back at headquarters in New York.

“Trying to centrally manage a growing business can degrade the quality of the service and damage the brand,” says Cohen. “By franchising, and finding the right franchise partners, you can scale without compromising on service. For companies that have core values about operating responsibly and giving back, the franchise model is the perfect fit.”

Every new franchise needs managers and people with high-level skills. In an economy flush with talent and that increasingly needs higher skill jobs, franchises are a perfect fit.

Business Owner Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “How 3 New Trends will Change the Way You Approach Franchising” was first published on Small Business Trends

7 Parts to a Winning Business Plan

7 Parts of a Business Plan

Starting a business is an exciting venture. To make it an absolute success, getting all the details right from the very beginning is absolutely crucial. This is where a business plan becomes relevant.

A business plan is a formal statement that comprises the goals of a business, reasons why they are attainable and the ways in which these can be accomplished. In short, a business plan is a road-map to success.

It is important to understand that while a business plan may not make success inevitable for a business, it can definitely help you identify viable ways to avoid failure. It helps you get a clear understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of your business and devise ways to capitalize on the strength and minimize the risks.

Parts of a Business Plan

Regardless of whether you are starting a business or planning to grow your existing one, a business plan is an absolutely crucial element. Let’s take a look at what to include while craft a winning business plan.

Executive Summary

An executive summary briefly outlines the goals and objectives of the business. It summarizes a description of the business, the products and/or services provided, growth potential, funding requirements, a proper plan on how you will repay loans, if any, etc.

Sometimes, you might require to show the business plan you formulate to investors and financiers. Therefore, you should ensure that you get to the to-the-point in the summary.

Description of the Business

This is where you introduce readers to the business. Describe the products and services that your business plans to provide and where and how you plan on providing these to your potential customers. By now, you would need to have a clear idea about which industry corresponds to your business and who your target customers are going to be.

Also include, an industry analysis and how your business fits in. It should also comprise an outlook for the future. Include how further developments in your industry may affect your business and add facts supporting your inferences.

Analysis of Market Opportunities and Competition

A thorough market research is crucial for your business. This research should analyze the buying habits of customers, purchasing cycle, their willingness to accept new products and services etc. In short, you would need to determine whether there is a viable market for the products and/or services your business will offer.

Also, it is important to have an idea about your competitors and what works for them. These findings will help you determine how to differentiate your product or service from the existing ones. The strategies you devise for this purpose should be included in your business plan.

Marketing and Sales

This section should comprise a layout of your marketing plan. One of the primary purposes of this section is to find ways to spread awareness of the products and services among your target customers. Marketing involves advertising and promoting your products while maintaining proper public relations.

Your plan should include the techniques that you will implement to generate leads, increase conversion and retain customers. These should be actionable and based on facts.

Business Operations and Management

This section is dedicated to how you plan on running the business. This may include requirements related to staffing, logistics and development of the business. Also, the tasks assigned to every division, responsibilities of the management team etc. are included. Some other aspects that you need to consider are infrastructure, working equipment, WiFi requirements and so on.

You should keep in mind that the operations will change as the company grows. Therefore, your business plan should have provisions for these changes.


The success or failure of a business boils down to its profits and this section will help in planning how to keep it steady. The major aspects include:

•    An income statement comprising the sources of the business’s cash generation
•    The cash flow statement determining how you plan on meeting financial obligations

Additionally, the business plan should be inclusive of proper funding options for expansion and growth.

Contingency Plan

Even with a full-fledged plan, there can still be certain areas that can go wrong. Your business plan should include strategies that you will implement in case things don’t go as anticipated. This could include a shift in marketing strategies in case the desired results are not obtained within a specific time, change in product focus etc.

While this is a basic structure of a business plan, you can include variations depending on the type of business. The benefits of a business plan are endless. A well-drafted plan is crucial in driving your business towards success.

Manager Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “7 Parts to a Winning Business Plan” was first published on Small Business Trends


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