Beyond Merchant Capital https://beyondmerchantcapital.com.au Funding Growing Businesses - Unsecured Loans & Merchant Financing Fri, 18 Jan 2019 00:58:36 +0000 en-AU hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.0.3 Changes to flexible work laws to affect small business https://beyondmerchantcapital.com.au/changes-to-flexible-work-laws-to-affect-small-business/ Thu, 10 Jan 2019 06:34:42 +0000 https://beyondmerchantcapital.com.au/?p=35930 The post Changes to flexible work laws to affect small business appeared first on Beyond Merchant Capital.

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A business is more than a brick-and-mortar structure, where people clock in nine to five and get a task done. A business is made up hard working people, with unique needs and dynamics. With this in mind a new policy is in play in Australian businesses: As of 1 December 2018, the rules around flexible work requests have changed. This is according to a new ruling by the Fair Work Commission (FWC). But the big question is, how will the changes to flexible work laws affect small business?

So what’s different now?

The regulation is all about how flexible an employer needs to be with staff. So if an employee has been working for a company for 12 months or longer, they are entitled to make a request to amend the hours, location or pattern of their job description. If the employer refuses, this has to be with a backed up by an informed and plausible decision.

And the fine print?

According to the FWC website, workers who aren’t casual can make a request if they’ve been employed for at least 12 months and if they:

  • Are a parent and have the responsibility to care for a child.
  • Are a carer (under the Carer Recognition Act 2010)
  • Have a disability.
  • Are over the age of 55.
  • Are victim to domestic or family violence.
  • Care for someone victim to domestic or family violence.

Casual workers can make a request if:

  • They have been working for the same employees for 12 months.
  • Have a reasonable expectation to continue work there in their relevant capacity.

What’s the upside for small business?

Simply put – having happy employees. When your employees feel like their personal circumstances are respected and accommodated, it can only have a positive effect on performance. This is likely to increase your employee’s longevity in the business. Particularly, if they are likely to take off work as a result of personal responsibilities, like fetching kids from school. In these cases, care and consideration go a long way. And this can ultimately promote loyalty.

Some companies are extending the practice to include employees who want to explore creative projects. Understanding that well-rounded individuals are more dynamic and will be far more useful to the long-term vision of a business. By allowing (and encouraging) this kind of personal exploration, they will be invigorated in their work capacity. And, equipped with gratitude and zest for life, should be willing to go the extra mile at work.

What’s the downside for small business?

So how will the changes to flexible work laws affect small business, negatively? In an article for Smart Company, CEO of the Council of Small Business Organisations Australia (COSBOA) Peter Strong made it clear that this is going to make the already complicated task of running a small business, even harder.

His scepticism is rooted in how small businesses don’t have the HR capabilities to deal with these types of ad-hoc requests. Further to this. small business owners are concerned that staff requests like this will impede on business dynamics, making it very hard to drive their objectives as a core priority.

But a positive factor to consider is that often, small businesses are naturally flexible. This is because they are mostly structured in an un-corporate way. Meaning that more flattened structures may allow for this type of open-door policy. In fact, these types of understandings may already be in place, albeit in an informal way.

What’s the best way to handle these requests?

Be approachable:

This policy embodies taking ‘the personal’ into account. So make sure you give your employee the courtesy of a face-to-face discussion, even if it is to decline the request.

No-one likes surprises:

If the option is immediately off-the-table, say so upfront. Raise legitimate concerns at the outset. Maybe you can come up with suggestions on how to make it work, together.

Have an open mind:

Different isn’t always a bad thing. If you think of your employees as people, the problem becomes just another challenge to navigate. So ask yourself again: How will the changes to flexible work laws affect small business? This question is not as tricky as it seems. The word ‘flexible’ implies open cards. This extends to the employer too. The intention is that this is a win-win scenario for both you and your people. Entrepreneurs deal with curve balls all the time. This should be no different. So do what you do, and think out of the box.

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Government Grant & Tips To Safeguard Your Small Business Cyber Security https://beyondmerchantcapital.com.au/government-grant-tips-to-safeguard-your-small-business-cyber-security/ Thu, 10 Jan 2019 05:50:57 +0000 https://beyondmerchantcapital.com.au/?p=35936 Cybercrime is on the rise. Especially for small businesses. Often because they lack IT infrastructure making them a soft target for hackers and scammers. In fact, Small Business Computing reports that 58% of all data breaches last year occurred in small businesses. In the past 12 months, 54% of these small businesses hit, involved a breach of […]

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Cybercrime is on the rise. Especially for small businesses. Often because they lack IT infrastructure making them a soft target for hackers and scammers. In fact, Small Business Computing reports that 58% of all data breaches last year occurred in small businesses. In the past 12 months, 54% of these small businesses hit, involved a breach of employee and/or customer information. It is with this in mind that business owners need to take their security very seriously. Fortunately, Government is behind small business cybersecurity. We have rounded up the details of the grant, as well as some key tips to keep your business safe from the great wide web.

The Small Business Cyber Security Grant, Australia

At a glance, the government-backed grant entitles businesses with 19 or fewer employees, to a grant of up to $2,100. The grant is allocated to a complete security health check in order to red-light which area of your business’ cyber footprint is unsecured, to locate risk and advise on how to both remedy and protect your business.

Who can apply?

There are certain criteria for applicants: Most notably, your business must have a certified health check undertaken by a CREST provider. Your business needs an Australian Business Number (ABN). It must be registered for Goods and Services Tax (GST). The business must employ 19 or fewer people. It should also be a sole trader, entity incorporated or a partnership. Deadline to apply is 30 June 2020 and is well worth the effort to apply. So, visit their website for more details.

In the meantime what can I do to increase my small business cyber security?

First, understand what the threat looks like. The most common risk to small business cyber security involves phishing or social engineering. This often involves “pretexting” where attackers send emails appearing to be from an executive within the company. It mostly targets HR or Finance departments in an attempt to get financial or employee information. According to Symantec’s 2018 Internet Security Threat Report, each user at a small business receives an average of nine malicious e-mails per month.

The other common attack is on the web itself. As employees surf the web, embedded malware on compromised sites embed themselves on the user’s computer. Once the hacker gains access, they can easily access personal data and other private company documents. This information is then used against the company for ransom or with other malicious intent.

These tips can vastly improve your small business cybersecurity:

Improve password protection:

In this day and age, it’s pretty much a given that you need to protect your devices with passwords. And then, it’s even more essential that you update them regularly. Ensure there are policies in place to insist this is carried out among staff. Consider using a password manager and two-factor authentication to access your accounts.

Limit access:

Good cyber security for small business is all about layers. Create tiered access for staff. Ensure that only those who need to access certain information do so. Also, be sure to limit employee access to the web.

Monitor personal devices:

As a small business, to save on expenses, it is likely that you might allow staff to use their personal devices for work purposes. In these cases, you need to create policies that allow your network administrator to install monitoring software, push automatic security updates, and call for regular password changes.

Educate your employees:

It stands to reason that employees are the weakest link in the cybercrime chain. So it will come down to training staff on what they can and can’t do. Put guidelines and penalties in place to ensure rules are followed.

Plan for attack:

Even if you do everything right, these things happen. So work with an IT specialist to come up with a backup plan in the event of the worst happening.

Hack yourself before you back yourself:

As crazy as it seems, arranging someone to hack your own system will give you a very clear sense of where your vulnerabilities lie. You can hire an ethical hacker on Fiverr for as little as $5 USD.

Up to a point your cyber security rests in your hands. To layer your security, follow these key tips and remain on top of cyber trends at all times. In this world, vigilance pays off and hackers will go wherever it’s easiest. That needn’t be you.

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Five Reasons Why So Many Australian SMEs Fail https://beyondmerchantcapital.com.au/five-reasons-why-so-many-australian-smes-fail/ Thu, 10 Jan 2019 04:49:23 +0000 https://beyondmerchantcapital.com.au/?p=35944 The Australian Centre For Business Growth recently released a report, which tried to understand why so many Australian SMEs fail. We have combed the data in order to deliver a helpful overview. It comes down to five key factors. This will hopefully empower you to help you think broader and brighter. Because your SME doesn’t […]

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The Australian Centre For Business Growth recently released a report, which tried to understand why so many Australian SMEs fail. We have combed the data in order to deliver a helpful overview. It comes down to five key factors. This will hopefully empower you to help you think broader and brighter. Because your SME doesn’t need to become just another statistic.

1. Lack of leadership and strong management

In the report, 25% of respondents cited CEOs as a core reason for failure. A CEO needs to understand their responsibilities and role as a company leader. While larger corporations can manage a short while without leadership in place, the same can not be said for small businesses. The dynamics between a small number of employees can quickly turn sour without the containing presence of a strong leader. As CEO of Beyond Merchant Capital Larry Prosser explains, “A CEO’s core role lies in defining the company’s vision. They need to ensure good governance and a culture of learning. And then make sure that all operations constantly point in that clear direction.”

2. Poor planning

It’s easy to plan for growth. But often what’s missed, is planning for the unforeseen. Your business exists in a world with extraneous factors like politics, interest rates, climate change, and global trends. 13% of respondents hadn’t taken these into account. This meant a downward spiral for many promising SMEs. Once the worst happens, what will you do about it? The way you choose to respond is vital.  In 2016, Toyota CEO Jim Lentz personally handled its PR crisis when several million cars were suddenly recalled. He really threw himself into the situation by answering queries online, personally handling customer relations and other aspects of the fallout. Had he relied on the chain of command to see things through, the company may not have recovered as well as it did.

3. Sub-par sales skills

Another reason why so many Australian SMEs fail is due to mediocre sales skills. No matter which way you spin it, your business is selling something. So sales skills are tantamount to your business’ success. Customers are usually very intuitive; they can sense an inauthentic, incompetent or dishonest salesperson. This often boils down to simple communication skills. Luckily it is a skill that can be honed. There are many sales training programs that can help SMEs perfect this area. And is well worth the investment.

4. Mismanagement of financials

14% of respondents admitted that their SME failed due to poor management of financials. This often came down to the management of working capital as well as profitability. This seems to be much more relevant than the financial skills regarding a balance sheet or strategic finance, planning or analyzing. Cash flow is like air for business. It requires careful micro-planning but also a strong view of the bigger picture. Traditional lenders can be a helpful resource for cash flow but the time it takes to get finance is often the difference between sink or sail. Fintech lenders like Beyond Merchant Capital, however, provide working capital in as little as 48 hours. A life-line for many SMEs.

5. Weak structures

Another reason why so many Australian SMEs fail comes down to structures. In the report, 11% of respondents admitted that failure occurred due to poor governance structures, sour partnerships or problems with family. First and foremost it is essential that the business has the correct governance structures in place. A CEO should consult with professionals on tax requirements, company structures, proprieties etc. Similarly, internally, the chain of command should be clear. The left hand should always know what the right hand is doing. And there must be complementary operational systems in place to ensure optimal productivity at all times. A simple example is how a company can’t do business if there is no Wi-Fi in the building. It’s often the little things that make a big difference.

Chin-up

Running an SME is hard. It all starts with an idea and then you need to make it happen. The most important thing you can do as an SME leader is seek advice. You are not expected to know it all. So identify your weak spots, hire up or empower yourself with new knowledge. You don’t need to be another statistic that proves why so many Australian SMEs fail. You just need to identify your blind spots. Then improve on them.

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Small Business ATO Disputes To Get A Fair Hearing https://beyondmerchantcapital.com.au/small-business-ato-disputes-to-get-a-fair-hearing/ Thu, 10 Jan 2019 04:03:10 +0000 https://beyondmerchantcapital.com.au/?p=35948 At any given time there are 3,8 Million small business taxpayers in the tax system. So a recent media statement from the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, Kate Carnell, brings good news to these Australian entrepreneurs. The Prime Minister announced a funding line for a Small Business Concierge Service in her office. This […]

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At any given time there are 3,8 Million small business taxpayers in the tax system. So a recent media statement from the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, Kate Carnell, brings good news to these Australian entrepreneurs. The Prime Minister announced a funding line for a Small Business Concierge Service in her office. This will function as a direct line of inquiry to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). And will specifically furnish the needs of small business ATO disputes.

How will it work?

The intention going forward is that for $500, small business owners can lodge an appeal directly through this service. Fast-tracking them to a response. Carnell’s office will be able to offer bespoke support and advice regarding the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) process, prior to making an application. Further to this, a dedicated Small Business Taxation Division within the AAT – independent of the ATO – will case manage appeals to ensure small businesses get a fair hearing.

Why now?

Small business is a critical part of the Australian economy. When an ATO dispute is lodged, this can present a certain challenge to this growth.  The process can take an extended period of time to resolve. Often time that SMEs don’t have. A common (and disturbing) issue is that in many cases, small business owners have their houses on the line. This makes fast-tracking the dispute all the more crucial.

If these disputes get stuck in court, it can have a devastating knock-on effect financially.  Often they run out of money. And it is this type of scenario that the Ombudsman is trying to avoid. Says Carnell, “Our assistance team is well-placed to manage small and family business tax disputes, having already triaged hundreds of similar cases for almost three years. Ours and AAT’s specialized support will assist small businesses to resolve ATO disputes in a timely and cost-effective manner.”

What else can SMEs with small business ATO disputes do?

When small business ATO disputes are already in the system, cash flow can be negatively affected. If this is the case, a Merchant Cash Advance can help. This is a unique PAY-AS-YOU-TRADE system. Ideal for business owners who have a monthly average turnover of $5,000 or more, and have been operating for more than 6 months. In contrast to the ATO process, applying for a Cash Advance is quick and easy. And approval can happen in less than 48 hours.

Says Jaco Gunter, COO of Beyond Merchant Capital, “We understand how much small business owners have on their plate. We have streamlined the process. This will allow entrepreneurs time to focus on what they do best- run their business.” If a business is stuck in an ATO dispute, a quick cash injection can be the factor which keeps the doors open. The Pay-As-You-Trade system will enable repayments to work in line with turn-over. So the operator is unlikely to feel the pinch of the repayments.

SMEs finally get the support they need

Small businesses are crucial to the development of the Australian economy. They account for almost half of the employment in the private non-financial sector and over a third of production. Government and private support are crucial. And SMEs should be taking advantage of what’s out there. For more information on how to get a Merchant Cash Advance for your SME, speak with a BMC Lending Specialist today.

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How Is An Entrepreneur Different From An Employee? https://beyondmerchantcapital.com.au/how-is-an-entrepreneur-different-from-an-employee/ Thu, 10 Jan 2019 02:16:42 +0000 https://beyondmerchantcapital.com.au/?p=35916 The thing that stops most people is the start. ‘Most people’ however, are not entrepreneurs who are wired differently. They love the ‘start’. The ‘start’ is what gets them up in the morning. The ‘not knowing’ is their jet fuel. So what makes an entrepreneur different from an employee? Why are they unique when it […]

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The thing that stops most people is the start. ‘Most people’ however, are not entrepreneurs who are wired differently. They love the ‘start’. The ‘start’ is what gets them up in the morning. The ‘not knowing’ is their jet fuel. So what makes an entrepreneur different from an employee? Why are they unique when it comes to all the other hardworking folk out there?

Entrepreneurs believe in seasons; employees believe in balance.

In 1923, Henry Ford, founder of the Ford Motor Company, said, “I do not believe a man can ever leave his business. He ought to think of it by day and dream of it by night.” Here he is showing how home and work are a blurry line for entrepreneurs. Big dreams don’t keep office hours and bring an idea to life. You need to work very hard at it for a very long time. Employees, albeit extremely hard working, prefer to keep working hours. They dream of work-life balance. Driven by salary and KPIs rather than vision and ideas. An entrepreneur, on the other hand, understands that balance is seasonal and aspects of their personal lives may need to suffer in order for their dreams to become a reality.

Employees are threatened by smarter people; entrepreneurs hire them.

Employees see someone who knows more than them and might worry that they could be replaced. They become territorial. An entrepreneur loves those people. They understand that having smart people around them drives their vision. So they hire up. They pick up new ways of thinking from the clever people they surround themselves with. They take no issue with others knowing more than them. In fact, they capitalize on it.

Entrepreneurs challenge status quo; employees go with the flow.

Setbacks in business is an absolute certainty but its how you deal with them that determines whether you fall on the ’employee’ or ‘entrepreneur’ side of the fence. Most employees shy away from corporate adversity, seeing it as something to be fixed or avoided. Entrepreneurs use it. Approaching it as an opportunity as opposed to a setback. It provides the entrepreneur with the possibility to think differently about existing problems. And it is often the birthplace of greatness.

Entrepreneurs are risky; employees play it safe.

You’ve heard the saying “The bigger the risk, the bigger the reward”. This was written with entrepreneurs in mind. Challenging the norm and taking risks is core to how they think. Employees, on the other hand, might prefer to play it safe – needing to rely on their salary, pension, and peace of mind.

Entrepreneurs see mistakes as an opportunity; employees see mistakes as a failure.

Employees worry about dropping the ball. They consistently look to impress management with diligence and ‘getting it right’ every time. Entrepreneurs understand that even Steve Jobs made mistakes. And that these oversights were essential for learning and redeveloping their ideas. What makes an entrepreneur different from an employee is that they don’t shy away from error. They make them boldly, own them wisely and learn openly.

Entrepreneurs ask around; employees ask up.

Being an entrepreneur can be a lonely road. So consulting with peers is an essential component. They need council like anyone else. They keep an open mind and trust other’s opinion. This is often where they will cross-reference ideas and play out scenarios. An employee, on the other hand, might have a ‘what is the protocol’ type of approach. Doing what they’re told and not seeking advice to widen their thinking.

Entrepreneurs see far; employees focus up close.

Richard Branson said, “Entrepreneurs can inspire new movements, create new jobs and stimulate economies. They can encourage people to be more entrepreneurial and sow the seeds for the next generation of job creators and innovators.” Entrepreneurial thinking is a long-term play. This type of business person won’t accept the reality in front of them. They are more than ideas people but are also doers. The alchemy of this combination is extremely special and can produce great things. An entrepreneur is different from an employee because an employee embraces someone else’s vision and then helps them create it. This is an equally important component in the bigger picture, but a very different one, none-the-less.

Entrepreneurs say “no”; employees are all about the “yes”.

Employees never say “no” to an opportunity, for fear that it might interfere with their big break. Entrepreneurs, on the other hand, flex their “no” muscle all the time. This helps them focus on what really matters. As Warren Buffet said, “The difference between successful people and really successful people is those really successful people say “no” to almost everything.”

If you’re an entrepreneur looking to fund big dreams for your business, learn more about quick funding solutions, or give us a call.

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6 New Year Resolutions for your Small Business https://beyondmerchantcapital.com.au/6-new-year-resolutions-for-your-small-business/ Mon, 10 Dec 2018 04:59:37 +0000 https://beyondmerchantcapital.com.au/?p=35883 New Year’s resolutions are habitually put in place in order to improve our lives or reach a particular goal. It’s all about aspirations. And who’s more aspirational than a business owner? The ones who seize the opportunity to make themselves and their businesses great. If you have that entrepreneurial spirit – you’d know that planning […]

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New Year’s resolutions are habitually put in place in order to improve our lives or reach a particular goal. It’s all about aspirations. And who’s more aspirational than a business owner? The ones who seize the opportunity to make themselves and their businesses great. If you have that entrepreneurial spirit – you’d know that planning is key in reaching your goals.

6 small business steps to bring your establishment into 2019 and beyond.

But first, let’s talk timing

The start of a new year can actually be pretty quiet for some small businesses. Making it the ideal time to pause, think and plan. You probably already believe your business could benefit from cost saving and new systems. Making it reasonable that you carve out some time to give it the once-over. So what should you have in your 2019 toolkit?

 #1. An up-to-date business plan

One of the most important tools you can have in your arsenal is a strategic business plan. This is your roadmap for the year ahead. It helps all parties get on the same page. Ensuring that visions are aligned, budgets are available and pitfalls are anticipated. Make sure yours is still relevant by comparing year-on-year actuals and variables. Then cross-reference these with new plans and fresh goals.

 #2. Available cash-flow

Now you have a plan in place. Make sure you have the cash-flow to make this happen. Cash-flow is like air for your business. It doesn’t matter how cutting-edge your plans are, without working capital to finance it, it’s all theory. The good news is that there are ways to facilitate this. One way would be to get your overdraft facility in place. The other way is to apply for finance. A Merchant Cash Advance is a great way to get access to quick funding. In as little as 48 hours in fact. This should be a priority at the start of your working year.

#3. A clear marketing and communications strategy

No matter how good your product or service is if nobody knows about it you are won’t sell very much. It is vital that you come up with a communications strategy that clearly explains your product. And creates a convincing argument to compel customers to use it. It’s likely that as the small business owner you spend most of your time on operational issues. But bear in mind that having a marketing strategy in play will ultimately drive sales and help you do your job better.

#4. A consolidated calendar

Now that you have a business plan and communications strategy in place, one of the most important small business tools is a calendar. Think about how quickly the year moves. So as tedious as the process is, it is well worth syncing calendars with all the micro-activity that will make up your long-term wins. Then stick to them.

 #5. Strong small business tools rest on relationships

Quiet periods are a great time to touch base with your customers in a personal way. Don’t rely solely on your staff to give you feedback on customer experience. There is no better way to understand what your customer thinks then by asking them yourself. The personal contact will be a welcomed interaction. And you can only benefit from the experience.

#6. A good IT infrastructure

The systems that worked for you last year, may not work for you now. Take the time to do a consolidated audit of all your IT systems. Consider if there is a way to pool resources, upgrade your Wifi or backup your office devices. This is often a place you can save costs, so its definitely worth investigating.

6 small steps lead to great things

A new year holds the potential for so much. Often this is exciting. But it can also be daunting. The key to your success (and sanity) rests in careful planning and baby steps to help it all happen. With these key small business tools in place, hopefully, 2019 can be one for books!

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Top 10 Free Online Resources to Boost Small Business https://beyondmerchantcapital.com.au/top-10-free-online-resources-to-boost-small-business/ Mon, 10 Dec 2018 04:56:22 +0000 https://beyondmerchantcapital.com.au/?p=35887 Being a small business owner can be a lonely road. So it’s nice to know that there are online resources out there geared at boosting your business. This can make things that much easier so you don’t have to work quite so hard all the time. So here is our top 10 list of free […]

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Being a small business owner can be a lonely road. So it’s nice to know that there are online resources out there geared at boosting your business. This can make things that much easier so you don’t have to work quite so hard all the time. So here is our top 10 list of free online resources for small business. First referring to social media services and then to great business listing options. Each one is free and some have upgrade options available.

Online resources for small business to develop social media

  1. Canva

As a small business owner, you are good at a lot but you can’t be everything to everyone. Canva. is a savvy little site. Providing one of the better free online resources for small business. This service will design your social posts for you. It features standard layouts for all the major social media platforms, cover photos and more. With drag-and-drop functions that will help you design your look-and-feel and upload with minimal fuss and a professional outcome. Click here to access Canva.

  1. VSCO

This is a firm favourite. This photo-editing service allows you to elevate the photos you take on your smartphone and take them to new levels of professionalism. The filters and graphics editors are superb. And it even allows you to save your settings so you can replicate your ideal look and feel for future projects. Where can I get it? Search VSCO in your app store on your phone.

  1. Google alerts

This one may not be as pretty as the previous tools but it’s the most essential of all online resources for small business. Google Alerts allows you to monitor keywords like your business’ name, the CEO’s name or even your competitors. It will then constantly scan the internet at large for any mentions and alert you as they happen, daily or weekly.

  1. Feedly

It is so important that you stay on top of what is happening in your industry. But who has the time or inclination to trawl the web and monitor everything that’s happening all the time? With Feedly, you can organize your content and stay on top of trending topics or share info with followers.

  1. Content Calendar

One of the hardest things about running a social media strategy is coming up with unique daily content and then remembering to action it each day. With just 30 minutes a month, this simple tool allows you to whip up all your feeds, grab content and ensure that everything is in line with targeted messaging. Now its all ready to be uploaded for the month and you won’t miss a day because of fumbling for content.

Online Business Directories

  1. Google My Business

it’s important that customers in your area know you are near, relevant and ready to serve. So make sure you are listed in your geographic area for the major search engines. Google My Business is actually the first place you want to be. A great advantage is that it pins your exact location on smart-phones making it easy for customers to find you.

  1. Hotfrog

Hotfrog is a popular online listing used in 38 countries and is popular in Australia. It allows businesses to share coupons with their customers with special offers and discounts.

  1. Yelp

Yelp is one of the biggest customer review sites in the world. Once listed it allows you to send private messages to Yelp users letting them know about deals, products, and other offers. 46% of users earn over $100,000 per year. That’s a stat we like!

  1. Yellow pages

Yellow Pages is an oldie but a goodie. The original listing service is alive and well online. The strong brand recognition will align well with your brand and help customers find you.

   10. Foursquare

Foursquare is unique. Not only is this a business directory but it is also a social networking platform. If a customer visits you in person they can check-in via GPS and automatically review on the platform. It has over 60 million registered users worldwide and is somewhere your business wants to be.

There you have it. Our top 10 list of free online resources for small business. Now hurry up, you have places to be. Online.

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What is a Factor Rate & How is it Calculated? https://beyondmerchantcapital.com.au/what-is-a-factor-rate-how-is-it-calculated/ Mon, 10 Dec 2018 04:54:19 +0000 https://beyondmerchantcapital.com.au/?p=35892 If your business is in need of quick working capital you may find yourself applying for a Merchant Cash Advance (MCA). During the quick application process, you will come across the term “factor rate“.  Here is everything you need to know about a factor rate and how this crucial figure is calculated. Firstly what is […]

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If your business is in need of quick working capital you may find yourself applying for a Merchant Cash Advance (MCA). During the quick application process, you will come across the term “factor rate“.  Here is everything you need to know about a factor rate and how this crucial figure is calculated.

Firstly what is a Merchant Cash Advance?

A Merchant Cash Advance, also known as Merchant Financing, is a short-term loan that is paid back using an agreed percentage of daily card sales. It works via the business’ EFTPOS working in line with turnover instead of being paid back as a fixed percentage at month-end.

What’s the difference between a factor rate and an interest rate?

An interest rate is expressed in percentages, but a factor rate is expressed as a decimal figure. It usually ranges from about 1.1 to 1.5 and will show you exactly how much you will be paying back.

Further to this, factor rates are determined once and upfront based on the loan amount. Whereas interest rates are determined multiple times and are worked against factors like depreciating capital. This means that an MCA can work out to be more pricey as the interest is worked into the total amount, at the beginning of the process. Whereas a normal interest rate means the loan repayments reduce as the loan is slowly paid off. This is because the interest is being worked out against the overall amount owing.

How does a factor rate work?

A factor rate is calculated according to various factors. It is determined by the industry you’re in, according to how long you have been in business, your card turnover and stability of sales.

How do I calculate my factor rate?

You’ll need to calculate the total amount you need to repay in order to find the factor rate. Multiply the amount you need to borrow by the factor rate. So for example, if you are borrowing $150,000 and the factor rate is 1.2 for a 12-month term, you’ll need to repay a total of $180,000.

How do lenders determine the factor rate?

Credit card statements:

The lender will first want to see a 6-month history of EFTPOS statements. This is used to understand how stable your card sales are and to get a sense of business history.

Business bank statements:

You will likely need to present at least 3 months of bank statements to determine the overall health of your business.

Time in business:

Most lenders will need you to have been in business for at least six months to one year before providing a loan.

Tax return & financial statements:

Some lenders will also want to see your latest business tax return for larger loans, in order to understand how your business shaped up in the last financial year.

But that’s pretty much it. The beauty of the Merchant Financing process is that after submitting just these few documents, you can obtain finance in 48 hours. And for some businesses, this can be an absolute game changer.

What does this mean for my business?

An MCA means that on a good sales day you will pay off a higher percentage of the overall loan, thereby paying off the total that much quicker. Similarly, on slower days, the amount, being a percentage of daily card sales will then reduce. Some merchants, for example, those in a seasonal trade, love this aspect of the MCA. But short-term finance is not for everyone. That said it can often be a lifeline for businesses. It is best used for quick growth-enhancing projects like renovations or equipment upgrades. Whereas a traditional loan is better for very large long-term projects. Both options have their up and downsides. The MCA comes with speedy access and flexibility. While a traditional loan with interest comes with a certain amount of predictability.

Don’t be afraid to ask

If at any point in the process you don’t understand a term or a concept, don’t be afraid to ask. A responsible lender will be ready and willing to answer your questions. They will empower you through the process and explain exactly what everything means in dollars and cents.

For more on how to finance your business with a Merchant Cash Advance, speak with a Beyond Merchant Capital lending specialist today.

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Six Tips For Small Businesses To Cope With The Xmas Rush https://beyondmerchantcapital.com.au/six-tips-for-small-businesses-to-cope-with-the-xmas-rush/ Fri, 07 Dec 2018 06:57:09 +0000 https://beyondmerchantcapital.com.au/?p=35870 The festive season is upon us. Like Santa, you have your list of things to do, and hopefully, have your set of helpers waiting in the wings. But the truth is that being a retailer at Xmas time is both a blessing and curse. This may well be the time that you do some of […]

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The festive season is upon us. Like Santa, you have your list of things to do, and hopefully, have your set of helpers waiting in the wings. But the truth is that being a retailer at Xmas time is both a blessing and curse. This may well be the time that you do some of your biggest business…but at what cost? Statistics show that 58% of small business owners expect to lose sleep due to the demands of the period. 63% won’t have a chance to rest and recuperate at all. Retailers will probably spend twelve hours a week on compliance and regulatory tasks. And harder still will spend an average of eight hours a week chasing outstanding invoices. This doesn’t bode well for retailers. But with these six tips for small businesses navigating the holiday rush, hopefully, you can hang the mistletoe and kiss these particular worries goodbye!

  1. Understand the Xmas climate

The first of our tips for small businesses is that retailers need to understand the current Xmas climate. A recent Deloitte Retailers Survey painted an optimistic picture. Despite the looming clouds in the broader economy, Australian retailers are optimistic about Xmas trade. Expecting to increase sales and profits by at least 10%.

  1. Never guesstimate

Make sure you carefully comb through sales reports from the same period in previous years. It is vitally important to understand what the demand was like for your product in previous years. That way you will only order stock that you need. Safeguarding you from sitting with an unnecessary surplus after the period has ended.

  1. Be cash-flush

Once you have analyzed and organized, make provisions. Ensure you have cash on hand to order the necessary stock requirements. You may need to contact your bank manager to increase your overdraft facility. Or consider applying for a Merchant Cash Advance. Alternative lenders can provide you with quick working capital in under 48 hours. Perfect for last minute arrangements. Best of all, the repayments work through your EFTPOS, so you won’t even feel them going off your daily sales. You may even repay the loan before you can say “Happy New Year!”

  1. Get your helpers at the helm

The pain point of retail is that leave is usually taken at quieter times of the year. Your staff will understand that.  One more of our tips for small businesses is to finalize your staff roster as soon as possible. This will also help you assess whether you need to hire more help and train up existing staff to manage the busy period.

  1. The need for speed

The next tip for small businesses over the holiday period is all about speed. Customers expect it. So test your systems now. If you have an online component to your business make sure you are clear about delivery times and the associated fees. Make sure you have multiple check-out systems. And ensure efficiency at your point of sale

  1. Think ahead

It’s very easy to get blindsided by the festive season. But one of our other tips for small businesses is that as the owner, it’s up to you to plan ahead. Think about all the variables that you will need to navigate going forward like politics, exchange rate, consumer debt and all the other fun things real life throws at us. Consider that there may well be a slump in the early months of the following year. Use that time wisely. Like taking your staff on training or team buildings to help them recuperate and get ready for next year’s trade.

The Xmas period can certainly feel overwhelming. This is for all the right and the wrong reasons. But for businesses who manage to get it right, this time can be a great opportunity to seize sales opportunities, grow your customer base and increase market share. We want to take this opportunity to thank Australian retailers for continuing to fight the good fight. We wish all our merchants a fruitful festive season and well into the new year!

 

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Small Lenders Prove to be a Big Help to SMEs https://beyondmerchantcapital.com.au/small-lenders-big-help-to-smes/ Wed, 05 Dec 2018 01:40:43 +0000 https://beyondmerchantcapital.com.au/?p=35851 When it comes to small business loans the Australian lendscape is changing. According to a recent RBA survey, the market is finding it increasingly difficult to obtain finance from the big four banks. So we are beginning to see entrepreneurs warm up to the idea of smaller alternative cash providers. This is mostly in response […]

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When it comes to small business loans the Australian lendscape is changing. According to a recent RBA survey, the market is finding it increasingly difficult to obtain finance from the big four banks. So we are beginning to see entrepreneurs warm up to the idea of smaller alternative cash providers. This is mostly in response to the financial services royal commission’s fall out. Which has seen thousands of small business owners seeking small business loans from non-bank lenders. Banks are becoming increasingly unattractive to SMEs with 80% of business owners feeling less optimistic about their funding futures. So where to from here?

Tough times usher in opportunity

But all is not bleak. When times get tough, there are often opportunities waiting in the wings. Small business loans are no different. Larry Prosser, CEO of Beyond Merchant Capital shares how “There is a real opportunity for alternative lenders to prove themselves here. Smaller lenders are able to offer what big banks can’t – quick working capital, flexibility, and reliability. Beyond Merchant Capital is one such lender. This fintech leader was created specifically for the retail market. They predicted how that market would change. And with a deep respect for the industry, developed a unique lending model to cater for it. This small business loan provider has quickly proved to be a real player in the lending market.

Merchant Financing is the ‘new’ small business loan

So now instead of googling “small business loan”, small business owners are searching a new key phrase: “Merchant Cash Advance“. The quicker and far more flexible working capital solution for retailers. All a merchant needs is a 12 month EFTPOS history, a card terminal and monthly turnover of at least $5,000, and they are eligible for 80-100% of their monthly card turn-over. In the form of cash. Best of all a ten-minute application process and the ability to provide funding in under 48 hours, makes this Fintech leader extremely attractive to SMEs.

Why non-bank lenders?

Banks have tighter lending criteria. So the lower your credit history, the more stringent their policies. Alternative small business loan providers, like Beyond Merchant Capital, however, are not banks at all. So they are able to fund with an entirely different set of criteria. This allows for more flexible terms, unsecured deals and extremely quick turnaround times. The real difference comes down to how the business pays back the loan. Instead of working on the traditional fixed monthly repayment, a Merchant Cash Advance repayment occurs via the EFTPOS terminal. This works well for both parties.

Smaller lenders are able to offer what big banks can’t – quick working capital, flexibility, and reliability.

The personal touchThe BMC personal touch

Banks are big institutions and because of this, lack that personal touch. Smaller lenders like Beyond Merchant Capital, however, run very differently. And part of that package is welcomed attention and a hands-on attitude. Only where it counts though. Because Beyond Merchant Capital also understands that this is your business, and you are the best person to run it. Not them. So while they prefer that funds are used for growth-enhancing opportunities, they are not in any way prescriptive. You won’t find that kind of policy with a bank loan.

Small business loans can be flexible

Banks typically work on a fixed term and rate. However, Beyond Merchant Capital has a unique repayment solution that works directly in line with turn-over. Here, an agreed percentage is withheld from each card terminal transaction. With the balance going back into the merchant’s account. This means that real-time cash flow dictates repayment timelines. Great for seasonal business. Which is not normally taken into account in a traditional loan setting.

Times may be tough, but entrepreneurs in the know will see this as much as an opportunity as the non-bank lenders do. A chance to do things differently, and maybe even more effectively than ever before. In this case, going small can lead to really big things.

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