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Small business credit news

In Uncategorized on March 31, 2010 at 8:10 am

A couple interesting articles in the Wall Street Journal.

1.) Credit Unions, Commercial Banks At Odds Over Lending Turf

Credit Unions hoping to fill a small part of the large hold commercial banks have created in small business financing.  While banks are slow to get back in the lending game (despite welcoming funds from the federal government to do so) the do not want to cede turf to Credit Unions.

2.) Dell Spurs Sales by Lending to Hard-Hit Small Businesses

For years, Dell Inc. has relied on sales to small businesses for a big chunk of its revenue. It sells more personal computers to small companies than any tech supplier. Now, it is offering more credit to spur small business purchases.

Cash management for small businesses

In Uncategorized on March 30, 2010 at 11:33 am

Cash is tight today, perhaps more than ever.  While the mainstream media has announced the end of the recession and return of good times, main street businesses are not seeing it.  There a number of reasons for this including, but certainly not limited to:

1.)   Capital markets have improved for public companies/big business but not small businesses.

2.)   According to the NFIB, small business owners have been greatly impacted by the collapse of the real estate market (95% of small business owner’s own at least one property (residential, business, investment, etc.)

3.)   Declining revenues in 2009 have put additional pressure on small business cash flows.

There are certainly a number of other variables impacting small businesses, but I’d like to turn to some practical cash-flow strategies I have recently discussed with a few savvy small business owners.

1.)  Offer your customers an incentive for paying their bills early. Most businesses borrow money for daily operating expenses. When your customers pay their bills early, that is less money you have to borrow to run your business. Encourage your customers to pay their invoices early by passing some of that money you are saving on to them, just like your vendors do for you when you pay early.

2.)  Set cost-saving targets. You have likely already completed one or two rounds of belt-tightening where you cut services you no longer needed, switched to lower cost plan etc.  Now take it to the next level, simply set a target to reduce a particular aspect of your expenditure by, say, 10% over a period of 4 months and then look for ways to achieve that saving. If you break it in to small increments and monitor it carefully it will be easy to make the small changes each month, which will add up to big savings over time.

3.) Personally call people who owe you money to request payment. While it’s never fun to call customers to ask for money they owe you, it makes the matter more urgent when you call then vs. one of your employees.

4.) Invoice immediately. Surprised to still see this happening, but many small businesses generate invoices for each customer every thirty days. Better business cash flow can result from invoicing upon completion or delivery.

5.) Switch credit cards.  Now seems like a good time to switch business credit cards. Move to a business credit card that offers a better deal, whether it’s lower APR, discounts or rewards.  Might want to check out this new business credit card comparison service from Billshrink.

I’ll try to regularly add tips and best practices from my readings and conversations.

When Business Credit Scores Get Murky

In Uncategorized on March 22, 2010 at 1:21 pm

Interesting article in WSJ (via online.wsj.com)

Credit scores are often touted as the make-it-or-break-it factor for business loans and credit lines. But even entrepreneurs with high business credit scores may have trouble getting financing.

Small Business Loans: Plea for Direct Lending – WSJ.com

In Uncategorized on March 22, 2010 at 1:11 pm

A Plea for Direct Lending to Small Businesses

Small businesses want a more direct line to loans. Not sure SBA should get in directing lending business. Suspect the need help managing lending.

Back to the Land – And the Pursuit of Happiness Blog

In Uncategorized on December 2, 2009 at 9:54 am

Why Wine Ratings Are Badly Flawed

In Uncategorized on November 18, 2009 at 9:38 am

They pour, sip and, with passion and snobbery, glorify or doom wines. But studies say the wine-rating system is badly flawed. How the experts fare against a coin toss.

Brave Thinkers – The Atlantic (November 2009)

In Uncategorized on October 21, 2009 at 8:13 am

Brave Thinkers

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The sun revolves around the earth.
Animal species never change.
Black people are inferior to white people.
The government can’t provide health insurance to old folks.
Humans can’t fly to the moon.
Telephones are only for talking and listening.

Some of these assumptions had the force of science behind them, others just the force of habit, but all of them seem ridiculous in retrospect. All of them collapsed only because someone had the courage to step outside the consoling, persuading flow of tradition and ask fundamental questions about why things are the way they are, and how they might be instead. The Atlantic has always aspired to challenge its readers, and its times, by giving voice to some of the most provocative thinkers of their eras. Brave Thinking, from Henry David Thoreau’s blunt naturalism to Martin Luther King’s calls for justice, can be unsettling. But it drives society forward. Now, in our first annual Brave Thinkers issue, we have identified a small group of men and women who have risked their careers, reputations, fortunes, and, in some cases, even lives to advance ideas that upend an established order. Why 27? Because after months of research, tabulation, and debate about hundreds of candidates, that’s how many we could agree on. Some of them may prove to be wrong, and others wrong-headed. But all of them embody the kind of courage that stirs the spirit and inspires us to think for ourselves.

Click here to view all of The Atlantic’s Brave Thinkers, or browse the list below.

Thorkil Sonne
CEO and Founder of Specialisterne

Ben Bernanke
Chairman of the Federal Reserve

Morgan Tsvangirai
Prime Minister of Zimbabwe

Camille Parmesan
Professor, University of Texas at Austin

Shai Agassi
Founder of Better Place

Steve Jobs and John Lasseter
Co-founder and Chief Creative Officer, Pixar Animation Studios

Montgomery McFate
Senior Social Scientist at the Human Terrain System

Freeman Dyson
Professor Emeritus, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton

Iftikhar Chaudhry
Chief Justice of Pakistan

John Fetterman
Mayor of Braddock, Pennsylvania

Arthur Sulzberger Jr.
Publisher of the New York Times

Craig Watkins
Dallas District Attorney

Henry Greely
Director of the Stanford Center for Law and the Bio-Sciences

Walter E. Hussman Jr.
Publisher of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Ralph Nader
Perennial Third-Party Presidential Candidate

Sheila C. Bair
Chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation

Paul Polak
Founder of International Development Enterprises and D-Rev

Trey Parker and Matt Stone
South Park Creators

Barack Obama
President of the United States

Mark Zuckerberg
Founder and CEO of Facebook

Danny Day
Founder and President of Eprida

Jim Webb
Senator from Virginia

Jeff Zucker
President and CEO of NBC Universal

Meredith Whitney
Founder and CEO of Meredith Whitney Advisory Group LLC

Alex de Waal
Program Director at the Social Science Research Council

Ode Magazine : How laughter evolved and how it makes us human

In Uncategorized on August 3, 2009 at 8:46 am
http://bit.ly/4Qnxm

Laughter is by no means a waste of time and this article proves it..

The Kiss of Life

In Uncategorized on July 11, 2009 at 5:22 pm
Old article about history of kissing. But hey it was pre-twitter and worth a read nytimes.com

Stanford Social Innovation Review : Opinion Blog : Rethinking Compensation for Nonprofits (July 6, 2009)

In Uncategorized on July 7, 2009 at 10:57 am

Nonprofit pay dynamics should follow Silicon Valley rules