Canada has always been an attractive destination for entrepreneurs because of its favourable business climate. And now small businesses are flourishing more and more thanks to the new Start-Up Visa which offers “immediate permanent residency” to foreign entrepreneurs.
More than 100 tax cuts have been introduced in British Columbia in the last eight years and the province now boasts some of the lowest taxes in North America. Vancouver, in particular, is a hot-spot for investors and small businesses. This beautiful coastal city, which hosted the 2010 Olympic Winter Games and constantly tops the list of the “best quality of life” world cities’ index, is a great place for start-ups.
Dr. Boris Wertz, founding partner of Vancouver-based Version One Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm, says there are particular benefits to running a start-up outside of Silicon Valley, where talent is at a premium and turnover is high. ”Vancouver is a great place to build a company and hire strong technical and design talent for much lower salaries than in the Valley,” he says.
So, with that in mind, here we profile five of the city’s most popular start-ups:
Unbounce is a self-serve hosted service that enables companies to earn more from online marketing without the need for IT or other specialized resources.
It was founded in 2009 by six people who had worked together on and off for a decade and who have almost 90 years’ combined experience in software, marketing and product design experience between them.
With Unbounce, marketers can build high-converting landing pages in a matter of hours without help from developers. According to the Unbounce site: “We developed Unbounce after experiencing ﬁrst hand the frustration of trying to get effective landing pages launched for our own online marketing campaigns.”
Wishpond, founded in 2009, claims to have uncovered the secret to making online marketing easy. Its suite of promotional campaigns enables retailers and brands to run exciting and engaging promotions such as social offers, sweepstakes, photo contests, video contests, Pinterest contests, vote contests, essay contests, local promotions and more.
According to its site: “Unlike our competitors, Wishpond pricing does not increase as you grow your Fans, Followers or Campaign Participants. You only pay for what you sign up for, and are charged the same no matter how much you succeed – causing your cost per lead to decrease as you grow.”
Indochino provides stylish custom-made suits in fine fabrics but all at competitive prices and with excellent delivery times. The company features an evolving assortment of classic and fashion-forward suits, shirts, and outerwear – all with an unparalleled number of customization options.
The company was born after its co-founder Heikal Gani searched in vain for the right suit while a student at the University of Victoria. Eventually he had to settle for an off-the-rack garment that required extensive and expensive tailoring. He and fellow classmate Kyle Vucko decided to set up their own custom-made designer suit business.
IndoChino opened for business in 2007. Today, the company has 55 employees in Vancouver and Shanghai.
Noomii, founded by Stephan Wiedner in 2007, is an online service for people looking for a life coach, business coach, or career coach. Its SEO-optimized directory lists hundreds of coaches in over 20 countries. It matches people with their ideal coach based on their specific goals, background and personality type.
Its website is streamlined and easy to navigate. You describe your goals, then you get matched with up to five coaches whose experience and background match your specific needs. Finally, you have a free consultation with your matches before you make your decision.
Founded in 2007 by Jack Newton and Ryan Gavreau, with the cooperation and advice of Bar Associations and Law Societies across North America, Clio has succeeded in creating a website full of popular cloud-based management tools for lawyers.
Clio targets lawyers working solo or in small-scale firms who want a reliable, convenient, low-cost method for managing their workflow.
“The original idea for Clio came out of a conversation among myself and my co-founder Rian Gauvreau and the Law Society of British Columbia. There was a fairly small minority of lawyers that used a practice management system of any kind,” Newton once told the Vancouver Sun.
The company has numerous testimonials from satisfied clients. “It will help lawyers stay more efficient with an easy-to-use system that is accessible anywhere,” said a representative of lawline.com.
These are only a sprinkling of companies that are becoming successful in Canada. All of these ideas also need ways to finance themselves. There are numerous ways to finance a start-up and personal asset lending is a safe and reliable way to do it – without credit and background checks.
I’ve reflected on the journey to determine what lessons can be applied to small business owners.
But first, here’s a recap of how Zillidy landed in the New York Times:
- February 4, 2013: After reading an article written by David Rosenbaum (Senior Editor of CFO Magazine) that one of my connections posted on LinkedIn, I reached out to David by email. I thought the article was well written and wanted to discuss some options that small business owners had to cope with the issues raised in his article. An hour after sending the email to David, he replied and we set up a time the following day to chat.
- After speaking with David he decided to write an article about how Zillidy can help fund small business owners. The article was published on February 27 (and remained at the top of the Most Read and Most Emailed list on the CFO website for over a week).
- A few weeks later, after reflecting on the positive media attention and how it would not have been possible had I not used LinkedIn, I decided to write an article about the power of LinkedIn for small business owners.
- March 19, 2013: My article about how LinkedIn helped my business was picked up and published online by The Huffington Post.
- March 20, 2013: Krista Canfield from LinkedIn’s corporate PR group apparently found the article and tweeted the link to her followers. As the Twitter conversation below shows, that tweet led to me being part of a news story about LinkedIn. I had no idea who the journalist was, what publication or if/how Zillidy would be included.
- March 21, 2013: While sitting in a movie theatre with my wife, I got an email from Mark Cohen with the subject line “NYT article”. My heart started to beat just a little bit faster. We set up a time to speak. My phone conversation with Mark lasted for more than an hour. In addition to interviewing me about how Zillidy benefited from LinkedIn, Mark was interested in learning about Zillidy and how we’re changing the way small business owners think about accessing short term capital quickly. Mark has written some amazing articles about interesting businesses and great entrepreneurial stories (my recent favourite being his article about Marcus Sheridan and content marketing) so I had some high hopes for what could potentially happen.
- April 16, 2013: After not hearing anything or seeing any article come out, I was starting to lose hope. Out of the blue, I got an email from Mark saying that the article turned out well and that Zillidy made it into the article. My excitement started to build again but I had no idea when the article would be published. I spent the next few weeks searching online and waiting
- May 3, 2013: I got an email from a picture editor requesting a time to send a photographer to take my picture for the article. Now my curiosity was really getting piqued – why would they want a picture of me if the article was about LinkedIn?
- May 15: 2013: The article was published, first online and then the next day in the print edition. The wait was over and although the article was not about Zillidy, the reception was great. After all, it isn’t every day that your business is mentioned in the New York Times!
The entire experience got me thinking. Here are the 5 lessons I learned from this journey:
Look for ways to be helpful
Karma is real and can be great. It’s not about thinking about what others can do to help your business; it’s about focusing on ways to improve others’ business with no quid pro quo expected. Be proactive. I reached out to the CFO editor because I felt that I could add value to him with absolutely no expectation that he in return would also add value to Zillidy.
Use all available tools
This story is as much a social media story as it is a business story. Had I not actively engaged with LinkedIn, had I not embraced the concept of blogging in general or the opportunity to guest blog, had I not been on Twitter, none of this would have happened. The cost to me of doing all this was nothing other than my time. The benefit was priceless. Decide which are the most important business tools for your company and embrace them wholeheartedly.
Be polite and courteous
Thank people when they do something nice for you. Had Krista simply sent her tweet and I had not replied to her, the story would have been over. But she did something nice for me (by tweeting my article to her 5,300 followers) and that deserved acknowledgement. In thanking her, we initiated a conversation wherein she decided to present an opportunity to me. This leads to the next point:
Keep your eyes open for opportunities
You never know what opportunity may be just around the corner. Set your business up so that you can capitalize on those opportunities. This could be as simple as maintaining an updated profile on your personal and business social media sites, ensuring your website is accurate, relevant and current and always, always, always, respond when people reach out. It frustrates me when I hear business owners say that they get so much email that they can’t possibly reply to everyone. As my British friends like to say, that is utter bollocks. You see the email, we all know that, and you reply to the emails that you think are important, everyone knows that too. Take 10 seconds to reply to every email, tweet, LinkedIn message, etc. – even just to say that you’re jamming right now but will reply in due course. You never know where that interaction may lead.
Stay even keeled
As a small business owner, it is always a roller coaster and it is easy to think that the lows are just so terrible and the highs are just too short lived. I can promise you that your highs will never last forever but neither will your lows. Take things in stride, learn from the ups and downs and focus on growing your business.
Oh, and if you need short term capital quickly, consider a personal asset loan from Zillidy (I guess there are 6 lessons, the 6th being always be selling your brand)!
I welcome your comments and feedback. Please share your thoughts either below in the comments section or contact me directly through any social media platform or the Zillidy website.
The Huffington Post Canada has published the most recent article by Steven Uster, founder of Zillidy, titled “What Really Makes a ‘High Interest’ Loan”. Steven examines what it means to use the term “high interest rate” by comparing several types of loans and rates across time periods. He also writes about the context of loan pricing from both a borrower’s and lender’s perspective.
In this post, we thought it would be interesting to explore several interesting facts about famous entrepreneurs so we took a look at the biographies of seven of the world’s most famous entrepreneurs, concentrating on some rather unorthodox aspects of their lives.
Some of our subjects came from humble backgrounds and would not have been deemed creditworthy by certain financial institutions when starting out in the world. All those listed below though ended up by doing rather well.
Warren Buffett (born 1930)
Although he officially became a billionaire in 1985, the business magnate, investor and philanthropist Buffet is a modest and unassuming man. He still lives in the same small 3-bedroom house he bought more than five decades ago. His home does not even have a fence around it. He drives himself without security and he reportedly does not carry a cell phone or have a computer on his desk. In 2006, he announced – just like Bill Gates – that he would give 85% of his wealth to charity.
Richard Branson (born 1950)
The British owner of more than 400 companies under the umbrella of the Virgin Group – with a net worth of 4.2 billion dollars – Richard Branson’s first business venture was a magazine called Student at the age of 16.
In 1970, he set up an audio-record mail-order business. In 1972, he opened a chain of record stores, Virgin Records, later known as Virgin Megastores. Branson’s Virgin brand grew rapidly during the 1980s, as he set up Virgin Atlantic Airways and expanded the Virgin Records music label.
Despite (or because of) his enormous success, in 2007, Branson started a group called ‘The Elders’ with Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, Kofi Annan, and former US president Jimmy Carter. The goal of the group is to find new ways to end human suffering, share wisdom, and find peaceful resolutions to difficult conflicts.
Jennifer Lopez (born 1969)
Described as the most influential Hispanic performer in the United States, Lopez is widely credited with breaking barriers in the entertainment industry for Hispanic people.
The middle child of poor Puerto Rican parents, when Lopez was born, the family was living in a small apartment. A few years later, her parents had saved up enough money to be able to purchase a two-storey house.
With records sales of 75 million and a cumulative film gross of over $2 billion, Lopez is the most influential Latin-American entertainer in the US.
Charlize Theron (born 1975)
The South African born Oscar-winning beauty – and now THE face of many cosmetic brands which surely grant her some nice ‘earners’ on the side – comes from a turbulent background. Her alcoholic father was shot dead by her mother (lawfully) when he attacked her in 1991. She then paid a one-way ticket for her daughter to travel to Los Angeles in 1994.
Her career started when she tried to cash a check in a bank (that her mother had sent her) but the teller refused her. An agent in the queue saw the exchange and offered to represent Theron. Now worth $85mm and with several blockbuster movies under her belt, including The Italian Job, Monster (for which she won an Oscar) and The Life and Death of Peter Sellers, Theron is one of the biggest female stars in Hollywood and the strength of her name means that she is likely to forge more personal brands with the passage of time.
Amancio Ortega (born 1936)
At the age of 13, Ortega began working for a shirt-maker as a delivery boy. He later worked for a range of stores and tailors; his main focus was to study about how products and costs evolved as they traveled from the manufacturer to the consumer. As a result, he became focused on the importance of getting products directly to the consumer without a middle man. In 1963, at the age of 27, Amancio Ortega founded his own company called Confecciones Goa.
Ortega quickly became one of the wealthiest men in the world but he continues to keep a low profile from his home in Galicia in the northwest of Spain and is rarely photographed.
Oprah Winfrey (born 1954)
Oprah Winfrey needs no introduction but some may be surprised that she has turned out so self-confident given her turbulent childhood. Winfrey ran away frequently to escape sexual abuse. She became pregnant when she was fourteen and gave birth to a premature baby boy. The baby died two weeks later.
Even though Oprah Winfrey came from a poor, disadvantaged upbringing, she has managed to accumulate quite a fortune following the huge success of her chat shows and production company. In 2006, her personal net worth was estimated to be $1.5 billion. She is the only African-American billionaire in the world.
Carlos Slim (born 1940)
The first ‘world’s richest’ man from a developing nation (Mexico), Slim and his siblings were taught basic business practises by their father. At the age of 12, Slim bought shares in a Mexican bank. At the age of 17, he earned 200 pesos a week working for his father’s company. He went on to study civil engineering at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, while simultaneously teaching algebra and linear programming there. Slim began his career as a trader in Mexico. He would go on to form his own brokerage firm – a firm that later expanded to invest in individual businesses, ranging from construction and manufacturing to retail and restaurants.
América Móvil, which in 2010 was Latin America’s largest mobile-phone carrier, accounted for around US$49 billion of Slim’s wealth by the end of 2010. His corporate holdings as of May 2013 have been estimated at US$70 billion.
He now has interests in over 200 companies, accruing him almost $30 million daily.
Last week I got a client call at Zillidy from someone who, after describing how he was self employed and an entrepreneur, proceeded to warn me that if Zillidy required a good credit score to get a loan, he wouldn’t qualify. I assured him that with Zillidy, not only is a good credit score not required, we don’t even check credit scores or report the loan to credit bureaus. His comment got me thinking though, especially in light of the fact that a few months ago, through another one of my companies, Eldridge Capital, we funded an accounts receivable factoring facility for an entrepreneur’s business. That client was a true entrepreneur who scrounged together all the money sources he could and risked it all to build his highly successful business. He maxed out his credit cards, took a second mortgage on his house and didn’t take a salary so did not show any income on his tax return. His credit score was pretty bad, as is the credit score for most entrepreneurs that I’ve seen.
When it comes to credit scores, there are two types of people: those with good credit scores and those with bad credit scores. The folks with good credit get loans and pay low interest rates. The folks with bad credit struggle to find loans and when they do, pay high interest rates. Is this fair? Banks don’t have the systems in place to evaluate and understand the reasons that led to a low credit score. For them, it is much easier just to quickly deny those with low credit scores in order to focus their due diligence on the group with higher credit scores.
It is too simplistic just to look at credit scores
I have seen many clients who would never qualify for a loan if credit scores were the determining factor. But when you peel back the onion to determine the reasons for the poor credit score, often times you find responsible borrowers who are credit worthy.
For example, I’ve seen clients who always paid their debts on time and didn’t carry a balance. Then out of the blue they had a medical or other emergency (either themselves or a family member) and were forced to max out their credit availability in order to pay the bills. On the surface it appears as though they are at their limits on all their debt instruments and therefore shouldn’t be trusted to pay but upon digging deeper you see they are responsible and are paying down their debt. In the finance world, I would consider this to be a “one-time non-recurring charge” and would set this aside during my analysis.
I’ve also seen clients who had errors on their credit report, miscommunication with lenders, or small and insignificant defaults (we’ve all heard those stories of store credit cards with penny balances beings sent to collections). Clearly the lesson here is that you should check your credit report on a regular basis to avoid these errors but in the meantime, this should not disqualify someone from getting a loan.
The flip side to the “good” borrower hidden behind a poor credit score is the “bad” borrower who gets disguised by a great credit score. According to a fascinating recent article in the Financial Post, there is disturbing trend of seemingly up to date borrowers who suddenly and without warning file for bankruptcy. A lender who only looks at credit scores will sleep at night with a false sense of comfort knowing the borrower is a “safe” one because of his/her credit score when a more thorough investigation of his/her finances will reveal a huge credit risk.
The use of technology is helping lenders look past credit scores to determine credit worthiness. Companies like Wonga, Fundation, On Deck Capital and Kabbage all use sophisticated algorithms and analyze data from multiple sources, not just credit agencies, to determine who to lend to.
For borrowers, the lesson here is that credit scores alone should not prevent you from getting a loan at a decent rate with decent terms. It just means you may need to work a little harder to find a lender, other than a bank, that is willing to listen to you and understand the reasons behind your credit score or use other additional factors to determine your creditworthiness.
For lenders, the lesson is that if you cut corners and rely solely on credit scores to provide loans, you’ll be missing out on some responsible, creditworthy (read: profitable) clients while unwittingly taking on some clients who represent significant risk to your loan portfolio.
Now it’s your turn. I’d like your feedback. If you’re a borrower who has been turned down for a loan due to your credit score but believe you’re creditworthy, please share your story to explain why your credit score is not indicative of your creditworthiness. If you’re a lender, what factors do you look at, in addition to credit scores, to determine whether you want to extend a loan to a client? Do you parse credit reports or only look at the credit score? Please share your comments below or contact us directly.
Every client asks about the value of their asset – be it a watch, a diamond ring, a necklace, bracelet, or earrings. “It depends” is the most commonly cited – and hated – response.
Various factors determine the value of an asset and all these need to be considered before its worth is finally determined. Only then can a decision be reached about how much money can be loaned against it.
Types of assets
Alternative, tangible or so-called hard assets are assets which do not belong to one of the four traditional asset categories – stocks, bonds, cash or property. Various such alternative assets and new asset classes are slowly appearing and increasing – such as fine art which, during the past few years, has been gaining ground as an asset class in its own right. Other alternative assets are collectible or luxury watches, jewelry, gold, silver and other precious metals, diamonds, and more. The past few years have seen a significant rise in investments in alternative assets because they offer a good form of diversification for investor portfolios. Furthermore, with this increasing trend, they are turning into an increasingly reliable source of value should one require to use them as collateral for a loan.
The value of an asset
The value of an asset depends, first and foremost, on its type. Some hard assets are more stable and established than others and are therefore more willingly accepted as collateral. These include luxury branded watches, precious metals, jewelry and diamonds. As an asset class, they have been around for quite a while (though the collectible watch market is not that old) and have very solid values which don’t change much over time or may even appreciate. Their worth is not directly influenced by fluctuations and crises in more traditional asset classes. Furthermore, hard assets are those that possess intrinsic value – that is, they have value by and of themselves.
The value of hard assets varies so much because they are actually viewed and appraised as unique items. They have, therefore, their unique value and cannot be rated simply by the fact that they are of a certain type. The value of luxury watches, for example, is not simply determined by the brand but also by their condition, age, by whom and where they were produced (which is related to demand and supply), how many complications they have, whether they are a one-time piece or not, whether they are part of a collection or family heritage (or have historical value in general), etc.
Other alternative assets, such as diamonds, are also not so straightforward to value. But they are increasingly gaining ground. It has recently even been suggested that, in coming years, diamonds may outperform gold and precious metals as a hard asset because diamonds, unlike gold, have nearly no direct connection and exposure to speculative capital. Gold is, therefore, although very well established as a tangible asset, much more volatile (as we have seen lately). Furthermore, now that De Beers no longer has such a monopoly and stranglehold on the supply of diamonds, these have also begun to be governed by supply and demand rules which has made them more stable, without making them cheap though. Diamonds are also appraised according to how rare and unique they are. For example, colored diamonds are much rarer and are therefore more desired and with a higher value.
With all that in mind, “it depends” is simply the most logical and honest answer that can be given about an asset’s value until it is fully analyzed. It is no accident that appraisers are entrusted with weighing up all the aforementioned factors and considerations before determining a loan amount.
Most people focus on the interest rate when they are inquiring about or comparing loan options. The interest rate is obviously important, but it is only one piece in the total cost of borrowing puzzle.
One of my greatest pet peeves is the lack of transparency in the financial services industry, especially when it comes to alternative lenders. Consumers and business owners looking for loans are routinely duped by lenders who entice them to sign up for a loan with them by dangling a low interest rate without fully explaining the true total cost of borrowing. By the time the client realizes they’ve been had, it is often too late to find another better loan option.
Here are the 10 key aspects of a loan that, together with the interest rate, form the true cost of a loan. Hopefully after reading this blog post, clients seeking loans will be better informed and can rationally choose the best loan option for them using full and complete information to make their decision.
Diligence can be as simple as pulling a credit report or as in depth as conducting an appraisal of your assets or an audit of your financials. There are generally two types of costs associated with due diligence – time and disbursements. Before agreeing to a lender conducting due diligence, ask who is responsible for covering each of these costs and understand the magnitude of what these costs can be. Don’t give the lender free reign to spend as much as they want without implementing a cap.
2. Legal Costs
In order to secure a loan from a reputable lender you will be required to sign a loan agreement. Understand the scope of the transaction before you consent to the lender engaging legal counsel and make sure the lender lays out all the legal costs (including disbursements and taxes) ahead of time. If you are entering into a longer term relationship with a lender, the lender may be inclined to absorb much of the cost in order to maintain the relationship.
3. Administrative Fees
Often lenders will charge a monthly fee to cover the costs of administering and monitoring the loan. This fee is charged regardless of whether you have a loan amount outstanding that month. A typical fee is between $50 and $100 per month. Some lenders will also charge an annual review or renewal fee.
4. Loan Term
You may pay a lower headline interest rate on a longer term loan but if you are forced to keep the loan outstanding for longer than you need it it may end up costing more overall. A $10,000 loan at an annual interest rate of 12% (1%/month) with a one year commitment will cost $1,200 in interest. However, if you only needed the loan for three months, you could have taken a higher interest loan (Zillidy charges 2.9%/month) and actually saved money by only paying $870 in interest, a savings of $330 or 28%.
5. Minimum Increments
Some lenders round up the loan amount to a set increment, usually $5,000. This means that if you need to borrow $5,500, you will actually be charged interest on $10,000. If you can’t negotiate away any minimums, try to make the minimum amount as low as possible.
6. Monthly (or Annual) Minimums
Often lenders will require clients to have at least a pre-determined dollar amount outstanding on a monthly basis in order to get the advertised interest rate and may charge a penalty if you drop below this amount throughout the month.
Some lenders may phrase this as an annual “true-up” where they calculate what the annual interest earned should have been and then require the borrower to top it up if the actual amount earned by the end of the year was lower than the expected amount.
7. Termination Fees
If the borrower wants to end the relationship prior to the end of the loan term, a lender may charge an early termination fee. The fee may be tied to a minimum annual dollar interest amount or it may be called a “security discharge fee.”
Another way that lenders can lock you in for a period is to write into the loan agreement that they require 60 or 90 days notice prior to terminating the agreement.
8. Transaction Fees
How does the lender advance you the funds every time you need to borrow from them? Do they wire you the money, deposit the cash directly into your bank account, send you a cheque or load a pre-paid credit card? These logistical questions can have a big impact on the cost of borrowing – especially if you are borrowing often. Lenders can charge a transaction fee each time they advance the money, and there are different costs associated with different ways of transferring money. Wiring funds can cost a lender between $25 to $40 for the outbound wire (which gets passed on to the borrower) and a borrower $10 for the inbound wire, regardless of the amount wired.
9. Insurance Costs
Different types of lenders will require different types of insurance and often the borrower bears the cost of that insurance. Some lenders may require you to have general business liability insurance, key man insurance or accounts receivable credit insurance. They may even require you to pay to insure the loan in the event you are unable to repay.
10. Intangible Costs
In addition to the actual dollar costs of a loan today, choosing the wrong lender can have long term implications. There are some lenders that can actually increase your borrowing costs in the future just by showing up in your credit report during the
due diligence process. Payday lenders are the classic example that, if shown on your credit report in the future, will lead to a higher cost of borrowing. Loans that do not have an impact on credit score, even if they have a higher cost today, could actually save you money down the line by avoiding blemishes on your credit record.
There is also the opportunity cost to consider. Even if a loan carries higher costs, the immediate accessibility of the cash may still make it a good deal if you have an immediate profitable use for that cash. Some lenders are able to fund within 24-hours, whereas banks and other traditional lenders may take weeks or months to approve a loan.
If you have any questions as you’re searching for a loan, even if a Zillidy loan isn’t the right option for you, please feel free to reach out to me anytime and I’d be happy to help you evaluate your true cost of borrowing.
There are watches and then there are luxury watches. And while both measure time, the difference between them is enormous. Hence the price. Then again, there is a tangible difference between something being expensive (i.e. costing a lot but for a good reason) and being overpriced (i.e. costing excessively more than its value). Having a look at the production process of a luxury watch, like a Rolex, Cartier, Breitling or Patek Philippe, can give us an insight into how complex, costly and time-consuming a luxury timepiece can be when compared to an ordinary one that is produced by the thousands or even millions.
There are a few stages in the production process of a luxury watch: the planning, the actual putting together of the piece and the finishing. All of these steps have numerous other steps included within them. Before a watch is actually produced it is planned, and sometimes even that can take a few years. Nowadays, watches are planned with computers by people who are micro mechanical engineers. The reason the planning can take so much time is that luxury watches are usually highly complicated pieces that can contain up to a few thousand parts. Bearing in mind how small a wrist-watch is, fitting inside hundreds or thousands of pieces certainly requires good planning.
‘Movements’ within a watch are what make up the engine of the watch. ‘Complications’, on the other hand, are all additional features that are “beyond the simple display of hours, minutes, and seconds”. Such complications can be a turbillon (a feature that counters the effects of gravity on a watch), a calendar, a chronograph, additional 12 or 24-hour displays, etc. The more complications a watch has, the more complex it is in its functioning as well as in its assembly. Furthermore, what distinguishes luxury watches from ordinary watches is their uniqueness in how they operate but also in how they look. Watch mechanisms and movements are like problems, and luxury watches are unique approaches to how such problems are solved – how it is all made to work together.
Assembly and finishing
After the planning comes the assembly. Unlike mass-produced wrist-watches, which are often made by machines, luxury watches are usually assembled by hand. This requires painstaking attention to detail and certainly also a calm hand. Manual assembly of watches means that more time is invested in the overall production and also means that their price goes up. While there are economies of scale for mass-produced watches, these do not apply for such unique timepieces, each of which may be between a few months and a few years in the making.
Manual production of watches is part of a long-standing tradition and history of craftsmanship, and requires a lot of professional skill. The Swiss, for example, are noted for their centuries-long tradition in the field, their attention to detail and expertise in micro mechanics, which is why Swiss watches have become synonymous with high quality. Furthermore, materials which are used for luxury watches are usually quite expensive themselves, such as precious metals and gemstones for the casing and the bracelet.
Last but not least, the price of a watch is also determined by the brand and its history in making luxury timepieces. One quality of a luxury brand is the production of watches which have lasting value or even value which appreciates over time. Such watches usually have designs and styles that are not determined by trends but are rather made to last over generations – i.e. they have a quality of timelessness and are produced in a limited or even unique edition. Quality brands also have a commitment to each of their pieces and are quite dedicated to after-sales servicing because of all the hard work which was put into the production and design.
With all that in mind, it comes as no surprise that luxury watches are not as cheap as we might think they should be. Of course, one can wonder whether a watch can really be worth $11 million, like the The Henry Graves “supercomplication” by Patek Philippe, sold at Sotheby’s in December 1999. And while that may be a contestable claim, there is certainly no doubt that luxury watches are not just regular watches – they are masterpieces that are the result of the efforts of many people over a long period of time.
In the few years that it has existed, Startup Weekend has grown to be an initiative with a global presence. It was founded in 2007 in Boulder, Colorado, with the idea of being an event where a group of people would brainstorm one particular business idea and develop it as fully as possible over the course of a weekend. By 2009, the company had grown significantly, was relocated to Seattle and registered as a non-profit organization.
Nowadays, Startup Weekend has been to more than 450 cities globally (with more than 1,000 events), and has created more than 8,000 startups. Because of this, it has won a number of awards and grants for its contribution to entrepreneurship, such as the 2010 grant from The Kauffman Foundation, the largest foundation for entrepreneurship in the world.
Furthermore, Startup Weekend also initiated the Global Startup Battle in 2011 – a competition between winners of local Startup Weekends that occurs during the annual Global Entrepreneurship Week. Continue reading
In the past few days we’ve had two very different requests for a loan come through our website inquiry form. Reviewing them both has shed some very interesting light that enabled me to compare the two requests.
Both clearly need a short term loan. Both have very valid reasons for needing the loan. One got a loan funded by Zillidy within hours of receiving and appraising their asset. The other didn’t get a loan from Zillidy at all. Why?
The answer is simple: research and preparation. This differentiated the client who got the loan from the potential client who didn’t. I decided to write this blog post so that prospective borrowers can prepare prior to searching for a lender so that they don’t waste their valuable time spinning their wheels with a lender that isn’t a good fit in the first place.
Research lenders BEFORE reaching out
Research is absolutely key to getting a loan. There is a great TV commercial for an auto insurance company that shows that consumers will spend more time picking out the right piece of fruit in a grocery store than they will researching the right auto insurance option for them. I always thought that commercial was interesting and it stuck with me. Now that I run a loan business, I can totally relate with that auto insurance company. Getting a loan by picking the right financial partner is really important. Yet I find that prospective clients don’t spend the time to get informed and yet expect lenders to throw money at them.
It is not enough to do a Google search for a term like “short term lender” or “business loans Canada” and then click on the Zillidy website because it ranks high and then fill in the form without ever reading any part of the website. Trust me, we’ll know based on the way the form is filled in whether the prospect actually understands what they are applying for. It is highly unlikely that we’ll be able to provide a loan to this type of lead because 9 times out of 10, they will not understand what it is we do, what they need in order to get a loan, how much a loan costs or what the terms are. Yet all this information is clearly laid out on the website. Had the prospect read even one page of the Zillidy website, they would know immediately that in order to get a loan from Zillidy they needed to have an asset that can be acceptable as collateral, and that the asset can not be a 1981 pickup truck (the number of requests we get for car loans is shockingly high!).
As a borrower, it is critical that you fully educate yourself on the type of lender you are approaching and how that lender can fit with your needs.
An educated client makes a strong borrower
Now let’s contrast the above type of prospect with the prospect who did get a loan from Zillidy. This client also did a similar Google search for loan options. When she clicked on the link to the Zillidy website she proceeded to read almost EVERY SINGLE page on the entire website, including all of the newspaper and magazine articles written about Zillidy. Once she felt like she understood exactly what Zillidy did and the type of loans we make, she did her research on me personally, including visiting my LinkedIn profile and (apparently) Googling my name. After all that, she sent us a message through our live online chat and followed it up with an application with an attached picture of the asset she wanted to use. Finally, she requested a call to ask us some final questions. When we had the call with her, we didn’t have to educate her at all about our services. She didn’t ask any question where the answer could be found on the website. This person knew what she was looking for, determined that Zillidy was the right lender for her and now was ready to consummate the transaction with us. This may sound like a lot of work but the entire process doesn’t have to take more than 20-30 minutes (could be faster if you’re a fast reader!) and after all, what is the right amount of time to spend before committing yourself to a relatively large loan agreement?
The client in the above example that ultimately got the loan was so thrilled with the service and the process that she recommended Zillidy to several colleagues of hers and has sent us additional assets to get an additional loan. Why? Because the process worked the way it was supposed to work since she was fully prepared right from the initial contact.
It takes a lot of effort to make a loan process look effortless! When both borrower and lender do their homework and come prepared, the process seems easy and seamless. Whether it is a Zillidy loan, an auto loan or any other type of loan, make sure you do your homework before approaching the lender. An educated consumer is the best type of consumer for lenders and just a little basic research will make the entire process seem easy and you’ll be much more likely to get a loan funded quickly.