Blog

Top 5 Skills You Need to Become a Successful Entrepreneur

We constantly hear people being described as entrepreneurs — Alan Sugar of the famous TV reality show “The Apprentice” and Virgin’s very own CEO Richard Branson among others. But how do you become an entrepreneur? Does it simply take luck and an idea that magically works out, or do you just have to be a really good business person?

Drew Huston, Dropbox Co-Founder and CEO said that people shouldn’t worry about failures, but should keep pushing until they find the one idea that works. You only have to be right once. This is one of the things that makes a modern-day entrepreneur — being persistent and having good ideas. The following qualities are what makes today’s entrepreneurs successful:

  

#Management (time, money, team)

time - how to be an entrepreneur

Sean MacEntee / Flickr /Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Time management — this is a skill closely related to self-motivation. The more motivated you feel, the better you manage your time and stick to your schedule. Don’t waste your time checking Facebook too often, keep a tight schedule in order to achieve more and have enough time to learn, reflect and polish your ideas.

Find and manage the right team — A good entrepreneur needs to know how to network effectively and find the right people to join the company. It’s important to motivate the people around you in order to help them help you achieve your goals as an aspiring entrepreneur. You should seek to create an open and relaxed work atmosphere in which you can receive honest feedback from your team. Like Victoria Sopik, many entrepreneurs still work with people they hired when they started out, because they found the right team.

Money management — Steady cash flow is really important, especially when we are talking about startups and aspiring entrepreneurs. Managing your money will ensure that you will successfully finance your ideas and possible expansions. Aspiring entrepreneurs often struggle to secure enough capital to finance their business. A really fast and accessible way to receive the money you need is to apply for a loan against personal possessions. Companies, like Zillidy,are a great option for all in need of capital.

#Resiliency and #Persistence

how to be an entrepreneur

Marsmett Tallahassee / Flickr /Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Both resiliency and persistence are stimulated by your will to achieve your goals and the hunger to be successful. To never give up on your dreams and follow them is something that can make you a top entrepreneur. Being able to deliver no matter what unexpected problems may arise not only shows managers and recruiters that you are resilient, but showcases your persistent spirit and keeps you motivated.

Companies would be likely to invest in startups and entrepreneurs who continually prove that they adapt and improve not only their ideas, but also themselves. This is an important lesson on how to be a modern-day entrepreneur — be motivated and adapt quickly. Using those two skills will ensure that you are ready to face the obstacles, which the highly competitive markets throw at you. 

#Learning and #Self-Reflection

learn - how to be an entrepreneur

Mark Brannan / Flickr /Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Learning to be a better professional —  upgrade your ideas and yourself — is a skill that helps today’s strongest entrepreneurs stay on top of their game. Successful people and entrepreneurs realize that they don’t know everything about the industry and the market in which they operate. The reason for their limited knowledge? The business environment is always changing and events and new ideas stir up your safe zone. The solution? Learn and self-reflect!

How do you do that?

  • Staying in touch with the latest technological, industry and consumer trends is crucial to knowing where your business is headed and modifying your ideas so they are ready for the next change.
  • Learning from your mistakes and reflecting on your decisions are good ways to receive valuable insight from your personal experience .
  • Allowing yourself to take some time every day to think about the things you have done and can do better is a good way to not let yourself burn out both physically and emotionally.
  • Learning from sources outside of yourself is one of the top strategies that allow you to be a modern-day entrepreneur. You should always strive to plan ahead based on new knowledge and reflection. Acting upon analysis is just one of the lessons that successful entrepreneurs should learn.

You will be able to not only preserve your startup, but make sure it comes out on top. Persist through the hard times, and learn from your problems and failures to reach your goals.

Richard Branson - how to be an entrepreneur

BK / Flickr /Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

What skills do you think will make a modern-day entrepreneur successful? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Top 5 Small Business Blogs You Should Follow

According to research, about half of Canada’s businesses have neither a website nor a blog! Surprising right? As a busy small business owner you probably think that you don’t have enough time to affirm your business and maintain a website, too.

Maintaining a website and a blog provides numerous positive benefits — they grow customer interest, provide a home platform for marketing and advertising online, and could even grow your income if you offer products or services on the web.

A rising number of small business owners are getting into blogging or joining social media spaces, which provide a fast connection to customers and other businesses. Furthermore, there are also blogs that offer space to advertise, opportunities to network and original content to help you keep up with the latest small business news and trends.

An issue that arises might be finding a way to sponsor your website and blog. Asset-based loans are among the possible ways you can avoid paperwork and receive capital quickly against personal possessions.

small business blogs

Jordi Bixareu / Flickr / Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Whether you are looking for a great example to follow or for a place to advertise and find resources, these blogs from or for small businesses will not disappoint:

Learn by Example: Blogs by Small Businesses

6s Marketing

6s-marketing

6s Marketing made the list of Top Small and Medium Employers in Canada 2014. The company was founded in 2000, and operates in Vancouver and Toronto in the field of marketing.

6s Marketing is one of the top examples of a company that operates really well in the online medium — their website and blog feature interesting and engaging information. The company stays true to its slogan — they “dig digital.” With articles like “Facebook Organic Reach – Have You Noticed the Decrease? 6s marketing’s blog writers touch subjects relevant to their field, marketing their own services in a way that captivates the audience and the attention of other small businesses.

Fusion Learning Inc.

Fusion Learning - Small Business Blogs

Fusion Learning Inc. was founded in 2000, too. Headquartered in Toronto, Fusion Learning Inc. provides customer sales training and management programmes. The company is one of the top 20 sales training firms in North America.

Fusion Learning Inc.’s blog features posts on different topics in the areas of sales, client experience and meeting activity. Articles like “Share a Failure Story to Build Empathy and Trust have made significant social media impact with over 40 shares.

XE.com Inc.

XE - Small Business Blogs

XE.com is one of the most successful Canadian small businesses. Headquartered in Newmarket, Ontario, XE.com is one of the top 400 most visited websites in the world. XE are a software development company that provides services like a currency converter, Foreign Exchange Money and Transfers, among others.

XE.com’s blog success is one that reflects the company’s impact in the industry. The articles provide up-to-date information on all aspects of currency and exchange. The company publishes blog posts extremely often, keeping things fresh. Furthermore, the information they share is generated by the company — with over 2000 views, ”XE Market Analysis: North America – July 24, 2014 is a great example of the success their blog posts have had with generating interest.

 

Finding Good Advice: Blogs for Small Businesses

In addition to the small businesses that own blogs, there are other blogs that target Canadian small businesses explicitly, providing guidance and a place to discuss ideas and post advertising.

Lisa Larter’s Blog

Lisa Larter - Small Business Blogs

Lisa Larter, a native to New Brunswick, is one of the top professionals to guide entrepreneurs and small businesses. Over the years, she has worked with big name brands, including TELUS and Arielle Ford. She describes herself as “a serial entrepreneur with hard-hitting impact.”

Lisa Larter’s Blog is a great resource for small businesses, because of the tips and tricks she includes in every post. It’s aimed specifically at small business owners who would like to maximize their sales and expand their business through social media and technology. Most blog posts include videos along with text. Check out “Building Rapport is the Key to More Sales,” which is a great example of the useful tips Larter offers to help make your small business better.

Canadian Small Business Women

Canadian Small Business Women - Small Business Blogs

Canadian business women, you are not alone out there. This blog is created especially for those ladies in small business who are looking to advertise their  business and products, but it’s also a place to get inspired! The blog is one of the most followed and read small business blogs, and aims to inspire women in business.

Canadian Small Business Women helps with advertising existing small businesses — it has a business directory and event information. Furthermore, the blog also guides aspiring female professionals on how to plan their business ventures and provides the necessary information and resources to support readers’ endeavors. With over 50 shares on social media, the article “Three C’s of Social Media for #smallbiz” has made a big splash in the industry.

Do you think your business could benefit from using a blog? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Top 3 Inspiring Legal Startups in Canada

Even though there is a saying that people learn from their and other people’s mistakes, following a positive example is always easier and can even get you inspired. Every startup needs not only a great idea and a great team, but also some inspiration in order to succeed and reach all its goals.

Seeing how other people transform ideas such as security or easier operation and implement them in the field of legal business can dramatically decrease your chances of getting discouraged by your idea or losing focus.

Unless you only need inspirational quotes to keep you going, in this article you will find the top legal startups that will show you how simple ideas implemented in an interesting way can lead to great success.

 

Legal Startups

Heisenberg Media/a> / Flickr / Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

BoardSuite

BoardSuite - legal startups

BoardSuite is a legal startup that helps companies manage, process and share confidential business information. It allows businesses to organize information better, without missing any details.

Who’s behind BoardSuite? The Toronto-based entrepreneur Oscar A. Jofre Jr., who is a startup magician, himself. He’s the founder of BoardSuite, KorePlatforms and BabelFish, in addition to having experience in successful startup enterprises for over 20 years.

The company’s ongoing development is led by Oscar in an inspiring and creative manner. He takes his client companies’ most valued principle — security — and puts it into action. BoardSuite is a secure platform for companies to be able to manage, process and share vital corporate information in the safest manner possible. The BoardSuite platform is created by managers for managers, mitigating risks by enabling the users to manage calendars, documents, contracts to name a few.

Contractually

Contractually - legal startups

Have you ever wanted to close contracts faster in order to gain more revenue? This is the idea behind Contractually. The platform is one of the most followed start-ups on AngelList.

Martin Ertl, the founder of Contractually, is also a mentor at LaunchAcademy where he shares his experience and helps startups extract and develop their ideas. As if that doesn’t make him influential enough, his experience in law practice at Davis LLP and previous ventures into cargo inspection SaaS solidify his status as a web expert.

Contractually replaces the tedious process that we usually face — involving MSWord documents, emails and printers among other things — to help clients close contracts fast! By managing contracts online, storing, editing and reviewing them becomes less time-consuming. Furthermore, the inclusion of e-signatures for contracts makes Contractually a virtually irreplaceable platform that helps you sort out contracts from initiation to closure. What a great idea!

ScriptaLegal

ScriptaLegal - legal startups

ScriptaLegal platform offers the citizens of Quebec the possibility to make personalized legal documents from their own couch. The idea became reality when son and father began working on the innovative platform, the only one in Quebec to offer intelligent questionnaires that simplify the document creation process.

The main person behind ScriptaLegal is Mathieu Forget. A promising entrepreneur at the age of 33, he has already established a startup and worked in the law industry for many years. Mathieu is an inspirational and result-driven individual. The development of ScriptaLegal proves so. He advises all young entrepreneurs to make sure their product is good and then teaches them how to sell it. Selling the product is more difficult than launching it. In an interview, Mathieu states that “people care as much, if not more, about the packaging than the actual content.”

At ScriptaLegal, each and every document is conceived by a specialist in the domain. That’s the reason why the company contracts notaries, lawyers and jurists specialized in various legal fields. The team at ScriptaLegal is aiming to establish their brand name and expand from the province of Quebec to the rest of Canada and the English market.

Want to Start Your Own Legal Company?

If you are aiming to start your legal business or expand it like ScriptaLegal, you might need some extra capital investment. However, there’s no need to worry if you don’t have extra funds ready to go, because asset-based loans are always available. Asset-based loans from companies like Zillidy give you the opportunity to turn those inspired ideas into reality, by providing the cash you need in exchange for personal possessions like watches and jewelry as collateral.

What inspires your startup? Share your inspirations in the comment section below!

4 Top Business Financing Options for a Start-Up in Quebec

One of the biggest challenges that entrepreneurs and start-ups face is finding a way to finance their endeavors and manage their cash flow. You already know that in order for you to start any business venture your brilliant ideas need to be backed up by enough capital. You can use the funding to tackle your expenses even if you’re just looking to expand — from recruiting great talent to paying off your student loans and establishing your credibility, extra funds can be a big help.

If you’re established in Quebec, there are a number of ways you can support your business venture. Funds are available from a few different sources, but like you might assume, not all of them are going to be suitable for you. Here are just a few business financing options to consider if you have decided to boost your business ideas:

 

 

Entrepreneurs - business financing

UK in Canada / Flickr / Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 ) CEO of Hootsuite Ryan Holmes with Sir Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Group — two of the most widely recognized entrepreneurs.

1. Government Grants

There are many different grants entrepreneurs like you can use to finance your business venture. But when it comes to government grants of any type — from awards to donations and endowments — bear in mind that the criteria for approvals is extremely particular. Most grants are not only targeting a specific business, but also a specific location or product.

Government and NGO Funding - business financing

Howard Lake / Flickr / Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0

Available grants for entrepreneurs in Quebec include:

  • Jeunes Promoteurs – provides financial help for entrepreneurs starting their first business. The age requirements are that you have to be between 18 and 35 years old. There are 3 components to the grant: Preparation of a business plan (75% of expenses covered); Establishment of a first business (50% of expenses covered if you create at least 2 jobs); and, Entrepreneur training (100% of expenses covered).
  • Fonds de développement des entreprises d’économie sociale – the capital provided by this grant cannot exceed 80% of eligible expenditures. The grant could finance one or more aspects of your social enterprise development project: capital expenditures for expanding or starting your business; acquisition of technology, software or patents; need for operating working capital. In order to be eligible, your business needs to be financially viable, produce goods or services and create long-term goals.

Make sure you check the specific criteria for each available grant, before you apply.

2. Financing from NGOs

In addition to government grants, there is a certain number of non-government funding available to entrepreneurs. Some NGOs may give you a certain amount of money, while others may finance a certain percentage of your start-up. NGO funded grants include the following:

  • Fondation Montréal Inc’s Grant provides up to $30,000 to help cover 25% of your start-up costs. Eligible candidates for this grant need to be Canadian citizens between the ages of 18 and 35, willing to start up a business in a borough or a reconstituted city of Montreal.
  • Futurpreneur Canada Expansion Program is another of the many programmes that can support the expansion of your business. The criteria is similar to that of the Foundation Montreal Inc’s Grant. The applicant’s age (must be between 18 and 39) and residency status (they must be Canadian or a permanent resident of Canada) are key eligibility factors to secure the funds.

3. Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding is one of the alternative methods of raising the capital you need. For all those unaware of what crowdfunding is — it’s the collection of financial contributions from people not usually connected to the financial sector.

Crowdfunding - business financing

Rocio Lara / Flickr / Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0

This option is available via crowdfunding platforms on the internet such as Ecloid, Fundo and others. It’s not only a great way to involve the public while marketing your start-up and products, but it also allows you to offer rewards and take pre-orders while collecting donations. The cons of crowdfunding, though, include the risk of having your ideas copied by other companies or big corporations. Alternatively, you might consider selling or pitching some of your ideas to possible buyers. The one huge pro of this fundraising method is that you get to test the validity of your start-up or the launch of a new product by getting immediate responses from the public.

4. Private Sector and Personal Assets

Personal Assets - business financing

Sharon Drummond / Flickr / Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) Some lenders require you to invest a certain amount of personal capital

Most banks will require you to have a starting capital before they lend you any money. In addition, there are a number of documents you need to prepare in order to apply — a cash flow forecast and a credit score statement among others. If you don’t have the time, or you don’t like waiting, you can instead use personal assets to finance your business. There are plenty of lenders that provide business loans against personal possessions such as jewelry, watches and other valuables.

Lending against personal possessions is a particularly good option for entrepreneurs who do not have enough or any capital to start their business off. Furthermore, there’s no need for countless application forms and filling specific criteria, which makes the process fast and user-friendly. In addition, business loans from private companies, unlike a line of credit, do not impact you personal or business credit.

Which of the financing options described above are you going to try out? Let us know in the comment section below.

Top Grants for Small Businesses in Alberta!

Are you looking to finance your ideas and make your small business bigger? There are 3 major ways to receive the capital you would use to fund your endeavors — loans, government supported financing programs and business grants.

Business grants are available to small businesses and entrepreneurs in Alberta. Grants of any type — awards, contributions, donations, endowments and others — all have really specific criteria. Since most of the grants are targeted at very particular kinds of businesses, not everyone will qualify for all of the grants.

You should carefully examine the criteria to make sure you are applying for a grant you are eligible for. Check out these three categories of business grants to see if any of them could help your business.

 

personas creativas

thetaxhaven / Flickr / Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Agriculture and Agribusiness Grants for Small Businesses

Based on the large number of grants available for Agriculture and Agribusiness, this is just one of many industries that have a high demand for grants and funding. To quote a popular saying, “When there’s funding, there’s business,” and vice versa.

Agriculture - grants for small businesses

Chesapeake Bay Program / Flickr / Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0)

1. Advance Payments Program This is one of the possible options for funding. It could provide you with easier access to credit through cash advances. The maximum cash advance available to each business is $400,000. One of the pros of the programme is that the federal government covers the interest on the first $100,000 issued per production period.Furthermore, the programme guarantees lower interest rates than normal loans. The deadline for repaying the cash advance is at the end of each production period.

The Advance Payment Program is a great way for businesses specializing in crop and livestock production to meet their financial obligations. Many participating organizations have already helped out a large number of small businesses.

2. AVAC Ltd Programmes Looking for a way to invest in your innovative ideas? If their implementation will help Alberta’s agrivalue and renewable resources ventures, then AVAC Ltd.’s grant might be right for you! Avac Ltd. is an Alberta-based, not-for-profit, private company. The grants they provide are designed especially for Alberta companies, research and academic organizations, and stakeholders in the value-added industry:

  • Idea Builder Program — capital of up to $25,000 for smaller-scale projects that add value to agricultural commodities.
  • Pre-Commercial and Entrepreneurial Program — over $25,000 for bigger projects, adding value to agricultural commodities.
  • Research and Strategic Initiatives — assistance to research and academic institutions in recruiting scientists and researchers, engaged in agrivalue-added activities.
  • Knowledge Investment Program — up to $25,000 aimed at businesses developing projects that advance agrivalue knowledge within Alberta.

R&D Technology Grants for Small Businesses

R&D - grants for small businesses

Intel Free Press / Flickr / Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic ((CC BY-SA 2.0)

1. Engage Grants The Engage grants are a brilliant way for you to finance an R&D project and solve a problem specific to your company. The funding is up to $25,000, managed by an academic researcher and a Canadian university. The possibility of being approved for such grant is extremely high — the success rate for typical applications is around 90%.

The evaluation times are typical for academic grants — up to 6 weeks from receipt of the application. The duration of the award is up to 6 months. The specifics of this grant include the following: the project must be a collaboration, the business must be able to exploit the research results, and the small business and the researcher must not have worked together in the past.

2. Alberta Energy Research Institute (AERI). Looking for a way to finance a research proposal or innovative idea in the fields of oil sands and heavy oil, oil and gas, electricity, renewable and alternative energy or clean coal? The Alberta Energy Research Institute supports such projects through three available programmes:

  • Industry Research Program – available to all companies researching in the areas of AERI mandate and strategic priorities of the Alberta’s Climate Change Action Plan and/ or Alberta Energy Innovation Plan.
  • Innovation Assistance Program — value: up to $50 000 for companies developing innovative products that are aiming to support the practices or technology of Alberta’s energy industry.
  • University Research Program — this particular programme is designed to support environmental and energy research. However, it is currently only open to researchers in Alberta universities.

Wage Subsidies Grants for Small Businesses

wage - grants for small businesses

Penn State / Flickr / Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0)

The following grants are a really good way to engage youth or your current employees and get the most out of such projects. In addition, these grants could be implemented within your marketing strategy for maximum effect.

1. Career Focus Career Focus is a grant for small businesses that finances activities designed to reach the youth and help them make more informed career decisions. Furthermore, the financed project should develop skills and benefit the involved young participants by providing them with work experience. The program aims to facilitate youth transition into the labor market.

Career Focus aims to increase the number of people involved in different markets by providing them with experience and information. The programme is a part of Youth Employment Strategy. Why is this grant good for your small business? Not only are you receiving help from a fast-learning group of people, but the image benefits for your company are immeasurable.

2. High Demand Youth Internship Program Is your business operating in a high-demand sector? Do you want to hire a post-secondary graduate as an intern? This grant for small businesses could help you do so! The criteria for this grant are a little more specific than the ones described above: if your business has at least 5 full-time employees, has been operating in a commercial space for at least 2 years, and has $2 million liability insurance, then waste no time and apply.

Other Financing Options

Unfortunately, sometimes you may struggle to find a small businesses grant that suits your financial needs. In such cases, taking out a loan might be your best option. A number of companies provide small business loans intended to suit the needs of companies like yours. Zillidy’s Small Business Loans are tied to collateral such as jewellery and precious metals, so aren’t affected by your credit score and don’t affect it, either.

Another big advantage is that you don’t have to complete massive application forms and the process is relatively expedient. Furthermore, you can invest the loan more freely, using the capital as you see fit. Which grants do you think would work best for your small business? Let us know in the comment section below.

Asset-Based Loans for Retailers: Top 5 Reasons to Use One!

As a retailer, you probably face a growing number of financial challenges every day, but how can you cope with them? Asset-based loans are the solution that can help you sustain your small or mid-sized business.

There’s comfort in requesting money from asset-based lenders because you can tie the loans to inventory or personal possessions. An asset-based loan will allow you to secure your funds quickly, without having to go through preparing endless application documents.

What can you use an asset-based loan for? Here are the top 5 reasons you might want to consider taking one out:

 
 

5 reasons to use asset-based loans

Chris Potter / Flickr / Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

#1  Business expansion

Is your business growing, but you can’t afford to expand and satisfy rising demand? This is one of the reasons small and mid-sized businesses take out an asset-based loan. If your company is rapidly growing, it needs capital investment in order to sustain that growth and ride the wave of demand. Otherwise, you risk a big loss if you let it simply die away prematurely.

Expansion - Asset-based loan

Chris Potter / Flickr / Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Many retailers are taking the route of expansion in Canada, inspired by new consumer trends that are already impacting the industry in a positive way. From taking on social media to expanding locally, there is a number of moves to be made if you want to grow your business.

If you have great ideas, but not enough funds to put them into action, don’t despair. With an asset-based loan you don’t have to limit yourself or your business. This extremely attractive loan option provides you with an easy and secure way to finance your creative endeavors.

#2 Logistics expenses

Due to the financial crisis that is unfortunately far from over, many logistics expenses have been on the rise these past couple of years. It’s no doubt extremely hard to plan company budgets, especially with unexpected political and social factors, impacting the logistics expenses of your small or mid-sized retail business.

The most recent change to seriously affect small businesses was the hike in gas prices. Fuel cost skyrocketed to over 142 cents per liter in the beginning of July. This is an all-time high not only outraging customers, but also threatening small and mid-sized retailers. Logistics expenses are thus on a rise that companies did not forecast or expect.

An asset-based loan can come in handy at a time like this, to help retailers, such as yourself, sustain their business and cover the rising cost of much-needed logistics services.

#3 Seasonal spikes

Right now is the best possible time to evaluate your retail business’s financing options for the upcoming seasonal spikes. You want to be ready when the wave of demand hits, so make sure you’re planning accordingly. Indeed, many small and mid-sized businesses across Canada have been using asset-based loans to jump on this opportunity. Maybe it’s time you consider doing the same too.

Seasonal Spikes - Asset-based loan

Chris Potter / Flickr / Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

It’s not unusual for seasonal spike revenue to make up a large part of retailers’ yearly profit. But that’s why it is so important that your business is prepared to take full advantage of the spike when it arrives.

The more revenue you generate during a spike, the more you can, then, invest on expansion or marketing campaigns, and sustaining unexpected expenses. How do you finance a seasonal spike? An asset-based loan can help you generate the revenue you expect from such spikes. Which in turn, will strengthen your business and help you pursue future plans.

# 4 Implement innovative ideas

Does your retail company have a fresh idea about how to grow sales? Would you like to launch a new product, but there’s not enough capital to finance it? As a retailer, you might want to consider using an asset-based loan from companies like Zillidy, to finance the implementation of innovative ideas or launching new products.

For instance, you can use an asset-based loan to fuel an innovative idea that just might hit it off. Take CardSwap.ca, for instance. They’ve taken the risk of launching a new service that allows you to receive up to 92% of the value of long-forgotten gift cards or sell ones you were gifted, but don’t want to use, and it has been wildly successful. There are numerous examples of companies that have decided to invest in great new ideas and now thrive from their outcomes.

An asset-based loan can enable you turn your ground-breaking ideas into reality. This may not only change the way people look at your brand, but can also help you reap the other financial and image benefits from starting an innovation .

#5 Debt cover

Cover a debt by getting into, technically, another one? It might sound like a crazy idea, but it’s common practice. Especially when many retailers are pushed against the wall to quickly repay or cover a variety of payments. The businesses that manage to get loans from banks are usually the ones that may suffer pressure to quickly cover a debt or an urgent credit card debt payment.

Debt cover - Asset-based loan

Chris Potter / Flickr / Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Using asset-based lending for debt consolidation can help you sustain your business for a long period of time. You’ll be able to pay off your debt in time and avoid late fees and further hassles. The loan might solve an issue temporarily or simply give you the time you need to secure enough capital to repay all the business’s debt.

Do you think an asset-based loan would help your retail business? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Small Business Loans: The 4 Cs of Lending You Need to Know About!

Looking for a way to make that start-up business in Canada something people are going to buzz over? We know how hard it is to expand your business or start one during the current financial state of the economy. Each expansion or start-up needs solid capital in order to take off.

If you don’t already have personal savings in order to finance your endeavor, then you have the following two options — government funding or commercial business loans. Since there are very few grants available, it’s important that all small business owners, like yourself, understand commercial loans very well.

When it comes to loans of any type, there are four major points to pay attention to in order to get an approval. These are Cash Flow, Collateral, Commitment, and Character. They’re known as the 4 Cs of Credit, and they’re used by potential lenders to evaluate loan applications.

Business Loans

Simon Cunningham / Flickr / Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Cash Flow or Capacity

This first “C” has a huge impact on the outcome decision. What lenders understand by Cash Flow or Capacity is a business’ ability to generate enough income in order to repay the loan it has taken out.

How do the lending institutions calculate your capacity? One of the things you need to submit when preparing an application for a loan is a “cash flow forecast” that is usually a part of your business plan. This cash flow forecast is a projection of your expected profit based on your previous track record. A business that can show a positive cash flow – i.e whose income exceeds their expenses — has a higher chance of receiving a loan.

What if you’re a new business and only have a forecast that is not based on any past track record? In such cases, you might want to exclude bank loans from your list of possible lenders. Banks are institutions that generally like extra reassurance, even when it comes down to short-term loans.

However, there are good news! A number of companies that provide similar small business loans. Asset-based lenders, like us here at Zillidy, don’t look at a cash flow / capacity when evaluating short-term business loan requests. Instead, we provide easy and quick short term loans against assets such as luxury jewellery, high-end watches, and precious metals as a collateral.

Good news - Business loans!

Steve Wilson / Flickr / Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Collateral

What lenders mean by collateral is the value of cash and assets that the business owner pledges in order to secure the loan. It’s used as assurance to the lending company or bank that you will repay the loan. Common assets include personal possessions such as money, cars, houses, etc.

Having such personal assets as collateral at risk motivates the business owner to push harder to keep the business going and eventually repay the loan. It’s a win-win for both lender and loan taker.

Capital

The third “C” that loaners take into consideration when making a loan decision is Capital. It refers to the amount of cash you are going to invest in your business aside from the loan. Nobody starts or expands a business without expecting to invest anything, right?

Collateral - Business loans

J R / Flickr / Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

To put a fair share into the business yourself is not only expected of you, it’s a must in order to receive a bank loan. Capital assets are not just cash – they might include equipment inventory such as machines or other items purchased especially for your business.

Banks expect the business owner to contribute with cash. If however, you are in a situation where you do not have much capital, you might want to consider small business loans from alternative companies.

Character

Character is the loan taker’s personal credit score and their history with financial institutions. Your character is calculated from your history of borrowing and repaying loans, credit cards, etc. Your credit score plays a vital role in such calculation.

Credit Score - Business Loans

Simon Cunningham / Flickr / Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Late payments or any type of debt — current and/or already repaid ones, among other financial blunders, can affect your credit score negatively. If your credit score is not healthy, your chances of receiving a loan dramatically decrease. That’s why if you don’t have a stellar credit score, or if you want to avoid possibly damaging your currently good standing, asset-based lenders are a great alternative.

We hope this introduction to commercial loans has helped you better understand your options. If you’re looking for a small business loan, but still have any concerns or questions, feel free to ask in the comment section below.

Gas Prices Skyrocket! Will Small Business Survive?

142.9—This is the number that has been causing public uproar all over Canada for the past few weeks. 142.9 is how many cents Canadian drivers must part with in exchange for a liter of gas, which is an all-time high.

Petroleum analysts at En-Pro International have stated that prices are expected to remain high, at least for the near future. Roger McKnight, a senior petroleum analyst at En-Pro, does not exclude the possibility of further increases. He speculates that the dramatic $14.3 a barrel jump in crude oil prices since last year is not due to oil shortages or increased demand, but the civil unrest in Iraq. The Middle Eastern country is the second-highest exporter of crude oil in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). It is where Canada is expecting to get 60% of its oil for the next several years.

And while the financial sector is being cautious due to the tension in Iraq, small business is suffering exponentially. The high gas prices have affected some sectors more than others.

gas-small-business

Gas prices all over Canada hit an all-time high this week

Photo credit: industriarts / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0) 

 

The Retail Sector

A large number of family-owned retail businesses and local shops are already feeling the consequences of the higher gas prices. Retailers say that this economic phenomenon is diminishing their profitability in more ways than one, since clients are also left with a smaller income to spend. According to a survey conducted by the Small Businesses and Entrepreneurship Council, about 74% of small business owners report that they’re experiencing a negative impact on their business. 47% of them say that because they need to patch up their limited budget after having to spend more than planned on gas, they are prevented from hiring new staff. Moreover, with the higher gas prices, shoppers tend to make fewer trips to the store as they are forced to spend less money. This makes even industry giants, such as Walmart, experience a drop in their revenue, since they target a lower-income demographic, which is the one most severely affected right now.

The Delivery Sector

small-business-gas

38% of the small business owners fear of closing down due to high gas prices

Photo credit: futureatlas.com / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Today’s gas prices are especially hard on those who rely on commercial vehicles as the driving force of their business. Plumbing companies, flower deliveries, catering companies and local delivery companies around Canada have been working on a budget tighter than ever before. The majority of them have been forced to raise prices to minimize their losses. According to the Small Businesses and Entrepreneurship Council survey, 26% of small business owners have had to let go of employees or cut their hours. Many believe that if gas prices remain this high or increase further still, their businesses might not survive.

How to Protect Your Business

If your business is already feeling the negative impact of these record-high gas prices, it might be a good idea to consider a Zillidy short-term loan. Zillidy finances businesses by giving out loans based on the value of personal assets given as collateral, rather than your credit score. The company operates like your own personal private banker, only charging interest on its loans, hence, loaning the most money on an asset it possibly can. Zillidy specializes in asset based lending to small and medium businesses in Canada and the USA. They might be just what you need to increase your liquidity and give your company that little boost to get it back on the right track.  

5 Top Aboriginal Entrepreneurs Conferences and Tradeshows in 2014

 

In Canada, aboriginal entrepreneur conferences are having a bigger impact on the local and national economies each year. As more aboriginal people across the country find funding through small business loans, educational support, and business mentorships, they are starting to represent a larger portion of the entrepreneurial market; businessmen and businesswomen who shape the major businesses and industries of our time. National recognition of aboriginal Canadians has increased because of many factors, including National Aboriginal Day in Canada on June 21, and thanks to supportive educational and business programs, native Canadians are becoming a driving force in their communities and the wider country. 
 
Many aboriginal entrepreneurs meet one another at national and business conferences to share ideas, exchange business information, and learn about the up-and-coming elements in their industries. For new aboriginal entrepreneurs and business owners in Canada, the benefits of attending such conferences include making important business contacts, keeping up-to-date on the state of the industry, and finding wider markets for existing products and services. The following list is comprised of the most popular and industry changing aboriginal business conferences and tradeshows of 2014.
 
Aboriginal-Conferences-in-Canada-2014
 
 

CCAB Special Information Sessions
July 22, 2014

 
Hosted by the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business – or CCAB – the Special Information Sessions in Winnipeg are just one of the Aboriginal-focused events held each year by the Council. This particular session is a short, hour-long conference in which the hosts intend to explain their plans to increase the number of business relations and transactions between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal businesses and entrepreneurs.
 

CCAB 12th Annual Vancouver Gala
September 25, 2014

Aboriginal-Gala-in-Vancouver 
 
The annual Vancouver Gala is focused on celebrating the success of individuals within the Progressive Aboriginal Relations program. Awards will be handed out to participants who have worked to strengthen their own business networks and become trusted members of aboriginal and non-aboriginal communities. Opportunities also exist to learn more about these individuals, and to meet and greet other industry leaders.
 

CCAB Aboriginal Entrepreneurs Conference and Trade Show (AECTS)
October 8-10, 2014

Hilton-Gatineau-(Casino-du-Lac-Leamy)

The CCAB Aboriginal ECTS takes the classic trade show and puts the focus on helping aboriginal members of the business community — including first-nation citizens and Metis — grow and prosper. Both aboriginal and non-aboriginal businesspeople and entrepreneurs will attend the conference with the goal of connecting with one another, promoting products and services, and growing their networks.
 

Aboriginal Business Luncheon: Fredericton 
October 23, 2014 

 Aboriginal-Business-Luncheon-Fredericton
 
The Aboriginal Business Luncheon is a vital meeting for business leaders and entrepreneurs in Fredericton and surrounding areas to get together and discuss pressing issues. Pipelines, TransCanada, and Energy East developments are expected to be at the top of the agenda. The dialogue between these large businesses and the local networks who are concerned about safe and sustainable development — as well as strong economic growth — will likely affect how businesses move forward in the following year.
 

CCAB Aboriginal Business Hot Topic Series: Northern Peoples, Driving the Northern Economy
November 20, 2014

 Aboriginal-Business-Series-Northern-People
 
The CCAB Northern Peoples conference is scheduled to focus primarily on the relationships that Canada’s northern populations — such as the Inuit — have with their governments, their businesses, and other driving forces within their communities. Organizers want to discover the distinct features of a business venture that appeals to the Inuit, and learn how to work within that framework now and in the future. Attendees will learn more about the driving forces of local and national economies, and better understand their own part in the future of each.
 
Aboriginal business owners, community leaders, and entrepreneurs have a lot to gain from attendance at any one of these events in 2014. These are the times and places to make business contacts, build your network, and learn more about subsidies for education and easy-to-handle grants.
 
 

How Can Canadians Check Their Credit Score?

Keeping your financial stability should be one of your primary purposes. You can never know when will you need a loan, after all there are always unexpected expenses – you might suddenly have to buy new equipment for your business or renew supplies, for example. That is why you should keep track of your credit file.  Almost every adult Canadian has a credit file and more than 22 million Canadians don’t know what’s inside those files.

Have you ever been denied credit and you don’t know why? Are there any mistakes in your credit file? Such questions come up sooner or later and it is a good idea do a simple credit check once in a while. You might even be a victim of stolen identity or there might be errors in your statement that prevent you from receiving a loan. It is always good to be informed and, in addition, it is actually free to check.

 

credit

 What’s in a credit report?

After you have checked your credit file, you might be surprised how much personal financial data it contains. You’ll be able to see whether you have paid your bills on time, a list of every loan you have acquired, your credit limits on each of your accounts and a list of your authorized credit grantors.

Each account is represented and evaluated in three ways – the letter “R” stands for the revolving debt of your account (means you have “revolving” credit, where you make regular payments in varying amounts depending on the balance). The letter “I” stands for installment account (means you were given credit on an installment basis, such as for a car loan, where you borrow money once and repay it in fixed amounts). And, finally, the letter “O” which stands for open credit (means you have open credit such as a line of credit, where you borrow money, as needed, up to a certain limit).

 

Credit Report

The measurement system of the state of your credit report also includes numbers – from 0 (too new to rate) to 9 (too bad or placed for collection of bankruptcy). The lender will check the combination between the numbers and the letters, for example: R0 – Too new to rate; R9: Bad debt; placed for collection; moved without giving a new address or bankruptcy. So if you want to have positive report you must try to balance these measurements and be somewhere between R5 and R8.

Keep in mind that every bank or company that is considering of granting you credit will always check both the letters and the numbers. After a thorough investigation (your credit report gathers data for the past six years) and an interview with you, they might be inclined to grant you the credit. If you’ve never checked your credit score, here’s an example so you know what one looks like.

What about my credit score?

Your credit score is not part of your credit report. It is a three-digit number, calculated with a mathematical formula that transforms your credit report into a rating that helps lenders evaluate your ability to repay loans.

The score ranges from 300 to 900. The higher the number, the better. So, if you are applying for a loan or a mortgage and your credit score is between 750 and 800, it is quite likely that you will be granted what you have applied for. Very few people have a credit score above 800.

The minimum credit score you have to have in order to acquire a loan varies among lenders. Some of them may accept scores as low as 650, but even then, there will be many additional clauses attached to your loan. So if you are about the ask for a loan or a new credit card first check your credit score and then see what your options are – whether you can fix or is it good enough.

Credit Score

 

Many of you might want to know the credit score mathematical formula, but for now the exact formula is kept secret. There are some people who have tried to figure it out but ended up with bad credit score because of wrong calculations and their loans were denied. If you want to know your credit score, you simply have to ask for it.

How can I get my credit report and my credit score?

You can ask for a free copy of your credit by mail. There are two national credit bureaus in Canada – Equifax Canada and TransUnion. You are advised to check with both bureaus, in order to spot any mistakes or discrepancies.

To get these official copies of your credit report, you have to send in two pieces of identification and some background information on why you want to acquire it. The estimated time of delivery is between two to three weeks, and depends on your location and mail services.

Don’t hesitate to request your credit report and find out your credit score. These two things combined are very important evidence of your financial stability. We encourage you to check them at least once a year, but keep in mind that it’s not a bad idea to check them even two or three times annually. But as long as you’ve been paying your bills on time and avoided spending money recklessly, you’ll likely have a great credit standing.

Is your credit score important for all loans?

Alternatively, there are also lenders which are not interested in your credit score. A personal asset lender such as Zillidy can offer you a business loan against collateral, without any background checks of your credit score or financial history.

This means that you can get your loan as soon as your asset has been appraised, which is usually within a few days of us receiving it. If you have to act quick, a loan from a personal asset lender is especially suitable.