Some easier next-gen finance tools
I’ve written several AGBeat columns about entrepreneurship, usually sharing my philosophy that hard work, sound strategic planning, and an intense focus on customers are paramount for success. We’ve discussed leadership, management and financing, and I’ve written about the importance of data and analytics. I still believe all of this – and every day I spend in and around start-ups emboldens my belief in these tenets. They are essential for success.
BUT… there are many things that an entrepreneur can do that aren’t so intense, that aren’t so difficult. There are new apps, websites, and tools in the market today that we can utilize to help out along the way. The good ones are easy to use, have no downside risk, and are effective. Please allow me to introduce two of these next-generation helpers. Both will positively impact your financial environment.
1. The interest-free line of credit tool
Raising capital is a unique challenge that most all entrepreneurs face. There are limitless articles about the topic, and an equally uncountable number of opinions on the best ways to secure investors. There is another category of small business finance that gets a lot less attention, though: operational capital and credit.
Start-ups don’t have the financial history, assets or p&l metrics to establish their own credit to work with banks or other low-interest capital options. As a result, most entrepreneurs put business expenses on a personally guaranteed, high-interest credit card. Most carry balances of five to ten thousand dollars, or more, to pay for monthly expenses like office supplies, telecommunications and travel. This costs companies thousands in interest annually – and more if payments are missed and fees kick in.
Enter Float Money. Float eliminates interest and fees – forever. The company lets entrepreneurs establish a ten-month line of credit, interest free, and without any fees or financial penalties even for missed payments. How can Float do this?
Float Money will lend you up to $10,000 based on your monthly spending. When you purchase supplies through Float’s shopping network, the vendors pay Float. This means that the vendors you shop with effectively pay your interest. You can shop online or purchase gift cards to shop at you local retail locations. You don’t need to change your spending or vendor selections. Float works with office supply companies like Office Max and Staples, Supermarkets like Kroger, Pharmacies like CVS and of course major online retailers like Amazon.
My first thought was that there was a catch. Well – there isn’t. Ever. Additionally, you can utilize your current credit cards (to earn points) and take advantage of coupons and specials that you normally would. Float has one more powerful benefit too: using Float will boost your credit score, even if you aren’t utilizing your credit line (provided you make you payments on time when you do).
Float is a powerful tool that every entrepreneur can use to pay down high interest debt, or simply boost credit and build up an emergency capital reserve.
2. A free money tool
The average person in the United States accesses their mobile phone more than 150 times a day. Putting aside any interpretation on our social environment, that’s just a lot of screen time. There is a new app available for Android devices called Locket that pays you for this screen time. They pay you for accessing your phone just like you already do.
Locket displays high-concept, high-production value advertising on a phone’s lock screen. When users access their mobile device they see the ads. You swipe right to access your phone normally or you swipe left to interact with the advertisement – either way you get paid a penny each time you look at your phone.
Locket promises to bring you relevant advertising based on your preferences, location, etc. The company doesn’t want its value proposition to simply be cash payments to users, but let’s be honest that that’s the primary reason you’re interested. Locket users can earn up to around $300 annually for simply using their phone normally. That’s free money.
Business is hard. Start-ups are harder. Not everything has to be difficult, though. Utilizing tools like Float Money and Locket will help your finances without adding to your already busy days. You’ll have more time for the hard stuff – and more money to help with it. I’ll keep my eye out for more finance and business tools like these. Please let me know if you find some, too.