Connect with us

Business Finance

2 finance tools every entrepreneur can benefit from

While there are endless finance tools that track your spending, today, we’re talking about tools that put money INTO your pocket.

Published

on

cash money

finance tools

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.

Hoyt David Morgan is an entrepreneur, angel investor and business strategy leader. He is an investor and/or adviser to a handful of exciting and high growth companies, and has been a part of several high-value exits. He is passionate about customer experience, smart business and helping innovative companies grow... and sailing.

Business Finance

Clyde helps smaller brands to offer product protection programs

(BUSINESS FINANCE) For small brands that sell not-so-little items, Clyde is a big deal! Now you can offer product protection normally reserved for the big brands.

Published

on

product protection

For small businesses seeking to adapt to their new or growing online presence, Clyde, a platform allowing small business consumers to receive extended warranties and protection on purchases may be the answer.

Due to the current pandemic, online retailers have reported on average, a 200% increase in digital sales. Online commerce is only expected to continue its growth with 52% of consumers suggesting they will not return to in-store shopping, post COVID-19. With online shopping in demand, stolen packages, damaged products, and lost goods are also surging.

If you’re ordering from a superstore like Amazon, Target, or Walmart, chances are your items are protected and will be quickly replaced upon a discovery of any of the above issues. However, for smaller companies, protection on consumer goods is usually not offered, not because smaller companies don’t want to give their customers this option, but because finding insurance for small businesses is hard.

Clyde, a company working to provide product protection programs to small retailers through the navigation and connection to insurance companies, intends to change that. Clyde gives small businesses or as their CEO, Brandon Gell, would say, “everybody that’s not Amazon and Walmart,” the opportunity to provide their customers with individual product protection or an extended warranty contract that can be purchased at checkout.

Clyde also provides the retailer with a portion of the insurance profit, serving as an incentive for smaller companies who usually get left out of this profitable market. Product protection is responsible for a whopping $50 billion market, so getting in on the game is key. The company also provides sellers with critical data analytics, product performance statistics, that otherwise would not be obtainable to smaller companies.

Not only is Clyde protecting consumer purchases, but its mantra acts in the best interest of smaller companies normally left out of big commerce perks. The company’s dedication to provide smaller businesses with access to revenue and its consumers with product protection at a time where the demand is higher than ever may allow this company to flourish.

Continue Reading

Business Finance

Will cash still be king after COVID-19?

(EDITORIAL) Physical cash has been a preferred mode of payment for many, but will COVID-19 push us to a cashless future at an even faster rate?

Published

on

No more Cash

Say goodbye to the almighty dollar, at least the paper version. Cashless is where it’s at, and COVID-19 is at least partially to thank–or blame, depending on your perspective.

Let’s face it, we were already headed that direction. Apps like Venmo, PayPal, and Apple Pay have made cashless transactions painless enough that even stubborn luddites were beginning to migrate to these convenient payment methods. Then COVID-19 hit the world and suddenly, handling cash is a potential danger.

In 2020, the era of COVID-19, the thought of all the possible contaminants traveling around on an old dollar bill makes most of us cringe. Keep your nasty sock money, boob money, and even your pocket money to yourself, sir or madam, because I’ll have none of it! Nobody knows or wants to know where your money has been. We like the idea of taking your money, sure, but not the idea of actually touching it…ewww, David. Just ewww.

There is no hard evidence that cash can transmit COVID-19 from one person to the other, but perception is a powerful agent for changing our behavior. It seems plausible, considering the alarming rate this awful disease is moving through the world. Nobody has proven it can’t move with money.

There was a time when cash was king. Everyone took cash; everyone preferred it. Of course, credit cards have been around forever, but they’ve always been just as problematic as they are convenient. Like GrubHub and similar third party food delivery apps, banks end up charging both the business and the consumer with credit cards. It’s a trap. Cash cut out the (greedy) middle man.

Plus, paying with a credit card could be a pain. Try paying a taxi driver with a credit card prior to, oh, about 2014 when Uber hit the scene big time. Most drivers refused to take cash, because credit cards take a percentage off the top. Enter rideshare companies like Uber. Then in walks Square. Next PayPal, Venmo, and Apple Pay enter the scene. Suddenly, cabbies would like you to know they now take alternate forms of payment, and with a smile.

It’s good in a way, but it may end up hurting small businesses even more in the long run. The harsh reality of this current moment is that you shouldn’t be handling cash. No less an authority than the CDC recommends contactless forms of payment whenever possible. However, those cabbies weren’t wrong.

The banking industry has been pushing for a reduced reliance on cash since the 1950s, when they came up with the idea of credit cards. It was a stroke of evil genius to come up with more ways to expedite our lifelong journey into crushing debt.

The financial titans are very, very good at what they do, at the expense of all the rest of us. The New York Times reported on the trend, noting:

“In Britain alone, retailers paid 1.3 billion pounds (about $1.7 billion) in third-party fees in 2018, up £70 million from the year before, according to the British Retail Consortium.

Payment and processing companies such as PayPal (whose stock is up about 55 percent this year) and Adyen, based in the Netherlands (up 72 percent), also stand to gain.”

All kinds of banking-related industries stand to benefit as well. Maybe we’ll go back to spending physical cash one day, but I don’t think there’s any hurry. Fewer old grandpas are hiding their cash in their proverbial mattresses, and the younger, most tech-savvy generation seems perfectly content to use their smart phones for everything.

We get it. Convenience plus cleanliness is a sweet combo. If only cashless payments weren’t such a racket.

If this trend towards a cashless future continues, future travelers may not experience what it’s like to fumble with foreign currency, to smile and shrug and hand over a handful of bills because they have no idea how many baht, pesos, or rand those snacks are. They may not experience the realization that other countries’ bills come in different shapes and sizes, and may not come home with the most affordable souvenirs (coins and bills).

We shall see what the future holds. Odds are, it may not be cash money, at least in the U.S. I hope the cashless movement makes room for everyone to participate without being penalized. We’re in the middle of a pandemic, people. We need to find more ways to ease the path for people, not callously profit off of them.

Continue Reading

Business Finance

How NASA helps small businesses reach for the stars

(BUSINESS FINANCE) NASA has been providing $51 million in grants to small businesses and innovators.

Published

on

NASA grants

With the political and social climate that we are all trying to survive this summer, there only seems to be a few things that bring us a light of hope. For some it’s the little gestures that keeps the smiles on our faces; little helping hands that keep us going from day to day. But thanks to some forethought in our government system, there are some rather large helping hands coming down from the top as well. The organization that sends people to the moon is also making some dreams come true here on Earth.

NASA has just announced their latest batch of small business grants. Grants that amount to a total of approximately $51 million. This money is being sent out at the most crucial early-stage of small business funding. Over 300 businesses are receiving up to $125,000 to develop and bring new technologies to the world.

This grant system has been in place nearly as long as NASA itself. The Small Business Innovation Research/Technology transfer program is designed to bring in entrepreneurs and inventors’ ideas, and combine them with NASA’s assets to bring their dreams to fruition, bringing something from the lab to the marketplace.

It is set up into a three-phase system. According to The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR), the first phase, Idea Generation, provides grantees with up to $125,000 for a 6 – 12 month period to “establish the technical merit, feasibility, and commercial potential of the proposed R/R&D efforts and to determine the quality of performance of the small business awardee organization prior to providing further Federal support in Phase II”. If they succeed, they may be eligible to move onto Phase II, where they will be awarded a new grant of $750,000 for 2 years to continue the R&D efforts and start on a Prototype Development. Phase III is called the Infusion/Commercialization stage and it is the culmination of years of work and grant access for these businesses. This also includes a few extra requirements like matching funding for things like marketing.

Over the years, the selection has covered numerous disciplines with an extraordinary range of industries. Some of the highlights this year are high-power solar arrays, a smart air traffic control system for urban use, a water purification system for use on the moon, and improved lithium-ion batteries. These are just a few of the many innovative projects. The list covers a huge assortment, but a few people have noted the number of neuromorphic computing efforts as well.

This list is updated periodically throughout the year as each deadline is met from previous grant holders. It’s a constantly updating assortment of tomorrow’s toys, and a great way to look toward the future.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Our Great Partners

The
American Genius
news neatly in your inbox

Subscribe to our mailing list for news sent straight to your email inbox.

Emerging Stories

Get The American Genius
neatly in your inbox

Subscribe to get business and tech updates, breaking stories, and more!