SMB Finance Management Tips to Use

How To Manage SMB Finances | Riviera FinanceIf you have a small or medium-sized business, one of your biggest challenges is keeping your finances organized. This is important throughout the year but is especially crucial during tax season. The best approach is to have a system in place so that when you need financial information it’s easy to access. Here are some finance management tips to help you stay organized.

Plan Well Into the Future

One of the most vital finance tips to consider is planning ahead. To compete in today’s fast-paced world, you have to plan not merely weeks and months but years into the future. This includes your inventory, new products and services you want to release, marketing, customer service and other areas. If you’re aware of the costs and likely profits from your future actions, you’re in a better position to make the right decisions. Your projections will never be 100 percent accurate but planning still gives you an edge.

Place Your Finances in the Cloud

Cloud computing makes it more convenient to store your financial information. It lets your employees, partners and accountant access any necessary information from any location. The Cloud provides more flexibility than keeping your data on a desktop.

Take Advantage of SaaS Tools

Software as a Service or Saas tools provide businesses with many advantages for managing their finances. However, with so many tools on the market and new appearing all the time, it’s important to choose the software that’s best for your business. Consult with your accountant and other experts in your business to make the right choices.

Learn From Past Financial Data

You can collect valuable finance tips from your own business by studying your financial statements from prior years. This helps you identify both strengths and weaknesses. Look for ways to save money on expenses and increase revenue. Study patterns, such as times of year and even days of the week when sales go up or down. Understanding how your business performed in the past helps you make better decisions in the future.

Find the Right Schedule For Paying Taxes

While it’s typical for businesses to pay taxes quarterly, this isn’t always the best option. You may find that it’s more convenient to make monthly payments. This makes your tax payments smaller and easier to manage. They turn into another monthly bill rather than a larger expense you have to face quarterly.

Get Help When You Need It

If you’re in the habit of handling your finances in-house, it may be time to outsource some of these tasks. If you don’t have the background or expertise to understand and manage financial data, you might be making your life more difficult than it needs to be. Finding the right expert can be a powerful finance management solution that saves you money in the long run.

Another way to get help with your financial issues is invoice factoring. This allows you to get paid now for your invoices and continue to have positive cash flow. Riviera Finance has been helping companies maintain cash flow for more than 40 years.

Top 20 Business Email Etiquette Tips

Business Email Etiquette Do's and Don'ts | Riviera FinanceSince email is one of the most common ways we communicate for business, it’s important to understand the rules and niceties of business email etiquette. You don’t want to unintentionally offend someone and risk losing a valuable connection.

Here are 19 essential email etiquette tips for business communications.

  1. Set Up Auto-Reply Messages When You’re Away – If you go on vacation or know you won’t be able to reply to emails for a few days, remember to set up an away message. Otherwise, people might assume you’re ignoring them when they don’t get a reply.
  1. Stick to Conventional Fonts – Business emails aren’t the place for artistic or hard-to-read fonts. Keep your fonts simple and basic.
  1. Use a Professional Email Address – An email address that includes your company name makes a better impression than a generic one such as Yahoo or Gmail. Additionally, stay away from email addresses that contain silly or cute expressions.
  1. Check Spam if You Don’t Get a Response – Before you send a reminder or assume someone hasn’t replied to your email, check your spam folder as legitimate messages sometimes end up there.
  1. Use an Accurate Subject Line – Always provide a subject line that informs the recipient of what the email is about.
  1. Describe Attachments – If you’re including an attachment, always describe it so the other person knows what to expect. Also, don’t forget to include the attachment!
  1. Always Proofread Your Messages – Before sending a message, proofread it for spelling and grammatical errors.
  1. Don’t Send Reminders Too Soon – Give people a couple of days before sending reminder messages.
  1. Think Before Forwarding – Not all messages need to be forwarded. If you decide to forward a message, remember to include a personal message with it. Also, check messages for accuracy before forwarding them.
  1. Make Your Messages Easy to Read – Part of business email etiquette involves making your messages readable. For long emails, break your text into multiple paragraphs or bulleted list of points.
  1. Start a New Chain for New Topics – If you correspond with someone frequently, you may have a long email chain with them. Starting a new chain for a fresh topic makes it easier to keep track of the messages.
  1. Only Use Reply All When Appropriate – Before hitting “Reply All,” make sure it’s really necessary that everyone on the list reads the message.
  1. Send Short Messages Confirming Receipt – If you don’t have time to reply fully to a message, send a brief message to confirm you got the email and that you’ll respond later.
  1. Use Good Manners – When sending a business email, always remember to be polite and use expressions like “please” and “thank you.”
  1. Make Sure You’re Not Sharing Confidential Information – Email isn’t the best way to share information that’s sensitive or confidential.
  1. Keep The Color Simple – Avoid colorful text in your email copy and stick with classic, professional colors like black or blue. 
  1. Check Your Email for Tone – Before sending your message, reread it and make sure you’ve used the appropriate tone.
  1. Avoid Hype – A business email isn’t the right place for all caps and exclamation points. Only use these elements in moderation.
  1. Include a Professional Signature – An email signature at the end is a good place to include additional information or a link to your website or social media pages.
  1. Consider Your Relationship with the Recipient -If you’re talking to someone you don’t know well, a superior or a client, the rules of email etiquette are to keep your tone formal and respectful at all times.

As with all tips, not everything is relevant to everyone, but hopefully this list will save you some heartburn the next time you’re emailing your company or a large prospect.

With any business, growth can be unexpected and not budgeted for. If you’re experiencing growth and need the cash flow to help fund this growth, consider invoice factoring with Riviera Finance.

Funds Available for Harvey & Irma Disaster Recovery

Funds Available for Harvey & Irma Disaster Recovery

Riviera Finance can provide immediate cash flow to companies involved in the recovery and cleanup effort from Hurricane Harvey & Irma. We have streamlined paperwork and a very quick approval process.

To approve your company for invoice factoring, we will need:

  • Invoices and signoffs for completed services
  • Completed application
  • Support information

Our representatives in Houston, Tampa and Miami are available to answer all questions and assist you to apply and get funded as easily as possible.

Qualifications: You should apply if your company:

  • Provides services or product to creditworthy companies or government entities (federal, state, county, city)
  • Bills on credit terms (30 – 60 days preferred)
  • Bills for completed work

Examples of businesses that can benefit immediately from our services:

  • Commercial Cleaning
  • Building Maintenance
  • Janitorial
  • Local Transportation
  • Dirt and Gravel Haulers
  • Road Maintenance
  • A/C Maintenance
  • Roof Repair
  • Commercial Painting
  • Auto Glass and Vehicle Maintenance
  • Grounds Maintenance
  • Sign Companies

We have no setup or applications fees. To find out more, or to get started, call us today.

Riviera Finance also encourages everyone to make a donation to the American Red Cross to help those in need. To make a donation to the Red Cross, click here: https://www.redcross.org/donate/hurricane-harvey  and https://www.redcross.org/donate/hurricane-irma-donations

Factoring Costs and Benefits

Factoring Costs and Benefits | Riviera FinanceBefore entering into any financial agreement, you should be sure to assess the costs and net benefits. Below we are going to walk you through both the benefits and costs associated with factoring.

For most small companies, the benefits of factoring fall into four main categories:

  • Sales Growth
  • Bad Debt Elimination
  • Supplier Discounts
  • Administrative Cost Reductions

The benefits are derived from the three components of full-service factoring:

  • Finance (receivables converted to liquid funds)
  • Credit Services
  • Accounts Receivable Management

The Benefits of Factoring Explained

Sales Growth

Early-stage factoring exists mainly to support the growth of young companies when other financing tools are not yet available.  A company with growth opportunities will find that factoring is a valuable tool.

Finance:  Typically, trade receivables take 30-60 days to be paid.  Using a factoring line, a company can turn much of this idle paper into cash, and continue to maximize cash flow as product is delivered or services are performed.  The dollar benefit is the amount of additional gross profit that comes from investing this cash into the growth of the business.  It could go into a direct marketing campaign, radio advertising, sales force hiring, repackaging, relocation, web redesign, sales collateral, product enhancement, or promotional campaigns.  However, to the young company with growth prospects, maximizing cash is critical to realizing growth, and planning the use of that cash is just as critical.

The company may now expand the use of credit to its existing customers, where it was previously offering COD or limited credit terms due to cash constraints. Moving from COD to Net 30 terms can be a major growth milestone for a young company.

Credit Services:   A non-recourse factor will analyze credit and establish trade terms with regard to the company’s customers, then guarantee those credits.  Because of the guarantee, the company may be able to do business with a wider spectrum of customers than before.  The larger a company’s prospect list, the more likely that credit services will produce sales growth.

Ancillary Benefits:  Other benefits of improved cash flow are realized on a case-by-case basis as they occur.  Some examples are as follows:

Supplier Assurance:  A factor will guarantee payment directly to the client’s supplier based on a completed, factored transaction.  This “supplier assurance” can mean the difference between filling a large order and passing up business.  In many cases, not only will a supplier agree to deliver the goods, but it may extend limited credit terms as well.

Professionalism:  A quality factoring company will establish a set of procedures with a client’s customers based on experience.  An organized process for managing receivables sends a strong message to the customer that the company itself is professional and reliable.

Administrative Outsourcing:  Owners and executives of early-stage companies tend to be over-burdened by administrative tasks, including credit analysis, status checking, and collections.  Outsourcing these tasks may free up executive management time to focus on company growth.

Bad Debt Elimination

Credit Services (non-recourse):  Bad debt ratios (bad debt expense/revenue) for U.S. small businesses vary widely, across and within industries.  A recent survey of 500 small companies by Dun & Bradstreet and Entrepreneur Magazine found the average ratio to be 2.7%, including cash and retail businesses.

The only number that matters is the bad debt ratio of the client company.  Unfortunately, emerging companies don’t have the history to estimate a reliable bad debt ratio, and the future cost of bad debt can’t be timed.  Discussion with the business owner is often the best way to gauge a bad-debt estimate.  Typically, a number of 1-3% will be used for analysis purposes.

The benefit of factoring is that bad debt will be eliminated on all receivables that are factored, provided they are factored on a non-recourse (credit-guaranteed) basis.

In some cases the cost of factoring can be justified based on this benefit alone.

Supplier Discounts

Suppliers will typically offer discounts for accelerated pay and for volume, effects of improved cash flow through factoring.  However, the emerging growth company is usually better off investing cash in sales growth than in quick pay to suppliers.  In most cases, the better cash position of the company will lead to better supplier credit, leading the company to even better cash position.  This is a main goal of factoring.

Administrative Cost Reductions

Credit Services and Accounts Receivable (AR) Management:  The client can essentially outsource its whole credit and receivables department to the factoring company.  The advisor should look at the potential cost reductions in personnel, credit reports, postage, and supplies.

Typically, the larger the customer list and the smaller the average invoice, the greater will be the benefit of outsourcing this function to a factoring company.

The Costs of Factoring Broken Down

The cost of factoring is usually related to the dollar volume of invoices being factored and the average days turn on the paper.  However, pricing programs vary across a broad spectrum.

Generally, if the business owner can estimate monthly factored volume and the average days the customers will take to pay their bills, the factoring costs can be estimated.  Additional costs will be detailed in the factoring agreement.  Common additional costs may be: per-invoice handling charges, credit checking fees, chargeback fees, wire fees, postage, minimum monthly fees, and termination fees.  It is critical to review a sample security agreement in detail and calculate total fees before making a decision to factor.

Related to cost is the question of advance rate.  Because a key purpose of factoring is to create cash flow, it’s important to note how much of the receivables will be held back in reserve in the factoring transaction.

However, the lower-advance programs usually carry a lower factoring fee as well.  This is due to their lower cost of capital and their lower risk.  Generally, non-recourse factors will only guarantee credit to the extent of their advance.  Because of this feature, the business owner should insist on carefully checking the factor’s credit (since in a factoring relationship, the factor will now be the company’s largest receivable account!).

Today’s non-recourse factors in the small business market segment generally advance from 70-95% on the face value of the receivables they factor.

Credit and Administration only:  Most emerging companies utilize factoring for cash flow.  However, it’s very possible, especially as they mature, that they’ll outgrow the need for immediate cash or will qualify for conventional lines of credit.  In many cases, they’ll find the credit and A/R management features of factoring to be of ongoing benefit.  Full-service factors can cost these separately to make sense within the company’s business strategy.

As a reminder, the business owner should be armed with full pricing details regarding the factor’s program, and maximize its value based exactly upon the services needed. The benefits and costs can easily be quantified to aide in the decision.

If you need cash today, factor your invoices with Riviera Finance. Get started now!

What Is Organic vs Paid Marketing

Organic vs Paid Marketing Strategies | Riviera FinanceIf you’re involved in online marketing in any capacity, you’re surely familiar with the whole organic marketing vs paid advertising debate. Many people read about such terminology without really understanding their meanings. If you want to promote your business online, it’s important to have at least a basic understanding of search engine optimization (SEO) as well as the difference between paid and organic and paid marketing. Let’s look at some of the definitions and distinctions that you should know about.

SEO and Organic Marketing

When you engage in search engine optimization (SEO), your goal is to get Google and other search engines to rank your website for certain search terms or keywords. For example, suppose you’re a maintenance company in New York City (NYC) who specializes in window washing. You’d probably want to rank for search terms such as “window washing NYC” and “New York City window washer” and many others as well. The same principle holds if you’re marketing an online product such as an auto body shop in San Jose or a service such as auto or freight transportation.

Just like organic food refers to food that’s natural, organic search means that people can find your website “naturally,” without advertising. Organic search results are the listings in Google that are ranked according to Google’s algorithms, based on many factors such as the quality of your content, how easy your site is to navigate, mobile-friendliness and many other elements. There are certain benefits to ranking your site organically. For one thing, search engine users may trust organic listings more than ads. However, it’s important to realize that the line separating organic and paid marketing has gotten blurrier in recent years.

Paid Marketing

Even if you have no background in online marketing, you’re surely familiar with the idea of paid advertising. The most popular forms of online advertising are run by large platforms such as Google and Facebook. As with organic search engine optimization, the focus is on keywords. In this case, however, you’re bidding for them rather than trying to rank for them organically.

As noted, the distinction between paid and organic is not quite as sharp as it used to be. This is deliberate as Google and other companies are making ads that look more like organic listings. If you do any type of search on Google, whether it’s for running shoes, pizza places or nail salons, you’ll notice that paid listings are at the top of the page. If you don’t focus on the word “ad,” which appears in a little box next to the ad, you might think it’s an organic listing. Facebook, Twitter and many other sites similarly insert paid, sometimes called sponsored listings right next to organic listings.

Which is Better: Paid or Organic?

The whole question of whether it’s better to focus on paid or organic in your marketing campaigns is really not very useful nowadays. It’s usually best to do a combination of the two. Google, Facebook and other search engines and advertising platforms have made it very difficult to survive solely on organic SEO. Because ads are now so prominently featured everywhere, you have to work harder and harder to get top listings organically. This doesn’t mean that you should abandon your organic marketing efforts. The two actually complement one another. You can, for example, use Facebook ads to promote your organic content such as your Facebook page.

You should always base your marketing efforts, both paid and organic, on solid analytics. Always test the results of all your campaigns. Organic search works better for some businesses than others. For example, if you’re in a niche without much competition, you may be able to rank your site organically more easily than a business that’s is in an extremely competitive market. Observe what works best for you with both organic and paid methods and develop your own unique marketing strategy.