How to Make Your Business Fraud-Proof

How to Fraud-Proof Your Business Inside and OutProblems such as fraud, hacking, and identity theft are rampant nowadays. No matter how small or large your business is or what industry you’re in, you can’t afford to overlook these issues. Fraud can be extremely costly and even destroy your business. It can also leave you liable to lawsuits from customers if their money or data is stolen. Let’s look at some of the most common types of fraud and how you can protect yourself and have a fraud-proof business.

Two Types of Fraud

When it comes to business security and safeguarding against fraud, you need to consider two general categories: internal and external fraud. Ignoring or downplaying either of these leaves you vulnerable to many unpleasant possibilities. Internal fraud refers to threats that originate within your own business. If your own employees are stealing your data or money it can be extremely difficult to detect until after the fact. External fraud refers to hackers, who can be from anywhere in the world, breaking into your system and stealing your data. Both types of fraud are very dangerous to your business. You need a different strategy for each, however.

Protecting Against Internal Fraud

  • Hire carefully. Prevention is the best approach to internal fraud. Conduct thorough background checks before you hire anyone for a position that provides access to sensitive information.
  • Provide limited access to any one individual. If you separate tasks so that different people are responsible for each one, you reduce your risk. For example, have one person enter the information about a financial transaction and someone else approves it.
  • Use third-party auditors. Auditing your business regularly helps you keep track of everything and lets you spot any suspicious activity early.
  • Use a computerized inventory system. Automating your inventory system helps you save time and gives you a more accurate picture of what you possess. This makes it easier to notice irregularities.

Protecting Against External Fraud

  • Train employees. Train all employees on preventive measures such as using strong passwords, recognizing suspicious emails and scanning flash drives.
  • Use two-factor authentication. This provides an additional layer of security for anyone trying to access your system aside from username and password.
  • Install the latest firewalls and virus protection. This won’t prevent all types of attacks but it will at least discourage all but the most professional and determined hackers. You should also safeguard data by backing everything up daily.
  • Use geofencing and device identification for enhanced security. Geofencing is a system of blocking devices outside a specified location. This, of course, is only practical if your customers are within a certain area. Device identification makes it possible to match customers and accounts to specific devices.

These are some of the most effective ways to have a fraud-proof business. Business security, of course, is only one aspect of business success. We also cover cyber security and how you can protect your business online.

For other small business resources, such as accounts receivable or small business funding services, contact the experts at Riviera Finance. Get started today!

3 Ways to Solve Communication Problems in Your Business

Solve the Top Communication Problems in Your BusinessGood communication is at the foundation of every successful business. Your ability to understand and connect with your partners, employees, and customers makes all the difference when it comes to delivering great products and services consistently. Yet many businesses struggle in this area. Let’s look at some of the symptoms and solutions for communication issues.

Signs of Communication Problems

Here are some of the most notable signs that your business is experiencing some challenges when it comes to communicating.

  • Clients are not satisfied. This is one of the most obvious and serious signs. If your customers are complaining, there’s a good chance that communications are breaking down at some point.
  • Duplicated efforts. This is a fairly straightforward symptom of poor communication. Redundancy wastes everyone’s time and clearly indicates that people aren’t informing each other about what’s going on.
  • Delays or hiccups between sales and fulfillment. If your staff is communicating effectively, there should be a seamless process where fulfillment directly follows sales.
  • You find it difficult to stick to deadlines. If you or your employees are often late in completing projects or fulfilling orders, you need to look closely at how everyone is communicating.

These are some of the leading symptoms of communications breakdowns. In practice, these tend to overlap. For example, if there’s a time lag between sales and fulfillment, customer dissatisfaction is probably also an issue. Now let’s look at the best ways to solve these issues.

3 Tips to Solve Communication Problems in Your Business

Make sure everyone shares the same goals and values.

Communication issues are usually symptomatic of a deeper problem. If team members are unaware of the company’s underlying vision and objectives, effective communication is difficult. Make sure you clarify both short-term goals and your fundamental vision for your business.

Encourage better teamwork.

If people are having trouble communicating, it’s likely that your employees are acting as isolated units rather than as a cohesive team. Identify strategies that encourage people, both within and across departments, to work together towards common goals.

Create a clear plan for improving communications.

It’s important to take proactive steps to identify and implement the best strategies for communicating at all levels of your organization. Once you identify problem areas, look for ways to ensure that improvements are made. The best way to do this is to encourage feedback so everyone involved is part of the process.

The above guidelines will help you address communication issues within your organization. The fact is that communications problems usually overlap with other challenges. When you focus on the fundamentals of running a successful business, such as maintaining healthy cash flow, researching the needs of your customers and upgrading your products and services, you’ll find that communicating effectively with your team is an essential aspect of such improvements.

Riviera Finance and our many professional affiliates can help you make progress in many areas of growing your business.  Get Started Today!

5 Ways to Improve Your Entrepreneurial Creativity

How to Improve Your Entrepreneurial Creativity | Riviera FinanceIf you’re an entrepreneur, creativity is one of your most valuable assets. You always have to be ahead of the curve and ready to profit from the latest trends. Here are five ways to enhance your creativity and make it easier to come up with ideas that will build your business.

Be Open to Diverse Points of View

Even the most intelligent people tend to insulate themselves from unfamiliar perspectives. If you really want to think outside the box, you have to identify your own particular “box” and consider other points of view. Read books and magazines that you would normally avoid. Talk to people with opinions that differ from yours. Study new disciplines. As you open yourself to more perspectives, you’ll acquire tools and knowledge that help you in your journey as an entrepreneur.

Express Problems Visually

Some people are naturally visual thinkers. If you fall into this category, it’s probably natural for you to create drawings, diagrams or other visual representations of any projects you’re working on. However, even if you’re not particularly visual or think you have no artistic talent, it’s beneficial to pick up a pencil, pen or marker and start drawing. This is a good way to use a different part of your brain. Even a simple flow chart can provide you with a new perspective on a problem.

Take a Trip

Traveling is one of the best ways to stimulate creative thinking. Whether you take a drive to a new neighborhood or city or fly to another continent, you’ll be experiencing new scenery and meeting new people. When you do travel, make it a point to learn as much as you can about the places you visit. Find out about history, try new foods and explore. If you’re traveling to a country where they speak another language, take the time to learn at least a few words in the new language.

Walk More, Sit Less

If you work in an office or even at home, it’s easy to get into a rut. Staying in one place all day is not conducive to creative thinking. Walking around, either indoors or outdoors, provides you with stimulation. Try walking in different neighborhoods and, when possible, in nature. Even if you can only manage a short walk at lunch around the company parking lot, that’s still better than sitting behind your desk all day. There’s also research that indicates that sitting is not good for your health. Walking is a great antidote to sitting all day. It’s an activity that’s good for your health as it stimulates your mind.

Unplug From Your Devices

Many people nowadays, especially entrepreneurs, are tethered to their devices from the moment they wake up until the time they fall asleep. Perhaps the alarm on your phone even wakes you up. All of this dependence on electronic devices can be physically, emotionally and even intellectually draining. There’s even evidence that constant exposure to phones and other devices contributes to fatigue. Make an effort to unplug for at least a couple of hours every day. Keep your devices off while you sleep. If you need an alarm, use an old-fashioned alarm clock to wake up.

If you’re bringing on new ideas, tools or products you may require some additional capital to help fund these initiatives – consider invoice factoring to help you maintain cash flow and allow you to take time to start up these new programs. Riviera Finance has helped businesses maintain cash flow for more than 40 years.

What To Do If Your Business Gets a Bad Online Review

How to Address a Bad Online Business Review | Riviera FinanceOnline reviews are extremely important for businesses today. Not that long ago, reviews were mainly a concern to certain businesses such as restaurants and hotels. Now, however, customers leave reviews for all types of businesses, whether you have a storefront or provide a service. While good reviews help you attract more customers, a negative online review reflects poorly on your business. If you do see a negative review, don’t panic. Here are some steps to take if you get a bad business review.

Answer Negative Reviews

If you see a bad review of your business, don’t just ignore it. On the other hand, don’t respond in an angry and defensive tone. Consider the issue and answer in a reasonable manner. Apologize for any inconvenience and offer to remedy the problem to the best of your ability. In some cases, this will satisfy the reviewer and he or she will take the review down or amend it. At the very least, it shows your other customers that you care and that you’re doing your best to satisfy everyone.

Accumulate More Positive Reviews

No matter how hard you try to please your customers, some people will write negative reviews. You can’t control this. However, you can solicit more reviews from satisfied customers. Do this by asking for reviews in as many ways as possible. Place links or buttons to review sites on your website. Post signs if you have a storefront business. You can even write a suggestion such as “please leave us a review on Yelp/Google/Angie’s List” on your business cards, flyers and other promotional material. As positive reviews add up, the negative ones carry less weight.

Be Consistent and Document Everything

It’s easier to please the vast majority of your customers if you have consistent quality control measures in place. For example, train customer service representatives, whether they deal with customers in person, online or by phone, to be courteous and helpful. Provide employees with a checklist that guides them for dealing with all types of scenarios. It’s also good to document all transactions and interactions with customers. This way, if a customer makes a false claim, you have proof that you aren’t to blame.

Learn From Bad Reviews

In some cases, a customer who writes a bad business review has valid points. If this occurs, don’t overlook this opportunity to make some essential upgrades to your business. You may need to make improvements in a product or service or the way your staff interacts with customers. In this case, use the bad review as inspiration to do better in the future.

Look at the Positive Side of Negative Reviews

Nobody wants a bad business review. However, they are a fact of life. Rather than hating and dreading them, try to see the indirect benefits they bring. They encourage you to improve your business practices to get better reviews in the future. They prevent you from taking your customers for granted. Do everything you can to collect lots of positive reviews. However, when you do see a negative online review, see it as a learning experience.

If your business is growing and you’re looking for some capital to help you manage your growth consider invoice factoring with Riviera Finance.

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.