Top 5 Mobile Apps for Entrepreneurs

by Crestmark 29. July 2013 03:56

As an entrepreneur, staying organized while on the go will help keep your business—and even your day—running smoothly. And while the ability to keep constantly connected to your work with a smartphone or tablet can sometimes be overwhelming, a number of business-minded apps have been developed over the past few years to make your life a little easier.

1. Evernote: With a motto like “Remember everything,” this is going to be a top-pick for any busy entrepreneur. Evernote makes it easy to keep notes, files, and even clippings of entire webpages in one place which can then be accessed by both mobile devices and the Web. Potentially one of the best examples of this is using it for travel since you can keep all itineraries, confirmations, scanned travel documents, maps, and plans in Evernote, ready for when you need them.

2. Pocket: How would you like to have a virtual cloud that can store anything from articles to videos, straight from your browser or apps? That’s exactly what you can do with Pocket. Formerly called “Read it Later,” Pocket can save just about anything for you to read when you’re ready.

3. Square: A card reader, simple pricing, and smarter business tools make it easy for businesses of any size to do what they love and get paid fast and easily. Use the free secure card reader sent to you to swipe cards on-the-go from anywhere. The Square Register app is free and easy to setup – just link your bank account and you’re able to accept payments almost instantly. You have the option to pay a flat monthly fee of $275.00 or a 2.75% fee per swipe. You will see your payment quickly and directly deposited within 1-2 business days.

4. Mint: This one is valuable for business and personal use. Named Best Finance App by the 1st Annual App Awards and TIME Magazine's 50 Best iPhone Apps of 2011, Mint enables you to track finances in real-time. You can enter transactions manually or sync your accounts automatically to track investments, sort transactions by category, set budgets, and create alerts.

5. FreshBooks: Speaking of finances, this cloud accounting app makes tracking time, logging expenses, and invoicing clients portable and painless. It also boasts team timesheets for projects involving more than one person’s billable time, multiple datacenters to back up secure data, and online payments so you can accept payments and put that money to work faster.

 

As an entrepreneur or business owner, what apps make your life easier? 

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Business

Manufacturing in the US – Where it’s Headed, and How to Finance It

by Crestmark 3. July 2013 10:52

For years, American businesses set up their manufacturing plants in foreign countries to take advantage of inexpensive labor. Recent changes to the United States economy are turning this trend around, however, and the U.S. is becoming an increasingly attractive option for manufacturing. It's not just American companies that are returning to the U.S. for these purposes: foreign businesses are offshoring their operations to the United States, too. 

One major reason for the sudden upsurge in U.S. manufacturing is the boom in shale gas production, which is helping to drop energy costs across the country. This affordable fuel helps to make the U.S. an attractive option for commercial manufacturing. Many companies that chose to run their manufacturing operations in other countries are finding that it can actually be cheaper to keep those operations in the U.S. Moreover, European companies are taking advantage of cheap gas prices and an available labor pool since natural gas in the U.S. costs roughly a quarter of the European price. 

manufacturer financing 

Although many companies point to labor costs as a good reason to outsource manufacturing jobs, the truth is that domestic operations are often the most cost-effective choice. Labor costs are rising in countries like China, where wages have grown a staggering 500 percent in the past 13 years, and are forecasted to continue to grow by 18 percent each year. Compare this to American wages, which have remained steady in certain areas over the same time period.

When looking at the total cost of ownership for any operation, many businesses are discovering that the expenses of energy consumption, delivery, freight, packaging, and other production costs are actually higher when the manufacturing is completed overseas. When GE moved its production from China to Kentucky, it experienced a 20 percent decrease in expenses, and other companies are seeing similar results. 

This "manufacturing renaissance" is good news for businesses who can reduce their expenses and streamline their operations by keeping them on domestic soil. It's also good news for American workers, who can begin to fill these positions, which will stimulate the economy and help increase demand for other goods and services to support the new manufacturing operations. 

Crestmark works as a lender to a variety of manufacturing related businesses. For details on how we may be able to provide financing for your business based on your accounts receivable, inventory and machinery/equipment, contact one of our lending experts today!  


 

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Industry Financing

Where in the US Might You Start Your Business?

by Crestmark 11. June 2013 05:47

For most, the best place to start a new business is where they live. After all, one of the benefits to working for yourself is deciding when and where to do your work. All the same, some cities can be more economically friendly toward small business than others.  Starting a business in one of these under-valued places could give you an advantage: 

1. Dallas, Texas. This fast-growing city has 6.5 million people and a number of industries to support and expand. Twenty Fortune 500 companies, including AT&T, make Dallas their home, but it's a valuable hub for small businesses, too: Over 80% of all businesses in the city are small, and these companies employ around 40% of the city's workforce. Dallas’ Business Assistance Center program offers resources and counseling for CEOs of businesses with five or fewer employees which could be invaluable for those entrepreneurs. 

2. Denver, Colorado. With a population of more than 2.6 million, Denver is a thriving city. Its residents have eclectic tastes, with interests ranging from outdoor sports to fine arts, and this makes it easy to find a profitable niche. The city is also the second-biggest hub for aerospace industries in the country, which generates a heavy demand for related services from the private sector. Small businesses with fewer than fifty employees make up 95% of the area's economy, and those employees are highly educated; one in three workers in Denver has a BA or higher.

3. Lincoln, Nebraska. The capital of Nebraska boasts the lowest unemployment rate in the country. With just 3.5% of the population unemployed, there are a larger-than-average number of working people with disposable income, which in turn can help feed a budding business. Prominent industries in Lincoln include medical, banking, information technology, education, call centers, insurance, and rail and truck transport.

4. Provo, Utah. This college town is supported by Brigham Young University, the third-largest private college in the country. The university serves as a backbone to the local economy as a constant stream of students require the services of a wide variety of businesses. Moreover, as those students graduate, they enter the workforce with valuable skills or start businesses of their own. Google Fiber also has a deal on the table to take over the iProvo fiber network in Provo, an announcement that will likely put Provo and its growing tech presence on the map.

5. Nashville, Tennessee. Although this city is still world-renowned for its music scene, Nashville has plenty of other things to offer. The city is a major cultural hub of the South, and tourist industries flourish there. On average, business costs are 18% lower in Nashville than in other similarly-sized cities, and the cost of living is 10.1% below the US average, making it conveniently affordable.

Wherever you decide to open your new business, the key is to find your customers and deliver what they want. As long as you can dominate a niche, you can be successful anywhere.  

Looking for lending  in your area? We have regional office locations in five states, and sales representation in locations across the country. No matter where you are located, give us a call. We can help you wherever you are.

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Social Media Time Management for Small Businesses

by Crestmark 28. May 2013 05:13


Small businesses are told to have a social media strategy to stay competitive.  For the most part, they know it’s necessary; they’re just not sure where to go with it.  Which social media outlets are most successful?  Which platform will get your company the most publicity? How do you manage your time between the endless amounts of new social platforms being released every day?  With all the other management and marketing strategies your business has going on, social media may seem like the last thing you want to add to your “to-do” list.  However, it doesn’t have to be a stressful process.

Develop a Plan: First and foremost, before just jumping into the social media pool, you’ll need to have a solid strategy.  Don’t just start posting and commenting without a plan.  Know your target audience; get a feel for who you’re trying to reach and what you’re trying to get out of using social media to reach customers. This will help you maintain credibility and relevance as a business.

Test the Waters: So this is your first social campaign- maybe ever.  Don’t panic!  Social media is a platform that doesn’t thrive on perfection.  Use trial and error to determine what engages followers.  Ask questions.  Don’t be afraid to learn from others and even learn from your clients!  Being “new” to social media can be a great excuse to learn and gain respect from consumers who don’t expect you to know all the ropes just yet. 

Start Small: One of the biggest mistakes you can make in your social media endeavors is to take on more than you can handle.  If this is your first ever attempt at going social- don’t create a Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Vine, and Instagram all at once.  It is always better to do one thing really well than to try and haphazardly to have your hands in everything at once. For entrepreneurs—and really anyone in a B2B industry—Linkedin is a great place to start to grow your network.

Track, Track, Track: Keep a close eye on your website analytics and definitely take a few minutes to install a social media dashboard. These custom Google dashboards will not only allow you to see how many people are coming to your site from every social network (whether you have a profile on there or not), but what devices those users are coming from and how those users end up converting.

Have you already gotten started with your social media efforts? Connect with Crestmark on Linkedin today! 

 

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Business

Financing the US Oil Boom

by Crestmark 22. May 2013 10:59

Although scientists have known about the presence of crude oil in North Dakota for decades, it wasn't until 2008 that technology made it possible to extract oil from the rocks of Bakken shale. Now, with fracking, North Dakota is home 200 active oil rigs, and it produces around 20 million barrels of oil each month.

oil financing

This oil boom is a tremendous boost to the economy. While other parts of the nation have suffered through a recession, North Dakota has enjoyed the lowest unemployment rate in the country. The population of some small towns has doubled in recent years due to the influx of workers for the oil fields. The benefits of the Bakken shale oil fields have spread to other areas of the United States and Canada as well.

While the huge increase in oil production is great for the economy, it would not be possible without access to working capital to support the growth. Crestmark is proud to partner with companies in the oil & gas industry to provide financing solutions to support their businesses. Capital is often needed for pipeline expansion, refineries, staffing, trucking, machinery, temporary housing and many other things. Through a variety of lending options, Crestmark is able to offer flexible financing to help continue the growth in North Dakota and throughout the United States.

As the oil industry grows, it provides a trickle-down effect that strengthens the local economy as well. More workers moving to the area creates a new demand for restaurants and supermarkets, car dealerships, and many other services.

All of these new businesses also require access to working capital to get up and running. Not only is Crestmark equipped to handle to financing needs of large oil & gas companies, but we are also a strong partner to small businesses, offering SBA loans alongside our asset-based lending, accounts receivable financing, and factoring programs.

To speak with a lending expert, give us a call at 888.999.8050 or fill out our online contact form.

 

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Industry Financing


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