Stake for Small Business Owners this Election Season

What’s at Stake for Small Business Owners this Election Season

19:40 29 June in Blog

Stake for Small Business Owners this Election SeasonU.S. presidential elections are a marathon, not a sprint, and this race has been exceptionally grueling—both for the candidates and the public at large. But more concerned than the average U.S. citizen are small business owners, who have responded to the uncertainty by delaying new hires, forgoing new equipment orders, and avoiding all but the most essential investments. We’ll tell you why confidence is slipping and what small businesses can do to buck the trend.

An Unprecedented Election Season?

Every presidential election captures the nation’s attention, but this year’s race seems to have no precedent. Whereas most Americans tune into the race after the primaries are over and the Republicans and Democrats have chosen their respective nominees, both parties saw unconventional candidates challenge the status quo during the primaries and capture the attention—and votes—of millions. Now that the primaries are over and Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are set to face off in the general election, the future and the direction we’re heading remains as unclear as ever.

Small Business Owners Uncertain

According to a survey conducted by the Wall Street Journal and Vistage Worldwide Inc, one-third of business owners report that uncertainty over the coming election is negatively impacting their business.

Though small business owners are responding in different ways, the overarching theme is this: they have opportunities to grow their businesses, but they’re hesitant to spend the money. It’s not just the election causing concerns—there’s also global concerns, like the recent exit of the U.K. from the European Union, which threw global markets into a brief tailspin and the tenuous state of the Chinese economy. Closer to home, there’s also uncertainty over the timing and impact of future interest rate hikes.

Small-Business Confidence, by the Numbers

Given the picture we’ve just painted, it’s no surprise that small-business confidence fell to its lowest level since November of 2012 this month. Even industries that consider themselves ‘immune’ to political drama, like real estate, construction and development, are seeing activity dwindle. In the end, small businesses off all types face higher cost of capital than their larger counterparts, and that’s why they bear the lion’s share of the burden when uncertainty prevails and consumers reduce spending.

Luckily, there are several tools that small businesses can use to seize opportunities for growth—regardless of the prevailing political and economic climate.

Capstone Helps Small Businesses Boost Working Capital and Grow

For qualified clients, Capstone provides purchase order factoring, single invoice factoring, and full-contract factoring for work performed under contract with credit-worthy accounts. We have highly experienced professionals on staff to facilitate the purchase of work in progress and progress billing-related accounts receivable. Please visit our homepage or contact us directly for more information.

How to Grow Business in an Unnatural Economy - Capstone

How to Grow Business in an Unnatural Economy

21:58 15 June in Blog

How to Grow Business in an Unnatural EconomyStalled growth, disappearing jobs and a sense of foreboding are the defining characteristics of today’s economy. So, what or who is to blame? According to one theorist, the process of “creative destructions,” whereby the death of one business or industry gives rise to another, is failing. We’ll tell you why it’s happening and show you how Capstone’s single invoice and full-contract factoring allow businesses to grow along with demand, avoid taking on additional debt, and improve their balance sheets organically—even in an economy stuck in limbo.

The Numbers

A sobering job report released earlier this month showed the creation of only 38,000 new jobs —124,000 fewer than had been predicted — which is the lowest monthly total since September 2010. Furthermore, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 94,708 Americans were not participating in the labor force during the month of May, bringing the participation rate to 62.6%.

A Limited Recovery

There’s no doubt that we’ve recovered from the Great Recession. The stock market has been on a 7-year bull run—although it has been tested recently. If you’ve tuned into the rhetoric coming out of the presidential race, you’ve heard the conviction that the recovery has been rather one-sided—that the gains of the last 7 years have benefitted a select few while the majority of the population has been left on the sidelines. No matter where you stand politically, the notion of a limited recovery seems to be supported by an analysis of Census Bureau data.

A Tale of Two Counties

According to the Census Bureau, the net increase of new business establishments is just 2.3% since 2010. Compare that with a 6.7% net increase during the 1990 recovery and a 5.6% net increase during the 2000 recovery. What’s worse—over half of the 166,000 new businesses formed in the United States since 2010 are located in just 20 counties. In short, a select few geographic areas are prospering, and the rest of the country is losing businesses and losing jobs at an alarming rate.

Aggressive Oversight and Misplaced Regulation

Touted as the culprits of the financial crash, banks and financial institutions, the drivers of growth since time immemorial, have been forced to tighten their lending requirements. The unintended consequence, of course, is that businesses’ traditional sources of credit have dried up. An enduring irony of the Dodd-Frank Act, which among other things was designed to limit the size of financial institutions, is that its burdensome requirements have actually forced many small community banks out of business—making the Big Banks BIGGER, not smaller.

If a lack of funding weren’t bad enough, businesses are now contending with rising federal regulatory compliance costs and state licensing requirements. And here the bitter irony continues. The new wave of regulations have disproportionally harmed small businesses—the symbol of the American Dream and American industriousness—not the large corporations the regulations were meant to control. A report ordered by the U.S. Small Business Administration found that the per-employee cost of federal regulatory compliance was $10,585 for companies with 19 or fewer employees. Companies with 500 or more employees, by contrast, paid an average of $7,755 per employee to stay compliant. Added to compliance costs are a rapidly multiplying number of state and local licensing requirements. 5% of employees required certificates or licenses in 1950. Today, the number stands at 30%.

A Metaphor for our Economic Ecosystem

There are many apt metaphors that describe what’s happening to the U.S. economy, but one of our favorites has to do with Smoky the Bear and forest fire prevention. Forest fires aren’t pretty, but they’re a natural and necessary phenomenon. They clear away the old, dead wood and give new generations of plants the space they need to grow. If the old, dead wood remains propped up for too long, the ecosystem ends up with less growth, less diversity, and a few individuals soaking up all the sunlight. And when a fire does finally come along, it’s much bigger and more destructive than it ever needed to be.

Boost Working Capital with Capstone

Capstone gives small and midsize businesses that are negatively impacted by Dodd-Frank and other constrictive legislation the working capital needed to seize opportunities for growth. For qualified clients, we provide single invoice factoring, construction factoring and full-contract factoring for work performed under contract with credit-worthy accounts. We have highly experienced professionals on staff to facilitate the purchase of work in progress and progress billing-related accounts receivable. Please visit our homepage for more information.

Interest Rates Predicted to Rise - Capstone Explained

U.S. Economy Picking Up Momentum in Q2; Interest Rates Predicted to Rise

19:56 27 May in Blog

Interest Rates Predicted to Rise - Capstone ExplainedAfter another harsh winter, the American economy is stabilizing and beginning to shrug off concerns of a prolonged slowdown or recession.

According to the latest economic gauges, industrial production is increasing, inflation is firming, and the housing sector is continuing to pick up momentum. All of these factors, combined with data reflecting retail sales rebounds, job gains, and rising consumer confidence, point to improved — though still less than spectacular — growth potential for the second quarter of 2016.

Interest Rates

Fed officials afraid of financial market volatility and poorly performing overseas economies have kept a steady hand on short-term interest rates throughout 2016. A domestic growth rebound in Q2 could be just the inspiration they’ve been looking for to raise rates this summer. Their next opportunities come at the policy meetings scheduled for June, July, and September.

John Williams, President of the San Francisco Fed, recently told the Wall Street Journal that the data is starting to make a strong case for rate increases not just in June, but potentially more than once in the next few policy meetings.

Despite Positives, Some Forecasters Remain Cautious

First quarter 2016 gross domestic product (GDP) increased only 0.5 percent over Q1 2015, but growth might be poised to accelerate.

Since the end of the recession, Q1 GDP growth has consistently been weak, followed by a rebound in Q2. The latest reports of modest but definite growth in highly important sectors would suggest that the same pattern is about to repeat itself in 2016.

Macroeconomic Advisers, a forecasting firm, estimates that GDP will expand at a rate of 2.3 percent this quarter. The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta estimated an even higher growth rate of 2.5 percent.

However, it’s not all sunshine and roses. Despite all the positive data starting to roll in, many forecasters are still leery about the economy’s current health as well as its general outlook for the future. Earlier in May, a Wall Street Journal survey of economists revealed an estimated 20 percent chance of a recession taking place in the U.S. sometime in the next 12 months.

Boost Working Capital with Capstone

For qualified clients, we provide purchase order factoring, single invoice factoring and full-contract factoring for work performed under contract with credit-worthy accounts. We have highly experienced professionals on staff to facilitate the purchase of work in progress and progress billing-related accounts receivable. To learn more, please visit our homepage.

Funding Your Startup

The Pros and Cons of Funding Your Startup through Credit Cards

20:38 06 October in Blog

Is funding your startup through credit cards a viable solution? After all, not every aspiring entrepreneur is lucky enough to qualify for a business loan. We’ll tell you the risks of funding your startup with credit cards and some alternative strategies you can explore.

Tempting Low Cost

In some cases, for $5000 to $10,000 you could launch a startup and it can be a tempting motivation for using credit cards. Several successful startups have gotten their start this way, including the Tropolis group. In the recent economic climate, many starting entrepreneurs find themselves without the collateral to start a business, and credit cards seem to be the only option. However, building a business that relies on funding from clients can be risky when using credit cards, because a late payment from a client can lead to a late credit card payment. Interest payments could accrue.

Organization is Key

Funding your startup through credit cards also requires a high level of organization if you want to keep your debt low. To ensure you do not get in over your head with debt, you’ll have to pay the credit card bills in full every month to avoid accruing interest payments. It may seem like common sense, but organization skills are key to remaining out of debt – it’s easier said than done.

Transitioning to Sustainable Funding

Even if you’re starting your business by relying on credit cards, your long-term strategy needs to change. You should plan to rely on revenue from customers. Using credit cards to fund long-term infrastructure, or even salaries for employees is a good way to end up in debt. Pay off your debt. Potential investors are not keen on seeing it.

Ultimately, the choice is up to you. Just know that there are better options out there, like purchase order financing and trade financing, both of which are available at Capstone.

For more information on lending options that are tailored to your business needs visit our homepage. Check back in on our blog from time to time for more industry news and analysis.

Executing Your Goals and the Importance of Human Capital

20:00 16 January in Blog

It is mid January which means you have settled in on your Goals for 2014 and are reviewing them twice daily.  By now, you should be getting great ideas when you least expect them.  From experience, when engaged in non-work-related activities, the best ideas come to one’s mind.  It is important to write these ideas down and develop them so when you get to the office you can place them on your to-do list. You will then be able to focus on how to implement the ideas or discuss them with your staff or peers to determine their viability.  Unfortunately, not every great idea you will come up with will be relevant or successful idea to implement in attaining your goals.  Nevertheless, keep track of these perils of thought and use the ones that are in line with the attainment of your goals.
You should have also identified your Business Funding Sources whether they are a combination of Debt and Equity, equity or debt.  This foundation is essential so you can increase work schedules or contracts as the start dates begin without worry on how you will finance them or the Growth of Your Business.
What we haven’t discussed yet is how you Multiply Yourself to ensure that your execution tactic does not fail during this period of expansion.  You will need a few key employees that have experience in your industry.  Where do you find affordable talent in your industry with significant experience that can help multiply your time?  There are scores of underemployed veterans and baby boomers.  Because of the uneven economy many people are still looking for work.  The first place to look is a Temp Agency that handles this type of job candidate. 
Hiring a temp may seem a bit more expensive at first but what they allow you to do is try out the employee for a period of time.  If you like their performance and fit in the culture of your organization you can hire the individual full-time for a small fee to the temp agency.  You should have earned enough to cover the employee’s placement fee by the time you have to pay the fee for hiring them.  The temp agency will also allow you to layoff the employee if the job comes to an end and you do not have work for the individual.  This is a great way to incrementally add to your staff without creating long-term excessive overhead.  If you select the correct temp agencies you will have a very well qualified group of candidates to select from.
It is important to surround yourself with the people you need to run your organization successfully.  While Human Capital isn’t something you can show on your balance sheet, it is an extremely important asset to the long-term sustainability of your company.

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