Tag Archive | entrepreneur

A Senate idea to get behind: new bill would help ex-prisoners start a business

(This post originally appeared on The Guardian)

Ben Cardin, the ranking Democrat on the Senate committee on small business and entrepreneurship, last month introduced the New Start Act. The legislation is designed to enable the Small Business Administration to award grants, counseling, training and other services to convicted criminals returning back to society after time served, all with the aim towards helping them start businesses.

Cardin is not new to the issue of prison reform. He was a co-sponsor of another bill, enacted at the end of 2018, which reduced sentences for certain low-level non-violent offenders and provided programs to help people who have been in prison rejoin their communities. The New Start bill will take this one step further. Read More…

Why Did SNL’s Bill Hader Frequently Screw Up on Purpose?

(This post originally appeared on Entrepreneur)

I know you’re probably nervous about that presentation you’ve got coming up next week in front of the customer’s purchasing committee. Or maybe you’ve got a big meeting setup with a prospect. Or a public speech you’re making to a business group. But c’mon, at least you’re not trying to make a live audience of…oh, anywhere between seven-and-nine million people…laugh every Saturday night.

That’s what Bill Hader had to do. The 40-year-old comedian and current star of HBO’s great show Barry (see it!) became famous as an eight-year cast member of Saturday Night Live where he portrayed legendary characters such as Stefon, Weekend Update’s flamboyant New York City correspondent, the elderly reporter Herb Welch and Vietnam war vet Anthony Peter Coleman and his puppet “Tony.” Read More…

Why Did the Guy Who Got $750K for Catching Barry Bonds’ Home Run Ball Give Half to His Friend?

(This post originally appeared on Entrepreneur)

Back in 2007 Barry Bonds was chasing the single season home run record previously set by Mark McGuire. On August 7, Bonds broke that record by launching a fifth inning pitch into the right field stands for home run number 756.

Matt Murphy, 21, caught that ball.

It turns out that Murphy was only at the game on a whim. He and his friend, Amir, were on their way to Australia for a vacation and both decided to catch a Giants game while in San Francisco. Obviously, he caught a lot more than that. Read More…

Isn’t Cultural Appropriation Good For Business?

(This post originally appeared on Inc.)

For as long as I can remember my now 80-year-old mother and I have been having lunch every week at the same delicatessen near my office in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania. It’s called Katz’s Deli Kitchen and you can look it up. Katz’s Deli is excellent. The food is great and the service is consistent. Being Jewish I have a lot of experience eating at Jewish delis and, as Jewish delis (and small businesses) go, I consider Katz’s to be one of the best.

Oh, by the way, the owners aren’t Jewish. They’re Asian. Yes, Asian. The cooks are Asian and so are a few of the servers. As a Jewish guy, shouldn’t I be shocked? Offended? Outraged? Of course not. These are people that run a good business. So good for them. Unfortunately, there are some that would disagree with him.  Take what just happened in New York City this past week. Read More…

This CEO Has A 2,000-Year-Old Trick to Improve Your Cash Flow

inclogo

(This post originally appeared on Inc.)

Thousands of years ago, when Rome was at the zenith of its power, small businesses had the opportunity to sell their goods — organic beef, craft beer, hand-stitched clothing — to the affluent and growing middle class populations in faraway places.

Today not much has changed. Well, except for the fact that craft beer has definitely got to be much better. But new generations of small business owners still sell their goods — organic beef, craft beer, hand-stitched clothing — to customers far away and they face similar challenges.

Whether you were doing this stuff in Augustan Rome or Trumpian America the business still involves a good deal of capital invested and risk. Today, as then, some entrepreneurs elect to take that risk on themselves. Others choose to hire outside firms to help shoulder that risk.

Enter the middleman. That’s the firm that says “Look, I’ll take the risk. I’ll buy and collect the receivable that’s owed to you. You’ll get your money now and I’ll take a fee for my services.” Some call this factoring. I call it financing. And in many cases it’s just good business. You do what you do best, and you let the financial people do what they do best. Everyone shares and everyone wins.

Eyal Lifshitz agrees. He’s the CEO of BlueVine, a company he started about six years ago after a stint in a venture capital firm in Israel. BlueVine, according to its website, has delivered more than $1 billion in financing to over 10,000 small businesses.

The role of the factoring firm hasn’t changed much over the past few thousand years. But their value has. The reason: changing attitudes and, most importantly, technology. I asked Lifshitz about this — and other things — in the below interview, which has been edited for length.

Q: Factoring is not the world’s oldest profession. But it’s pretty old. Why the interest?

My father and grandfather were both small business owners. I grew up watching my father, who owned a small physical therapy clinic in New York, struggle with cash flow issues due to long payment cycles. In factoring I saw a significant opportunity for disruption through technological innovation such as the availability of online and new machine learning methods. That gave me the idea to launch BlueVine, and to make the switch from being a venture capital investor to entrepreneur.

Q: Can you explain BlueVine’s value prop and what it’s doing differently from all the other factoring firms today?

We actually offer two products (factoring and a credit line). For invoice factoring, which was our first offering, we provide a truly digital experience which historically was offline, paper-based and known to be slow and clunky. With our platform, you don’t need to fax invoices or send any paper documents. All you need to do is take 5 minutes to apply online and upload your invoices or connect your accounting software. You can get funds in as fast as 24 hours. Additionally, a business owner can decide which invoice to submit for funding with a click of a button, unlike with many traditional factoring companies that require you to fund all of your invoices. We also offer invoice factoring credit lines of up to $5 million, which is ideal for businesses that are growing rapidly.

Q: Factoring has literally been around for thousands of years. How has it changed? What role has technology served?

At BlueVine, we use advanced technology to improve the onboarding and funding experience for small business customers. Instead of waiting weeks to get approved for financing like with traditional factoring companies, business owners who use BlueVine can get approved for funds in a matter of days. We’re using technology to process hundreds of data points in a matter of minutes to allow customers to finance invoices in almost real time, and have invested in AI to streamline our back office processes. Additionally, we have built an intuitive online dashboard which makes it easy for small business owners to pick and choose which invoice to submit for funding. 

Q:  What do you think is the biggest misconception people have about your business and how are you addressing it?

More and more small business owners are discovering online business lending. In fact, roughly a third of non-employer firms turned to online lenders for financing, according to a 2018 Federal Reserve report. Most people don’t know online lending has gotten to be so common. Despite this, many small business owners still think that the only option they have for financing is their bank. At BlueVine, we’re on a mission to educate business owners and the market about the benefits of online lending and how this relatively new industry not only addresses important business financing needs that traditional banks have not been able to address but also dramatically improves how customers get financing.

Q: One big issue that I would have using a factoring service like BlueVine is trust. How can I trust you with my customers?

We make sure to treat your customers with the utmost care and respect, and it shows in our numbers. We have also built relationships with the accounts payable departments of hundreds of our clients’ customers including Fortune 1000 companies like Walgreens, Verizon, Best Buy who are now very familiar with BlueVine’s process.

Q: Is it just firms with cash flow challenges that can benefit from BlueVine’s services? My company — a 10 person tech firm — doesn’t have these issues. We have about 50-60 open invoices at a time and collection problems do not happen very often. Is there a role that BlueVine could play?

First off, I need to clarify that factoring is not about collections. It’s about allowing you to access capital through your unpaid invoices. It’s a smart option for businesses that sell products or services to other businesses and that typically wrestle with cash flow gaps due to unpaid invoices and long payment cycles. it can also help businesses get convenient access to funds for short-term or emergency needs, from covering payroll to fixing a broken piece of equipment. Many of our clients use factoring to grow their business. Clients often use BlueVine to fund marketing expenses or hire more staff. 

A 13-year-old entrepreneur takes 100 girls to the movies

WP Logo

(This post originally appeared on The Washington Post)

Asking a girl out to the movies isn’t easy for many guys, regardless of their age. But one 13-year-old entrepreneur came up with a way to get 100 girls to go with him. And it’s for a good cause.

Beau Shell is only 13 but he’s been running a successful mobile ice cream cart business — Lil’ Ice Cream Dude in Athens, Ga.–since the age of eight. Starting with a cart bought by his parents that was made up of a small freezer and attached to old bicycle wheels, Shell’s company has worked hundreds of events, parties, festivals and weddings, according to this profile of him on The Red & Black. Shell sometimes employs others to help out at these events and is the youngest member to belong to the Athens Chamber of Commerce. Read More…

Offended by remarks, Mexican attorney rolls out new Trump toilet paper

WP Logo

(This post originally appeared on The Washington Post)

Not only are socially conscious companies popular in the United States, but a few entrepreneurs across our southern border are looking to support causes that are important to them, too.

Back in August, 2015, for example, Mexican lawyer Antonio Battaglia was offended by Donald Trump’s remarks about immigration. He was also very concerned, even before the real estate developer announced his candidacy, that Trump could actually win the presidential election – and what that would mean for immigrants and other foreigners in the United States. Read More…