Want to Grow Your E-Commerce Business?

A look at e-commerce platforms – Part IIHaving a product that is in demand in today’s economy is great, but being able to market and turn the lookers into buyers is a big task. Here we will cover some of the possibilities of taking a product from the shelves and turning it into a global commodity. There are many ways to sell your product online and there are just as many opinions on how to be successful, here are some details keep in mind from inside an e-commerce platform provider.The first step of building any business not just an e-commerce business is to ensure you save as much of your time, energy and focus as possible for building the best products or services and then marketing them to the right audience. Then the next step is to find a provider to take care of building, developing and maintaining a sound e-commerce platform that is flexible and powerful enough to meet your needs. In this part of the building process the wise step to take is to take time to select the provider that is in the business for the long haul and not a flash in the pan operator.The following is a brief overview of a few of the simpler features or services from e-commerce platform providers that will greatly help support you in the building process of your e-commerce business:Straight forward Buy Now Buttons: This feature provides vendors with the buy now button and technology, sparing the vendors of excessive programming. This is an easy to integrate feature that allows the customer to quickly select the product and then they are directed straight to the checkout/payment page. The Buy Now button will greatly improve the buyer’s online experience and reduces loss of attention due to a lengthy purchase process.Multiple Currencies and Multilingual Support: By providing each page of the website in multiple languages to ensure that the vast majority of the public can get a complete and clear idea about the services that it provides. As part of the service vendors have the opportunity to receive a fully customized payment page, and in as many languages and major world currencies as possible, this is a feature that can prove beneficial to any business. Next by employing specialists in the e-commerce industry that possess unique linguistic talents your business venture can offer customer support in many of the most demanding languages.One Click Up-Sale: This feature allows vendors to substantially increase their sales revenues by presenting a unique opportunity to the shopper. This feature allows the vendor to up-grade products and to promote other products or services and to increase sales.Cross-Selling: By adding the cross-sell feature the vendor can bundle products that will be of benefit and cost savings to the end-user, therefore increasing sales and the bottom line. This technique allows the vendor to increase the sales of their products and importantly, vendors that sell more services to a client are harder for a competitor to displace or sometimes even compete with.Coupons: By using the promotional coupons the vendor can increase their up-selling or cross-selling of merchandise simply by offering additional products or services at a reduced rate within a certain time frame.Subscribe Now Button: A good subscriptions feature offers more options to control and customize subscriptions, more detailed performance data on subscription campaigns, and increased conversion success rates. The enhancements are designed to reduce the costs of extending and retaining subscriber relationships as well as provide subscribers even more custom and localized experiences.With these few tools, an online vendor can grow and effectively start selling their e-commerce business to the world whether the targeted consumer base is large or small. To obtain these and many more useful features, take time to do the research to find the most compatible service provider to the business that you want to grow. The e-commerce platforms vary so the research is just as important as the features included in the service.
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Alternative Financing Vs. Venture Capital: Which Option Is Best for Boosting Working Capital?

There are several potential financing options available to cash-strapped businesses that need a healthy dose of working capital. A bank loan or line of credit is often the first option that owners think of – and for businesses that qualify, this may be the best option.

In today’s uncertain business, economic and regulatory environment, qualifying for a bank loan can be difficult – especially for start-up companies and those that have experienced any type of financial difficulty. Sometimes, owners of businesses that don’t qualify for a bank loan decide that seeking venture capital or bringing on equity investors are other viable options.

But are they really? While there are some potential benefits to bringing venture capital and so-called “angel” investors into your business, there are drawbacks as well. Unfortunately, owners sometimes don’t think about these drawbacks until the ink has dried on a contract with a venture capitalist or angel investor – and it’s too late to back out of the deal.

Different Types of Financing

One problem with bringing in equity investors to help provide a working capital boost is that working capital and equity are really two different types of financing.

Working capital – or the money that is used to pay business expenses incurred during the time lag until cash from sales (or accounts receivable) is collected – is short-term in nature, so it should be financed via a short-term financing tool. Equity, however, should generally be used to finance rapid growth, business expansion, acquisitions or the purchase of long-term assets, which are defined as assets that are repaid over more than one 12-month business cycle.

But the biggest drawback to bringing equity investors into your business is a potential loss of control. When you sell equity (or shares) in your business to venture capitalists or angels, you are giving up a percentage of ownership in your business, and you may be doing so at an inopportune time. With this dilution of ownership most often comes a loss of control over some or all of the most important business decisions that must be made.

Sometimes, owners are enticed to sell equity by the fact that there is little (if any) out-of-pocket expense. Unlike debt financing, you don’t usually pay interest with equity financing. The equity investor gains its return via the ownership stake gained in your business. But the long-term “cost” of selling equity is always much higher than the short-term cost of debt, in terms of both actual cash cost as well as soft costs like the loss of control and stewardship of your company and the potential future value of the ownership shares that are sold.

Alternative Financing Solutions

But what if your business needs working capital and you don’t qualify for a bank loan or line of credit? Alternative financing solutions are often appropriate for injecting working capital into businesses in this situation. Three of the most common types of alternative financing used by such businesses are:

1. Full-Service Factoring – Businesses sell outstanding accounts receivable on an ongoing basis to a commercial finance (or factoring) company at a discount. The factoring company then manages the receivable until it is paid. Factoring is a well-established and accepted method of temporary alternative finance that is especially well-suited for rapidly growing companies and those with customer concentrations.

2. Accounts Receivable (A/R) Financing – A/R financing is an ideal solution for companies that are not yet bankable but have a stable financial condition and a more diverse customer base. Here, the business provides details on all accounts receivable and pledges those assets as collateral. The proceeds of those receivables are sent to a lockbox while the finance company calculates a borrowing base to determine the amount the company can borrow. When the borrower needs money, it makes an advance request and the finance company advances money using a percentage of the accounts receivable.

3. Asset-Based Lending (ABL) – This is a credit facility secured by all of a company’s assets, which may include A/R, equipment and inventory. Unlike with factoring, the business continues to manage and collect its own receivables and submits collateral reports on an ongoing basis to the finance company, which will review and periodically audit the reports.

In addition to providing working capital and enabling owners to maintain business control, alternative financing may provide other benefits as well:

It’s easy to determine the exact cost of financing and obtain an increase.
Professional collateral management can be included depending on the facility type and the lender.
Real-time, online interactive reporting is often available.
It may provide the business with access to more capital.
It’s flexible – financing ebbs and flows with the business’ needs.
It’s important to note that there are some circumstances in which equity is a viable and attractive financing solution. This is especially true in cases of business expansion and acquisition and new product launches – these are capital needs that are not generally well suited to debt financing. However, equity is not usually the appropriate financing solution to solve a working capital problem or help plug a cash-flow gap.

A Precious Commodity

Remember that business equity is a precious commodity that should only be considered under the right circumstances and at the right time. When equity financing is sought, ideally this should be done at a time when the company has good growth prospects and a significant cash need for this growth. Ideally, majority ownership (and thus, absolute control) should remain with the company founder(s).

Alternative financing solutions like factoring, A/R financing and ABL can provide the working capital boost many cash-strapped businesses that don’t qualify for bank financing need – without diluting ownership and possibly giving up business control at an inopportune time for the owner. If and when these companies become bankable later, it’s often an easy transition to a traditional bank line of credit. Your banker may be able to refer you to a commercial finance company that can offer the right type of alternative financing solution for your particular situation.

Taking the time to understand all the different financing options available to your business, and the pros and cons of each, is the best way to make sure you choose the best option for your business. The use of alternative financing can help your company grow without diluting your ownership. After all, it’s your business – shouldn’t you keep as much of it as possible?

Nutritional Yeast vs. Vitamin Supplements

Nutritional yeast is deactivated yeast–often, Saccharomyces cerevisiae–that is yellow in color and has a nutty and cheesy flavor. It is a reliable food source for vitamins, especially B-complex vitamins such as folic acid. It is also an excellent source of protein (52%) and contains essential amino acids–making it a very popular choice for vegans. Some products are fortified with vitamin B12, which is produced separately from bacteria. Because of its rich nutrient content, nutritional yeast is a very good choice to include in a daily diet, instead of taking synthetically formulated vitamin supplements. Some of the benefits of nutritional yeast vs. vitamin supplements are discussed here.1. Flavor When it comes to the flavor of nutritional yeast vs. vitamin supplements, nutritional yeast is the winner. Nutritional yeast has a nutty, cheesy, and creamy flavor that makes it an excellent cheese substitute–in fact, it is often used by vegans as a substitute to parmesan cheese. Nutritional yeast comes in the form of flakes or powder, and can thus be sprinkled to almost anything–from popcorn, bread, and vegetables, to pizzas, pastas, and casseroles.Meanwhile, how many vitamin supplements can be used to flavor or enhance food? This alone gives you enough reason to go for nutritional yeast (vs. vitamin supplements). Because of its unique flavor and the many versatile ways it can be added into food, nutritional yeast (vs. vitamin supplements) are easier to ingest and administer to kids and adults alike. Furthermore, nutritional yeast is low in fat and salt, making it perfect for those who are watching their weight.2. Natural vs. synthetic Nutritional yeast vs. vitamin supplements is different in how they store nutrients. Nutritional yeast is naturally grown–providing vitamins and nutrients at their natural state. It is not processed, and therefore, is a whole, organic, food vitamin. Inorganic vitamin supplements on the other hand–those that are not obtained or extracted from whole foods–are usually synthesized in high concentrates. Some say that vitamins and mineral elements are so complex and dependent upon each other, that when they are separated, they can no longer provide the same nutritional effect on the body.Thus, high concentrations of synthetic vitamins may not be beneficial. On the other hand, nutritional yeast provides vitamins in their complete form–including all their parts and cofactors–because they are derived from whole foods.3. When vitamin supplements are better Of course, nutritional yeast is not always better. Some ingredients and contents of vitamin supplements are not found in nutritional yeast and may be needed to counter deficiencies of meet Recommended Daily Allowances. When weighing nutritional yeast vs. vitamin supplements, it is still advisable to consult a physician to find out what’s best for you.IMPORTANT: Keep in mind that the sale and distribution of nutritional yeast and vitamin supplements are unregulated by the Food and Drug Administration Board. As much as you can, buy only products from a manufacturer that strictly follows and adheres to the GMP standards. This assures you that the product contains the right amount of ingredients and dosage indicated, and that it is free from known contaminants.