How Give The Best Service To The Customer

Choosing a factoring service doesn’t have to be complicated. Here are three things to consider when selecting one for your business:

What type of factoring does your business need?
How much of your outstanding invoices do you need funded and when do you need it?
How much are you willing to pay?
We will help you answer these questions below, but if you already know what you need and just want to see our recommendations for the best factoring service, visit our best picks page.

The first step to choosing the right factoring service for your business is figuring out which type of factoring you actually need. For instance, do you need a factoring service that covers all of your outstanding invoices upfront, or will a partial payment suffice? Do you prefer to keep receiving payments from customers, or will you hand collections over to the factoring company? And do you want to be held responsible to the factoring company if customers don’t pay? These are just some of the considerations we’ll cover below.

First, to help you better understand the many different types of factoring, here is an explanation of how factoring works, followed by a breakdown of the most common factoring services.

How factoring works
Factoring is an alternative method of financing that allows business owners to sell their invoices, or accounts receivable, to a third party, the “factor.” Factoring helps to fuel growth by providing the funds necessary to keep businesses going while waiting for customers to pay for outstanding invoices.

Here’s how factoring works in real life:

EcoNuts, an organic soap nut retailer that appeared on Season 4 of ABC’s “Shark Tank,” was unable to secure an investment deal, but still had a large purchase order from a major retailer on the line. The company opted to work with factoring company BlueVine to successfully fill the order. [See Related Story: BlueVine Review: Best Bad Credit Factoring Service]

“When [EcoNuts] came to us, they were limited by their working capital they had on hand to meet that demand,” said Edward Castaño, vice president of marketing at BlueVine. “They had so many outstanding invoices from TJX [parent company of TJMaxx, Marshalls, HomeGoods and the Sierra Trading Post], that it made it hard for them to fulfill orders.”

According to Castaño, EcoNuts didn’t have the cash to purchase the supplies and cover the salaries to fill the new orders, which put their growth trajectory at risk.

“[EcoNuts] used our invoice financing solution to unlock the cash trapped in their invoices to fulfill new orders and maintain their growth trajectory,” he said.

Inspire Creativity Tips For Company

Company executives and their employees disagree on the type of office space that’s best for sparking creativity, new research finds.

A study from the staffing firm The Creative Group revealed that employees prefer secluded spaces when trying to come up with new ideas, whereas company leaders believe open spaces are best for innovation.

Specifically, 36 percent of employees said a private office is most conducive to encouraging creativity, compared with just 18 percent of executives. Conversely, 36 percent of executives think open-concept work environments are best for on-the job innovation, compared with only 26 percent of employees.

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But company leaders and their employees do see eye to eye when it comes to the worst place for inspiring creativity: Just 4 percent of both groups believe working from outside the office is the best environment for encouraging innovation. [See Related Story: Smarter Seating? How Your Office Neighbor Affects Your Work]

Diane Domeyer, executive director of The Creative Group, said that when designing office spaces, it is important to understand that different tasks call for different work environments.

“Office design should be closely tailored to an organization’s needs and a team’s primary duties,” Domeyer said in a statement. “The main goal for employers should be to create a space where staff members feel comfortable and engaged, and can perform at their best.”

The Creative Group offered four tips to help employers create a more stimulating work environment:

Designate creativity areas. Employers should consider creating areas around the office designed specifically for brainstorming or spontaneous meetings. These spaces should include a dry-erase board that can be used to quickly jot down ideas and various industry-related publications.
Offer private spaces. With more and more organizations turning to open-concept floor plans in an attempt to boost collaboration, it is important to also offer areas where employees have some alone time so that they can focus on their task at hand. Build a few stations where employees can work on their own without having to deal with distractions.
Create a mood board. Mood boards, which are hung for everyone to see, are where employees can post content they find interesting and think will help others draw inspiration. In addition, employees should be encouraged to post photos of things they might want to reference for future projects.
Get out of the office. Sometimes, getting outside the office can spark creativity. Consider taking your team to a park or a café; you might be surprised by how a change of scenery can spark new ideas.

Freelance Success Tips

I’m a full-time freelance writer. However, when I’m not writing, I’m running a small business. I’m marketing my services to various companies and getting paid for my time and effort. I’m fielding project requests, filling out invoices and tax forms, and keeping my portfolio updated for prospective clients, just like many other types of small businesses.

I’m not alone, either. According to the Freelancers Union, 54 million Americans work as freelancers in fields like writing, graphic design, consulting, etc. That’s a huge chunk of the country’s workforce.

Every business, especially solo operations like freelancing, needs the right tools to run effectively. Whether you’re freelancing full time or just doing a side project or two for extra income, here are 13 tech tools that can help you manage your business better. [See Related Story: Want to Be a Full-Time Freelancer? What You Need to Know]

Organization and project management
Google Drive
It’s easy to lose track of your documents on your hard drive. Fortunately, Google Drive allows you to compile Google documents, sheets and other types of files in one place. You can also share certain folders and files with other Gmail users. You can also export documents into Word docs, PDFs and other types of files. Alternatively, Dropbox offers similar file-storage features, but it can cost you depending on how much you store.

Wunderlist
Staying organized is key to a freelancer’s success. Wunderlist is a simple, intuitive to-do list app that can be accessed on your desktop or on mobile devices for free. To-dos can be organized by project and by client, then broken down by tasks needed to complete each item. Additional features include the ability to add notes and files (such as photos and spreadsheets) to each to-do item, set deadlines and create reminders, with automatic data syncing across all devices.

Trello
Say goodbye to sticky notes, disorganized calendars and overwhelming to-do lists with Trello. This project management tool lets you keep track of ideas, to-do lists, things in progress and completed tasks using a virtual, Pinterest-like whiteboard. Each item is set up as a “card” that you can drag and drop within and across categories, making it easy to organize projects and your entire freelance business. Start using Trello with a free account. Learn how I use Trello as a freelance writer here.

Time management
My Minutes
My Minutes is an iOS app that helps you meet productivity goals by budgeting your time. It uses an “at least” and “at most” system, such as “spending at least 2 hours on Client A’s project” and “spending at most an hour on emails.” The app can also send daily notifications of your to-do list, as well as motivate you with alerts when you have reached a goal or are close to hitting one. My Minutes can be downloaded for free from the Apple App Store.

RescueTime
If you’re billing by the hour, it is critical to understand how you’re spending your time. RescueTime works in the background of your computer or mobile device, tracking the amount of time you spend on applications and websites, as well as time spent away from your desk. RescueTime is free with limited features, or $9 per month for advanced capabilities such as daily accomplishment logs. The paid plan also blocks distracting websites.

Pomodoro Timer for Trello
It can be difficult to determine how long certain projects and assignments take you. Pomodoro Timer for Trello allows you to track time on Trello cards using the Pomodoro technique. The Pomodoro technique helps you work in quick sprints (ideally without distractions) to make the most of your time. This method is great for burnout prevention and creating a better work-life balance. If you aren’t using Trello, you can also download the original version of Pomodoro for Chrome.

SelfControl
It’s easy to get distracted when you work for yourself, especially from home. SelfControl, a popular open-sourced distraction app, allows you to block your own access to specific sites — even if you delete the application or restart your computer. Set a specific period of time and create a blacklist of distracting websites, like Facebook, Twitter and even your mail server. Then click “start” at the beginning of your next work shift, and be blissfully free of distractions.

Accounting
FreshBooks
Simplify your accounting system. FreshBooks is a cloud-based accounting software system for non-accountants. It not only tracks billable hours, but also integrates them with an easy online invoicing system that automatically calculates totals and taxes to quickly generate invoices. FreshBooks also offers hassle-free expense tracking that automatically imports and categorizes expenses from bank accounts and credit cards, and it logs expenses simply by taking a snapshot of receipts. Its financial reporting tools include expense reports, quarterly analysis, profits and losses, payments collected, tax summaries and more. FreshBooks starts at $9.95 per month for a single user with up to five clients, or $19.95 for up to 25 clients.

QuickBooks
Quickbooks is Business News Daily’s recommendation for the best accounting software for small businesses. It passes our tests for customer service, user-friendliness and time conservation. Additionally, Quickbooks integrates more than 150 third-party apps, including time-tracking and payroll services, for even more convenience. The program starts at $9.99 a month. It also happens to be the cheapest compared to similar services without compromising quality. Read our full review here.

Wave
When you’re just starting out a new business, free services help with startup costs. Wave, Business News Daily’s pick for the best free accounting software for small businesses, lets you enter your company’s name and industry, and the program instantly generates a dashboard based on your needs. You can add personal info on transactions, receipts, invoices and other important financial documents. Note that we recommend this easy-to-use service for beginners and businesses that plan to stay relatively small. Check out our full review here.

Zoho Books
As Business News Daily’s pick for best micro-business accounting software, Zoho Books is an ideal solution for freelancers who want a simple, organized approach to accounting. It allows you to create and send invoices, track expenses, sync your bank accounts and create reports on the Web or via its mobile app. While it’s a bit higher priced than other accounting solutions, at $24 a month (after a free 14-day trial), Zoho Books gives you the best bang for your buck by including access to all of its features, plus unlimited everything. Read our full review here.

Business operations
HelloSign
Signing contracts, proposals, agreements and other types of paperwork is a significant part of being a freelancer. HelloSign, legally binding email signatures, allows freelancers to e-sign documents without ever printing, signing, scanning and sending files. It syncs with Google drive, making it easy to sign email attachments if you use Gmail. The program allows three free signatures a month, which build up as credits if left unused. For $13 a month, you have unlimited signatures.

Rocket Lawyer
As a freelancer, it is critical that you have all your legal ducks in a row. Get everything in writing with Rocket Lawyer, which provides DIY legal documents and services. These include independent contractor and consulting agreements so you can get paid and nondisclosure agreements to protect your intellectual property. It’s free to create one legal document on Rocket Lawyer, which can be saved and printed, but not edited once finalized. A paid plan costing $39.95 per month or a one-week free trial is required to create and edit more than one document.