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E-Commerce Dwarfs Retail: Business Must Adapt to Digital Trends

E-commerce used to be laughable. Now, it’s the main industry doing the laughing.

barnes and noble, amazon books, global business lendingBarnes & Noble, the last of the bookstore giants, announced last October that after hearing acquisition interest from several parties, it has initiated a strategic review toward possibly selling itself to stay afloat.

Who got them to this place? Well, Amazon, of course. The biggest e-commerce shop in the world. The e-commerce shop that B&N scoffed at…until it was too late.

What you don’t know is this?

Jeff Bezos, the 31-year-old CEO of the scrappy startup that sold books online, was actually approached by the multi-millionaire boss of iconic Barnes & Noble about a collaboration in 1996. At the time, B&N dwarfed Amazon because it had only $16 million in sales by that point. B&N had $2 billion and was tossing around the idea of an online store.hola america, tiffani knowles, barnes and noble, amazon books, global business lendingamazon books, global business lending

Bezos rejected the Barnes offer.

My, how the tables have turned…

Today, Amazon has about half the market share for print books, and B&N only one-fifth, according to Mike Shatzkin, an industry consultant.

  • Amazon’s share jumps to 84 percent for e-books. B&N has just 2 percent.
  • Amazon is hovering around a $1 trillion market cap, while B&N is worth justabout $475 million, 0.05 percent of that.

Today, almost 15 years later, Barnes and Noble has closed 90 of its 720 locations and has left many metropolitan cities without a single major bookstore. Now, it seems ready to throw in the towel.

In truth, Amazon has left no one unscathed in its wake. It has wiped out sporting goods giant Sports Authority and has department stores like Macy’s, J.C. Penney and Sears by the balls.

But what say you about the retail behemoth Walmart? I believe they are the next victim but are hanging on for dear life, refusing to be swept up by the current.

Walmart: Amazon’s Newest Victim

walmart amazon competitor, walmart online,, amazon books, global business lending, ecommerceThe lesson to be learned here is to stay ahead of the curve, keep your hands on the pulse of your customer, keep your eye on your competitor and allow no one to invade your turf without a fight.

Walmart saw its e-commerce sales in the U.S. jump 43% year-over-year during the quarter.

“Progress on initiatives to accelerate growth, along with a favorable economic environment, helped us deliver strong comp sales and gain market share,” CEO Doug McMillon said in a statement. “We’re excited about the work we’re doing to reach customers in a more digitally-connected way. Our commitment to the customer is clear — we’ll be there when, where and how they want to shop and deliver new, convenient experiences that are uniquely Walmart.”

Walmart has focused on revamping its e-commerce experience by adding new technologies and updating its website.

One of the main drivers of its e-commerce success has been its grocery pickup and delivery, which is now available in

more than 2,100 and nearly 800 stores, respectively. By the end of fiscal 2020, Walmart expects to include grocery pickup in 3,100 locations and delivery in 1,600 stores.

walmart and amazon, walmart grocery, walmart amazon competitor, barnes and noble, amazon books, global business lending

While Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods is a clever response, Walmart still has some tricks up its sleeves.

Have you begun projecting 5-10 years into the future for your industry? What are you neglecting business-wise with the changing trends in digital marketing, digital sales, social media marketing and other cutting edge innovations?

Scaling as an e-commerce business is easy. Be fearless. Take your idea and build it with working capital from investors your can trust.

TiffaniE-Commerce Dwarfs Retail: Business Must Adapt to Digital Trends
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RKO Construction Boasts a Love for The Work They Do

Co-Owner of RKO Construction, Ryan Oneal

To top off the month of love, we would like to feature the story of  RKO Construction,  owned and operated by two hardworking love birds, Ryan Oneal and fiancé Lyra Poston.

Overall, construction can be a hard industry but if you’re working alongside the person you love, it makes all the difference.

After losing a previous position at a construction firm due to irreconcilable differences with the company, Oneal had to find a means to maintain his family. He had years in the industry and decided to keep doing something that he was good at.

RKO Construction was built without a plan. It was built out of a necessity.

It began as a simple door frame remodeler in Mesa, Arizona in the fall of 2018 and has since moved up to becoming a full construction company, building anything from barns to houses and other properties.

“For us, keeping our word and making sure we give a quality product is most important,” said Oneal, co-owner of RKO.

After receiving three consecutive loans from Global Business Lending, they have been able to scale the business, sustain their family and pay their employees – which can be difficult for a construction business that must wait for final client payment to satisfy all other job-related obligations.

“We started with just me and four guys and now we are up to six guys,” said Oneal. “The worst feeling is getting material and being almost done with the project and not being able to pay the workers.”

Global Business Lending account executive Tracy Chatman looks at them as her superstar clients.

“Lyra and Ryan were very prompt in their responses to our request for documentation. They efficiently communicated a specific need each time, which we immediately addressed,” she said. “They understood the concept of timing overall, ultimately lead to them receiving speedy funding each time.”

RKO’s greatest achievement since their quick infusion of capital has been working with other companies such as Callahan Properties in California and 5-star homes, with whom they have a $14 million contract.

“Ryan and Lyra are great business owners and I am glad to have helped them,” said Lesly Larionne, another hands-on Global Business Lending funding specialist. “They were able to use our funds accordingly in their business and see a drastic turn around in a short time.

Much of the reason for their success is how humble they are and how hard they strive for their goal of changing people’s minds about contractors.

Oneal and Poston hope to stand out from among all of the other contractors in their region.

“We want to be the Home Depot of contractors,” said Oneal. “The quality of your work should always exceed the expectations of those hiring you.”

 

Maria Manzanares contributed to the reporting for this story.
TiffaniRKO Construction Boasts a Love for The Work They Do
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General Motors Recent Move about “Profit”

general motorsLou Dobbs on his eponymous news magazine castigated General Motors for its recent financial move regarding operations in North America.

What do the three bankruptcies of Donald, his ties being made in Bangladesh, Ivanka’s products being imported from China, Leveon Bell sitting out the season from the Pittsburgh Steelers, a “bankable star” in Hollywood getting all the good roles, a Broadway producer looking for a play that is going to be a hit, unions trying to squeeze as many benefits as they can out of reluctant corporations and GM abandoning a plant in Lordstown, Ohio, all have in common?

One word–“profit.”

Money–the making and retaining of it–is the primary driving force behind any business enterprise.

Nobody enters any business negotiation with the overarching motive being the good of the community. They create charitable foundations out of their” profits” to address these concerns and optics.

Businesses venture into depressed neighborhoods, because of cheap rent, low income workers, government subsidies and tax breaks.

When these factors are threatened with a deluge of red ink, they abandon these communities in droves.

Think about the former ghost town of Detroit or the uproar of Carrier leaving Indianapolis, Indiana.

Nobody in those automakers boardrooms, or the CEO office of that air-conditioned company were wringing their hands worrying about how John Q Public was going to make his next mortgage payment on his new house.

All companies would or should make financial decisions based on prevailing conditions in the economic climate in effect at the time of execution.

This was part of an article in Popular Mechanics in May of 2018,

Susan Cropper, 57, worked as a: Pace line assembler, electronic controls at the Carrier Plant.

“I was loyal to that company. Seventeen years of perfect attendance, never called off work. That was unheard of. I helped build that business. I participated in all the little committees, all the little games they played.

I have two master’s degrees now. How many more degrees do I need? When you’ve done the same job for 31 years, your body’s toned to only do, and lift, so much weight. I physically can’t go do what these 20-year-olds do. I’m not even gonna try.”

People, let’s get real, if you can make more money or lose less money by making a prudent financial decision, any good, practical businessman will do so.

Despite their protestations, Donald Trump or Lou Dobbs will do the same, and so should you or I.

No matter how you feel, no matter how compelling the altriustic impulse, the bottom line is this, a broke owner or a bankrupt investor cannot help anybody, anywhere at any time.

Your first obligation is to turn a profit for you and your hesitant investor or shareholder.

The fringe benefit of well-compensated employees, or satisfied city council members will always come in at a distant second.

Pay keen attention to Hyman Roth’s ominous rejoinder to Michael Corleone in the Godfather movie, “it had nothing to do with business.”

TiffaniGeneral Motors Recent Move about “Profit”
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Craft Beer Company Turned Down by Bank

Kim Jordan and Jeff Lebesch started New Belgium in their basement in 1991.In the ’80s, craft beer was just taking off in the United States and current household names like Samuel Adams were just getting their start.

Newlyweds Kim Jordan and Jeff Lebesch took out a second mortgage on their home in Fort Collins, Colorado to start a craft brewery in their basement in 1991 after Lebesch was inspired by the spiced beers he had sampled on a trip to Belgium. Their  company would become known as New Belgium Brewing Company and he would be the brewmaster.

This month, NPR featured New Belgium Brewing Company on their podcast “How I Built This” because the company is now one of the largest craft brewers in the U.S. and Kim Jordan is one of the few female founders in the male-dominated beer industry.

Recorded live in Boulder, Colorado, Jordan tells the story of how she needed capital to grow the business and knew absolutely nothing about making one’s business attractive to a bank. She told host Guy Raz that while she was piecing together the stipulations for the loan application at the bank, she received a rude awakening from the banker.

“You know, the way that you dribbled this paperwork in makes me think that you know nothing about running a business and I’m not going to even take your loan to the committee,” the banker told Jordan.

Little did this banker know who she was talking to and what Jordan would become.

At Global Business Lending, we know not all business owners were educated at Harvard Business School. Some go into business because they have a passion for beer, or auto body work, or carpentry. We think beyond the status quo and see your business’s boundless future. We are visionaries who refuse to be constrained by the conventions of today’s business lending environment. We take our time to educate the most unsophisticated business client and coach them into a client that will catch the eye of our underwriting team.

Global Business Lending is the key to expanding your business, even if you don’t have excellent credit or you’ve not been in business for very long.

Get pre-approved today for working capital for your business.

TiffaniCraft Beer Company Turned Down by Bank
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Capitalize on Decay

There are lessons to be learned as you consider your start-up business and ways to build your dream enterprise on foundations that seem to be decaying.

This September, PBS’ Frontline featured Dayton, Ohio – a once thriving Rust Belt city that has now fallen on hard times and where 35 percent of the population now live in poverty.

Turkish immigrants are snatching up distressed properties, some for as low as $2,000, and revitalizing whole neighborhoods.

A Chinese entrepreneur has reopened an abandoned GM factory to manufacture auto glass, paying his workers approximately $12 per hour, workers who had formerly earned much more.

In West Dayton, the residents, unable to get financing, have formed a co-operative to underwrite the cost of a much needed supermarket in their neighborhood.

Corrugated cardboard, whose employees earn about $12 per hour, have trouble finding employees due to the opioid epidemic.

What is the bottom line in all of this as you seek to launch your business?

  1. While people are fleeing a situation, there are good deals to be made if you have the vision and mental fortitude to embrace the risk and exploit it.
  2. You must keep your expenses low so that when the financial winds change, you are able to survive.
  3. Sometimes you must become creative to obtain financing for your project because without money dreams do not become reality.
  4. Drug abuse is a brutal reality in our society, and you must find ways to deal with it or your business will not survive.

 

 

TiffaniCapitalize on Decay
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Decision Making – There’s a 10 Percent Chance You’re Wrong

Theodore Roosevelt once declared, “When faced with a problem or dilemma, the best thing you can do is the right thing. The next best thing is the wrong thing. The worst thing you can do is to decide to do nothing.”

You must make a decision one way or another and be prepared to deal with the circumstances or fall out. People will follow a leader, a decisive leader, because – in reality – most people are afraid of making a decision on their own, unwilling to accept blame and responsibility for their actions.

Making decisions and living with the results of said decision will always keep you ahead of the curve and in front of the pack.

Yes, the possibility exists that you may fail spectacularly, but great courageous men realize that you must saddle up anyway, launch out into the deep, and do what other lesser men refuse to do.

Be wise. Use all available resources and sage advice to mitigate the damage of a bad decision, but decide anyway.

After reviewing all available options, go with your gut, believing in your heart that you are right and if proven wrong, resolve in your mind to live with the consequences and move on.

Winners and survivors do not tarry long in the valley of shambles caused by a bad decision.

They get up, they stand up and continue moving forward, because life only flows one way–forward.

Pastor T.D. Jakes of the Potters House in Dallas, Texas frames it:

“When confronted with a decision, be prepared after you decide that there is a 10 percent chance that you may be wrong, a 50 percent chance that you may be betrayed by a trusted confidante, but a 100% commitment in your heart to survive it all.”

You will win if you decide to survive today, so that you can thrive tomorrow.

TiffaniDecision Making – There’s a 10 Percent Chance You’re Wrong
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VCs and Crowdfunding Run Out of Gas in 2017

sharktankLast August, we posted a blog entry about the 3 Top Alternative Lending Sources for Small Businesses in 2016. However, a great deal has happened in the alternative lending space within the year which has knocked two of our top sources from their ranks…

In our blog post last year, we named venture capitalists and crowdfunding as two of the leading sources of alternative funding for small businesses. Just so you know. The rationale for using alternative funding sources such as these is that instead of applying for funding with banks – which have become far more discriminating since the recession in 2008 – a new small business with a clear business model can receive quick working capital without having to jump through hoops for a bank’s underwriter.

Now, in 2017, here’s why venture capitalists and crowdfunding are floundering within the alternative lending space.

 

  1. Venture Capitalists Are Pickier Than Ever

While many caught the Shark Tank bug within the past decade, small businesses were eager to pitch their “next big” idea, invention, product or service to venture capitalists like billionaire tycoon Mark Cuban or Canadian Mr. Wonderful Kevin O’Leary. Yep! But, if you didn’t get picked up a VC in the past year, then it doesn’t look good for you right now.

According to an April 24 article in Pymnts.com, “in 2014 and 2015, mutual funds, hedge funds and other investors dropped billions into companies that these days seem a little too quirky to ever get to an IPO or buyout.”

Sadly, as of 2017, investors have shown more interest in a business that they can predict will make money going forward. As a result, the stats are in — investment in U.S. tech startups plummeted by 30 percent in dollar terms last year from a year earlier.

“It’s not that no one is getting funding — it’s just that everyone is no longer getting funding,” the article stated.

What great about venture capitalists is that they can flood a new company with millions for a stake in said company’s future earnings. However, what if the business never earns? The VC loses his/her shirt.

“There’s going to be a shakeout” for companies that can’t show a profit, said James Beriker, the chief executive of meal-delivery service Munchery.

And, what if the equity ask is too much of a sacrifice for the business owner? Working with a VC can be a raw deal for a new entrepreneur.

 

2. Crowdfunding Is a Hassle for the Small Investor

Crowdfunding uses a website and an email campaign to persuade individuals to each give a small business donation, either for the joy of seeing the business take off or for a profit share in the business.

Last May, Title III of the JOBS Act went into effect, making it legal for anyone to invest in a private company, opening up investing in willing startups to any American, according to Fast Company.

Over 600 crowdfunding websites like Indiegogo and The Lending Club cropped up to make the dreams of millions of aspiring entrepreneurs come to life around the world.

Mark Lynn is the co-founder of L.A. apparel brand startup DSTLD who raised $1.75 million from 1,698 investors through equity crowdfunding on SeedInvest.

Individuals could invest in DSTLD for upwards of $500, with the largest being $50,000, so Lynn viewed it as a viable alternative to venture capital fundraising.

“Let’s be clear, it’s not an easier way to raise money. It’s just a different way to raise money,” he told Fast Company.

It’s not easier, Lynn said, because like any fundraising, it involves many man hours in marketing the company, interfacing with potential investors, and filling out paperwork to meet regulations. In fact, companies looking to raise more than $500,000 must undergo a financial audit by an independent third party.

Payment methods were also very limited. DSTLD and SeedInvest signed on with FirstData, a credit card processing and payments company, to accept their first batch of investments on the site. However, FirstData froze the transactions.

“They had never seen anything like that before, transactions for an equity crowdfunding site. So we were in limbo for a month because we couldn’t process the payments,” Lynn said.

For a community of small investors, they don’t want their payments being held for a whole month. They don’t have the money to spare.

 

3. Why Merchant Cash Advance is the Answer

The industry of merchant cash advance has been around since the 1980s but truly took off during the last decade due to the recession in the United States. Small businesses who need loans can receive funds as low as $2,000 and as high as $3 million.

A business can be approved for a merchant cash advance at firms like Global Business Lending with the following minimum requirements:

  • Having been in business for at least 3 months
  • Having at least $6,000 in regular gross monthly deposits
  • Having an active U.S.-based business checking account
  • Having a clear vision and purpose for the funds to prove an investor will be paid back within the given term

The ironic thing about the switch in the lending environment is that MCA’s investors are the same hedge funds and private lenders who backed tech startups as VCs. Today, however, they are using their money to back the programs offered by merchant cash advance companies. The difference is that they don’t want equity. They want a shorter payback term.

It mitigates the risk for them because the pressure is on the new business to perform. No pipe dreams. No pie-in-the-sky business models. No top-heavy staff. Nice and lean operations are what business owners are encouraged to do with an MCA investment.

Last big difference: QUICK TURNAROUND.

While it might take months for a VC to make up their minds about your pitch or 60 days for a crowd to send in their donations, with an MCA, your business can be funded in as much as 5 days or in as little as 48 hours. It all depends on a business owner’s readiness and cooperation with an MCA underwriter who is train to work at lightning speeds.

TiffaniVCs and Crowdfunding Run Out of Gas in 2017
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The know how of branding

Lisa, vampires are make-believe, like elves, gremlins, and Eskimos. We started out like Romeo and Juliet, but it ended up in tragedy. Attempted murder? Now honestly, what is that? Do they give a Nobel Prize for attempted chemistry? Get ready, skanks! It’s time for the truth train! Books are useless! I only ever read one book, “To Kill A Mockingbird,” and it gave me absolutely no insight on how to kill mockingbirds! Sure it taught me not to judge a man by the color of his skin…but what good does *that* do me?

Zachary KnowlesThe know how of branding
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