QUARTER 1 2016
Thinking ahead for success
The important art of business communication Use collaboration and innovation to stay relevant Why millennial entrepreneurs are on the rise Define your business personality and stand out Rebranding your business â€“ a quick guide
â€œTiming, perseverance, and ten years of trying will eventually make you look like an overnight success.â€? Biz Stone, Twitter co-founder
specialising in solving short term finance needs fast with purpose-fit solutions and one-on-one expert consultancy. With over ten years supporting clients across all industries, our specialists work with the unique complexities of business clients, to identify finance solutions that are appropriate for both short term needs and long term sustainability. Working alongside clientsâ€™ financial professional advisers and in harmony with their existing banking facilities, our finance solutions are very often bespoke to each client and designed to fit their specific need at that point in time. Since launching in 2004, Fifo Capital has established more than 70 offices across New Zealand and Australia and provided business owners over $850 million growth capital finance.
Fifo Capital is a leading provider of business finance solutions,
Technology certainly has taken centre stage in the finance sector over the past few years. While it has always been crucial to the delivery of financial services, recent technology innovations have opened up a myriad of opportunities and have rapidly changed the way businesses can deliver better, faster services.
While technology will continue to drive efficiencies, finance for a business is still fundamentally different and more complex than it is for a consumer, and therefore still requires human interaction and expertise.
Today, businesses across all industries have to respond faster than ever to their clients’ needs; and in turn they need the same from their financier. When it comes to using on-line, on-demand business information to secure finance, technology is central to meeting clients’ needs. The ability to tap into a client’s online management accounts, for example, has removed many hold-ups and inefficiencies for both the client and financier. Perhaps more importantly though, is the evolution of financiers’ internal systems to better support assessment-work-flows, documentation and fund transfers, which has in our experience greatly reduced response times. In future, technology will support the flow of information to the point that same day credit assessment and transfer of funds will likely be the new norm. It is important however to remember that business finance is not consumer finance. For a consumer, finance is a bit of a commodity.
For a business however, it is very complex. Fintechs have spurred a more intense focus on how technology can support faster delivery. However, they have also created a somewhat false expectation amongst businesses about what can be achieved wholly online. While technology will continue to drive efficiencies, finance for a business is still fundamentally different and more complex than it is for a consumer, and therefore still requires human interaction and expertise. To deliver the best and most considered solution for business clients, it is still exceptionally vital for the relationship manager to go out and see the client, and spend some time with them to develop an understanding of their business. Once they have done that, technology kicks into play. The benefits derived by a combination of quality expertise and smart technology is huge. Looking outward at what businesses need through both relationship and technology will continue to drive new ways of delivering smart finance, faster. It is no longer a question of what this space will look like in 10 years’ time, but rather in one or two. N igel Thomson Fifo Capital Founder and CEO
The important art of business communication
Green business initiatives that improve the bottom line
Use collaboration and innovation to stay relevant
Why you need to build your business culture
Melbourne Food Market takes off
Business start up funding: nine ways to get it
Build customer relationships and enjoy great cash flow
Define your business personality and stand out
Rebranding your business â€“ a quick guide
Why millennial entrepreneurs are on the rise
Why millennial entrepreneurs are on the rise If you’ve heard associates talk about millennials in a business context, then the chances are it was with frustration. Millennials – those born roughly between 1980 and 2000 – are also referred to as Generation Y. They are the generation who have been nicknamed ‘generation me’ and have a reputation for being hard to satisfy in the workplace.
So it may be surprising that this generation is now emerging as a successful group of entrepreneurs. Or perhaps, given their character traits, it’s not so surprising after all. Read on for more insight into these millennial entrepreneurs. Why millennials have become entrepreneurs In 2015 Manta Media conducted a survey exploring the relationships between small businesses and millennials. In that survey 66 percent of Small Business Owners surveyed believed that millennials will lead the way in entrepreneurship in the future. Their potential to fill this role is born of a combination of circumstance and character. 1
The business climate they graduated into If millennials have been perceived as dissatisfied with their jobs then it’s worth considering the context for this. For many, their final years of university happened at the same time as the global economic crisis was playing out. For those born later their education occurred in the aftermath of the 2008 upheaval. The side-effect of this timing was that millennials emerged into the workforce at a time when companies were down sizing or at least freezing recruitment. Leaving university with debt to pay; jobs were scarce and unemployment was on the rise. Millennials struggled to find the roles they were looking for. Business expectations Added to the job shortage was the additional challenge of finding a business that matched growing expectations. The Deloitte Millennial Survey of 2014 highlighted how important it is for this generation of employees to value their employer, and vice versa. 75 percent of those
surveyed felt that businesses could do more to develop future leaders. 78 percent were influenced by how innovative a company was when deciding whether to work there. Overall millennials demonstrated their belief that businesses were in operation to do more than just make money. When asked if businesses could do more to help society: 68 percent said yes regarding resource scarcity; 65 percent sought more action around climate change; and 64 percent wanted to see businesses work to improve wage equality. As a rule, millennials do not restrict their values to their personal lives: they expect to see them reflected in their business lives. The context for this generation to seek the opportunity to branch out on their own and make their own future was set. In the Deloitte Millennial Survey, 70 percent of millennials stated that they might reject traditional business to work independently.
Why millennials make great entrepreneurs The right role models When millennials do make the move to start up their own businesses, they bring some valuable character traits to their roles. Millennials grew up with entrepreneurs as role models. Previous generations had looked to big company CEOs to define success. This generation could look to Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, or a range of other successful young entrepreneurs for inspiration. With entrepreneurs as role models, millennials learned to think on their feet and seek innovation to drive progress. As a group of business people, this generation is highly collaborative. This bucks the trend of previous generations where ideas were held as secrets and plans were kept close to your chest. For millennials the focus is on achieving the goal. They will adapt the way that they work to make that happen. They
value knowledge and experience over education, and recognise that working as a team is a great driver of innovation. Technology and purpose Millennials grew up in a technologically advanced age. This has led to them be incredibly well placed to start up businesses and operate as entrepreneurs. Because they understand the technology required to make things happen: they make them happen. They can also see beyond the limitations of current technology to perceive the future potential for their business. Being motivated by purpose, millennial entrepreneurs believe that business is about more than just making money. Their success is defined by different parameters, and these fuel their entrepreneurial spirit and encourage them to do things differently and more effectively with consideration for ethical, humanitarian and ecological goals. Innovation in business and life Alongside their ability to challenge the status quo, the entrepreneurs of this generation are without doubt willing to think outside the box. These millennials embrace creativity by being unafraid of throwing out the way that things have been done in the past and trying something new. They never stop learning and so they never stop evolving their thinking and exploring new ways of achieving their goals. This innovation extends beyond products and services, and goes
further into culture and working practices. Millennial entrepreneurs are less constrained by traditional offices, face to face meetings, and workplaces than any previous generation. Their focus is instead on creating a life in balance: overturning the work-life balance aspired to by previous generations. Because work creates value and purpose, not just money, it is integrated into living. The lines between work and â€˜personalâ€™ life become blurred, and goals become shared between the two. In the past the millennial was singled out as a challenge in the workplace. Now the millennial as entrepreneur is challenging our definition of a workplace. Millennials have been born of a context that caused them to question the value of business. That questioning, combined with the other skills that are embedded in their generation, has created an age of entrepreneurs. Millennial entrepreneurs are determined to create value from business. With Generation Y in charge, the small business world can expect exciting times ahead.
of Small Business Owners surveyed believed that millennials will lead the way in entrepreneurship in the future.
Millennials grew up in a technologically advanced age. This has led to them be incredibly well placed to start up businesses and operate as entrepreneurs.
Fifo Capital Headway
The important art of business communication If you’re running your own business or you’re in a leadership or decision making position, you know how important information is to success. Sharing knowledge is crucial in uniting a company – and it requires a wide range of skills in order to make that knowledge sharing effective and meaningful.
Following is a look at some key communication skills that can help you to improve and control the flow of information. Use them regularly and you’ll start to master the art of business communication. Information in In your bid to be successful in business, learning how to tap into the information around you is key to identifying the challenges and opportunities ahead. So how do you do it? If you discuss communications skills with successful entrepreneurs, there’s no doubt that they would rank the ability to listen effectively as highly important to their businesses. Whether you’re listening to a market, a supplier, or a customer: these people are a valuable source of information and listening is the key to unlocking it. Unfortunately, just because we are able to listen doesn’t necessarily mean that we have the skills to do it well. This is especially true when you face the challenge of running a business and juggling multiple priorities at any given time. So if 3
you want to focus on absorbing the valuable information that surrounds you – take some time to brush up on your listening skills with these simple steps.
Firstly, listen If you want to get good at absorbing information from around your business then you need to get good at listening. It’s particularly challenging if you’re used to multitasking your way through phone calls, emails, and taking part in multiple conversations at once. If you want to improve your listening skills then it’s time to practice the art of giving one speaker your full attention and switching off the distractions. Reflect the attention you are giving with your body language; focus on the speaker’s face, put down your phone, and give them your full attention. It can be as simple as closing an office door so you aren’t disturbed, but showing people that you are focused on what they have to say will encourage them to share more information with you, more regularly.
Reactions are key Of course it’s not enough to just listen – the next step in improving your communication skills is some practical action to demonstrate your interest in what you’re hearing. It’s important to engage both verbally and physically – two examples would be head nods and affirmative sounds.
Repetition provides clarity If you’re absorbing a big piece of information, you can take the opportunity to repeat back what you’ve just been told to sense check you’ve understood it correctly. This serves a double purpose: reassuring the speaker that you are paying attention, whilst giving you the opportunity to check you’ve got the details straight.
Ask questions If you’ve repeated back what you’ve heard then you may discover there are a few things you would like to know more about. Choosing some pertinent questions to ask is another great way to demonstrate that you are actively engaged in the conversation while increasing the amount of information you are actually gathering.
Physical as well as verbal Listening has a physical as well as a verbal aspect. You’re probably already aware of the importance of body language, and if you’re cast in the role of listener it’s key that you use yours to reflect the interest you take in what is being said. On the flip side if you’re talking, you can read body language to uncover the truth about how people feel about your message. Being able to read body language can give you some clear pointers for finding unhappy people who don’t feel confident voicing their opinions, and you can then work to understand the opportunity to get them onboard with your agenda.
Information out Information flow is a two-way street. It’s important to gather information and just as important to share knowledge with your staff, your market, and your network. So what are the steps for making sure your message gets out? The first stage is to be clear what the message is that you’re trying to communicate. Think bite-
sized chunks and break it down into manageable quantities of information so that your audience can absorb it. Once you’ve worked out what it is you want to say, you can optimise the way that you say it. Here’s our simple list of ways to improve your information sharing skills.
Target your content
Consider your audience
Strip the information back to the core and then work out how to make it meaningful for your listeners, with the appropriate context. Involve your audience in the message to enhance the stickiness of key information points.
The better you know your audience the more effectively you can tailor your message to them. You can maximise your ability to get your message across by giving appropriate context to your communication, positioning it in a way that makes it easy to understand and involving your audience in any solution-finding exercises. A good understanding of who you are communicating with is essential to make any of these stages. By investing time upfront in getting to know your audience, you can make your information sharing even more powerful.
Represent your brand When you have spent time and money on your brand, it’s important to ensure that your communication strategy supports that brand and brings it to life. Your brand will affect the way that you communicate your information and the language that you use to communicate it. As well as understanding your audience, it’s important to consider how you will bring your brand to life in the information that you share.
A well planned exercise in information sharing should be ‘short and sweet’. Even with the most attentive audience in the world, it’s worth assuming they have a short attention span. Invest time upfront in being succinct in what you are trying to communicate.
We’re in this together Would you like to share a problem or an opportunity with your listeners, or are there simply some key facts that you want them to understand? Whatever the message is that you’re trying to convey, by involving your audience through collaboration you will find it’s much easier to get them to buy into it. It’s much easier to engage people in solving a problem if they have helped to design the solution. When you’re planning your communication, include some well placed questions that canvas opinion and encourage input. You could get great results and it’s a great way to check that your audience is still paying attention.
Being a successful leader in business requires that you become a conduit for information, using what you learn to drive your business forward and empowering the people around you with the knowledge that they need to achieve more.
Your brand will strongly influence the language that you use to share your message, but you must also consider your audience and make your choice of words appropriate to them. It’s easy to turn an audience off by using words that they may interpret as pompous or tactless, so it’s worth planning ahead to ensure you can articulate the information you want to share with an appropriate choice of words.
If you would like to optimise your ability to manage that flow of facts, then brushing up on your communication skills is a great place to start. Being a leader who wants to listen and share information is a great position to be in, and the simple steps outlined here could offer the opportunity to grow your communication skills further and set you up for success. Fifo Capital Headway
Mindset and business success Business success is inherently linked to ability, capacity and experience. But more and more, entrepreneurs and business leaders are highlighting mindset as an essential ingredient to achieving business goals. Hereâ€™s just three winning business success traits.
Managing the micro-steps with determination Big goals are not achieved over night, and so setting and tracking mini-goals along the way is essential to reaching the end destination. That takes focus, determination and perseverance.
Knowledge is a life long journey Change is the only constant as they say. A natural thirst for learning goes a long way in keeping business owners sharp and abreast of what is happening in their industry now, and an eye on the possibilities of tomorrow.
Adaptability and flexibility Thereâ€™s no need for a crystal ball when you have a strong ability to adapt to challenges and opportunities. Flexible thinking and an ability to see options allows you to navigate through tricky situations and use them to create advantage.
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Green business initiatives that improve the bottom line Whether or not to be ‘green’ is now an acknowledged element of your business strategy that should be considered alongside your target audience, your product, and your brand. You may not have decided if you are going to integrate green initiatives into your day to day activity, or you may have already decided that you want to become environmentally focused in your strategies.
If you’re a new or established small to medium sized business and you’re pondering your relationship with the environment then you might like to read on. Being green in today’s business world is not just about protecting the environment, it’s also about using your attitude to your environment to drive a leaner and more efficient business model that uses fewer resources to produce more profit. If you want to reduce your impact on 7
the environment while improving your bottom line then you are not alone. ‘Eco-efficiency’ is the practise of combining consideration for the environment with initiatives that also drive economic growth. Increasingly experts acknowledge that it makes business sense to improve your environmental position by doing more with less, adding up to a winwin situation for your bottom line and the planet. Environmental efficiency puts a focus on making better use of the resources around us with a specific focus on reducing waste and wastage, saving energy, and reducing the carbon footprint of a business. As well as translating into a positive impact on the environment, businesses can also enjoy the economic impact of running their businesses more efficiently. Examples of environmental efficiency can be found across all industries
and businesses of all sizes: from companies that reduce their energy costs by installing windows in the ceiling to capture natural daylight, through to businesses that find a way to turn a waste product into a by-product – increasing productivity, reducing waste and increasing profit in one go. Understandably approaching waste and resources with a green attitude is proactively encouraged by your local authorities and resource managers. If you’re considering your environmental position and pondering the positive impacts you could expect then you would do well to remember your relationships with those who currently police your waste and consumption levels. Embracing improvement in these areas and proactively engaging support where you can get it at an authority level is a great relationship builder. Organisations at a private and government level commonly manage specific awards for businesses who focus on efficiency and their impact on the environment. Businesses who strive to protect the environment and minimise their business footprint are often at the cutting edge of process or technology evolution – being able to spot better ways of getting things done and cut through the historical processes to implement greener solutions. Awards can provide great exposure across your industry and customer base as well as financial incentives, so they are more than worth investigating and could serve to give you some direction on your green journey.
Trying to assess how far to move your business down the path of delivering a greener presence can be better understood by considering your target customer’s needs and whether this is a key purchase driver or merely a nice to have. While your bottom line can benefit from ecoefficiency, further initiatives such as investment in new paper sources or more efficient machinery may require a financial outlay that you can evaluate in the context of your brand and business strategies. Your own brand definition could include some strategies on how you interact with your external environment and these can be brought to life through your actions and your attitude towards the environment as a business. If you are a small business owner then the chances are that your own personal philosophy towards the environment is already influencing the way that you do business. A focus on green initiatives can drive efficiency and improve your use of resources, allowing you to explore new by-products and opportunities to recycle your waste. How far you move in an environmentally friendly direction will probably be driven by a combination of your own desire and external factors such as resource management requirements, customer need, and your own company’s brand position. Being green is a potentially emotive topic that is well considered in an economic context – at the end of the day it is important that your company delivers a profit and has a sustainable business model so any investment will be need to be balanced with cost savings or revenue.
Did you know
Every minute, an average of aluminium cans are recycled In the past
, humans have consumed more resources than in all previous history. Car batteries are the #1 most recycled material in the U.S. Approximately
tons of plastic are produced globally each year.
Being green in today’s business world is not just about protecting the environment, it’s also about using your attitude to your environment to drive a leaner and more efficient business model that uses fewer resources to produce more profit.
Fifo Capital Headway
Use collaboration and innovation to stay relevant
If you’re in business then to some extent you’re in the business of collaboration. That’s because none of us live and work in a bubble, so even if the influence is unintentional we are still being impacted by the work of our peers, our network and our competitors. Taken to another level it could be said that collaboration is key to the success of business, because it is key to innovation. Here are a few aspects of collaboration and innovation that you can apply to your business.
Internal collaboration Innovation is most fruitful when new ways of thinking combine with old, and when ideas react to create new solutions for old problems. Large companies who desire innovation often try to recreate the crossfunctional thinking and collaboration that comes naturally to small businesses. Small to medium sized businesses are a hotbed of collaboration and innovation. They have to be otherwise things wouldn’t get done. Whether the core team of the business is one or 20, you’ll find an understanding of all aspects of the business is embedded in each team member. SMEs function as teams of people from different disciplines using their unique perspectives to work together and create solutions; based on ideas, respect and a new perspective.
External collaboration Driving innovation through collaboration occurs when knowledge centres unite. This can happen internally, as already outlined, but it can also happen externally as well. Companies work in collaboration every day in order to ensure that they can function effectively as a business. For example service providers share expertise with businesses who require their input in order to improve their business or simply to function as a business.
In a similar way collaboration can drive innovation within a business, by drawing on the expertise of the companies that surround and support it, or in some cases by casting the net further afield. Consider the aircraft manufacturer that works collaboratively with the car and engine producer to ensure it has the best engine possible to power its fleet. Or the innovations that occur in a hive of shared open source material, where different minds and experts are invited to collaborate and vie to drive the innovation forward. In some senses collaboration is about seeking expertise which can be better used from an outside source than brought in house. Great minds think alike – so if you are looking for radical change then you need to find someone who thinks differently.
Stay focused on needs Both internal and external collaboration yield the most innovative results if it is clear what they are trying to achieve. This result which is to be strived for is the fulfilment of a need, not the delivery of a product. In many ways this is where cross-industry collaboration yields its best results. Pre-defining the end solution limits the creative process, so by stripping back development to need fulfilment, it opens up opportunities to collaborate with other companies and industries that fulfil similar needs. Radical innovation creates a step change in the environment and transforms industries. Radical innovation fulfils needs without being constrained by definitions of product and calls on external experts
to find solutions to problems without being restricted by what happens now, or why things can’t happen now.
Start with the competition Keeping an eye on the competition is key, and understanding the market in which you operate will allow you to evolve your product with incremental innovations so that you can protect your market share and maintain your margins. However if you’ve got your eyes on a greater prize then you should watch the competition to identify what they are not doing: to understand the customer need that is not being fulfilled and create a radical change in ways of doing business. Draw on the expertise of those around you: truly innovative companies collaborate to leverage experts to the benefit of their own business. Working collaboratively internally and externally goes a long way to keeping the ideas of your business fresh, and embracing a culture of asking ‘how could we?’ as opposed to stating ‘we can’t because’. Seizing innovation will lead other businesses to seek out your company and invite you to collaborate with them. No doubt the need you are fulfilling will lead to wider opportunities to grow customer value and work collaboratively across sectors and industries. Working collaboratively will allow your company to keep its ideas fresh so that you never stop questioning and challenging the way that you operate and the needs that you are fulfilling.
Taken to another level, it could be said that collaboration is key to the success of business, because it is key to innovation.
Fifo Capital Headway
Why you need to build your business culture Culture has the potential to positively impact your businesses bottom line. Recruiting and retaining the right people for your company will ensure you can deliver your goals and you don’t have to waste money dealing with poor retention issues.
Quick takeaways • 87 percent of organisations surveyed in Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends 2015 research cited culture and engagement as one of their top challenges • The growth in the importance of culture has been driven by a young workforce who increasingly choose their employee based on nonfinancial factors like culture • Culture that aligns with employee values has the potential to increase employee retention while driving increased profitability.
Culture has risen dramatically in importance for businesses over the past year. Not only is it key for attracting and retaining the right staff, it also impacts your bottom line. No surprise then that “culture eats strategy for breakfast”.
infrastructure of your business, any key routines or events, and your reward systems. Where these are aligned a culture may be strong, and where they pull in different directions they create a disconnect that can have a far reaching impact.
The importance of building a better business culture
Why is culture important?
Business culture has traditionally taken a back seat to strategy. But 2015 saw the importance of corporate culture rise dramatically. 87 percent of organisations surveyed in Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends 2015 research cited culture and engagement as one of their top challenges. The reason for this turnaround is easy to understand. The recovery in unemployment levels after the financial crisis of 2008 has created a skill shortage. There has been a shift in power from the employer to the employee. Businesses now find themselves with a new challenge – attracting and retaining the right staff. Employees are becoming increasingly selective about who they want to work for and the new generation of top candidates are choosing based increasingly on company culture. Businesses are beginning to realise that they ignore their culture at their peril.
What is a company’s culture? The culture of a company is the sum of its values and the attitudes of its employees. Culture is comprised of the way you translate your values into the way you behave, the
Having the right culture is not only a solution that helps you to recruit the right employees. When your values and those of your employees align, the cultural harmony has a wide impact that reaches your bottom line. A strong business culture that is brought to life in actions leads to satisfied employees, easier recruitment, higher productivity, and improved customer service. In combination these mean that your assets are working harder to deliver your business goals, and your profitability increases. The recent Glassdoor study “Does company culture pay off” found direct correlations between companies that were rated as top cultural performers and their performance against averages on the US stock market. Consistently those with the best cultures exceeded stock market performance and those who underperformed on culture measured below average against the market.
The only way is up Accepting that a positive culture has a positive impact, many businesses have a hill to climb to turn their cultures around. According to a 2013 poll from Gallup only 13 percent of the global workforce is “highly engaged” and close to half the
workforce would not recommend their employer to their peers. For previous generations it was the newest technology or highest wages that drove their motivation to work but, for millennials and their colleagues, culture has become important in managing the blurred lines between work life and personal life. Mobile technology means that employees are always connected and the hours of work are increasing. Today’s employee has a holistic view of their life and a requirement that their personal values align with the values of the business where they work.
Culture that fits with life Taking into consideration the merging of work and personal life, today’s workforce expects a culture that supports the way that they live their life. This puts additional pressure on business culture and requires companies to bring to life values which matter to their work force. In the Deloitte Millennial
Research of 2014, millennials demonstrated their belief that businesses were in operation to do more than just make money. When asked if businesses could do more to help society 68 percent said yes regarding resource scarcity, and 65 percent sought more action around climate change. This in turn flows through to the infrastructure of businesses – where they bring their cultures to life. Favourite company cultures as listed on sites such as Glassdoor, cite key features that are valued by employees. These include examples such as flexible working arrangements, continuous investment in learning and developing people, working in teams, and clear and transparent goals. In addition there are the physical infrastructures that create a positive living/working environment within which employees can carry out their roles. The top performers in the marketplace today include culture giants like Google who were one of
the first to transform the workplace from a place to work to a place to live. Culturally aware businesses offer services such as free laundry or grocery deliveries to the office, to allow their employees to manage their lives in their entirety: not just balance work and play.
The opportunity ahead Culture has the potential to positively impact your businesses bottom line. Recruiting and retaining the right people for your company will ensure you can deliver your goals and you don’t have to waste money dealing with poor retention issues. Satisfied staff deliver increased productivity and improved customer service. But investing in culture is a long term strategy and changing culture is especially challenging for businesses who are already established. The first step is to be aware of the opportunity, the next step will be to plan how to seize it.
Fifo Capital Headway
Melbourne Food Market takes off â€œFifo Capital is an absolute breath of fresh air. Their ability to see the potential business asset for what it actually is, is so rare.â€?
When we met with this Fifo Capital client, we knew we were looking at a success story waiting to happen. An internationally proven concept brimming with potential in the local market, our client had the experience necessary for the new venture and extensive business planning to make it a success. What was a disused South Melbourne park only a few months ago, has been transformed into a popular community space by the arrival of a Boutique Food Market, held once a week and already enjoyed by more than 3,500 locals.
So how did it all start? “The once-a-week Street Food business model has been proven overseas and I really wanted to prove it here. I worked in Street Food overseas for two years and picked up a few do’s and don’ts. There’s a massive following of Street Food in San Francisco, New York and it’s been growing in London for about five years. While it’s kind of been establishing itself in Melbourne, until now it has been mostly in the North.” Spotting a gap in the market in South Melbourne, our client started investigating the potential for a Boutique Street Food Market two years ago. Crossing all the t’s and dotting all the i’s has been a big job including: working with the council to find the best site; securing licences; and defining the target market that would not only deliver the best business result, but also those who would benefit most from the market. All of these elements have been brought together to create a win/win for the business and the community. “We worked with the council on three locations before settling on the site we secured. There’s a lot of due diligence involved in terms of traffic management, local business impact – like being far enough away from bricks and mortar businesses – etc. The location we chose was previously an under-utilised park, so
the market has actually reactivated it and it’s now a beautiful space that everyone appreciates.” “With 40 stalls, we’ve also generated a lot of work – at a rough estimate we bring in about $200,000 in revenue in a week and we are creating employment, which of course the council is happy about.” “One of the things we’re really happy about is that we’ve solved a problem for a lot of the people who live in the area. We’re all about mums and dads, families who don’t have anywhere else to go and chill and relax. Of the 4,000 people who came last week, the majority walked up to the park by foot; they didn’t need to put the pram in the boot and drive somewhere. The market has taken the hassle out of a good outing and is becoming part of the community.” A smart well-planned business model that is also adding value to the community. That’s a great success in our book. But until speaking with Fifo Capital, getting the funding for the Market was proving to be an uphill battle. “Fifo Capital is an absolute breath of fresh air. Their ability to see the potential business asset for what it actually is, is so rare.” “With banks you have to perfectly fit into a box and have two years trading history, which we didn’t have. The only other option was to get an angel investor, but then I’d have to give up a percentage of equity, which I really didn’t want to do.” “Fifo Capital is completely different to other lenders. They are flexible, nimble and actually willing to help you. They’re down-to-earth and know what they are doing. Working with them took an immense amount of pressure off – it was valuable time that I didn’t have to spend looking for the capital and I could instead spend that time executing the brand and product well.”
Being flexible is essential in financing a start-up venture. Another example of tailoring solutions to specific client needs, in this case we structured a Fifo Capital business loan that was secured by invoices for services yet to be rendered. The strength of the client’s business planning, council licence and trader contracts played a key role in our ability to see the potential asset and the opportunity to help make it a reality. “The speed at which the funds came through was amazing. It meant we could invest in marquees and furniture and everything we needed to look good on day one. There was also a real feeling of security once the deal was done.” “Fifo Capital is an absolute breath of fresh air. Their ability to see the potential business asset for what it actually is, is so rare. I highly recommend working with Fifo Capital – I have never dealt with someone more flexible and understanding. The interaction, the flexibility, their knowledge and their ability to fund you quickly – that’s really valuable.”
And the vision for the future? “My vision for the market is to keep it intimate. We want to work with the environment we’re in, maintain the quality of traders and customers that we have. We want to grow – of course – but we want to do that in a lasting way. We’re also looking at another location that could be ten times as big in terms of revenue, and we might need to talk to Fifo Capital again at that point. But for now, we want to focus on making the market a quality part of the community; weaving it into the fabric of what local families do each week.”
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Synergistic partnership “As an advisory service we have a network of partners that we rely on to provide services we can’t or don’t provide. The great thing with Fifo Capital is that there’s such flexibility around the offering...” MARK RAINBIRD MANAGING DIRECTOR, FUNDING STRATEGIES
Fifo Capital works closely with referral partners to support their clients, providing funding and service that everyone can appreciate. Funding Strategies have been referring clients to Fifo Capital for over six months. It’s a growing relationship. So we thought we’d have a chat with Managing Director, Mark Rainbird, and find out what’s making his partnership with Fifo Capital such a success. “We’re a corporate advisory and capital raising firm. We deal with growing and emerging companies, usually with turnovers of over $1 million in revenue. They come to us for funding and we take them on the journey to where they need to be. Within these companies there’s a group we’ve been referring to Fifo Capital. Generally it’s growing companies looking for expansion capital – and for us we find it useful to get them working capital through Fifo Capital until we can get the equity capital coming in. It’s quite a complimentary service. When we get the equity capital in, it strengthens the balance sheet and makes the business financially stronger.”
“In those situations we’ll do a referral. We give some background information on the client and Fifo Capital give them a call. We would assist a little bit in the background in terms of explaining to the client the general overview of the product. Then Fifo Capital take it forward in terms of the detail and the agreements, that sort of stuff.” It certainly sounds like Fifo Capital has an important role to play with Funding Strategies’ clients. We were keen to understand from Mark what it is about working with Fifo Capital that makes it such a good solution for his clients. “As an advisory service we have a network of partners that we rely on to provide services we can’t or don’t provide. The great thing with Fifo Capital is that there’s such flexibility around the offering. With Invoice Factoring you don’t have to do the whole book – you can react to the client’s needs – start small if you want to and do single invoices. You can get to know the product and it doesn’t interfere with other banking arrangements. We like the product
and we rely on a strong relationship with Fifo Capital. Fifo Capital worked with us in the past so they understand our business well. We find it easy to work with them.” “Fifo Capital are quite happy to come in and provide training or further information if we ask for it. They are also great at getting clients set up as early as possible so that when they do need the money it’s quick and easy. I think once clients are set up it’s pretty quick for them to do it again, and we do have clients who are now using the Fifo Capital product regularly. We feel confident referring our clients because we know they’ll be well looked after. ” Funding Strategies and Fifo Capital are getting great results out of what Mark describes as their “synergistic partnership”. Great results in the form of satisfied clients and growing businesses: so it’s a successful relationship all round. If you want to see more about Funding Strategies and the work they do, visit www.fundingstrategies.com.au
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Business start up funding: nine ways to get it If you’ve got a great idea and you want to turn it into a business reality, you’re going to need the cash to make it happen. Not every business owner has property available or that they want to use to secure lending, and it has been a long time since new companies had to rely solely on the interest of the right investor to get their business off the ground.
secure your lending against your real estate, consider a stock loan or unsecured lending option.
If you have fulfilled orders that have been invoiced and you are waiting for payment, then invoice finance could provide a cash injection into your business by advancing you those funds. New businesses are cash hungry and require smart cash flow management to support their growth. Use cash flow forecasting to help you identify when a product like invoice finance could bridge the gaps in your capital.
From crowdfunding to straightforward finance options, there are a huge range of ways to get the money you need to drive your business forward. Here’s a list of 9 ways you could get your business start up funding. 1 Business loan Business loans can be a great option for short term funding. Try and find the right loan that will work with your business set up and needs. Short term business loans can be flexible in duration and in the security you require to make the loan possible. If you aren’t keen to 17
Product pre-sales If your business is going to sell a product and you know there’s going to be high demand, product pre-sales can be a great way of raising capital. By pre-selling off an
advance batch of product you can raise the funding you need to support stock purchase and production costs. Make sure you set clear dates for product availability and that you build plenty of room into your timelines for glitches and challenges at start up. Your new customers are a great source of funding but you don’t want them to become a source of bad press if their products don’t arrive on time.
Venture capitalists Venture capitalists have a focus on the speed of return, so while they may be happy to invest they tend to want to know what your exit strategy is before they commit. You can expect them to be looking for a return on their investment within three to five years of providing funding.
Other business income Whether you have another business on the side or you have a skill that you can sell to support your new business’s running costs, other business could present a source of income to suit your needs. Take a look at your day job (from before you set up your business venture) and consider whether it’s worth maintaining your income stream to support your new business. Of course this will involve some compromises with your time and availability.
Angel investors Angel investors specialise in investment at the early stage of the growth cycle in new businesses. They usually expect to acquire a share of your business in return for their investment, and will also share their expertise and skills with you to support the growth of your business. Angel investors expect to see a strong return on their investment – usually between 20 to 25%.
Crowdfunding could be in exchange for rewards, products, or a share of your business.
Winning a contest/award New and small businesses are an important part of the economy and are recognised as such by the companies that supply goods and services to them. One of the ways this recognition emerges is in a range of contests and awards from banks, telecommunications
companies, government agencies etc. If you’re starting up a business it���s worth reviewing all the potential awards available and seeing if there is an opportunity for you to boost your funding while gaining recognition for excellence.
9 Grants Specifically focusing on either a certain type of business owner or a certain type/sector of business, grants can be a useful source of income for new businesses. Invest some time in desktop research to identify exactly what is available to you and how a grant could boost your working capital. Great working capital gives you the power to move your business forward quickly, but remember you could always choose to be a ‘bootstrapper’ and find ways to manage your existing funding to progress your business at a slower pace. Your patience might pay off in the long run when you maintain full ownership of both your company and the potential rewards.
There are a wide range of funding options available to small businesses in their start up phase. If you’re in any doubt about which would work best for you then we suggest you consult an expert who is able to understand your current position and goals, and determine the best option for you in the longer term.
6 Crowdfunding Crowdfunding makes it possible for large numbers of small investors to collectively raise the funds your business needs to grow. There are a number of different crowdfunding platforms that could put you in front of your target audience. Take the time to read the small print – it can differ broadly by organisation – and consider what you will be offering to your crowdfunding investors.
Did you know
Australia was the first country to introduce the concept of 8 hour working day, and that Perth has the highest per capita number of self-made millionaires in any city in the world. Fifo Capital Headway
Build customer relationships and enjoy great cash flow Your customer has chosen you for a number of reasons. These could range from you offering the right product or service to meet their needs, through to an existing relationship that has built a position of loyalty between your company and them. Where you have any kind of relationship with a customer, it’s worthwhile making sure that both of you are happy.
understand what your business needs in order to operate effectively and fulfil your customer’s orders. This provides valuable context to any discussions with your customer so you can consider discussing or formalising payment terms before the deal is signed.
Negotiating payment terms is often perceived as a dangerous option, because as businesses we fear that our customers could choose to take their business elsewhere. But the important thing to remember is that being honest about how you can best do business will both benefit your customer and support the relationship you are building with them. Here are our four tips for using your customer relationships to support a good cash flow position.
Having taken the time to be aware of your future cash flow position, now is the time to work with your customer to set an agreement in place that works for both of you. Depending on your relationship with your customer you can choose to disclose the details of your cash position and use it as a rationale for any input you have regarding suggested terms. If terms don’t work for you it’s important to review them now – not in four months time when they are causing your business difficulty.
Be aware It’s difficult to negotiate agreements with customers at the best of times, but doing so without understanding your cash flow position is nearly impossible. How can you be sure that the terms you are agreeing to will allow you to operate effectively and support your customer’s needs? Be aware of your cash flow position now and your likely position in the future, and you will start to
If you’re worried about cash flow challenges, then you’re not alone. We know from Dun & Bradstreet – 7 out of 10 business managers believe cash flow will be an issue in the coming months. Chances are that your customers may have cash flow issues too, and will be empathetic to your position. In summary, transparency builds trust. Trust builds relationships. Relationships can retain customers for the long term.
Always negotiate Don’t be afraid to negotiate or suggest a contract adjustment. If you need early cash flow to process an order, perhaps, look to invoice in ‘chunks’ or installments. If the cost of materials is challenging on particular products, you could look at requesting a deposit payment that will cover the material cost upfront. You may want to consider offering discounted terms on particular invoices. If you having faster access to cash means that your customer will benefit from better service or product delivery, there’s a good reason for them to be interested in supporting your requests. Take the time to explain to your customers how they may benefit.
“No surprises” Anticipate and make your customer aware of potential finance arrangements up front. If you are still struggling to get the terms you need, we suggest you let them know you’ll be using a finance partner on occasions. Being proactive in communicating this will make sure that your customer understands that the partnership is a solution not an indication of a larger problem. By taking a ‘no surprises’ approach you can keep them in the loop and grow your position of trust. For example; “From time to time we bring in a finance partner…we often use invoice finance or XYZ company to fund our continuing growth. This may involve…”. If you don’t end up needing the finance facility, that’s great. If you do, it should be an easy conversation to have.
Looking for a bridging option for clients? Is a change in full-ledger invoice finance services disrupting your clientâ€™s cash flow facilities? Facilities change as do clientâ€™s needs. If any of your clients who are currently using full-factoring services fall into one of the following categories, we can help.
Transitioning from fullfactoring to occasional cash flow support services.
Reviewing their full-factoring options for better business terms.
Fall outside of new credit criteria introduced by the full-factoring provider
Our as-needed service with no ongoing contracts, means clients transitioning from fullledger invoice finance can use the service on an occasional basis when the need arises.
We can buy out the full-ledger for a short period of time (typically one to six months), giving clients breathing time to find the appropriate long term solution.
As above - by taking on the full ledger for a short period of time and working with clients on their invoice finance structure, we provide the needed breathing time to find the appropriate long term solution.
Single invoice finance with Fifo Capital provides a short term, expert solution for businesses undergoing a change in their full-ledger invoice finance services. Fast, expert and flexible, Fifo Capital is the quality option to bridge the cash flow gap.
National Head Office Call Fifo Capital today on 1300 852 556
Define your business personality and stand out What’s the value of this? Your firm will have a new image that’s accurate, powerful, and will make you stand out from your competitors.
In today’s fast-moving world even professional services firms including accountants, lawyers and financial advisers are defining their personalities and using them in their marketing to differentiate themselves from their competitors.
your firm – your team, your clients and your competitors. Nobody knows you better than they do, and their impressions collectively will help you see yourself as other see you rather than just be a reflection of your own perceptions.
Although you’re not likely to get a big assignment just from sending a prospect your firm’s promotional materials, everything that carries your firm’s name has to also communicate a sense of your business personality – who you really are and how you relate to your clients.
Talking with your team
There are three valuable sources of information which can be of tremendous assistance when you’re trying to define the personality of
Begin by explaining to those attending that you’re working to get a definition of just what your firm means to those who are a part
Unless the firm is too large, it’s good to get the whole team together over some sandwiches in the boardroom. Keep things informal so everyone feels relaxed and will speak freely, and make notes of everything that’s said.
of it. Then ask them the following questions (changing the wording if you wish): • If you could put it into words, what does our firm mean to you? • What do you think we do really well? • How do you think other see us? • What makes us stand out from other firms? • Why would somebody want to work here? Take as much time as needed to get everyone’s answers to each question. Encourage people to speak up and be sure to get contributions from all those who are there. Even negative comments will be helpful.
Talk to your clients You don’t need to talk with all your firm’s clients, but make a representative list of those who are a broad cross-section of your entire client base. Five or six is a reasonable number. Tell them you’re doing some market research and invite them into your office for a ‘group discussion’. You could either make it a working lunch or hold the session after work and offer drinks and nibbles. Just as you did with the members of your team, keep things informal and cover one question at a time. Make notes and get their input with answers to the following questions (amended as required): • What does our firm mean to you? • What do you think our strengths are? • What makes us stand out from other firms? • What kind of business would you recommend us to?
You should consider using a market research firm to handle this part of the process if you’re uncertain about getting a group of clients together in your office. It will naturally be more expensive but the results will probably be worth it.
Talk to your competitors This is definitely something that should be handled by a third party. Put together a list of those firms (again, five or six is sufficient) whom you see as your major competitors and engage the services of a market research firm to conduct a series of telephone interviews with their principals. These are the kinds of questions that can be asked: • Are you aware of (firm name)? If the answer’s no, thank them and hang up. • Do you see them as a competitor for your firm? • How would you describe them to someone who didn’t know them? • What, if anything do you think they do particularly well? • What, if anything have you ever heard about them?
Note that the firm conducting the research will have their own suggestions as to the exact wording of each question and the order in which they’re asked. This is normal and part of what you’re paying them for.
Turn research into action You’ve acquired a lot of valuable information that can be used as the basis for marketing that will differentiate your firm from its competitors and accurately and attractively present it to the outside world. Naturally, you can try to interpret and use this information yourself, but it’s really best to use a firm of professional marketers to do this and to reach actionable conclusions that will enable you to successfully market your firm. What’s the value of this? Your firm will have a new image that’s accurate, powerful, and will make you stand out from your competitors. You will also have a marketing platform you can leverage into everything from the design of your letterheads through to presentation folders and promotional literature that will make a big contribution to growing your business.
Three valuable sources of information which can be of tremendous assistance when you’re trying to define the personality of your firm:
• your team • your clients • your competitors
• What sort of personality do you think we have?
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Rebranding your business – a quick guide Your brand is a lot more to your customers that just your logo. It is their combined perception of every element of your business: from your product to your staff; from your prices to how and where you sell.
Creating a brand and an identity for your business is essential to making your product or service capable of building a relationship with your customers. But it’s not uncommon for the brand that we define for ourselves at startup to lose alignment with our customers as our business grows. So how do you manage the evolution of your brand to support the growth of your business?
Keep your eyes focused on your customers Your target audience is everything, and great branding begins and ends with a clear understanding
of your customers – both real and potential. Some of the biggest rebranding mistakes have come from repositioning a business to new customers and consequently alienating an existing loyal base of clients. Whatever changes you make need to be driven by insight into your customer’s needs, and should consider the potential to grow sales. Conduct some sound research – identify what your customers want and what they think of you and your competitors in the market. By mapping your existing brand against others you may highlight opportunities or territories where you can differentiate yourself.
Be prepared to integrate your brand into the way you do business Remember that a brand is not just aspirational: it has to follow through with tangible delivery to be real to your customers. That means that just because you may identify ‘being green’ as an opportunity, it doesn’t mean you can position yourself as eco-friendly if you don’t follow through with the detail in terms of product, packaging and business practices. The original brand you created for your business would have had its own territories, values, personality, and specifications. Consider all of these elements and how you can take them forward to build your customer profile and grow your business. They must integrate with the new brand position that you choose in the market, otherwise your brand evolution will not appear to be genuine and will be rejected by your customers.
Rebranding your business is about more than your logo Your brand is a lot more to your customers that just your logo. It is their combined perception of every element of your business: from your product to your staff; from your prices to how and where you sell. If your rebranding exercise is simply that your logo no longer represents the position of your company and no longer appeals to your customers, then by all means consider evolving it to align it with your customers’ tastes and the way that you work. But if you are seeking a full rebrand that will update your brand and its appeal to your audience, starting with the logo can be a big mistake. Begin by aligning yourself back with your target audience, understanding what they want and need, and then review your business from the inside.
Repositioning your brand may lead you to redesign your logo, but if you do your existing customers will need to understand the reason for the change with tangible examples of the way your brand operates.
Consider the cost of rebranding Rebranding your company is not cheap. There are the design experts, the costs of changing all your business cards and company stationery, signage changes, website updates, and so the list goes on. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do it, but it does mean you need to have your eyes on the cost vs. the revenue potential when you do. It’s also important to consider how you are going to communicate your new identity. Rebranding your business is an excellent opportunity to market your brand. Consider how you can position your change to both your existing customers and potential new markets. It’s important to take loyal customers on the journey with you and ensure that you do not alienate them with the change. Rebranding is an excellent opportunity to ensure that you remain competitively positioned to your target audience, and that you can build a relationship with them that is supported both emotionally and physically in the way that you do business. But it’s important not to rush into it without being aware of the full implications of the process. If you find that your brand and your customer are no longer aligned, rebranding could be essential to keep yourself in the market. But rebranding comes at a cost, and is rarely as simple as just updating a logo and changing your website. It’s important to consider the whole picture before you begin this important journey towards the next phase of your business growth.
Did you know “Yahoo” is an acronym for “Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle”.
of the world’s population recognises the red and white Coca-Cola logo. Cereal is the secondlargest advertiser on television today, behind automobiles. The Rubik’s cube is the best-selling product of all time. The iPhone is second. More than
“mouse ears” have been sold at Walt Disney World to date.
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When expertise counts. Not all business finance needs can be solved with vanilla solutions. When an expert sounding-board is needed, Fifo Capital can help.
• One-on-one consultancy with a business finance specialist • Fast response and approval of finance to meet changing business needs • Consultancy in partnership with your financial advisers and with current banking facilities • Solution-solvers for short term needs, and long term sustainability.
When your business finance needs demand expert thinking and purpose-fit solutions, call Fifo Capital.
National Head Office Call Fifo Capital today on 1300 852 556
Fifo Capital Australia National Head Office L16, 390 St Kilda Road Melbourne VIC 3004 Neil McMillian, Managing Director firstname.lastname@example.org. P +61 3 9866 2930
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