Charge Forward Together

Hurricane Dorian created havoc in its path through the Caribbean and all the way up through the United States and Canadian coast. Idea Financial’s southern neighbors from the Bahamas have faced devastation on a level they have not seen before. Thanks to the proximity to the islands, we are working with part of our team and local organizations to send emergency supplies starting this week.

If you would like to contribute the relief effort, we have created an Amazon list in which you can purchase the items, these would be received at our offices and sent to The Bahamas. The list comes official relief webpage of The Bahamas government:

https://www.bahamas.com/relief

There are links to several organizations that will take monetary donations if you prefer to do so.

The following is link to our Amazon Bahamas Relief effort:

http://a.co/8XK5QQb

Please note that all quantities needed in the list start at 100. This does not reflect the need of one over another, this is an arbitrary amount set in order to have all supplies available for purchase.

From all of us at Idea Financial we thank you for any help you can send. We grow stronger when we work together and stand with one another.

Thank you once again.

5 Smart & Simple Ways to Boost Summer Sales

Summertime is in full-swing! 

Take advantage of the spirit of the season with 5 fun, and creative ways to entice summertime spending.

1.    Create an event, host a summertime ‘open-house’ and invite customers to check out your latest and greatest seasonal merchandise. Implement festive seasonal displays & create some give away items to generate excitement and gain attendees. 

2.    Take advantage for the warmer weather and host daily side walk sales.  Utilize your Social Media platforms & e-mail marketing databases to help spread the word.

3.    Holiday themed promos,Create discount codes and coupons around key holidays to generate both in-person and online traffic. Everyone loves to celebrate a good deal!

4.    Create a guide to the season.  Generate a style guide & and give your shoppers a sneak preview of your store’s collection.  Everyone loves good inspo – especially when it leads to a sale.  Your clients may even find exactly what they are looking for in your e-mail.

5.    Create a no cost contest.  Customers love contests because it’s a FREE opportunity to win something.  Utilize your social media & e-mail marketing databases and communicate your contest guidelines for both how to enter and winner selection.  Generate a fun hashtag for the event to really engage your followers!

Attention Small Businesses: Here is What You Must Know About Gen Z Consumers

Generation Z is on track to be the most money-driven, financially powerful generation ever. This generation’s unique habits will play a vital role in shaping America’s commerce. Young people’s consumer habits will also be a key driver in influencing retail practices in the future.

This was the finding of a new report released by Morning Consult. It’s titled ‘Understanding Gen Z: How America’s Largest, Most Diverse, Best-Educated, and Most Financially Powerful Generation Will Shape the Future.’

The report is based on thousands of interviews with 18 to 21-year-olds.

Gen Z Consumers

The survey explores the consumer habits of Generation Z — those born between 1997 and 2012. And it provides important insight for small business retailers. It examines what they should be doing to appeal to what will be the most money-driven, financially-powerful generation there’s ever been.

While enamored with major technology and social media brands, Generation Z enjoys shopping in-person. The survey found 48% of all Gen Z adults enjoy shopping in-store more than digital methods of shopping.

The figure is slightly higher amongst female adult Gen Z’s. 55% of the women interviewed say shopping in a physical store is their preferred way to shop. That contrasts with 40% of Gen Z men.

Debit Cards are Gen Z Consumer’s Preferred Payment Method

The research also looked at the way Gen Z pay for everyday items. It found the debit card is the most common way to pay for items. 47% of all Gen Z adults purchase products with a debit card. 30% of Generation Z adults use cash to buy things like groceries and gas. And 11% regularly use credit cards.

The survey participants were also asked about reviews. This included which types of reviews mattered to them the most when looking to try a new product or service.

41% of the Gen Z’s interviewed said consumer reviews and ratings on a website are most important. And 38% believe recommendations from friends or family are the most important type of review when determining whether to purchase a product or service.

Gen Z Consumers Value Expert Reviews

36% of the 18 to 21-year-olds interviewed said they believe expert reviews are most important, and 17% said a recommendation from an influencer or account they follow on social media was the most important type of review when it comes to deciding whether to buy something.

The report also notes the importance Generation Z places on convenient, quick and efficient shopping transactions. As the report’s authors note:

“Two-day delivery and other seamless online shopping experiences have become commonplace in the years since Gen Z first began spending serious money, driving high expectations about convenience.”

Gen Z is set to become the most financially driven generation. So it is vital small businesses keep up to speed with what this generation deem as important.

To remain competitive amongst this generation of spenders, small businesses need to provide the seamless, quick and convenient service this young generation expects.

Small businesses will need to consider their business reviews and be proactive in making online consumer reviews work in their favor.

Given that Gen Z consumers prefer in-store shopping, a retailer would be wise to provide customers with a choice of shopping in-store and from an ecommerce site.

The key takeaway is that the financially motivated Generation Z is poised to be one of the biggest consumers in America and consequently small businesses need to cater for the age group’s demands, habits and preferences in order to appeal to a generation of spenders.

5 Expert Social Media Tips To Help Your Small Business Succeed

5 Expert Social Media Tips To Help Your Small Business Succeed

Social media is a great way for small business owners to connect with prospects and customers. Done right, it can make sales skyrocket. Some entrepreneurs have even built an entire business on a social media platform, but if you’re not careful, it can be time consuming, distracting, or even backfire by alienating customers and prospects.

Here are 5 Social Media tips to help your small business build  a successful presence on social media platforms:

1. Lead with objectives

Start with your top three marketing objectives, then evaluate how social media may help you achieve them. Business owners buy into the idea that they have to be in all these new places or they will be left behind, but social media has to help you reach your objectives or you’re just wasting time. Don’t think of social media as a megaphone for your business, but think about how it can help you reach your goals.

2. Know Your Audience

Understanding your audience has profound implications for your social media marketing strategy. From the perspective of developing your content and SEO strategy, it helps you answer vital questions such as: who are your customers? What are their most urgent and pressing concerns? What kind of content do they want to see? What factors are they focused on in terms of making a buying decision. This information helps you decide what strategy will reach them most effectively on every point from design and copy to keyword research and content deployment.

3. Build your Community 

Concentrating on growing your community and engagement on Social Media platforms can absolutely boost sales and conversion rates. It will also lead toward amazing opportunities for collaboration. Just make sure that you understand that building engaging communities online is a marathon not a sprint. Online Communities are a form of digital currency. The more engaged your community is, the more you can cash in on opportunities for growth, partnerships, and potential leads. 

4. Create a Content Calendar

Planning your social media activities will allow you to post consistently—and get more consistent results. You can create a strategy and actually get better results with less time and effort. You can determine which activities to automate and which to assign if you plan ahead. 

5. Don’t try to do it yourself

As a small business owner, your time is limited, so delegate social media work to someone (or a team) in your company, or engage an outside expert. Then add the cost of your social media strategy to your budget. 

Idea Financial Closes $70 Million Warehouse Facility with Cross River

MIAMI, FL— June 17, 2019— Idea Financial, a leading small business lender, announced that it successfully closed a $70 million warehouse facility with Cross River Bank (“Cross River”), a pioneering provider of banking services for financial technology companies. This is Cross River’s first commercial warehouse facility and Idea Financial’s first domestic financing partnership.

“This financing will allow Idea Financial to scale and marks the beginning of a very important strategic relationship between Cross River and Idea Financial,” said Justin Leto, co-founder and CEO of Idea Financial.  Larry Bassuk, co-founder and President of Idea Financial, added: “With this facility in place, Idea Financial will continue providing competitively priced financing solutions so our small and medium sized business clients can grow and thrive.”

The facility was originated by Cross River’s Strategic Financing Solutions Group, a specialized team focused on providing warehouse, forward flow, and direct lending services to empower the growth of fintech lenders.

“The addition of Idea Financial to our Capital Markets portfolio further fortifies our commitment and ability to provide best-in-class capital markets services and solutions to the fintech community and beyond,” said Gilles Gade, Founder, President, and CEO of Cross River.

About Idea Financial

Idea Financial is a digital small-business lender that provides Main Street businesses with the financial resources they need to charge their businesses forward. Idea Financial’s online platform allows a small business owner to apply for, and receive, up to $250,000 of financing in less than one day.  For more information, visit: http://www.ideafinancial.com

About Cross River

Cross River is a fast-growing financial services organization that merges the established expertise and traditional services of a bank with the forward-thinking offerings of a technology company. They combine a compliant and comprehensive suite of products into a unique banking-as-a-platform solution, encompassing lending, payments, and risk management. Cross River partners with leading marketplace lenders and fintech companies, enabling them to focus on their own growth without hindering innovation. Founded in 2008, Cross River is a New Jersey state-chartered FDIC insured bank. For more information, please visit Cross River’s website at www.crossriver.com or the company’s Twitter @crossriverbank.

Online Small Business Funding Picking Up, Human Touch Still Key

Thanks to innovations in financial technology, small businesses today have many options for small business funding.

Online applications are making it easier for small businesses to apply for funding, and new technologies are making it easier for funders to process applicants and make informed decisions.

Small businesses are gaining faster access to flexible funding options and lines of credit, all without ever having to deal with a bank. JustinLeto, CEO of Idea Financial, told deBanked, a financial news source, that the rate of small business funding picked up in December of last year and is carrying over into 2019.

Idea Financial Sees High Volume of Responsible Borrowers

As Leto revealed to deBanked, Idea Financial’s average borrowers are accessing lines of credit ranging from $100,000 to $150,000, but rarely use the full amount. He said they use percentages of the line of credit over time for various projects and then quickly pay it back.

All this makes sense for Idea Financial’s borrowers from a strategic perspective: they only pay interest on what they use (not the full line of credit), and are never charged for paying back their loans early.

“I think that’s a sign of a responsible borrower,” Leto told deBanked, emphasizing these borrower habits reassured him about the health of the economy overall.

Humans Still Key to Small Business Funding in the Digital Age

One reason for the speed at which emerging online funding companies can offer faster access to capital for small businesses is due to new financial technologies. These technologies leverage Artificial Intelligence (AI) and large data sets to automate and refine all or part of the decision-intensive process of underwriting.

When an institution underwrites a loan, they take on the risk of lending to a certain borrower based on evidence to suggest the borrower will pay back the loan. In the past, this required a lengthy, extensive human review of credit scores, business types, and other data points.

Now, machines can quickly assess large quantities of data and reliably inform major lending decisions. They can help lenders determine terms, rates, and amounts for a deal.

Idea Financial CEO Justin Leto told deBanked that while his company uses AI, underwriting requires a human touch.

“Human underwriting is still a critical part of funding,” Leto told deBanked. “There is an art to underwriting. It’s not just a science. It can’t be cookie cutter.”


Idea Financial Celebrates Our Partners During Small Business Week

In celebration of Small Business Week, Idea Financial would like to express our sincere gratitude to all the small business owners creating jobs, giving back to their communities, and delivering essential goods and services.

Thank you! You strengthen local economies and inspire new generations of entrepreneurs to explore new market opportunities and follow their dreams.

Without you, Idea Financial would not exist. You are the backbone of the American economy and the reason we come to work each day. Our business exists to help your business grow and achieve your dreams.

It takes hard work, determination, and vision to establish a small business and ensure it thrives. As small business owners know, that work is never done. There are always opportunities to grow.

Sometimes this requires more capital than your business has on hand.

Here are three tips for exploring your small business funding options and making the best choices as you continue to grow.

1 – Assess Your Funding Needs

First, make an inventory of funding needs and determine how much you’ll need to accomplish your new goals for growth. Check out these useful tips for funding your type of business. Look at your timing. Sit down with a trusted advisor to talk about whether now is the best time to go for the goal. Will you see a quick return on investment? How likely is your plan to return a profit within a fixed time period? Read more about the most successful recipients of small business funding and how they operate.

2 – Compare the Options

Before applying, check out these five things to consider when it comes to small business financing. Be sure to compare the wide variety of options. Different funding sources have different implications for your personal credit. Others might come with annual fees, or even an “origination fee” to cover “the cost of processing the loan application.” Incredibly, some lenders even charge a fee if you pay off your loan early! Idea Financial believes it’s unfair to charge “early repayment fees” and will never charge an annual fee or “origination fee”.

3 – Consider the Associated Benefits

When applying for small business funding or a line of credit, it’s important to consider whether the funding comes with any advising. Is there someone you can talk to if you have questions or ideas about how to make the funding work for your business? Are there any tools or online portals to help you easily manage your funding and payments? Idea Financial provides dedicated business advisors to support you as you grow, plus online tools to help you manage your capital.

Get Ready to Grow

If you’ve done these three things and feel ready to seek small business funding, apply in minutes with Idea Financial. You’ll receive a decision within hours and access funds within a day. Then you can use the funds whenever you need them, and only pay interest on what you use.

About Small Business Week

Recognized in the US for over 50 years and held this year May 5-11, Small Business Week celebrates the many small businesses in our country. Each year since 1963, the President of the United States has proclaimed National Small Business Week as a time to celebrate small business entrepreneurship and innovation. The U.S. Small Business Administration helps promote and mark the event with awards and events.

Business Beware: Stacking Loans Can Be A House of Cards

Were you recently approved for business financing? Congratulations! This is a crucial stage in the life of your business. What you do now will have a tremendous impact on the success of your business. In this article, we will provide some guidance so you can avoid over-leveraging your business. Business financing can provide the fuel for growth that your business needs, but it is critical to use sound business judgment when securing financing. The first step to successfully leverage your business with third-party financing is to avoid “stacking.”

What is Loan Stacking?

Loan stacking is the term for when a business applies for, and receives, funding from multiple online lenders. Stacking results in an increased debt-load, multiple daily or weekly payments, and increased risk of business insolvency. Responsible and thoughtful lenders, like Idea Financial, underwrite your business and determine how much you can afford to pay. When you stack one loan on top of another, you likely will be exceeding what your business can afford to pay, resulting in payment stress, and, in the worst cases, default on your obligations. Loan stacking is never a good idea, but with so many lenders soliciting your business to take more financing, it is understandable why stacking occurs so often. Make no mistake about it, stacking will not help your business.

View Financing Options with Caution

After you get your first business line of credit, other lenders or brokers will reach out to offer you more financing options for your business. Through the purchase of leads from third party data providers, lenders learn that you have recently taken business financing and target you for more debt.

While this idea might appeal to you, remember that combining your Idea Financial Line of Credit with other loan options from online lenders – or loan stacking – will not benefit your business in the long run. You may receive more cash now, but the likelihood that you will have difficulty servicing this debt increases with each new loan you take. And since Idea Financial provides your business with the amount of money that our proprietary program has determined you can afford, adding more debt is a recipe for future disaster.

How Loan Stacking Crushes the Value of Your Line of Credit

With Idea Financial, every time you make a payment on your line of credit, a portion of that payment is principal, replenishing your available credit and providing you with greater borrowing power. Businesses that use only one line of credit can quickly repay what they’ve borrowed to keep their debt levels low. They also ensure they have a steady stream of available cash to allow their business to grow responsibly. Businesses that use the Idea Financial line of credit as their sole source of financing are better prepared to respond to what their business needs; from payroll, investing in growth opportunities, purchasing inventory, marketing, or hiring.

Businesses that take on debt in excess of their approved line of credit add unnecessary and, likely, unintended risk to their business. In our experience, businesses that do not stack do not default. It is only the businesses that over-leverage that end up in default, insolvency and bankruptcy.

6 Summer Wellness Tips for Your Small Business

Temperatures are heating up and summer is on the way. Depending on your industry, this may be a slower season or it might constitute the bulk of your business. No matter what industry you’re in, summer days are longer, there’s more daylight, and more people are out on the streets. Now is the perfect time to test new markets, try new messaging, and ensure your business is on solid footing for the rest of the year.

Stay Hydrated… With Financial Liquidity

It doesn’t really come in a bottle, but liquidity is important for small business. Now is a great time to check your cash on hand and make sure you have enough to cover your expenses and any debt obligations without stressing your business. If you’re constantly operating on tight margins and often decline new opportunities, it might be a good time to check for any areas of your business that might not be delivering returns.

Go For a Spin To See What the Competition is Doing

Competitor research doesn’t have to be a drag! Summer is a great time to get out and check out what other businesses are doing. Be open to getting ideas from all different types of businesses. Take a walk, run, or bike ride around your town. Browse storefronts and environmental advertising and go read a magazine or the newspaper in the park. You can get ideas from all different mediums and industries, even on vacation. The key is to always be ready to be inspired.

Refresh Your Marketing With Summer Campaigns

Summer is the perfect time to try some new marketing strategies. Have you always wanted to put out a sandwich board? Is it time to freshen up your local print ads? First, take stock of all your marketing strategies and ads. Are there any messages or ads that could use an update? Remember that digital advertising gives you enormous opportunities to connect with specific audiences in specific locations, so keep it in mind if you haven’t already tried it.

Dip Your Toe Into New Markets

No need to dive in right away! It’s okay to just dip into some new business ideas. Test your new business idea with a small group of customers or hold a focus group with a trusted group of advisors to talk it through. Sometimes a simple conversation can open up entirely new ideas and lead to incredible new opportunities. When you’re ready to launch your new business idea, learn how Idea Financial gives you access to clear, transparent, and fast small business funding plus support to grow your business.

Ramp Up the Customer Engagement

How interactive is your small business? Do you have efforts to engage and reward loyal customers? No business should ever take their customers for granted, including small businesses. Even if you’re the only game in town for now, you never know when the competition might move in next door. Summer is a great time to position your business as the best solution for your customers needs. Host an event or create a new mailing list (email or postal). Start by talking with your customers and asking them what they want. The rest will follow.

Cool Off On Taking Out More Than One Small Business Loan

Take a step back and cool off on borrowing, especially if you already have a loan or small business funding. Taking out more than one loan at the same time is called loan stacking, and it’s a risky proposition. Taking out multiple loans can increase your debt burden beyond what’s manageable and erase all the gains you’ve made. Don’t risk it and avoid loan stacking.

How to Get The Most Out of Your Small Business Funding

Applying for and receiving small business funding is a huge accomplishment. You’re taken a crucial step toward expanding your business and setting yourself up for growth. But as you begin to channel your money and energy into realizing your business goals, it’s very important to make a plan for managing your small business funding or line of credit.

Idea Financial has worked with many small businesses and we’ve seen what works. Here are a few tips for success.

Make Your Funding Work For You

The most successful recipients of small business funding make their money work for them. They have a clear plan for making a profit and are able to quickly make returns on their investments. They then use that profit to pay back their small business financing.

An example might be an online seller who uses their financing to boost their inventory, then quickly makes a profit and repays their loan.

Make a Plan for Repayment

Before even applying for small business funding or a line of credit, it’s a good idea to sit down and make a plan for repaying it. At which points in your business cycle will you have cash available to make payments? Talk through your plans with someone at your company and make sure your plan is realistic.

Once you’ve secured your funds, set up reminders and checklists and build repayment into your calendar. Share the schedule with someone else so that you’re accountable to it.

Avoid Loan Stacking

After you receive your funding or line of credit, you may see offers from other small business lenders offering a “better” deal or a “lower” rate. It may be tempting to think about taking out another loan. However, they aren’t necessarily calculating their interest in the same way, and these loans may cost you more over time.

It’s never a good idea to loan stack. Loan stacking involves taking out multiple loans from different lenders at the same time. Taking on debt from multiple lenders will make it more difficult to manage your debt. Most lenders also have clauses prohibiting such practices.

Use Idea Financial as Your Mini-CFO

Idea Financial has small business advisors on hand to help you use your funding to grow your business. Your funding from Idea Financial also includes a dashboard to help you manage your funds.

Apply now for small business funding or a line of credit through Idea Financial and charge your business forward.