• Bone Chilling Weather and Slipping Sales

    Did the Polar Vortex put a big freeze on your businesses’ revenue? The big chill is leaving quite the impact on the southern and eastern areas of the United States. The subzero temperatures is putting a halt to Americans everyday routines. With record low temperatures, heavy snow fall and wind, people don’t and in some cases can’t, leave their homes. Many seem to believe the weather problem will be short lived, however this does not include the monetary effects.

    Effecting 200 million Americans, the predicted cost of damage estimates around $5 billion impact on the US economy. This number is including the cancelation of flights, workforce loss, repair of rusted pipes, insurance claims, road repairs, the list continues.

    Businesses have seen a drastic drop in sales since the start of the polar vortex due to the lack of consumer spending. Reported in the first week of January, New York has seen a 5.4% decrease in sales in the week ending January 4th. *(Source: (ICSC) and Goldman Sachs Weekly Chain Store Sales Index).

    The low temperatures have permanently damaged vehicles, power lines, and shut down businesses. Naming just a few industries impacted; retail shops, restaurants, construction, landscapers, schools, car sales, technical and delivery services all have to play some catch up. In addition, the current farming and agriculture industries have been effected which may continue over the course of the next year.

    Even though we are nearing the end of the Polar Vortex the impacts on businesses are not finished. Home gas prices the next few months will be higher, and the utility bills will cause consumers to continue to spend less through February.

    On a brighter note, some businesses have reaped the benefits of those staying inside. Energy companies are profiting the most. Cable companies have more customers renting movies, online retailers have experienced a spike in sales and food delivery companies have noticed a big increase in orders.

    How Your Business Can Bounce Back

    If your business was impacted by this, ILS has advice on how you can recover sales for the first half of January and further.

    -Disaster Planning (Make a plan in case of natural disaster). What is it that you see most important in recovering sales in any situation?

    • Increase inventory in stock, increase work staff to catch up on unfinished work, replace broken equipment etc.
    • Alternative methods to do business and make sales.
    • Determine your businesses sales shortage?
    • How much does your business need to play catch up?

    -Get funding. ILS can resolve your capital needs.

    • Working Capital Program – $5K to $250K available for any business related expense.
    • Equipment Financing – $5K to $5 million available for new or used equipment.

    -Take Action. Now that you have the tools to get back on your feet, reach out to your community and customers. Be creative and offer alternative methods.

    ILS is your lending hand in time of need. Don’t let this bump in the road effect your businesses goals and month end sales!

    Contact ILS to learn more. By Angela Caraglio

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  • Out of Our Control – Planning for Disasters

    Planning for a Disaster

    As a business owner you learn to expect the unexpected. Although it is in your best interest to have something to fall back onto when something completely out of the ordinary takes place. Natural disasters have become seemingly more popular in the news and around the world. It has been called to our attention that no matter where one does business, IT can happen to you! In the past decade we have seen; floods, earthquakes, fires, mudslides, tornadoes, and hurricanes which have caused millions of dollars in damages to everything they touch. While we can’t control the weather, we may be able to lessen the impact of these instances if they are to happen to your business. Learn the basics in staying calm and preparing an emergency plan. 

    Emergency Plan Outline

    Use these steps to get started:

    • Get organized. Establish an employee(s) to draft the plan. 
    • Assume the worst. Assume that the physical facility that houses the business and all of its contents has been permanently destroyed. From that scenario, list each item that would be important to the business if salvaged and what must be recreated from scratch in order to continue. Typically, the most critical items are business records. Furniture, materials, and manuals usually can be replaced and are insured for their value.
    • Try to prevent the loss. Of those items on the list that should be salvaged, or must be recreated, determine if there are any alternatives that could have been pursued before the disaster to avoid a total loss. Alternatives may include:
      • keeping duplicate records at a different site
      • keeping backup equipment necessary to continue basic operations at a location other than the work site (perhaps a storage facility or, if possible, in your home)
      • storing critical information such as accounts receivable, client information, or outstanding billings in a safe and secure place such as a bank vault
    • Sweat the small stuff. In addition to planning alternatives, you should include the following in your plans:
      • Determine the adequacy of fire and disaster insurance.
      • Complete emergency evacuation planning, including periodic drills, emergency plans, special considerations for any employees with disabilities, and coordination with local emergency and fire authorities.
      • Establish a plan for an alternate work site during the emergency, including records, staff, and support such as telephone, equipment, and related support.
      • Specify under what circumstances a facility will be closed (such as bad weather), who makes the decision, how the decision is communicated, and whether the employees are compensated.
      • If your company operates 24 hours a day or provides a critical service, determine the plan for alternative electricity, water storage, and other routine public services.
      • Plan a public relations spokesperson’s responsibilities carefully and thoroughly (usually, that means you).
      • Have individuals with key responsibilities keep copies of the emergency plan at their homes in the event of an emergency.
      • Update the plan at least annually.
      • Determine if there are any local (usually industry-specific) groups that offer consulting, training, and reciprocal support in the area of disaster planning.
      • Train any employees periodically on fire prevention. There should be a minimum of two fire drills a year and frequent on-site self inspection and review.
      • Train at least one employee in emergency medical steps (such as CPR). 
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  • Ready to Apply for Financing, but Don’t Know Where to Start? A FICO Score is a Must!

    Financing 101, Small Business owners need a Fico score in order to qualify for loans. In simple terms it is a measurement representing the credit-worthiness of a business and the likelihood the entity will pay off debt…….

    The FICO® Score is calculated from several different pieces of credit data in your credit report. This data is grouped into five categories as outlined below. The percentages in the chart reflect how important each of the categories is in determining how your FICO Score is calculated.

    Your FICO Score considers both positive and negative information in your credit report. Late payments will lower your FICO Score, but establishing or re-establishing a good track record of making payments on time will raise your score.

    How a FICO Score breaks down

    FICO credit score chart

    These percentages are based on the importance of the five categories for the general population. For particular groups—for example, people who have not been using credit long—the relative importance of these categories may be different.

    Importance of categories varies per person

    Your FICO credit score is calculated based on these five categories. For some groups, the importance of these categories may vary; for example, people who have not been using credit long will be factored differently than those with a longer credit history.

    The importance of any one factor in your credit score calculation depends on the overall information in your credit report. For some people, one factor may have a larger impact that it would for someone with a much different credit history. In addition, as the information in your credit report changes, so does the importance of any factor in determining your FICO® Score.

    Therefore, it’s impossible to measure the exact impact of a single factor in how your credit score is calculated without looking at your entire report. Even the levels of importance shown in the FICO Score chart are for the general population, and will be different for different credit profiles.

    Your FICO Score only looks at information in your credit report

    Your credit score is calculated from your credit report. However, lenders look at many things when making a credit decision including your income, how long you have worked at your present job and the kind of credit you are requesting.

    What the FICO Score ignores?
    What are the minimum requirements to have a FICO Score?
    What’s in my credit report?

    Payment history (35%)

    The first thing any lender wants to know is whether you’ve paid past credit accounts on time. This is one of the most important factors in a FICO® Score.

    How is credit score calculated from payment history?

    Amounts owed (30%)

    Having credit accounts and owing money on them does not necessarily mean you are a high-risk borrower with a low FICO® Score.

    How is credit score calculated from amount owed?

    Length of credit history (15%)

    In general, a longer credit history will increase your FICO® Score. However, even people who haven’t been using credit long may have a high FICO Score, depending on how the rest of the credit report looks.

    Your FICO Score takes into account:

    • how long your credit accounts have been established, including the age of your oldest account, the age of your newest account and an average age of all your accounts
    • how long specific credit accounts have been established
    • how long it has been since you used certain accounts

    Community forums: Calculating Average Account Age

    Types of credit in use (10%)

    The score will consider your mix of credit cards, retail accounts, installment loans, finance company accounts and mortgage loans.

    How is credit score calculated from types of credit in use?

    New credit (10%)

    Research shows that opening several credit accounts in a short period of time represents a greater risk – especially for people who don’t have a long credit history.

    visit www.myfico.com

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  • Use Credit Cards the Right Way – Improve Your Credit Score

    Can you think of someone you know who doesn’t have a credit card? …I can’t! On a daily basis we see more plastic than cash. But that little plastic card can do a lot of damage. Use credit the correct way to grow your score!

    An excellent credit score is a sign of responsible financial management. Mortgages, credit cards, auto loans and even cell phone services add depth to an individual’s credit history and can increase a credit score. Scores influence whether a loan or line of credit is approved, the higher the score the better the chance of securing a mortgage, loan or credit card.

    One common misunderstanding of establishing excellent credit is that zero balances on credit accounts will earn raise a score. But that’s just not the case. Lenders want to know that you can actually manage your account and, as grand a gesture is of paying off the balance every month, it doesn’t reflect an ability to handle debt. So, even if you have the financial stability to pay the balance off each month, allow one or two accounts to carry a small balance to increase the visibility of responsible money management.

    Good credit comes from handling a variety of loans and accounts. It’s impacted by how you handle fixed payments, like your car and mortgage payments. But when it comes to credit cards, there are several points that need to be addressed to help secure a healthy score and history:

    Inactive Credit Cards – Should cards that are no longer in use be closed? The simple answer is ‘no’. An inactive card has no negative impact by sitting in a desk drawer; plus, older accounts have more value than new ones. In fact, if you cancel a credit card, you may see a drop in your score because your total credit limit will be reduced… an important factor in determining your credit score. You want to keep your allowable credit as high as possible, which means inactive cards should remain open.

    Opening New Accounts – Opening a new credit card account does not have a negative impact on your score – unless you apply too often. Every time you apply for a new credit card or loan, the application generates a hard inquiry on your credit report. Too many inquiries may indicate financial trouble and result in the denial of your application and raise your credit score.

    An Important Balancing Act – Carrying a balance on your account is not all bad, unless you are nearing the credit limit. You will see a negative effect on your score, if you max out the balance. You should never use more than 50 percent of your credit limit; a lower percentage is always better. For example, if your credit limit is $2,000, you shouldn’t have a balance of more than $1,000.

    Credit Increase: Pro or Con – Asking for an increase on your credit limit may temporarily lower your score. The review process that occurs prior to an increase in your credit line may cause a dip in your score. However, an increase in your credit limit may raise the ratio of available credit to debt and raise your score.

    Keep Them Active – Financial experts suggest that consumers use every active account at least once every six months. It only takes a small purchase to keep an account open and maintain the credit limit.

    The importance of maintaining credit card debt responsibly cannot be understated. Late or missed payments are an absolute deal breaker when looking to earn an excellent credit rating. More than any other type of loan, credit cards reap the biggest boost to your score when managed well.

    Interested in accepting credit cards for your business? Visit our Merchant Services Informational Page >

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  • ILS News

    Innovative Lease Services Team Members New Certified Leasing Professional Certifications

    Innovative Lease Services, Inc. (ILS) is ecstatic to share three more of their financial professionals have earned their CLP, Certified Leasing Professional certification. Innovative Lease Services, Inc. ranks amongst the “Top 9 Companies with Employees Who are CLP’s,” based upon having four or more CLP’s.

    Innovative Lease Services, Inc. Certified Professionals:

    • Tamara McCourt, ILS’s Director of Credit, CPL certified 2004
    • Andrew Nere, ILS’s CEO, CPL certified August 2013
    • Neil Clark, ILS’s VP Sales, CPL certified August 2013
    • Kristan Parker, ILS’s Senior Account Manager, CPL certified August 2013

    Andrew Nere, Neil Clark and Kristan Parker studied at the ILP, Institute for Leasing Professionals in Irvine, California prior to the certification exam.

    The CLP, Certified Leasing Professional designation is the highest standard in the commercial equipment leasing and finance industry’s in the world. CLP’s are acknowledged as having an exceptional reputation, experience and mastery of the “CLP Body of Knowledge.”

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  • ILS News

    Tamara McCourt is Innovative Lease Services New Director of Credit

    Innovative Lease Services, Inc. (ILS) has selected Tamara McCourt as the new Director of Credit for the company. Formerly the Credit Manager for ILS, Ms. McCourt started with ILS in May 2012 and immediately reorganized the Credit Department, both adding capacity and expanding upon existing relationships. As part of her initial overhaul, Tamara created a training infrastructure at ILS to help enable all departments.

    “ILS is extremely fortunate to have an asset like Tamara McCourt as part of our team. Tamara has vast experience in all facets of the Equipment Financing and Working Capital businesses. As Director of Credit, Tamara will oversee the continued expansion of our credit processing infrastructure. With her experience in Operations, Tamara brings a unique perspective to the operation of the credit department. Indeed, ILS has already seen a marked increase in the number of approvals and a decrease in the processing time. As the core mission of ILS is to enable the success of Small and Medium sized businesses, Ms. McCourt is their chief advocate in getting approved for the financing they need.” -Andrew Nere CLP, CEO

    As a Certified Lease Professional and Level 6 Credit Executive (NACM-WA), Ms. McCourt has a solid background in the Financing industry with over 21 years of experience. Tamara is very active in the industry including her involvement as a member of the NEFA Conference Committee, and guest writing for publications for NEFA, Newsline and NACM. Tamara holds a degree in Credit and Financial Management from Dartmouth University.

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