What is asset finance and how can it help your SME

The first concern of any business is balancing costs and expenses alongside retention and profit – in actual fact, mere survival. Obviously, the aim is to have more of the latter and less of the former: at the very least, you want them to even out in a way that allows you at least some profit. There are many ways to help achieve this, but one important way is to consider asset finance, due to every business needing assets in the first place to at all survive.

Asset finance

In order for you to even function, a business requires assets. Assets are usually considered to be those things like equipment, cars, etc., that allow you to do the business at all. However, when starting a business, obtaining the best assets – which allows you to do the best business – can be difficult, if not impossible. After all, you’ve put a lot of money down already into the business; now you need even more to merely make it function.

Asset finance is an umbrella term about financial solutions to obtain assets without incurring too much of a penalty, if done and chosen correctly. One financial assistance site notes:

“Many businesses don’t have enough available cash to consider an outright purchase, making asset finance a necessity. Even if you can afford it, you want to put your money to good use and investing cash in assets leaves you with less working capital to finance operations or explore new growth opportunities. The flexibility of asset finance allows you to align repayments to suit your cash flow and you may be able to claim tax deductions.”

Thus, there is a way to work on obtaining the desired assets while also keeping your costs lower.

Options

But, as we noted, asset finance is an umbrella term.

For example, you get the option of leasing the asset. This is, as the name suggests, paying to use the item. At no point, of course, do you own it. There is usually no deposit, but that depends; further you are tied to a certain amount of time, since this means the lender obtains a profit from their leasing service.

The obvious advantage is that you can acquire new items that help your services quickly. You can even sometimes have the option to own the product, if you have enough money – though that’s not the point of leasing itself.

There is also “hire purchase”, which means:

“Giving you a fixed or variable rate, with this option you generally pay the VAT and an initial deposit at the start – followed by a simple, structured repayment profile designed to facilitate cash flow.”

Thus, at the end you own the asset entirely, but manage your payment in a way that makes the least impact on your cashflow.

Impact on business

As a growing business, you need to be doing all you can to keep costs low. And asset finance, and its different options and perspectives, as well as the option to acquire said assets, makes for an important consideration. Of course, if you had the money in the first place, it would be best to purchase – but that can be an option for later, when your business has grown and the assets are in place to secure a financially viable future.

Are you entrepreneur stuck in an employee’s body?

Many are of the opinion that entrepreneurs are born, not made. That entrepreneurs are individuals who take risks, who don’t respond well to authority and who like to set rules, not follow them.

In essence – not someone you’ll find in an office cubicle.

But many people have disproven this theory, by being corporate drones for most of their life and then exiting to follow a grand vision – that becomes a success. Also, think of those by-chance entrepreneurs – the ones who started something as a hobby or out of personal need and before they knew it, they were trademarking a business name.

Do these people force themselves to think and behave like entrepreneurs? Or did they always have a speck of entrepreneur in them, just waiting to be nurtured?

Perhaps you’re sitting at your desk right now, wishing to escape from the shackles of 9-to-5, but you’re holding back because you don’t know if you have what it takes to go it alone. Is there a way to know whether you should hand in your resignation letter?

Perhaps not, as any new business is a gamble, but if you possess certain personality traits, you could be more likely to make a success of that venture:

You’re disciplined and motivated – No one will be standing behind you, cracking a whip. You’ll need to be disciplined enough to know what should get done and when it should happen.

You have self-confidence – You cannot doubt yourself or your business idea; you have to believe that you are capable and that the idea does solve a problem or serve a purpose. If you don’t believe this to be true, how do you expect someone else to?

You have good communication skills – There will be a lot of networking, calling and emailing required to get your business off the ground. It’s vital that your communication, verbal, non-verbal and written, gets your message across and connect with people.

You can multi-task – In the first few months, you’ll need to be a jack of all trades. There is a slim chance that you’ll have enough money to hire an employee to help out.

You’re optimistic – There will be good days, but there definitely will also be tough days. You need to be able to see the glass as half-full and be able to soldier on in the face of troubles. Giving up is not an option if you want to make a success of working for yourself.

Do you think you have what it takes? Remember that being someone else’s employee isn’t all bad. It offers benefits working for yourself cannot. First and foremost there is the salary, and then there is a medical aid and pension funds that provide peace of mind, especially to those with families.

Being on a payroll also provides structure and makes it easier to maintain a work-life balance. Working for yourself rarely comes with free time. It also doesn’t offer the camaraderie that comes with having colleagues, so anyone who prefers to be surrounded by people are probably better off in an office environment.

To the budding entrepreneur, an office job provides a handy safety net until it’s time to make the jump. Your salary can be used to build up a cash reserve and evenings can be spent on upskilling by studying business management courses or similar.

Who knows – before long, you could be one of those success stories others just like you aspire to.

 

 

 

 

 

The coolest jobs and how to get them

Ever thought your sleeping, eating or partying skills are so refined, you could be a professional? Surely nobody gets paid to have that much fun though? Or do they?

You might not have taken the notion seriously before, but your favourite past-time can, in fact, be your job. Let’s have a look at the top three coolest “jobs” and how to get them.

Chocolate taster

As much as tasting chocolate for a living sound like an endless waterfall of sweet goodness, do not mistake this for an easy job. Manufactures of cacao delights rely on tasters to experience everything form the appearance of their produce to its aroma in intimate detail. For this, they provide a room void of any sights, smells or other stimuli, besides chocolate, where the taster can focus all their attention on the task at hand.

Tasters, chocolate or otherwise, then get to rate all aspects of their delicious experience and, when applicable, suggest improvements. Ice-cream tasters, for example, are encouraged to come up with new flavours.

To become a taster, some background in the food industry is a plus, but not a must. A super sensitive palate is essential, as well as attention to detail.  The most logical route to follow in pursuit of this career is to get involved with product development in the food industry. Alternative you can become a part-time taster by signing up for tasting panels.

Party person

Are you always the one getting the group together? Do you make an occasion of fairly anything, just so you can throw a party? Guess what, you can get paid for that.  Think of the most amazing event you’ve been to; festivals, concerts, product launches etc. Every one of these glorious occasions had one thing in common – somebody got paid to plan it.

Becoming the ultimate bash-creator is fairly straight forward. South African colleges and universities offer a range of excellent events management courses focussed on either working for a company or being your own boss. Once qualified, nothing can stand in your way of becoming the king or queen of partyworld.

Sleeper

Ever wish you could have a profession where sleeping on the job is a requirement, never mind encouraged? Look no further than the hospitality industry. Hotel Finn in Finland recently recruited a professional sleeper to spend 35 days in bed. The sleeper was then asked to blog about the comfort levels of the establishment from under the duvet and rewarded handsomely for their month-long slumber.

Since other hotels got wind of this ultimate sleep report, similar opportunities have been advertised around the globe. The trick to being a professional freelance sleeper is to be wide awake when it comes to spotting opportunities – like NASA’s 70-day snooze.

Yes, that’s right, NASA offered volunteers US$18 000 to stay in bed for 70 days straight. Needless to say, this is one job you would walk away from well-rested.

These professions just prove that, when it comes to choosing a dream career, the sky is the limit. The secret is to invest yourself in a career that brings you job. As the legendary writer, Stephen King said, “If you can do it for joy, you can do it forever.”

Minimising risks with your suppliers

Your relationship with your suppliers can make or break your business. While there are many benefits to outsourcing parts of your business processes, a lot can also go wrong.

There’s no need to worry, however. You can take steps to minimise the risks, and ensure a long and mutually beneficial relationship with your suppliers.

Foster proper communication

Nothing ruins a perfectly decent business process like bad communication between parties involved. Poor communication is one of the biggest pitfalls any business can have, but it’s often overlooked. When something goes wrong, it’s easy to point fingers, but it might really have been avoided by proper communication.

Mask sure that your supplier has one point of contact in your business, and that you have one point of contact on the supplier’s side. If you’re outsourcing cladding in Cape Town, for instance, but you’re in Johannesburg, then it’s especially important your communication lines are clear and open at all times.

While you don’t want to inundate your supplier with constant emails, it is important that you maintain regular communication that is concise, courteous, and frank.

Establish a process

When outsourcing, it’s best that you define and establish an official process from the beginning. But you can implement one at any point.

If the process is informal, you lose track of things, people get confused, and quality drops. Work out the best system for going forward, clear it with the supplier, and then make sure it is always followed. You may need to follow up later to make sure all parties are adhering to the system, or see if it needs adjusting.

Take responsibility

If something goes wrong, like a missed deadline, don’t make it your knee-jerk reaction to blame the supplier. Even if there is fault on their side, there might still be something you can improve upon on your side. Perhaps you need to manage your expectations or put together clearer briefs.

Just don’t play the blame game, because that’s of use to no one.

Monitor and review the performance

Even the most reliable supplier can slip up now and then. Conduct regular performance reviews to help you keep tabs on their work and make sure they’re fulfilling their end of the agreement. This will also alert you to potential problems that may be lurking down the line, or help you know where refinements need to be made. These reviews will also let you know where you stand when it comes time to talk about contract renewal.

Cape Town – SA’s innovation hub

As the endless Cape Town vs. Johannesburg debate rages on, supporters on both sides of the fence have made convincing cases for the superiority of their homes. At the risk of sounding bias, one has to admit there is a clear difference between the two economies and subsequently, earning potential.

Johannesburg, with its ample career opportunities and abundant financial rewards, lacks Cape Town’s majestic scenery. Capetonians enjoy the spoils when it comes to natural beauty, clean streets and award-winning wines, but pay their dues in “mountain tax”.

Don’t jump on the Gautrain just yet though. Although Johannesburg might be the “It” place for corporate ladder climbers, Cape Town has built its own, distinctively Capetonian economy. In short, the Mother City dishes out ideas the way Joburg dishes out credit cards.

South Africa’s creativity capitol

Yes, this attribute to the Mother City was made official when Cape Town was crowned as 2014’s World Design Capital. With an abundance of developing companies specialising in arts and design, Cape Town has become Sun-Saharan Arica’s hub of creative thinking.

Why are South Africa’s inventive minds congregating in Cape Town? According to Creative Cape Town, designers are drawn to the city’s intrinsic splendour and the opportunity to learn from the best. The more designers make a name for themselves in Cape Town, the higher the standards new talent must uphold.

With this constant advancement happening in fashion, jewellery, advertising and film (to name just a few), Cape Town is becoming a career destination for the creative mind. Just think of opportunities like Design Indaba, the Loerie Awards and Cape Town Fashion Week, a benchmark to its Johannesburg based sister-event. Even technological innovation has found a breeding ground in the Mother City, dubbing it the “Silicon Cape”.

An oasis for every designer

Thanks to this constant creative growth, talented youngsters from all over the nation are looking for jobs in Cape Town  in order to slice their piece of the design pie. Besides the already bustling resourcefulness of the city centre, subsequent “outer-hubs” like Woodstock and Khayelitsha are joining the movement with their own, unique artistic development. With this distinctive drive to be original, Cape Town is the ideal launchpad for true innovation. 

In all fairness, Cape Town may never replace Johannesburg as the financial capital of South Africa. Yet, thanks the undeniable creative buzz surrounding Table Mountain, the Mother City can be proud of her unique business potential.