ss_blog_claim=bd50edc517cf0b7549fe6b5f63b6b5f8 The SLS Business Finance Blog: July 2007

Friday, July 27, 2007

Way Out With WAY SYSTEMS: Visa/MasterCard Made Mobile

Technology affects every field including the merchant processing industry. Everything is getting smaller and more powerful just like computers, blackberries and that other good stuff.

Imagine looking down at your cell phone and being able to swipe a credit card through it!

What would that be technology worth? The Way Systems-Mobile Transaction Terminal or MTT as it is referred to in the industry, provides such an innovation. Just 4 inches tall and a little more than 2 ½ inches wide, the WAY Systems MTT combines low-cost mobile phone technologies with the capabilities of a Point of Sale terminal. It incorporates a built-in magnetic along with a mini stand alone printer (if needed).

A big additional benefit of the WAY System is that pricing for credit card transactions for the merchant is based on one big factor, whether the card is present or not present. Card present transactions pay less because there's a lesser risk of fraud than when the card is not present like when the order is phoned in, taken over the web or otherwise not personally signed for. So a business can be out in the field but still pay the lowest industry rates possible through card present transactions since the merchant can swipe the card on site with this system. This technology answers the question, "How will I take a credit card out in the field?"
Markets that commonly use the Way System include: art studios, business coaches, field sales, towing/wrecker companies and electricians(to name a few). Any mobile business that has been forced to deal with the issue of NSF's (that's the good old bounced check) and returned checks will benefit greatly from this technology.

Todd Rome
Director BankCard Services
Southern Lending Solutions

Check out our website at

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Franchises and Leasing

We are often asked which industries are best fits for leasing and there are lots of answers to this question. One of the best fits for equipment leasing for both the startup and the established business is the franchise business, both franchisor and franchisee.

The franchisee has purchased the franchise location in the particular area/territory. Every retail franchise has what is known as the 'required equipment list'. This would include things like certain kitchen items like ovens and icemakers for a full service restaurant or certain types of refrigerated cases for pastries for a coffee shop, or certain equipment types for typical repairs for a repair shop.

The required equipment list is a perfect fit for equipment leasing. The main reason for this is that good quality franchisors evaluate their potential franchisee rigorously especially in the areas of personal credit, personal net worth and liquidity. These are important factors for that rocky first 2 years so the business can keep going long enough to eventually generate a profit. The last thing the franchisor wants is to grant a territory and invest time and $$ in them and in 18 months they have to close up shop and start over again. So it stands to reason, since equipment leases are easier to qualify for than bank loans, that if the franchisee has good enough credit and liquidity to qualify for the franchise in the first place, then there's every reason to believe that qualifying for a lease for the required equipment should be easy. It helps to further ensure the franchisee's success by keeping more of his startup $$ in his pocket since 5-10% down is the maximum they'd have to pay up front so cash can be preserved for the unexpected. Its that unexpected cash need that usually kills a business in the first 2 years.

Monday, July 16, 2007

5 Questions of a Business Coach, Kirk Bogue of Action Coach International

This week's feature is Kirk Bogue, business coach with ActionCoach International. Business coaches provide an important service to small businesses helping provide independent advice and counsel.

What is the # 1 issue facing small businesses/small business owners today that you come across in the coaching business?

The answer to this question is a matter of perspective. If you are an immediate family member of a business owner, you would likely say the top issue is that the business doesn’t produce enough income or that it takes too much of the business owner’s time. If you are the business owner, you would likely select your top issue as one of the following: competition, getting more customers, getting reliable employees or lack of time. As a Business Coach and a business owner, I would say the key issue facing most business owners is something about their selves; most business owners would significantly improve their results if they would demonstrate increased accountability regarding their own desires and actions. This translates to the establishment of company vision and mission as well as long and short term goals. It also translates to the adoption of habits that are commensurate with and congruent to having the kind of business and results they truly dream of having (i.e. the owner of a business that makes $1M in profits thinks and acts differently than an owner of a business that makes $100K in profits).

Can you describe for us some of the benefits that come with hiring a business coach?

The tangible benefits for business owners that result from a successful relationship with a business coach include improved profits, more time to pursue other business or personal interests and more of the lifestyle they deserve. Owners produce those kinds of results as outcomes of the education, accountability and mentorship they receive from the coaching process. The coaching process helps them develop the skills, beliefs, principles and mindset they use to take them and their businesses to the next level.

There are benefits for the owner that emanate from building trusting relationships with their customers, their team, their suppliers and their coach, although these may be more intangible in value than those mentioned above. The reputation a coached person can develop as part of or as a result of their enhanced success can also be extremely meaningful to a business owner or those close to them. More important than any other benefit, however, are the feelings a business owner’s success breeds within. As a coach, it is truly an honor to witness the moment that a client’s confidence soars, that the smile on their face beams with pride or that they experience real peace of mind.

What industries benefit the most from coaching?

There is no one industry that benefits more than another from business coaching. The people (in any industry) who benefit most from coaching are those who want to achieve more of their potential, who realize they do not have all the answers themselves and who are willing to demonstrate the leadership necessary to increase personal and business effectiveness.

What does being under the Action umbrella allow you to provide that’s different from other coaches??

Being an owner of an ActionCOACH Business Coaching franchise, the largest coaching organization in the world, means that I have the support of a global network of licensed business coaches, access to mass amounts of material / information that our clients might need for their development and the mentorship of Brad Sugars – ActionCOACH’s founder, CEO, author and one of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs.

A key point of uniqueness is that ActionCOACH helps its clients through the toughest parts of personal transformation, which is when the most powerful learning and personal development takes place. Learning new skills is usually the easy part of coaching for a business owner, but often it is not enough. Frequently business owners need to develop new beliefs, new principles, a new mindset or new elements of their core identity to achieve the success they desire. We are trained, experienced and successful at helping clients get to and through those most challenging parts of personal change.

Can you recount one of your client success stories for us??

I have a client who is now on his way to building a business that is 5-10 times its current size. He is well respected as an expert in his trade and has earned national recognition for his contributions to his field and the people his field serves. He started coaching because he wanted to get his business beyond where it was and he didn’t know how to motivate his team to do that.

If my client could name only one area of development that is contributing to his success, he would say that his commitment to personal leadership development is responsible for his progress. With the support of coaching, he has come to understand the responsibilities of good leadership and to demonstrate those in his business and personal relationships.

He has learned the importance of vision and mission and how those form the basis of a common external focus that his team can rally to serve in every task they perform. He has learned that leaders go first in establishing new habits and that demonstrating the vulnerability of not getting something right to his team is powerful in motivating them to overcome their fear of failure when they try something new. He has learned about accountability, including how to set goals, how to measure performance against them and how to have conversations with team members regarding their positive or negative performance - an activity he aggressively used to avoid.

Net, this client used to blame his team for his business’ lackluster results. Now he routinely considers what he can do through leadership to influence better outcomes. While financial results have shown some variability since he started coaching, he has built the foundation for consistent and sustainable growth. His team is more solid and aligned with his goals, he developed a long term plan he and his team are executing against, he is hiring more people of the right caliber and his team is implementing systems to improve customer satisfaction and operational efficiency.

This client has overcame many obstacles to his success and is now moving forward with predictable and desirable results in his grasp.

How can we contact you??

Please contact me at 678-444-4160, at or via the web at (and soon at our new website at

Monday, July 2, 2007

Semi-Partially-Maybe-SortaKinda Restricted Equipment Types

With good information and advice, Leasing can be a pretty painless and fulfilling way of preserving the company's all important cash while still financing equipment that is necessary for the business to grow.

So why would equipment leasing companies want to restrict the types of equipment they will write leases on??

Leasing companies (in our case these are our funding sources) need to control and manage their risk since they are not in the equipment business, they are really in the financing business. They hold the paper, so they carry the risk. Some equipment types lose value so quickly that if a client company defaults on their lease in the first 6-12 months, then the leasing company would be 'upside down', meaning they would be owed more than the equipment itself is worth. Some equipment types that fall into this category include:

  • Computers
  • Other Electronics
  • Furniture
  • Titled Equipment (cars, trucks, tractors)
  • Trailers
  • Software

All these types fall into what is known as semi-restricted. This means some companies will do them, some won't and some will up to a certain $ figure. These equipment types are why an independent broker with numerous choices for sources is the best bet when dealing with one of these challenging equipment types.