Beauty / Hair Salon Financing – A necessary but near impossible loan to acquire.

Growing a hair / beauty salon business requires financing! Lenders know that these business can really struggle with varying receivables and high overhead. A successful salon needs time to develop a loyal customer base. A salon’s success is based on a local following and until that business has established it’s “regulars” overtime, revenue can be very unstable making fixed loan repayments difficult; And the bank knows this!

I recently read an article from USAToday about a successful entrepreneur in the hair beauty salon business. It’s an interesting article that shows how determination and creativity can lead to success in a big way. The business owner mentions the difficulties she had in acquiring financing for her salon. After being turned down for small business loans, she resorted to borrowing money from friends and family. Ultimately she was able to get the necessary financing which enabled her to grow her salon business into a multi million dollar enterprise.

We fund many established beauty and hair salon businesses in their early stages of development. Our funding helps them to maintain their businesses while building their customer base overtime. Our business cash advance program works well for salon’s and many other small businesses that may have trouble with the inflexible repayment options offered by the bank. Our business cash advance program offers financing based on future credit card sales with flexible repayment – meaning we take repayment when your business can afford it. In addition our cash advance is unsecured, available to businesses with bad credit and is available to any business (even high risk borrowers like beauty and hair salon businesses) as long as you process a minimum of $1000/month in credit card sales.

Plus… you won’t have to ask your friends or family 😉

Business Planning Freeware

During my morning surf, I found some directories of Business Planning Freeware and I thought I’d put links up.  I haven’t checked these programs out, so use your own judgement.  Some of them look rather old, but a formula is a formula and it looks like many of these programs could be very useful.

Many of them have all sorts of white papers and templates for new and established small businesses (and everyone in between).  Others have ratio calculators and the like.  I have only just started looking it over, but I wanted to share the directories with all of you.  One of the free-wares (eGuides from PlanWare) has info that supposedly helps with the following:

  1. Getting New Business Ideas
  2. Devising Business Strategies
  3. Developing a Strategic Business Plan
  4. Writing a Business Plan
  5. Insights into Business Planning
  6. Preparing Financial Projections
  7. Making Cashflow Forecasts
  8. Managing Working Capital

Anyway, try out these two directories for Business Finance/Planning Free-Ware, and let us know which ones you recommend:

Business Plan FreeWare directory from SoftPlatz

Business Plan FreeWare directory from FreeWare-Guide

Online Business Finance & Accounting Calculators

By using online finance/accounting calculators and other online tools, you are able to bypass hiring someone to calculate for you AND you are able to recalculate quickly and easily for various situations, projections, and ‘what if’s’.


Bank Rate has the following free calculators for Small Business Owners:

Calculate payments on any loan (incl. amortization schedule)
Current ratio calculator
Quick ratio calculator
Debt-to-assets ratio calculator
Return on assets calculator
Gross profit margin calculator
Operating profit percentage calculator


Here is what DinkyTown has to say about its Working Capital Calculator:


Your working capital is used to pay short-term obligations such as your accounts payable and buying inventory. If your working capital dips too low, you risk running out of cash. Even very profitable businesses can run into trouble if they lose the ability to meet their short-term obligations. The calculator assists you in determining working capital needs for the next year.


I hope to get a ratio list up here at some point to help people understand how, and when, the various ratios are used. 


Hope you enjoy your online tools. :)

Improve Cash Flow: 8 ways to Getting Receivables Sooner

Our customers come to us when they are in a cash flow crunch.  Many of them are running very successful businesses, only the timing of their payables and Receivables is simply a bit out of sync. 

Here are 8 things you can do to shorten the time between when your customer wants something, and when you get paid.

1)  Accept Credit Cards and/or PayPal (for internet businesses) – When you accept credit cards, you also qualify yourself (after a few months) for great cash flow rescue option like a business cash advance.

2)  Encourage your customers to e-mail or fax orders –  Mail takes more time.  The sooner you receive the order, the sooner you can send out an invoice and get paid.

3)  Send out a clear, organized invoice immediately – Use software, or make your own template, just make sure that you have invoices ready, so that the moment you get an order, you can send out an invoice.  Make sure that the due date and the trade discount/late fee are displayed prominently.

4)  Offer a trade discount – This is a discount (even just 1 or 2%) that you give your customers if they pay you within a certain amount of time.  Often this small incentive will encourage your customers to pay immediately. 

5)  Due Diligence – When taking on a major customer, call their other vendors to find out their payment history/patterns.  You may even want to run a business credit check.

6)  Deposit without delay – Make an arrangement with your bank to have funds available from deposited checks within 0-2 business days.  If you receive checks from customers nationwide, you could research the possible added value of a ‘drop box.’ Discuss this with your bank.

7)  If possible, request payment (in part or full) up front, prior to filling the order.  This also cuts down on time and money spent on collections.

8)  Check back here later in the week to read my post on small business collections.

Working Capital – Four Things to Plan!

Working Capital = Current Assets–Current Liabilities

Just like the human body needs calories to survive, a business needs working capital to continue operations.  Working capital is the money that is on hand for normal business operations.

If you have a solid business plan, and business is going well, then you should generally have enough income on hand to cover all your operating expenses.  When ends don’t meet, your business has to look for other sources of cash (that’s when you come to us!).  Ideally, however, your business will provide enough income so that there is working capital and enough left over for PROFITS.  That’s a great word, isn’t it?

Here are three things to remember when looking at your working capital and cash flow.

  1. Project revenues honestly and realistically.
  2. Don’t forget to include EVERYTHING in your estimate of costs.  Labor, supplies, rent, utilities, storage, salaries, and professional services/consultants are just SOME of what you need to remember.
  3. Break down and make a time estimate for your business cycles. Working capital means that it is there when you need it, make sure you will have money to cover expenses during the slow periods of your business.  Your cash flow needs to make sense.
  4. Make a list of plausible future changes that could affect your business.  This could include anything from competition to a change overhead, or payment terms on either the Receivables or Payable sides.

The Credit Crunch – What Options are Left?

Small businesses across the country are trying to survive the current credit crunch.  The recent changes in the credit market have resulted in much more restricted access to capital.  As any small business owner knows, access to capital is crucial to growing and surviving in business.

Capital was easy to come by for many small business owners, until the recent mortage crash.  When confronted with less-than perfect-credit, which made conventional loans impossible, many small business owners could tap into the equity in their homes .  Thiswas only an option because real estate values were constantly on the rise.

Now that the bubble has burst, property owners in the hard hit areas are finding it difficult to prove the increased value of their homes.  Small business operators with less than impeccable credit are asking themselves where they will find the cash they need to finance their business/business growth.

Many of these small business owners are discovering the benefits of unsecured cash advances for businesses.  Unsecured cash advances are based on on future credit card sales; because of this, they can be provided with NO credit checks.  Fast Up Front (that’s us) can provide these advances in sums up to $250,000.  Other agencies offer the same size, or smaller, advances.  The ease and speed (less than a week!) of the advance make it a top choice for many small business owners.

 For more information on the services we offer to small business, even those with no credit or bad credit, please visit Fast Up Front‘s homepage.

Bartering Organizations – Questions to Ask Before Joining

See previous article about bartering for background.

There are about 500 bartering organizations in North America.  How do you know which ones to join?  There is no universal RIGHT answer here, you just need to ask the questions, and see if the answers meet your bartering needs.

First off, membership fees are generally low monthly (occasionally annual) fees.  It generally pays off to be a member of more than one organization, as it increases the likelihood of finding someone who can provide the service/good you need.   

1) Is it regional, national or international?

Some exchanges are limited to cities in a specific city/county – others nationwide.

2) How many members does it have?

You want to make sure that there is enough to go around.  Not all businesses in an exchange will want to barter at any given time.

3) Which industries are the other members in?

You want to make sure that the industries represented are ones that you might require goods or services in, and ones that might need whatever you can provide.  Otherwise, you won’t be doing much bartering.

4)  What is the typical transaction size?

Different exchanges work on different scales, you want to find one that is in line with whatever you have in mind.

5) Are there barter consultants?

Some barter organizations offer barter consultants, who help broker the deal in an individualized fashion.  Others are more automated.

To find a bartering organization that works for you, contact the National Association of Trade Exchanges (NATE) or the International Reciprocal Trade Association.

Top Rated Books – Restaurant Management

Since so many of our clients are in the food service industry, I decided to research books that customers from rated 5 stars for Restaurant Management.  These are the books they recommended:

1. The Restaurant Managers Handbook: How to Set Up, Operate, and Manage a Financially Successful Food Service Operation by Douglas Robert Brown (Hardcover – Sep 3, 2002)

2. Running a Restaurant for Dummies by Michael Garvey, Heather Dismore, and Andrew Dismore (Paperback – Jul 9, 2004)

3. Restaurant Management: Customers, Operations, and Employees (3rd Edition) by Robert Christie Mill (Paperback – Jul 14, 2006)

4. Opening a Restaurant or Other Food Business Starter Kit: How to Prepare a Restaurant Business Plan and Feasibility Study by Sharon Fullen (Paperback – Dec 30, 2004)

5. The Encyclopedia of Restaurant Forms: A Complete Kit of Ready-to-use Checklists, Worksheets, And Training AIDS for a Successful Food Service Operation by Douglas Robert Brown (Hardcover – April 2004)

6. The Restaurant Dream? by Lee Simon (Paperback – May 16, 2006)

7. Restaurant Planning Guide by Peter Rainsford and David H. Bangs (Paperback – April 1, 1996)

8. 10 Steps to Successful Bar & Restaurant Management by Dr. Kirk Wakefield (Paperback – Dec 15, 1999)

9. Restaurant Financial Basics by Raymond S. Schmidgall, David K. Hayes, and Jack D. Ninemeier (Paperback – Oct 2, 2002)

10. The New Restaurant Entrepreneur: An Inside Look at Restaurant Deal-Making and Other Tales from the Culinary Trenches by Kep Sweeney (Paperback – Jun 1, 2004) – ok, so this one had a customer rating of 4.5 stars, but I couldn’t find any more 5 stars