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 Amazon.com 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

Bartering – Relieve Cash Flow Strain & Get Referrals

Bartering removes the money element; thereby relieving strain on your cash flow.  You are a restaurant in need of advertising?  Great!  You provide catering at a big morning meeting and, voila, you get barter credit which you can use to get those flyers – and maybe also a paint job. 

 A key side-effect (and the reason some businesses engage in barter in the first place) relates to the referral opportunity.  Many businesses which barter regularly find that 10% or more of their new customers will come from referrals from other companies they bartered with.

In traditional barter, you would need to find someone who has what you need, and needs what you have.  Thankfully, in today’s world, there are a number of organizations which make bartering much more efficient.  See below for details.

Barter is done on a dollar credit – to dollar credit basis, and is taxable as though it was a money transaction.  However, it saves you from having to dig up the cash when you need.

As already mentioned, barter can be, and is, done in a wide range of industries.  Examples include:  Legal services, Food Services, Healthcare, Insurance, Cleaning Services, Marketing, Auto Repair, etc.

There are about 500 bartering exchange organizations in North America.  To find one near you, contact the National Association of Trade Exchanges (NATE) or the International Reciprocal Trade Association.

Top Rated Books – Small Business Taxes

Okay, I sat down to do the previously promised top 10 customer rated books on small business taxes, and I see that there are really only about 6 from the last 3 years that have 5 stars, so here they are:

1. JK Lasser’s Small Business Taxes 2007: Your Complete Guide to a Better Bottom Line (J K Lasser’s New Rules for Small Business Taxes) by Barbara Weltman (Paperback – Nov 28, 2006)

2. Small Business Taxes Made Easy: How to Increase Your Deductions, Reduce What You Owe, and Boost Your Profits by Eva Rosenberg (Paperback – Dec 30, 2004)

3. J.K. Lasser’s 1001 Deductions and Tax Breaks 2007: Your Complete Guide to Everything Deductible (J.K. Lasser) by Barbara Weltman (Paperback – Nov 3, 2006)

4. Tax Savvy for Small Business: Year-round Tax Strategies to Save You Money by Frederick W. Daily and Diana Fitzpatrick (Paperback – Nov 30, 2006)

5. Deduct It! Lower Your Small Business Taxes by Stephen Fishman (Paperback – Nov 30, 2006)

6. Tax Savvy for Small Business by Frederick W. Daily (Paperback – Nov 15, 2007) – this one isn’t released yet, but previous editions have top ratings.

Four Keys to Avoiding a Cash Flow Crunch

1)  Bill Your Customers
Your clients won’t pay you unless you ask them to.  Many small businesses only send out invoices when they find themselves short on cash.  If you are taking on a regular client, negotiate a regular invoice schedule.  Scheduled and prompt billing is the first step to improving your business’ cash flow; make sure that your system works.  It puts forth the image of an organized operation, with its act together.

2)  Trade Discounts Bring in the Dough
A trade discount is a percent discount given on condition to receipt of payment by a certain date (e.g. within 5 or 10 days).  Even though trade discounts can be very small discounts of just 1 or 2%, they are very effective in encouraging clients to pay early.  When a client pays you before his bill is due, he is effectively giving you a cash advance.

3)  No Deadbeat Customers
Due Diligence is key to running a solid business, especially if it is a business in which a few clients or customers make up the major bulk of your revenues.  If you are taking on a significant new client, check out credit references and discuss their payment history with their other vendors.  Depending on the size of the account, you might want to run a credit check.

4)  Inventory Diet
Your inventory represents money that is not garnering any interest or savings for you.  Its primary purpose is to enable to produce customers what they want in a timely fashion.  Re-examine your inventory and decide what wines/parts/designs/models can be done without. 

For help during those times when you are in a cash flow crunch, check out our website, and find out how you can get a Business Cash Advance.

The Search for Non-Biased Info on Bad Credit Business Financing

Today, I got a taste of some of the frustration our clients of trying to research small business cash advancing and bad credit business loans in general.  I was trying to look up some non-biased information (ie not put out by a creditor) so that I could quote it on here.  Although I found a ton of stuff from our competitors about how wonderful a practice this is, I couldn’t find ANYTHING written by an independent source.  There is plenty out there about the pros and cons of PERSONAL payday advancing, but I didn’t see anything for businesses.  This lack of easy-to-access is unfortunate, because everyone should be able to research their financial decisions, and it appears that all the info out there is coming from the brokers.

One competitor said back in May: “It is reported that only 44 percent of all new businesses will survive through their fourth year.  With costs rising… Cash flow has become the most critical component in the survival of any small business.” Now, while I know this is true, it would have been a lot nicer to see a source, and even better to have it come from someone who did not try to convert you into their client at the end of the article. 

One good, non-biased site I found is Financial Web.  The page I’m linking to lists the different financing options for new businesses.  Now we can take on clients who have been in business for as little as 4 months.  So that’s not BRAND new, but its pretty darn new.  On the financial web site, cash flow/cash advance financing is not even listed as an option to compare to!  Everything they list requires a business plan… There is not true bad credit/no credit option on the list.  Now, they do have a section on cash advance/payday loans, but that section is only written for individuals, not for businesses.  The biggest payday loan they show is $1500.  We offer up to $250k.  In short, they just don’t have information.

So, the search for unbiased articles to direct people to continues…

Top Rated Books – Small Business Management

I had a “simple” idea for a blog entry today:  thought I would find the top 10 rated books on amazon.com for small businesses.   I think Amazon needs a new search engine!  In the end, I simply searched in the ‘books’ category for “small business management” and sorted by customer rating.  After taking out books on uber-specific topics (like how to become a dog trainer – gosh, I know they have a book for everything but I hadn’t thought of that one before).  I then chose not to include on this list books published more than 3 years ago, because things are changing all the time.  Finally, I decided to make a separate list later of tax related books ( in that safe, indefinite ‘later’ point in time….

After all that, here are the top 10.  I think ill make a software list, too… at some point…
Top 10 5 star books on Amazon

1. Instant Cashflow (Instant Success) by Bradley J Sugars and Brad Sugars (Paperback – Dec 19, 2005)

2. Alpha Dogs: How Your Small Business Can Become a Leader of the Pack by Donna Fenn (Paperback – May 8, 2007)

3. True to Yourself: Leading a Values-Based Business (Social Venture Network) by Mark Albion (Paperback – Jul 12, 2006)

4. Running a 21st-Century Small Business: The Owner’s Guide to Starting and Growing Your Company by Randy W. Kirk (Paperback – Feb 17, 2006)

5. Fire Someone Today: And Other Surprising Tactics for Making Your Business a Success by Bob Pritchett (Paperback – April 11, 2006) – Bargain Price

6. Entrepreneur’s Notebook: Practical Advice for Starting a New Business Venture by Steven K. Gold (Paperback – Feb 21, 2006)

7. The Big Book of Small Business: You Don’t Have to Run Your Business by the Seat of Your Pants by Tom Gegax and Phil Bolsta (Hardcover – Feb 6, 2007)

8. Maximum Marketing, Minimum Dollars: The Top 50 Ways to Grow Your Small Business by Kim T. Gordon (Paperback – April 1, 2006)

9. The Bear Necessities of Business: Building a Company with Heart by Maxine Clark and Amy Joyner (Hardcover – April 21, 2006)

10. Whoops! I’m In Business: A Crash Course In Business Basics by Richard Stim and Lisa Guerin (Paperback – Aug 2005)

Business Structure Options

Disclaimer: We will not be held liable for any information held on the sites listed below, I haven’t researched the companies putting out this information, I have simply tried to include comparisons coming from all sides (ie companies who help incorporate, those who help create proprietorships and those who specialize in creating a Limited Liability Company, or LLC)  I do not recommend using any of the companies I am linking to, I just found them in Google.

The majority of our clients are sole proprietors, or in a partnership.  Although this is the most common structure of small businesses, many experts say that small business owners should revisit the decision to structure their businesses in such a potentially risky fashion.  I have put together here some links that compare different structures available to small businesses. I hope they give y’all a good picture of the options out there:

Many websites I have been to have recommended BizFiling as a source for small business structure comparisons.

However, I found this chart, which is similar, but also includes partnerships in the comparison.   The website it is on (http://www.llcweb.com/struc.htm) contains further information comparing Sole Proprietorships vs. General Partnerships vs. Limited Partnerships vs. C Corporation vs. S Corporation vs. LLC. However, one should keep in mind that the website is put together by people who want you to pay them to help you form an LLC. 

This website seems to just be quoting a book (which is fine, and suggests it is relatively unbiased).  It breaks down each option for business structure.
 

Here is an independent article written on incorporating.

5 Steps to Establishing Good Business Credit

Although your credit score is totally irrelevant to working with us, here at Fast Up Front, it is still key for small businesses like yours.  Despite that, the vast majority of small business owners don’t seem to understand how business credit is established at all, let alone GOOD business credit.

Because of its importance, I have compiled a list of steps to establishing business credit:

(Note: The scale for business credit scores ranges from 0 to 100.  75+ is an ‘excellent’ business credit rating. This is a totally different scale from personal credit scores, which range between 300 and 850 with an ‘excellent’ score of 680+.)

  1. Obtain an FIN or EIN from the IRS.  Go to the IRS website for information on applying. I’ve put together a list of links that compare the liability implications, cost, and other issues involved with running a sole proprietorship vs. a partnership vs. a LLC vs. a corporation.  See my entry on small business structures.

  2. Register with the business credit bureaus.
    The four major business credit bureaus are (in order of importance):
    Dun & Bradstreet (DNB, D & B) – Paydex score
    Experian Business – Payquo score
    Equifax Business
    Business Credit USA

  3. Make sure you are in legal compliance, etc. Proper licensure, etc.  Follow local, state, and federal requirements for your industry.  Additionally, you may want to consider membership with the Chamber of Commerce in your area, or the Better Business Bureau. 

  4. Have supporting materials available. An extensive list of a typical request list from creditors can be found here.  You will probably have to write a business plan/summary and provide balance sheets, and other financial statements.

  5. Maintain good relationships with your vendors. Make sure they report your payment history with the business credit bureaus.  These vendors provide the foundation of your credit report and can be used as references if you want a commercial business loan.  Clearly, part of maintaining a good relationship means timely payment, etc.  But it also means, working with one person at each vendor and creating a friendly working relationship.  In many cases, the people you work with on a regular basis at vendors can count as “employees” with the credit bureaus, raising your score.

Of course, you could just forget all this, and use us – we don’t need to run a credit check in order to put money in your hand.

Sites I used to compile this list included Ibank.com, entrepeneur.com, andstrongbusinesscredit.com

More Than Just Unsecured Business Cash Advances!

Welcome to the official FastUpFront Weblog (blog). Our core service is providing businesses with unsecured cash advances. We provide the necessary financial resources to promote, develop, expand or simply maintain small businesses to medium sized businesses.

Through this Blog (in addition to other areas of our website), you will be able to find current news, information, and business resources online. We intend to cover all areas of business financing, credit, credit card processing, loan options and more.

Feel free to use our feed, comment on posts, or simply suscribe to this blog.

Thanks in Advance,

Online Marketing Team,  FastUpFront