How Much Money Are Your Unhappy Employee’s Costing You?

Happy employees not only make your workspace a more cohesive and better area to be, but they also contribute better and more to a business’ profitability. A big part of having happy employees is having a happy open company culture, which pushes everyone to work better with others, be more creative and innovative, learn faster and make better decisions. Unhappy employees however lose money for your company and drag your entire environment down. In fact in the Gallup 2013 Report on the State of the Global Workplace, it was reported that actively disengaged and unengaged employees do not put any time, effort, energy or passion into their work and can in fact undermine what engaged workers are achieving.


What is more disturbing than the fact that unengaged employees can cause a massive decrease in productivity and probability at your business is the amount of unengaged workers in the workforce, it is estimated that 70 percent of United States workers are disengaged! Overall this means that less than half of the working population is engaged in their job; this makes it harder for employees to work together and harder for businesses to run themselves effectively.


Gallup has said that in the United States alone, hundreds of billions of dollars are lost per year due to actively disengaged employees. Compared to companies who have high employee engagement and happiness, this is a drastic difference. Most businesses that have happy employees have at least a 22 percent higher profitability, 10 percent higher customer engagement and 21 percent higher productivity rates.


Unhappy, unengaged employees are costing your business a huge amount of money, and time. Look into ways to make your employees happier by creating a culture that everyone can agree on and feel comfortable around. Hire the best people and nurture their skills and well-being, the rest will follow!

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Federal Contracts Benefitting Minority and Disadvantaged Businesses

123ABCSmall business growth in the United States is at an all-time high and the rate of federal contracts benefiting minority and disadvantaged businesses is growing.  During the 2013-2014 fiscal years, The Small Business Administration (SBA) worked hard to make up for the lack of federal contracts that these types of businesses were awarded in the past.

The SBA recently released a scorecard to illustrate the government’s efforts to meet 2013 goals for awarding federal contacts to small businesses.  The scorecard breaks the data down by small business, women-owned small business, small disadvantaged business, service disabled veteran-owned small business and HUBZone (Historically Underutilized Business Zones). According to the scorecard, the federal government exceeded the 2013 goal of 23% for awarding federal contracts to small business, finishing at 23.39%, a one percent improvement over 2012 results.

During 2013, $83.1 billion federal contracting dollars were awarded to small businesses.  Federal contracts awarded to women-owned businesses felt short of the 2013 goal, but saw an improvement compared to 2012 results.  Federal contracts awarded to small disadvantaged businesses and service disabled veteran owned small businesses reached and exceeded 2013 goals. However, federal contracts awarded to HUBZone fell short of the 2013 goal, finishing even lower than 2012 results.

For more information, visit the U.S. government’s Small Business Dashboard website.


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Borrowing Mistakes That Can Crush Your Business

Loan Shark_SmallSmall business lending is on the rise, and along with it, alternative lenders are popping up everywhere! Merchant Cash Advances have become the new loan shark. Although the idea of a merchant cash advance seems simple, the way advances are structured, depending on the lender, often leaves a borrower with too little time or resources to pay the advance off, resulting in crippling debt.

Merchant cash advances are easy to get, which makes them appealing, but they are difficult to pay off due to the short repayment terms and high interest rates, which continue to rise based on a borrower’s ability to repay.  This creates a cycle of borrowing that eventually drains the business’s cash flow and leads to the death of yet another small business.

Small business owners have so many options these days when it comes to financing. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is guaranteeing more small business loans than ever before, making traditional lenders more eager to lend. Loan programs such as the SBA 7(a) and the Celtic Express Loan Program have been improved upon to make the process faster and easier.

Before making a financing decision, do some research and consider all of your options Think about the future and the long term sustainability of your business, not just your needs for today. As the economy continues to improve, chances are you will be able to find better rates and terms through a traditional small business lender than a high interest rate, short-term alternative lender.

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Why Choosing The RIGHT Lender and Business Development Officer Matters

Man Bending Over Backwards_Small_iStock_000003282133LargeWhy Choosing the RIGHT Lender and Business Development Officer Matters!

By:  Christy Lester, SVP – SBA Lending at Celtic Bank

Brokers or borrowers often say the same thing during an initial phone call, “I’ve been trying to get my SBA loan closed for months”, or, “I’ve heard that it is a really long and difficult process to get a SBA loan approved and closed”.  My response is always the same, “You have been working with the wrong lender!”

An SBA loan should not be any harder to get approved and closed than a conventional loan.  The key is working with a lender who has years of experience and is focused on SBA lending!  A specialized SBA Business Development Officer (BDO) can walk a borrower or broker thru the complete process, anticipate any road blocks and navigate around them.   It is important to find a BDO that has experience in all phases of the SBA lending process, not just sales.  Having prior experience as a loan processor or underwriter gives a BDO the necessary skills to ask questions at the beginning of the process to help avoid potential issues down the road.

The most important step in the process is at the beginning, when the borrower and lender spend time talking about two key ideas – 1) what the borrower is trying to accomplish; and 2) what the borrower’s end goals are.  These factors drive the rest of the loan process including eligibility, loan structure, and processing time.

Come prepared for the initial discussion with your BDO.  For example:

  • What are your goals and vision for your company 5, 10, and 25 years down the road?
  • Have your financial house in order.  You will need to provide 3 years of business and personal tax returns, a YTD interim business financial statement, and a personal financial statement.
  • Have your paperwork ready.  If you are purchasing real estate, a business, or equipment, have the purchase contract or purchase order available for review.  If you are looking to restructure existing debt, have the debt or lease notes ready to review.

You should come away from the initial call with a clear vision of what needs to happen next.  If not, you are working with the wrong lender!  For example:

  • What additional items are needed from you?
  • What is the deadline you must meet to stay on track with the bank’s loan approval process and closing process?  Once the BDO understands your needs, the BDO can guide you through the timeline of events, including what is needed and when.
  • What does the road to loan closing look like?

Ultimately, the key to having a successful and efficient loan closing is choosing the RIGHT lender and an experienced SBA Business Development Officer!

About the Author:
Christy Lester has 18 years of SBA lending experience.   Her broad SBA background includes time spent as a loan processor, managing an SBA closing department, and being a successful SBA Business Development Officer.



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3 Ways To Make A Good Impression At Meetings

shutterstock_54360715In corporate America, the impression you leave during meetings has the power to make or break your career. Whether you are interviewing for a job, meeting to discuss partnership possibilities, making a sales call, or meeting with the boss, a few simple tips can help you stand out and put your career into high speed.

  1. Speak Up and Ask Questions.  The best way to get noticed is to speak up! Ask challenging questions to grab everyone’s attention and get them thinking.
  2. Keep It Simple but Interesting.   Clearly convey your thoughts and ideas while showing that you are passionate about your work. People will appreciate you more when they see you actually care about what you do. If you represent your company with passion, you will earn the respect of others and be easily remembered.
  3. Use Graphics and Animation.  Leave a positive impression by being graphic and animated about your ideas. Painting a picture for your clients or coworkers will help them see and understand your vision better.

The impressions you make during meetings can steer your career in many directions. Remember to walk into every meeting with confidence, and the conviction that your ideas and passion will leave a positive impression!

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