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Minimizing Construction Claims Can Significantly Reduce Financial Pressure

November 22, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Summary: Legal claims are inconvenient to construction projects, but knowing your rights and responsibilities will help navigate the issue if it arises. Read below for two common claims and how they affect your project.

When working on a project, any legal action is a big inconvenience. When working on a construction project, claims can create very large setbacks, which can lead to even more claims. Everyone in the construction industry knows how complicated and annoying claims can be, and will avoid them at all costs. Here are two common construction claims and how they may set your project back.

Bond Claims

Bonds are put in place by project owners to ensure that everyone holds up their end of the bargain, whether directly involved in the construction or contractors who supply materials. If a party violates the terms of the contract while a bond is in place, a claim can be pursued against said party. This can easily set back your project because 1) contract was violated so you may not have supplies to continue and 2) you have to deal with legal issues before resuming work.

Delay Construction Claims

Delays in the construction schedule might be the most commonly disputed issue in the construction industry. These claims are often the result of unforeseen circumstances that impede the work schedule, forcing the team to take another plan of action and change the original deadline. Ironically, having to deal with this claim is in and of itself a setback to the construction schedule.

Claims typically involve multiple parties, so avoiding is every construction project owner’s dream. However, knowing the different types of claims and how they affect your project will help you better understand your legal responsibilities. This way, you will have the tools to defend a claim against you, or know when to file a claim against someone else.

Blog submitted by Lyle Charles: Lyle Charles has worked in the construction industry for over 40 years and offers excellent construction claims management services. For more information, visit his website.

The Importance of Transfer Speed

August 24, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

How quickly money can be transferred from one bank account to another is very important. For a business, transfer speed is how fast the money will be transferred after an item or labor service that has been completed. Small businesses especially, count on transfer speed because it is the main way the business can continue to run.

The biggest problem for businesses is discovering how credit card processing resolves and the payment goes through. Transactions usually take a couple weeks to a few months before receiving the money, after the payment has been accepted. This turnaround time can hurt smaller retailers if it takes too long to receive cash in order to place a new order of stock, or to pay employees.

It is helpful to call customer support for payment processors to see how quickly they make transactions. Be aware there may also be differences in the time it takes for you to receive money based on the type of card your customer used at the register.

It is best to do some research when looking for a new payment processor. It may not be the easiest task, but it is best to get more knowledge on transfer speed. Getting information on the payment processor doesn’t hurt either.

Another factor is how often you upload transactions to your payment processor. It’s a good habit to try and do this daily, usually at the close of the shift. Have someone on your management staff trained in how to upload these transactions at the end of the night, so you’ll have regular cash flow in a few months.

The time it takes for a browser page to load also ties into transfer speed. It determines how whether or not a user will continue to shop on the site. The issue with the speed on websites is it contains multiple images through the pages. Too much content on a page can drastically slow down the time it takes a page to load on a browser. Compressing thumbnails may sometimes be helpful when trying to speed up you webpage.

Transfer speed plays a big part in running a successful business. If your payment processor is taking too long to move money from your customers to you, then it may be time to research a replacement.

Article submitted by Charge.com. Charge.com is the highest rated payment processor for online and retail businesses for six years running.

The Basics of Accepting Online Payments

April 26, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

One of the needs that will become more apparent as your business grows and scales is a payment processor allowing you to work online. Lots of small businesses who begin selling to a local base of customers eventually branch out to an online business. This brief guide will breakdown some important concepts to keep in mind as you look for a quality merchant service to work with.

Payments

Your customer may not be from your city, your state or even your country. Whatever merchant credit card processing you decide on, you should be able to do business with people from anywhere. That might mean converting currencies, or accepting many types of credit card. Shop around to see which services offer good rates, and a strong support base too.

Bear in mind, merchant accounts offer competitive rates and may be willing to work with you on your specific circumstances.

Other Flags

Try and read the contract carefully in case you encounter special volume discounts, or interchange fees. The contract will break down exactly how much you pay to process transactions. Choosing between a flat or interchange fee comes down to how much business you do. Flat fee is great for businesses who want to launch a new store without getting locked into a contract. Interchange is a strong long term option.

Final Thoughts

Make sure you pay attention to customer support. The last thing you want is your account to go down on a busy sales day, without any help to bring it back online.


Bio: With no setup fees and no contract, Charge.com offers a reliable method for businesses to work with merchant accounts online.

Three Distinct Benefits to Using a Digital Wallet

January 30, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

digital-wallet-graphicDigital wallets offer a completely new take on paying for goods and services, and could soon become an ubiquitous part of life. These applications allow the secure transfer of money over a network, and through a mobile device. No more cards to carry, no more wallets to worry about. If you secure your device, your digital wallet will be available anywhere you can find a network connection. Here are three distinct benefits to adopting this new technology, if you’ve not already done so.

Security

Right now, you carry your wallet or purse, and your cell phone. Imagine if you could consolidate all of that so you need only a single device. That single device is secured by fingerprint, face imaging technology, passcode or any one of dozens of means. That access point is going to be far more secure than your wallet is today. Even if a thief attempts to steal your phone, you can still login to your wallet and change your password to secure your wallet’s contents.

Speed

Good bye long lines, hello mobile checkout that meets you where you are in the store. Imagine transferring money by just standing next to the cashier, who is already engaging with you regarding your purchase. This is already reality in major retail chains, and it’s sped up the checkout process like never before. Transactions take little more than a few taps and they are done.

Modern Novelty

What better way to say “I live in the future” than to interface your phone with an NFC terminal to transfer money from one account to another. Craft businesses will be able to accept cards, and businesses who offer digital wallets as a valid form of payment will see customers flock to their doors for a faster and more secure way to pay for the goods they are already buying.


Charge.com has more than 20 years of experience in credit card processing services, and remains one of the most efficient methods to move money online.

Practical Tips on Reducing Financial Risks to Your Business

September 17, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Practical-Tips-on-Reducing-Financial-Risks-to-Your-BusinessWhen you are running a business of your own, there are always risks involved. The first thing that probably comes to mind is your cash flow. When you run out of money or credit, your business ceases to operate until you begin funding it again. Risk management is one of the most important elements of a startup business. This separates the great from the successful.

When you are dealing with a limited amount of funds, you’re going to need to cut out non-essentials from your business. Things like fancy desks or expensive computers will only leave you struggling in the first few months of your startup. Your goal is to obtain positive monthly returns and by setting yourself up with all these “necessities”, you’re taking steps backwards.

Whatever helps the company services or products are what you should be focused on. Amenities will come later once you’ve reached the point where your investment has been covered and solid revenue is being produced.

Maintain a proactive approach by calculating your burn rate, which is how much money you are losing per month. By keeping a constant tab on this, you can determine how many months or years you have left with money still in your reserve.

Financial risks are always going to be associated when you create a startup business. The approach to this is appropriately preparing for what’s to come. The glory days will come in due time. The sacrifice leading to success is what makes this journey so worthwhile.

Bio: Ferhan Patel, formerly with AlertPay has implemented his certifications and skill sets to become the Chief Compliant Officer and Director of Global Risk and Compliance for Payza.

 

 

From Grocer to Pipe Maker: John Joseph Eagan

May 5, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

By Samuel Phineas Upham

John Joseph Eagan, born in April of 1870, went from grocer to pipe maker, becoming co-founder of the American Cast Iron Pipe Company.

He left school at 16 to go and work at a grocery store. His uncle offered him a job at his tobacco store, and John took it. The two worked well together, and John felt fairly steady. He inherited $6,000 when his grandmother died, a modest sum, but he was able to re-invest and grow it. By the time he was ready to venture on his own, he’d amassed $73,000 by age 29. He inherited an additional $750,000 from his Uncle Russell, and Eagen took his earnings into real estate. He also put money in stocks and funded a few businesses hoping for something to pan out.

Having received two blessings, Eagen felt humbled and charged himself with doing something positive with the money he’d earned. One of the methods he used to accomplish this task was to tithe the church. He also donated extensively to charities that worked on behalf of the poor. Eagen was so devoted to this cause that there was a journal entry he’d written, dated May 13, 1900: “O Lord show me how to invest Thy wealth to promote Thy glory, so that I may bear much fruit.”

Eagen felt like life and God were calling him to the fields, where he could have the most impact. He partnered with Charlotte and James Blair, who were working on the interests of Southern businessmen. The brother/sister team wanted to build a pipe plant in Birmingham, considered a great location because of its access to railways and resources. Eagan chartered the company and served as its president, an office he held until days before his death in 1924.


About the Author: Samuel Phineas Upham is an investor at a family office/ hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Phin Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media and Telecom group. You may contact Phin on his Twitter.

Amar Bose: A Dedicated Audiophile

March 27, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

By Phineas Upham

If you’ve ever heard the sound of a Bose speaker and nodded in appreciation, you can thank Amar Bose. Bose had always been fascinated by electronics, even as a young boy. He would disassemble and reassemble all manner of radios and other gadgets from around the house.

This talent would pay dividends when America went to the Second World War His father’s business was facing hard times, so young Amar would fix radios for locals after school. The extra money kept the household afloat and gave his father a realization. His son had a talent, and he was determined to put that talent to use.

Amar was sent to MIT, where he took to academic life swimmingly. He graduated and became a teacher there, holding a faculty position for 45 years of his life. He also continued his research into mechanics, especially with regards to sound.

When he attempted to purchase an expensive sound system that promised quality audio. Being something of an audiophile for classical music, Bose was eager to give it a try. But he was disappointed to find that the sound was inferior to others at a lower price range. This got him thinking about what makes a stereo good quality.

After some study, he produced a speaker that utilized several small speakers to produce better sound. His mentor encouraged him to pursue his research into audio equipment and acoustics, which pushed him to incorporate Bose in 1964. His inventions were wildly successful, and his work has helped audio engineers create amazing displays. Bose pioneered software that could simulate sound from any seat in an auditorium, technology the Staples Center uses to arrange its shows.


About the Author: Phineas Upham is an investor at a family office/ hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Phin Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media and Telecom group. You may contact Phin on his Phineas Upham website or Facebook page.

H&M and the Concept of Fast Fashion

February 25, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

By Phin Upham

H&M has been growing in popularity all across America, but it’s a Swedish brand. Today, the company employs more than 100,000 people all over the world, and it has 3,500 stores spread across 55 countries.

It was opened in 1947, after Erling Persson took a trip to the United States. Either our fashions were behind the times or too expensive, because Persson got the idea to offer affordable high-fashion. He began with a shop called “Hennes,”which means “for her” in Swedish, and sold women’s clothing only.

Upon acquiring the hunting apparel company “Mauritz Widforss,” H&M began its earliest iteration. The hunting apparel company brought men’s clothing to the store, and the company officially changes its name in 1998. Signified ritualistically with the purchase of a domain name.

The company did not pioneer fast-fashion, but it has shown to be quite adept at it. The practice involves fashion that moves quickly from catwalk to consumer, and it’s typically fashion made cheaply. This is why H&M offers such bargain boutique prices with clothing that feels new. H&M’s design team in Sweden controls all aspects of production. They outsource most of their work, but the planning and sale of merchandise is handled primarily by the company itself.

H&M also offers accessories, including jewelry and purses, in addition to its clothing line. It also announced plans to sell furniture in its stores as of 2009, but none of the H&M Home stores are available in America. The closes, should one feel so inclined, would involve a trip to Mexico.


About the Author: Phin Upham is an investor at a family office/ hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Phin Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media and Telecom group. You may contact Phin on his Phin Upham website or Twitter page.

Hollywood Accounting Explained

May 2, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Written by Phineas Upham

When Winston Groom sold the screenplay for Forrest Gump to Paramount pictures, he agreed to take a share of the profits from the film as payment for his work. It must have come as quite a shock to him when a movie so critically acclaimed ended up losing money. Groom did write a sequel, but refused to sell. He said that it would be a waste for his work toward another unsuccessful film.

But, was the film that was so beloved by both audiences and critics really so unsuccessful?

This is a textbook example of what is colloquially known as Hollywood accounting. It’s a shady practice that may or may not be illegal, which seems to depend on a case-by-case basis. Here’s how it works.

It all begins with a shell company set up by each studio. These companies exist whenever a new film comes into production, so the Next Hobbit film or even Star Wars Episode VII is likely to follow this model. The studio then gives the production money to the shell corporation to manage the funds for production.

Then things get a little gray.

As this money is transferred, the studio also levies fees against the shell corporation. These fees are supposed to represent real expenses the company has to put out. In the case of production, these expenses might cover costumes or lighting equipment in addition to hiring actors and actresses to perform.

The problem comes when studios charge fees for things that don’t actually affect them. For instance, when a studio like Paramount “pays” to advertise its films, it may actually be paying itself for distribution on its own platforms. These accounting practices turn a film like Harry Potter, a beloved blockbuster, into a loss for the production company.


Phineas Upham is an investor from NYC and SF. You may contact Phineas on his Phineas Upham website

Top Reasons to Accept Credit Cards Online

February 18, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

If you have a presence on the web, you can take advantage of the space to accept credit cards online. But surprisingly many companies don’t provide this service. Why? For many business owners, credit card processing rates are simply too high. For others, getting setup to accept payments on the web is a complicated process, one that they don’t have time for.  Whether you own an ecommerce website or a brick-and-mortar shop, it’s important to accept credit cards online via your website. If you’re not convinced, here are the top two reasons to accept credit cards online.

It Boosts Sales

Perhaps the most important reason to accept credit cards on the web is a boost in sales. With online payment processing software, you’re almost guaranteed to increase your cash flow. In fact, accepting credit cards online has been shown to increase sales by a whopping 50 to 500 percent. Who doesn’t want an increase in sales? If your business isn’t doing so hot, consider accepting credit cards online.

It’s Convenient

Online credit card services are convenient for the consumer as well as the business owner. When it comes to the consumer, it doesn’t get easier than paying with plastic. A credit card is still the preferred payment method for most consumers because it’s easy, fast, and convenient. Even if they can’t afford it, they can buy a product with a credit card.

But accepting credit cards online is also convenient for the business owner. With the ability to accept credit cards, you no longer have to worry about bounce checks and your funds are FDIC insured.

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