Tax Season Security Threats You Need to Know

Tax Season Security Threats You Need to Know

The third annual National Tax Security Awareness campaign started yesterday. Through December 7, it will highlight a daily security topic and mark the launch of a special @IRSTaxSecurity Twitter handle that will keep you aware of emerging threats throughout the 2019 tax filing season. For almost two decades, Altima Business Solutions has been designing, implementing and safely maintaining financial management systems for small businesses. We understand these threats! Here are some basic steps to protect yourself: Secure your networks It’s critical that you secure your network, both electronically and physically. Unless you are an expert, make sure to consult with one. Don’t know anyone? We can recommend these two locally owned firms: Refresh IT PCIT Technology Solutions   Understand security rules and follow them Phishing emails: Phishing emails account for such a large portion of cyber attacks, 90 to 95 percent per IRONSCALES’ 2017 Email Security Report, because companies fail to teach employees about the danger: Do not provide password or any other personal information. Reputable institutions do not ask for it via email. They use secure messaging. Do not open any attachment from an unknown source. Do not click on any embedded buttons or links, especially those that say “unsubscribe” or “remove me from this mailing list.” Instead, block the sender. If in doubt, call the sender. Password: According to the 2017 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, “81% of hacking-related breaches leveraged either stolen and/or weak passwords.” Use long and unique passwords Issue guidelines for your employees Vary your passwords to make it tougher for cybercriminals to use credentials stolen from one site to access your data on...
What Monopoly can teach you about business funding

What Monopoly can teach you about business funding

Monopoly has been a classic board game for over 100 years but if you’ve played it, you quickly realize what it takes to keep the cash flowing to become a real estate tycoon. But the game offers wisdom that can be applied to the real world of financing. Below are four comparisons to increase your understanding and chances of securing the funding your business needs. 1/ Assets Based on real estate, Monopoly allows you to amass three types of assets: land, houses and hotels. Sometimes, when you are low on cash, you can trade a house or two, maybe a hotel, for a loan from the bank. In your business, your assets can be a piece of land or a building, as well as equipment, vehicles, inventory, etc. This can be used as collateral by a lender to guarantee that you will repay them the loan they approved. 2/ Cash flow Doesn’t it feel good to collect cash every time a player stops on your property and has to pay the rent? Yeah, lenders love that too! If you have a history of consistently collecting revenue, lenders will feel comfortable that you possess that know-how and will continue to produce, providing an ability to repay the monies they lent you. 3/Get-Out-Of-Jail card At times we can use some help from above! In the same way that a get-out-of-jail card bails you out when you need it the most, in real life, a co-signer, someone willing to pledge their assets or personal reputation, could be just what you need to overcome current challenges. 4/Always have cash on hand By far,...
5 Contract agency opportunities for Michael recovery

5 Contract agency opportunities for Michael recovery

Your company can help in Hurricane Michael recovery efforts Following Hurricane Michael’s October 10 landfall near Mexico Beach, Florida, the Thomas T. Stafford Disaster Relief & Emergency Assistance Act. requires FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) to contract with businesses like yours, located in the affected area when feasible and practical, to help with recovery efforts. Follow these three steps: Register with the System for Award Management (SAM) Complete the Disaster Response Information Section here indicating you want to be included in the Disaster Response Registry. The Disaster Response Registry is used by FEMA and the U. S. Army Corp of Engineers to establish their list of contractors. You can also contact your local PTAC (Procurement Technical Assistance Center) for assistance and to make sure you are registered in all other important databases, like insurance approved contractors. They will assist you with registering for free. Click here to find your PTAC. Complete FEMA’s Industry Liaison Program Vendor Profile form Submit the form to: industry@fema.dhs.gov and look for Contracting Opportunities on the following sites: Federal Business Opportunities (Fedbizopps) Contract opportunities exceeding $25,000 DHS Advance Acquisition Planning System To monitor the DHS Acquisition Planning Forecast System – contract actions exceeding $150,000. Potential Subcontracting Opportunities with DHS Prime Contractors: Information on large business Prime Contractors who are interested in subcontracting with small, small and disadvantaged, women-owned small, HUBZone-certified, 8(a), veteran-owned small, and service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses, complete with tips on how to pursue subcontracting opportunities with them. Secure or extend your line of credit, working capital or other financing tools to withstand partial or delayed insurance and federal payments. If you need assistance,...
Benjamin Franklin’ Pros and Cons of Using a Funding Executive

Benjamin Franklin’ Pros and Cons of Using a Funding Executive

Benjamin Franklin is famous for many things, from being one of the Founding Fathers of the U.S. to inventing the lightning rod and being on the US$100 note. Maybe less known, he’s also the inventor of a simple but effective decision-making chart: Pros and Cons chart. He himself used it whenever a clear decision could not be made quickly. Rather than spending a countless amount of time with indecision (as he truly understood that time is valuable), he would create a Pro & Cons chart and whichever side was the longest that was his decision. He is known not to contradict his decision once made, therefore, if it was a great tool for one of the first wealthiest men in America, it surely can apply here. Since my last article “What is a Funding Executive?” I have received many opportunities, but also many inquiries to clarify why a Funding Executive is a viable option. So, I have created a Pro’s and Cons chart, Benjamin Franklin style. Here is a quick recap of what a Funding Executive is: A funding executive is a financing expert who interacts with banks and lending institutions on your behalf. They have an in-depth understanding of all the types of business funding as well as a large pool of financing sources. Contrary to a banker, they do not work with one bank or lending institutions but a multitude. Start a conversation today! Our Funding Executives are here and ready to assist you in achieving your funding objectives, which allows you to focus your valuable time on moving your needle.   Altima Business Solutions has pioneered “Funding...
What is a Funding Executive?

What is a Funding Executive?

Q: What is a Funding Executive? A: A funding executive is a financing expert who interacts with banks and lending institutions on your behalf. They have an in-depth understanding of all the types of business funding as well as a large pool of financing sources. Contrary to a banker, they do not work with one bank or lending institutions but a multitude. Q: What does a Funding Executive do? A: A Funding Executive helps businesses procure financing for their organizations. They select, solicit and negotiate funding on your behalf, representing your interests and not those of any particular banks and lending institutions. For example, your banker can only offer you a loan or line of credit from the bank he/she works for, limiting your options. A Funding Executive, on the contrary, doesn’t work for one bank or lending institution but rather have a ‘distributor’ relationship with multiple banks and lending institutions. That allows the Funding Executive to compare and find the best options available for you on the market. Q: How does a Funding Executive get paid? A: A Funding Executive gets compensated through commission paid on the amount of financing secured. Depending on the type of funding, commission can be paid either by the lending institution or by the business for which funds have been secured. Note: These commissions do not include any preparatory work, performed by their underwriting back office, that may be required. Q: Why do I need a Funding Executive? A: A business loan (or other business financing type) is not the simplest product! A good Funding Executive can navigate you through many question marks, compare...
5 Contract agency opportunities for Florence recovery

5 Contract agency opportunities for Florence recovery

Your company can help in Hurricane Florence recovery efforts Following Hurricane Florence’s September 14 landfall in Wilmington, North Carolina, the Thomas T. Stafford Disaster Relief & Emergency Assistance Act. requires FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) to contract with businesses like yours, located in the affected area when feasible and practical, to help with recovery efforts. Follow these three steps: Register with the System for Award Management (SAM) Complete the Disaster Response Information Section here indicating you want to be included in the Disaster Response Registry. The Disaster Response Registry is used by FEMA and the U. S. Army Corp of Engineers to establish their list of contractors. You can also contact your local PTAC (Procurement Technical Assistance Center) for assistance and to make sure you are registered in all other important databases, like insurance approved contractors. They will assist you with registering for free. Click here to find your PTAC. Complete FEMA’s Industry Liaison Program Vendor Profile form Submit the form to: industry@fema.dhs.gov and look for Contracting Opportunities on the following sites: Federal Business Opportunities (Fedbizopps) Contract opportunities exceeding $25,000 DHS Advance Acquisition Planning System To monitor the DHS Acquisition Planning Forecast System – contract actions exceeding $150,000. Potential Subcontracting Opportunities with DHS Prime Contractors: Information on large business Prime Contractors who are interested in subcontracting with small, small and disadvantaged, women-owned small, HUBZone-certified, 8(a), veteran-owned small, and service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses, complete with tips on how to pursue subcontracting opportunities with them. Secure or extend your line of credit, working capital or other financing tools to withstand partial or delayed insurance and federal payments. If you need assistance,...
Do You Need a Mentor or an Advisor?

Do You Need a Mentor or an Advisor?

Every successful entrepreneur can recall a few key mentors and advisors who have influenced their journey and helped them along the way. If you have raised equity funding, you may benefit from the guidance and mentoring that investors provide (yes, qualified investors don’t just write a check!). After all, it does take a village to raise an entrepreneur! Both mentors and advisors are an important part of the entrepreneurial journey, and although the terms are being used interchangeably, it is important that you understand the difference, so that you can benefit the most from their guidance. Mentors: A mentor is someone who will support you and encourage you to sharpen your critical thinking and self-awareness. They have some entrepreneurial experience and a general business acumen. They can be close friends, professional acquaintances or come from organized groups. Mentors are most beneficial in the ideation and early stage of a business. Why? Because their main focus is you as your business results are in direct relation to your development and maturity as an entrepreneur. It often takes an outsider’s perspective to help you broaden yours. A mentor just wants to see you succeed! Like a barrel of monkeys, someone pulls you up and you keep a hand down to pull the next woman up (or guy *smile*). The first step to find a mentor is to ask. Let the person know that you are interested in learning about them and their experience. Offer a chat over coffee. Listen. Ask a few questions. Like any other relationships, ease into it. After a few informal conversations, you can create together a more...
3 Smart Ways to Win More Sales

3 Smart Ways to Win More Sales

Whether you are just getting started or not, your sales are directly tied to the number of people you can reach who are genuinely interested in what you are selling. Winning more sales comes down to solving these three challenges. 1. Choose your customer If you reach more of the right people, you will get more clients! In business, 20% of your customers generates 80% of your revenues. It’s the 80/20 rule or Pareto Principle, named after Vilfredo Pareto, an Italian economist who found, in the early 1900s, that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population. This may come as a surprise, but this distribution occurs frequently in all areas of life. It is also an incredible tool to grow your business. So why spend energies on these target customers that will generate the least? By identifying the characteristics of your 20%-customers, you can focus your efforts on reaching people who match that profile. I’ll show you how to in the next steps.   2. Find their big problem The basic premise of business is to offer a product or service that people would pay for. In short, if you fix their big problem they will pay for it. Value is in the eye of the beholder! Do you truly understand what their pain is? When the first laser printer came out, as Hewlett-Packard was getting their new model to market, they realize that customers didn’t care about printing the most beautiful graphics. What they wanted above all was silence! Their big problem was that, at the time, existing printers were making such...
Does Your Accounting Make You Money? If Not, Here is What to Do.

Does Your Accounting Make You Money? If Not, Here is What to Do.

Think of your business as being a big bucket. As you go along, you fill that bucket with everything you learn about your value proposition, your customers, employees, finances, and operations. At some point you may realize that you expend more energies and resources than necessary to progress. Your bucket is leaking! But where is it leaking from? Truthful financial statements will invariably identify the culprit. For almost two decades, we’ve been designing, implementing and maintaining financial management systems for startups, small and medium-sized businesses. Over and over, we have found that there are four core contributors to your leaking bucket: Accounting Operations Sales Cash Flow The first step is to learn how to understand your financial statements. Our expert CFO in residence wrote this educational piece for you: “How do Financial Statements Help Decision-Making”. In this article, we will examine how your accounting could be leaking and how to fix it. The Symptoms Here are some of the most common signs that your books are not as accurate as they should be: You are not staying on top of recording There are many line items on your P&L There is a large suspense account There is no breakdown of cost per goods, service or project You write off everything You are mingling personal and business accounts As an owner, you are not on payroll Cash seems to disappear   The Cure Have a professional general accountant or controller set up your books for your bookkeeper to follow. We all have a friend or acquaintance that want to help or maybe we can just do it ourselves. This is...
Impact-Driven Business Accelerator Seeks 5 Growth-Stage Companies

Impact-Driven Business Accelerator Seeks 5 Growth-Stage Companies

Altima Business Solutions is seeking second-stage startups for API10X spring accelerator program to help the most promising entrepreneurs make an impact. Focused on founders and their ventures, this concierge accelerator program offers one-on-one mentoring with experts and connections with Altima’s network of industry influencers, among other services. “Building a product and building a business are two different things. We focus on founders to help them understand what their next best moves are to build an impactful business” said Carine Dieudé, partner and strategy director at Altima Business Solutions. “It’s not just about the product, the service or the trade. Creating a company that has impact requires designing its business model and management systems to positively influence the results,” Dieudé said. Startups and small businesses, regardless of industry, that have already proven their concept and have traction are invited to apply for the 12-week impact-driven program, API10X, by March 30, 2018. API10X started as a summer accelerator program for Arizona State University for Venture Devils startups last May. Altima decided to start a similar program outside of ASU to help other promising companies with a wide range of expertise to solve their core problems and transfer wealth: more traction, more sales, and more profit. “The goal is to have promising companies get above the noise and be a success story,” Dieudé said. “ Altima Business Solutions, which was founded 18 years ago, supports business owners and entrepreneurs from decision-making to execution with On-Demand Executives and On-Demand Solutions in all five fundamentals of business: Access to Capital, Financial Management, Critical Path, Sales and Accountability. As a result, they transfer tangible wealth to...