Blog/News

Building a Workforce

Sadie Keljikian, Express Trade Capital

You’ve done all the grunt work and you’re finally ready to hire people and get your business up and running. But how are you going to distribute your workforce appropriately without any prior experience to determine where employees are needed most? Here are a few tips to help you efficiently staff your business and get started on the right foot:

  • Identify your business’s needs.

Before you can decide how many people to hire, you need to figure out exactly what your business needs. This may involve some trial and error, but try starting off with the skills you know you’ll need. In a wholesale business, your needs will depend on how much of the process you handle personally. If your goods are manufactured on site, you’ll obviously need to hire people to fabricate your goods and assure that they are up to your quality standards. If you plan to outsource your manufacturing, you can focus instead on hiring competent back office support.

  • Do some research.

If you have no idea where to begin, research similar businesses and find out how they started. Better yet, seek out entrepreneurs in a similar field and ask them who they hired first and how they managed their staff back when they were starting out. It can be difficult to prioritize positions without context, so don’t be afraid to inquire about someone else’s experience and use that information to your advantage.

  • Act as quickly as possible.

Hiring new people at a budding business is daunting, but just one or two more people on your team can have a remarkable effect on your productivity. Obviously, your hiring capacity will be limited for financial reasons, but usually the profit-boost that comes with bringing in new people will more than offset the cost of their salaries.

  • When in doubt, go lean.

If you’re still not sure how to arrange your employees, boil your needs down to the basics and go from there. If you can hire a small number of competent people, you’ll have a great foundation on which to build your company as it grows. It’s always better to have a small group of capable professionals and supplement as needed than to hire a large group of new employees who need more guidance than you have the time or resources to provide.

  • Consider Potential.

Regardless of the initial size of your team, it is wise to consider a prospective employee’s potential as well as their previous experience. Most employees respond well to challenges, so while you should manage your expectations, you’d be surprised how much the average employee can accomplish with a bit of a challenge and the right support.

  • Create a team-driven culture.

In any employment situation, it is crucial to establish a workplace culture that rewards teamwork and collaboration. Since an employee’s potential is generally well beyond the responsibilities required of them at the onset, invite them to get as involved as they are willing and able to be. In any workplace, but particularly a new one, it is important to encourage and allow employees to take ownership of their work and the business as a whole. This dynamic will not only get employees more invested in their work, it will build a stronger foundation for your business as a whole.


At the end of the day, there will be a learning curve involved in the process, but if you hire carefully and conservatively at the beginning, chances are you’ll learn a lot about how to manage your hiring process as your business grows.

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Boosting Morale

Sadie Keljikian, Express Trade Capital

Is your workforce happy?

Many businesses struggle to answer that question, and those who don’t usually know the answer: “no.” Contrary to popular belief, people aren’t categorically miserable in their day-to-day work. Generally, they find specific aspects of it frustrating, but managers and business owners often fail to identify the components that need to change. A happy workforce is a productive workforce, so taking an active interest in your employees’ satisfaction is both kind and shrewd. Here are a few ways to keep tabs on morale and address issues as you learn about them:

  • Ask your employees what they want.

Most CEOs and managers assume their employees want more money, but the reality may surprise you. The solution is often simpler (and cheaper). Although most entry-level employees wouldn’t argue with a pay raise, they’re usually more concerned with things like life-work balance, health benefits, and other resources like childcare, transportation assistance and higher education for themselves and/or their children.

Giving your employees a voice allows you the opportunity to address the actual problems your workforce faces instead of guessing and potentially wasting money on the wrong solution. Distribute a company-wide survey or implement a suggestion box to let your employees air their thoughts and concerns anonymously, the results will inform your next move.

  • Make sure they know their work is appreciated.

In the day-to-day hustle and bustle, it can be easy to take your employees’ work for granted. However, appreciation for hard work done well can make all the difference to a dedicated employee. Make a point of showing your appreciation in whatever way possible; whether it’s a large-scale reward system like “employee of the month” or smaller rewards like a free lunch for the most productive team members, make sure your highest performers know that you appreciate them.

  • Offer discounts and sponsorships for day-to-day essentials.

Offering to help your employees with daily expenses like transportation or childcare demonstrates an appreciation for their concerns outside of work. Employees, particularly in large-scale businesses, often feel that their humanity is ignored in the workplace. So, helping them with a non-work aspect of their lives will make them feel seen and appreciated.

  • Take a vested interest in your employees’ futures.

This may sound difficult, and it will be at the beginning, but taking an interest in your employees’ dreams and future plans will tell them that their job, whatever it may be, is a means to their personal ends. This goes back to listening to your employees. If you can find out what their aspirations are, you may be surprised how easily you can facilitate them. For example, if you have employees who’d like to receive higher education of some sort, you may be able to work out a deal with a local community college or state school to get your employees access to cheap or free classes.

  • Make time for fun experiences that bring your team together.

Although company outings and team building activities are often seen as cliché, it’s important to establish trust and a friendly rapport among your employees. Whether you decide to institute a pet-friendly office (after inquiring about all office workers’ allergies, of course), install a foosball table, or occasionally plan social gatherings, your staff will appreciate the stress relief and the opportunity to bond with one another. Even just one casual gathering (IE a bowling night, board game night, or potluck dinner) per month can make a dramatic difference in a team’s ability to work together.

No one expects their workforce to be overjoyed all the time, but taking steps to keep your employees happy and motivated is easier than you think and will do wonders for your team’s productivity. All you have to do is listen.


Full-Recourse vs. Non-Recourse Factoring

Sam Permutt, Express Trade Capital

Receivables factoring is a tried-and-true solution for insufficient cash flow in business-to-business sales relationships. It allows vendors to sell large orders to retailers and assign the receivables to a factor, helping to avoid depleted operational funds while outsourcing collections labor and, in many cases, the risk of unpaid invoices.

Lately, we’ve received numerous inquiries about the difference between “full-recourse” and “non-recourse” factoring.

To address these queries, here are five things to know about these different types of factoring:

Full-Recourse factoring means that the vendor, not the factor, bears the risk if the retailer does not pay the invoice.

Non-Recourse factoring means that the factor, not the vendor, absorbs the credit risk. If the retailer goes bankrupt or insolvent – or even refuses to pay without reason – the burden falls to the factor to pay the invoice.

Hybrid recourse/non-recourse factoring means that the factor will provide credit protection for a portion of the invoice.  The amount of risk the factor will take on depends on how much of that invoice the retailer will likely pay.

The risk of normal chargebacks and disputes is not covered in these instances.

The benefit of non-recourse factoring is that the vendor knows that once her invoices are factored she can rest assured that one way or another, she will be paid.

To speak more about non-recourse factoring, please contact us.


Competing Within Your Industry

Sadie Keljikian, Express Trade Capital

Standing out in your industry can be tricky, especially if you work in a competitive field. To get ahead of your competition, it’s important to develop and demonstrate the unique qualities you and your business can offer. Here are a few ways you can distinguish yourself from other players in your industry and break away from the crowd:

  • Price

It may be the most obvious point of comparison, but if you can distinguish yourself on pricing, you should do so and you should advertise as such. Compare yourself to businesses that provide similar or identical services/products and demonstrate your ability to fulfill the same need at a lower price.

Beware of competing with bigger businesses on price. Larger companies can generally underprice smaller ones because they typically have lower costs due to economies of scale. Moreover, although extremely low prices may bring a surge of new business, it is important to make sure your profits are sustainable.

However, lower prices are not always the answer. Sometimes, a higher price signals quality for which customers are willing, and even eager, to pay a premium especially if they believe those items are better in other ways . . .

  • Quality

If you can provide and demonstrate quality superior that of your competitors, it won’t necessarily matter if your prices are higher than your industry’s average. In fact, counterintuitively, higher prices may attract more purchases in the right circumstances. Many customers are willing to spend more for quality assurance. Whenever possible, use objective data to support your claims.

  • Speed/Efficiency

Some industries are notorious for taking a long time to process orders or engage services. If you have created an effective system to speed up your processes vis-à-vis competitors, let your prospects know! This is an especially attractive perk to offer when you sell products or services that your customers typically need upon demand. Customers want to know you can deliver quickly and efficiently.

  • Scope of Products

If you have a wide variety of goods or services, and/or if you offer a combination of goods/services that is rarely offered in your industry, you’re already ahead of the game. Business clients particularly love a one-stop shop. If they find a business they trust and with whom they like working, they’ll want to take full advantage of that business’s range of offerings rather than shop around for multiple providers.

Having a wide range of products also allows for sharper pricing through bundling, which can increase cross sales by enticing consumers to purchase other products in your line. For example, you can cut the price of one product if a consumer agrees to purchase an additional product.

  • Business Ethics/Values

Good policies and philosophies can be marketed to distinguish the quality of your business. Recently, advertising conscientious business practices has become a massive trend everywhere from independent retailers to international corporations. Whether you focus on helping the environment, meticulously sourcing your goods and labor to observe fair trade policies, charitable giving, or any other activities that demonstrate your business’s ethical beliefs, it’s a good idea to publicize your efforts.

  • Reputation/Client Loyalty

This is more relevant to businesses that have been in operation for a while and have developed a following. One of the most favorable things a customer can hear about your business is that your clients/customers stay on board with you after your initial transaction. It means that you treat your customers well and run your business ethically, so always strive to keep existing customers coming back for more.

  • Honesty

This is similar to business ethics and reputation. Unfortunately, many businesses stretch the truth in the sales process or pull bait and switch tactics to win clients. Many of your prospective customers have heard sales people make over the top claims and gloss over their disadvantages or imperfections. Fortunately, this creates an opportunity for good businesses to capitalize on the poor reputation of their less scrupulous peers.

While deceit sometimes seems like the best way get immediate sales in the short term, prospects will quickly discover the ruse and eagerly post poor reviews. Consumers respect you and your business more if you’re upfront about what they can expect from you, even if the truth is that you cannot deliver on certain requests. The more open your line of communication with them, the more inclined they’ll be to work with you long term. In the long run, it is often better to under-promise and overdeliver than vice versa.

  • Flexibility and Customization

If you can provide more hands-on services or otherwise offer flexibility or customization, many customers are willing to pay more or forego working with larger or more established companies whose operations are too large to accommodate those personalized specifications. Some larger companies deliver goods or services in set ways that have little flexibility because allowing for individualized customization may cost too much to implement on a wide scale.

In fact, many larger companies systematize their processes, which reduces costs and increases efficiency for their clients in many instances. However, systemization can also make larger companies unable to service more specific and specialized consumer demands. Smaller companies can take advantage of this by filling in the gaps where their larger competitors are not willing to venture.


Many of the above listed qualities bleed into each other.  For example, better quality allows for higher prices and honesty is directly related to business ethics and reputation which are both in turn facets of your quality.  Meanwhile, good customer service and sales practices can improve the perception of your business in virtually all areas.

The key is to see your business on a variety of dimensions which will allow you to distinguish yourself on multiple fronts. A competitor may be larger and have many more years’ experience but they may be set in their ways and inflexible when consumers require them to deviate from their standards and practices.  In short, dynamic businesses who stay vigilant can stay ahead of competitors by seeing and seizing on opportunities and gaps left by competitors.

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