We’ve been nominated for a Benzinga Award!

Ormsby Street have been chosen as a finalist for this year’s Benzinga Awards – in the ‘leveling the playing field’ category

bzawards-finalists-2016-official

The Benzinga Awards (BZ), is a competition to showcase the companies with the most impressive technology, who are paving the future in financial services and capital markets.

Last year’s winners include HedgecoVest who were the overall winner, with Estimize taking first place for best startup.

If you’d like to join in the celebrations in New York on May 24th, click here for full information and details of how to grab your ticket.

Good luck to all the other finalists!

An Egg-cellent offer this Easter week!

The long weekend might be over, but we’re extending our Easter special offer – Access CreditHQ FREE for one month!

Now we’ve hit the second quarter of the year, it’s a great chance to reflect on the first few months of the year and review the businesses with whom you’re trading.

Are your suppliers paying you on time? Might it be time to increase or reduce the amount of credit you’re extending to a particular business? Has your business’ credit and payment score improved and you’d like to show potential customers this?

CreditHQ can help improve your cash-flow and credit management, and ensure you’re working with the companies that are best for your business. If you know you want to work with a particular business but know in advance that they’re not likely to pay you until 45 days, you can plan accordingly and make sure you’ve got enough cash in the meantime for other purposes.

So this Easter, we’re offering you access to CreditHQ’s Standard subscription free of charge for one month! Simply enter the code EASTERHQ16 in the voucher code box*.

You’ll need to enter your card details, but don’t worry –  we won’t charge you a penny for 30 days (and if you find you’re not using CreditHQ, simply cancel anytime within the first month to avoid the £25 monthly subscription fee).

So hop to www.credithq.co.uk and start checking out the best businesses you should be working with!

*voucher code valid until 30 April.

Just ask! Your customers know what you need to do

Feedback

I called a long standing customer of our of our software products the other day and the first thing he said was “Hi Rob, I’m amazed you called.  I haven’t ever heard from anyone in your business before.”

And it’s true, he hadn’t actually ever spoken to anyone in the organisation before.  He signed up to access our service via his bank, his access information was sent to him via email, and since then he’s been signing in to the service and using it himself in order to get the value he needs.  At no point in the 5 years+ that he has been a customer has he spoken to any person within our business.

We had a great conversation for an hour, where he told me all the good things about the service we offer, the areas that he hoped it would get better, and importantly he told me about the challenges he faces as being the Finance Director of a small to medium sized business.

All of this information is absolute gold for me in helping figure out how we can get better at making businesses get control of their money.

At one point in the conversation he said ‘would you mind if I email you when i have something I think you should know?’, to which I said ‘of course not’ and I proceeded to tell him how every customer who signs up toCreditHQ will get an email from me where I ask for them to give me some feedback.  

I give every customer the chance to email me with the answer to a specific question such as ‘tell me your biggest business challenge today’ or to complete a questionnaire that takes about 2 minutes to do. 

It’s amazing what you find out.  And it’s amazing how you can use this to make decisions in your business about what you can do next.  Sometimes it’s a little thing (we don’t care about feature X) but sometimes it’s a bigger thing (you should charge more than you do).

And all through just asking.

Many businesses are scared to ask their customers what they think because they worry that they think bad things about them.  But they’re your customers so you already do something they like or they wouldn’t have got that far.  Why not listen to them and get them to give you more of their custom, or get them to spread the word about how great you are because you listen. A colleague of mine who was recently at SXSW (where we were showcasing CreditHQ as part of the UKTI’s Tech Ambassador programme), was told by an Über driver that he much preferred driving for the competitor taxi firm over there, Lyft, purely because they get in touch with their drivers asking for feedback and how they can improve conditions for them. 

We can’t do everything we get told would help, but we might find out some things we can stop doing that frees us up to do more of the good stuff.

You never know! Just ask!

Taking ‘care’ to help entrepreneurs

In January, we wanted to make good on some new years resolutions and make a difference to entrepreneurs in developing countries.

For the whole of January, we “lent” our subscription revenue to Lend with Care to pass on as loans to entrepreneurs in less privileged countries.

Lend with Care is an innovative microfinance charity; pairing up entrepreneurs in developing countries with people in more fortunate parts of the world, who loan those entrepreneurs money in order for them to transform their lives through business.

To date over 25,000 lenders have made 251,510 loans and lent over £8m to 27,567 entrepreneurs in 11 countries providing 32,976 jobs – that’s a measurable difference!

It was a difficult decision to choose who to donate to on the Lendwithcare site, as we really wanted to choose them all. They all have great stories, and are looking to improve their businesses to help their families and are also trying to improve the environment they live in.

After much thought, we choose four different businesses to lend to:

Bui van Kien

Mr. Kien wants to diversify the sources of income and he chose to rear buffaloes because it is profitable in his region. He applied for a loan, which is to be used to buy a young buffalo.

Bui van Kien

 

Bui thi Ninh

Growing rice and rearing 2 buffalo help them to bring 120 USD per month on average.
Mrs. Ninh hopes to expand her breeding business by rearing one more buffalo.

Bui-thi-Ninh

 

Ra Siem

To increase their income and make it better Mrs. Ra wants a loan in order to purchase another small plot of land around 1,600 square meters to grow sugarcane.

Ra-Siem

 

Nguyen van Du

Mr. Du requested a loan to finance the installation of a household biogas plant. The biogas plants accepts mainly animal manure but also other organic waste. Then it converts them into biogas which is then piped into the home and used for cooking, lighting and even heating. This will help reduce electricity cost and save a lot of time spent travelling to collect firewood. Therefore, deforestation will be reduced and the living environment will be much healthier.

Nguyen-van-Du

A few days later, we learnt that Nguyen van Du is now fully funded, so he’s on his way to realising his dreams for his business, which without Lendwithcare, he probably wouldn’t have been able to do. We’re looking forward to Bui van Kien, Bui thi Ninh and Ra Siem reaching their funding target too, so that they can get going with their projects.

Lendwithcare, is such a great idea, as it makes a real difference to entrepreneurs in developing countries, and it’s a ‘loan’, so you will get the loan amount back – so please lend any amount you can, to make a real difference today.

Here in the UK, we can help you to check the financial health of the businesses you’re trading with. For less than 50p a day, you’ll be able to see how good or bad a credit risk they are, and what’s most important to many small businesses – when they are likely to pay you. Sign up to CreditHQ so that you can get paid on time, and with that extra cash, please think about lending some to other entrepreneurs in developing countries, to help them improve their lives.

Thank you

Play our Business Match game this Valentine’s Day!

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, do you know who’s your perfect match when it comes to running your business?

Pawsforthought
Could Paws for Thought be your perfect business match?

Check out our new Business Match game and sign up to CreditHQ this February for only £15 per month PLUS, we’re giving all new Standard subscribers a box of chocolates plus entering all new subscribers into a draw to win a meal for two at the fabulous Resident of Paradise Row in east London (or if you can’t make it to the big smoke, we’ll give you the equivalent in vouchers for a great national restaurant).

So head over to www.credithq.co.uk/businessmatch  to take advantage of this great offer and make sure you’ve found the perfect business to trade with. And good luck!

May the force be with your small business this week!

star wars

“a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away”

The seventh Star Wars film – The Force Awakens is out tomorrow (in case you hadn’t heard!) …

Even the massive franchise that is Star Wars started out small, the original movie took $11 million to make in 1977 (the equivalent of $40 million in today’s money), but made $786 million worldwide at the box office. In contrast, the production budget for the new film is $200 million!

Now, the combined box office revenue of all the Star Wars films is $4.38 billion. Star Wars also holds a Guinness World Records title for the “Most successful film merchandising franchise.”
In 2012, the total value of the Star Wars franchise was estimated at USD $30.7 billion, including box-office receipts as well as profits from their video games and DVD sales (source: wikipedia).

So, out of something small, big things can happen

The original Star Wars story was even rejected in its early concept stages, so don’t ever give up testing new ideas and concepts in your small business and refining your product or services – you never know, the force may be with you 🙂

Instead of using the force to credit check your customers, suppliers and any companies that you do business with, use CreditHQ! If Luke’s family had credit checked the Jawas, maybe they would have got a better deal on C3PO & R2D2!

And for your chance to win a kindle fire, a printer and some other small business goodie – check out how to win our CreditHQ Christmas Gift Box!

3 lessons I’ve learnt from 20 years in Small Business

lessons

It would be easy to think – amid today’s hype about digital products and Software as a Service’s disruption of so many industries by startups – that the business world has changed a lot over the 20 years that have elapsed since I penned my first proposal in response to the tentative phone call: “We’ve heard about the world wide web and we think we need one, can you help?” With so much ink spilled over what’s changed over those two decades, I’m surprised at how often I’m reminded of how much has stayed the same. Over my time as a small business leader, there have been three lessons which I learned early, but then had to learn again and again. I set them out here to remind you too.

Lesson 1: The customer isn’t buying your product or service. In startup circles it’s very fashionable to talk about how the customer is paying to solve a problem, but that’s not what I’m talking about here. There are so many ways a customer could solve a given problem, that when they choose to do so by buying your solution, it’s crucial to understand why. It’s almost certain that your product or service wasn’t the only option, so what made them buy from you? Was it the safety and security they get from your reputation, or was it the reputation for innovation that they get from buying “the next big thing”? Are they really buying the product? Or are they trialling it for one of their departments should the rest of the organisation go a different way? Getting to the heart of why customers buy from you is absolutely essential for effective selling.

Lesson 2: You’re not selling your product or service. Depending on how you pitch and deliver your product, you might be selling the promise of repeating the experience that another customer had, or you might be selling something that you are confident you can deliver but that’s not 100 per cent rock solid yet. Or maybe you’re selling the value that you built on the foundations provided by someone else. Whichever it is, your business success depends on understanding how your view matches (or doesn’t match) your customers’, and how your business really works.

Lesson 3: Business relationships are complicated. It’s easy as a small business to work simply: we provide a service, you buy a service, the service gets delivered, the bill gets paid. If you’re selling buns in a market, you might just have a business which is that simple (though it’s not as simple as it sounds!), but if you’re selling to businesses, then it’s more likely that your customer needs your product for a number of reasons, and has various individuals with different political outlooks and different objectives. Your own team will also have various strengths, weaknesses and disagreements about how best to deliver, though various factors can change, like the economy, circumstances and requirements from your relationships. On top of this, your customer’s finance department may seem to be working to some sort of 19th century timetable, where they have until next harvest to pay your bill!

So how do you learn the lessons?

Clear brands, product descriptions and contracts are hard work to create, but worth every penny because your customers can understand you better.

Clear internal procedures and industry standard roles help your team to move fast and do the right thing even when the unexpected happens (come on – you know it will!).

Finally, trust that everything’s going to be OK, and then make sure that it is – monitor your customers’ credit scores and payment performances and don’t accept any excuses for late payment!

by Martin Campbell