Top 5 Mobile Apps for Entrepreneurs

by Crestmark 29. July 2013 03:56

As an entrepreneur, staying organized while on the go will help keep your business—and even your day—running smoothly. And while the ability to keep constantly connected to your work with a smartphone or tablet can sometimes be overwhelming, a number of business-minded apps have been developed over the past few years to make your life a little easier.

1. Evernote: With a motto like “Remember everything,” this is going to be a top-pick for any busy entrepreneur. Evernote makes it easy to keep notes, files, and even clippings of entire webpages in one place which can then be accessed by both mobile devices and the Web. Potentially one of the best examples of this is using it for travel since you can keep all itineraries, confirmations, scanned travel documents, maps, and plans in Evernote, ready for when you need them.

2. Pocket: How would you like to have a virtual cloud that can store anything from articles to videos, straight from your browser or apps? That’s exactly what you can do with Pocket. Formerly called “Read it Later,” Pocket can save just about anything for you to read when you’re ready.

3. Square: A card reader, simple pricing, and smarter business tools make it easy for businesses of any size to do what they love and get paid fast and easily. Use the free secure card reader sent to you to swipe cards on-the-go from anywhere. The Square Register app is free and easy to setup – just link your bank account and you’re able to accept payments almost instantly. You have the option to pay a flat monthly fee of $275.00 or a 2.75% fee per swipe. You will see your payment quickly and directly deposited within 1-2 business days.

4. Mint: This one is valuable for business and personal use. Named Best Finance App by the 1st Annual App Awards and TIME Magazine's 50 Best iPhone Apps of 2011, Mint enables you to track finances in real-time. You can enter transactions manually or sync your accounts automatically to track investments, sort transactions by category, set budgets, and create alerts.

5. FreshBooks: Speaking of finances, this cloud accounting app makes tracking time, logging expenses, and invoicing clients portable and painless. It also boasts team timesheets for projects involving more than one person’s billable time, multiple datacenters to back up secure data, and online payments so you can accept payments and put that money to work faster.

 

As an entrepreneur or business owner, what apps make your life easier? 

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Manufacturing in the US – Where it’s Headed, and How to Finance It

by Crestmark 3. July 2013 10:52

For years, American businesses set up their manufacturing plants in foreign countries to take advantage of inexpensive labor. Recent changes to the United States economy are turning this trend around, however, and the U.S. is becoming an increasingly attractive option for manufacturing. It's not just American companies that are returning to the U.S. for these purposes: foreign businesses are offshoring their operations to the United States, too. 

One major reason for the sudden upsurge in U.S. manufacturing is the boom in shale gas production, which is helping to drop energy costs across the country. This affordable fuel helps to make the U.S. an attractive option for commercial manufacturing. Many companies that chose to run their manufacturing operations in other countries are finding that it can actually be cheaper to keep those operations in the U.S. Moreover, European companies are taking advantage of cheap gas prices and an available labor pool since natural gas in the U.S. costs roughly a quarter of the European price. 

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Although many companies point to labor costs as a good reason to outsource manufacturing jobs, the truth is that domestic operations are often the most cost-effective choice. Labor costs are rising in countries like China, where wages have grown a staggering 500 percent in the past 13 years, and are forecasted to continue to grow by 18 percent each year. Compare this to American wages, which have remained steady in certain areas over the same time period.

When looking at the total cost of ownership for any operation, many businesses are discovering that the expenses of energy consumption, delivery, freight, packaging, and other production costs are actually higher when the manufacturing is completed overseas. When GE moved its production from China to Kentucky, it experienced a 20 percent decrease in expenses, and other companies are seeing similar results. 

This "manufacturing renaissance" is good news for businesses who can reduce their expenses and streamline their operations by keeping them on domestic soil. It's also good news for American workers, who can begin to fill these positions, which will stimulate the economy and help increase demand for other goods and services to support the new manufacturing operations. 

Crestmark works as a lender to a variety of manufacturing related businesses. For details on how we may be able to provide financing for your business based on your accounts receivable, inventory and machinery/equipment, contact one of our lending experts today!  


 

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