Tax credits, Grants and Incentives Encourage Investment in Clean Energy

The sun and wind are free in their natural state; but the equipment and technology needed to convert that energy into electricity or heat can be costly. The U.S. government offers financing resources and incentives to promote clean energy development. Because solar and other renewable energy systems do not emit harmful pollutants, they help protect the environment and reduce U.S. reliance on imported fuels.

Businesses and residents may take a closer look at alternative energy products and services, thanks to a variety of tax credits, rebates, loans and incentives offered by government agencies and utilities.

Thirty-percent solar investment tax credit (ITC) has economic advantages

A 30-percent tax credit is a popular financial incentive for installing solar energy systems in one’s home or place of business. Since 2006, residential and commercial properties have been benefitting from extensions to the solar investment tax credit (ITC), which can be applied to projects through 2021.

The solar ITC extends the 30-percent tax credits through the end of 2019; then drops the credit to 26 percent in 2020; 22 percent in 2021; and then permanently to 10 percent for commercial projects and no further credit for residential projects. Business owners who commence construction on their projects before Dec. 31, 2021, can claim the larger credit, provided the project is in service before the end of 2023.

According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, “The recent ITC extension is expected to nearly quadruple solar deployment by the end of 2020 while doubling U.S. solar employment and spurring $140 billion in economic activity.”

“The tax credit has been a beneficial mechanism to prompt solar innovation and installation. With many small businesses capitalizing on clean energy products and services, the economic impact may be as significant as the impact on climate stability,” said Larry Pearce, Crestmark executive vice president and Joint Ventures Group president.

“As Crestmark continues to grow its services to businesses involved in renewable energy, the certainty provided by investment tax credits is critical. Businesses and investors want assurances and risk reduction as they launch new energy services and invest in innovations,” Pearce said. “Having these credits in place can put reluctant business owners at ease.”

Business energy investment tax credit (ITC) provides incentive for renewable technologies

Although some parts of the bill have expired, there are still potential benefits from the federal business energy investment tax credit (ITC). The ITC applies a 30-percent rebate to solar, fuel cells and wind technology; a 10-percent rebate to geothermal electric technologies; and a sliding 24-12-percent rebate for large wind.

The legislation, originally signed in 2015, has been extended in some areas, and offers a gradual step-down of credits between 2019 and 2022. Some eligible technologies have already expired, but those remaining include solar photovoltaic (PV) cells, solar water heating, solar space heating and cooling, solar process heat, geothermal electric and large wind technologies.

A longstanding innovator of creative financial solutions, Crestmark offers many flexible programs to meet the needs of business owners. For instance, Crestmark funds Alternative Energy Development Group (AEDG) LLC, and an affiliated company SolarSense LLC, headquartered in Berwyn, Pennsylvania, with a combination of sale and leaseback transactions. Crestmark provides sale-leaseback financing for several 500kW (AC) solar projects to deliver clean, reliable and renewable energy to the state of Vermont on a power purchase agreement (PPA) basis.

“In this agreement, Crestmark owns the solar panels and leases them back to the developer. Some companies don’t have enough taxable income to take advantage of the 30 percent credit. With our support, the tax credit is utilized for maximum benefit to all parties involved,” Pearce said.

Small-business loans and vouchers continue to advance growth

Small businesses receive special consideration from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) through its SBA loan programs. These government-guaranteed options are available up to $750,000 for products or services with energy-efficient features.

Additionally, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) provides support through the DOE’s Small Business Vouchers (SBV) program, which encourages advanced energy innovations and technologies. To date, the SBV has built partnerships among 114 small businesses and corresponding national labs that help overcome technical challenges and bring energy innovations to market more quickly and efficiently.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) helps energy developers purchase, install and construct renewable energy system. This funding resource supports farmers, ranchers, business owners and other entities to incorporate renewable energy into their operations, thereby reducing energy use and cost and improving the bottom line.

Grants, loan guarantees and financial assistance may also be awarded through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Crestmark experts can help companies maximize their renewable energy efforts and incentives by funding them properly. As technology advances, new benefits are continually made to the economy. With a growing client-base of businesses producing goods and services related to solar, wind and clean energy, Crestmark is helping to grow and launch small businesses who have big ideas for the planet.

Call us at 888-999-8050.

ELD mandates for truck drivers prevent fatigue, increase safety

ELD Mandates for Truck Drivers Increases Safety

Truck drivers will soon scrap their handwritten mileage journals for electronic logging devices (ELDs). Far more accurate than pen and paper, an ELD connects to the vehicle’s engine to electronically record hours on the road. A mandate from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires ELD installation in an estimated 3.4 million commercial trucks and fleets by Dec. 18, 2017.

The new mandate aims to prevent driver fatigue and improve highway safety by electronically syncing the vehicle’s engine with the driver’s log. This ensures that a driver’s hours of service (HOS) are reported accurately. ELDs provide paperless, computerized systems to track driver routes, hours worked, rest breaks, vehicle inspection reports, and other factors that drivers are required to report. Until now, the technology was optional and based on convenience.

Having this information stored in one system simplifies life for carriers and safety officials. Knowing a driver’s precise status improves regulatory compliance. Trucks with an ELD have 53 percent lower HOS violations.

Safety first

Safe drivers need to be alert. Commercial truckers already have federal regulations dictating when and how long they can drive. Drivers can’t go too far without breaks. They can’t work too many days in a row. And they can’t drive more than 11 hours, in order to avoid fatigue.

Two decades of research indicate that a significant number of drivers exceed the HOS limit, admit to feeling fatigue, and have dozed off at the wheel. They say they go longer and farther because of tight schedules, needing the money, traffic jams and inclement weather. A 2007 study of crashes involving large trucks showed that 13 percent of commercial drivers were fatigued at the time of their crash.

ELDs help ensure compliance with HOS standards since there’s no disputing the ELD’s precise record of duty (ROD) data, required of commercial drivers. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, adequate rest and controlled work hours help combat fatigue. ELD-equipped trucks have 11.7 percent fewer total crashes and 5.1 percent fewer preventable crashes.

Joe DeLorenzo, director of the FMCSA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance, said safety is the priority. “There are a lot of benefits for all of us towards our goal of making sure the transportation environment is as safe as possible,” DeLorenzo said.

Reliable and affordable technology

Carriers who have not yet invested in automatic onboard recording devices (AOBRD) want affordable ELD equipment … before the mandate hits.

Crestmark provides discounted ELD options through a preferred partner program with Transflo, a respected leader in mobile, telematics, and business process automation.

“Automation and efficiency are good for safety and the industry, but ELD regulations can be burdensome for small businesses and small budgets,” said Heath Holdbrooks, Crestmark executive vice president and Transportation Services Finance Division president. “Crestmark understands this. In support of the trucking industry, we are working hard to make sure truckers have affordable, convenient, and reliable options as they make the move to electronic logging.”

Transflo is offering preferred partner pricing to Crestmark transportation clients on the Transflo ELD T7. This 3-inch device installs in minutes, includes a powerful mobile app for managing logs, and syncs with a phone or tablet. Within about 10 minutes, a driver can be back on the road. In addition to recording drive time, optional services allow carriers to access engine diagnostics, driver behavior, and accident reconstruction information.

“Transflo’s competitive rates and dependable technology could be appealing to trucking companies who are new to the market, running lean, or are not yet well-versed in ELD reporting and analytics options,” Holdbrooks said. “We urge our Crestmark trucking clients to take advantage of this discounted offer ahead of the December deadline.”

“Our fully integrated ELD solution is what carriers and drivers need in this new environment,” said George Abernathy, vice president of sales and supply chain solutions at Transflo. “The technology not only addresses the required move from paper records to electronic logs, but also foundational business needs like safety and productivity. Smaller fleets now enjoy operational capabilities that were previously out of reach.”

For more information on the ELD discount pricing available to Crestmark clients through the Transflo partnership, visit our ELD partnership page

Call us at 888-999-8050.

Investing your money (and your trust) in Crestmark CDs

Making smart, safe choices is essential when you’re planning a financial strategy to grow your business’s wealth, especially if you’re new to investing or if you’re still feeling cautious after the 2008 recession. Investing in a certificate of deposit (CD) with Crestmark Bank is the perfect way to get started.

Putting your trust in Crestmark

At Crestmark, we provide a variety of financial solutions for businesses across the nation. And even though that may sound similar to what many banks do, Crestmark actually isn’t a bank in the traditional sense. Our financial organization was founded specifically to serve small-to-medium sized businesses that needed access to funding more traditional banks could not provide.

This led our founder, W. David Tull, to start Crestmark, which was approved as an FDIC bank in 1996. He wanted to solve this problem for smaller businesses by creating innovative financial solutions that would give them the funding they needed to be successful. It wasn’t long before Crestmark began receiving inquiries outside Michigan, our home base, and soon we were serving businesses all over the country.

Crestmark is built around delivering value and satisfaction to all of our stakeholders, from employees to clients and the community we serve. When you choose to invest in CDs with us, you’re choosing a strong bank built to serve your unique business needs. CDs are relatively simple investments, but that doesn’t mean you should expect less service from your team here at Crestmark Bank. We will be here for you every step of the way.

Understanding how CDs work

CDs are simple, timed deposits with a fixed interest rate. You pick a term (that’s the amount of time your money will sit in the CD and accrue interest) and when the term ends, you take your money out or you can roll it over into another CD.

Terms
During a term, the money you invest in a CD is unavailable to you. This means you need to consider how short—or long—you want the term to be. If you need access to your cash soon, a short term is best for you. If you’re in no hurry, a longer term will work.

It’s important to mention that you can take your money out of a CD early if you need to, but most banks will charge you a penalty fee which may negate any interest you’ve earned.

Rates
Longer terms offer better rates, helping you make more out of your money over time. Right now, Crestmark Bank is offering a very competitive rate of 1.70 percent APY for a 12-month term. A 60-month term CD has a 2.15 percent rate. If you need to go with a shorter term, our rates are equally competitive, and it’s an easy way to stretch your dollar.

Laddering
A popular way to increase liquidity with CDs is a method called “laddering.” This is when you divide your investment among several smaller CDs at higher rates that mature at staggered dates. This strategy offers maximum growth and allows your funds to become available faster.

For instance, you may open one CD that matures in a year, a second CD that matures in two years, and a third CD that matures in three years. When the first CD matures, you roll that money into a new three-year CD. You do the same thing when the second CD matures. Ultimately, you end up with a three-year CD maturing every year for three years. You can also set up a five-year ladder to maximize earnings.

Security
When you invest in CDs, there is no risk. CDs have fixed rates, and they’re insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (up to $250,000), giving you even more peace of mind. CDs are not a wild ride on the stock market, which is why they make a smart investment for businesses that want to grow their capital in a simple, risk-free way.

Partner with Crestmark and start earning today

Crestmark is built on the foundation of helping small-to-mid-sized businesses succeed, whether that’s through lending or growing capital. When you open a CD with us, you can expect personalized service from beginning to end.

Our CD administrator, Beth Inda, can help you determine the kind of CD that’s right for your business needs, the amount you should invest, and the term length. Investments can be as low as $25,000 and as high as $250,000.

Terms lengths are flexible, but range from one month to five years. Beth is available at (248) 419-2959 and by email at cd@crestmark.com. Or, you can go ahead and fill out the CD Request Form.

Once your CD is set up, you can sit back and focus on your business while your money increases over time. When the CD comes to maturation, it automatically renews, but you can take your money out or transfer it to another CD with different terms. It’s up to you. Whatever you decide, investing in CDs is a great way to grow your business’s money—and we look forward to working closely with you.

Visit our CD page to see Crestmark’s current CD rates.  Or call us at 855-267-6445.

CDs: a powerful tool for your business financial strategy

Architects at work

When you create a financial strategy for your business, don’t forget to include certificates of deposit (CDs) in your plan. These straightforward investments are simple to set up, involve little to no risk, and offer a solid return on your money.

Perfect for busy business owners

Most business owners have one thing in common: their calendars are full. Whether they are meeting clients, responding to inquiries, ordering supplies, or taking care of simple daily tasks, they are busy people.

When it comes to investing, business owners don’t always have time to learn about complicated investment tools and they’re not interested in taking a lot of risk with their capital. But they do want to make smart financial decisions. CDs are a perfect solution because they are easy to understand, take minutes to set up, and offer a solid return on your money.

Peace of mind

When you invest in CDs, there is almost no risk and the return is guaranteed. Your money—and your business—won’t be affected by falling interest rates, which means you don’t have to monitor the investment, worry about making changes to it, or losing what you’ve worked for. CDs are also insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), giving your money even more security, and you more peace of mind.

Easy to understand

CDs function by “locking in” an investment in return for interest rates that are higher than those offered by average savings accounts. The interest rate you lock in does not change during the course of your term. Because the money is not available while it’s in the CD, it’s important to consider how long your investment will be inaccessible. The investment term for a CD can be as short as 30 days, or up to five years. The longer your money stays in the CD, the greater the returns. It is important to note that you can take your money out of the CD before the term ends, but penalties apply for early withdrawal.

Slow and steady wins the race

CDs are not a wild ride on the stock market, making them a smart investment choice for businesses that want to grow their capital in a simple, risk-free way. With interest rates steadily gaining over the last decade, CDs take advantage of stable growth and predictable returns.

Start earning with CDs today

A Crestmark Bank CD expert can help you determine the right investment amount and term length to best suit your business needs. Initial investments can range from $25,000 to $250,000. Term lengths are also flexible, ranging from one month to five years. To learn more, contact our CD Administration team at (855) 267-6445 or by email at cd@crestmark.com. Click here to fill out the CD Request Form.

Once your CD is activated, you can sit back and focus on growing your business while your money increases over time. When the CD matures, it automatically renews, unless you choose to withdraw your money or transfer it to another CD with different terms. It’s up to you. Whatever you decide, investing in CDs is a stable way to grow money for your business.

Visit our CD page to see Crestmark’s current CD rates.  Or call us at 855-267-6445.

Understanding and finding the best CD rates

Lighthouse

Once you’ve decided to invest in a certificate of deposit (CD), it is in your best interest to find the best rates. When you open a CD, you agree to make an initial deposit and the bank guarantees a specified interest rate for the term you choose.

CD rates are determined by three factors:

  • The term length, which is the amount of time until your CD matures and when you are eligible to withdraw your money
  • Current interest rates, which impact how much the bank pays on deposits, and
  • The rate of return, which is how much your bank expects to earn from the money deposited into the CD.

CD returns are based on the annual percentage yield or APY rates. APYs consider the compounding period—that is the frequency with which interest is paid on the account. Banks may compound rates on a yearly, quarterly, monthly or daily basis. [Crestmark CDs provide simple interest, not compounded interest and are based on the annual percentage rate, or APR.]

Rates and the Federal Reserve Bank

The Federal Reserve Bank determines interest rates, which impact CD rates. When the economy is thriving, the Fed raises short-term rates to prevent inflation. If the economy grows too fast and drives up prices, inflation makes it harder for people to borrow money and to pay for goods and services. When the economy is not doing well, the Fed lowers rates, encouraging people to continue borrowing and buying goods, in order to prevent a recession, when a majority of people may hold tightly to their money and stop spending.

Now’s the time to invest in CDs

CD rates have been rising since the 2008 recession and the economy continues to improve. That makes now the perfect time to invest your money in a low-risk, solid-return, guaranteed-to-grow CD.

Term requirements

The term of a CD refers to the length of time you agree to leave your money in the bank. Terms, like rates, vary among banks. Terms can range from 30 days to 10 years, but most CDs are generally invested for three months to five years.

Penalty rates

When you invest your money in a CD, you commit to keeping it there for a specified period of time. If you choose to withdraw your money early, you may face penalty fees, which vary according to your bank’s restrictions. It is important to weigh the benefits of early withdrawal against the amount of interest you may lose.

CD investment amounts

The amount you can invest in a CD varies among banks, the same way terms and lengths do. Banks may allow small minimum investments or require much larger amounts. Crestmark Bank allows deposits of $25,000 to $250,000.

Finding the best rates

When determining the best current rates on CDs, be sure to consider the details including minimum and maximum investment requirements, term lengths and penalty rates—and what is right for your business.

We invite you to invest with Crestmark Bank.

Considering highest-yield CD options

Testing Bussiness Ideas

Although reliability and low risk are the major benefits of investing in CDs (certificates of deposit), there are specific ways to optimize your earnings for the greatest return on investment. CDs ask for a mutual commitment from the investor, who agrees not to access their money for a specified period of time, and the bank, who agrees to guarantee a dividend upon maturation. The terms of this commitment can vary by bank and affect the appeal, flexibility and earnings of the CD.

Big-bank alternatives

Online, cashless banks offer rates that are considerably better than traditional banks. With no brick-and-mortar costs and no need for widespread physical locations, alternative financial institutions can keep their operating costs low and generally offer better rates.

As an example, at the time this blog was posted, a one-year CD at Crestmark Bank—an alternative, federally insured financial services provider—would require a minimum $25,000 deposit and would pay 1.7% when the CD matures. The guaranteed return on investment would be $425, which is earned simply by waiting the obligatory year. No further action is required.

By comparison, big-name banks frequently offer considerably lower rates and earning potential. At the time this was written, online sources show that a one-year CD would pay .15% at Citibank (equating to $37.50 for a $25,000 deposit), and .05% at Bank of America and Wells Fargo ($12.50 for 25,000). The $425 earning from Crestmark is notable when compared to a return of just $40 or less from the bigger players. Traditional banks may better serve other markets.

Plan your time wisely

If you are certain you won’t need access to your money for a while, it is in your best interest to choose the longest-possible term for your CD. If the bank has a longer time period to invest this money, it is more likely to guarantee a larger return. For example, at Crestmark Bank, a $25,000 CD invested today will earn 1.7% after one year; but it would earn 2.15% after five years. Growth increases with the term of investment.

Penalties for early withdrawal can be costly, causing you to forfeit interest. Before agreeing to the terms of your CD, consider your short-term goals, cash-flow needs and the immediate demands of your business, economy and industry.

Flexible CDs

CDs are stable investments, but some banks offer flexibility in their products. Indexed CDs depend on market index performance, which opens them to variability and may not guarantee return of principal in the event of early withdrawal. Callable CDs guarantee your initial principal, but the issuing bank reserves the right to end its obligation before the CD fully matures. Bump-up CDs allow you to reconsider the CD terms one time if the APY rate increases significantly. If early withdrawal fees aren’t cost-prohibitive, a bump-up CD might allow you to benefit from a renegotiated CD with an improved rate. These non-traditional options may be explored, but are not offered by all institutions.

Insist on FDIC-insured banks

Although some banks may offer high yields, be sure to check that they are fully insured and protected by the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation). See more here.

 Consider investing with Crestmark Bank.

At Crestmark, we offer CDs at the most competitive rates in the industry, with terms from 30 days to five years, and with initial investment amounts ranging from $25,000 to $250,000. We are FDIC-insured at the maximum levels allowed by law, so you can feel confident your money is always safe and multiplying. We offer a safe, predictable, easy way to grow your money with little effort and no worry.

To get started, you can speak directly with our CD Administration team who can be reached at (855) 267-6445 or by email at cd@crestmark.com. Or fill out our online application!

 

Austin Is A Top Spot For Entrepreneurs; Boasts “Epic” Landscape For Startups And Tech Savvy

Barton Springs Feeds into Austin Texas

People are drawn to Austin in a mystical way, pulling up roots in far-flung places, and settling there – secure in their choice. A star of the Lone Star State, Austin attracts the business elite and startup ventures, artists, and the tech-focused. It is a magnet for the visionary and laid-back lovers of the outdoors. Austin has a thriving film industry too, and is home to Richard Linklater, the director of “Bernie,” Oscar-nominated “Boyhood,” and “Fast Food Nation.”

Moneyrates.com recently ranked Austin the best city for young entrepreneurs. It has a cultural landscape attractive to the inventive, like the young tri-athletes who created a low-carb, grass-fed, animal-protein snack called the Epic Bar, which was featured in the Los Angeles Times as a trend in healthful snacks. In 2014, the company posted sales of nearly $7 million before being scooped up by General Mills.

A walkable city, and the capital of Texas, it is home to many government agencies and the University of Texas-Austin. These institutions, and their offshoots, provide a stable backdrop for its ever-burgeoning business sector that includes companies in finance, health care, and tech. It’s old school, and yet crowded with niche industries, the homegrown and homespun.

Tech has been a driving force in the growth of the city, and has become known as Silicon Hills. Its long roster of tech companies includes the Austin campus of publicly traded Advanced Micro Devices, and the headquarters of Dell. It’s attractive to tech startups too, and there is an online community called Built In Austin that is a hub for tech news, info on startups, job postings, and details on industry-related events.

Forward thinking, and focused on the quality of life of its residents, the city established an Office of Digital Inclusion in 1995 with a goal of ensuring that 100 percent of its residents have access to high quality internet. The ambitious plan includes outreach, and bi-lingual trainers, to demonstrate technology’s relevance to daily life, including the ability to apply for services and jobs.

Hot, hot, hot, Austin caught the attention of Forbes magazine in 2015 as the city with the greatest number of people flocking to it. Between 2010 and 2014 it added 126,296 residents from within the U.S., bringing its total population to 1.94 million. Taking the number two spot was Raleigh, North Carolina with 55,920 newcomers.

It’s not all business and ambition in Austin. City planners and dwellers alike prize balance. It is possible, in Austin, to quickly transition from corporate life to recreation enthusiast with a wide assortment of trails, waterways and city parks. The city of Austin offers an ideal balance of outdoor activities, culture, technology and business – no matter what stage of your career or business venture you are in, it is a city worth looking into.

Fair Market Value Lease vs. $1 Buyout Lease: What you need to know

Engineer is working in office in the morning with coffee

Your business likely needs equipment to operate. Businesses looking to improve operations and productivity can do both by leasing new equipment instead of buying expensive equipment outright. Leasing offers an affordable way to upgrade and update business equipment of all kinds while preserving cash.

There are two kinds of equipment leases:

  1. Fair Market Value (FMV) lease
  2. $1 Buyout Lease

To make the best decision for your company, here is what you need to know:

Fair Market Value Lease

A Fair Market Value lease, also known as an operating lease, is probably what comes to mind when you hear the term “lease.” Commonly utilized when someone leases a car, an FMV lease allows the lessee to use the equipment for a pre-arranged time period for a fixed monthly payment. At the end of the lease term, the lessee has the option to purchase the equipment at its then-determined Fair Market Value, return the equipment, or upgrade to new equipment.

  • FMVs are often the most affordable leases.
  • FMV leases are commonly used to acquire IT equipment, including computers and tablets, servers, software, security systems, GPS, or other technology-based equipment.
  • FMV leases are often used when the company does not want to retain the equipment at the end of the lease term.
  • FMV leases help manage the cost of continuous upgrades, and can prevent the inefficiencies and maintenance issues related to aging and outdated technology equipment.
  • FMV lease terms usually range from 12 to 60 months.
  • FMV leases feature a fixed monthly payment.
  • Since the lessee does not own the equipment it does not appear on the company’s balance sheet, allowing the lessee to deduct the monthly lease payments as an operating expense.
  • Priyanka Prakash, managing editor of FitSmallBusiness.com, explains: “An FMV lease (called a “true lease” by the IRS) doesn’t offer the benefits or responsibilities of ownership to the small business. You are not considered the owner of the equipment, and the equipment doesn’t show up as a business asset on your balance sheet. Since you’re not the owner, you cannot deduct the entire purchase price of the equipment on your federal tax return. You can only deduct the monthly lease payments as a business expense.”
  • To qualify for an FMV lease, the applicant must have a good credit score.

 

$1 Buyout Lease

A $1 Buyout Lease, also called a capital lease, is similar to purchasing equipment with a loan. With this type of lease, there is a higher monthly payment compared with an FMV lease, but at the end of the lease term, the lessee  purchases the equipment for $1. Since it is very similar to taking out a loan on a piece of equipment, this type of lease is often used when a business plans to keep the equipment for a long period of time, or when equipment obsolescence isn’t a concern.

  • $1 Buyout Leases are often used for equipment that retains its value over time, such as construction equipment, automotive repair, material handling, tooling, cleaning equipment and pressure washers.
  • $1 Buyout Leases have a set lease term
  • Fixed monthly payments
  • Equipment ownership is often transferred to the lessee, and the equipment appears on the balance sheet as company assets.
  • For tax purposes, there are benefits to leasing the equipment with a $1 Buyout, rather than purchasing it. Prakash explains how this works: “If you lease a $10,000 pizza oven on a $1 buyout basis, the oven will appear as an asset on your business’ balance sheet, and the lease will appear as a corresponding liability. For tax purposes, using Section 179, it is possible to deduct the entire $10,000 as a business expense in the first year of purchase.”
  • At the end of the lease term, the lessee purchases the equipment for $1.

At Crestmark, we understand that businesses need affordable options to make equipment acquisition possible. We offer both Fair Market Value and $1 Buyout leases and can help you determine the best equipment lease/finance solution for your business – and make the process easy for you!

Want to explore your leasing options?  Contact Crestmark Equipment Finance or call 888.999.8050.

Define Your Financial Goals for 2017

Architects at work

The greatest basketball player of all time once said, “You have to set your goals before you can achieve them.” Even with his incredible talent, Michael Jordan recognized the importance of setting clear goals. Most businesses want to increase profitability, help their employees become more productive, or additionally, take a greater share of the market. However, without setting specific targets, and developing a plan to hit them, it is less likely that these goals will be achieved. To help you get started on defining financial goals for 2017, try this well-known, and effective method called S.M.A.R.T.

Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals

The SMART concept for goal setting was introduced in an article in the November 1981 issue of Management Review on the importance of setting business objectives. It’s become widely used and adapted because it provides a simple, logical framework, and the acronym makes it easier to remember.

Specific – Be specific. For example, set specific revenue targets, e.g., increase revenue by 10 percent by cross selling new products to current clients.

Measurable – Measurable goals inspire action, and provide markers for success. If your sales team sets a goal to close 20 deals by the end of the first quarter, this can be easily tracked. Along the way, plans and actions can be adjusted to meet the target.

Achievable –Setting achievable, but inspirational, goals is important. The purpose of goal setting is to guide growth and success. Set goals that are ambitious, but attainable, and guide your business to the next big milestone.

Relevant – Setting a relevant goal means that it aligns with the overall mission of the business. For example, if you’ve determined to increase revenue by 10 percent, determine the most logical areas, based on experience and known factors, where this revenue increase can be derived.

Timely – Lastly, set timeframes for each financial goal. “In the first half of the second quarter, a new, long-awaited product will be introduced, and we are targeting a 10 percent increase in top-line revenue by the end of the year.”

Once you’ve set your goals, work towards them methodically. Share them with your team, and monitor progress. A commitment to the process ensures progress will be made, and you will learn a lot along the way.

Detroit: The Good News City for Businesses Big and Small

 

Detroit, Michigan

Detroit has been experiencing a building boom. In the last few years, more than a hundred new restaurants have opened in the city, including Gold Cash Gold, opened by passionate locals, and Roast, a creation of famed chef Michael Symon, an Iron Chef on Food Network.

The resurgence in the city’s restaurant business can be partly credited to the phenomenon of a barbecue restaurant named Slows, which opened in 2005 in an all-but-deserted block of Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood. The restaurant quickly caught on, and brought throngs of customers nightly, proving the city could attract people and dollars. The neighborhood now is a thriving destination, with restaurants and shops lining both sides of the main drag. Among them is Astro Coffee Shop, opened by young entrepreneurs. It attracts daily crowds with its artistic, urban charm, and a menu that rivals any international city’s hot spot for coffee.

The arrival of Quicken Loans, the largest online mortgage lender in the United States, was one of the most important breaks the city received in decades. Quicken ranks at the top of Detroit employers with 11.524 people working in its Detroit offices. Founder Dan Gilbert has been successfully leading the city’s real estate revival. He has been buying and redeveloping buildings, many of them historic, in the downtown area, and now owns or controls more than 80.

Small businesses, like outdoor apparel retailer Moosejaw, have been steadily opening, and large national chains are beginning to take notice of the upturn in Detroit’s business environment. Whole Foods has a store in the historic Brush Park neighborhood, and it’s been reported that Target has Detroit on its radar.

The Motor City has been helped by the record-breaking auto sales of the last few years. General Motors has its headquarters in the Renaissance Center on the Detroit River, and has been important to the development of the beautiful parks and trails along the Riverfront. Once a desolate area marred by parking lots, the riverfront now brings thousands of daily visitors. In addition, General Motors recently invested $1 billion in its plant on the border of Detroit and Hamtramck, hired 1,200 employees, and added a second shift to meet demand for the five vehicles produced there.

Detroit’s recent successes have come in the best possible way – through the contributions of small business owners who love the city, the commitment and investment of large businesses, and the sheer determination of its residents who never counted the city out.