Starting a coffee shop: funding sources

In addition to having a business plan for a cafeteria, you must have your funding sources defined when starting a cafeteria. There are many options available to you, but we will talk about the most common ones.

SBA – So Many Sources Drive SBA Loans, SBA LOANS, SBA LOANS! First let me tell you that the Small Business Administration loan program is amazing, if you can get approved. Although lately they have loosened some of the requirements, it is still somewhat difficult to get approval.

First, the government does not lend the money. The standard program is a bank loan, although there are some microcredit programs available that use capital pool funds. Most of these loans are typically collateral loans and are backed by the US government, similar to HUD and FHA home loans. What that means is that if you default on the loan, the government will reimburse the bank for a certain percentage of the loan amount. That’s good for the bank and good for you if you can qualify for one of these loans. They are hard to come by, I’ll say it again, and there is a lot of paperwork to fill out and file. You must also have good credit, very good assets, a low debt-to-income ratio, and an unencumbered collateral.

Some SBA loans can take a while to be approved and then financed, but if approved, they generally have a repayment period of up to 7 years and a favorable interest rate. It’s best to speak with an SBA-approved lender for specifics, since the bank makes the decisions, the SBA only endorses the loan. You can also work with a local SBA office for more details or visit http://www.sba.gov

Personal – This is the easiest form of financing, but least likely for most people. Try to put everything you can into this company out of your own pocket without ruining your marriage, your family, or putting your home in danger. If you get financing, you will be asked to contribute at least 25% of the total you need to start your cafeteria anyway. The more you have, the more the bank will know how serious you are and the more likely it is to fund you. They also know that the more you have personally, the less likely you are to run when times get tough.

Cash is king. Liquid assets are a great source of financing. Liquid assets are assets that can be turned into cash quickly, such as stocks, bonds, or a 401 (k). I only recommend any retirement plan as financing as a last resort. This is what I did when I had equity problems and couldn’t get a loan because I was maxed out. However, it is better to leave this money alone and look for other options.

Real estate equity – This is a good source of financing if you have enough equity in your home or other real estate. Interest rates are also usually favorable.

Friends and Family – If you can’t contribute everything you need, friends and family are a great way to raise additional capital. Just make sure it’s clear how you structure the money deal – are they investors, partners, both? Are you issuing stock to them in your corporation? Whatever the deal, get an attorney hired to draft the paperwork to make it legal. This service will cost you around $ 500-1000 or so and when it’s ready you’ll be glad you did. Explain all the details.

I once saw a man investing in a restaurant and the owner only wanted a loan, so they had a payment plan, but not a written contract stating what was what. The investor assumed he was now a ‘partner’, as a co-owner, and began attending daily, scheduling meetings, wanting to reorganize the store, and making suggestions for menu changes. That was not a pretty situation!

Investors – Most high dollar value investors want to see success before handing over cash to someone they don’t know. However, it can happen at first. You need to surround yourself with PWM: People with Money. This can also be the route of friends and family. Online and newspaper ads are fine, but they’ll most likely bring you more weirdos than actual investors.

Join local business organizations, talk to Economic Development Corporations and chambers of commerce in the areas you want to open, and ask them for investor referrals. Many investors avoid planting food and beverage related businesses, unless it is a liquor establishment, but they are out there.

Non-traditional lenders, also known as private equity firms, equity pools fall into this category. Their guidelines are less strict, but again, most want existing companies to look to expand. Nor do they tend to seek investments in the food industry because the risk is too high and they look for technology-type companies that have a higher return. However, this is certainly not the law.

Banks – Traditional lenders, they are hard to get on your side if you have NO money to kick or if you have marginal to bad credit and are unsecured. Sometimes just a lot of work, a lot of conversations, and an amazing coffee shop business plan may be what you need to help you out. A banker on your side who believes in you and has established a relationship with could be the one standing between you and a financed loan. Treat them like gold.

Credit Unions: Usually, most don’t do much when it comes to business financing, but for those that do, their guidelines are a bit more relaxed than a traditional bank, such as those for personal finance, but you will still have to qualify.

Credit cards: I do not recommend this option! If you use them, make sure they have a very low interest rate, even 0% with some of the introductory rates that some banks offer. You may want to have backup cash in case you have trouble with one.

However, be careful because after the introductory period is over, the rate may go up more than you think if you still have a balance. Also, if you are late once, you run the risk of having your rates increased. That’s when the credit card company raises the interest rate to the predetermined rate, as high as 29%! Yes, it should be illegal, but unfortunately for us, it is not. They can also increase the rate whenever they want, regardless of whether it is in default or not. You agree with them; that is, the fine print. Once the rate is there, it is very difficult to lower it again. Chase is most famous for this. Just be careful!

However, credit cards are good to buy, if you get reward points or airline miles programs. I have several that I use to buy and have earned multiple airline tickets and thousands of dollars in gift cards for using the cards and earning points. On top of that, you can save more time for your accounts payable by planning your billing dates correctly.

So, whatever funding source you choose to open a coffee shop, make sure you know what you’re up against. Do your research and talk to the people who can help you. Stay focused and well informed regarding your planning stages. Make sure your prospective lender gets a copy of your coffee shop business plan. All lenders will want to be sure that you know what you are up against! Good luck.

The Road to Wealth by Benjamin Franklin

Title and author: The Road to Wealth by Benjamin Franklin

Contents synopsis:

This is a compilation of various writings by America’s successful grandfather, Benjamin Franklin. It begins with the introduction you wrote to your autobiography. It is then divided into three sections:

The road to riches

In this section, Franklin discusses the importance of industry (what today we would call hard work); Self-sufficiency; Frugality; Charity; Experience; and all peppered with concise axioms and Yankee sayings. Little has changed since Franklin wrote these words. He did not invent these ideas. They represented the native Yankee work ethic and the Judeo-Christian ethic.

Tips for a young worker

In this short article, Franklin recalls the disciplines and methods that served him so well in his youth in the world of work. It is a brief review of those “virtues” as he calls them, of hard work, perseverance, frugality, and so on. He frames these ideas for young people looking to get it right.

The way to virtue

As a young man, Franklin began a self-improvement project, focusing on one virtue each week until he felt he had incorporated them into his life. Discusses the value of temperance (avoiding indulgence), silence (avoiding small talk), resolution (deciding to move on), frugality, industry, sincerity, fairness, restraint, quietness, chastity, and modesty.

As was the custom in the 18th century, Franklin did not divorce personal integrity and virtue from personal success. The improvement of the person was necessary to achieve success both on a personal and business level. He understood, like Jim Rohn two centuries later, that you cannot be less of a person and a success at the same time.

While some of Franklin’s moral teachings may seem naive and preaching today, one has to wonder if the world wouldn’t be a much better place if more people followed this advice. Today’s headlines all too often describe deception, deceit, and a lack of integrity among our leaders and business leaders. Franklin understood that one must constantly work to improve oneself in order to be successful. One must be a good person to be successful.

Utility:

Anyone who is serious about true self-improvement and the development of the whole being to be successful will benefit from this timeless work. In it you will find the fundamental principles that have been adopted by almost all the successful authors since then.

Readability / Writing quality:

Franklin wrote with remarkable clarity for an 18th century author. He wrote for the common man, not for the intellectual. While the organization and style of that period is a bit difficult for modern readers, his work was far more readable than most of his contemporaries.

Notes on the author:

Benjamin Franklin was an eminently successful 18th century American. He was so successful in the printing and publishing business that he was able to retire from active business in his 40s. He spent the rest of his life as a statesman, diplomat, and inventor. He was instrumental in many public improvement projects by founding the first public library, insurance company, and fire department in the United States. He became one of our nation’s leading scholars and architects and helped write the Constitution of the United States. He was one of the most important founding fathers.

Three great ideas you can use:

1. When someone complained about paying taxes, Franklin responded, “Our idleness taxes us twice as much, our pride three times as much, and our insanity four times as much. We really achieve success in life.

2. Franklin appreciated the value of time, our most precious asset. He wrote: “If you love life, don’t waste time, because that’s what life is made of.”

3. In a proverb, Franklin incorporates both the need for hard work and balance equally important to a successful life: “Run your business, don’t let that drive you; and going to bed early and getting up early makes a man healthy and rich. And wise, says poor Richard. “

Publication information:

The Road to Wealth by Benjamin Franklin

Published by Best Success Books (Kindle). This material is in the public domain.

Top 3 EPPICard Scams and How to Protect Yourself

EPPICard is a prepaid debit card, generally issued under the Visa or MasterCard brand that is used by various states to send funds from alimony, unemployment and other benefits to beneficiaries. The convenience of the card is that the funds are automatically loaded onto the card, making it easy for recipients to access their funds. All EPPICards are managed by Affiliated Computer Services (ACS), which is owned by Xerox, but each state has a contract with a bank to issue its own card. Recently, EPPICard cardholders have been targeted for fraud, prompting several states to issue fraud alerts to their cardholders. However, the problem persists and the scams continue to grow in complexity. Here are the top 3:

1. Phishing emails

Phishing emails involve receiving an email requesting that they log into your account and verify the status of the account. There is usually a link in the email asking you to click to verify your account information. Once you click on the link, it takes you to a bogus site where your account information is illegally captured while you are trying to log into your EPPICard account.

To avoid this scam, do not respond to suspicious emails that ask you to verify your account information. If the email appears to be legitimate, please call your EPPICard Customer Service to confirm before clicking any link to check your account status.

2. Fraudulent charges on the card

This type of fraud occurs when thieves obtain a person’s EPPICard information and start spending the funds on the card. In most cases, the entire EPPICard balance is used up before the cardholder realizes the problem. The New Jersey Star-Ledger documents a recent example where a Newark, NJ cardholder’s account information was illegally obtained and used to purchase items at Staples in Washington DC totaling $ 600. The cardholder learned of the illegal transactions when the card was denied when attempting to make a purchase. That led her to verify her card transactions, which led her to discover the fraudulent purchases. These types of fraud are difficult to combat, even if the cardholder can prove that they did not use the card. Therefore, it is important to protect the information on your EPPICard.

To avoid this type of fraud, do not log into your EPPICard account from public computer stations, such as libraries and Internet cafes. Also, be careful when using free public Wi-Fi to access your account information. Also, monitor your transactions with EPPICard and practice disposing of strong financial records, including destroying your statements and other confidential financial documents instead of throwing them away.

3. Text message fraud

Text message fraud is the newest form of EPPICard fraud, where cardholders who have signed up to receive balance alerts through their mobile phones receive text messages believed to be from EPPICard to entice them to deliver sensitive personal information, which is then used to deplete your account funds or in the case of social security information and date of birth, used to perpetrate identity theft.

To avoid this type of fraud, always hesitate when you receive any communication, be it by text message, email or telephone asking you to verify the status of the account or to provide confidential information to confirm the status of an account. The best way to handle these types of requests is to call the card issuer’s official customer service number; in this case, you will call your EPPICard Customer Service and check if the request you received is legitimate. If it’s a legitimate request, insist on checking with them while you’re on the phone. That way, you don’t have to click on a link to verify your information, especially if you don’t trust the security of your computer or mobile device.

Amway review: the pros and cons of running an Amway business

Amway review

Before I get into this Amway review, let me introduce myself. My name is Ben Biel and I have been involved in the network marketing industry for over 20 years. My summer vacations were spent at network marketing conventions as a child and my parents have been involved with over 20 different companies. I have had a love-hate relationship with this industry which, I believe, gives me the ability to offer a balanced perspective of the companies that I review. I use a simple pro and con evaluation method that is by no means exhaustive, but I hope it helps you confirm any research you’ve already done on Amway.

Pros and cons of Amway Corporate

Pros– Amway is the oldest and largest network marketing company in the world, generating more than $ 9 billion in annual sales. If you decide to start an organization with Amway, you can be sure that the company will not file Chapter 11 and destroy all your hard work.

Cons– Reputation of Amway. Almost everyone has heard of Amway, and those who haven’t will certainly have someone in their life to whom they will gladly offer input. In some respects, Amway has earned its bad reputation due to its swashbuckling marketing techniques, but on the other hand, most people who have a low opinion of them think it is a “pyramid scheme” that gives away their ignorance.

Pros and cons of Amway products

Pros– Amway has a wide range of products including nutritional supplements, cleaning products, and cosmetics. All of their products are well made and would certainly rank in the top 10 for every single product they sell, and many in the top 3. For example, it would be difficult to find a better laundry soap than SA8 and it is considered high efficiency, concentrated and green and has been on the market for decades.

Cons– Although the products are of high quality, most of them are overpriced. Even if they are not overpriced (that is, the quality of the product justifies the higher price) it is difficult to convince people that they should exchange the mail order product they used to buy at the grocery store or Wal-Mart for Half the price. There is also a lot of competition. 90% of other network marketing companies have products that compete with one or more of Amway’s product lines, often at a more attractive price.

Pros and cons of Amway Business.

Pros– The main advantage of doing the Amway business is its commitment to personal development. The level of mentorship is extremely high and they are very focused on building community and support for their Independent Business Operators. Another pro is profit sharing, which is huge, but you have to be a Diamond before you qualify, which less than 1% of IBOs do.

Cons– All personal development costs a fortune. Most of the people I know who started an Amway business quit because they couldn’t afford personal development. The amount of product you must personally consume or sell is also a deterrent, more than $ 500 / month.

Another downside is their marketing approach. People are trained not to tell people that it is Amway and are often told to lie if someone asks if it is Amway. This tactic breeds distrust and resentment and adds to Amway’s bad reputation. Your marketing plan hasn’t been updated in over 21 years. I found an old Amway business plan in my dad’s office from 1989 and it had the exact same plan that a friend of mine presented me with when he tried to get me to join his Amway business in early 2010. Most of it was word for word. . . They have not changed anything to new technologies, the Internet or social networks.

Amway’s compensation plan greatly favors top earners and doesn’t provide a great platform for new people to make money quickly. Dollar for dollar, most other companies do much better. For example, my friend at Amway has an organization that makes about $ 120,000 / month in sales and makes about $ 1500 / month. I have friends at a different company who make $ 60,000 / month in sales for their entire team and make about $ 3,000 / month. That is a 400% difference.

Amway review conclusion

Amway is a great company that helps a lot of people. Everyone in this industry owes them a lot for leading the way to all the other great companies that followed in their footsteps. With that said, I think the time to make big money with Amway is over. There are many good networking companies with comparable products and better compensation plans that would make it easier to build a business. Now, those of you who are passionate about Amway products or the Amway business still can. I know of a guy who sponsors 10 people a week at his Amway business, but he doesn’t follow the corporate business model at all. Use purchased phone contacts and call over 300 people a day!

Website ideas just for fun

You see a lot online about building websites for money, but what if you just want to build websites for fun? You also need ideas for websites. There are many great website ideas that you can use to build websites at your leisure or as a hobby. Building sites can be fun and rewarding, especially if you use simple tools like a website builder. In fact, it can easily become addictive. As you create more and more sites, you may run out of ideas. Here are some great website ideas that you can use to build more websites.

Plan or show an event

If you have a family reunion, a wedding, or even a birthday or anniversary party, you can create a website. The website can display all the event information and provide you with a place to send people for more information if you want them to attend. It can also provide you with a place to display images and results from an event you’ve already had, or provide event updates. For example, you can create a wedding website that gives guests everything they need to know about the couple, the wedding, and the reception. You can then post photos of the wedding and reception after the event, and then post an update on how the couple is doing since the honeymoon. The possibilities are endless and you can do this for almost any event, no matter how big or small.

Photo albums for children

It’s one thing to have a baby book, but you can only show it to people who visit your home. You can create a website for any child to provide updates to their friends and family on the child’s growth and what they are doing. You can create a page for each update, starting with a birth announcement. You can then provide updates each time the child sees the doctor for a check-up, stating the weight and length as they grow. You can post pictures as they grow, including pictures and videos of important events, such as crawling or walking for the first time. You can continue the site with pictures of birthdays, other firsts and kindergarten. In fact, you could continue to build the site year after year, creating a kind of memorable collection of data and images about the child. Of course, you will only want to share the site information with friends and family.

Resume or show

It is very professional these days to have a website with your resume. You can easily post your resume online in website format. Get creative, include relevant graphics, and create a page for each section of your resume. You can also display your work, whether it’s in writing, other websites you’ve created, or images of the work you’ve done. This is a great way to get your name out there and earn a new, higher paying position.

Short Sale Letters for Homeowners – Get Attention, Get the Listing

When a homeowner is in trouble, they look everywhere for help. They can ask family members, do research on the Internet, and more. One thing is for sure, the only place they look, at least 6 days a week, is their mailbox. They may not seek help online every day, but they will certainly open your mail.

When you take the time to send out a short sale letter, you are instantly separating yourself from the competition. Your short sale letter has two instant options:

  1. Be thrown away

  2. Open

Maybe that sounds too simple; however, since the post office agrees to deliver your mail, those are the simple opportunities your letter has. With mail rates dropping at a rapid rate, there is much less competition than there used to be. There are days when an owner can only receive 2-4 letters. When your mail piece lands on those days, you have a HUGE opportunity to spark interest and get the potential customer to call you.

To get the owner’s attention with your short sale letter, I invite you to consider the following:

  1. Headline – When the owner opens your letter for the first time, how is it capturing your attention? Is your headline big and bold? Is it a different color from the rest of your letter? Show them in less than 10 seconds how their problems can be solved if they just keep reading? The more direct the headline, the more interest it will arouse and maintain.
  2. Call to action – How obvious is it to your potential customer to communicate with you? What are you asking them to do? Are you asking them to call? Do you ask them to visit your website? The more obvious your call to action, the more leads from eager sellers you will receive.

When your short sale letter to landlords has a powerful title and an obvious call to action, you’ll be generating new leads every day.

Discover a short sale marketing system, including powerful short sale letters for homeowners today.

Intermediate financing overview: what it is, advantages and disadvantages and common situations

If you are raising growth capital to expand your business, you may want to consider using mezzanine financing as part of your financing solution.

Mezzanine financing is a form of debt that can be a great tool to finance specific initiatives such as plant expansions or launch of new product lines, as well as other important strategic initiatives such as buying a business partner, making an acquisition, financing the payment of dividends from a shareholder or complete a financial restructuring to reduce debt payments.

It is commonly used in combination with bank-provided term loans, revolving lines of credit, and equity financing, or it can be used as a substitute for bank debt and equity financing.

This type of capital is considered “junior” capital in terms of its priority of payment with respect to the senior secured debt, but it is higher than the capital stock or the capital stock of the company. In a capital structure, it ranks below senior bank debt, but above equity.

Pros:

  1. Intermediate financing lenders are cash flow, not collateral-focused: These lenders typically lend based on a business’s cash flow, not collateral (assets), so they often lend money when banks don’t if a business lacks tangible collateral, provided the business has enough cash flow available to pay interest and principal payments.
  2. It is a cheaper financing option than raising capital: Pricing is less expensive than raising capital from equity investors such as family offices, venture capital firms, or private equity firms, meaning that owners give up less additional capital, if any, to finance their growth. .
  3. Flexible and non-amortizable capital: There are no immediate principal payments; Typically this is just principal with a balloon payment at maturity, allowing the borrower to take the cash that would have been used for principal payments and reinvest it in the business.
  4. Long-term capital: It generally has a maturity of five years or more, making it a long-term financing option that will not have to be repaid in the short term; it is generally not used as a bridging loan.
  5. Current owners remain in control: It does not require a change in ownership or control – existing owners and shareholders retain control, a key difference between obtaining intermediate financing and obtaining capital from a private equity company.

Cons

  1. More expensive than bank debt: Since junior capital is often unsecured and subordinate to senior loans provided by banks, and is inherently a riskier loan, it is more expensive than bank debt.
  2. Warrants can be included: To take on a greater risk than most secured lenders, intermediate lenders will often seek to participate in the success of those to whom they lend money and may include collateral that allows them to increase their return if a borrower performs very well.

When to use it

Common situations include:

  • Fund rapid organic growth or new growth initiatives.

  • Financing of new acquisitions

  • Purchase from a business partner or shareholder

  • Generational transfers: source of capital that enables a family member to provide liquidity to the current business owner.

  • Shareholder liquidity: financing a dividend payment to shareholders.

  • Financing of new leveraged acquisitions and management acquisitions.

Great capital option for light asset or service companies

Since the tendency of mezzanine lenders is to lend against a company’s cash flow, not as collateral, mezzanine financing is a great solution for financing service businesses, such as logistics companies, staffing companies, and software companies, although it can also be a great solution for manufacturers. or distributors, who usually have many assets.

What These Lenders Are Looking For

While there is no single business financing option suitable for every situation, here are some attributes that cash flow lenders look for when evaluating new businesses:

  • Limited concentration of clients

  • Steady or growing cash flow profile

  • High free cash flow margins – strong gross margins, low capex requirements

  • Strong management team

  • Low business cyclicality that could result in volatile cash flows from one year to the next.

  • Lots of cash flow to support interest and principal payments

  • An enterprise value of the company well above the debt level.

Non-bank growth capital option

As bank lenders face increasing regulation over tangible collateral coverage requirements and leveraged loan limits, the use of alternative financing is likely to increase, particularly in the middle market, filling the capital gap for business owners. looking for funds to grow.

Starting Your Own Hat Wear Line: 7 Things You Should Know

In the 10 years that I’ve been in the custom clothing and hat business, I don’t remember how many people called for help starting their hat line. They all thought they had a great idea. Most of them had little or no money. And none of them had a clue what it takes to succeed at one of America’s most competitive companies. The first question these people always asked was “How much to make my own custom designed hats?” And always, I told them, as kindly as I could, there are many other questions that you should ask first, and cost is perhaps the last of them. I have always given these people my honest opinions while doing my best to encourage them. This article summarizes all the advice I have given over the years. Subsequent articles will address each of the following steps individually in greater detail.

# 1: know your customer

Perhaps the most important thing to do before starting any business! You must answer the following questions about your customers:

1. Who could be your customers?

2. How old are they?

3. How many of them are there?

4. Where do they buy?

5. How often do you shop?

6. How much do you usually spend when you buy hats or caps?

7. What is popular with these people right now?

The answers to these questions determine the niche in which to sell your caps, what designs are appropriate, how many of your hats you can sell, and at what price.

# 2: know your competition

The second most important thing to do before starting any business! You must answer the following questions about your competition:

1. Who can be your competition?

2. What types of hats and designs are you offering right now?

3. How much do you charge for these products?

4. Where do they sell their hats?

5. How do you market your hats?

The answers to these questions determine what designs to offer, how much to charge, what distribution channel to consider, and potential marketing venues to consider when launching your own hat clothing line.

# 3: know your marketing plan

So what’s the best hat design of the decade if you can’t get your wares out? Launching a hat clothing line is all about marketing. Let me give you a very simple example. I have a client, a real client whose name I cannot mention. These guys have some great design ideas. So they teamed up with a poker player and hired a public relations person who is related to the entertainment industry. These 2 people generated a lot of interest in their products! Before you know it, some celebrities were wearing their designs and the rest is history. So brainstorm, get creative, put your name there! Who knows? You could be the next ROXY, Quicksilver or even NIKE!

# 4: know your upfront cost

So you’ve discovered who your target customers are, who your competencies are, what hat designs you want to launch, and you’ve created the most creative marketing campaign. Now is the time to answer some questions related to costs:

1. Staffing and office rental

2. Costs of the marketing campaign

3. Travel extensions

4. Trade show extensions

5. Production ratio costs:

(i) How much does sampling of your designs cost?

(ii) Who should you turn to for prototype designs?

(iii) Production costs (highly dependent on how many hats you want to produce for release. To get a reasonable price, you need to order at least hundreds per design. 25 hats is NOT a bulk quantity).

# 5: Financing

You have a plan to market your hat clothing line; you know how much it will cost you; now you need to know how to finance your business. Possible sources of money:

1. Your savings

2. Your friends and family

3. Mortgage your current assets, like your home

4. Find outside investors (although this can be difficult to start a hat clothing line, but you never know)

5. Bank loans (SBA loans are available to entrepreneurs in many cases)

# 6: know your release date

In fashion, timing is everything. Are you launching your hat clothing line for the holiday season? For the back to school season? For the 4th of July? Most of the overseas production takes 72-90 days via ocean freight. Let’s say you are producing your hats in China. Did you know that the Chinese close for up to 15 days during the Chinese New Year, which occurs on different dates, although mainly in January and February, depending on the year?

# 7: write your plan

You have all the pieces of the puzzle; writing them increases your chances of success. Your plan will keep you focused and give you the big picture as well as the details to consider. And if you are trying to secure financing, a business plan is not only crucial, but absolutely necessary!

This is a simplified summary of the essential steps you need to take before starting a hat wearing line. Get creative with your designs; be thorough with your research; Be meticulous with your planning. And good luck! Please be sure to check out my other articles for specific details on each of the points above. You can also check my websites for additional information.

Social Engineering Fraud: Is Your Business Insured Against Phishers To A Good Point?

What is social engineering fraud? You may think you don’t know, but you do. In fact, it has already been attacked repeatedly and recently, probably even today. Social engineering fraud is a leading cause of data breaches and has led to the theft of billions of dollars. So what exactly is this?

According to Interpol, that is correct, Interpol, Social engineering fraud is a type of scam that tricks, tricks, or manipulates victims into initiating money transfers or revealing confidential and personal information that can then be used for illegal purposes. It relies on person-to-person interaction, not weapons or hackers, to perpetrate a crime.

Phishing is the most common form of social engineering fraud. Phishers send unsolicited emails that look like legitimate requests for payment or information. The same technique can be performed over the phone (“Vishing”) or text message (“SMishing”). Phishers often pose as real companies by using real logos and the like (“counterfeit”) emails. Their emails usually include a call to action.

Statistics indicate that phishing rates have decreased in recent years. However, spear phishing rates are increasing. Unlike the wide web launched by phishers, spear phishers target specific individuals within an organization, particularly those with access to finances or confidential information.

For example, spear phishers posing as the CEO of an Austrian aerospace company used a corporate email compromise attack to convince an employee to transfer nearly $ 50 million to an account for a bogus acquisition project. (Spear phishing is also known as whaling or CEO fraud.) The spear phishing emails were also used to obtain the password for a Gmail account used by Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman.

Despite its many forms, social engineering fraud generally incorporates the following distinctive elements:

  • Identification of objectives. Criminals often use open source intelligence, social media, and corporate websites to profile potential targets, develop an accurate picture of the organization, and identify key executives and members of the finance team.
  • Grooming relationships. Specific individuals are contacted through emails incorporating publicly available information and social media profiles to make them more likely to be read and viewed as authentic. This process can take days, weeks, or months.
  • Exploitation of vulnerabilities. Once the targets are convinced that they are dealing with an authorized person about a legitimate business transaction, they are asked to perform a routine or legitimate function. For example, they may receive wiring instructions or requests for formal-looking documents or information.
  • Execution of fraud. Inadvertently transferred funds are immediately transferred to another account. The confidential information that was disclosed is immediately used to perpetrate additional crimes, usually identity theft.

Social engineering fraud poses a serious risk to all businesses, particularly small and medium-sized businesses, which are hit the hardest. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, spear phishing scams continue to grow, evolve, and target businesses of all sizes. Since January 2015, there has been a 1,300 percent increase in identified losses, totaling more than $ 3 billion.

Many companies mistakenly believe that losses attributed to social engineering fraud will be covered by their standard commercial insurance policies. Unfortunately, this error is often not revealed until it is too late. Standard commercial insurance policies have a number of coverage gaps when it comes to losses of this type.

Standard commercial general liability and property insurance policies are not designed to protect against social engineering fraud, so a lack of coverage should be expected. However, what is not normally expected are coverage gaps in policies that otherwise seem adequate to protect against these losses.

For example, although social engineering fraud generally takes place online, it does not necessarily involve hacking or compromising computer systems. So, depending on the circumstances, coverage may be denied under a standard cyber liability insurance policy. And, since victims ultimately send money knowingly and voluntarily, coverage can also be denied under a standard crime or fidelity policy.

Social engineering fraud endorsements are available to fill these coverage gaps. They are specifically designed to cover the unique risks posed by social engineering fraud, including:

  • supplier or supplier impersonation;
  • executive personification; and
  • customer spoofing.

Losses from social engineering fraud can be devastating. All companies should review their insurance policies to identify and address any actual or potential coverage gaps. Unfortunately, when it comes to social engineering fraud, implementing safeguards, maintaining awareness, and educating employees isn’t always enough.

Restaurant food and marketing services 101

Visual food merchandising is one of the hottest trends in the catering, foodservice and hospitality industry today, which is the art of presenting your products in a way that makes your customers buy as well as bring your products to life with eye-catching. sample of freshness, color, quality and abundance.

An excellent food marketing program combined with cross-marketing strategies will help significantly increase the sales of your restaurant or foodservice operations, as well as increase customer satisfaction and return on business.

The benefits of eye-catching food merchandising displays and cross-marketing techniques are immediate. Sales will increase 15 to 300 percent if you’ve done a good job with your merchandising program. Your staff morale will also rise from the improved environment and satisfied customers.

Running a foodservice operation requires much more than displaying the usual information, such as the “special of the day.” As an operator, you must first consider what will attract your customers to your operation. Here are some basic marketing rules and tips to follow:

1. make it look appetizing

You need to build your food displays so that customers can see them from all angles of your facility. Use nothing but the freshest ingredients and colorful foods to get their attention. Display your food using uniquely shaped plates and plates with different textures. Use terracotta and other eco-friendly colors and incorporate natural wood and bamboo to create a more modern, clean and elegant image.

For example, the addition of a simple, thick wooden board placed inside a standard glass sandwich cabinet emphasizes to customers that the sandwiches were just made. Without the tabletop, the sandwiches look bare and tousled, and it lets customers wonder how long they’ve been sitting there, as a glass and steel display case tends to evoke a feeling of cold and emptiness. The cutting board helps add warmth and life to the display unit.

2. Lay the products on an incline and use color

Food always displays best when placed in an inclined position rather than horizontal. Show your products to your customers! European-style slanted wooden shelves are an excellent merchandising tool for displaying breads, cakes, pastries, and other products, creating an attractive display to entice your customers to buy.

Color is one of the most important factors when it comes to food displays. Many food products tend to come from the brown and beige palettes, so you need to brighten up your operation with greens, reds, oranges, and yellows to create a fresh, healthy look as well. Consider looking at what items you may already have on hand in your kitchen, pantry, and warehouses that could add appetizing color and substance to your display.

3. Use cross-marketing techniques to increase sales.

For cafeterias and market-style operations, cross-marketing is an excellent opportunity to increase sales by putting the right foods together. Soups, sandwiches, and French fries should be placed in the same area, while coffee and tea should be served alongside desserts. Side dishes and salads can be divided. For example, small salad containers can be packed and placed on ice next to the grill, as well as placed next to sandwiches. Also try different varieties of cream cheese alongside bagels, or fresh fruit and whipped cream alongside cake and ice cream. Coffee and tea are a great companion for bakery products. Sales of beautifully packaged coffee will skyrocket when placed next to bakery items.

4. Use the cash wrapping area

The cash wrapping area is a prime location for merchandising. Proper marketing of additional retail products in the cash wrapping area will help you increase your check average. Use your cash-wrapping area for last-minute sales of coffee, soda, dessert, candy, and chocolate bars, and create an irresistible display of products that customers can’t refuse.

5. Proper signage points the way to increase revenue

Proper signage can help you tell customers what you need to say when you can’t offer personalized attention. It is very important to be clean, concise and direct when designing signage for your operation. Make it as easy as possible for customers to shop for food by providing appropriate signage that informs your customers of your products to purchase. Signage can be displayed in all shapes and sizes and should be used accordingly. Use mini branding cards to label and price your products, and write short item descriptions detailing the ingredients you used or your cooking method. If you insist on handwriting your signs, make sure they are legible and graphically attractive.