Everyone knows the world is shrinking and shrinking fast, metaphorically that is.
An airline flight of 16 or 18 hours is not unheard of in today’s travel environment. We can literally circumnavigate the globe in a matter of hours.
The opportunities for import and export operations have never been greater. We can move vast amounts of goods from one hemisphere to another in container vessels that get larger by the year. Imports and exports have taken on a new level of importance where some countries base their entire economy on the ability to export natural resources or manufactured goods, while others rely on importing tourists to boost their economy.
It takes a vast amount of ‘paper’ to move goods and services from one country to another. It usually takes very sophisticated finance procedures to make it all happen in a smooth and timely manner. Importing and exporting are rarely as simple as they may seem and, as such, many companies and would-be international traders are dissuaded from entering the market due to its complexity.
Naturally if your company is a multi-national conglomerate, you have no problems in importing or exporting products as you probably do that every day. But what of the smaller medium-sized companies that have a product or service that could easily find market acceptance in another country – how do they break into the market?
In many cases they don’t – opting to stay home and operate only on a domestic basis, believing that the complexity of selling aboard is beyond their reach. Governments often encourage businesses to export more and enter the international marketplace. However when those companies take that route, they often find if fraught with red-tape and insurmountable rules and regulations.
It should be noted that there are, in many countries, government agencies dedicated to promoting exports and also offering constructive help and often finance to open up new foreign markets.
But what if you just don’t qualify for a government assistance program? Importing and exporting definitely require reasonable resources of a financial nature to allow any exporter or importer to break into the market. The opportunity to access conventional funding for Letters of Credit has also been reduced with banks – the main suppliers of such funding – all tending to err on the side of caution and withdraw from the SME funding marketplace.
Entrepreneurs are, therefore, left with a limited number of specialists in the foreign area that have the experience and expertise in this market.
The Interface Financial Group has been in business for over 43 years, providing a very specific service to growing companies that need to accelerate their cash flow. Interface acts as an invoice discounter. Their clients make and sell products or services to their customers, and invoice those sales in the normal manner. Then the waiting game starts. When will they get paid? It used be that invoices tendered on Net 30-day terms were usually paid within the 30-day grace period. Unfortunately for suppliers, those days seem to have gone forever.
Suppliers of goods and services may wait from 30 to 90+ days to receive payment from their customers. If you have a business that is growing rapidly, that can be a crippling wait, and many a business has suffered considerable damage due to slow receivables.
Interface effectively and quickly takes the waiting out of the sales equation. They buy selected current invoices at a small discount, and this creates an immediate cash flow for their clients – no more waiting. As the transaction is a buy/sell approach rather than a loan, there is nothing for the client to have to repay, and it is off-balance sheet funding.
How does this all fit with the import/export scene? The Interface Financial Group offers their service in 9 different countries and, as such, they are able to take invoices created by one of their clients in one country that are due from customers of their client in a separate country where Interface operates, and effectively treat that as a domestic discounted sale – no extensive paperwork needed, and a very speedy cash flows from one country to another.
Interface brings to the business world not only an opportunity to speed up cash flow on a domestic basis, but also on an international level. One of the great advantages of the Interface approach is the fact that their delivery method is also unique. They operate through a franchise network – so when there is a need to carry out due diligence to get a transaction moving, they immediately have a local presence to speed the process on a personal hands-on basis. This all translates into a superior service approach and financing opportunity for their business clients.
It also translates into a superior franchise opportunity for individuals that want to explore self-employment and entrepreneurship in the ‘white-collar’ business–to-business marketplace. As the world shrinks, The Interface Financial Group expands.
David T. Banfield
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