Client & Community Education

What Tax Reform Means for Small Business
by Marianne Cederlind

What keeps business owners awake at night? According to the National Federation of Independent Businesses’ (NFIB) “Small Business Problems & Priorities Report,” five of the Top 10 issues directly relate to taxes. To give context, concerns regarding cash flow ranked a lowly 25 on the list, with business financing trailing at 69 and 70. The entire report can be viewed online at www.NFIB.

More About Identity Theft Today
by Marianne Cederlind 
Executive Vice President and Chief Business Banking Officer
Mission Valley Bank


Dependent as we are on computers and mobile devices, it’s no surprise that cyber criminals are getting craftier developing new scams aimed at getting more people to give them more of their money. The following are important trends to be aware of to keep fraudsters from separating you and your money.

Consumer loss at nearly $500 million

Operating a Franchise (Federal Trade Commission Consumer Information)

When you buy a franchise, you get to operate a business and sell goods or services with name recognition. You buy a format or system developed by the franchisor, and training and support. But investing in a franchise, like all investments, involves financial risk. Franchisees must commit money and time, and must operate by the franchisor's playbook.

8 Ways to Improve the Customer Experience —

It's the new buzzword in business. The trend that has companies of all sizes looking at how they serve their customers — at every stage. It's called the customer experience or CX for short, and it provides a unique opportunity for companies to

differentiate themselves and build ROI. The customer experience isn't about a single interaction a customer has when they first purchase a product or service; it's about all the interactions or touch points they have with a company. It could be an experience at the point-of-sale, online, or even when they receive your invoice. Building relationships, loyalty, and revenue. The theory behind CX is simple: If companies can better understand what customers want, they can deliver it to them, thereby increasing customer satisfaction, retention, loyalty, and ultimately, revenue.

Identity Theft Today – A Constantly Changing Landscape
by Marianne Cederlind 
Executive Vice President & Chief Business Banking Officer
Mission Valley Bank

As cyber criminals get craftier, individuals need to arm themselves with facts on identity theft and take the necessary precautions to protect themselves.

Mobile phones and social media are the new frontier -- Fraudsters are expected to introduce as many as 1,000 different phone/social media scams this year, according to one expert. In fact, a social media identity may be more valuable to cyber criminals than credit cards since it offers them the opportunity to manipulate friends. Safety tip: Keep smart phone operating systems up-to-date. Use passwords to gain access to your phone and install apps that enable remote deletion of phone data if it is lost or stolen. 

Mastering Cash Inflows and Outflows

In a recent business seminar hosted by Mission Valley Bank, bank consultant Robert Dyck cited a statistic that 70% of businesses – large, mid, and small – fail due to cash flow problems. With three main sources of cash flow activity – operating, investing, and financing – he stressed how vital it is to understand and monitor cash flow in your business.

Michael Dell, founder of Dell Technologies, summed up his company’s lack of attention to cash inflows and outflows with an analogy. “We were always focused on our profit and loss statement. But, cash flow was not a regularly discussed topic. It was as if we were driving along, watching only the speedometer, when in fact we were running out of gas.”

Trusted Advisors

Trust can be an overused word in the business world but a necessary concept. Through what seems like an endless stream of advertising messages, we are asked to trust products and brands. Politicians ask for our vote of confidence at the polling place. It can be both emotional and logical. Emotionally, vulnerabilities are exposed with the belief people will not take advantage of that openness. Logically, we assess the probabilities of gain and loss, calculate expected utility based on hard performance data, and conclude that the person or entity in question will behave in a predictable manner. In practice, trust is often what matters most. It is the fabric that binds employees to employers, customers to companies, and companies to their suppliers and partners.

The Importance of a Job Description

Employees deserve to know what is expected of them and how they will be evaluated. A clear and up-to-date job description addresses this expectation while providing a basis for employee performance reviews, salary increases and career development. A job description also forces management to define goals and expectations that are companywide, and determine how to implement them through the employee channel. Using job descriptions is part of good management. Read on to learn about writing or updating a job description.

Components of a Job Description