Granting business trade credit in 5 steps

by Ed Lette

Business Bank of Texas

Ed Lette is a Founder of Business Bank of Texas. Serving as a licensed CPA since 1983, Ed’s extensive experience in the banking industry has led him to become the founding president of four national bank charters including Business Bank of Texas, N.A., and the chief financial officer of five national banks during his 45 year career. Ed serves as director of the Texas Bankers Association District 4, chairman of the Executive Advisory Council to the School of Business at Texas Lutheran University, and is a life member of the Texas Association of Business.

Taking these five steps when granting trade credit to your customers will minimize credit risk and improve your overall accounts receivable collections efforts.

Step 1: Credit Application from Your Customer

Your credit application doesn’t need to be complicated, but it should help you gather information necessary to make a good credit decision. The application should indicate the legal name of the business and ownership; provide banking information, and information on trade credit grantors. Business often provide a preprinted “bank and trade references" list to you, but the importance of your application is that the customer, by signing it, grants you permission to contact their bank and trade creditors for payment history.

Topics: Operations, Featured, Management, Articles, Accounting & Finance

UCC Filings: What Business Owners Should Know

by Ed Lette

Business Bank of Texas

Ed Lette is a Founder of Business Bank of Texas. Serving as a licensed CPA since 1983, Ed’s extensive experience in the banking industry has led him to become the founding president of four national bank charters including Business Bank of Texas, N.A., and the chief financial officer of five national banks during his 45 year career. Ed serves as director of the Texas Bankers Association District 4, chairman of the Executive Advisory Council to the School of Business at Texas Lutheran University, and is a life member of the Texas Association of Business.

Federal law has a large section of interstate commerce laws called the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) which, among other things, provides for lenders to see what other lenders have secured as collateral for a business loan. Normally this is all collateral other than real estate. There are several forms within the UCC that business owners should understand because they affect their ability to secure future loans.

Topics: Operations, Featured, Management, The Corner Office, Articles, Accounting & Finance

How to use debt without getting your head cut off

by Philip Campbell

Consultant, Author

Philip Campbell is a CPA, consultant, and author of the book A Quick Start Guide to Financial Forecasting: Discover the Secret to Driving Growth, Profitability, and Cash Flow Higher. This new book provides a straightforward, easy-to-understand guide to one of the most powerful financial tools in business: a reliable financial forecast. He is also the author of the book Never Run Out of Cash: The 10 Cash Flow Rules You Can’t Afford to Ignore. The book is a step-by-step guide for business owners and managers who want to better understand and manage their cash flow. Since 1990, Philip has served as a financial officer in a number of growing companies with revenues ranging from $5,000,000 million to over $1,000,000,000. He has been involved in the acquisition or sale of 33 companies (and counting) as well as an IPO on the New York Stock Exchange. Philip loves helping entrepreneurs and business owners think strategically about the financial side of their business. His consulting work is focused on providing the financial insights that leaders need to increase profits, improve cash flow, and enjoy the fruits of financial success in business. What really sets Philip apart from the average financial person you meet is his passion and excitement about helping entrepreneurs and CEOs take control of their cash flow. In fact, early on in his career, he focused and “preached” so much about the importance of cash flow that people now call him CASH. Philip is the founder of Financial Rhythm, a website devoted to people who are serious about creating financial health, wealth, and freedom in their business. If you're an entrepreneur or business owner, Financial Rhythm is a place to get simple, actionable strategies for creating a financial future that is bigger and brighter than your past. Philip lives in Austin, Texas. You can email Philip at

As a business owner, what is your position on the proper use of debt?

Topics: Featured, Business Best Practices, Management, Articles, Accounting & Finance

7 Steps to build a successful e-mail marketing program

by Kelly Jackson

Jaxzen Marketing Strategies

Kelly is the CEO of Jaxzen Marketing Strategies. Career Marketing Communications professional and innovative small business owner. At Jaxzen Marketing our strategy is to work with teams to align marketing activities with sales goals, and then to measure their effectiveness in terms of leads converted. By developing integrated marketing communications plans around this objective, we’re able to ensure that everyone is working towards the same goal.

This is a subject that is studied often because of its’ importance in the marketing communications mix. If you are responsible for the sales and marketing of a company, you can’t ignore e-mail marketing. The 7 steps that I share are gained from recent studies, years of gathering best practices and new technologies.

Topics: Sales, Featured, Marketing, Strategic Planning, Articles


Contractors employees exposure to heat exhaustion and stroke

by Clark Fresher

IBTX Risk Services

Mr. Fresher graduated from The University of Connecticut with a degree in Finance. He subsequently earned his Masters in Business Administration from The University of Texas at San Antonio. Clark began his insurance/ risk management career as a surety bond underwriter in the Southwest Regional Bond Department (Dallas) of Continental Insurance. After a brief stint with Continental in Birmingham, Alabama, Clark returned to Texas with the Fidelity & Deposit Company, a joint venture between Swiss Re and Zurich Insurance. He has over 25 years in the Agency Business as an owner/principal and as a managing account executive. Mr. Fresher is currently handling insurance and surety bond accounts for IBTX Risk Services. IBTX provides business solutions, including risk management services, safety, bonding, loss control and all areas of insurance and wealth management for medium to large commercial construction contractors. IBTX is one of the largest independent agencies in Texas and operates Statewide []. Professional and educational designations include: Chartered Property & Casualty Underwriter (CPCU); Associate in Fidelity & Surety Bonding (AFSB); Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC); and by the end of 2010, Certified Risk Manager (CRM). Clark is married with two daughters and resides in Fair Oaks Ranch, Texas.

Working in Hot Weather

Topics: Featured, Articles, Risk Management

Geo-Targeting your online content: 5 questions to ask yourself

by Jed Jones

JCJ Interactive

Jed C. Jones, Ph. D., is the principal and founder of the interactive marketing company JCJ Interactive and the database marketing company Mind Ecology. Jed is a marketing problem solver and consultant, combining several skill sets - including online marketing, database analytics, writing and branding - to help his clients succeed. Previously, Jed led marketing efforts for numerous Fortune 50, midsize and small companies, including three years in enterprise products marketing for Dell, Inc. in Japan. He is fluent in written and spoken Japanese and has a working knowledge of six other languages. Jed holds degrees in Japanese (B.A.), business (M.B.A.) and organizational systems inquiry (Ph.D.).

Geo-targeting is the act of optimizing your online content in a way that attracts local visitors. The types of online content that can be geo-targeted includes:

Topics: Technology, Marketing, Articles

Leverage your time - 2 powerful management techniques

by Steve Rosebaugh

Steve Rosebaugh Consulting

Successful, high performing teams are guided by well-tuned and motivating managers. Now a best-selling author on, Steve Rosebaugh has managed and led high performance teams for more than 20 years, guiding his organizations through transition and challenge while bringing results during the most difficult of times. His experience is changing the lives and results of his clients today. An engineering graduate of the University of Illinois, Steve Rosebaugh has experience managing change in both technology and business. With a strong diversity of business experience within the complex semiconductor industry, Steve’s background includes design, product engineering, manufacturing, quality, product management, and marketing. Steve also has international experience having spent three years in a large manufacturing center in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Working in both small and large companies, Steve has been successful in many functions, including: key account management, project management, conflict resolution, and operations management. He has been recognized by leading customers and has also been published both domestically and internationally in well-known industry publications. Steve lives in Austin, has been married for over 30 years, and has three grown children.

What makes some managers so much more effective than others? There are a number of potential answers, but the best responses have to do with leverage. Managers need to be experts at achieving results through other people. And while they have budgets and relationships they can leverage, their ability to leverage time is a constant, daily concern.

Topics: Operations, Featured, Business Best Practices, Management, Articles, Human Resources

Sales and Use Tax Update for Texas Retailers

by Ron Ratliff

Ron Ratliff CPA

Ron Ratliff was a CPA who practiced accounting in Austin, Texas for many years. He passed away in 2011 and his articles are archived on the Business Resource Center for the long term, so that the business community can continue to benefit from Ron’s expertise.

Great news for Texas retailers…recent legislation has just made it much easier for you to become a felon!

Topics: Featured, Articles, Accounting & Finance

Estate planning for business owners

by James Blake

The Blake Law Firm, PLLC.

James Blake is a growth-oriented business attorney who strives to be a creative business partner, to identify value-add opportunities, and to crystallize the relationships, structures, and processes that will drive your commercial success. James Blake practices law in Texas and Hawaii, and has protected the interests of businesses across a broad range of industries, including technology, construction, service and retail, food and beverage, franchisors and franchisees, product manufacturers, and investors. His work experience encompasses commercial transactions, litigation, and advising business operations in the U.S., Africa, and Asia. James was an editor of Law Review at the University of Hawaii and conducted international commercial law research for the Institute of Asian Pacific Business Law. He served as the Official Reporter for the 2008 IAPBL China Enterprise Bankruptcy Law Symposium held in Hong Kong, and in the same year worked at a large firm in Singapore. James currently advises clients in international business and investment issues in addition serving his client’s legal and business needs in Hawaii and Texas. Currently based in Austin, Texas, James is an avid writer and enjoys speaking at business-law seminars in addition to his legal practice. In his spare time, James enjoys sculling and kayaking on Ladybird Lake, outdoor photography, and supporting visual and performing arts.

What will happen to your business when you die or become incapacitated? If you haven’t taken the time to put together a succession and estate plan, your business might lose momentum and become unprofitable while the leadership and ownership of your company gets worked out in probate. Even worse, your estate may have to sell the business or its assets in order to pay estate taxes.

Topics: Featured, Business Best Practices, Legal, Strategic Planning, Articles, Risk Management

Fresh Coat, Inc. v. K-2, Inc.

by Shelly Levick Masters

Segal McCambridge Singer & Mahoney, Ltd.

Shelly Masters is a Shareholder in the Austin office of Segal McCambridge Singer & Mahoney, Ltd. With over ten years of experience, she maintains a varied trial practice that focuses primarily in the areas of complex business litigation, general litigation, construction, employment, insurance coverage and products liability. Ms. Masters is a frequent author and speaker on a variety of legal topics for city, state and national events and publications. She is the Co-Leader of the firm’s Construction Practice Group and one of the creators and editors of LegalBuild, a legal newsletter for the construction industry. Her experience includes all aspects of pre-trial and trial work before state and federal courts, as well as mediation and arbitration. She has acted as primary trial counsel involving cases pertaining to construction defects, breach of contract, insurance coverage, property damage, wrongful termination, sexual harassment, personal injury and corporate matters. She has provided legal representation in all aspects of commercial and residential construction, including liability defense, contract disputes and interpretation, OSHA compliance, premises liability and indemnity issues on public, private and federal projects. She currently represents commercial and industrial product and equipment manufacturers in environmental and toxic tort product liability litigation. Her practice also includes corporate risk assessment, insurance coverage analysis and business organization planning and implementation. Segal McCambridge Singer & Mahoney is a full-service, national law firm with offices in Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Texas.

In a decision released on August 20, 2010, the Texas Supreme Court addressed the scope of the Texas Product Liability Act (“TPLA”) and its application to the indemnity rights of a construction subcontractor. K-2, Inc. is a manufacturer of a synthetic stucco cladding product called “Exterior Insulation and Finish System” or “EIFS” as it is commonly referred to in the construction industry. A Texas homebuilder entered into a subcontract with Fresh Coat to install EIFS on residential homes. The subcontract contained a standard indemnity clause requiring Fresh Coat to indemnify the builder from any damages assessed against the builder regardless of fault. Approximately 90 homeowners brought suit against the homebuilder alleging that the EIFS allowed water penetration resulting in structural damage, bug infestations and mold. The plaintiff homeowners alleged the EIFS was defectively designed, manufactured and marketed (i.e., product liability allegations under the TPLA) among other causes of action. Settlements were reached between the plaintiffs and all defendants before trial.

Topics: Featured, Legal, Articles