ELFA Says Confidence and Capital Investment on the Rise

Illustration from Pixabay
Illustration from Pixabay

According to the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association (ELFA) there was a 20 percent rise in the amount US companies borrowed for capital investment in the month of December, compared to the same time one year ago.

In addition, there was a 90 percent rise in new loans, leases and lines of credit since last month, to the amount of $12.9 billion.

ELFA Chief Executive William Sutton said in a statement that, “…the equipment finance industry appears poised for the breakout performance industry observers have been waiting for.”

ELFA is a Washington-based trade association that reports on economic data for the equipment finance sector, a $903 billion industry. Credit approvals were done in December compared to November, from 79.1 percent in November to 78.6 percent in December.

The non-profit affiliate of ELFA, the Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation, said its confidence index went up in January to 66.1 compared to 63.4 in the previous month. According to the foundation any figure over 50 indicates a positive view of the economic future.

Sales Drop While Business Inventories Rise for Second Consecutive Month

Inventories up, sales down in  October and November
Inventories up, sales down in October and November

The Commerce Department announced on Wednesday the US business inventories rose during the month of November while sales fell for the second month in a row.

Business inventories grew by 0.2 percent, a figure that is consistent with the expectations of economists.  The number also followed a similar gain in October.

Inventories are an important part of the total gross domestic product. Excluding cars, retail inventories went up by 0.1 percent after posting a gain of 0.3 percent in October.

In November sales shrunk by 0.2 percent and 0.3 percent in October. It would take approximately 1.31 months for businesses to clear their shelves is sales continued at November’s tempo.

Create a Better Work Environment for Employees and Save Money

happy workersAccording to a recent Gallup poll poor management is costing the United States from $450 billion to $550 billion per year in lost revenue. The single most important cause of this loss is a disengaged workforce. The poll revealed that out of 100 million full-time employees in the country, about 70 percent feel uninspired and alienated from their jobs. Compounding the problem is the large number of employees who quit their jobs.  In June 2014 more than 2.5 million people quit their jobs, and the number seems to be on the rise.

One coaching and leadership company, CMOE, did a survey to find out what components characterize a strong work environment.  Their goal was to find out how to help companies to get rid of poor managers, reduce or eliminate high employee turnover and disengagement.

CMOE discovered that there are three main components to creating a successful organization:

•    Helping others learn and grow
•    Have a positive attitude
•    Solve problems effectively and efficiently

In addition, leaders should be strategic and forward thinking. They should have good communication skills. Having long-term  goals also helps to inspire employees.

Running a Business is Like Running a Marathon

Hong Kong Marathon finish line 2011 photo by Drew
Hong Kong Marathon finish line 2011 photo by Drew

Observers who are paying attention may have noticed that businessmen seem to be over-represented among long distance runners. Could it be that some of the qualities needed to be a successful businessman are also prevalent among dedicated runners? Let’s take a look at some highly motivated businessmen who take running seriously.

Seth Hillel Fischer is the Chief Investment Officer of the Hong Kong based private investment firm Oasis Management. In 2002 Fischer united Oasis with DKR Capital Partners, LP, forming DKR Oasis. From 2002 until 2011 assets under management climbed to $3.3 billion. Fischer is also an established road and trail runner all over Asia as well as a Big City Marathon runner. He has participated in some of the world’s most acclaimed races, including marathons in NYC, Boston, Tokyo, San Francisco, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Philippe Tschannen is a partner in Heidrick & Struggle’s’ Zurich office.  He has over 15 years of experience recruiting exceptionally talented executive for the financial sector. As a long distance runner, he trains along Lake Zurich in Switzerland. In 2010 he ran in the Cresta Run skeleton track in St. Moritz, and the New York City Marathon.

Perhaps the ultimate merging of business with running is the entrepreneur who has made his business from the enormous popularity of fitness, sports, and especially long-distance running. Vishal Gondal is the CEO and founder of GOQii, a company that is developing advanced wearable technology. According to their website GOQii wants to enable people throughout the world to “be the force” by helping them to ‘unleash their untapped potential. Gondal has participated in several half marathons between 2011 and 2013 in Amsterdam, Mumbai and Delhi.

Entrepreneurship Shrinking Among Under 30s

Young entrepreneurs disappearing.
Young entrepreneurs disappearing.

The number of young entrepreneurs has reached its lowest number in 24 years, according to data collected by the Federal Reserve for 2013. The statistics, recently released by the Wall Street Journal, point to a serious crisis in the future of business formation in the coming years.

Only 3.6 percent of households who are headed by someone under 30 years-old own part or all of a private company. Compare that with 10.6 percent in 1989 when the Federal Reserve began keeping track. In 2010 6.1 percent of such households had a stake in a private business.

The numbers show that the stereotype of 20-somethings as risk-takers is incorrect, but are consistent with data that show that the number of new US businesses fell during the first quarter of 2014.

Several explanations for this worrisome downturn have been offered. One explanation is that in our post-recession economy raising money for new businesses has been an obstacle to business creation. Add to this the fact that the fastest growing sectors, such as healthcare and energy require larger than average sums to get going. Another contributing factor could be the struggle young people have had finding their place in the workforce. It has been harder in recent years to gain the skills and experience needed to successfully start a business. Young people simply don’t feel qualified to go out on their own.

Analysts also say the trend is not likely to end any time soon. As the job market improves many young people find that it is simply easier to go get a job than to start a business.
One other factor seems to be that young people today seem to be more risk averse compared to their elders. Donna Kelley, a professor at Babson College said that young people have less confidence than in the past. Kelley conducts an annual survey which has shown that over 41 percent of the 25-to-34-year-old cohort of Americans who had an opportunity to start a business admitted that fear of failure would prevent them from moving ahead with the business. In 2001 that number was only 23.9 percent.

“The fear of failure is the measure we should be most concerned about,” Kelley said.