5 Online Courses to Develop Your Management Skills

As a business owner,  it is important to have the developed skills of a leader alongside other hard skills that will benefit your company. Nowadays, people learn various stuff online, from foreign languages to cooking and programming.  There are hundreds of courses available online and most of them are free. Those that have to be paid for, are still significantly cheaper than offline lessons. Browse this list of 5 of the most effective online courses that will turn you into an awesome leader in no time!

Becoming a manager, Lynda

Lynda is an online learning platform developed by LinkedIn. It offers 1 month free trial and you can try any of the lessons for this period. Taking a course will give you a good idea of the qualities a good manager must possess to be useful for the team and company in general. During this time, you’ll get to know your strengths, discover your personal motivation, and learn how to build a good relationship between you and your employees. Also, you will learn how to hire the right people, how to connect, motivate and engage with your team, and act as a coach and role model for your team.

Management course, Alison

Courses on Alison are specialized to suit your own needs. Here we suggest you try not only one lesson, but complete all three courses to make sure that you’re becoming a qualified specialist. Whether you focus on managing people, individual projects, quality, or corporate leadership, there is an opportunity for you to learn from these courses. You can also try a diploma program that is offered in specialty areas. Taking these programs will ensure your success in the field.

Beginning Project Management, Udemy

In this course at Udemy, you will learn the absolute basics of Private Management. You’ll discover the big picture of it and its life cycle. By the end of the program, you’ll have a great grasp of what Private Management is about, what your roles and responsibilities as a Private Manager will be, and how to move forward in your career.

Growing as a Manager, Future Learn

What differs this program from the previous ones in this list? It has been developed by The Open University Business School – a pioneering institution that is triple accredited by Chartered Management Institute (CMI) – the leading authority on leadership in the UK. Even if you are not planning to work in Great Britain, this online certification will turn your professional skills to the new level.

Business Strategy, EDX

A qualified business owner must not be only the leader and a good team player. They must know how to develop the business. One of the fundamentals of professional development for managers is mastering of business strategy essentials. What helps people to improve their position in the marketplace? A good strategy does. To execute an effective strategy, a specialist must have a grasp of specific tools and frameworks. That is exactly what Business strategy course from Wharton will give to you. Here you’ll gain knowledge that will make you competent enough to evaluate your strategic environment in the present and the future, and engage you in a strategic planning process that works.

Guest Post: About the Author 

Judy Nelson is a writer at https://eduzaurus.com/ whose main topics are dedicated to management issues of different kinds. She used to share her thoughts with all those who were interested in getting useful information on business topics mostly. Her life motto is: “A good leader has to have a purpose that is larger than his daily duties are, and the balanced personality and skills to put that purpose into action.”

How Businesses Effectively Manage Debt

Cash is the fuel that allows your business to operate. With it, you can buy inventory or raw materials, and wait for sluggish receivables to be paid. You can invest in expansion or other opportunities to grow your business, and have a cushion to pay bills during tough times. Debt is a time-honored way to get cash when you don’t have enough. When managed well, debt can be a significant boost to your business, but poorly managed debt can lead you down the road to Chapter 11.

Managing debt wisely is the mark of a well-run business. Here are some tips for owners to effectively use debt:

Be interest-rate aware:

Are you stuck with a high-interest small business loan that demands a mountainous monthly payment? If so, you should consider refinancing your loan at a lower interest rate. Your original loan might have been based on your credit rating, and if that is less than perfect, you can do better by choosing a lender that rates you more on cash flow, such as IOU Financial. Also, when you borrow from IOU Financial, you make daily payments, which abolishes the dreaded monthly repayment.

Work with suppliers:

Your suppliers want you to succeed, because they sell to you. Use this attitude to negotiate favorable credit terms with them, such as bulk discounts, and extended payment terms. Let your suppliers know that their flexibility will result in your loyalty. Another strategy is to join a buying consortium composed of several nearby small businesses, thereby increasing the size of your orders and qualifying for greater bulk discounts and better credit terms.

Milk extra space:

Are you paying a mortgage on more space than you need? You might not want to move to smaller quarters due to the expense and the risk always attendant upon a new location. Instead, consider subleasing your extra space, say for companies that need extra storage space or a small office. This can have the effect of reducing the net cost of your mortgage debt.

Don’t be fooled by alternative financing:

Some businesses turn to expedients like factoring invoices or wholesaling inventory rather than taking out a loan. However, many don’t understand the true costs of these tactics. For example, when you factor invoices, you lock in a lower profit margin, since you will be getting only 85 to 90 cents on the dollar, a much higher price than the interest on a good loan. Wholesaling inventory can result in an even-larger haircut. You’ll find that, most often, regular commercial debt is your best alternative.

Avoid being too debt-averse:

There is some old-school thinking out there that debt is always bad. Debt is neither good nor bad – it is a tool that can be used well or poorly. It’s not a good idea to take on debt for frivolous reasons, but it’s also bad thinking to avoid debt when it can enable greater profits, fuel growth or bridge seasonal sales slumps. You can use a business loan to seize sudden opportunities that would otherwise be out of reach.

The miracle of leverage:

If you have good profit margins but are constrained by limited cash, borrowing money allows you to increase sales and profits by letting you increase your offerings. Leverage – the use of debt – can boost your return on assets and return on equity. As long as your incremental returns exceed your incremental costs, your profits will increase through leverage.

Be wary of unwanted partners:

When you borrow money, you remain in charge of your business. If you instead invite in equity partners, you now have to deal with others who might not agree with your ideas. If you don’t want junior partners questioning your every move, stick to debt financing and avoid the extra headaches.

Networking Tips for Small Business Owners

Networking is important for all business owners, especially small business owners, because it provides opportunities to generate new business and leads, meet VIP clients, approach investors and get important advice and mentorship. Having access to the right people in your industry can open doors and help you grow your business faster and more efficiently than doing so on your own.

However, some small business owners encounter roadblocks such as lack of time or money and being too shy or intimidated to approach people at events. The good news is that networking is always possible with these tips!

Prepare an Ice Breaker

Many people are naturally shy, which is why it may be very intimidating for them to approach a big name client, possible partner, or mentor at an event. The problem is that there is no point to attend these events unless you proactively choose to network.

Even if you are not a social butterfly, you can effectively approach and start conversations with strangers by preparing icebreakers and elevator pitches. An icebreaker is an effective way to engage with another person without diving right into your pitch. You can follow up on a recent speech, inquire about the person’s reasons for attending the event, or make a comment about the weather or food.

Once you have managed to start a conversation, you will need to get to the point quickly so you don’t lose the individual’s attention or have them turn to speak to someone else. This can be easily done with an elevator pitch, which is a minute-long description of who you are, what your business is and what you hope to achieve by talking to this person.

Invest in Business Cards

Networking doesn’t only have to occur at official events; you never know when you can meet a potential client, investor or business partner! This is why it is imperative to make and always carry business cards to hand out to those you want to get in contact with in the future. Plus, a business card makes you look more professional and serious than simply writing your email or phone number on a piece of napkin.

When deciding which business card to create, you can go the traditional route or attempt to make your card stand out from the rest. Consider your brand and the image you want it to portray to others when designing the cards, remembering that your brand image needs to be consistent across all of your marketing materials. If you own a tax accounting firm, you likely will need to create a more conservative card, while a young tech company or a baby clothing boutique can afford to be more risque with their design.

All cards need to contain the following information:

  • Name
  • Phone number(s)
  • Email
  • Website
  • Address

However, they don’t need to be limited to that information — you can include photos of your products or services, a motto and even a short call to action (CTA)!

Utilize Social Media

You may not be aware, but you can connect with important players in your industry without ever leaving the confines of your business! The truth is that technological advances have made it easier than ever to join online groups, ask questions and communicate with others through a computer or handheld device.


While LinkedIn is a platform typically associated with finding work, it is also the most popular professional networking resource, connecting over 433 million users in more than 200 countries worldwide. Once you create a profile on the site, you can connect with others by importing your email contacts, or manually entering a person’s name or email. Once you make connections with your contacts, you can view their connections, creating a networking circle with very little effort!

Additionally, LinkedIn has many online groups dedicated to specific industries and careers. The members of the groups ask questions, provide advice, hold forums and even organize offline events!

Other social media platforms, such as Facebook, can also serve as beneficial resources to connect with important business contacts online.

There are great benefits to networking, especially the connections and knowledge you can gain from attending conferences, setting up exhibits at tradeshows and traveling to award ceremonies and other events. If you need financial help to afford these networking strategies, turn to IOU Financial! We specialize in helping small business owners grow their businesses with loans of up to $300,000! Plus, if you just found out about an important conference, you don’t need to wait weeks for approval, as we can provide a loan in under 48 hours! Click here to find out more!

IOU Financial Inc. Releases Financial Results for the Year Ended December 31, 2016

IOU Financial Inc. Releases Financial Results for the Year Ended December 31, 2016

  • Closed $50 million credit facility lowering funding costs and enhancing competitive position.
  • Principal balance of loan portfolio increased 53.2% to $42.1 million consistent with the Company’s strategy to retain more loans on its balance sheet.
  • Gross revenue increased 45.4% to $17.4 million for the year ended December 31, 2016.
  • Deployed next generation proprietary IOU Risk Logic Score as part of continued investment in innovation and technology.
  • Initiated significant cost reduction plan. Assuming the plan was fully implemented at the beginning of 2016, the Company would have been break even based on adjusted earnings.

MONTREAL, April 28, 2017 – IOU FINANCIAL INC. (“IOU” or “the Company”); (TSXV: IOU), a leading online lender to small businesses (IOUFinancial.com), announced today its results for the year ended December 31, 2016.

“2016 was an active and transformative year for IOU. We are very pleased at the progress we have made in advancing our competitive position in the United States and the announcement of our entrance in Canada. We have now originated over US$415 million of loans to small businesses in the US since our inception. In 2017, management will continue to focus on finding operational efficiencies, the performance of its loan portfolio, and achieving profitability. ” said Phil Marleau, Chief Executive Officer.

FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS

Loan originations for the year ended December 31, 2016 were US$107.6 million versus originations of US$146.4 million for year ended December 31, 2015. Loan originations decreased due to changes made to the Company’s lending policies in response to increased delinquency levels. We anticipate that these changes will have a positive impact on our loan portfolio over the course of 2017.

As of December 31, 2016, IOU’s total loans under management decreased to $70.3 million as compared to $92.7 million at the end of year 2015. On December 31, 2016, the principal balance of the loan portfolio grew to $42.1 million compared to $27.5 million at the end of year 2015 consistent with the Company’s strategy to retain more loans on its balance sheet. The principal balance of IOU’s servicing portfolio (loans being serviced on behalf of thirdparties) was $28.2 million at the end of December 31, 2016 compared to $65.2 million in 2015.

Gross revenue for the year ended December 31, 2016 was $17.4 million versus $12.0 million for the year ended December 31, 2015, representing a 45.4% increase. The increase in gross revenues was primarily driven by an increase in interest income. Interest income increased to $13.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2016 as compared to $6.8 million for the year 2015, representing an increase of 97.0% over the previous year, as a result of an increase in the size of the loan portfolio as well as an increase in pricing.

Interest expense during the year ended December 31, 2016 increased to $3.2 million, up from $2.5 million over the previous year. The increase is attributable to an increase in borrowings under the credit facility partially offset by a reduction in the cost of funds borrowed versus the previous year.

Provision for loan losses (net of recoveries) increased to $7.3 million, up from $2.5 million, for the year ended December 31, 2015. This increase is attributable to a significant increase in the size of the loan portfolio as well as a build in the allowance for loan losses mostly for loans originated prior to the quarter ended September 30, 2016. During the year ended December 31, 2016, IOU Financial made changes to its lending policies and deployed its next generation proprietary IOU Risk Logic Score. These changes are expected to contribute to improved credit performance in 2017. In addition, the Company has implemented certain process changes to improve its servicing and collections.

Operating expenses were $11.6 million during the year ended December 31, 2016 versus $11.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2015. During the quarter ended September 30th, 2016 the Company adopted a plan to reduce operating expenses. These cost-reduction efforts, once fully implemented are expected to lower quarterly operating expenses from $3.0 million for the quarter ended September 30th, 2016 to $2.0 million to $2.2 million, on a normalized basis. For the quarter ending December 31, 2016, operating expenses were $2.5 million, representing a $0.5 million reduction from the quarter ended September 30th, 2016 when the plan was initiated.

IOU closed on the year ended December 31, 2016 with a net loss of $4.8 million, or $0.08 per common share, compared to a net loss of $3.7 million or $0.06 per common share for the year ended December 31, 2015. IOU closed the year ended 2016 with an adjusted net loss of $3.2 million, which excludes certain non-cash and non-recurring items, compared to an adjusted net loss of $1.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2015.

Assuming the cost reduction plan was fully implemented on January 1, 2016, IOU’s pro forma adjusted earnings for the year ended December 31, 2016 would have been break even.

OUTLOOK

In 2017, IOU will continue to focus on finding operational efficiencies, the performance of its loan portfolio, and achieving profitability.

The Company will maintain its core strategy of identifying, recruiting, and partnering with business loan brokers throughout the United States while continuing to focus its efforts on building long-term partnerships with its existing broker base by investing time in offering great service through dedicated account executives.

IOU also intends to grow loan originations by forming new strategic partnerships with entities such as banks and small business suppliers and leveraging their relationships with small businesses to add new customers; expanding its product offering to allow it to serve small businesses whose needs are not met by its current products; investing in direct marketing and sales; and continuing its expansion into Canada.

IOU’s financial statements and management discussion & analysis for the year ended December 31, 2016 have been filed on SEDAR and are available at www.sedar.com.

About IOU Financial

IOU Financial Inc. provides small businesses throughout the U.S. and Canada access to the capital they need to seize growth opportunities quickly. Typical customers include medical and dental practices, grocery and retail stores, salons, gas stations, auto repair shops, and restaurants. In a unique approach to lending, the IOU Financial advanced, automated application and approval system accurately assesses applicants’ financial realities, with an emphasis on day-today cash flow trends. It makes loans of up to US$150,000 to qualified U.S. applicants ($100,000 in Canada) within a few business days, with affordable charges favorable to cash-flow management. It’s speed and transparency make IOU Financial a trusted alternative to banks. To learn more visit: IOUFinancial.com.

Forward Looking Statements

Certain information set forth in this news release may contain forward-looking statements that involve substantial known and unknown risks and uncertainties. These forward-looking statements are subject to numerous risks and uncertainties, certain of which are beyond the control of IOU including, but not limited to, the impact of general economic conditions, industry conditions, dependence upon regulatory and shareholder approvals, the execution of definitive documentation and the uncertainty of obtaining additional financing. Readers are cautioned that the assumptions used in the preparation of such information, although considered reasonable at the time of preparation, may prove to be imprecise and, as such, undue reliance should not be placed on forward-looking statements. IOU does not assume any obligation to update or revise its forward-looking statements, whether as a result of newinformation, future events, or otherwise.

The TSX-V has not reviewed and does not accept responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.

For further information: Philippe Marleau, Chief Executive Officer, (514) 789-0694 ext. 225; David Kennedy, Chief Financial Officer, (514) 789-0694 ext. 278, Benjamin Yi, Corporate Development & Investor Relations, (647) 295-0654