Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The "factoring" industry could provide alternate careers during credit crunch: taking advantage of recession?

Former information technology people (or people in “transition” with out of date skills) sometimes listen to sales pitches from other kinds of businesses, and one of these is the cash flow industry. Cash flow companies typically pay sellers of services or goods and then settle later with purchasers, for a commission (sometimes immediate, sometime on settlement).

Another term is “factoring companies,” and the Washington Post had an article in the Business Section, page D1, “Businesses go to source of fast cash”, by Anita Huslin, on Monday, Oct. 27 2008, link here. These companies are likely to expand and conduct more hotel seminars as the credit crunch plays out. Typically, the company will have a paid TV slot on a weekend to introduce itself, have a two-hour free session at a hotel for the public, and then schedule a weekend seminar to train and qualify cash flow agents. The sales pitch will claim that the training cost is reduced, but it may typically be $3000 or more even after “discount.” I attended a freebie two-hour session in 2004 (when the economy was close to its peak). They told us all you needed was a fax and cell phone. It sounds like a laptop and secure wireless Internet would help. The industry would be active everywhere in the country, and possibly more active in the more depressed areas.

Like any other industry, cash flow works for some people if they get in early, are aggressive, and build up a base of clients. It obviously can’t work for everyone any more than can any other sales quasi-pyramid. And it may not appeal to IT people, who are used to working alone and developing content rather than selling. But we’ve debated the topic “can techies sell?” before.

The American Cash Flow Institute has an FAQ page here.

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