Snack bar Entrepreneur Solves her cash flow Stresses
Update 6/26/2017: Justyna has re-established her business under a brand-new label, go ahead and visit the newly-styled NAGI line of healthy snacks at EatNagi.com
Canadian entrepreneur Justyna Kozlowska believes in healthy living — so much so, she’s made it a lifestyle.
She works as both a personal trainer and a massage therapist, and recently, she developed and launched Inner J, a line of healthy, high-protein snack bars, all made in Canada.
The idea for Inner J came about after Kozlowska realized she wasn’t happy with the sort of fast, ready-made snacks she was finding in stores. Some claimed to be healthy, but contained poor quality ingredients and were too high in sugar for her preferences. Some didn’t have enough fibre or protein. Others weren’t gluten-free.
“They were just too high in sugar, and too low in fibre and protein, to really sustain your energy.”
So, with encouragement from a friend, Kozlowska decided to go into business for herself.
Inner J was born.
Since the launch, Kozlowska has gradually been building up an impressive list of retailers across Canada, including Whole Foods and Lake Louise Ski Resort.
But with that growth and the demand for orders came some challenges, particularly around cash flow.
Inner J needs a constant flow of new supplies and raw ingredients – coconut nectar, plum paste, seeds – coming in, so Kozlowska can make fresh bars for her clients. And like so many small business owners, Kozlowska has clients who take 40 days, sometimes even longer, to pay their invoices.
That’s a long time to wait when you have to come up with the money for the next round of snack bars.
“In terms of the cash flow, it’s hard,” she says. “You have an order coming in, but you still have to pay up front for labels and ingredients, things like that.”
So in December 2015, when Kozlowska heard about FundThrough, an invoice-funding service, she decided to sign up.
FundThrough allowed her to click a button and get her invoices paid in 24 hours — no more waiting.
“Instead of waiting 40 or more days for my customers to pay, with FundThrough I actually got the funds right then. That meant I could start production on my next run of product without delay. That made a huge difference in my ability to continue growing my sales without any interruptions,” Kozlowska says.
Steven Uster, co-founder and CEO of FundThrough, notes that Kozlowska’s situation is not unusual.
“When a business is new, or going through a growth spurt, costs ramp up ahead of revenues. For businesses that are invoicing to get paid it’s especially challenging. They’ve delivered their goods or services, but are now waiting 30, 60 or 90 days to get paid. That gap between when they incur their costs and when they get paid is creating a cash crunch, despite all the good business,” Uster says.
“For a business owner, this puts you in a really tight spot and more often than not the banks can’t help. With FundThrough, we’re able to help you eliminate the wait and turn that outstanding invoice into working capital with one click.”
And it’s working. For Kozlowska, FundThrough was just what she needed to line her receivables up with her expenses. With a healthy cash flow and growing demand the Inner J line has been able to experience healthy growth. She’s signing up for trade shows across Canada. She’s expanding the Inner J products to include Super Krisps, a line of new lighter, sweet or savoury, nut-free, gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan-friendly snacks, and she’s expanding sales throughout Western Canada and looking to the U.S. market, too.
“FundThrough has given me the flexibility I need with my payment terms and has really been a great addition to the way I run my business. It’s fast, easy to use and gives me peace of mind as I continue to expand.”
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