How Does Gardening Relieve Stress?

One of my favorite activities is working in my garden; it is also a vibrant place to meditate, often visited by various winged and four-legged creatures. Being in nature, touching the soil and creating a living landscape is healing in a way that is like nothing else. The very fragrance of the soil, the textures of the barks and foliage of green plants, the aromatic flowers, all are a work of art that is soothing to the spirit.Gardening is a creative work, all in magnificent 3-D. The pallette you have to work with includes textures, colors, shapes, sounds and scents. You can plant for wildlife, or for butterflies. Rain gardens are a beautiful way to deal with runoff from the roof, while recharging the local water table instead of sending rainwater down the city sewer system.Granted, all this may not work for you if you don’t like gardening. Even if you love the idea of gardening, and perhaps have some experience or helped your mother or grandmother in the garden when you were a child, it is important that it not be a chore. The easiest first mistake is to take on too much, and find that instead of being a stress relief you are stressed because the goals you set are unrealistic.Rather than end up with a stressful responsibility that has become overwhelming, it is far better to enjoy a potted plant or a single container garden on the patio, or a hanging planter or two by the walkway to greet you with their cheerful color, than to stress out over a large garden that has run to weeds due to lack of available time.Keep it simple, start small… Or even, start tiny, even indoors with a little terrarium, or a potted group of cactus. One plant that I consider important to keep in the house is an aloe plant. It is hardy, doesn’t mind indoors as long as the humidity doesn’t get too low, and is a wonderful medicinal herb for minor burns, scratches and bruises. Another fun idea, especially if you love to cook, is to keep a small window herb garden. For more information on growing your own kitchen herbs, check out the Organic Gardening website with a great web page on growing herbs indoors.A garden is a way to connect with nature, to slow down and be in the moment, and restore a sense of self in the noise and haste of the modern urban environment. Leave the phone and other noisemakers and distractions inside. Get a break from computer screens, TV screens, hand-held device screens and relax your gaze to take in a wider view. If you’ve ever suffered chastisement in school from indulging in the simple pleasure of looking out the window at beautiful clouds, you know what I mean.My avocation is natural areas restoration; I am a member of a not-for-profit group that is working to set aside natural areas for wildlife habitat. We restore these areas as close as possible to their pre-settlement condition, with native plants and clean waterways. Of course, once the native plant community returns, the wildlife shows up in abundance. You may enjoy creating an ecosystem in your yard that not only features native plants, but will attract wildlife such as endangered butterflies, dragonflies, and birds. The National Wildlife Federation website has great information on how to create wildlife habitat in your yard or community. Again, be realistic and take things in small bites; this is a process. If nothing else, nature encourages us to slow down, take our time to enjoy. Take on too much and we soon fall into stress and anxiety over arbitrary, ultimately unsatisfying goals that we have set for ourselves. You know what Pogo said, “We have met the enemy and he is us”.If you live in an apartment and don’t have garden space, you may want to consider joining in with the local community garden – or start one. The local community or neighborhood garden can also provide, if you wish, an opportunity to enjoy the benefit of social interaction.Gardening provides a sense of accomplishment – that is, if we’ve not overwhelmed ourselves with too much to take care of. Not only that, but there is great satisfaction in growing our own vegetables, fruits and fresh herbs. There is no fruit or vegetable in the supermarket, however much money is paid out, that will compare with your home-grown, lovingly cared for vegetable. No matter that it may be a simple container-grown cherry tomato. For a great article on the best tomatoes for container growing, check out what Colleen Vanderlinden has to say, based on her personal experience.There is even a movement called “geo-sense” gardening coming out of Europe. The idea is to design home gardens to provide stress relief. The tradition has deep roots, according to an article by Dr. Leonard P. Perry, Extension Professor at the University of Vermont. The ancient gardens of great civilizations of Egypt, Persia and China were designed to bring nature into their urban environments. Dr. Perry’s article contains ideas to incorporate into your garden to make it an environment – a mini ecosystem – that is designed for serenity.In traditional Japan, the garden was an expression of Zen philosophy. In an article on the Japanese Garden website, Dr. Koichi Kawana explains the philosophy behind traditional Japanese garden design. The Helpful Gardener website is another great website describes the traditional Japanese Garden, and its underlying Zen philosophy.The garden, whether it is a large plot or a simple miniature ecosystem in a container, embodies many things; spiritual philosophy, connectedness with nature, a living artistic creation, being grounded with our hands literally in the dirt, growing and providing ourselves and loved ones with our own superb food. All these things are the bounty that nature provides – freely given, asking for just a little touch of loving hands.If you enjoy gardening, tell us about your experiences, and whether or not you find gardening to be relaxing. Do you find it a challenge to find the time you want to work in the garden? Have you been challenged by trying to do too much? How do you balance the enjoyment with the work needed to keep your garden in good shape? Are you an “au natural” gardener, or do you prefer a neat and orderly design? Does it seem to bring you closer to nature, or even to a meditative, spiritual experience?If you have found this article to be helpful, please do share it with your friends using the social media buttons below.

Business Capital Solutions In Canada: Accessing Proper Cash Flow & Commercial Financing

Business capital requirements in Canada often boil down to some basic truths the business owner/financial mgr/entrepreneur needs to address when it comes to financing for businesses.

One of those truths? Knowing the true state of their financial condition and what financing they do and don’t qualify for when it comes to meeting commercial lending requirements in Canadian business.

Business Loans In Canada

Whether you are smaller or start-up firm looking for information on how to get a business loan or a larger established firm looking for growth financing or acquisition opportunities we’re highlighting 3 mistakes that commercial loan seekers like your company need to avoid making when addressing, sourcing and negotiating your cash flow / working capital and commercial financing needs.

1. Understand the true condition of your company finances – These are almost always successful addressed when you spend time on your financials and understand how your financial statements reflect your access to commercial loans & business credit in general

2. Ensure you have a plan in place for sales growth and financial needs as it relates to commercial financing

3. Understand that actual hard facts about cash flow which is, of course, the lifeblood of your company

Can you honestly answer or feel positive about all those 3 points. If so, pass Go and collect $ 100.00!

A good way to address your company’s finance plans is to ensure you understand growth finance solutions, as well as how to manage in a downturn – i.e. not growing, losing money, etc; It’s never fun to fund yourself in an economic or industry downturn such as the COVID pandemic of 2020!

When we talk to clients of new or established businesses it seems they are almost always talking about sales, so the ability to understand and focus on the differences in their profits and cash fluctuations is key.

How do cash flow and sales plans and projections affect the type of financing you require? For one thing sales growth usually starts out by consuming your cash, not generating it. A poor finance plan will drag your business down and addressing financing simply gets tougher and tougher.

Three basics always emerge when it comes to your search for the right business capital and financing.

1. The amount of financing you need

2. The type of financing (debt/cash flow/asset monetization) The business loan interest rate will be dramatically affected by whether you choose traditional or alternative financing solutions. Private business loans in Canada come from non regulated commercial finance companies most often known as ‘ alternative lenders ‘. These lenders are typically highly specialized in one ‘ niche ‘ of business financing and may be Canadian firms or branches of U.S. banks and non-bank lenders

3. How the financing is structured to be manageable with your day to day operations

What Finance Company In Canada Can Meet Your Borrowing Needs & Why Is Capital Important In Business

Let’s identify and break down key financings your firm should know about and understand if they are applicable and achievable to your business. They include:

A/R Financing / Factoring / Confidential Receivable Finance

Inventory finance / floor planning / retail inventory

Working Capital term loans

Unsecured cash flow loans

Merchant working capital loans/advances – these loans are geared toward short term cash needs and are typically one year in duration. Loan amounts are typically 15-20% of your annual sales revenues.

Royalty finance

Asset based non bank business lines of credit

Tax credit financing (SR&ED bridge loans)

Equipment Leasing / Sale leasebacks – Equipment financing in Canada is used by almost 80% of all companies looking to acquire new, and used, assets.

Govt Guaranteed Small Business Loan program – Government Loans in Canada are sometimes referred to as ‘ SBL’, aka Note: BDC Finance solutions are available from this Canadian non-bricks and morter crown corporation. A small business loan via the government-guaranteed loan program comes with true flexibility around term loan duration, market rates, no pre payment penalties, and of course the low personal guarantee that is required by borrowers. These two ‘ government ‘ loan solutions are often perfect for financing a new business.

If you’re focused on not making mistakes in your business finance needs and want to capitalize on the solutions your competitors are probably already using seek out and speak to a trusted, credible and experienced Canadian business financing advisor who can assist you with your cash flow and commercial financing needs.

Stan has had a successful career with some of the world’s largest and most successful corporations.

His employers over the last 25 years were, ASHLAND OIL, ( 1977-1980) DIGITAL EQUIPMENT CORPORATION, ( 1980-1990) ) CABLE & WIRELESS PLC,( 1991 -1993) ) AND HEWLETT PACKARD ( 1994-2004 ) In 2004 Stan founded 7 PARK AVENUE FINANCIAL – He is an expert in Canadian Business Financing.

Business Loans In Canada: Financing Solutions Via Alternative Finance & Traditional Funding

Business loans and finance for a business just may have gotten good again? The pursuit of credit and funding of cash flow solutions for your business often seems like an eternal challenge, even in the best of times, let alone any industry or economic crisis. Let’s dig in.

Since the 2008 financial crisis there’s been a lot of change in finance options from lenders for corporate loans. Canadian business owners and financial managers have excess from everything from peer-to-peer company loans, varied alternative finance solutions, as well of course as the traditional financing offered by Canadian chartered banks.

Those online business loans referenced above are popular and arose out of the merchant cash advance programs in the United States. Loans are based on a percentage of your annual sales, typically in the 15-20% range. The loans are certainly expensive but are viewed as easy to obtain by many small businesses, including retailers who sell on a cash or credit card basis.

Depending on your firm’s circumstances and your ability to truly understand the different choices available to firms searching for SME COMMERCIAL FINANCE options. Those small to medium sized companies ( the definition of ‘ small business ‘ certainly varies as to what is small – often defined as businesses with less than 500 employees! )

How then do we create our road map for external financing techniques and solutions? A simpler way to look at it is to categorize these different financing options under:

Debt / Loans

Asset Based Financing

Alternative Hybrid type solutions

Many top experts maintain that the alternative financing solutions currently available to your firm, in fact are on par with Canadian chartered bank financing when it comes to a full spectrum of funding. The alternative lender is typically a private commercial finance company with a niche in one of the various asset finance areas

If there is one significant trend that’s ‘ sticking ‘it’s Asset Based Finance. The ability of firms to obtain funding via assets such as accounts receivable, inventory and fixed assets with no major emphasis on balance sheet structure and profits and cash flow ( those three elements drive bank financing approval in no small measure ) is the key to success in ABL ( Asset Based Lending ).

Factoring, aka ‘ Receivable Finance ‘ is the other huge driver in trade finance in Canada. In some cases, it’s the only way for firms to be able to sell and finance clients in other geographies/countries.

The rise of ‘ online finance ‘ also can’t be diminished. Whether it’s accessing ‘ crowdfunding’ or sourcing working capital term loans, the technological pace continues at what seems a feverish pace. One only has to read a business daily such as the Globe & Mail or Financial Post to understand the challenge of small business accessing business capital.

Business owners/financial mgrs often find their company at a ‘ turning point ‘ in their history – that time when financing is needed or opportunities and risks can’t be taken. While putting or getting new equity in the business is often impossible, the reality is that the majority of businesses with SME commercial finance needs aren’t, shall we say, ‘ suited’ to this type of funding and capital raising. Business loan interest rates vary with non-traditional financing but offer more flexibility and ease of access to capital.

We’re also the first to remind clients that they should not forget govt solutions in business capital. Two of the best programs are the GovernmentSmall Business Loan Canada (maximum availability = $ 1,000,000.00) as well as the SR&ED program which allows business owners to recapture R&D capital costs. Sred credits can also be financed once they are filed.

Those latter two finance alternatives are often very well suited to business start up loans. We should not forget that asset finance, often called ‘ ABL ‘ by those Bay Street guys, can even be used as a loan to buy a business.

If you’re looking to get the right balance of liquidity and risk coupled with the flexibility to grow your business seek out and speak to a trusted, credible and experienced Canadian business financing advisor with a track record of business finance success who can assist you with your funding needs.