Accounting is one the most commonly outsourced competencies in small business. Busy entrepreneurs either don’t want to spend the time or aren’t confident in handling the books and decide it is easier to have an in-house bookkeeper or professional accountant in charge. It is also very common for these same entrepreneurs to pay dearly for that decision.
Accounting is the function that records the financial history of the business. Managed correctly, it provides an accurate record of money in and money out, such that it is easy to identify many internal problems through the financial reports produced by these records. Managed incorrectly, it is a waste of time, a misleading mess of false information, and potentially the difference between the ultimate success or failure of the organization.
Like any other profession, there are certainly tricks of the accounting trade that are best managed by, well, the professionals. But the fundamentals of accounting should be familiar to every entrepreneur. The way your books are set up and the accounts that are used to track income and expenses should be well known to the business owner, such that you could take over the tasks if necessary (or at least train a new bookkeeper).
The position of bookkeeper in a small business is the number one opportunity for don’t assume that just because your bookkeeper is “like family” that they won’t rip you off. It happens all the time. There are a million reasons that people skim cash from their workplace, and not all of those folks are hardened criminals. The best way to avoid any potential of employees or contractors stealing from you is to understand what is going on with your accounting system. Embezzlement is far easier for an employee or outsource professional who holds all the ‘t let someone else set up and manage your books on their own. At an absolute minimum, sit side-by-side with your bookkeeper or accountant while the accounts are established and make sure you absolutely understand every line.
In addition, accounting must be completely accurate to be useful. In many cases, business owners rely on periodic financial reports from the bookkeeper to assess the health of the venture. However, if the books are not kept correctly (all entries correctly assigned to appropriate categories, entries checked for accuracy), the reports are completely useless. And, should you need to secure second round financing, you could spend up to thousands of dollars to hire an accountant to clean up the books before a bank will even talk to you.
There are all kinds of horror stories that start with the business owner relinquishing all responsibility for their own accounting system. Embezzlement is a common one, as are tax problems and employee issues. One business owner in Chicago learned the hard way not to trust others with every detail of his accounting system. After 13 years in business, his home theater installation venture was growing at a steady pace. When the recession hit, the owner reviewed his financial statements and was confident the company would weather the economy.
Unfortunately, the professional, national, accounting firm he hired had classified his future contract sales as current when people started to cancel their orders, the company was in a serious cash crunch. Had the owner understood that the income category reflected money that was not actually in the bank, he likely could have taken steps to handle the reduction in work. Instead, he relied on the accountant’s reports until it was too late. He was forced to let his staff of 20+ without their final paychecks. He lost his business, he lost his house, and he learned a painful lesson. Had he taken the time to at least assist in setting up the company’s accounting system at the start, there would have been no confusion as to what the numbers on the report actually meant.
Though many entrepreneurs are eager to dump those pesky accounting tasks off to a bookkeeper as early as possible in the startup process, it is a mistake that can turn in to a venture-closing devastation. Protect your future and keep control over your business by learning the basics of your accounting system from the start.…
Are you a “Woman” in (need of a business grant?)
I have something to tell you….
You know, sometimes people, especially men don’t respect women the way they deserve to be respected. This especially applies to professional representation. But you know what? Times have changed.
Did you know…?
“One of twelve big companies in the UK with a woman CEO has less than three females on its board. This company is Rite Aid, with two female members. The remainder have a healthy number of between three women board members through to as many as six at WellPoint.”
This is a great reason why [women business grants can be even more important]
The question you are asking yourself now is… “WHERE CAN I FIND A GOOD GRANT?”
I understand it’s not always that easy for women to just find grants, especially with the economy in the slump it’s in at the moment.
So what now? Well… just read the rest…
There are millions of dollars just waiting to be claimed for grants from the government and other little-known organizations. The problem is, “you” need to find the right grant for “you”, and also at the right place.
Did you know that businesses run by professional females are becoming more and more successful? This is another great reason why women business grants, and the right ones are out there for you to find if you look hard enough and if you are serious and willing to be apart of the chase! I mean, that’s fun right?
Sure it is!
“We are living through extraordinary times, and extraordinary times call for innovative solutions. I am convinced it is essential to accelerate the progress of women into senior positions, given the world’s need to deploy the best talent available. This need is greater than ever in the current economic climate.”
If you are a female, looking to do great things with your future, well I’m happy to say this is a great time for you! You can definitely be extraordinarily successful, and this is just the beginning! Times have changed, and will continue to change so it’s important that we all adapt.
Take some time and leave me a comment, or visit my blog…
Women in networking know the power of social contacts and spheres of influence, and how they are integral in creating any movement, supporting any cause or generating new business. Few people, though, have the talent to organize, bring people together, or network with others to get things done. This is a skill, and a highly valuable one. The oftentimes difficult thing in life is to be able to take the talents that we have and to develop them to their fullest. If we can pull that off, not only do we individually benefit, but we help others to realize their own potential at the same time. What’s often missing, however, is a vehicle for those talents to blossom.
Online social networking is a relatively new phenomenon. For those of you with social networking skills, the vehicle for both business and personal growth may be just a steps away. Here are some tips that may generate some new ideas if you are in the market for starting a business.
The power of networking is often underestimated, but in some businesses it is not only important, it is the ONLY thing. Several companies, often called hybrid or network marketing companies rely solely on individual entrepreneurs to build business networks of customers and like-minded business owners. These companies have compensation plans that offer unlimited profits.
If you have a knack for networking and are willing to learn how to social network online, you can develop a business that far exceeds an income that is limited by the hours you exchange for dollars. You can start in a business on the internet with virtually no investment AND advertise it all over the web without paying a cent. Do some homework and think about starting a business online where you can turn your real world social networking talents into a lucrative online social media business.…
The primary purpose of starting a business (at least in most cases) is to make money, and lots of it. Entrepreneurs pick a business idea they are sure will be popular, with product and service features they know will be irresistible to consumers. Their thoughts are filled with how many customers they need to meet their projections, how much traffic they need to draw, and how the operations can be streamlined. They are sure that once they have all the details worked out, the customers will show up in droves.
Very often, this confidence in their venture spills over into their marketing materials such that the messages they deliver are misfocused on how great the business, products or services are. Unfortunately, this classic approach is no longer effective. Today’s consumers are more knowledgeable and savvy than ever they are far more concerned with what your product can do for them. The new adage for defining marketing efforts must be Ask not what your customer can do for you, but what your business can do for your customers!
Every bit of your marketing effort, from the website to personal sales to follow-up contact, must be completely customer-centric. Everything you think about your venture needs to start and end with your target market. They don’t care what you need, what you want, or how you feel. They only want to know what your products or services are going to do for them. Just remember, it’s not about you, it’s all about the customer.
Define your venture’s marketing messages by the benefits your customers will receive by doing business with you. Know the features of your products, but reframe those into direct benefits for your customers. People want to know how your product will make them better, happier, more attractive, or solve some other problem in their world. For example, a mobile oil-change service has the feature of “oil changes at your home or office.” Better to focus on the benefit of “saves you time and keeps your car on the road.”
Identify your venture’s USPs (Unique Selling Propositions), or what makes your business stand out over the competition. Three separate USPs are good, especially if each of the three targets the primary needs of different market segments. Of course, to define your USPs as benefits rather than features, you will need to know your target markets inside and out, in order to define the benefit that will draw them in.
One way to improve your marketing messages is to personalize the appeals. Use testimonials from satisfied customers and anecdotes about situations that your products improved. Emotional appeals are much stronger than factual appeal, regardless of the audience. Of course, the facts and statistics about your product should be available, but a laundry list of data isn’t likely to sway too many consumers.
Focus on showing customers what your products will do for them and how it will make their lives better. We are all pummeled by hundreds of marketing messages each day — make yours stand out, strike a chord, tug on the heartstrings, and leave customers wanting more.…
The official definitions of entrepreneur generally come down to an individual who takes on the initiative and risk of organizing and managing any business. This is a pretty basic description, perhaps better suited to the definition of business owner. Successful entrepreneurs bring something more to the table than the average guy who works for himself. They are innovators, they are independent, and they are willing to live like most people won’t in order to live like most people can’t.
Article directories and business magazines are full of advice for would-be entrepreneurs that doesn’t really fit with that title. Some experts recommend that you outsource all “non-core” tasks related to your business idea. The argument is that you should reserve your efforts for the core operations of the venture and leave all other tasks (accounting, marketing, legal issues, IT) to other professionals to handle. On the surface, this sounds great – you get to do the “fun” part and leave the boring business stuff to someone else.
The problems come when you are faced with critical business decisions – should we expand? Change direction? Are there opportunities to exploit? Threats to counter? If you do not have a solid grasp of every aspect of your business, you will not only have trouble making these decisions, but may not even know the decisions need to be made! There are hundreds (if not more) of horror stories about business owners turning over control of one aspect or another to an outside source, trusting them to do things right, and paying dearly for not taking complete responsibility for every part of their venture. Of course, there is a time and place for outsourcing time-consuming tasks, but a true entrepreneur needs to retain control over how and when the work is done, and have the knowledge and an established procedure for understanding what it all means.
The business of entrepreneurship is business – many of the most successful entrepreneurs will tell you that the product or service you are offering doesn’t matter nearly as much as the fundamental business skills you apply to the venture. The basics of running a business are the same no matter what you sell, who you well it to, or where you are located. Accounting systems must be coherent and accurate in order to tell you where the business has been. The operations procedures must be well-established, consistent, and efficient to ensure the day-to-day is being run correctly. The financial and strategic planning must be based on a balance of knowledge of the past, present, and future of the business as well as fundamental business principles. Whatever field your company is in, you success or failure will all come down to business.
Nearly every definition of entrepreneur includes a reference to risk-taking. Actually, the most successful entrepreneurs avoid risk like the plague. They do so by working hard to learn the details of every aspect of their business, identifying areas of potential risk, and doing everything they can to mitigate that risk. True entrepreneurs are not particularly comfortable with risk. Rather, they thrive on the process of slaying risk as it comes.
Entrepreneurship is more than just working for yourself. It is having the drive to learn all you can, all the time, about whatever it is you do. It is the willingness to think outside the SOPs of your industry to find better, smarter, and faster ways to get the job done. It is about fighting back risk to clear the path to success. Entrepreneurs are in the business of business – they are independent and determined to take control of their own work life and financial future. It’s a tough road, and definitely not for everyone, but the payoff is unmatched.…
Do you desire to replace a lock on your own? Think about the value of the things you want to secure. Is not using a qualified locksmith worth the risk? If you end up deciding it’s not, the following advice will help.
Be wary of locksmiths who provide you with one price on the phone and another in person. Some try this kind of ploy so they can get you to pay more money. If you’re told that it will be more expensive than you were quoted, hire a different person.
It is advisable to be prepared even if you never think you will need a locksmith’s service. Research before you need one and find someone that you can trust. Keep a locksmith’s phone number in a cell phone or written down so you can call then if the worst happens.
If you have doubts about a locksmith’s reputation, research with the BBB. This can help you identify any person trying to scam you. Also, ALOA.org is another great organization that you can check to verify any locksmith you wish to use.
Choose a tradesman who is an active participant of his professional community. A locksmith that keeps himself current with the latest trends and developments will do a better job. This will also help ensure that he isn’t some moonlighter who isn’t concerned about the job.
Always ask locksmiths for professional references before hiring. You should do this in advance, before you actually need them. You need to find a trustworthy, quality pro, so start searching today.
Ask about what credentials the locksmith has when you are making the call. Tell them over the phone and ensure they agree. If the company is professional, they will have the right ID on them and be well presented.
While it’s cool to look for a low price on locksmith services, be wary if it’s too low. They may not have a lot of experience, or may be desperate for work. Get a few different quotes and get rid of the lowest and highest. Then you should hire one that’s the most modest.
Be prepared and find a locksmith before you require their services. Your choices won’t be as good if you wait. You do not want a disreputable person having access to your belongs and your family.
Before hiring locksmiths, be sure to find out how long they’ve been in the business. If they’ve been around for a long time, it’s a fair bet that they are worthy of your trust. Though new locksmiths are not necessarily unworthy of your business, experience can be an important factor.
Some locksmiths charge a lot more if you call outside of business hours. Some contractors use this to their advantage and charge unnecessarily high rates. You can stay away from this kind of price-raising by getting a quote from a couple of different locksmiths.
There are good and bad locksmith out there. You want a professional. The advice above is sure to be useful as you look for a great pro. Their reputation will be good and they will charge the price you want. Your money will be well spent when you have chosen the right locksmith.…Read more
Have you been using email marketing, only to be disappointed by the results you are seeing? Do you find email marketing to be an interesting idea, but do not know how to begin? This article is here to help you. In the paragraphs below, you’ll find advice for mass appeal email marketing strategies.
Know your audience and be focused. Why would your readers want to sign up for your email list? Once you have the answer, use it to your advantage. At the end of every email, provide a “subscribe” button and a “share” button so readers can pass along your information to friends. This is a great method to use to organically grow your base.
Each email should only contain a single topic. It is important that your audience does not grow bored or bogged down by an excessive amount of facts within a single message. Formulate one text only, and make sure it is brief and concise. Audiences are sure to appreciate your willingness to limit the message to just the most relevant material.
Refrain from bombarding the inbox of your recipients with “Buy now!” the way you go about it. This will make you look like you are spamming them, which will in turn affect your business. Your customers understand that you’re a company and therefore you have to sell your product, but they will respect you more if you do so in a professional way. They will like this and will likely purchase from you.
Before you send out emails, make sure to proofread them. Accuracy is important in all forms of correspondence, including emails and newsletters. Prior to message distribution, test email layouts so you know for sure that all the text and elements show up in your preferred way. Also, check any links you include in the email to ensure they work.
Make sure that people actually want to receive emails from you by using a double opt-in strategy. This helps to ensure that the customer is legitimately interested in receiving your emails. It also helps to keep your business emails from being viewed as spam.
Do not send any more than a single email message a week. Most likely, your subscribers receive dozens of emails every day. If your emails arrive more than once weekly, subscribers are more likely to trash them without ever reading the content that you put so much time into.
Avoid sending your email marketing near holidays. People are normally not at work and are not spending time at their computers, so most likely they will not see your emails. Keep in mind that there could be exceptions to this. Emails about special promotions like Black Friday are exceptions to this.
Do not depend upon graphics-heavy emails in your campaign. Because so many popular email clients block graphics, including ads and logos, your audience probably will not be able to view emails that contain lots of pictures or other graphics. Also, email programs may send image-heavy emails to your junk mail folder.
The power of email marketing is superior, but only if used wisely. After reading this article, you can see how to successfully use email to enhance your business. Use what you’ve learned here, and the results will make themselves apparent quite quickly.…Read more