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Business Advice


How to Increase Sales and Be More Productive

July 30, 2019 / by Scott Hansen posted in Chicago Far West Suburbs, Tips for Startups, Business Advice

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As a consultant to some of America's most successful entrepreneurs, I can tell you with 99% certainty the biggest obstacle keeping your business from becoming the success you envisioned.

But fair warning: You might not like the answer.

Time to Look in the Mirror
Simply put: The biggest obstacle to your success is you. Or, more accurately, it's your lack of self-confidence. You believe successful business owners are privy to some secret formula that has somehow eluded you.

Truth is, most of those successful entrepreneurs were once as tentative and full of self-doubt as you. The difference is, they made the decision to overcome those doubts and move ahead with confidence. They became comfortable with being uncomfortable — with pushing past their self-imposed limitations.

You can do it, too. You just need to develop what I call a "champion's mindset."

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3 Key Questions to Ask When Choosing a Bookkeeper

July 18, 2019 / by Indre Bauza posted in Small Business Advice, Northern Virginia, Bookkeeping Services, Business Advice

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Note: This blog first appeared in the Arlington Chamber of Commerce Blog.

Small-business owners sometimes have trouble delegating responsibilities. We get it. Once you've invested so much time (and money, in many cases) in launching a business, it's difficult to relinquish control over key aspects of that business — especially the finances.

But as your business grows, you eventually realize there literally aren't enough hours in the day to do everything yourself. And unless your goal in launching the business was to become a full-time bookkeeper, that's one of the first areas you should consider outsourcing. Have questions regarding how to go about it? Here are some answers.

1. Will the bookkeeping services provider help you focus on your business rather than on bookkeeping?
The best bookkeeping services providers understand their role is to minimize your involvement in bookkeeping so that you can refocus on your core strengths. And they'll assert their expertise in accomplishing that — sometimes from day one.

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Improve Franchise Efficiency With Bookkeeping

July 9, 2019 / by John Gleason posted in Metrowest, MA, North Shore, Bookkeeping Services, Business Advice, West Houston, Central MA

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According to a 2016 government report, a new franchised business opens somewhere in the United States every eight minutes of every business day. Franchises are highly popular because they offer many advantages for both the franchisee and franchisor.

Standardized bookkeeping procedures, which enable everyone involved to compare apples to apples, are one of the simplest ways to fully leverage those advantages.

Look at Both Sides of the Ledger
Both entrepreneurs and franchisors have a lot to gain from the franchise business model. For an entrepreneur who wants to become a franchisee, it's a great way to jumpstart a new business. The list of benefits includes:

  • Instant brand-name recognition, which helps secure both bank loans and customers
  • Access to a proven business model, which helps the franchisee avoid costly rookie mistakes
  • Economies of scale that come with buying supplies in bulk quantities
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Opening a US Subsidiary: Next Steps

July 5, 2019 / by Pete Denholm posted in Northeast Florida, Bookkeeping Services, Business Advice

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The response to our post on setting up a U.S. subsidiary of a foreign company demonstrates there is great interest in this topic. Here is some additional information.

Determine Your Expectations
For a foreign entity, the thought of entering the huge U.S. market can be very enticing. But pursuing that market can also create a financial hardship if not done correctly. That's why, as we covered last time, you'll have to follow a specific set of parameters, including (in most cases) choosing a subsidiary over a branch office and setting up an LLC.

The most important step in setting up a U.S. subsidiary is to determine exactly what you hope to accomplish. Consider questions like these:

  • If you're selling a product, have you done the research to determine who your established U.S. competitors are?
  • Does your product meet U.S. safety standards?
  • Can you simply export your product to the United States from your existing manufacturing facility, or do exorbitant tariffs make it more cost-effective to build a manufacturing facility domestically?
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How to Gain Financial Insight From Your Bookkeeper

June 25, 2019 / by Ida Abedon posted in South Florida, Bookkeeping Services, Business Advice

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As a business leader, you're laser-focused on doing everything you can to improve your company. You explore every possible lead. You network with influencers. You read everything from bestselling business books to the most obscure industry-related websites.

But there's one area of your business that you might not realize is worthy of a deeper dive. And yet, it's an area that can yield some of the quickest and most tangible improvements: bookkeeping. Here's a brief guide to how you can gain financial insight from your bookkeeping services provider — insight that can drive your most important decisions.

By Determining If (and When) You're Ready to Grow
Most anyone running a business has considered expanding at some point, whether by hiring another employee or two, moving to a bigger office or opening a second location. As a business leader, you want to think through each potential move. Will a new employee help generate enough revenue to cover their salary? Will moving to a new office create too big a disruption? Would a second location spread time and resources too thin?

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Crossing State Lines: What Small Businesses Need to Know

June 20, 2019 / by Gianluca Santinelli posted in Small Business Advice, Bookkeeping Services, Business Advice, Ecommerce, Wilmington, DE

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The phrase "interstate commerce" used to have a fairly straightforward meaning: transporting goods or services from one state to another. But the advent of ecommerce has blurred those traditional state boundaries. If you are based in one state but are doing business, or intend to do business, in other states — even if only via the internet — how do you stay in compliance with all applicable regulations?

The answer depends on the precise nature of your business as well as individual state laws. Here's an example.

Let's Cover the Easy Stuff First
Let's say you live in Delaware and decide to open a seafood restaurant near the Pennsylvania border. You might not even realize this, but you're already off to a good start because Delaware has such a good reputation as a business-friendly state that more than 1 million businesses have made it their legal home.

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How You Can Use Bookkeeping to Prepare for Business Growth

June 11, 2019 / by Steve Barber posted in Small Business Advice, Bookkeeping Services, Business Advice, Northwest Maryland

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You've launched a small tech startup that makes an app for digital widgets. Business seems to be going well, but you can't tell for sure because the office manager who also does the books is always running behind and you don't know where your cash flow stands.

Finally, when your CPA prepares your taxes and straightens out some bookkeeping errors (running up a big bill in the process), you get confirmation: Business for the first year ran 50% ahead of what you'd anticipated.

That tells you two things. First, you should hire another sales rep and ramp up production. Second, you'd better get your bookkeeping squared away, and fast.

A Valuable Asset to Your Business
A strong bookkeeping practice can help you keep pace with your business today and better prepare to grow your business tomorrow. Here's how:

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Midyear Bookkeeping Best Practices

May 9, 2019 / by Mary Kimmel posted in Small Business Advice, Chicago Far West Suburbs, Bookkeeping Services, Bookkeeping 101, Business Advice

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Now that the annual springtime flurry of activity that comes with filing your small-business tax returns has passed, you might think you can go on bookkeeping cruise control until you start processing 1099 forms next winter.

In fact, it's important to follow bookkeeping best practices throughout every season. This advice can be particularly beneficial to citizens of Procrastination Nation. Start with this: If you use contract employees or vendors, make sure they submit a W-9 form before you pay them. That way, you'll have that information on file and won't have to chase it down at 1099 time.

Here are some additional suggestions to help keep your organization's bookkeeping in order all year long.

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Outsourced Bookkeeping Services: Your Long-Term Solution

April 16, 2019 / by Sandra Finerghty posted in Small Business Advice, Bookkeeping Services, Business Advice, Durham & Chapel Hill, NC

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Many small-business owners start out doing everything themselves: sales, marketing, HR, IT, even keeping their own books. As they stretch themselves thinner and thinner, they try to offload as many responsibilities as they can in an attempt to keep up.

If you're thinking of starting a small business, you can learn from this common mistake. Identify what's core to your business, and what can be outsourced, before you open your doors. Take advantage of all the cost-effective expertise that's available today. Because the DIY, learn-as-you-go approach to things like bookkeeping can result in costly, easily avoidable mistakes.

From Recording Transactions to Financial Reporting and Forecasting
In simplest terms, a bookkeeper records a company's financial transactions at regular chronological intervals — day by day, in most cases. While the definition is fairly straightforward, keeping up with a company's financial reporting can be time-consuming and complicated, depending on the nature of the business.

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Achieving Financial Fitness

April 11, 2019 / by Indre Bauza posted in Small Business Advice, Northern Virginia, Bookkeeping Services, Business Advice

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Note: This blog first appeared in the Arlington Chamber of Commerce Blog.

Like many business leaders, you made a new year’s resolution to stay current with your financial reporting. Now that it’s Q2, it’s time to make sure your resolution is staying on track.

Don't Just Keep Up — Get Ahead
This is the perfect time to take a big-picture look at the health of your business. Are there ways you can optimize your approach to achieve efficiency and gain a competitive advantage? Technology advances quickly, and there may be better solutions available for your business today than there were when you started — or even a year ago.

For example, it's now easy for small businesses to know their financial status in real time. Using records that update automatically, you can analyze your key performance indicators. Your KPIs can tell you at a glance how your business is performing relative to your budgeting and forecasting (which, by the way, will also be vastly improved with better financial reporting).

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