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Business Advice


Tips for Creating Your 2020 Business Budget

December 10, 2019 / by Mark Schanen posted in Small Business Advice, Bookkeeping Services, Tips for Startups, Business Advice, Milwaukee

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Creating a business budget for 2020 will not only benefit your business in the next year, it will help establish a roadmap for success well into the future. A year ago I explained why your business would benefit from having a budget. This year, I'll get into the details of how to create one.

The primary benefit of having a budget is that it sets parameters. It forces you to make reasonable assumptions about how much your business is liable to spend in the coming year. That, in turn, helps you figure out how much income you'll need to cover your immediate expenses and also plan for long-term investments in the business.

While a budget is never exact, it's not just a wild guess, either. A budget's main value is to create an accountability tool. By setting a budget, you create a gauge for determining whether a particular initiative is working or whether you should change course before sinking more time, money or other resources into a losing proposition. A budget can also help identify successes that you should double down on.

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Want Less Stress at Tax Time? Know Your Business in Real Time.

December 5, 2019 / by Charl Riggs posted in Small Business Advice, Bookkeeping Services, Phoenix, Business Advice

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Many people, including business leaders, think of "tax time" as an unpleasant obligation, like going to the dentist. But by preparing for it well before the year is done, you can avoid the stress that precedes tax season each year. Better yet, taking that deep dive into your financials can provide a wealth of insight that can help you meet or exceed your business goals.

Tax Prep: It's Not Just for Your CPA's Sake
As fall turns to winter, it's a good time to take stock of how your business performed this year. One simple way to do that is to gather the information that you're going to have to gather anyway, so your CPA can do your taxes. By keeping up-to-date books year-round, you'll make your CPA happy at tax time.

Beyond your CPA, have you ever stopped to consider the other people involved with your company who could make good use of detailed, accurate financial data? Depending on your business, that can range from your management team to your investors and shareholders.

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Give Thanks to Your Employees — and Get Plenty in Return

November 26, 2019 / by Dana Brenner posted in Small Business Advice, Business Advice, Supporting Strategies

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Because Thanksgiving is such a family-oriented occasion, it's easy to understand why business leaders might not think to remember employees with their expressions of gratitude. But since employee retention is vital to maintaining a healthy business, it's important to thank your workforce as often as you can. This Thanksgiving makes a great time to start.

The Power of Appreciation
It's human nature. When someone thanks us for our efforts, we respond positively and are more likely to continue making the same level of effort, if not increase it. This is true whether we're thanked for simple acts, like holding a door for a stranger, or for more involved acts, like meeting a challenging deadline.

HR experts all agree: Thanking your employees helps keep them happy, which in turn helps keep them on your payroll. Whether you express your gratitude in the simplest, most literal way possible — by just saying "Thank you" — or by sweetening the deal with bonuses, gift cards or other perks, it's important not to neglect this important human connection.

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How Outsourced Bookkeeping Can Help Grow Your Business

November 21, 2019 / by Leslie Jorgensen posted in Bookkeeping Services, Business Advice, Supporting Strategies

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As your business grows, so do the systems necessary to support it. Whether you have DIY bookkeeping or an outsourced bookkeeping services provider, your business may get big enough that you consider setting up an in-house bookkeeping department.

Some businesses may consider it a natural progression to move from outsourced bookkeeping to having an in-house department. However, continuing with outsourced bookkeeping services has many advantages over the alternative.

An outsourced bookkeeping services provider can be a great partner to your business — offering not only the skills you need at the levels you need, up to and including CFO, but also contributing valuable financial insights. And it all comes without the added expense and responsibility of hiring and managing new employees.

The Bookkeeping Expertise You Need Right Now
An experienced bookkeeping services provider doesn't have a steep learning curve. As pros who are familiar with a variety of businesses, they can quickly determine how much support you need in specific areas — whether it's a basic level, such as recording daily transactions and month-end close, or more detailed assistance, such as budgeting, planning and analysis.

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Quick Tips for Restaurant Bookkeeping

October 29, 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.

Restaurant owners face unique bookkeeping challenges. Did you know, for instance, that if you include an automatic gratuity in the bill for larger parties, that's considered a service charge and not a tip — and thus has different IRS reporting requirements?

Combine potential regulatory banana peels with the long hours that restaurant owners typically work, and you have a compelling reason for outsourcing your bookkeeping responsibilities. But if you need additional convincing, here are a few more things to consider.

You Can't Combine Cash Accounting and Accrual Accounting
If you don't know the difference between the cash method of accounting and the accrual method — well, then we rest our case for why you shouldn't be keeping your own books.

But for the record, restaurants that generate more than $1 million of revenue per year must use the accrual method, while those that generate less have a choice — although you must formally notify the IRS before switching from accrual to cash. And under no circumstances can you use both methods at the same time.

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Six Tips for Finding Angel Investors

October 24, 2019 / by Jessica Gerber posted in Small Business Advice, Tips for Startups, Business Advice, Bradenton, Sarasota & Port Charlotte, FL

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With all the excitement around angel investing, many startups believe their good idea will make finding angel investors simple. In reality, it's not as easy as it looks in the movies and on TV. Most entrepreneurs hear a lot of "no" before they finally get to "yes."

I belong to a community of angel investors and regularly evaluate high-potential startups for early seed funding. I'm also a business advisor who works with companies on developing and executing key strategies, and on educating them about running their businesses. Helping small businesses achieve their goals is a passion of mine.

Here are six things you can do to improve your company's odds of finding financial benefactors.

1. Be Selective

Not all investment opportunities are the same because not all companies are the same. Some types of businesses are more attractive to investors than others. So the first thing you need to do is determine which type of business you have. That will make the process more efficient and less frustrating for prospective investors (and for you).

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2020 Vision: Use Year-End Bookkeeping for Business Planning

October 15, 2019 / by Dawn Hershik posted in Small Business Advice, Chicago Far West Suburbs, Bookkeeping Services, Business Advice

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As a business owner, you're probably not looking forward to getting caught up on your end-of-year bookkeeping. But with a simple change of attitude and approach, you can transform that process into something positive. Don't think of it as filing your financials. Think of it as tapping into a valuable source of business intelligence.

You Have to Do It Anyway — Make It Work for You
Okay, we get it. No matter how you dress it up, bookkeeping sounds like a chore. This is particularly true if the year hasn't gone as well as you'd hoped.

Actually, that's all the more reason to immerse yourself in those numbers. End-of-year bookkeeping can be an insightful process that reveals not only where things went off track, but also what you can do to set them straight again. Here are some of the important questions it can help answer …

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Gauge Your Business' Health at a Glance With a Dashboard

October 10, 2019 / by Eduardo Ramirez posted in Bookkeeping Services, Business Advice, Northwest Houston

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Business leaders, take heart. If you don't have a head for spreadsheets or if you have to dig into several reports to get critical information you need to manage your business, you're not alone. Many entrepreneurs and business owners are frustrated by these circumstances. They want to know as quickly as possible where the numbers stand so they can dive right back into their most important job: growing the business.

The hunger for real-time information that's easy to digest has fueled a movement among savvy business leaders toward using various types of dashboards.

That qualifier, "various types," is critical. There's no one-size-fits-all dashboard for every business or every business leader. The numbers that matter most to you, also called key performance indicators (KPIs), might not matter as much to the leader of a different type of business or even to a leader in the same field but with a different personality or approach.

The key to key performance indicators is to figure out which ones matter most to you personally.

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How to Overcome Your Business Blind Spots

September 17, 2019 / by Dave Molenda posted in Small Business Advice, Business Advice, Milwaukee

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In business, the biggest problem is the one you can't see. And the reason you can't see it is that you have a blind spot.

One of your most important roles as a business leader is to help your team identify and address those blind spots. And one of the most effective ways to do that is to start by acknowledging your own blind spots. That also gives you the opportunity to set ground rules for delivering feedback in a positive way.

Hone Your Tone
I can't stress enough how important it is to set a precedent for positivity. Sometimes a simple change in tone can make all the difference in how your message is received.

I realized, for example, that one of my personal blind spots is a tendency to interrupt people. So, in order to break the habit, I asked the people around me to point it out when I do it. But I also asked that they do it in a respectful way — by calmly saying, "Hey, Dave, you're doing it again." That's so much more palatable for me to hear than if people were to sigh, roll their eyes and say, "You're doing it again, Daaaave!"

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Using Employee Benefits to Recruit and Retain Top Talent

September 3, 2019 / by John Gotschall posted in Small Business Advice, Chicago Far West Suburbs, Business Advice

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The concept of "coaching" has become overused, and even abused, in the business world in recent years. That's unfortunate for a company like ours, Coaching Financial Concepts. We've been around for over 20 years, and we apply legitimate coaching techniques that we've adapted from a sports environment to give our client companies that winning edge.

For instance: To turn your company into a champion, you need the best players. And just as professional sports teams will offer creative deals to sign the top free agents, businesses at every level need to offer the best possible benefits package to lure the top talent in their given field.

The Difference Between 'Perks' and 'Benefits'
Different generations often have different priorities. Many articles have been written about the importance of company culture to millennials, for example. One recent study even found that many millennials would be willing to take a $7,600 pay cut in exchange for an "improved quality of work life."

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