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Northeast Florida


Proven Value: Online Bookkeeping in the Time of COVID-19

July 7, 2020 / by Diane Denholm posted in Northeast Florida, Bookkeeping Services, Business Continuity

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With cloud-based technology and remote-work best practices, online bookkeeping services will help you strengthen your business as you prepare for the future.

For many businesses that had relied on onsite employees and desktop applications, remote work and cloud-based technology have become the new normal during the pandemic. Now that you've seen what's possible with remote work … what's holding you back from outsourcing your bookkeeping?

With outsourced bookkeeping, you can not only help ensure business continuity, but also gain expertise and financial insight you didn't know you were missing.

Stop By Your Bookkeeper's Desk — Online
You may have appreciated the ability to stop by your bookkeeper's desk to ask a question — back when your bookkeeper actually had a desk. But once the pandemic hit, many businesses had to transition instantly to a remote workforce. Any company that still relied on an in-house bookkeeper, and a desktop system that required them to physically be onsite to get access, was caught unprepared.

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The 7 Biggest HR Blunders (and How to Avoid Them)

June 18, 2020 / by Shana Ryan posted in Northeast Florida

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Human resources tends to be a reactive field rather than proactive. In most cases, business owners don't look for an HR solution until they realize they have an HR problem. But in most of those same cases, a little bit of proactive planning would have prevented a whole lot of reactive grief.

With that in mind, here are seven of the most common HR blunders that small businesses commit — and steps you can take to avoid them.

1. Not Knowing the Difference Between an Employee and an Independent Contractor
I can't tell you the number of times I've heard a business owner describe a member of their workforce as "a 1099 employee."

That description is an oxymoron. A worker can have either "1099" status or "employee" status, but they can't have both.

The "1099" designation refers to the IRS form that businesses use to document payments made for (among other things) "services performed by someone who is not your employee" (emphasis added). Those services are performed by an independent contractor, in other words.

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The Secret Formula for a Social Media Marketing Budget

February 27, 2020 / by Jason Johnson posted in Northeast Florida

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It can be difficult to measure the effectiveness of a social media campaign. That makes it challenging for businesses to determine how much to budget each year for social media marketing. Don't you wish there was a simple formula you could use to help you figure out the right amount?

There is. But before I tell you the secret formula I've developed to determine your social media marketing budget, let's establish a few ground rules so we can be sure we're all measuring the same thing in the same way:

  1. There's no point in discussing raw dollar amounts for a social media marketing budget until we agree on how to define what a marketing budget is supposed to accomplish. The goal is to use your resources efficiently. To do that, you need to find a way to measure each social media campaign's effectiveness. If you're spending, say, $5,000 on a campaign that's ineffective, doubling the budget to $10,000 is not going to fix it.
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Why Telling Your Company's Story Is Vital to Your Success

February 4, 2020 / by Andrew Cardy posted in Northeast Florida

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In 2014, a journalist named Shane Snow wrote an article with the headline, "Why Storytelling Will Be the Biggest Business Skill of the Next 5 Years."

Well, five years later, I'm happy to say Shane was right. Very often I find that the difference between success and failure in today's business world is a company's ability to effectively tell its story.

Find Your True Story …
A surprising number of business leaders don't even realize they have a story. Often that's because they're wearing so many different hats, and so focused on solving the problem that's immediately in front of them, that they lose sight of the company's larger story arc as it unfolds.

If you're one of those business leaders and struggling to find your company's story, here's the first thing to understand: We're not talking about making up a story. It has to be true.

That's the whole point.

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Recession-Proof Business Planning

January 16, 2020 / by Bethany Barnes posted in Northeast Florida

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A strong economy can mask underlying problems at a small business. When the next recession hits — and historically speaking, it's already overdue — will your business be healthy enough to not only survive, but possibly even thrive? It can be — but only if you have the right plan in place.

Be Ready When Opportunity Knocks
Every small-business owner says they want to grow their company. But how many are really prepared for the challenge?

Often, a vital step in growing your business is being able to raise cash quickly to capitalize on a sudden opportunity. Oddly enough, a recession can present some prime opportunities for growth, as some of your competitors might decide to sell off their assets at an attractive rate when faced with financial distress.

And the first step in raising cash is to have a lender-ready business plan.

SBA Loan Basics
Anytime you apply for an SBA loan, your package must include a business plan that meets the underwriter's requirements. Those minimum requirements include 12 to 36 months of:

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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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Case Study: Helping an Escrow Agent End a Flood of Paperwork

April 26, 2018 / by Pete Denholm posted in Small Business Advice, Northeast Florida, Bookkeeping Services, Case Study Blogs

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When he launched River City Title in 2016, President and CEO Eric Blocker knew he'd have to process reams of legal paperwork. That goes with being an escrow agent in a growing Florida real estate market. What he didn't anticipate was a separate stream of bookkeeping paperwork, which soon became a flood.

Spurred by positive reviews and referrals, River City Title grew rapidly in its first year. Blocker quickly expanded his staff from two to six, including an office manager who was responsible for bookkeeping. When Blocker saw that part of his company's financial records consisted of paper receipts taped into a binder, he realized he needed to adapt this system to an online world.

A meeting with Pete Denholm, Managing Director of Supporting Strategies | Northeast Florida, led to an efficient, cost-effective solution: outsourced bookkeeping services.

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Value Stream Analysis: Creating More Value in 30 Days or Less

April 3, 2018 / by Bill Sorenson posted in Small Business Advice, Northeast Florida, Business Advice

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As part of my presentation on value stream analysis, I often ask business owners what their most difficult problems are. The answers are all over the place: inventory, communication, costs, cash flow, late fees, etc. But what most business owners identify as problems are actually just symptoms.

To determine the root cause of these issues, I conduct a value stream analysis.

A Five-Step Process to Solve Business Problems
I can't do a value stream analysis alone. Someone from the business needs to be a willing participant. And they have to be honest. Only then will they benefit from the full value of this five-step process:

  1. Identify your company's value streams. (I define a value stream as any process that creates value within a company for either external or internal customers. There are multiple value streams in any organization.) Decide, as a group, which value stream to examine first. Choose one of the value streams that either needs the most attention or creates the most opportunity for increased value.
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Case Study: How Outsourcing Helped an Entrepreneur Stay on Mission

February 15, 2018 / by Pete Denholm posted in Northeast Florida, Tips for Startups, Business Advice, Case Study Blogs

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Experience had taught Florida entrepreneur Jeff Davis that tackling too many responsibilities could lead to burnout. When he launched an executive networking startup in 2013, he identified one of his weak spots, bookkeeping, as a prime area for outsourcing.

Helping Others by Helping Himself
Having previously built and sold a successful business, Davis knew how valuable it is to be able to meet regularly with other entrepreneurs. That inspired his next business: Plan the Attack/12 Mavens. The idea was to sell memberships to a think tank in which Jacksonville-area business leaders would gather periodically at high-end locations to exchange ideas and map strategies.

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How Better Bookkeeping Makes Better Managers

February 8, 2018 / by Pete Denholm posted in Small Business Advice, Northeast Florida, Bookkeeping Services, Tips for Startups, Business Advice

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Background image with sketches and drawings on grey wall.jpegAt small- and medium-sized businesses, business owners have many roles. One role is business manager. As business manager, many approach bookkeeping with dread, particularly during tax season. They want to get the process over with as quickly as possible so they can get back to the important business of managing the company.

What many managers fail to realize is that a trained bookkeeping professional can provide information that is not only vital to satisfying the company's tax obligations, but also to managing the company more effectively. The key is to know what to look for.

Getting Ahead of the Game
Imagine coaching a basketball team without ever looking at the scoreboard. You'd have a hard time knowing whether you were winning or losing, let alone what steps you could take to make the team better. That's essentially what you're doing when you try to manage a business with no understanding of basic bookkeeping principles. You might think your team is playing well, only to learn after the final buzzer that you lost by 20 points.

Once you see bookkeeping for what it is — a way to analyze vital data to make informed decisions — you can become a much more effective manager.

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