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How to Accept Credit Cards Without Accepting Crippling Fees

March 19, 2019 / by Walter Ramin, Merchant Service Specialist posted in Small Business Advice, Manhattan Financial District, NYC - Midtown, Tips for Startups, Business Advice


There's often a narrow margin between a successful business and a struggling one. Something as simple as credit-card processing fees can spell the difference between black ink and red. But if you think those fees are an unavoidable cost of doing business, think again.

When the Fine Print Isn't So Fine for You
As we trend toward a cashless society, more and more businesses have begun accepting credit cards — which also means accepting the processing fees that come along with them. But what many merchants fail to realize is that those rates are flexible. And the merchants often end up paying way more than they need to.

To give you just one example: Let's say your business accepts different cards with processing rates that range from 1% to 3%. Some third-party processors simply round everything up to the highest rate and charge 3% for all cards. So even if you accept four cards that charge 1% and just one card that charges 3%, you end up paying your processor 3% across the board. The merchants are actually entitled to rebates in that scenario, but few know enough to ask.

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Five Tips on How to Negotiate a Commercial Lease

March 5, 2019 / by Ed Douyon posted in Small Business Advice, Manhattan Financial District, NYC - Midtown, Tips for Startups, Business Advice


If you have a great commercial lease for your business, consider yourself fortunate. And don't take it for granted. Things can change at any time.

I had a client who had been in the same location for more than 20 years when the landlord summarily decided to raise the rent by $25 per square foot. With just a few months' notice, we had to scramble. We found a good building, and the prospective landlord loved my client — but evidently not enough to avoid nickel-and-diming them to death when it came time to sign the lease. I guess the landlord figured he had my client over a barrel because time was so short.

The landlord figured wrong. My client nixed the deal and continued looking. In the end, we found them an even better location, with a favorable sublease. Moral of the story: You don't have to let the landlord call all the shots when you negotiate a lease — even in a tight market like New York City (where my firm operates). The following are five tips to help you get the best terms.

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Supporting Strategies NYC Supports New York Maker Community

August 23, 2018 / by Michael Oberther posted in Manhattan Financial District, NYC - Midtown


“As Told by Makers” is an event produced by Alice Chin of Your Other Half and the Supporting Strategies NYC team. The goal is to build a community of business people who want to support Makers as they develop their businesses. The event will be held on Wednesday, September 12th from 5:30 pm - 7 pm at WeWork on W 41st St. 

This is a structured Q&A event designed to give attendees the opportunity to listen, learn and ask questions. Each Maker is different and we want to give our guests and speakers the opportunity explore topics together.
What is a Maker?
For us, a Maker is someone who makes a tangible product that can be eaten, worn or held in your hand. We support this community of business people because they are making great things, improving our lives and creating local jobs.

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Case Study: Bookkeeping Services Help a Franchise Avoid Fines and Focus on Strategy

August 16, 2018 / by Michael Oberther posted in Small Business Advice, Manhattan Financial District, NYC - Midtown, Bookkeeping Services, Tips for Startups, Business Advice, Case Study Blogs


In 2009 Steven Conyers acquired a CMIT (Completely Managed Information Technology) Solutions franchise in Brooklyn, New York.

Demand for his franchise’s services, which range from IT troubleshooting to data security upgrades, grew steadily. So did the demands on Conyers’ time. Desktop-based bookkeeping, which lacked real-time functionality or integration with his project management platform, was a particular drain. Supporting Strategies found a solution.

More Time — and No More Fines
Although he had an outside accountant, Conyers still had to input much of the bookkeeping information himself. He often fell behind, which proved costly. "Like most franchises, we have to report on a monthly basis," Conyers says. "I was reporting late, and the fines were costing me money."

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Checklist: How to Start a Business

May 29, 2018 / by Michael Oberther posted in Small Business Advice, Manhattan Financial District, NYC - Midtown, Bookkeeping Services, Tips for Startups


One of the hardest things about starting a business is, well, just getting started. Here's a checklist to help you organize and prioritize.

Research your market:
You've been working at a sideline — more of a hobby, really — for years. Now you're finally ready to quit your day job and pursue it as a full-time business. Before you take that plunge, here's what you need to explore:

  • What is your target market?
  • Is your target market large enough? Are enough people interested in paying for your product or service for you to make a viable living?
  • Who is your competition? What can you do better than they do?

Write a business plan:
As this article suggests, your business plan doesn't have to be elaborate — nor will it ever truly be finished. Still, in order for you to get started, it should include the following:

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Managing Client Trust Accounts: A Back-Office Balancing Act

February 20, 2018 / by Naman Trivedi posted in NYC - Midtown, Bookkeeping Services, Law Firm


For lawyers managing a small or independent practice, maintaining client trust accounts (CTAs) can present serious challenges.

Attorneys establishing a practice must set up a CTA or accounts designated specifically for funds that a client or third party pays against future services, such as advances on fees, costs, legal settlement amounts or escrowed amounts (e.g. for business or real estate transactions). Such accounts must be kept separate from personal or business bank accounts.

Rules governing the above accounts vary by state, but one thing is true across the board: The rules are complex, and violations can result in significant consequences — even disbarment.

In our work with growing law practices, we've identified several guidelines that are key to managing CTAs:

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Getting the Most out of a Law Firm's Back-Office Budget

December 14, 2017 / by Naman Trivedi posted in NYC - Midtown, Law Firm


If you are starting a law firm, or have an established firm and are looking to expand, you might find invaluable support where you'd least expect it.

Outsourced bookkeeping services.

A Scalable Solution
One of the great challenges for any new law firm is deciding how much to budget for full-time staff. Given the importance of thorough, accurate trust account management, there might be a temptation to bring on a full-time bookkeeper from day one. But if your billable hours are lean early on, you could find yourself with a budget shortfall.

On the other hand, if you try doing the books yourself, or if you delegate the job to a paralegal or office manager, you run the risk of making a crucial mistake with billing or trust accounts.

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4 People Who Will Help Grow Your Business

August 22, 2017 / by Michael Oberther posted in NYC - Midtown, Business Advice


I’ve run in to a few business owners who are foggy about the different finance professionals who help businesses make money and grow. It’s not that surprising; unless you’ve owned a business or worked in accounting or business finance, why would you know about their roles?

However, these professionals are critical to the success of your business, so let’s take a look at each.

What Does a Bookkeeper Do?
Bookkeepers are business historians; they track what has already happened. They look at all the transactions that have occurred within a defined period and organize them. This activity provides the data needed to create basic accounting reports (e.g. income statements, balance sheets, cash flow statements).

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Fight Burnout with Bookkeeping

July 13, 2017 / by Michael Oberther posted in NYC - Midtown, Bookkeeping Services


The bootstrapped solopreneurs of New York City impress me. You can balance sales, marketing, operations and administration: you're all warriors and you have my respect. As your clients multiply there comes a time when you need to let go of some of your responsibilities. Giving up control can be scary, we get it, but so is burnout. Let's look at a common scenario.

Weekend Bookkeeping
Here is a story we often hear from solopreneurs: you just finished a super productive week. Suddenly it's Sunday and you must choose between spending time with your friends or family, doing client work or catching up on administrative tasks.

The solution? Outsource the tasks that someone else can do better, and focus on building your business and fitting in relaxation time with friends and family.

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Project Accounting for Creative Companies

June 6, 2017 / by Michael Oberther posted in NYC - Midtown, Bookkeeping 101


There’s a poisonous idea that revenue is the most critical goal in business. I disagree revenue is a critical goal in the very early days of a new business but revenue cannot become profit unless you become efficient. When growing a small business, efficiency is the difference between success and failure.

In creative firms where the work is on a project-to-project basis, seeing where you can become efficient is a unique challenge. Each project is a little bit different — it’s not like you’re churning out the same widget over and over. You need to take a different approach.

Step 1: Your rates
Each element of your work has a different value. If you are a social media expert there is a different rate for setting up a Twitter account versus creating a compelling Facebook post. Setting up a Twitter account is important but it requires far less knowledge than writing for a specific audience, understanding the correct hashtags to use, and knowing what images get the best click-through rates.
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