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Small Business Advice


Give Thanks to Those Who Helped Your Business Endure 2020

November 24, 2020 / by Mark Schanen posted in Small Business Advice, Business Advice, Milwaukee

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This Thanksgiving, reach out to people in your business community to let them know how much you appreciate their continued support.

There was no "business as usual" in 2020. From government-mandated shutdowns to shortages of critical supplies (including toiler paper, of all things), this was a year of continual disruption. And unlike previous years, when Thanksgiving gave us a chance to pause and share our good fortune with friends and family, most of us will be forced to keep our distance as the novel coronavirus pandemic continues through the 2020 holidays.

Such hardships are all the more reason to reach out (virtually) to those in our lives and business communities, near and far, to thank them for all they've done to help us get through this trying year.

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Selling in the Time of COVID-19

November 17, 2020 / by Leslie Jorgensen posted in Small Business Advice, Boston, Business Advice, Business Continuity

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Ready to increase your sales numbers? In a recent podcast, Steve Schultz shares his tactics for selling bookkeeping and controller services during COVID.

How does a company achieve sales success in a challenging market? That was the focus of a recent Sales Game Changers Podcast hosted by Fred Diamond, Co-founder and President of the Institute for Excellence in Sales.

Diamond's guest, Supporting Strategies Chief Evangelist and VP of Franchise Development Steve Schultz, said success starts with a simple reality check. "Our goals didn't change," Schultz said of the company's approach during the COVID-19 pandemic, "but our tactics have had to change."

Those adjusted tactics include the following …

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Business Planning for the New Year? Start with Bookkeeping.

November 12, 2020 / by Dawn Hershik posted in Small Business Advice, Chicago Far West Suburbs, Bookkeeping Services, Business Continuity

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If you made any unplanned changes in your business this year, you'll want to get an early start on year-end bookkeeping as you plan for 2021.

Let's face it: 2020 hasn't gone the way any of us expected. But that very unpredictability reinforced the core messages in the blog I wrote last year about the importance of annual business planning. The more informed you are about budget trends, tax-planning strategy and your long-range financial outlook, the more readily you can adapt to speed bumps and curveballs. And 2020 provided more than its share of those.

What will 2021 bring? No one knows. One thing is certain, however: Preparation matters now more than ever. And it all starts with solid bookkeeping.

How Did 2020 Change Your Business?
The disruptive events of 2020, most notably the COVID-19 pandemic, have touched everyone. So before you can chart a roadmap for your business in 2021, you need to gauge the extent of those disruptions. For most businesses, that means answering these three questions:

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Is Your Business Ready for the Coming Bookkeeper Shortage?

July 31, 2020 / by Ryan Kane posted in Small Business Advice, Bookkeeping Services, Toledo, OH & Southeast MI

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Learn how you can prepare your business for the projected bookkeeper shortage.

A recent report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that America could lose almost 66,000 bookkeepers between 2018 and 2028. This trend could spell trouble for small businesses that fail to plan accordingly.

According to Strategic Finance magazine (SF), the decline in bookkeepers is being driven in part by increased automation — as well as a mistaken belief that software programs provide a "set it and forget it" bookkeeping solution that no longer requires human involvement.

In reality, the bookkeeping profession is transitioning to a more analytical role. The job is no longer about accumulating data, but about interpreting what all that data means. "There will still be a strong demand for these professionals," SF concludes. "Nevertheless, the combination of an aging population of current bookkeepers and fewer new entrants into the field will be insufficient to meet the needs of many companies, especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)."

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It's Not How Much Bookkeeping Costs, It's How Much Value It Adds

June 11, 2020 / by Indre Bauza posted in Small Business Advice, Northern Virginia, Bookkeeping Services, Business Advice

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No one ever says "You get what you pay for" when describing a good deal. People say that only when they realize (too late) that the inexpensive solution they chose is inadequate.

In reality, it's possible to get much more than you pay for — and outsourced bookkeeping services are a prime example.

A Long-Term Solution to a Pressing Need
During the launch phase, few business leaders have a solid long-range plan for keeping their company's books. Often, cash flow is modest enough that the owner, office manager or other staff member can do the books.

When your business grows to the point where it's no longer feasible (or wise) for the owner or a staff member to continue doing the books, however, finding a dedicated bookkeeper becomes a pressing need. That can pressure the business owner into settling for a short-term fix.

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The New Normal: Managing a (Sometimes) Remote Workforce

June 9, 2020 / by Elliot Hershik posted in Small Business Advice, Chicago Far West Suburbs, Business Continuity

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As various states begin to relax shelter-in-place directives prompted by the COVID-19 outbreak, employers face critical decisions in how to manage their workforces. Should they allow employees to continue to work from home (WFH) or encourage them to return to their places of business?

The "new normal" might involve a combination of these two approaches. Here are some suggestions for how to effectively manage the situation.

Step One: Determine What's Right for Your Business
To a degree, the nature of your business will make this decision for you. In some cases, such as with hair salons, WFH is simply not an option. If the state told you to shut down, you had to shut down.

Now that many states are allowing salons to reopen, the owner of a salon must first determine whether operating would be safe for employees and customers. This assessment must be done with the input of employees; some may not be ready to return to work due to concerns over their health or that of loved ones. From there, it's just a matter of following your state's guidelines.

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Case Study: Flexible and Consistent Bookkeeping for a Franchise

May 28, 2020 / by Lynette DeRose posted in Small Business Advice, Bookkeeping Services, Business Advice, Case Study Blogs, Chicago Southland

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For Creative Colors International (CCI), one of the primary selling points for its franchises also created one of its biggest challenges.

The Illinois-based CCI, which specializes in repairing various types of furniture coverings, allows individual franchisees to tailor their offerings for their particular markets. For example, some franchisees contract exclusively with a single client for whom they work onsite, while others operate a mobile business with a variety of clients.

From a bookkeeping perspective, the result was a hodgepodge of reporting procedures that strained both franchisor and franchisees. Says CCI President and Co-Owner Mark J. Bollman, “For an owner/operator just starting out, doing the work all day and then coming home to a stack of invoices when they're tired hasn't been conducive to on-time reporting.”

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How to Plan a Successful Business Succession

May 14, 2020 / by Sandra Finerghty posted in Small Business Advice, Bookkeeping Services, Business Advice, Durham & Chapel Hill, NC

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Note: This blog first appeared on the NCACPA website.

It's not surprising that many new business owners devote little thought to their exit strategy. They have way too much going on today to worry about tomorrow.

Still, putting together a business succession plan as soon as possible is part of being a responsible business owner. After all, illness, disability or family obligations could force you to sell out sooner than you'd planned.

And even if you eventually do exit according to your own timetable, you'll want to do it properly, both to maximize your profits and ensure a smooth transition. This is especially important when passing the business on to a family member or longtime partner. You want to avoid misunderstandings that could strain the relationship and put a damper on your well-deserved retirement.

Visualize the Moment
The first step in planning your succession is deceptively simple: Stop and think of exactly what selling your business would mean in practical terms.

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Welcome to the Virtual World: Remote Work and Video Conferencing Tips

April 30, 2020 / by Dawn Hershik posted in Small Business Advice, Chicago Far West Suburbs, Business Advice, Business Continuity

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Since its inception, Supporting Strategies has embraced the remote-work model. In fact, Forbes and CNBC have both included Supporting Strategies in their lists of growing companies offering work-from-home opportunities.

Now that so many people find themselves joining us in working remotely, we'd like to share some tips about working from home:

  • Have a designated spot to work. If you're fortunate enough to have an office at home, that's great. If not, find a space and set it up so you have everything you need in one place. It doesn't have to be fancy, just functional. Doing this will also help you focus and almost feel like you're in an office.

  • Try to stay on the same schedule (or a schedule). It's easy to sleep in when you can flex your work routine but you'll be more productive and feel better if you stick to the same schedule every day. A nice bonus: Since your commute is shorter, you can set your alarm for later.
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Three Tips to Stay Up to Date on Cash Flow in Your Business

April 2, 2020 / by Earle Durham posted in Small Business Advice, Merrimack Valley, Bookkeeping Services, Business Advice, Southern Maine, Business Continuity

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If you're one of the vast majority of businesses feeling the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, these are unsettling times. One way to protect your business' health is to regularly monitor and forecast your cash flow.

With that in mind, here are three tips to ensure your cash flow keeps pace with your business goals.

1. Review Your Cash Forecast Every Week
A cash-flow forecast is just that. It's a projection of how much cash you expect your business to have in the near future based on the information you have today. Simply put, cash flow is projecting your:

  • Cash In: sales, collecting accounts receivable, investments/loans
  • Less Cash Out: accounts payable, operating expenses, payroll, R&D expenses, sales and marketing expenses, owner’s draws, loan repayments
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