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Tips for Startups


Transform Your Business With 360-Degree Vision

February 20, 2020 / by Mark Wald posted in Small Business Advice, Santa Monica, Bookkeeping Services, Los Angeles, Ventura County, Tips for Startups, Business Advice

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The leader of a growing company needs eyes in both the front and back of their head. They must look forward to project cash burn and capital needs to support their growth. But solid financial projections require reasonable assumptions rooted in past performance — sales growth, profit margins, fixed vs variable costs, cash flow and other key performance indicators (KPIs).

The fact is, you can't do a good job of planning for the future (forecasting) without timely, accurate and thoughtful scorekeeping (bookkeeping) to give you clear insights about the past.

Looking Forward and Looking Back
"Scorekeeping" and forecasting call for different sets of skills. In some larger companies, they're even organized as separate teams: an accounting team that keeps score and a finance team that analyzes results and forecasts ahead.

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The Top Three Reasons to Outsource Your Bookkeeping

February 13, 2020 / by Jim Rice posted in Small Business Advice, Rochester, Orlando, Bookkeeping Services, Tips for Startups, Business Advice

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Many business leaders are surprised to discover the many ways their company can benefit from outsourced bookkeeping services. We've boiled it down to the top three. Here's the rundown …

1. Gain More Time to Build Your Business

As a bookkeeping services provider, I work with clients in many different fields, with different levels of complexity in their financials. But they all have one thing in common: As their companies grow, eventually they all realize that they're spending too much time on bookkeeping.

The problem is twofold: Many business leaders find bookkeeping to be a stressful and time-consuming energy drain — and that loss of energy leaves them unable to focus on two areas that are absolutely vital to their company's growth: business development and strategic planning.

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Simple Steps to Improve Cybersecurity at Your Small Business

January 30, 2020 / by Bill Davis posted in Small Business Advice, Tips for Startups, Business Advice, Richmond, VA

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How can a small business protect itself from cybersecurity threats? Start with a plan — and some free or inexpensive resources.

Here are some simple steps small-business owners can take to help keep their systems safe — even with a small staff and limited budget.

Be Proactive
Your plan doesn't have to be expensive or elaborate. It just needs to spell out some basic ground rules for you and your employees, such as:

  • Use password protection. The days of using a single all-purpose password are long gone. You need to change your passwords on a regular basis and store them offline. Fortunately, there are many low-cost password managers available for small businesses. If you aren't already using one, it's time to start.
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How to Choose the Right Payroll Provider for Your Business

January 7, 2020 / by John Gleason posted in Small Business Advice, Metrowest, MA, North Shore, Bookkeeping Services, Tips for Startups, Business Advice, Central MA

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One of my clients' biggest concerns is finding the right payroll services company. And since we provide bookkeeping and controller services, they often ask us for recommendations.

There's a simple reason that this issue is so important to employers: because it's important to their employees. If your employees aren't getting paid on time, or if there are frequent issues with their withholding, bonuses, commissions or paid time off, you've got big problems.

Fortunately, there are plenty of capable, trustworthy, employee-friendly providers out there. Here's what to look for to ensure you get the payroll services you need to keep your employees happy.

Accuracy, Timeliness and Accessibility 
In an earlier blog, I covered most of the basic things you should look for when selecting a payroll services provider, such as affordability, scalability and security.

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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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Scale to Succeed: Bookkeeping That Grows With Your Business

November 7, 2019 / by Lori Coleman posted in South Shore, MA, Bookkeeping Services, Providence, RI, Tips for Startups

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How you manage your business’ financial records when you open your doors can come back to haunt you if you don’t think ahead. Plan for success by setting up systems that will scale as your business grows — including your bookkeeping system.

Slicing a Bigger Piece of the Pie
Here's what we're talking about in practical terms: Say you have a side business selling home-baked blueberry pies at a local farm stand. Before you know it, your pies are the talk of the town and you decide to turn that sideline into a full-time business. Obviously, you can't just keep picking blueberries in your backyard and baking pies one or two at a time in your kitchen to meet the demand. It’s time scale up to a full-size bakery.

Moving into your new space is exciting and business is growing. You’ve made a substantial investment in new equipment, infrastructure, employees and vendors, so you might be tempted to try to continue with farm-stand-level bookkeeping. However, half-baked bookkeeping could be just as harmful to your business as half-baked pies.

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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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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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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

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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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How to Fund Retirement Through Your Small Business

March 14, 2019 / by Jay E. Hochheiser, CFP®, CEPA posted in Small Business Advice, North Shore Long Island, Tips for Startups, Business Advice

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As a wealth management strategist for more than 30 years, I advise clients on how to build and balance their three pools of money. Retirement planning isn't just a matter of saving money; it's a matter of investing money and allocating resources in a way that delivers the best return. So the goal is to get the longest compounding curve out of the assets that are taxed the least.

Unfortunately, not enough people implement a net after-tax plan early enough to generate the assets they'll need to have the kind of retirement they want — or even to have a solid retirement at all. This is especially true of small-business owners, who are often so consumed with the demands of operating the business that they fail to plan for the future.

Plan for the End Right from the Start
A detailed exit strategy should be a part of every business plan. But it isn't enough to map out an exit strategy for the business — you need one for yourself, too. In fact, if you start your own business, it's even more important to factor in retirement planning than it would be if you simply kept working at a job somewhere. You'll no longer have access to your employer's plan because now you are your employer.

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