Want to create a culture in your small business where staff stay as eager to learn as they were in Kindergarten? Here are 3 things you can do:
One of the best ways to keep your company up to date is creating a small business culture that's focused on learning. When your staff continues to learn, they'll stay up on the latest skills and developments in their profession and industry and keep their minds sharp. Sharper employees means greater innovations and fewer mistakes, all important for keeping your company at the forefront of what you do!
Want to create a culture in your small business where staff stay as eager to learn as they were in Kindergarten? Here are 3 things you can do:
As a small business owner, your taxes won't get taken out of your paycheck. If your business owes more than $1000 at tax season, the IRS will require you to pay them by making quarterly tax payments. You pay the IRS and your state government taxes four times per year, based on your estimated annual tax. If you pay these taxes late, you'll incur penalty fees. Your state also requires similar quarterly payments, unless you live in a state without state taxes.
Do most, or all of your company's employees work remotely? If so, your business is a virtual workplace. Virtual workplaces are increasing in popularity with businesses of all sizes, but especially with small companies and entrepreneurs. All that's needed to create a virtual workplace is company software and an internet connection, so small businesses can save on office space and hire employees who live all over the world.
Having a mostly virtual workplace changes your company culture. Here's how to create a small business culture when your staff primarily connects online:
Have regular live video check-ins and meetings. Talking over the phone has its positive sides, but your employees will feel more connected to each other if they can actually see their co-workers faces. Tools like Google Hangouts and Skype make it easy for the staff to see each other and engage remotely. Make sure to plan a mandatory weekly virtual meeting at a set time, and add more as needs come up.
Find common interests staff can connect around virtually. Remote staff might not be able to go out to lunch together, but they can still connect online through a company culture and shared interests. Encourage staff to watch an online lecture or see a movie that's in theaters worldwide that reflects the company culture, and discuss it as a group at the next staff meeting.
Plan an annual in-person retreat. It's important for virtual workplaces to connect in person occasionally. Create a rejuvenating and fun annual retreat where your employees can connect and relax in person together for at least a few days. All of the money your business is saving from not renting office space will help you afford periodically bringing in your staff.
If your business needs any help with financial management and bookkeeping, contact us. We work with small businesses and entrepreneurs with a wide variety of unique cultures.
Starting a new business is an exciting time, full of possibilities. At every juncture, there will be choices to make and one of the decisions to be made in the very beginning is how the accounting will be handled. It's imperative that the company's income and expenses are properly documented. Businesses have the choice of two basic accounting methods, cash accounting or accrual accounting. This decision is often based on the company's resources as well as its financial goals.
Making Your Business Plans SMART
It's important to have a good business plan for your company, but not all business plans are created equal. The best business plans stay sharp, clear, focused, and manageable. Unfortunately, many business plans instead are vague and unrealistic. Business guru and manager Peter Drucker invented the principles behind SMART goals, goals intended to be more easily achievable for individuals and businesses. When you follow the SMART rubric when creating business goal plans, your business is more likely to succeed.
Here’s what to focus on as you create a SMART business plan:
It's time for a new year, the perfect opportunity to make changes in your business that will help it succeed. If you're a newer or relatively small business, there's a good chance you don't have an expert bookkeeper on your team. If it isn't right at this time for your team to hire a permanent back-end bookkeeper, outsourcing these tasks is a wonderful solution.
Here are three reasons to seriously consider outsourcing these tasks this year:
When your business or venture remains on the relatively small or new side, it often makes great sense to hire your first employees as part-time. The US government defines a part-time worker as an employee who works under 30 hours per week. If you have tasks that need to be done but don't take a full work week to complete, a part-time employee will get the job done without costing as much as a full-time hire.
When working with part-time employees, here are ways to make sure they receive fair employee compensation:
Being a solo entrepreneur, or a small business with just a few employees, can feel a little lonely sometimes. Not having to answer to a boss, and the opportunity to work from anywhere is great, but having a small business culture gets a little difficult.
Fortunately, there's a solution to the loneliness. Did you know that you can work next to other solo entrepreneurs and small startups for a reasonable price? Co-working spaces allow small companies to work together, alongside each other, for less money and more opportunities for fun than traditional office space. At most spaces, you have the option to rent unreserved space, dedicated desks, or even private offices.
Here are three ways a co-working space can help you build an office culture:
Many business owners are finding out that allowing workers to telecommute is one of the best business decisions they can make. The reason is simple: We all want happier staff.
Happier workers are more productive and more appreciative of their jobs. They work harder and stay with companies longer.
Managers and business owners alike are finding that allowing workers to telecommute full-time or even part-time is an easy way to increase employee satisfaction across the board and improve small business culture throughout their organization.
According to Global Workplace Analytics, about half of the US workforce has a job that could easily allow for partial telecommuting and 20 to 25% of workers are currently telecommuting part-time. Of course, 80 to 90% of workers want more telecommute options and would like to work 2 to 3 days or more per week from home.
Mel Robbins created the premise for one of the most powerful TED Talks of all time when she couldn’t get out of bed.
Mel is a Human Behavior Specialist and entrepreneur, and created the Five-Second Rule while her and her husband were going through a difficult time in their professionals lives. Today, the video of her TED Talk has clocked more than 7,000,000 views.
Speaking at Xerocon in San Francisco, Mel told how the Five-Second Rule means every time you have an impulse to act on a goal you must physically move within five seconds and act on it in that time frame.
Thinking about calling someone? Five, four, three, two, one, do it. Thinking about going to the gym? Five, four, three, two, one, do it.
As an entrepreneur herself, Mel knows what it’s like to struggle with hesitation. She shared two areas small business owners can use the Five-Second Rule.
Focus - Mel said small business owners are constantly struggling with where to focus their time and their energy. The moment they walk into work, they feel they have lost control of their day. Small business owners should take time at the start of their day to prepare for what’s ahead.
“Force yourself to spend 10 to 15 minutes planning your day and working on the one strategic objective that you keep avoiding before you leave for work,” Mel said.
“Most small business owners wake up, look at their phone and start panicking. You want to grow your business, you’ve got to put the phone down, you’ve got to get up… you’ve got to sit down with a notebook and spend five minutes and think about what you are going to get done today that will help you expand your business.”
Mel said small business owners should clock this time in the morning and use the Five-Second Rule to do it. When your alarm goes off in the morning? Five, four, three, two, one, do it. Get up.
Self-doubt - Mel said small business owners need to put a stop to the self-doubt that will ultimately cripple their small business if it isn’t stifled. The biggest obstacles small business owners face is the worries they place in their head.
“The moment you feel yourself doubting yourself, push it out of your head,” Mel said. “Five, four, three, two, one. Your self-doubt has no place in your business.”
If small business owners use the Five-Second Rule in their business and do away with hesitation, they are sure to thrive.
When you're a new company or a small business, it's tempting to want to try to cut costs by not offering certain employee compensation. Since small businesses with under 50 employees aren't required to offer their employees health coverage, many simply forgo the additional expense. In reality, though, it can save you money in the long run to provide employee health insurance.
Here are three reasons why providing health insurance can save you in the long run:
Looking Ahead: 3 Things to Invest in After a Successful Holiday Season in Retail
It's closing time on the last day of a long string of seemingly endless busy days. The last customer walks out the door. As the lock clicks behind them, there is a collective sigh of relief. Another great holiday season is wrapped up (pun intended) and high-fives abound!
As wonderful as that is, the work for an owner/manager is far from done. Now is the time to begin planning how to make next season just as spectacular. With so many things yet to be done, there are certain priority items that need to be checked off the list before you start right in on the next go 'round. Listed below are 3 top items to invest in after the busy season.
A Holiday Hiring Guide
With Thanksgiving around the corner, small businesses are gearing up for what many say is their peak time.
According to our recent Holiday Hiring guide, as much as 30 percent of a retailer’s annual sales can come in November and December. And with so many people out and about, running errands and doing their Holiday shopping, quick-service restaurants (QSRs) can also experience an uptick in business during the holiday season.
With such a busy period to contend with, many small business owners might need an extra pair of hand to ensure operations run smoothly.
We teamed up with Square to create an ebook which covers how to hire solid seasonal workers, train them quickly, and manage your holiday payroll and cash flow. Download the ebook here.
Here’s a quick summary:
Many seasonal businesses are now entering their busiest seasons. While that's great for your current income, it's also critical that you manage income effectively in order to ensure your cash flow for the entire calendar year. If you're struggling with managing a seasonal business, these tips will help.
1. Prepare Your Budget Early
When you run a seasonal business, you need to create a budget forecast for a year at a time. Then, during your busy season, you'll know how much money you can reasonably allocate to incidental expenses and how much money you need to set aside for expenses that may come up during the rest of the year. Be clear about what things really cost during the off season, whether you're dealing with a store that you shut down when the holidays are over or a rented storage space for unsold merchandise.
Small businesses focus most of their energy and resources on saving time and ensuring that none of their resources go to waste. As much as this is beneficial to them, when it comes to finances, it takes more than savings for these businesses to thrive, and failure to give this aspect due consideration is detrimental to the operations of the firm. Here are some of the common accounting mistakes companies make.
Mixing business and personal finances
It’s easy to grab the wrong card and make a personal purchase on your business card, but don’t make a habit of it. Using your business accounts for personal use, or not creating a separate account will make tracking cash flow a challenge and could suck profit out of your business. Separate your accounts and write yourself paychecks, but don’t mesh your accounts together.
It is no secret that cash-strapped businesses opt for cheap solutions when hiring employees, purchasing technology and buying products, but in the end this becomes expensive for them. When you don’t pay employees enough you will see turnover, which is expensive. Buying low quality technology means having to buy everything again sooner rather than later.
Going it alone
The assumption that one can manage everything in their business either to save on cost or as a passion is a total misconception. Divided attention becomes the order of the day, and this affects operations. If you can’t afford an employee you need to enlist a mentor or someone to run ideas by.
Failure to keep a backup
With so much living in the cloud or as digital files it’s easy to forget to create a backup. When it comes to financial information, client contact information and other important data you want to keep a backup. Data can be lost through computer crashes, accidents and more. Prevent yourself from saying “I should have” and backup today.
Failure to maintain records and receipts
There is a lot of money in and out of business, and you need to know where it’s going. Keep your receipts and keep track of your expenses. Using a bookkeeping service can help to keep you in the black and ready for tax season. It may sound like a lot of work up front but in the end keeping your books up to date will save you time and money.
If you’re ready for help with your business, get started today!
Every business must cope with the issue of keeping track of the budget and money flow both in and out of the company. The best way to handle what can sometimes be a complex, time-consuming job is with a good accounting software, but the options seem endless and the variety of software is astounding. So how can you choose the accounting software to best fit the needs of your business? Here are some tips to get you started.
1. Set a budget
Before you even begin to look at accounting software options, you need to set a budget. Available software ranges in price from less than $100 to more than $1000. You’ll need to decide what your business can afford. If you own a small business, for example, you may be fine with a less expensive option, but if you have a large business with a large amount of accounting needs, you’ll want to budget more. Do not simply go with the least expensive option, but do know your limits.
Properly handled finances are crucial for business success. It’s tempting to try to operate without keeping a close eye on cashflow but be careful. Just because there is money in the bank doesn’t mean you can spend it. You want to keep a good amount of runway to help you grow your business. It’s important for a business owner to be familiar with basic accounting.
Here are 5 basic accounting tips for small business owners:
Starting an online business can lead to a successful and rewarding career. With some advanced preparation, you can increase the odds of success.
Here are our 6 steps for starting an online business:
Identify and research - This is the most important part of your journey. Identify your interests and what type of business you want to run. Research your ideas and see what already exists on the internet. Are there already businesses out there competing for customers or will your business fill a unique niche? Take inspiration from what others are doing. Then improve on those ideas and make it your own.
When I talk to anyone considering change, I always ensure they are in the right mindset and understand the pain this transition might bring. I like to ensure everyone is fully prepared for the change they are about to undertake and ensure nothing has been underestimated. It really is a mindset change.
Mike Tyson once said, "everyone has a plan until you get punched in the face."
Going to the Gym
As a regular gym goer, I compare the move to Xero like going to the gym for the first time.
Take for example the Christmas and New Year period. You have spent the summer eating and drinking, relaxing and enjoying time to yourself. You’ve more than likely gained a few extra kilos and become complacent. Because why the hell not? Your friends and family are off work for the holidays, so you let your hair down. This is comparable to using your current method of accounting; it is familiar and comfortable, as you have used it for sometime.
Then reality hits and it’s time to set New Year’s resolutions. You have all these fantastic intentions and set some huge goals. More than likely one of them is to get back into shape. You sign up for the 21-day trial at your local gym and pump yourself up for the new you. In the accounting world, this is you realizing you can do things better, faster and more efficiently. Perhaps you have heard great things about Xero from friends or other businesses using it. Or maybe you are just fed up with your current method of accounting and know there must a better way.
So, when you finally stop procrastinating and haul yourself to the gym, it is a very uncomfortable experience. You feel super awkward (and a bit fat) in these foreign surroundings. Everyone appears to know what they are doing, looking good and acting all confident. Meanwhile you can’t even find the changing rooms! This is how it feels when you first log in to Xero. It is all very foreign and looks so different to what you’re used to. Perhaps you feel like you’re wasting time and could do this in half the time in your old system.
Back at the gym, you’ve had your induction and you are ready to give it a go. You get stuck in using machines that look familiar, like the treadmill and the bike. You wait until it is a little quieter before you move on to weights, as you don’t want to look like a fool floundering around clearly not knowing what you are doing. Similarly in Xero, you need to do some training and get up to speed on how this new system works. So you jump onto Xero TV and Xero U, and start watching training videos. So far so good. You’re feeling a little more comfortable and you have completed the bank reconciliation no problem. In fact, it was kind of fun.
Just like the gym, using our cloud accounting software gets easier with time. Soon you will shake your head at the idea of using a pen and paper to keep your books! Ready to get started? Contact us today!
*Content edited from Xero
We have all heard the term "work-life balance," but when it comes down to it, how well do we actually understand it? More importantly, how do we achieve this balance?
If we are honest, most of us will admit we are not quite sure how to balance all life throws our way, especially if we are dealing with start-up businesses or entrepreneurship along with family and other important commitments.
The good news is that achieving this balance is not reserved for the far-advanced or super-zen. No. Anyone who is patient and dedicated enough to cultivate it can strike this balance. Let's explore a bit, shall we?
If you manage a payroll department, it's important you calculate overtime payments for nonexempt salaried employees correctly. A variety of criteria are used to determine if a salaried employee is exempt or nonexempt. Payroll managers must be careful when calculating these payments to ensure employees are compensated correctly.
Here are the 4 steps to calculate overtime pay for salaried employees:
You’re out on your own and you know all the day-in and day-out operations of your business. Getting your business started will require an online presence consisting of any of the usual social media or all of them: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram. How do you keep it all straight?
Here are 5 tips we've learned about managing social media:
Facebook allows you to schedule posts right on your page. You can also employ a social media management tool such as Hootsuite or Buffer to help you schedule your posts out. The secret is to not be afraid to make changes. If you schedule a post about sunny weather and there’s a spontaneous blizzard, it’s easy to go in and change your content.
Any good entrepreneur knows the importance of cash flow. Having to front costs for a project while waiting for a customer to pay can be painful, like the blood of your company is being drained. Solidifying a payment system protects you and the customer. You don’t want to be the nag always asking for payment, so instead use new tech to your advantage.
Here are our 3 tips for getting your invoices paid on time:
So you have the next great idea, you image yourself in a black mock turtleneck running an empire like Steve Jobs. Whatever your business idea is, you are chomping at the bit to get going. Just one problem. You don't have the start-up capital you need.
There’s no denying that it’s easier to launch a business with money than without, but there are solutions for every problem. Big empires have been created out of nothing before, why can’t you be next?
Here are our 7 tips for launching your business with little to no working capital:
Know your numbers: Gain a firm grasp on what it costs to produce your project and where you need your margins to be in order to pay rent. This simple knowledge will help to guide your decisions and set your prices.
One goal all small businesses have is to see growth. For some, this means obtaining top talent in the industry. Others, however, are more interested in increasing sales and improving customer service. Regardless of what you are looking for, there are some things you can do to take your small business to the next level. Here are three things to consider.
Here are 3 ways to foster growth in your small business: