Tag Archives: small businesses

Creating Opportunity by Delegating

delegate to success

 

When I started my business, I did everything myself. My first foray into delegating happened when the paper started piling up on my desk because I had less time to scan and organize my receipts and other documents. I chose to delegate that task to Shoeboxed.

The next task I delegated was organizing the various tasks I had to complete for clients. I delegated this task to task (project) management software.

Following that, I took a bigger step at delegating. I hired a virtual assistant to help with my newsletter, social media, phone calls, and even travel arrangements.

Why did I delegate these tasks? Because there is a limit to how many productive hours I have in a day. When I delegate tasks, I am more organized and able to accomplish more in a day. I also have more time for client work and even for myself instead of spending time on administrative tasks. I mostly delegate tasks because of time limits, not my inability to perform them. However, there are skills such as graphic design, copy editing, and web design that I do not possess and choose to delegate to an expert. An expert who will accomplish the task at a fraction of the time that I could and with a much better result. Oh, and let’s not forget the reduction of stress at not constantly trying to cram too much into too few hours.

I’ve come to view delegating as something more than outsourcing tasks I cannot or choose not to do myself. Whether I am delegating tasks to software to automate them or paying an expert to perform those tasks, I am paying forward my success. My business reached the milestone of not being able to go it alone. By delegating tasks to an expert, not only am I able to use my own time more efficiently, I am providing the opportunity to an expert to grow their own business. What’s better than giving back?

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Improving your Collections Chances!

I recently had an unfortunate experience with collecting payment from a client.  I would like to share some information with you so that you will, hopefully, not have to go through this as well…

I had an unresolved invoice from a client and after many attempts on my part to collect the debt, I had to turn to a collection agency.  This is not an avenue that any business owner relishes, however, I was able to receive some sound advice through the generosity of the collections agency. It was suggested to me that I add a “Personal Guaranty” to my standard business agreement. They even provided me with the proper verbiage!  I would love to share this with you so that you may also take advantage of the great advice that I received.

PERSONAL GUARANTY

In consideration of [COMPANY NAME] its subsidiaries or affiliates, extending credit, I/we jointly and severally do personally guarantee unconditionally, at all times, to [COMPANY NAME], its subsidiaries or affiliates, the payment of indebtedness or balance of indebtedness of the within named firm. I understand that this could include remedies up to and including reporting on my personal credit and responsibility for any and all collection or attorney fees associated with the recovery of any past due balances.

 

By adding the “Personal Guaranty” to your service contract, you may increase your chances of being able to collect if you should find yourself in the unfortunate situation of having an “noncollectable” account!!

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Tame your software subscriptions

Software subscriptions out of control?

Tame them with these simple steps

Online software subscriptions are all the rage. They’re pretty much how I run my business, and there are some great tools out there. But the phrase “buyer beware” applies as much here as it does elsewhere, and I have to say I’ve learned some hard lessons over the years. Here are a few things I do to save money and make sure I’m in control of my subscriptions, not the other way around.

Set calendar reminders 

We all get busy, and whether you have just one subscription or several that automatically renew, it can be hard to keep track of renewal dates. Creating calendar reminders that alert you a few days ahead of a renewal date gives you a chance to review the subscription before your credit card is charged to see if you need to:

Cancel because you no longer use it. Sometimes subscription use falls by the wayside, so periodic review is always a good idea. Only a few companies offer a partial refund when you cancel a subscription in the middle of a billing cycle, and there’s nothing worse than paying for something you don’t use or need.

Review your subscription level.  If you still need the software but aren’t using all the bells and whistles, you can often downgrade to a less expensive option.

Beware the annual subscription

Many software companies offer discounts when you pay for a year in advance, even throwing in a couple of months for free. Don’t be in a hurry to do this. Many companies are reluctant to issue mid-year refunds, so if you have to cancel mid-year, you can lose a lot of money. And sometimes, you have no choice but to cancel. Companies can make changes to their software during the course of a subscription, and what began as a useful tool for your business can suddenly become a handicap. This happened to me with my project management software recently, and I was forced to stop what I was doing midstream and find different software because it had such a negative impact on my productivity.

Watch the webinar

Before subscribing to online software services, take the time to sign up for a free trial and the free introductory webinars. Webinars are usually 30-60 minutes long and go a long way toward helping you decide if a product is right for you. In addition, if you decide to subscribe, you’ll already be a step ahead of the game since you’ll already know how to put the software to work for you.

Time taken to research and review your software subscription plans is time wisely spent.  Just like the old saying goes, “Short-term pain, long-term gain.”

Tame your software subscriptions with these simple steps.

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The Hidden Value of Networking

networkingThere are thousands of articles written on how to make the most of networking events. Most of the articles offer advice on how to find clients at those events.

Here’s another reason to network: finding future consultants, partners, and employees to help grow your business. At some point you will need to hire a virtual assistant, accountant, project manager, etc. How will you find the right person/firm to hire? Let me tell you, it’s much harder than you think.

Before you begin your search for the right person to hire, you must narrowly define the mission, vision, and ideal client for your business. Why does this matter? Because the consultants and employees you hire can’t help carry out the mission of your business if they don’t understand it. Continue reading

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Why You Should Use QuoteRoller

I confess. I used to use Microsoft Word to prepare client proposals. I dreaded preparing them even though it meant bringing in new business. I copied the last proposal I did and carefully changed all client name references, dates, fees, etc. And then I read, re-read, and re-read the proposal to make sure I didn’t overlook anything. It took forever. When I finally overcame the fear there was something I forgot to change, I emailed the proposal to the prospective client. And then I had to wait for the client to open the file, read it, print it, sign it, scan it, and finally (hopefully) email it back to me.

From Inefficiency to Efficiency

And then I found QuoteRoller. I could add my client’s contact information to QuoteRoller. It was easy to create templates to reuse. I could track when the proposal was viewed by the client and, of course, when they accepted it. I could even use the RightSignature integration to get a real live signature instead of an electronic acceptance.  I could create and email a proposal to a client using one of the templates I setup in QuoteRoller while we were speaking on the phone and close the deal in short order. Generating proposals for prospective clients became something I no longer dreaded.

QuoteRoller Features

QuoteRoller has myriad features to benefit any business. A dashboard allows you to see how many proposals you’ve sent, which ones have been viewed, and what your acceptance rate it. In addition to the text content, you can add pictures and videos to your proposals. And clients can ask questions or make comments on your proposal.  In other words, you can wow your clients and win the job.

What’s Your Time Worth?

We business owners try to accomplish too much each and every day. Using QuoteRoller to prepare proposals will save you time and allow you to use your valuable time more efficiently. The basic subscription to QuoteRoller starts at $14.99 for a monthly plan, $8.99 per month for an annual plan. Even if you currently only prepare a couple proposals a month, as CEO of a business, your time is certainly worth $14.99. Isn’t it?

*This post contains an affiliate link.
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small business payroll doesn't have to be time consuming.

The Payroll Challenge

As your business grows, you will likely face the challenge of how to pay employees. If you are a Quickbooks user, some of the options offered by Intuit can look cost effective. Or maybe you just want to do everything with a spreadsheet. After all, payroll is just hours x pay rate, right? Not exactly.

The Short-List

Here’s just some of what is really involved:
• New hire reporting
• Workers compensation insurance (varies by state)
• Withholding the correct taxes from the employee checks (federal, state, local)
• Calculating employer payroll taxes
• Timely payment of employee and employer taxes
• Timely filing of tax returns (monthly, quarterly, annually)
• Garnishments
• I-9 forms/E-verify

Overwhelmed? Good. Payroll is more than just paying employees. There is a lot of legal compliance involved and it takes a lot of education to stay on top of that.

Hire Experts

There are companies who specialize in processing payroll and many have affordable options for small businesses. Statistics show that roughly 40 percent of small businesses incur an average of $845 a year in IRS penalties. If you outsource nothing else for your business, outsource your payroll processing.

Companies such as SurePayroll and Ceridian will help you set up your payroll, do your new hire reporting, tax payments, tax filing, and even provide labor law compliance assistance. Your responsibility is entering the hours and actually running the payroll. You will also need to let the payroll company know when anything changes with your taxes (i.e. unemployment tax rate).

Integrated Solutions Not Mandatory

Many accountants and even business owners believe that the only payroll option is one that integrates with your current accounting solution. I disagree. With an integrated accounting solution, all employee data is stored in the accounting software. Quickbooks is an excellent example of this. Most small business accounting software does not provide enough control over user accounts to prevent someone from accidentally seeing payroll information. If you are doing most of your own accounting work and have other staff members in that accounting software, you do not want a payroll solution that integrates with your accounting software. The drama that can occur because the details of employee checks became known by the wrong person(s) will make any reality tv program look like the Lawrence Welk Show. For this reason, I prefer to utilize a separate payroll solution and simply record the payroll with a journal entry which contains summary data only. By the way, all payroll data (reports, employee files, etc.) should be kept in a locked cabinet with access strictly limited.

Bottom Line

Why don’t I recommend the integrated payroll product with Quickbooks? Because I’ve seen very few clients succeed with it. If you don’t specifically go into the payroll module you will miss making timely payroll tax payments and filing tax returns. Payroll is very complex and it takes a lot of training and hard work to understand it. Quite honestly, I think your time as a business owner is better spent on other areas of your business. Payroll is one part of your business you should leave to the experts.

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