Creating a successful start-up strategy is one thing all successful entrepreneurs must do to put themselves on the winning side of business. Is there a single, cookie-cutter approach that applies to all start-ups? No, not really. But there are basic elements that are proven building blocks for a successful strategy that is uniquely shaped to the particular characteristics of a specific business.
Cost Structure: It takes money to make money in business. You need to know exactly what your fixed costs, like rent, are as well as the variable costs that occur for manufacturing and promoting your product.
Key Activities & Resources: Outline activities that must be executed in order to successfully get your product or service from point A (conceptualization) to point B (in a customer's hands). This might include things like labor, marketing, printing, packaging and shipping, etc. Listing activities allows you to further breakdown components into a detailed fixed and variable cost analysis.
Revenue Streams: Identify your revenue streams. You may have more revenue sources than just sales. For example, will your enterprise rely on funding partners? Map out all of these streams and the details of where your profits originate.
Revenue Offset: Once you identify revenue sources, there may by some streams that will be offset by expenses like processing fees for credit cards or third-party fees for online sales through a platform like Amazon or eBay.
There is no one-size-fits-all start-up strategy. However, an accurate financial map makes the winning difference for all entrepreneurs. To get it right, contact us and trust your numbers to professional bookkeepers. We have the expertise to make your start-up success even easier to achieve.
You don't have to search far to find successful entrepreneurs to look up to. Some got generous startup capital that lead to their success. Others turned pennies into millions. However they got started, most successful entrepreneurs have a few common attributes.
Successful entrepreneurs are life-long learners. Even if your business is a big hit, there is always something new to try, some way to change processes or seek improvements. Embracing that growth and continuing to learn about the world and your industry will go a long way toward ensuring that you go far.
We have all met successful people who are less than gracious. Perhaps other factors helped them climb to that position. However, so many entrepreneurs who climbed their way up from the bottom are the most gracious people around. Vendors, partners, and customers all appreciate it and come back for more.
Until your new business is well-established (and even then), entrepreneurs will take on a lot of the work just to make sure everything goes perfectly. From engaging with customers to looking over the accounts, an entrepreneur needs the stamina and the focus to be able to go the distance. After all, the glamorous vacations only come after the 14-hour work days.
A Positive Outlook
Looking at everything in a negative light may not destroy your chances of success, but you will only go a fraction of the distance that your positive friends go. Even if you don't believe in things like the power of attraction, other people are definitely attracted to positivity, and any entrepreneur knows that they will need the help of others to be successful.
Cultivating these qualities can go a long way to your success. Of course, every entrepreneur knows that they need more than a good attitude to rise to the top. To find out more, contact us today.
Millennials aren’t interested in separating their work lives and their personal lives. Why shouldn’t they be themselves at work just like they are at home? As a fairly young business owner myself (Sometimes I think more like a millennial; sometimes, more like a Gen Xer), I understand that.
My online bookkeeping company employs eleven people. 10 are millennials. What they want from a job and what they want from their employer aren’t the same as previous generations. That’s worked out great for me because the things they value - authenticity, technology, flexibility - are the same things my clients (mostly millennial entrepreneurs) value.
Of course, everyone from the age of 18 to 35 can’t be boiled down to a few defining characteristics, but I’ve structured my company in a way that works for me and for my young employees.
The key for my millennial employees is flexibility. Many companies create dynamic workspaces with lots of amenities, but I knew that I wanted to be entirely digitally-based. My employees work where they want and how they want--with some parameters--and that’s very attractive to younger employees. They don’t need to be in commuting distance of the office. They can work from home and organize their schedules in a way that works for them.
We have both full and part-time employees, but I’ve found that most millennials--including my employees-- aren’t interested in working more than 40 hours a week, and most of my staff is part-time by choice. They’re willing to work fewer hours for more flexibility and less compensation so that they can enjoy life now. They’re not all that interested in building wealth for some unknown future. They want a job that allows them to participate in their community and their family life today.
We work with a lot of millennial entrepreneurs and see a changing understanding about the line between personal and private. For instance, our clients don’t care if your kids are in the background of a video call. We know we’re hiring people who are at home watching their kids. As long as they’re not distracting, there’s no problem.
We’re not just a bunch of robots who work in a call center. We actually have personalities, and they come out in our clients’ interactions with us. Our clients really appreciate that, so I cultivate it as part of our work lives.
Since our employees are remote, we have biweekly calls. On those, I try to have a component that’s personal - share something that you’re participating in or an insight that you’re learning, a victory, whether it’s personal or work-related so that we can get to know each other and create a company culture even if we’re not in the same room.
Authenticity is a also big part of building trust, which fits within the value systems of millennials and also helps us provide better service. I am authentic as a leader, and that helps my employees be authentic as well. I’m honest about my weaknesses and my failures, and because of that, my employees own up to mistakes pretty quickly - both to me and to the clients. Everyone makes mistakes, so it’s the honesty that I appreciate. Our clients are refreshed that they have a service that’s willing to say hey, we made a mistake and here’s how we’re going to resolve it. And we don’t try to make excuses around those mistakes.
Though there are definitely some retro flip phone folks out there, for the most part, millennials enjoy using the most up-to-date technology, and they expect to in the workplace. We’re not asking millennials to use old email or old desktop-based systems that would slow them down. They can use relevant software programs--just like they do in their personal lives.
Even five years ago, this type of work couldn’t be done remotely because the technology wasn’t there. But technology has gotten to a place where we can do that, and it continues to improve. We check in digitally on a day-to-day basis with Slack. We have a biweekly staff call on Google Hangout, and I do a quarterly check-in with each employee, which can also be a video call. Technology is a component of everything we do.
Mission and Brand
I was working as a freelance CFO when I started Reconciled It. I could’ve started Michael Ly Consulting - a business tied to me - but I didn’t want to run just a traditional consulting business. I wanted to create something bigger, and that appeals to millennials.
Most millennials value contributing to a broader cause or mission instead of just going to the office everyday to make the owner rich. The work they do is meaningful, and they know that it is because they see how it impacts the clients that they work with. Bookkeeping is a big pain point for entrepreneurs, so my employees’ clients are ecstatic with what they’ve done. They can see immediate results.
Everyone wants to see the results of their hard work, but this seems especially true for millennials. Bookkeeping is especially good for that: you analyze someone’s books, and there’s an end point. There’s a cycle for what’s expected - every month, every quarter, every year. Our employees feel very accomplished when they get to that point and their work is done.
Freedom and Autonomy
I find that most people respond positively to great opportunity. So I give the chance to represent Reconciled It pretty early on. That’s a big risk for me and the company, but we take that risk seriously, and our employees appreciate it and are up to that challenge.
Because all of our bookkeepers work directly with their clients, they get to structure their own relationships and celebrate their own successes. I give them some direction, but I don’t hold them back, and they respect that.
There’s a benefit for me too, of course. I get a more dedicated, efficient workforce, where everything doesn’t have to pass through me as a central filter before getting to the client.
I enjoy working with millennials, in part because it’s such a great time for them to be starting out in this field. In every generation, there are people who enjoy numbers and enjoy analytical work, and it’s a career with a lot of longevity. There is always a need for accountants and bookkeepers. And, particularly right now, not enough millennials are getting into it. Baby boomer CPAs and partners at CPA firms are retiring, and there’s only a small group of Gen Xers that went into accounting, so they have to replace the baby boomers at the partner level. But there aren’t enough of them, so they’re supplementing with high level millennials. It’s a great time to be in the profession if you’re a competent, bright millennial.
At the end of the day, I want employees who value the work they do and, in turn, feel valued by the company and their clients. I think that’s what every generation wants. Now it’s the millennials’ turn.
These days, more people have the chance to become entrepreneurs with the advent of the software as a service business model. However, while starting a SaaS company can be rewarding and lucrative, as with any venture, there are potential mistakes you'd be wise to avoid. These are top on the list for SaaS startups:
Your software can never have too many features, right? Oh, how very wrong. It is easy to get recommendations from customers on what you should add, and these individual features could take very little time to develop. However, if you implement every recommendation, your software can become so bogged down with different elements that it becomes hard to use. Know what your software's primary purpose is, and be conservative with your features.
Try to Solve Every Problem With One Program
You can't foster world peace and solve world hunger with one program, so don't even try. Know a specific need your software should address and just focus on that. If you realize that you could potentially address another problem, don't try to cram it into your current software. If anything, consider its viability as a separate piece of software.
Forgetting the Customers You Want
When catering to customers, it can be easy to get away from the customer base that you want to work with. If you want to work with small businesses, but find yourself drifting into the accounting sector, make sure to get back to your target audience and orient your product back towards them. Yes, you want to make money, so you want to leave your software open to a wide variety of people, but catering more towards different sectors can lead to that dangerous creep mentioned above and could alienate you from the people you wanted to create software for in the first place.
If you want to learn more about mistakes to avoid and growing your SaaS business, contact us today.
If you're a small business owner already using Receipt Bank, you may see the software simply as a receipt scanning app that lets you keep track of receipts easily. While it definitely excels in that respect, this accounting app can do more than just scan in your receipts.
It’s a Mini Back Up Storage
As Receipt Bank stores all the receipts and invoices that you put into the app, you can rest assured that those documents are both safe from prying eyes and also there if your physical copies get destroyed. Receipt Bank stores all your data for 7 years according to global tax authorities, so the app actually works as a backup in case the worst happens.
It Allows for Co-Branding
Keeping your brand front and center is important in every aspect of your business. If you have clients or customers who log in to Receipt Bank to send you invoices, you can co-brand completely free. This means the first thing your clients see when they log in is your logo, so they never forget who they're doing business with.
It Sends an SMS Invite
You can invite your clients to invoice you through Receipt Bank, but you want that invitation to be as easy as possible. Receipt Bank’s SMS Invite function is coveted for its simplicity. The app sends a unique download link through text message. All your clients need to do is fill in login details, and they can easily invoice you, all while making sure that all your receipts are stored and secure.
If you want more information on what Receipt Bank can do to enhance your business, contact us today.
Running a small business is a rewarding enterprise, but it can also be a stressful one. There is nothing more empowering than being your own boss, setting your own schedule, and looking around the office knowing it's all yours. However, you may also encounter moments where payroll is due, and you're not entirely comfortable with your account balance. So the big question for business owners is: how do you keep things rolling along smoothly?
Marketing & Basic Market Research
Small businesses are not known for having blockbuster budgets that can absorb massive investments in expensive advertising methods - print, radio, or tv advertising. However, any savvy small business owner understands that the internet has provided an invaluable asset for cash-strapped budgets. Creating a Facebook page, Instagram account, or Twitter profile can increase your business visibility and showcase your quality. These channels are also relatively inexpensive and, especially with Facebook, can help you target certain demographics or geographic areas.
Performing some basic market research on your current and potential clients can also be helpful. Where did they hear about you? How were they referred? Understanding where your clients are predominantly introduced or discover your small business is the key to increasing the efficacy of your advertising methods. Don't spend money on an expensive radio ad when your best clients find you through Google searches.
Once you have managed to catch a potential customer's attention, you need to retain them. Often, small businesses lose potential long-term clients when they fail to deliver a consistent quality product or service. Quality control is comprised of two low-cost, high-return tasks: creating a brand identity for your business and developing a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP). Developing a brand is not simply creating a logo and catchy slogan for your enterprise - it is about the entire client experience. What does the office look like? How formal or casual are the interactions between employees and clients? Do you have any perks or potential amenities that you offer clients that are unique?
Once you have sorted out your brand identity, you need to develop an SOP. An SOP is simply a set of procedures that you employ across the entire business operation, allowing for streamlined operations. Creating an SOP ensures a high level of consistency for customers and lowers the effects of employee turnover.
Accounting & Bookkeeping
Good bookkeeping means good business. Without proper documentation, you cannot effectively make decisions for your business. Can you honestly determine the success of a large business investment without fully understanding what your revenues and expenditures are? Can you identify inefficiencies without a streamlined accounting system? Probably not. Fortunately, accounting is not inherently difficult. Using an SOP and keeping consistent records will avoid catastrophe.
As your business expands, research outsourcing tasks. You will see diminishing returns on the labor spent managing your own accounts, payroll, taxes, and compliance matters. Instead, that time and energy is better spent increasing your company's revenue stream. Professional accounting services will reduce the stress, increase your security and peace of mind, and leave your business more efficiently spending valuable resources. Contact us today to see how Reconciled It can help your business grow.
When your business is just starting out, bookkeeping is easy--maybe even fun. However, as your business grows, so, too, do your books. Suddenly bookkeeping is significantly less enjoyable and infinitely more complicated. The key to staying on top of your finances is to keep your accounts as simple as humanly possible so you don't spend endless hours sorting out your accounting.
This is rule number one for keeping bookkeeping simple. You need to work out an organizing system that works for you. Typically, the easiest thing to do is invest in some accounting software that will help you keep things organized, but you also need to have a system for your physical copies so that you always know where your invoices are and what vendor they are associated with. And equally important: you must be able to get to everything quickly.
Pencil In Accounting Time
If you don't want to be randomly stuck doing accounting for most of a day a couple times a month, pencil a little time in every week to get it done. Organize all your papers in your organization system, make sure everyone has gotten paid, and try to anticipate any hiccups that might be coming soon--like having to deal with a big purchase or sale. By setting aside an hour or two every week, you'll cut down the total time required and avoid having to deal with the books when you're desperately needed elsewhere.
Choose the Right Accounting Software
There are plenty of accounting software programs out there aimed at making things easier for you. However, if you let yourself get lost in the software, you'll end up having your accounts done by ten different programs, ultimately making things harder for you. Keep it simple with a straightforward program like Quickbooks and perhaps one or two other programs that can sync with it, like Bill.com and Receipt Bank. When programs work well together, you don't need half a dozen of them.
If you are having trouble keeping up with your accounts as a growing business, why not let a professional help you get things sorted? For more information, contact us today.
A lot of business owners still do their accounting the old way. They may neglect newer cloud accounting technology because they're comfortable with a system they know works. However, so many others switch, not because cloud accounting is the cool new thing to do, but because they know it makes accounting faster and easier. If you still haven’t adopted products like Quickbooks into your accounting, you might want to consider making the switch.
Accounting is no longer a “one person in a cubicle” arena. Accounting requires completely detailing the financial transactions happening across all facets of a business, so allowing multiple people to input invoices or receipts, even if they are in different offices or even different countries, makes accounting simpler for everyone involved. The power of the cloud lies in the ability to get things done anywhere and by any authorized person.
One of the nicest features of cloud accounting technology is that the products are tailored to your accounting needs. Don’t need the power of an accounting app for a multi-national corporation? That’s fine. There are smaller products available. Foresee you business growing in the new few years? Then you can get custom cloud accounting apps to fit that growth.
Your Data is Safe
Some accountants choose to shun cloud accounting technology because they don’t trust the cloud. They still believe anyone can get at that data, when the truth is that it has never been safer. Reputable and well-established companies provide the best in encryption methods for your cloud data for no extra charge. So not only is your data safe from others; it is safe from destruction. Even if the company’s servers go down, the software has your data backed up with back-ups to those back-ups.
If you want to take the first step into adopting cloud accounting technology to make your life a little easier, contact us today to learn more about all the products available to you.
Every effective small business faces the inevitable - the curse of becoming successful. You find yourself swamped 24/7 with additional product orders or overbooked services. You are actually turning away money because you physically do not have the time. General upkeep of your business begins to fall by the wayside as you struggle to create more time out of thin air. Mundane tasks such as bookkeeping or account reconciliation are often ignored or done improperly in order to focus on client needs. With a proper standard operating procedure (SOP), you can maintain consistent account record keeping across all levels of your small business as you begin to expand.
What is an SOP?
An SOP is a document (or series of documents) that addresses the core policies or procedures of your business. Essentially, it is a manual on how the most critical aspects of your business operate and what standard of quality you expect for your business.
Why Draft an SOP?
Particularly when it comes to bookkeeping, accurate and consistent records are an absolute necessity. Over time, inconsistencies in your bookkeeping will mask inefficiencies in your business model, potential regulatory compliance issues, and more. Avoid the pitfalls of improper record keeping by spelling out what procedures to perform, what information to record, and what the standard of excellence for your accounts will be.
As you expand, consider contacting us to determine the best ways to manage your accounts, taxes, and payroll. In the meantime, utilizing a well-drafted SOP may help avert a costly bookkeeping disaster.
As a small business owner, you're on a constant mission to make your processes as efficient as possible. That's partly why you've chose to use cloud accounting software programs like Bill.com. One of Bill.com's best features is the ability to sync with all your other financial tools, especially Quickbooks. However, as handy as it is, the syncing process may not always feel intuitive. Here are some tips to help your syncing go smoothly.
Hopefully, these tips help you sort out what can be a bit tricky process to learn. If you need further help, contact us today to see what we can do to make your time with these two pieces of software a little bit easier and more efficient.