With the end of the year rapidly approaching, small business owners are preparing to take a survey of the time that has passed and use the information they gather to improve going forward. For some, budgets need to be balanced in order make room for growth, hiring employees, obtaining new equipment or opening new locations. For others, a dip in profitability means that hard questions need to be asked regarding what went wrong, and how to fix it going forward. Revenues and expenses must be balanced in order to ensure that your business will not only be able to work in the short term, but adjust to growth as well. Your business should be looking to grow in the new year, and with technology playing a large role in how small businesses are tapping into broader markets, the tools are being developed or already exist that can allow you to do so. Getting acquainted with trending technology such as mobile and e-commerce as well as mobile

Small business owners need to be careful; hackers and phishing scams that target them rely on a feeling of being too small to be on the radar to exploit unprepared small businesses, taking their repositories of financial and customer information and exploiting or liquidating them. One scam which has become more common of late is a trojan horse scheme, which refers to the technique of requesting a victim download a seemingly harmless attachment or program which in fact contains a virus, the “trojan” program contained within the outer guise of whatever it was the victim clicked on. Lately, the use of a false invoice to deliver trojan programs has become increasingly common as hackers awaken more and more to the value of targeting small businesses with spam leads and emails. Fake invoicing schemes are increasingly common. Small business owners can often become overwhelmed by the amount of paperwork that they need to keep track of. Fake invoices rely on this confusion, submitting a seemingly “unpaid” invoice

Recurring billing can be a blessing for small business owners when they are looking to save time, allowing them to take the guesswork out of paying for services that they would be renewing anyway. In fact, it is pretty easy nowadays to put almost every constant expense onto a recurring billing plan, but there are a few considerations that small business owners should keep in mind if they are using a recurring plan to pay for more than a couple of services in order to avoid needlessly losing money. Can I get a discount for paying upfront? The first thing that business owners might want to consider is whether or not they can get a discount on their services by paying upfront. While it is easy to leave a service on recurring billing on a month by month basis, it may be the case that you could save a large percentage of your total costs by purchasing your subscription up front, and even if there is

According to Wikipedia, goodwill refers to “a special type of intangible asset that represents that portion of the entire business value that cannot be attributed to other income producing business assets, tangible or intangible.” What this means in plain English is that, aside from the material assets of a business, such as its equipment, and tangible assets such a employees, there exists an intangible value that is comprised of brand recognition, customers, and cultural capital. Goodwill in accounting terms is the reason why a business that has $20K worth of equipment and property might be worth $100K to a buyer. How can you increase the value of your business’s goodwill? When you increase your goodwill, you are increasing the value of your business, so ignoring this aspect of business development is a poor strategic move. Not only that, but goodwill tends to grow from positive customer service experiences contributing to word of mouth referrals and increased brand recognition, which is already a cornerstone of business development

  The cost of commercial real estate can be a serious budget eater for small businesses. Many entrepreneurs choose to adopt a home based business model for this very reason, but for some businesses a brick and mortar office location is a necessity and not a “nice to have”. For these business owners, it seems that the cost  of having physical offices will just have to be worked around. However, that may not always be the case. Shared office space can significantly reduce the costs of having a separate office. It is not uncommon nowadays for two or more small businesses to share a single communal office space. While this can create some extra considerations to be worked around, such as who gets the copier at what time, and who has to refill the coffee maker, provided that you are able to work with the other business in order to arrive at a mutually agreeable division of responsibilities the cost benefits can be a major boon

While the Summer is still not over, it’s August and it’s time to start thinking about what is going to come next for your small business. Did you achieve the goals you set for yourself this season?  Whether or not it was your busy season or your off season and whether or not you hit the goals that you had projected for yourself or were forced to reevaluate your strategies, as a business owner you have to keep moving forward either way. Still, before the official end of the season, there are a few things that every business owner should check off their seasonal bucket list in preparation for a strong end to the year. Take a vacation. Whether you go abroad for a week or go on a two day micro-vacation, giving yourself some time off to recharge before the end of the season is a wise move. While missing the chance to be productive can bother many business owners, the benefits of regrouping and

Aside from implementing more ways to accept payments, business owners can optimize their internal processes in order to make sure that they are able to effectively collect on invoices, keeping their cash flows energized and avoiding a situation where they have a large expected profit but no liquidity with which to pursue new opportunities as they present themselves. 1) Get your invoices out as quickly as possible. The more time you allow clients to pay your invoices, the better. Making sure that you are able to quickly prepare and send out invoices is in your best interest as it provides the largest amount of time for clients to pay before the deadlines you have set for collections. Getting paid early as opposed to later is always a good thing, as the more cash your business has on hand, the more mobile it will be in terms of responding to market changes, growth opportunities and equipment purchases. 2) Keep unpaid invoices organized by date issued. Making sure that your

Getting cash flows flowing faster is always a good move for small businesses, but in the case of a business that has to deal with bad credit issues, it can have a much more profound impact, potentially defining the difference between growth and failure. In any bad credit business, extra attention needs to be paid to standard accounting processes and wasteful costs need to be eliminated. Apart from techniques for keeping operational costs down and effectively keeping track of the money going in and out of a business, the best way to ensure that businesses are able to collect on their invoices is to endeavor to make it easier for clients to make payments. Consider a broader range of payment options. Adding payment options can help businesses make more sales and collect on invoices more effectively provided that the infrastructure is in place within the business to accept them. While some businesses are willing to accept anything from cash to crypto-currencies such as bitcoins, others could benefit

While every business will have a different operational style, there are departments that almost every business will have in some form or another, such as accounting, marketing, and IT. As a a business grows, within these departments there should be a vigilant attitude in place in order to prevent the waste of valuable business funds, since there are a few common ways that business owners can lose money through a loose management style in these areas. IT programs that are not effective for their staff. The state of the art programs that you want to put in place in order to optimize your processes are not going to help if your staff has no training in how to use them. While you may be able to afford a new program at face value, business owners should account for the possibility that they will also need to finance additional training for their team in order to make their IT upgrades effective. There are many technologies that are

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