Accounting Tips For Small Businesses

With tax time nearly upon us, many small businesses and first time entrepreneurs are scrambling to get their accounting information straightened out in order to file on time. When many small business owners think of accounting, they tend to associate it with income tax preparation and filing. The accounting for your small business should not be relegated to tax time. Accounting information can help business owners make better decisions, and improve the management of their business. It can also help them secure financing, and facilitate reporting to stakeholders (such as creditors, banks, and government agencies), and it can tip them off to any serious problems that might be brewing, such as dwindling cash resources, or debt burdens which may become overwhelming.

The accounting aspect of many small businesses is often the most neglected. Most small business owners don’t feel they have the time or expertise to devote to keeping their books. Let’s face it, most small business owners didn’t start a business because they were eager to deal with the finance and accounting aspects of it. The accounting is a function done at the end of the year for tax purposes. This attitude is unfortunate, because the accounting results of a business can represent a wealth of information, and can help business owners make better decisions. The fact is that accounting information really serves as an indicator of how healthy your business is. Think of your accounting information as a reading on a thermometer.

If you only see the value in accounting at tax time, you are missing out on an opportunity to get a true picture (and not just a “gut feeling) of how your business is performing financially. It is not likely that the individual who prepared your information is going to give you any tips or guidance with respect to the management of your business (unless your accountant or bookkeeper is also a relative or associate). Remember, in this instance you’ve paid them to prepare information for tax filing purposes, not provide consulting services on how to improve the performance of your business.

If you’ve already paid someone to prepare financial information for you, then the information is all there, waiting to be used. Business owners need not be the ones who prepare financial information, but they’d better be ready to be the ones who pay attention, and interpret, that financial information (or have a trusted associate who is willing to do this for them – although most accountants don’t come cheap). A responsible small business owner makes it a point to understand how to read financial statements, and draw conclusions from the information contained therein.

Unfortunately, you can’t really purchase accounting advice tailored to your small business over the internet. The good news is that you don’t need to be a financial genius to understand your balance sheet. There are many resources available on the web which can guide you through the process of understanding your financial statements. You may be just starting out, and looking for potential solutions. Or, you may be a seasoned business owner looking for some tips. There is a wide variety of solutions available, and these range from tutorials and e-books, to accounting and bookkeeping software. Learn more about these here: Accounting Tips for Small Businesses

With tax time nearly upon us, many small businesses and first time entrepreneurs are scrambling to get their accounting information straightened out in order to file on time. When many small business owners think of accounting, they tend to associate it with income tax preparation and filing. The accounting for your small business should not be relegated to tax time. Accounting information can help business owners make better decisions, and improve the management of their business. It can also help them secure financing, and facilitate reporting to stakeholders (such as creditors, banks, and government agencies), and it can tip them off to any serious problems that might be brewing, such as dwindling cash resources, or debt burdens which may become overwhelming.

The accounting aspect of many small businesses is often the most neglected. Most small business owners don’t feel they have the time or expertise to devote to keeping their books. Let’s face it, most small business owners didn’t start a business because they were eager to deal with the finance and accounting aspects of it. The accounting is a function done at the end of the year for tax purposes. This attitude is unfortunate, because the accounting results of a business can represent a wealth of information, and can help business owners make better decisions. The fact is that accounting information really serves as an indicator of how healthy your business is. Think of your accounting information as a reading on a thermometer.

If you only see the value in accounting at tax time, you are missing out on an opportunity to get a true picture (and not just a “gut feeling) of how your business is performing financially. It is not likely that the individual who prepared your information is going to give you any tips or guidance with respect to the management of your business (unless your accountant or bookkeeper is also a relative or associate). Remember, in this instance you’ve paid them to prepare information for tax filing purposes, not provide consulting services on how to improve the performance of your business.

If you’ve already paid someone to prepare financial information for you, then the information is all there, waiting to be used. Business owners need not be the ones who prepare financial information, but they’d better be ready to be the ones who pay attention, and interpret, that financial information (or have a trusted associate who is willing to do this for them – although most accountants don’t come cheap). A responsible small business owner makes it a point to understand how to read financial statements, and draw conclusions from the information contained therein.

Unfortunately, you can’t really purchase accounting advice tailored to your small business over the internet. The good news is that you don’t need to be a financial genius to understand your balance sheet. There are many resources available on the web which can guide you through the process of understanding your financial statements. You may be just starting out, and looking for potential solutions. Or, you may be a seasoned business owner looking for some tips. There is a wide variety of solutions available, and these range from tutorials and e-books, to accounting and bookkeeping software.

 

The Top 7 Questions Small Businesses Ask About Social Media

Presence on social media is gaining importance as more and more small businesses are realizing the benefits they can gain from it. They are increasingly using platforms such as Google+, Facebook, and Twitter, to mark their presence in social media.

Those who are not yet used to the effect internet has had on marketing, are daunted by the technology of social media marketing. They find comfort in doing business the traditional way, in the safety of a building.

Novelty seems intimidating in the beginning, until you explore it. Similarly, small businesses have concerns for which they require reassuring answers. More and more people are accepting social media and small businesses are realizing that its presence is not temporary.

The following are the most frequently asked questions of small businesses. Maybe one of the questions below will address any of your concerns:

1. What is Social Media Marketing?

Communicating with stakeholders through social networking platforms such as Twitter, Google+ and Facebook, is called Social Media Marketing.

You use the pages made on social networking sites to share information about your business, customer feedback, guidelines for using your products/services etc. By doing this, you not only allow the customers to get to know you better but provide a platform to them to share their opinions also. All this helps in building relationships with customers.

2. Why does my business need to get involved?

Business and marketing has become fast paced due to the increased access to information. Customers get real-time information through their smart phones and tablets. In today’s era, customers want convenience; therefore, they expect your business to be present online.

By having a presence your business will:

 

  • Be readily available online
  • Be able to introduce/promote products and services
  • Be able to strengthen bond with present customers
  • Be able to capture potential customers
  • Be able to enhance customer traffic through social interaction.

As your presence increases through your online interaction such as likes, posts, comments, tweets, it will have the added advantage of increasing your search engine rankings.

3. HELP! I don’t know where to start

Social media marketing works the same way as traditional marketing. Begin with a plan and chart out your goals and objectives for the campaign.

Losing focus is easy when you are marketing using social media. A well laid-out plan will assist you in concentrating.

4. How much time should I spend on each platform each day?

When you concentrate on the target, you need not spend excess time on social media marketing. It does not demand much time. As long as you remain focused, 10 to 20 minutes, twice a day would suffice in running a profitable marketing campaign.

5. When should I post?

Your timing should depend upon the schedule of your target audience. Research into the lifestyle of your target audience follows and post accordingly. For instance, if you were targeting business-people or the working-class, morning would be the best time to post. They mostly check updates on their way to work. Similarly, communicate during lunch-hour as well as after office hours, when they will be travelling back home.

You can post mid-morning, afternoon and evening if your target audience is the non-working or the retired individuals. As you learn more about social media marketing and your audience, you will become better at your timing. You will have to monitor the responses your posts generate (or do not generate) and see what timing generates the most responses.

6. Which platform should I use?

Out of the numerous options, keeping the usage in mind, Facebook is the apparent choice. It already has more than 1 billion users; and the number is growing daily.

Most of the people on Facebook are regular users, checking updates throughout the day. The diversity of users makes it a good platform for small businesses to be able to use varied advertising options. Tweets are gaining popularity. People follow tweets more than they follow the news, since it is faster. So that is another good option for you.

You need to be able to communicate effectively in limited words, because tweets’ characters are limited to 140. Considering the enormity of information people sift through online, the character limitation is in line with the short attention span of people. People do not read details, they just overview.

It’s worth mentioning 3 relatively platforms gaining popularity.

 

  • One of the visual platforms is Pinterest. It allows the uploading and sharing of photos concerning any possible subject. Starting off by capturing the interest of female audience, the platform has now started capturing the interest of male audience as well.

 

  • The second one, Google+ (Google+) is also in the phase of stretching its branches in social media. Google+ with the advantage of strong financial backing of its giant owner Google is expected to contest Facebook in becoming the leading social network.

 

  • The third one, LinkedIn is popular as a platform for professionals. It allows for business-to-business interaction and is brilliant for connecting with colleagues and building professional network.

There are other social media platforms present, but these are the ones on top of the list.

7. How much does it cost?

It costs in terms of time. So, even if you are a small business with no or limited marketing budget, no need to worry, all you have to do is take out time. However, if your budget allows for moderate spending on marketing, then you can spend on placing advertisements on social media platforms such as Facebook. This would increase reach of your business at an affordable cost.

Remember, this list is not exhaustive of all the possible frequently asked questions small businesses might have or the answers to those questions. Just like traditional marketing, successful social media marketing demands customization as per your business, degree of competition, target audience, industry, budget, time and other factors affecting your business.

Engage with customers and grow your audience… The sheer quantity of information available on the social sites requires you to be quick at disseminating relevant content to customers. Sharing of irrelevant information will fail in engaging customers.

All businessmen know the importance of image and reputation. Dissemination of information, views, feedback has become quick and easy due to the Internet. Customers can now post comments in real-time and other customers can read those comments and in real-time too.

Whether you are getting positive reviews or negatives ones, it is essential to be aware of the customer views so that you can respond appropriately and timely.

Make sure you keep the following in mind:

 

  • Encouraging your customers in spreading good feedback on social media about your business
  • Keep an eye on what the people are saying about your business on the different social media platforms
  • Manage your online reputation by responding timely and accurately to feedback, reviews and posts by the customers
  • Be active in responding to the positive reviews by customers so that relationship with them can be strengthened
  • Timely detect negative feedback so that they can be responded to as soon as possible
  • Appreciate customers giving feedback after using your products/services.

Hopefully, through this article we have proved our point and made you realize the value of social media marketing for your business.

 

Pinterest Marketing Part 3 – Small Business Success With Pinterest

Small businesses used to be subject to suppressed marketing from big business, but with the advent of social media websites like Facebook, twitter, Pinterest etc… , small business can market their products efficiently. Pinterest is all about sharing pictures and videos. It is a place where people come to see products of their choice. It can be anything varying from car exhausts to sweaters. If small businesses can display their products well, interested visitors can pin that picture and the picture keeps on getting shared, leading to an efficient marketing system.

Efficient marketing leads to a larger number of hits, then it takes the hospitality of the site owner to convert that guest into a permanent client. Small businesses have great products nowadays but the only thing missing is the visibility of the business. The power of Pinterest can be utilized through visualization; a strong image with a pinned post gets re-pinned and gets more user engagement.

It is important for small business to pin posts with strong and captivating images, more over introducing one`s business is also an important part of being alive and telling the audience about its existence. Pictures of employees can be very helpful with the introduction part. Pinning such images actually connects you to the audience.

Usually small businesses avoid pinning a large number of pictures to avoid chaos because posting similar pictures again and again can actually add negativity to the reputation of the company. When there are a few pictures posted, pinning videos is also a great idea of showing off your products, your business, your employees, fun at work, and so forth. Even videos relevant to industry can be helpful because it helps in providing valuable information to the visitors.

I know it’s extremely easy to create pins by just repinning. But you really need to be creative and unique here. People repin things because it is something awesome and great, what they have just seen. But let me assure you they repin that item because they haven’t seen it before.

A single post on Pinterest can go viral and can get more and more hits with the passage of time. The best thing about Pinterest is that pictures on Pinterest don`t get obsolete. Even after a year, if a user pins it, it has same chance of getting re-pinned as it was a year back. This is because users keep on changing, human parameters are variable and so are their choices. Every individual has a different set of interests and choices.

Small business firms should also add a guest pinboard for users as they may feel more connected with your business. It actually gives you an insight about your users opinions and interests and can be used as a market survey. Similarly a feedback pinboard is also a great idea for engaging customers; customers love to tell about their experiences but only if they are given a suitable platform. Pinterest gives them an option of telling more about your business and that feedback should be treated with high priority and gratitude.

Small businesses should not just start using Pinterest without a definite plan. Once you are prepared with a strategy, you should create a well defined plan. You should be ready with the next ten posts when pinning a post. Small business owners should be very careful, as it is the same social media which can make your product the most loved amongst users or the other way around and break you.