3 Important Things to Consider When Starting a Business

You can find hundreds, if not thousands, of articles written by highly skilled and talented people who tell you exactly what it takes to get your business up and running. Although helpful, most of them are more or less the same. Starting a company is no easy feat and no matter how many articles you read or how many people you talk to, it’ll be a fight that you personally have to cater to.

A business is like a baby, you have to support it the right way, you need certain tools and abilities to help it develop, and most importantly, you’ll need to manage your money in a way to continuously support it. Here are the three most important things to consider that’ll make or break your SME, and what it takes to succeed in each.

Understand Cash Flow

Whether we like it or not, money is one of the most important things in the world. We use it to fulfill our basic needs, to buy whatever we please, and overall to keep the world moving. To many of us, our business IS our world, so it is important to know the basics of cash flow to keep our business running.

Understanding the concept of cash flow is important for your SME to continue functioning. Cash flow problems are one of the biggest reasons small companies run out of business, and recognizing errors early on can prevent that from happening to your business. Cash flow is the amount of money coming in and out of a business. Without adequate cash, it becomes hard to pay wages, suppliers, and rent so it’s essential for every business owner to know how to properly manage it.

When more money is coming into your business than going out of it, you would be in the better position to pay expenses and bills as you are having “positive cash flow” at hand. It is the same with the opposite. Many starting businesses borrow money from banks or lenders to cover overdrafts. If your money is going more out than in, you can apply for loans that can assist in covering cash flow shortages and expenses.

It’s especially important to have a working capital when your business is new as the starting expenses are high and you may not have as much revenue or sales at the start. Loans aid in covering the basics as you get your SME started on the route to a fresh new positive cash flow situation. The best way to manage your cash flow is through a cash flow report so you can see your changes in cash and what business activities affect it negatively and positively.

Pick a Great Support Team

Your company is only as good as the people who are in it. You most likely want your SME to be successful (otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this article), so it’s vital that you have a great support team. As the leader of your business, we naturally want to be the best and “smartest”, but hiring employees with that mindset keeps your business from standing out.

It’s better to have someone who always dedicates time to continuously improve and grow with whatever they’re doing, over someone who chooses to stay within their comfort zone and area of expertise. Of course, it’s human nature to continue with what you’re comfortable with (we are all guilty of doing that), but when starting a new business or when wanting to expand your SME, people who have the drive to go the extra mile should be favored.

Anybody can develop skills and learn new abilities if they’re committed, but you cannot forget that you’re hiring the person, not just their skills. To have a strong support team, it’s crucial that your morals, values, and beliefs coincide and mesh well with each other. It’s always good to consider in the point of view of outside customers;  “if this business hired this person, do I really want to support the business?”. Keep in mind, you hire for the skills but you will be working with the person, so try and choose those who will help you grow your business with you.

Understand Your Market

Understanding your market is one of the key things to consider that can make or break your SME. You can come up with the most creative, unique and innovative product ever, but your business won’t go anywhere if there is no market for it. Identify a target market. Who are you trying to sell to and what exactly would they be looking for? Before even creating your service or product, it’s important to research and learn about the exact needs of the public and what kinds of thing your business can do to fulfill them. There are many different ways to find out what customers are looking for such as surveys, focus groups, interviews, and observations. It’s a vigorous process but essential if you want to succeed.

Knowing your market is one thing, but actually marketing towards them is a whole other field. Once you discover who you’re reaching for, it’s time to learn how you’ll reach them. Creating a specific message and vision for your target market allows them to have a preview of what you’re trying to do. Instead of having a vague general message, addressing how certain needs will be met allows the audience to envision what it’ll do for them in their personal situation.

It further allows your business to keep developing your market down the road by focusing on how to cater to the specific demographics within your target market. For example, if you’re targeting just men, then consider how to advertise to the different age ranges to make it more personalized for your customers. Marketing your business is one of the most crucial things to consider when starting your SME; who are you catering to, and why are you catering to them specifically.

Building a business from scratch is one of the toughest challenges you can take on, and although it involves a ton of work, the end result can be beyond your wildest dreams. To get on the path to success, though, you must always consider three things; understand how to manage your cash flow, pick a talented support team, and know your market well. In the end, your business is yours alone and it’s up to you to make the right decisions for your SME, but remember, our company and blog is here to support you on your venture to the wonderful world of being an entrepreneur.

Image: FreePik

4 Payroll Financing Options for Payday Emergencies

One of the most unsettling feelings you can have as a business owner is to find yourself low on funds when it’s time to run payroll. While it’s very stressful, the first thing you should know is that this happens. Second, there are payroll financing options created just for small businesses who’ve gone through the exact same thing.

New businesses often struggle with cash flow. An established business could suddenly be hit with a large, unexpected expense or for some businesses it’s because your outstanding invoices haven’t come in as quickly as needed. In fact, this post was inspired by conversations with several SlickPie customers.

If not having enough money to make payroll was really rare, these payroll financing options would never have been created. (Note: While it’s good to know you have options, it’s even better to not have to use them.)

What you should do once you realize you can’t make payroll

To start, you should figure out how much time you have before you need the money for your payroll. This will help you determine which payroll funding option is the best for your business. Using free expense management software like SlickPie can help you take care of that.

Then, you should also communicate with your staff and let them know what’s happening and that you’re looking for a solution. Even if it’s only one day before payday.

If you’re worried about causing panic by telling your staff that you have a cash flow shortage, think of how much worse it will be if you “surprise” them on payday. Consider that, in the United States alone, 71% of workers said it would be hard to pay the bills if their checks were even a little late.

If things get down to the wire and you’re using a payroll provider, you should also give them a call to let them know what’s happening. If you’re making an honest effort to solve the problem, you’re less likely to get listed as a credit risk for insufficient funds. Depending on your provider, they might also be able to offer suggestions. Again, we emphasize, this happens to a lot of small businesses.

What you need to know about payroll funding for small business

Because payroll financing requires a quick turnaround, the best options are short- to medium-term loans, a business line of credit or invoice factoring. Sometimes you may hear one or all of these options classified as payroll loans. All are conveniently offered by online lenders.

If you’re wondering why a traditional small business loan is usually not your best choice when you’re looking for payroll financing, it’s because of the lengthy application and approval process that’s required.

Using short-term loans to fund payroll

A short-term payroll loan will help you finance your payroll within two to three business days or sometimes as little as one business day. If you choose this option, plan to pay the loan back within 12 months and expect to have a higher interest rate.

Using medium-term loans to cover the cost of payroll

If you have up to five business days (a week) before you need payroll financing, you can look into a medium-term loan. With a medium-term payroll loan, you’ll have a longer application and approval process. However, as a result, you’ll have up to five years to pay the amount back. Your interest rates will also be a little lower than with a short-term payroll loan.

Using a business line of credit to finance payroll

If you think there’s a good chance you might have to use payroll financing more than once in the near future, you might want to consider a business line of credit. More of a long-term solution, a business line of credit provides you with a set amount of money that you can access as need. You also only pay interest on the money you take out.

While business lines of credits are available through traditional banks, they’re much more time-consuming and harder to qualify for than if you apply for one by going through an online lender. Depending on the online lender, you may also be approved in as little as one business day.

Using invoice factoring to cover payroll

If you’re a business-to-business company, you may also be able to sell one of your unpaid invoices in order to finance payroll. This is called invoice factoring. What a purchaser (factor) will do is offer to buy your invoice at a percentage of its value. The factor then gives you the money and collects their funds when the invoice is paid by the customer.

Although the invoice faction is a well-established funding option, there are several variations on this model. When you search for a company that offers invoice factoring, make sure you understand how it works and what the terms will be.

As the main variable in qualifying for invoice factoring is the quality of your invoice, invoice factoring is also a good option for new business-to-business companies who may not have an established credit history.

Do your homework researching payroll financing options

Even if you’re in a hurry, you want to research your payroll financing options, comparing:

  • Approval time — how long it takes to get approved.
  • Time to receive funds — how long it takes to get the money after approval.
  • Available amounts — how much you can get.
  • Payback period — how long you have to pay the money back.
  • APR — annual percentage rate (interest rate).

You’ll also want to find out what financial and business information you’ll need to provide in order to qualify, such as a credit history, annual revenue and how long you’ve been in business.

How to avoid needing payroll financing in the first place

Again, no one ever intentionally plans to have a gap in their cash flow. In business as in life, we all learn as we go. This is why learning how to read and understand your business financials is so vitally important.

Small business owners come from a range of backgrounds, including varying levels of financial knowledge. But, if you know that accounting isn’t your strength, find a trusted accountant and bookkeeper to help you manage your books. With cloud-based accounting tools, like SlickPie, this process is even easier than ever before.

Even if reading financial statements doesn’t come naturally, every bit of knowledge that you give yourself makes a world of difference. By regularly reviewing how the money flows in and out of your business, you’ll get a better understanding of the ebbs and flows unique to your business.

For instance, if you run a seasonal business and through monitoring your financials, you know that March is always a slow month, you can then plan ahead by setting funds aside from peak periods, adjusting inventory and reducing shifts for hourly workers.

One final tip — always pay your payroll taxes

Whenever you use a payroll financing to solve a shortage of funds, make sure you also pay your payroll taxes. Payroll taxes are the sums that employers take out of employee paychecks, such as income tax and various social programs, depending on the country.

As payroll taxes are taxes, you’ll only be adding to your woes if you fall behind on your payments. The tax authorities in charge are not lenders and interest on late payments compounds quickly.

If you’re already taking on interest from a loan, you don’t want to make things worse by falling out of grace with the tax authorities. When you have to use payroll financing, borrow enough money to cover every aspect of your payroll. That way you only have to pay interest to one entity instead of several.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure — but’s also good to be prepared

While everyone wants to avoid mistakes or cash flow shortages, they happen. No matter how rigorous you’ve been with your financials. Knowing that there are payroll financing options, like short- and medium-term loans, a business line of credit or invoice factoring, is the first step in being prepared — should the worst ever happen.

If you’re startup or micro-business looking for free online accounting software, check out SlickPie.

This article is intended to be informational only and does not replace the expertise that comes from working with an accountant, bookkeeper or financial professional.

For more small business advice, see some of our top posts:

Simple Bookkeeping Tips to Help Small Business Owners

The Advantages of Starting Your Own Business


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Blockchain in Accounting?

Lately, technology seems to be advancing at an astonishing rate, and it can be tough to keep up. If you happen to run your own business however, staying up-to-date with the all of the goings on in the tech world is not merely suggested, it is practically considered a necessity. Sure there are some industries that may be more reliant on technology than others, especially accounting. When it comes to accounting, mistakes are simply not an option and you must have speed and efficiency on your side.

By implementing certain forms of modern technology you actually have the potential of greatly enhancing your accounting business. Accountants have to perform a wide range of services, based on everything from providing simple advice and guidance, to filing taxes and tracking business expenses and receipts. Many in the accounting world therefore, are looking for ways of enhancing their services, and with Blockchain, they may very well have found their solution.

What is Blockchain? – Though the term perhaps sounds unusual to some of you, Blockchain is considered by many, to be a form of tech that is revolutionary, in every sense of the word. Blockchain is basically a type of digital record which records each and every single transaction carried out with cryptocurrencies, the most recognizable of which will probably be Bitcoin. Every single ‘block’ in this digital chain is comprised of digital coding that contains date regarding the transaction.

This data is then recorded, in chronological order and will join the next transaction ‘block’ on and on, forming the Blockchain. You see, every single transaction is recorded and will have a link to the previous transaction carried out before it, along with a timestamp detailing the date, time, and year of the transaction. It is basically a digital accounting leger, with the added bonus of being virtually 100% secure.

The benefits of Blockchain in accounting – Now that we’ve provided a brief overview of what Blockchain is, we’ll now look at some key ways in which Blockchain tech can benefit the accounting industry:

Blockchain is incredibly secure – First and foremost, when it comes to accounting, Blockchain instantly proves its worth because of its security. You see, as all entries into this ‘ledger’ are sealed cryptographically and distributed, it will be virtually impossible for an individual to falsify them, or destroy them. This means that, when it comes to business accounts, Blockchain makes it virtually impossible for an individual to commit, or suffer from, fraud.

Blockchain will automate the auditing process – When it comes to accounting, auditing is, by far, the most time-consuming and complex part of the job. By implementing Blockchain technology; however, auditors would be able to automatically verify the most important data behind a business’ financial statements. This basically means that a great deal of time would be saved on performing the audit, not to mention the fact that costs would also reduce as well.

Blockchain is traceable – Another great thing about the Blockchain is that it provides audit trails which are fully traceable. As mentioned, every single transaction utilized via a form of cryptocurrency will be stored on, and will become a part of, the Blockchain itself. Not only that, but there will also be a clear timestamp for that particular transaction, which again, would help speed things up and would simplify things greatly.

Check out this insightful infographic by GetApp:

Infographic: https://lab.getapp.com/the-future-of-accounting-software-infographic/ 

Cover image: Storyblocks

Quick Tips for e-Commerce Accounting

As a freelancer/business owner, you will obviously want to ensure that your life is made as easy as it can possibly be. If you offer products/services online via e-commerce, you won’t need any explanations on just how complex and time-consuming it can be to get everything in order. Every day there are new skills you should master, and new tasks you must do, and many entrepreneurs, unfortunately, struggle to keep up.

In terms of importance, however, you simply cannot afford to underestimate the importance of good accounting. Good accounting in an e-commerce environment not only makes life easier, it can also save you money and potentially help you to avoid legal issues as well.

If you thought accounting was simply a case of saving a few receipts and printing out your bank statements every few months, you’re in for a very rude awakening indeed. Here’s a look at a few quick tips for e-commerce accounting.

Hire an accountant

Remember, your books and accounts are incredibly important and you simply cannot afford to make any mistakes. If you’re late to submit your books, you will face penalty fines, and if you submit data which is deemed incorrect, you could be audited and may be investigated. This means you could face potential criminal charges if there is a reason to believe you have deliberately submitted false information to commit fraud.

Nobody wants these worries in their life, which is why you should hire an accountant to do your finances for you. Accountants use the latest accounting software, they know exactly what they’re doing, they help organize everything so it is simple to understand, plus they do most of the work for you. This leaves you free to carry on running your online store, without having to worry about sorting your finances or organizing your books.

Purchase accounting software

We mentioned how accountants utilize the latest accounting software to hit the markets, and there is a good reason for this. Accounting software, just like SlickPie, is very useful because it organizes incomings and outgoings, it helps manage the invoicing process, it helps you store receipts and access them when needed, plus it allows you to send and receive money in the currency of your choosing.

Whether you hire an accountant or not, you should still consider looking into the possibility of purchasing SlickPie, or similar pieces of accounting software because it helps make your life so much easier. In business, time is money, so the more time you can save, the more money you can potentially be making.

Always factor in small costs

A lot of e-commerce site owners make the pricey mistake of failing to factor in small costs when tallying up their expenses. To them, a few bucks on stationary now and then is not worth worrying about, but they’re wrong. In reality, all costs should be factored in and tallied up, no matter how insignificant they may be.

Remember, every little bit of help and it all adds up over time. Failing to declare small costs could potentially end up costing you big, plus at the end of the year when you do your books, you could even claim these expenses back.

Keep an eye on your costs

Running your own business and website will eat away at a lot of your time, but you should always make sure you monitor your costs and keep an eye on them. Keep an eye on everything, work everything out, and make sure you monitor them closely.

Web hosting costs, for example, may increase year by year, and it can be easy to miss this as you will have so much else going on with your store. By keeping a close eye on your costs you know exactly how much you are spending, and you can potentially look into cheaper alternatives and ways of cutting back to help save money in the process.

Always save your invoices

The more clients you have, the more invoices you will be sending. Invoices, however, are very important from an accounting perspective because they serve as proof of financial transactions done via your business account. If you use paper invoices, make copies and file each one neatly and efficiently so you can refer back to them quickly at a later date if you have to.

Alternatively, again you may wish to consider SlickPie or similar pieces of accounting software. This software allows you to automatically send invoices, and file them digitally. This helps to get everything a lot more organized, plus you can access invoices which are years old, in a matter of seconds, rather than having to wade through pile after pile of paper.

Set a little money aside for taxes each month

As a business owner/freelancer, it is your responsibility to pay your own taxes. In life, as the saying goes ‘nothing is certain other than death and taxes’. Because of this, each month you should set aside some money ready for when you pay your taxes at the end of the financial year.

You will probably have a rough idea of how much tax you will need to pay, and if not, speak to a professional who will be able to advise you. From here, when you pay yourself, set aside a small amount of money each month, which can then be used to pay your taxes at the end of the year.

By setting a small amount aside each month, you won’t actually miss it all that much.

Work out your gross margins

As you run an e-commerce store, you will obviously be selling something online. This is where it pays to figure out the gross profit margins of your store. When you understand your gross margins, you have a better idea of how much profit you are making on each sale.

This is where you need to figure out the cost of your goods. The cost of goods represents how much you are spending on producing/purchasing these products, I.E labor, raw materials, packaging, advertising, transport, etc. Your gross margins represent how much you are making on each profit after all costs of producing the products have been taken into account.

Basically, you sell a product for $10, and it costs $6 to produce and ship that product, your gross margin on this product would be $4 after costs.

Image: GraphicStock

How Blockchain Can Benefit Your Business

If you want to give your business the best possible chance of succeeding, you need to ensure you get your finances and accounts in order. For some people, this is not too much of an issue. For others, it’s a very big problem.

Some people are naturally not all that great with numbers, which is where accounting software factors into the picture. Accounting software such as SlickPie is designed to make it much easier to balance your books and get your accounts in order for each financial year.

Some business owners also choose to hire professional accountants to make the process easier still. Lately, there has been a lot of talk about cryptocurrency and Blockchain.

To some of you, Blockchain may mean nothing, but don’t worry, because that’s where we come into the picture. Blockchain can benefit your business in a variety of different ways. Here’s a look at what it is and how it can help.

What is Blockchain?

Before we fill you in on just how amazing Blockchain can be for your business, first we need to let you know exactly what it is. Basically, Blockchain is best described as being a secure electronic ledger that is evenly distributed.

It helps connect together numerous parties in a secure and honest network and facilitates the transfer of information and assets. Initially, the Blockchain was created to help make Bitcoins legitimate forms of electronic currency.

After the financial crisis less than a decade ago, people began being far more careful with their money and began looking for safer and more secure alternatives to storing it in a bank. The Blockchain was a fantastic solution for numerous reasons. It functions by recording each digital transaction using cryptographic technology to store the details in a chain sequence.

Once a transaction has been stored in the chain, that it is, it is impossible to be duplicated or removed. Each computer on the network will hold this data so they will know exactly what was spent and when. As the Blockchain grows and more and more people make online transactions with it, the more secure it becomes.

How can Blockchain benefit your business?

So, as you’ve now been brought up to speed in regards to what the Blockchain is, here are a few ways in which it will benefit your business:

It’s very traceable 

One reason why Blockchain is so useful is that it enhances traceability. Being able to track goods in supply chains is very useful for business owners as they can trace where individual components may currently be. From here, info regarding these components is then relayed from, or to, the new owner so they know exactly where it has come from and where it has gone.

It’s efficient

Another reason why you should consider hopping on the Blockchain bandwagon is due to the fact that it has been proven to be so efficient. With each transaction completed, there is no intermediary and all info is digital.

This helps speed up the process and makes it that much more efficient. Making and settling transactions can be done in seconds, with no time wasting and no messing around.

Blockchain also allows users to utilize what is known as ‘smart contracts’. From here, commercial actions are automatically triggered based on the chosen criteria laid out in the contracts in the first place. If you’re looking to streamline your business, this is incredibly useful. It also helps you to cut costs and to save time as well.

Blockchain is incredibly secure

With cyber criminals now becoming more advanced than ever, it’s important to ensure that we take the necessary steps to protect our businesses, and indeed, the personal details of our clients in the process. This is where Blockchain really shines. You see, within the Blockchain, every single transaction that takes place is verified using highly sophisticated cryptography.

This means that users can authenticate transactions and ensure that they are genuine. Just to help show you just how secure the Blockchain is, currently many military organizations across the globe are actually using versions of Blockchain tech in the defense industry, to help ensure all data is safe and secure. If it is good enough for the nation’s military, Blockchain is certainly good enough for your business.

Great for feedback

In business, feedback is very important, and again, this is where Blockchain proves so useful. As mentioned, Blockchain tech allows users the ability to trace transactions, assets, and much more besides, every step of the way.

This means that manufacturers and designers alike can get an insight into how smoothly various processes are going and can, therefore, make any improvements if they’re required.

It looks good on paper

Finally, the last benefit associated with Blockchain technology for your business which we’ll be looking at today is the fact that it looks good on paper. If you tell your customers and potential investors that you are utilizing Blockchain technology as part of your business plan, this will help improve your reputation and it will help make you appear professional in the process.

The safer people feel with you, and the more professional you look, the more likely people will be to spend their hard-earned money with you. By investing in Blockchain technology, you can rest assured that people will take far more notice of you than they did in the past, simply because of how great Blockchain looks on paper.

So, that brings proceedings to a close. As you can see from the above, Blockchain can offer you a whole variety of benefits and can really help take your business to the next level. In terms of accounting software, Blockchain is certainly well worth looking into.




Image: GraphicStock

5 Secrets to Get Ahead in the Marketing World

The words “marketing and sales” are not interchangeable. Marketing is all about building relationships, and sales is about making money now. Marketing and sales can work together and complement each other nicely, but don’t make the mistake of thinking that they are one in the same. Let me explain.

Here are 5 secrets that top marketing experts don’t want you to know, and some practical advice to start implementing these secrets.

1) Focus on Building Relationships Instead of Trying to Sell

The More You Push, The Further They Run

When people shop, they are looking for to buy from someone they can trust, because there is so much competition out there. The competition has always been there, but thanks to the internet, anyone can find any business’s website and see what they’re all about.

If a potential customer sees that you care more about helping them solve their problem than trying to make a sale, they will bring in a sale for you. They may not buy right away, but they may come back later after remembering how much free advice you give away on your blog or YouTube channel. Or they may never buy from you, but they’ll at least spread the word of how awesome you are to their closest friends and family, which is the ultimate source of trust.

For another practical tip, try sending out emails to your subscriber list that doesn’t ask them for anything. Maybe just share something you learned that will resonate with your audience, or even just tell them about your day. The more personal, the better.

The best way to send mass email campaigns that look personal and not promotional is with GMass.

2) Understand Where the Attention is Located

Utilize Social Media and Optimize Your Website to Boost Sales

What’s the first thing people do when they’re watching a show and a commercial comes on? Whip out their phones! People are on their phones all the time, even when they shouldn’t be.

Go ahead and cry about how awful it is that people are on their phones 24/7. That’s not going to change anything. How about instead you use it to your advantage?

Use social media tools like hootsuite and buffer to set daily posts once a week. Learn how to run Instagram and Facebook ad campaigns to target specific audiences.

Use Webflow to make your website mobile-friendly and responsive across all devices. Implement Inspectlet to get a first-hand understanding of how visitors use your website.

Check out these tools as well to learn more about leveraging the attention. Digital marketing is moving fast. Can you keep up?
3) Inbound is Greater than Interruption

Connect with People Searching for YOU Instead of Interrupting Everyone

Be honest with me, how annoyed and frustrated do you get when you get interrupted by a pop-up ad? Or how many times have you actually clicked on a banner ad that had nothing to do with what you were reading about on the internet? Interruption marketing is more than just TV and radio commercials.

Inbound marketing is finding the people that are looking for you, whereas interruption marketing is getting your product or brand name ingrained into people’s heads. It’s the reason why big brands are obsessed with catchy jingles and memorable tag lines.

So why is inbound better?

Simple. It’s because there are people out there looking for YOU right now. They have a problem or want that only you have the solution to.

Spend your marketing dollars on learning how to rank in Google when people search relevant keywords instead of spending it on your first radio, TV, or pop-up ad.

Just because all of the large brands are spending millions on producing TV commercials does not mean that should be your goals as well. Times change. Don’t be like the people who get stuck doing something one way because that’s how it’s always been.

4) Grab Attention with Headlines

Come on, Nobody REALLY Reads Every Word

Most people are scanning the headlines and reading only the sections that apply to them. And even then, they usually only read the first couple sentences and move on, unless your content is incredibly engaging.

Make sure your headlines are clear, convincing, and edgy. After reading your headline and subheadline, the reader should know exactly what to expect in the article, blog section, or video.

Here’s more practical advice for you.
5) Know Your Audience

Don’t Try to Sell to Everybody

The more you know about your ideal customer the better.

Try picturing one specific person that your product or service is perfect for. What motivates him? What are his interests? What does he wear? How does he spend his time? When you start thinking like you’re selling to one individual instead of a group, you can attract a more specific audience that is likely to purchase from you many times, instead of trying to appeal to EVERYONE. You can start to be more detailed and unique with your words as well, versus saying generic phrases that everyone’s heard before.

Marketing is Always Changing

I’m pleased to see that marketing is turning towards giving and cultivating personal relationships. The days of interrupting people’s time to push YOUR agenda are over. Focus on long-term relationships, not short-term sales.

What has worked for your marketing strategies in the past? I’m always eager to learn more.

Drew Klebine: Content Marketer, Tech Writer, Philosopher, Musician

Drew Klebine is a Content Marketer, Tech Writer, Philosopher, and Musician from Pittsburgh, PA. His writings focus on modern marketing practices, software reviews, upcoming technologies, brand and product promotion, health, self-actualization, religion, and existential philosophy.

Lead writer and co-owner of uxax.org, where we help you understand the integration of user experience and analytics to power an amazing product.


What Is Blockchain Technology?

Blockchain technology was originally created for a unique cryptocurrency called Bitcoin made by either a person or a collection of different people who is under the pseudonym, Satoshi Nakamoto.  They invented Blockchain as a base for their main creation Bitcoin, as that was the only way it would work. Who would’ve thought that his platform would be the one that is changing the game.

Just like everything else in the world, people have taken Blockchain and adapted it for more advanced and other uses, and it is now one of the most modern technology yet. Now, let’s get to what you really came here for; what is Blockchain technology?

A Blockchain is a log for all the transaction records inputted during a specific amount of time. It is made up of small blocks that has each transaction that occurred during that time as well as a HASH, which is essentially an identification code to differentiate every block.

Each block has a code because there is a limited amount of space in every one, so once filled it will move on to the next which is connected to it; hence the name Blockchain which refers to the chain of boxes linked together.

One of the best things about Blockchain is that it is decentralized, which means that there is no specific controller and all are individual. Because of that, if someone tries to hack into it, their block will be very different from the many others because they are all verified for legitimacy from the beginning.

All the blocks need to have a unanimity in the data, so when the hacker’s block shows up as different, it will be rejected and thrown out; this all makes Blockchain quite secure and durable against cyber attacks. The public also has the ability to go through any of the records to verify it themselves, which makes it very user friendly and also leaves an accessible paper trail which could help in auditability as there is the entire history of each transaction stored.

As mentioned previously, Bitcoin was the original use for Blockchain, but as the world keeps changing, so does its uses. Many people also use it for other important things such as stocks and bonds, voting, medical records, contracts and so many other valuable records one might need safe and secure.

Blockchain eliminates the use of a trusted third party (think of banks, accountants/ accounting software, the government, etc) so the users can exchange information directly between them which saves both time and money. There have been a few Blockchain tests against major Japan banks to determine if it really is faster and more efficient than wire transferring.

The answers is yes, it is. It did a good amount more transactions per second than the inter bank wire system did with a difference of doing only 14 transactions per Blockchains’ 15. There are still some flaws and weaknesses in this program unsurprisingly, such as the costs and energy consumption.

Overall, Blockchain is a highly developed technology that is being improved with each passing day and is reasonably believed to go in huge demand during the upcoming years.




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5 Success Lessons to Learn from J.K. Rowling

J.K. Rowling is one the most famous authors in history, closely behind William Shakespeare and Charles Dickens, and for obvious reasons. Not only has she wrote the award winning and exceptional Harry Potter series, she has also been a leader on guiding people to success with her own experiences. Here are 5 brilliant lessons that we could all learn from this remarkable author.

Stay Humble

As a wise man with the name of Kendrick Lamar once said, “Sit down, be humble.”, it looks like J.K. Rowling took it to heart, with good reason. There are many times when people who succeed in something, boast about it with their ego inflaming with every word they say. Of course it is understandable to be proud of an achievement, but there are certain limits.

Success can come easier to some people than other, and those who have it early on should be empathetic to other people. It is easy to get discouraged, especially when you see other people doing better than you, but everything takes times with the right amount of dedication and work that you put into it.

Staying humble is very important if you want to be successful because success is temporary. No one is perfect and it will take hard work to get it again. if for example, you bragged to everyone about how got a promotion and rubbed it into everyone’s faces, hardly anyone will want to help you reach even more.

A humble person like J.K. Rowling also has a higher chance of influencing people because of their good nature. She has vocally expressed her opinions (in a positive manner), donated a lot of her well earned wealth to charities, and she stands up for people in need. I don’t know about you, but I for one want to be like her.

Imagination Is Everything

As we get older, we are forced to stop daydreaming and to start thinking logically. Imagination is something for children anyways, right?

Not really. Imagination is something that every single person should have, especially when they want to succeed. I mean anybody can come up with a generic solution to their problems whether it be business related, or in their personal life, but a creative twist can really change the game for some things.

As Rowling herself said “Imagination is not only the uniquely human capacity to envision that which is not and therefore the fount of all invention…we have the power to imagine better.”, she clearly understands and states how our unique thoughts and perceptions could essentially change our lives.

Even If You Have a Job, Keep Chasing Your Dreams

Rowling had a job teaching at schools, but spent a majority of her spare time writing her first novel of the series, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. She was a single mother who was in poverty and did all she could to survive.

Writing has always been her passion; she finished her first book when she was just 6 years old (while many kids are learning how to read at this age). She always had a dream that she would be a published author when she is older, and with continuous hard work and dedication, it came true.

Not everyone can turn their hobby/passion, into a full time career. For her, it took ages to get where she is, and even then it wouldn’t happen top everyone. The main idea of this is to continue perusing your passion, but also work at a job that interests you. Why waste your life doing something that bores you to death when you could be doing literally anything else. You could even design your own free online accounting software for small businesses *wink*.

I’m not saying quit your day job to make a career in sewing, but continue doing it on the side unless you can make a legit income from it. In the meantime, you should still find a job that you wouldn’t mind waking up early in the morning to go to.

Take Responsibility 

Your life is your own and when you finally understand that, you will be so much better. Everyone has experiences when they were younger that shaped them into who they are, but you have a choice as you get older, to make your own mold.

“I do not blame my parents…there is an expiry date for blaming your parents for steering you in the wrong direction. I discovered that I had a strong will and more discipline than I had suspected.” – J.K. Rowling. Whoever we were surrounded by and grew up around when we were kids are the ones who nurture us into what they want.

The day you realize you don’t have to be what they expect of you and find out what YOU want, is your first step to success. Developing as a person is just as important as anything else, if not more. You are going to be the one who let’s your environment and thoughts influence you decisions in the future.

Never Give Up

The most cliche lesson that everyone gives, yet the least followed; NEVER GIVE UP. As I mentioned earlier, Rowling landed on rock bottom before she started going to the top. Even when you think that nothing is going right and then universe is going against you, just know that like success, failure is temporary. Everyone has to fail, how else will we learn from our mistakes and get better?

It is a very famous fact that her first book was sent to 12 different publishers before Bloomsbury accepted her. Imagine getting rejected 12 times, I’m sure a lot of you would’ve felt defeated and probably given up by then (I know I would) but she is living proof that pushing through, even when all the odds seem against your favor, can lead to success.

Not everything will work out for the best though, but I certainly know that I would rather die knowing I tried hardest as I could, than giving up halfway wondering what could’ve been.




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5 Things to Make and Sell From Home

Whether you’re looking to making a quick few bucks or practice a new hobby, there are a lot of things you can make and sell from home. I’m going to be talking about five of the most popular, creative, and practical items you could profit from.

  1. Bath supplies

Bath bombs, salts, and soaps are prime examples of the kind of stuff people crave for today. There is a certain aesthetic that comes along with it; I mean did you really take an enjoyable bath if you don’t have a video of it fizzing in the water on your story, for proof?

It is relatively easy as well as cheap to make your own, especially if you do it in bulk; then you would have enough to sell online too for a quick profit. Safety comes first so don’t use ingredients that you yourself wouldn’t feel comfortable in, for other people.

  1. Jewelry

Jewelry is an item that people have been wearing for thousands of years, and it’s here to stay. Coming up with creative pieces is sure to get attention, especially if it is affordable. If you have a knack for designing, this may work well for you as long as you stay unique with your creations.

Make sure you think of the service when you do this and avoid using excessively cheap and bad material if you can, as the customer may not be happy if the final product isn’t up to its standards,

  1. Baked Goods and Candy

Everybody likes a good homemade cookie every now and then and there are many people who go online to search for their food for various reasons. If you enjoy baking or candy making, an original and creative product could help you gain “dough” for your wallet.

Of course, you need to be careful of the kind of ingredients you’re using and the packaging, assuming you would be shipping it to other places; write the ingredients on the label including other important information, as well as use stuff safe for long periods of time so it doesn’t spoil.

  1. Clothes

Clothes always have been and will continue to be one of the most popular item bought online. From designing your own shirts to jeans to socks and shoes, there is always someone out there who will love your product which means there is a relatively high demand for clothing all the times.

The price to make them may vary, but it’s your choice on how to price it. Keep in mind the price ranges of the people you are aiming to sell to as well so you make a healthy profit.

  1. Candles

Candles are either very expensive or bad quality, and this is where you come in. Thankfully they are quite easy to make where you can also put your own twist on things; add glitter, scents or a secret item in the inside. People will love the creativity of it and hopefully, the affordability.

Candles supplies are cheap but if you do make them, make sure you use precaution with other people’s safety in mind. Packaging, service, ingredients, and pricing are other factors you need to take into consideration as well.



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Do I Need Accounting Software?

If you’re reading this article, you’re probably asking yourself the question of ‘Do I need accounting software’?

Well, to be perfectly blunt, yes you do. That was easy, wasn’t it?

What’s that, you want to learn more about accounting software? Okay, fine, don’t worry, we’ll bring you up to speed.

Whether you freelance, or if you’re a large or small business owner, one of the biggest drains on your time and your resources, will be trying to tackle your finances yourself. Each year you will need to ensure that you have submitted your annual accounts, and failing to do so on time will result in a fine, and possibly even legal action as well.

Rather than spending endless hours tackling your books yourself, you may instead wish to consider investing in accounting software such as SlickPie. To help emphasize just how beneficial this software can be, below you’ll find an outline listing some of the main advantages users of this particular type of software can commonly benefit from.

Very cost-effective

Firstly, we’ll begin by focussing on the financial side of things, particularly in regards of just how much money accounting software can potentially save for you and your business.

You see, in the business world, time is money, and for every second you spend on trying to organize your accounts, get your receipts and books in order, and send out individual invoices to your clients, you are potentially losing money.

With accounting software, the software itself is incredibly cost-effective because not only is it cheap to purchase, you will also save a great deal of money further down the line. This is due to the fact that the software will help you save money in tax rebates and expenses, plus it means that you don’t have to employ accountants and bookkeepers, as it does everything for you.

The software will pay for itself in a matter of weeks when you consider how much money you will save, so if you’re looking for a great ROI, accounting software is perfect.

Improves accuracy

As meticulous and skillful with numbers as you, or your bookkeeper may be, human error is always a factor and is always a concern when it comes to dealing with your accounts. All it takes is one wrong calculation, one mistake, one slip of the pen, and your accounts could potentially be ruined, meaning that you would need to start over.

With accounting software, however, accuracy is guaranteed as it will carry out pretty much all of the calculations for you, eliminating the risks associated with human error. As calculations are performed automatically, you needn’t worry about trying to do them yourself, meaning you needn’t worry about getting them wrong.

Saves so much time

Time is a commodity that very few freelancers and business experts can afford, so if you can save time and still do your job as normal, you should do exactly that. Another tick in the box for going with accounting software is the fact that purchasing it will help save you so much time in the workplace.

The software does the jobs of multiple workers, with you barely needing to lift a finger. It helps you to manage receipts, you can organize important documents, you can find exactly what you need in seconds, you can track your finances, and you can even automatically invoice and bill your clients, and send reminders for late payments.

Yes, one humble piece of software can do all of this, and much more besides, leaving you with more free time on your hands so you can focus your attention on other aspects of your business.

In-depth analysis

As these are your finances you’re dealing with, obviously, you will want to know exactly what is going on with your accounts, and again, this is where this software is perfect. Accounting software is basically just like having your very own in-house accountant and financial advisor, with the added bonus of being able to pretty much guarantee that neither of them will ever make any mistakes or let you down.

You can benefit from fully customized reports which will give you an in-depth analysis of every aspect of your accounts and a general overview of your business in general. The data will be presented in a variety of different ways, particularly through things such as graphs, charts, tables, and percentages.

Having the ability to clearly see these numbers in black and white means that you can enjoy an in-depth analysis of your books so you can maintain complete control and you will constantly be kept in the loop.

Very secure

Let’s face it, these are your accounts we’re talking about here, so of course, you will want to ensure that everything is as safe and as secure as it can possibly be. Here we’re talking about your personal banking details, business banking details, possible employee info, customer info, and much more besides.

Obviously, you won’t want this information falling into the wrong hands, and with software such as SlickPie, you needn’t worry one tiny bit. Many leading brands of accounting software make security one of their main priorities, making it virtually impossible for cyber criminals to gain access to the info you don’t want them to have access to.

Never miss payments

Believe it or not, but there are freelancers and business owners out there who are not actually receiving the money that is owed to them, for various reasons, and this is not fair.

Whether it’s due to an unpaid invoice, a breakdown in communication, or a simple case of the freelancer/business owner being so busy that they forgot what was owed to them, people are losing money which they’re legally entitled to, and that is such a shame.

Accounting software helps to eliminate the risk of this happening because it keeps finances well organized so you can track who has paid you what, and when, plus it makes invoicing clients, and sending late payment reminders, a whole lot easier as well.










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