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.

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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

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.

 

 

 

Image: GraphicStock

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.

 

 

 

Image: GraphicStock

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.

 

 

Image: GraphicStock

5 Tips on How to Start a Business

Starting a business is not something you can easily do like reading a book or cooking an omelet; it takes time, effort, dedication, and planning. Much like raising a child, starting a business needs care and attention from the start to grow up into something successful. Here are 5 tips to help get you started on the right path.

Create a simple plan

With your business just starting off, it’s easy to get caught up in the moment and plan every little detail such as the colors of your new chairs and your website aesthetic. Before you go in depth, make sure you have a basic outline which outlines your goals, objectives, and strategies to make them happen.

Don’t go too deep into it yet as you may not have the time and resources to follow through with everything you put down, which is why it’s important to highlight the key components of your business.

Set a realistic budget

When creating a budget, you need to take into consideration how much is your income, and how much are your expenses. With those two factors in mind, then it makes it easier to find a better, realistic way to keep your finances in check.

A good way to see what your budget would be is to plan it out; write down all your expenses and write down how much it would take away from your income. With that, then you have an idea of how much you generally would need to spend.

Keep an eye on you savings account

Saving money in a business is just as important as spending it. Although spending your money on expenses and liabilities is essential to survive, you would also need to save it to thrive. In general, you would need some money left for miscellaneous things such as a spur of the moment computer or money for a new AC.

When starting your business, try not to spend as much for stuff like that because there is a high chance that you wouldn’t quite be making a profit yet, so it’s important to have as much backup as possible put in the savings account!

Make a neat website

Over 80% of the population in America has an internet connection. That means that more than two hundred million people may be able to see your website and business which means more potential customers.

It is important when starting a business that you have a website for future clients and consumers have access to your product, whatever it is. You will be able to reach out beyond your physical abilities and meet more people who may need whatever you’re selling. A website is an essential tool where you can showcase your product, goals, and yourself.

Reach your audience out

When starting off, it is highly unlikely you will have a huge army of consumers who are helping you make an immense profit right away. It is also highly unlikely you will have excess money for robust advertising and marketing as well, which brings us to our last point; reach your audience out.

There are many home marketing ways to which you can put yourself out there without spending too much such as putting up flyers around your local area, writing on business blog posts about your business and potentially asking other bloggers to write about you.

All these small things will build up and help you gain more profit and recognition, which you can, later on, ameliorate when you have enough money, time and resources.

Now start putting these tips into practice today and launch your own business! Good luck!

 

 

Image: GraphicStock