Small Business Tips for Beginners

Running a business is not easy, in fact, to say it isn’t easy would be like saying that strong theory is not easy.

In other words, it would be a vast understatement. Statistically, it takes roughly two years to build a business, with many new ventures sadly going under in their very first year.

Now, you’re probably reading this and are feeling pretty disheartened, but don’t worry, because it could get much better.

You see, nothing in life worth having comes easy, but if you are willing to put in the work, and to continue to acquire knowledge and various other life and business skills in the process, there is no reason why your new business venture, large or small, should fail.

The good news doesn’t stop there either; we’ll also be sharing a series of useful tips for small business owners in this very article.

Take a look at the tips listed on this page, and ideally try to implement as many of them as possible in your own business strategy.

Have passion for what you’re doing

 Remember, starting and running a business is not the same as simply getting a new job. A lot of people out there are stuck working in jobs they don’t particularly enjoy, and truthfully, they simply turn up for the money, go through the motions, and leave. Running a small

A lot of people out there are stuck working in jobs they don’t particularly enjoy, and truthfully, they simply turn up for the money, go through the motions, and leave. Running a small

Running a small business, however, is a whole other story entirely. If you wish to make your business a success, you must be passionate about what you are doing in the first place.

When you’re passionate about something, you will dig a little bit deeper and work a little bit harder.

When you’re passionate about something, it really shows, which means your customers are far more likely to be very impressed with what you’re offering.

A lot of your free time will be devoted to your new business, and truthfully if you aren’t dedicated to it, you probably shouldn’t even be bothering.

If you’re passionate about something, you can make a success out of pretty much anything, so don’t just chase the money, listen to your head and your heart when deciding on what your business will specialize in.

Make sure you have an income rolling in beforehand

Like most things in life, you need money to start a business, and if you don’t have a regular income coming in, you will struggle to get up and running.

Remember, it takes a lot of time to get a new business off the ground, and even if you are a small business with low overheads, it will still be a long time before you see a regular income rolling in, and before you begin turning over a profit.

Without money, how can you live in the meantime? A lot of people when starting a new business will continue to work a day job to earn money and will devote any spare time they have to their business. We told you it wouldn’t be easy, but if you do still have money coming in, you will relieve a tiny bit of pressure as you won’t have to worry about how you’re going to pay your

A lot of people when starting a new business will continue to work a day job to earn money and will devote any spare time they have to their business. We told you it wouldn’t be easy, but if you do still have money coming in, you will relieve a tiny bit of pressure as you won’t have to worry about how you’re going to pay your

We told you it wouldn’t be easy, but if you do still have money coming in, you will relieve a tiny bit of pressure as you won’t have to worry about how you’re going to pay your bills or buy your food.

Hire an accountant to look over your books

When people start new businesses, obviously, as they aren’t making all that much money to begin with, they look for ways of saving money and cutting back on expenses.

A lot of business owners will therefore try to do their books and their accounts themselves, but that is not ideal.

To begin with, you will have enough on your plate without having to worry about balancing your books, doing your taxes, claiming expenses, and so on.

To make things easier, hire an accountant to look over your books and do to your accounts for you each year.

Accountants make use of accounting software to make the process much easier and much more efficient, plus they have a lot of experience and know exactly what they’re doing.

If you are adamant that you don’t yet need an accountant, at least consider investing in accounting software such as the highly popular SlickPie, which will help make your life so much easier in the long run.

Make your clients your number one priority

This really should be classed as good business sense anyways, yet you’d be surprised by just how many businesses, large and small, actually fail to see the potential in treating their customers well.

It doesn’t matter which products or services you are offering, with each order you take, make sure you focus on doing everything in your power to make your customer as happy and satisfied as possible.

If dealing with them directly, smile, be polite, and treat them with respect. Even if you’re dealing with them online, or over the phone, always treat them well, and make sure you focus on giving them exactly what they want.

There are numerous benefits to this: not only will a happy customer be far more likely to return and become a regular customer, but on top of that, they will also recommend you to others, and perhaps even leave a positive review for you.

Always be as professional as possible

No matter how small you consider your business to be, the thing to remember here is that you are still a business, and as such, you need to be professional.

If you’re working solely online, make sure you have a professional website created, with relevant contact info and any other useful info which your clients may find useful.

If you deal with the general public, make sure your office is clean and tidy, and make sure you and any employees you may have, are dressed smartly in the process.

Business cards also help you to give off a professional vibe, and as you probably know, in the business world ‘perception is reality’.

Also, don’t forget the small things like answering the telephone.

Rather than simply answering with a basic ‘hello’ instead, try something along the lines of ‘good morning/afternoon, *name of business*, *your name* speaking, how may I help you’?

 

 

 

 

 

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How to Track and Reduce Expenses

In business, primarily, your number one goal is to make as much money as you can.

Secondly, however, you will also want to look into what can be done to reduce your business expenses, because obviously, unnecessary spending is the last thing any business needs.

To help strengthen the bottom line of your business, reducing your expenses can be just as important as bringing in as many sales as possible, but herein lies a problem.

You see, in business, some expenses are unavoidable, and some are extremely necessary.

After all, as the saying goes you have to spend money to make money. So how do you reduce unnecessary spending?

Well, first you need to track your expenses and get a detailed breakdown of exactly where your money is going.

Once you’ve identified this, you can then look into cutting back on expenses that are not required.

Initially, it may be a little time consuming, and it may only save you a little bit here and a little bit there, but small amounts do quickly add up to larger amounts.

If you’re looking to keep tabs on your expenses, here’s a look at a few ways of tracking and reducing your monthly expenses.

Tracking your expenses

To begin with, we’ll start off by looking at what you can do to track your expenses so you can get a better idea of exactly where your money is going, and at whether or not you could cut back and make some savings.

A few tips for tracking your expenses include:

Always read your account statements

Your monthly accounts are very important, and to help ensure you know where your money is going, try to take an inventory of all business accounts, and be sure to read them thoroughly on a regular basis.

You don’t need to do this every day, but try to go through everything at least once per week.

When you get into the habit of reading your statements, you will get a sense of where your money is going, and roughly when.

Eventually, you should be so familiar with your accounts that you’ll have pretty much memorized all of your regular expenses anyways.

If you are too busy, you can always have an accountant go through your accounts for you.

Make categories for all expenses

Again, this may sound like a lot of work, but once it’s done, life will be much easier, plus you can always have your accountant handle this for you.

Go through your accounts and categorize all expenses, I.E food and drinks, travel, utilities, loan repayments, etc.

By doing this you can look at each category individually, and can help pinpoint where your cash is going.

For example, if you’re paying X amount of money on stationary, you could look into different stationary stores and see if they have what you need, but for less money.

Even if it’s only a small saving, these small savings quickly add up.

Use accounting software

Account software such as SlickPie, is incredibly useful for tracking your business expenses, and best of all, it’s very user-friendly as well.

Accounting software can allow you to create spreadsheets for tracking your expenses, plus it will allow you to do more complex processes such as importing transactions from your bank, and so on.

Many accountants use SlickPie and other similar forms of accounting software to help their clients manage their expenses, and the results speak for themselves.

Reducing your expenses

Now that we’ve looked at how you can track your expenses, let’s focus on the good stuff and look at how you can reduce your expenses and save yourself more money.

A few proven strategies for actively reducing business expenses include the following:

Look into cheaper alternatives

This may sound painfully obvious, but it’s so important that we just have to get it out of the way.

If you’re looking to reduce your expenses, then look at what you can do to purchase whatever it is that you need for your business, but for less.

Monthly internet providers and phone contracts, for example, can all be negotiated and there are always great deals to be had.

If you’re spending too much on your phone bill, look into other providers and see if they can give you what you need, but for less. The same goes for stationary, for food, for

The same goes for stationary, for food, for drink, and pretty much anything else as well. It does take time, but if you spending a few additional hours on a Saturday morning, renegotiating your phone and internet contracts, well then in most people’s minds that would be money well spent.

It does take time, but if you spending a few additional hours on a Saturday morning, renegotiating your phone and internet contracts, well then in most people’s minds that would be money well spent.

Purchase items instead of rent

This will obviously all depend on the nature of your business, but if you are renting equipment or anything else for that matter, look into purchasing these items rather than renting them. Company

Company cars, for example, could be purchased instead of being rented, because overall, you will end up spending less money in the long run.

This is important because eventually, thanks to depreciation, your accountant should be able to sort you out some pretty lucrative tax benefits.

Negotiate lower credit card rates

As a small business owner, your credit card is going to be a very valuable tool to have at your disposal.

Your credit card will be used for travel expenses, for any minor business purchases, and for working capital.

Now, if you’re paying, say, 17.5%, look for a credit card which offers 0% on transfers and purchases for a prolonged period of time.

By doing this you can gradually pay off your credit card debts, without paying the banks heavy interest in the process.

Paying interest is something we should all resent because we are literally paying for nothing, as we still have to pay off our debts, plus extra just for the banks.

If you can’t find a credit card offering 0%, try to get the debt paid off as quickly as you can.

 

 

 

 

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5 Tips to Improve Your Productivity as a Freelancer

Working as a freelancer can be incredibly rewarding, yet there are a series of common misconceptions associated with freelancers that perhaps conjure up negative connotations.

You see, those stuck in dead-end jobs often dream about working as a freelancer, and what dreams they have.

In their minds they are their own boss, they answer to nobody, they set the rules, and each and every single job they take on fills them with a sense of reward and feelings of happiness and contentment.

Now, in a sense, this can indeed be true to a point, but life as a freelancer is certainly not how you would imagine it.

If you want to make it as a successful freelancer, it doesn’t matter which services you offer, if you aren’t willing to put the work in, you may as well quit right now.

As freelancers, we will all have days where we seemingly can’t get motivated, no matter how hard we try and before we know it we’ve wasted the entire day with an impending deadline fast approaching like a speeding freight train.

If your get up and go has got up and gone, here are some tips proven to improve your productivity as a freelancer.

Stop working in your pajamas

We’ve all done it, and don’t try to say you haven’t because we don’t believe you. At some point whilst working as a freelancer, we’ve all worked in our

At some point whilst working as a freelancer, we’ve all worked in our pajamas, perhaps on more than one occasion. This

This is, of course, one of the main perks of working from home, and truthfully every now and then you can treat yourself if you’d like.

Generally speaking though, you should treat a day of work at home like you would a day of work in the office.

You wouldn’t go to the office in your pajamas or dressing gown, so don’t wear them at home while working. If you constantly work in

If you constantly work in your pajamas without getting dressed, there’s a small part of your mind that will hold you back and stop you getting into the frame of mind of a seasoned freelance professional.

Before you begin work for the day, have your breakfast, brush your teeth, have a shower, and get dressed.

You will now be in a much better frame of mind and subsequently, you will almost certainly get more done.

Set your working hours and stick to them

Working as a freelancer does give you freedom in a sense, but if you think you can just do a few hours here, and a few hours there, and still earn a full-time wage, well, you’re in for quite a shock.

As a freelancer, you decide which hours and days you work, but you sure as heck better make sure that you stick to them. Again, if you worked for somebody else, you wouldn’t just get up and leave the office whenever you

Again, if you worked for somebody else, you wouldn’t just get up and leave the office whenever you like, as this would quickly result in the boss firing you. If you work as a freelancer you need to create a working schedule and stick to it from week to week. Typically most freelancers will work a typical 9 -5 Mon – Fri, but again, this is all down to you. If you are supposed to be starting work at

If you work as a freelancer you need to create a working schedule and stick to it from week to week. Typically most freelancers will work a typical 9 -5 Mon – Fri, but again, this is all down to you. If you are supposed to be starting work at

If you are supposed to be starting work at 9 am, you must ensure you’re ready to go at 9 am, not 9:15, not 9:20, but 9 am on the dot.

Eventually, you will get into a routine and once in a routine, your productivity rates will sky-rocket.

Take breaks and don’t skip lunch

A lot of freelancers out there are actually guilty of working too much and not giving themselves regular breaks throughout the day.

In their minds, if they work harder and have fewer breaks, they’ll get their daily quota of work completed quicker, and can maybe clock off a little earlier as a result.

In reality, you need to give your mind and your body a little break in between tasks to avoid burnout and to keep yourself sharp and productive.

You also need to ensure you’ve eaten, as food will help stimulate your mind and your body so your mind won’t wander due to hunger pains and a lack of energy.

Numerous studies have proven that people who take small breaks throughout the day will get more done and subsequently will become more productive as a result.

Give yourself a good hour for lunch each day, and perhaps stretch your legs and go for a short walk around the garden every three hours or so.

Once you return to your office, you should be more focussed, which means you should be more productive and should get more done.

Use tools and software designed to help organize your accounts

Ask any freelancer which task they dread doing the most each year, and virtually all of them will tell you that they dread doing their books and accounts for the financial year.

If this applies to you, why not make use of professional accounting software such as SlickPie, and see just how easy it will make things for you.

If you choose to submit your taxes yourself, accounting software like SlickPie is ideal, though many freelancers hire professional accounting services and have an accountant handle their books for them.

Accounting software will also allow you to automatically send invoices and reminders to clients, to organize payments and create spreadsheets, and much more besides.

If your productivity levels are wavering because you’re too busy trying to juggle your freelance responsibilities whilst trying to be your own accountant in the process, SlickPie accounting software is ideal.

Focus on one job at a time

Most freelancers will have multiple projects on the go at once, and if you’ve got multiple clients to serve, make sure you focus on one job at a time.

Rather than doing a little bit here and a little bit there, draw up a list of jobs in terms of priority and importance and complete them one at a time, ticking each one off as you go.

By focussing on one job at a time you can commit yourself 100% to one project at a time, which again, means your productivity levels will increase as a result.

You will also get a great sense of achievement when you can see each job being ticked off of your list.

 

 

 

 

 

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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!

 

 

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Must Have Tools for Small Businesses

In the business world, only the strong survive and if you’re a small business owner you may find it tougher than ever to make your business stand out amongst the rest.

Of course, all businesses have to begin somewhere, but one thing we can all agree on is the fact that starting a new business is tough.

Starting a new business is tough, there’s no escaping that, but if you know what you’re doing and have access to the right tools and software, everything will run a heck of a lot smoother.

To help ensure you get your business off on the right foot, here’s a look at some of the most vital must have tools for small businesses.

SlickPie

Accounting software for small businesses is vital, yet finding a reliable piece can be troublesome. For small businesses with slightly more basic accounting needs, SlickPie Free Accounting Software is perfect.

It has many accounting tools one would need, all condensed into simple to use program.  With SlickPie, users have a variety of different features that will aid them in in the process as well as save a great deal of time.

There is also a bonus feature that is exclusive to SlickPie, MagicBot, in which a business owner can save hours of work by taking a simple photo that the program will decipher and digitalize itself.

Google Analytics

Up first we have perhaps the most important tool of all; Google Analytics. Google Analytics is a user-friendly statistics tool for businesses that helps break down the online side of things in regards to your business.

With Google Analytics, users can view percentage differences in traffic drivers, they can see which parts of the world their site has been viewed, they can view key numbers, and so much more, all broken down clearly in a series of graphs and charts so you can get a general overview of your website as a whole.

For example, you can see how many hits your site has received on a specific day, plus you can see where they came from. If you want a general overview of your website, Google Analytics is perfect for you.

Dropbox

For small business owners, DropBox is essential, especially if you are trying to juggle multiple things at once. With DropBox, users can link up virtually between any and all devices connected to the internet, making it perfect for small business owners that are constantly on the go.

Based in the cloud, DropBox allows users to save documents, images, video clips, and more, all onto their specially designed DropBox account, on whichever device they like.

What’s more, not only can they save their things from wherever they like, they can also access them from wherever they want. Also, it is possible to share files and documents with other users, in a matter of seconds.

You can easily organize your documents and folders, making your life that little bit easier and saving you a great deal of time in the process.

Skype

Skype is one of the most popular tools ever created for businesses both large and small, and it continues to improve with each passing year. Skype is perfect because it has literally changed the way we communicate with one another, especially via long distances.

Skype is essentially a video-chatting piece of software that can also be used simply as a phone service if users would prefer. With Skype, users merely call other users on their Skype accounts, and can then chat away for as long as they would like.

Skype allows you to communicate with people anywhere in the world, all the while eliminating extraordinarily high phone charges commonly associated with overseas calls.

However, is not just for chatting, it also allows you to share documents and files even while you’re in the middle of a call. Skype is a very welcome business tool for all businesses, and if you are not yet utilizing it, you are missing out big.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a platform that has revolutionized the way small businesses source talent for their companies. LinkedIn provides business owners with access to a wide range of networks which will allow them to scout for talent, post job vacancies, seek out services/recommendations, and much more besides.

The great thing about LinkedIn is the fact that not only can users access their own specific networks, but they can also access the networks of any existing contacts they may have as well.

This opens up a whole world of possibilities in terms of sourcing talent and posting job advertisements. If you wish to focus on manpower and employee efficiency, LinkedIn is ideal.

 

WordPress

As a business owner, no matter what size your business may be, there is a very strong chance that you will have seriously considered blogging to help expand your reach and grow your list of prospective customers. WordPress is arguably the most popular hosting platform in the entire world.

There is a free version, and there is also hosted WordPress, so consider which one is best for your needs and goals.

If for example, you plan on really boosting your SEO and using blogging as a means of marketing and advertising your website, the hosted WordPress version may be worth purchasing.

If however, you simply plan on putting up the odd blog post here and there to give your followers something to read now and then, the free WordPress variant may be more to your liking.

There are millions of templates to choose from, plus you can personalize plug-ins and add-ons until you find one that best suits your own specific site layout and requirement.

Put very simply, if you plan on hosting a blog of any sort, WordPress is a must-have.

Now put these tips into practice and get paid faster today with SlickPie!

 

Image: GraphicStock

 

5 Best Ways to Get Paid Online

The Internet is truly a wondrous invention. If three decades ago, you’d told people you could earn money virtually, via a computer, they would have looked at you as if you’d lost your mind. Yet here we are, with more and more of us now receiving online payments than ever before.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a freelancer or a business owner, there’s a good chance that you receive payment, at least in part, online. But exactly what are the best ways to get paid online? Well, in truth, there is no right or wrong way, as different people prefer different methods.

For example, nowadays, some people earn their money and are paid in digital currency, such as in BitCoin form. Others, however, prefer a good old fashioned, tried and tested bank transfer. Some of you out there reading this, may not actually care how you are paid, providing you receive your money, but you should.

Here’s a look at several of the most popular and most efficient ways to get paid online, so take a look and see what you think.

Credit cards and debit cards – First and foremost, we’ll begin by looking at credit and debit card payments. If you’re a larger business, as well as making use of the various forms of accounting software currently available, you may also wish to enable your clients to pay you via credit card or debit card.

Now, if you do decide that this feature is for your business, you will need to decide whether you wish to use an intermediary holding account, or your very own dedicated merchant account. Whichever one you choose, will be based on a variety of different things, so do your research.

Ideally, you want one which will accept all major credit cards, including Visa, American Express, and MasterCard. If you go with credit and debit card payments, there is the bonus of the fact that payments can often be made right away, plus, as virtually every single person you deal with will own one card or the other, there will be no excuses for not receiving a payment.

Click-to-pay email invoice – Accounting software is now becoming more advanced than ever, and when it comes to invoicing your clients, you will instantly understand why that is. Nowadays we have what is known as click-to-pay email invoicing, which is where your client will be sent and invoice, and will then be able to pay you with a few simple clicks.

This is ideal for you and them because they can pay in seconds, you can receive payment in seconds, and they can instantly receive a receipt in the process. This payment method helps streamline your entire operation, plus it helps with security, it saves time, and it is better for the environment as it is paperless.

PayPal – You’ve heard of PayPal, right? Of course you have, everybody in the world pretty much knows about PayPal, and of course, PayPal is certainly a very viable method for receiving payment. With PayPal, funds can be taken from your account to make payment.

This could be a PayPal account, or the account itself can be linked to your bank account so it will automatically remove the funds for you. You then send the money to the recipient of your choice, often via their email address, and they then simply accept the payment and hold it in their account.

PayPal is simple, it is quick, and it is dominant, as pretty much everybody in the business world will own a PayPal account. PayPal is simple but there are processing fees as PayPal obviously have to take their cut, so you do not receive the total amount you have invoiced for, as you obviously have to pay your PayPal fees. With that being said, their charges are very reasonable, and using it does make life that little bit easier.

Stripe – When it comes down to the battle of the online payment gateway giants, it is often Stripe VS PayPal that people tend to focus on. Just as we have Apple VS Samsung we also have Stripe VS PayPal.

The thing that tends to make stripe more appealing than PayPal for some people, is the fact that Stripe charge 2.9% + 30cents for every successful charge. This is the same rate as PayPal, except for the fact that PayPal sometimes decides to throw in additional fees.

For example, with PayPal, if you charge cards from your website, you pay $30 per month, whereas with Stripe it is free. For recurring billing, with Stripe it is free, whereas with PayPal you pay another $10 per month. There are also many other small charges with PayPal, which, although small, do quickly build up. For these reasons, if you are a fairly small business, Stripe could be the better option for you.

Bank wire transfer – You can talk about advanced accounting software all you like, but sometimes, a simple bank wire transfer is all that is needed. With this, you simply provide your clients with your account sort code and bank account code, and they then simply send money from their account, over to yours.

Whilst this is considered very simple and straightforward, the biggest concern with this is the fact that people are in possession of your account number and sort code. Whilst this alone is nowhere near enough to be deemed dangerous in terms of being hacked etc, if they were also able to gain access to your bank card or pin for whatever reasons, they would theoretically have access to your entire account. As you’re probably aware, however, the chances of this ever happening to you are incredible, incredibly slim so truthfully, there is very little to worry about at all.

Now put these tips into practice and get paid faster with SlickPie!

 

 

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Why Automated Receipt Data Entry Works

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a new small business owner, the owner of a huge corporation, or a freelancer looking to expand your reach and grow your client list, if there is one thing we can all agree on, it’s the fact that you simply must ensure you have your finances in order.

All businesses, no matter how big or small, will have numerous aspects of their finances to consider, and when it comes to your finances, you simply cannot afford to cut corners or take any risks. Pretty much every business out there will be familiar with accounts payable and why it’s such a pain in the backside getting your receipts and finances in order.

This, however, is why accounting software and automated receipt data entry tools are so popular. Sending out invoices, chasing up discrepancies and missed payments, and general inefficiencies regarding your billing processes can make life much, much tougher than it needs to be.

This is where it pays to automate your accounts payable processes. In the world that is becoming increasingly reliant on modern technology, it pays to stay with the times rather than being stuck in the past. With that said, if you haven’t yet embraced automated receipt data entry, here are a few benefits associated with automated payable processes.

Paperless – If you have not yet gone paperless, you will only be able to fight natural progression for so long, before you eventually forced to do so in one way or another. Switching to paperless, however, is not a challenge, it is actually a reward as there are numerous benefits to enjoy.

Not only are you helping the environment, but you are also helping your business in general. You see, by getting rid of paper, you make info available right away. Take receipts for example, with paper receipts, if your clients require one from you, you will have to send them out, which takes time, effort, and money.

With automated receipt data entry, however, the receipt is digital, so it can be sent to them virtually and can be viewed instantly. This will cut back on manual labor, you will save money in the form of less paper being used, fewer postage costs, less electricity being used on printing, and less printer ink constantly being used. Ultimately, you get all of the rewards, with none of the drawbacks.

Keep your finances in order – Another very useful benefit associated with automated receipt data entry is the fact that it will allow you to keep your finances in order. Whether you make use of accounting software yourself, or if you pay an expert to handle your books for you, with everything being automated and digital, keeping things more efficient and better organized is easier than ever before.

Everything will be available to you with just a few clicks of a mouse so you will save time, and you can keep everything neat and tidy. If for example, you are being audited, rather than having to dig through mountains upon mountains of receipts for the tax man, you can simply hop onto your computer or smart device, and find whatever it is you need to find, all in a matter of seconds.

Less room for error – Let’s face it, we’re all human and we all make mistakes, that is what sets us apart from machines. However, in business, human error can cost money, and can potentially be catastrophic.

When it comes to your invoices for example, if you’re going with a paper-invoicing approach, these invoices must be filed by hand and entered into various types of the accounting system. If for example, this piece of paper was lost or even stolen, it will take time, money, and effort to put things right. In business, time is money, so it pays to have everything as streamlined and as efficient as possible.

With accounting software, automated accounts payable processes run smoother than ever, as it cuts back on the risks associated with human error. By going with an automated process, often you can set up the system so that, each month, without fail, it will automatically send an invoice to a client for you, for a pre-determined amount of money.

Basically, the software takes care of all of the hard work for you, so you don’t have to. This cuts down the risk of a lost invoice, duplicate invoices, incorrect invoices, or anything else associated with paper-based systems.

Improved staff efficiency – In most businesses, you will find that a lot of the time, staff members have to spend a significantly long amount of time answering telephone calls, emails, and queries in general, regarding misplaced invoices, duplicate invoices, or incorrect invoices. With automated accounting software, however, as there is a much, much smaller risk of a discrepancy, this frees up your staff members and allows them more time to focus on other aspects of your business which were perhaps deemed to be more important.

Speed things up – As mentioned, in business, time is money, so every second count. You need to receive payment for jobs well done, and if you don’t, your business may suffer. You have bills to pay like everybody else, and if your clients pay you late, or fail to pay you the correct amount, because a paper-based invoice was lost in the post, or was unreadable for whatever reasons, you then have the foot the bill some other way.

Put simply, you need paying on time to ensure you pay your bills on time, which is why automated accounting software is so useful. You see, rather than having to print out the invoices, seal them in an envelope, and take them down to be posted, you can simply set them up in advance to be sent out whenever you like.

If you invoice the same company, on the same date, for the same amount, you actually won’t need to lift a finger once you’ve set the software up to do just that. The quicker your invoices and receipts are sent out and received, obviously the better this becomes for your company.

Put these tips into practice and improve your business today!

 

 

Image: GraphicStock

Why Every Small Business Should Have a Website

People often ask me “do I really need a website for my small business?”, my answer to this questions is always the same: “absolutely, if you own a business, you should have a website even if your business is small and sells products or services that you don’t think can be sold online”.  Most customers prefer to visit your website to check your company or products than to visit you in person. A study conducted by MineWhat showed that “81% of shoppers research online before buying.” This statistic shows the importance of owning a website for your small business growth.

There are many ways that your business can be benefited from owning a website. I summarized five main advantages of owning a website for your business below.

Gain business credibility

A study conducted by Verisign stated that 84% consumers consider small businesses with a website are more credible than ones without. Nowadays, most consumers are surfing the internet to search for local products and services they need. With this in mind, your small business will gain credibility by owning a website.

Your business online identification card

Similar to your identification card, your website is your business online identification card. It is the first place where your customers or clients will do research about your company, and your products or services before they decided to do business with you. Furthermore, your website provides an instant visual presentation of your business. It is quite expensive especially for a small company to advertise on a local television, but your business website can provide those visualization elements and it is always available to anyone. If a customer has questions that can be better answered on your website than over the phone or email, this will be a good addition to your customer service.

Increase your potential target market

One of the major advantages of having a website is that you get more exposure nationally and internationally. Although it may not be the goal of every small and medium size business to go international, your business website can help you to increase exposure to more people all over the world. For a company that provides niche product or services, your website can be a very powerful advertising tool to reach out to your specific target customers.

Increased convenience for your customers

In this day and age, many business transactions are happening online. This is because people seek convenience shopping experience and your company website can fulfill those needs. Your customers or clients can get information on a specific items or services easily, they can purchase your products anytime and most importantly, they can conveniently contact you through your website and give you feedback.

Access to valuable information

Your website is a good place to collect valuable information that can be used to evaluate your business performance. For example, you can use digital market intelligence platforms like SimilarWeb to get statistic data on how many people have visited your site and your website ranking. In addition, your website can offer other information such as how many people have messaged or emailed you. You can utilize all these valuable information to make an update and make an adjustment to your product and marketing materials anytime.

Conclusion

Overall, the money and time that you invested in creating a website will be all worthy because it can improve your business performances significantly by facilitating online presence for your company, marketing channel to target your target audiences and statistical information to monitor your business growth. Apart from an Alexa ranked website as SlickPie, you may need good online accounting software to run your bookkeeping and accounting tasks. SlickPie is free online accounting software designed for small businesses, offering a delightful and easy-to-use interface with many great features. Try it now and see it for yourself!

The Many Advantages of Doing Online Business

The Internet opened a door of opportunities to a new economy and it has changed our perception of the traditional way of doing business. Just a few years ago, traditional brick-and-mortar companies were dominating the retail industry. Now, immense companies such as Alibaba and Amazon have successfully conquered the online retail market. Nonetheless, to be successful in the online business industry, you don’t have to run a massive corporation like these. Many small businesses have managed to seize their share of profit from online markets. In fact, the latest trends show that the growth of e-commerce market in the upcoming years will come from small to medium size businesses.

E-commerce is growing rapidly and more business owners are now taking advantage of this opportunity to grow their business online. However, not many entrepreneurs are aware of the benefits that online business can bring to their operations. Here are 5 advantages of doing business online.

Cheaper start-up cost

For new business owners, overhead costs can be overwhelming and it may impact your financial health negatively. However, high start-up and overhead costs only occur if you are planning to open a brick-and-mortar business. Online businesses, on the other hand, only require you to purchase a domain name and hosting packages. You may incur extra cost to hire a professional web designer to design an elegant and professional-looking website for your business. Alexander Reichmann, iTestCash, pointed out “It also saves us money on taxes and rent that we would have to pay for a storefront.” Thus, online businesses are comparatively cheaper than brick-or-mortar businesses in term of start-up cost and overhead expenses.

Low Marketing Cost

The internet is a cost-effective tool. There are numerous online platforms you can utilize to market your product such as online advertising and social media. Online advertising is relatively affordable and it allows you to track your communication value. This means you can identify which advertising message is working and which isn’t. One way to advertise your product online is through social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Social media is known to be a very powerful tool to increase product awareness because customers tend to spend a significant amount of time surfing there. Regarding ads, Andrew Legrand, SperaLawGroup, mentioned that a great “advantage of doing business online is the business’ ability to target its audience with online advertising and converting that audience into paying customers. This means that marketing efforts can be more efficient with regards to time and money, and the business’ customer base is expanded beyond the local audience.”

Flexibility

Unlike traditional brick-and-mortar businesses where someone has to be present in the store at all times, online businesses allow you to run your company from anywhere, anytime. Thus, online businesses give you that work-life balance. Brady Keller, Atlantic.Net, added “[the] benefit of an online store is that you can operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Since your retail store is virtual, you can potentially be making money while you sleep.” Hence, the flexibility of online businesses can be translated into flexible location and time of doing business.

International Market

One of the significant impacts of the internet is globalization. Online businesses can facilitate the demand from global consumers by allowing business owner like yourself to sell your product internationally without setting up the physical vendor in that region. Najeeullah Babar, Interloper Inc., said: “It expands your reach from local to national and international no matter how small a company you are.” Another unique advantage of online business is that you can set your website in different languages to accommodate people from different locations. Therefore, online businesses allow you to capture a wide range of customers globally.

Easier and faster financial transaction

Online payment services such as PayPal and Stripe allows you to receive a transaction from customer directly to your bank. This will save you a lot of time in term of the transaction process. For your global customers, they can make payment conveniently in their own currencies because online payment services will automatically convert their currency to the currency that you will receive. You can also utilize free accounting software like SlickPie that offers all these payment gateways with multicurrency features to help you to manage your day-to-day business transaction, sending invoices and tracking your financial performance.

In a nutshell, an online business can offer you cheaper, easier and faster business environment. Online business is suitable for those who are seeking to start a new business but having a tight budget. Start-up and overhead costs are relatively low and you can start implementing zero-marketing strategies through online advertising and social media from day one. Furthermore, transaction process between your business and customer can be done in a matter of seconds and you have the flexibility of doing your business in terms of time and location.

 

How to Use Cloud Software to Improve Your Business

Do you remember the time when you have to drive to the computer store in order to purchase a physical copy of a software? If you do, you probably used to live in the era before cloud computing. Nowadays, people do not have do that anymore. With cloud technology, you can simply sit at home and download you desired software directly from the internet. The cloud technology is so fascinating that it allows people to share files within seconds. Many business owners have been taking advantages of this opportunity to improve the level of productivity and efficiency of their businesses.

Below are some of the comments from business experts about the advantages of using cloud software in their businesses.

Everything we do is in the cloud, from using Google Docs to Google Spreadsheets. All of our files are stored in the cloud through Dropbox. It allows my employees that span from San Diego to Serbia to work on the same files at any time, from anywhere. It also allows our team to access the same files from any device. From their phone to their home computer. Not only does it allow the world to be flat, but it also gives me the pieces of mind that everything is backed up. Since moving everything to the cloud, we have not lost any data. Plus, it is even easier to find since you can search everything. – Daniel Passov, Greek U, Inc.

The cloud-based software I can’t live without that helped me start and manage my business is Trello. I use a framework called the problem/solution canvas” We have it set up in Trello and it’s a repeatable framework that we use on a weekly basis to identify our top three problems and how we are going to solve them for that week. The best part is their mobile app interface is simply amazing it is intuitive and extremely powerful allowing you to upload ideas, pictures, notes and files from your mobile on the go. You never know when a good ideas going to come to you and you need to appended to a certain thing that the team is working on. This allows us to make small changes that compound off of one another inching our way towards the end zone rather than making huge bets we make small ones. Because it’s cloud-based, Trello allows us to coordinate tasks across or 20 members team distributed across four different countries. The best part that I love is that you can set due dates for each individual task that will nag your teammate until they get it done, it’s the ultimate set it and forget it cost to get stuff done. – Bryan Clayton, GreenPal

About 90% of the software we use on a daily basis is in the cloud now and we would never go back to the old way of using software. The main benefits to using a web-based software is the cost savings. Desktop software always cost more and constantly needs updates or security patches. With a cloud-based system, you do not have worry about any of this. The vendor takes on the maintenance and security risk. This software is also always much easier to scale. If you hire five people you can get them setup in minutes versus having deal with getting more licenses and then installing the old software. – Mark Tuchscherer, Greeks Chicago

Cloud databases are critical to our product. As a small business it can be extremely difficult to manage the hardware in such small numbers of a workforce and time can be much more effectively spent elsewhere. We look for the most scalable systems to utilize as our cloud infrastructure which means we can easily expand and shrink our cloud database footprint as our customer base grows and shrinks. Our model of business would be nearly unsustainable if we had to maintain the same size and costs without the customer data to fill it with. We are able to process data at the same speed and performance as the big guys which puts us at an even playing field that 10 years ago would be almost unheard of. – Ty Van Ry, RYIT SOLUTIONS

The biggest advantage would be it much more mobile, in that I can login to it from any PC without having an agent installed on my workstation. Another benefit is that the vendor is always doing updates to the software without the end-user having to do anything to make sure the updates are functioning properly. As far as functionality, the cloud-based software performs 100 percent of the functions we had with the old software system. It is a good fit for many small businesses in that it has all the functions you will need for finance and reporting, along with so many business moving from brick and mortar offices to employee home offices. It can be used in any location without the server costs associated with putting the software on. Vertex needs are well met with our new cloud-based solution. – Kip Sharp, Vertex Innovations

This is some of the ways you can use cloud software to improve your business. Another great way is by using SlickPie and being able to run your entire business accounting from anywhere with absolutely no effort, try it out now and see it for yourself!