4 Pieces of Advice You Should Never Accept From Any Small Business Advisor

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash
Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Let’s talk about what you should expect from your small business advisory team and a few things you should never settle for from anyone inside or even outside of your organization.

The Girl Up Front, LLC team of Business Advisors are experienced small business experts that can support your business venture in the specific areas that will help make the most difference to your growth and success.

The Girl Up Front, LLC offers a full range of services and opportunities for your growing small business.

  • Financial Services
  • Bookkeeping Services
  • Business Strategy Sessions
  • Operations Assessments
  • Systems Automation
  • Research and Development
  • Diversification Initiatives
  • Marketing Plans & Strategies
  • Branding and Networking

 

Building a successful small business requires vision, leadership, plenty of hard work and many personal sacrifices.  Doesn’t it make sense to get some help with the most critical aspects of your operation –the implementation and execution of your vision?

True growth requires bold honesty, strategic thinking, and actionable strategies to trim the waste and cultivate the potential in all aspects of your organization.  Getting solid advice just makes good sense!

What you DON’T want!

Beware of any outside ‘advice’ or counsel that steers you away from these 5 core competencies:

Strategic Thinking
Successful entrepreneurs know that the world is filled with opportunities.  Setbacks and obstacles are rarely what they seem and even a major catastrophe can be a powerful catalyst for incredible growth and development of your small business.

Your small business advisory team should always be able to articulate a clear, testable thesis of the trajectory your business is on and the clearest, most logical pathway to the opportunities for optimum growth which lie ahead.

Never allow an advisor or business associate to sway your decision-making unless they can lay out tangible, actionable opportunities your business has for profitability and growth.  Opportunities are out there for you.  You just need to know where (and how) to look!

Systems Development
Do you have proven, trackable, systems in place to achieve the goals you’ve set for every area of your small business?

Have you discovered which systems are most essential for each channel (leads, sales, AP/AR, collections, customer service…) and business process?

Don’t take advice from some slick-talking software salesman behind a Facebook ad!

Setting up your business to operate at that magical “sweet spot” at the intersection of Oversight and Automation is becoming more and more critical as the Internet of Things (IoT) moves the Customer-Business relationship into the ‘Cloud.’

Implementing creative, yet reliable and secure channels to reshape how work gets done and how much labor (and cost) is expended doing that work takes a team of experienced, dedicated professionals.

If you’re ‘dabbling’ in systems, or still doing things “The Way We’ve Always Done It” …you may be heading for disaster.

Contact Us to set up an appointment for a free, no obligation Business Systems Assessment

Agility
Successful small businesses rely on their smaller size to adapt to the ever-changing market.

Being aware of the current climate while being watchful of quickly emerging markets can literally transform your business and open new revenue channels.

Never take a ‘Wait and See” approach to the changing market.  Understanding your customers and their needs are paramount to successful customer service and improving sales.

Surround yourself with a trusted team of small business advisors that push you to change the sequencing, pace, and focus of your business when the circumstances dictate and your customers demand.

Seeing these changes in the market may be difficult when you have your head buried in the day-to-day operations of keeping your business afloat.  The experienced team of small business advisors at The Girl Up Front, LLC can make navigating these tricky decisions a whole lot more simple and straightforward –taking the guesswork out of all the hard work it requires to build your growing small business.

Valuation
What was it that motivated you to start your own business?

  • Working for yourself?
  • Managing your own time?
  • Creating your own wealth?
  • Build something to pass on?

No matter what motivated you to begin, now that your small business is up and running, it’s time to realize that your business should have a value unto itself –even without your involvement.  This is what is referred to as the ‘Valuation’ of your business.

As an entrepreneur, your focus should hone in on the opportunities which enhance the overall value of the business.

  • Contracted Services (sales)
  • Subscription Services (sales)
  • Repeat Business (sales)
  • Customer Lists (prospects/leads)
  • Email lists (leads)
  • Websites & landing pages (lead generating channels)

Building value in a small business is critical, and a true measure of the success of that business.  We all want to retire someday, right?  And building self-sustaining income generators and revenue streams into your small business is a sure way create something of lasting value that you can actually put a price on.

An organization with built-in sustainability that embraces change that is always searching for new ways of delivering value to its customers will continue to grow and deliver dividends to its owners and shareholders.  This is the kind of work that will support an entrepreneur in retirement for years and years.

Contact the small business advisory team at The Girl Up Front, LLC to conduct a small business analysis.  A thorough, objective small business analysis will identify potential opportunities for growth

An objective point of view can make all the difference.

  • Create efficient and lean operating systems
  • Develop automated processes
  • Implement scalable systems
  • Revenue channel development
  • Executive plan for organizational growth

Let The Girl Up Front, LLC create a flexible, scalable, and cost-effective platform for delivering total customer satisfaction to your growing list of repeat customers.

With more insightful perspectives, your small business will be better able to focus on your strengths, push your capabilities, and innovate for the future.

Sign up for your initial consultation to learn more!

Businesses That Want to Grow, Need Advice From The Small Busi

Let’s talk about what you should expect from your small business advisory team and a few things you should never settle for from anyone inside or even outside of your organization.

The Girl Up Front, LLC team of Business Advisors are experienced small business experts that can support your business venture in the specific areas that will help make the most difference to your growth and success.

The Girl Up Front, LLC offers a full range of services and opportunities for your growing small business.

  • Financial Services
  • Bookkeeping Services
  • Business Strategy Sessions
  • Operations Assessments
  • Systems Automation
  • Research and Development
  • Diversification Initiatives
  • Marketing Plans & Strategies
  • Branding and Networking

 

Building a successful small business requires vision, leadership, plenty of hard work and many personal sacrifices.  Doesn’t it make sense to get some help with the most critical aspects of your operation –the implementation and execution of your vision?

True growth requires bold honesty, strategic thinking, and actionable strategies to trim the waste and cultivate the potential in all aspects of your organization.  Getting solid advice just makes good sense!

What you DON’T want!

Beware of any outside ‘advice’ or counsel that steers you away
from these 4 core competencies:

Strategic Thinking
Successful entrepreneurs know that the world is filled with opportunities.  Setbacks and obstacles are rarely what they seem and even a major catastrophe can be a powerful catalyst for incredible growth and development of your small business.

Your small business advisory team should always be able to articulate a clear, testable thesis of the trajectory your business is on and the clearest, most logical pathway to the opportunities for optimum growth which lie ahead.

Never allow an advisor or business associate to sway your decision-making unless they can lay out tangible, actionable opportunities your business has for profitability and growth.  Opportunities are out there for you.  You just need to know where (and how) to look!

Systems Development
Do you have proven, trackable, systems in place to achieve the goals you’ve set for every area of your small business?

Have you discovered which systems are most essential for each channel (leads, sales, AP/AR, collections, customer service…) and business process?

Don’t take advice from some slick-talking software salesman
behind a Facebook ad!

Setting up your business to operate at that magical “sweet spot” at the intersection of Oversight and Automation is becoming more and more critical as the Internet of Things (IoT) moves the Customer-Business relationship into the ‘Cloud.’

Implementing creative, yet reliable and secure channels to reshape how work gets done and how much labor (and cost) is expended doing that work takes a team of experienced, dedicated professionals.

If you’re ‘dabbling’ in systems, or still doing things “The Way We’ve Always Done It” …you may be heading for disaster.

Contact Us to set up an appointment for a free, no obligation Business Systems Assessment

Agility
Successful small businesses rely on their smaller size to adapt to the ever-changing market.

Being aware of the current climate while being watchful of quickly emerging markets can literally transform your business and open new revenue channels.

Never take a ‘Wait and See” approach to the changing market.  Understanding your customers and their needs are paramount to successful customer service and improving sales.

Surround yourself with a trusted team of small business advisors that push you to change the sequencing, pace, and focus of your business when the circumstances dictate and your customers demand.

Seeing these changes in the market may be difficult when you have your head buried in the day-to-day operations of keeping your business afloat.  The experienced team of small business advisors at The Girl Up Front, LLC can make navigating these tricky decisions a whole lot more simple and straightforward –taking the guesswork out of all the hard work it requires to build your growing small business.

Valuation
What was it that motivated you to start your own business?

  • Working for yourself?
  • Managing your own time?
  • Creating your own wealth?
  • Build something to pass on?

No matter what motivated you to begin, now that your small business is up and running, it’s time to realize that your business should have a value unto itself –even without your involvement.  This is what is referred to as the ‘Valuation’ of your business.

As an entrepreneur, your focus should hone in on the opportunities which enhance the overall value of the business.

  • Contracted Services (sales)
  • Subscription Services (sales)
  • Repeat Business (sales)
  • Customer Lists (prospects/leads)
  • Email lists (leads)
  • Websites & landing pages (lead generating channels)

Building value in a small business is critical, and a true measure of the success of that business.  We all want to retire someday, right?  And building self-sustaining income generators and revenue streams into your small business is a sure way create something of lasting value that you can actually put a price on.

An organization with built-in sustainability that embraces change that is always searching for new ways of delivering value to its customers will continue to grow and deliver dividends to its owners and shareholders.  This is the kind of work that will support an entrepreneur in retirement for years and years.

Contact the small business advisory team at The Girl Up Front, LLC to conduct a small business analysis.  A thorough, objective small business analysis will identify potential opportunities for growth

An objective point of view can make all the difference.

  • Create efficient and lean operating systems
  • Develop automated processes
  • Implement scalable systems
  • Revenue channel development
  • Executive plan for organizational growth

Let The Girl Up Front, LLC create a flexible, scalable, and cost-effective platform for delivering total customer satisfaction to your growing list of repeat customers.

With more insightful perspectives, your small business will be better able to focus on your strengths, push your capabilities, and innovate for the future.

Sign up for your initial consultation to learn more!

Businesses That Want to Grow, Need Advice From The Small Business PRO’s!

 

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Teamwork Makes The Dream Work: How To Succeed in Business by Creating Your Own Dream Team

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Photo by Štefan Štefančík on Unsplash

Business is a lot like sport.  It requires passion, persistence, practice and a lot of patience.

Successful entrepreneurs work smarter, not harder.  They recognize the value of solid advice from specialists, and innovators with fresh, contemporary perspectives.

Mentoring doubles your chances of success.

According to the United States Small Business Administration (SBA), small businesses operating with the assistance of mentors and advisors double their odds of success compared with small businesses choosing to operate without guidance and counsel.

This is due to an advisor’s separation from the day to day business tasks at hand which are always traps that keep hard-working entrepreneurs stuck working IN their businesses, instead of working ON their businesses.

Using that separation to their advantage, a skilled small business advisor has the ability to identify weaknesses and shortcomings in a company’s operating processes, and more importantly, they know just what to do to correct those weak areas.

A talented small business advisor takes a bird’s-eye view of all the various operations within a small business and can steer the organization towards more profitable practices, systems, and solutions.

Small business advisors work with both entrepreneurs and solution providers across many different sectors.  These advisory professionals have access to resources that would take the typical small business owner years of costly trial and error to discover on their own.

More than just good advice.

Advice and shortcuts are fine, but a strong, successful small business needs more than just some good advice once in a while.  Successful businesses of all sizes rely on the people and professional services that can do the things beyond their current limited scope of expertise.

  • Customer Management Solutions
  • Strategic Sales Planning
  • Profitability Analysis
  • Branding Strategy
  • Marketing and Sales Strategies
  • Finance and Accounting
  • Human Resources and Operations
  • Scaling Up

It’s All About the Systems

The real success in any business venture lies in the daily execution of well thought out systems.  Once the systems are in place, the entrepreneur can rely on his employees to operate and manage those systems.  But without systems, the business is in constant flux and chaos.

No Systems + No Consistency = Bad Business

Successful businesses are a team effort.  There may be one single individual driving the vision and values of the company forward, but there is an entire entourage of trusted business advisors, specialists, and industry professionals grinding out the day-to-day dirty work that brings that vision to fruition.

Clik here to learn more about our small business advisory services and to see if your business could benefit by having a Team of trained, certified, and dedicated small business advisory professionals working for you.

 

Businesses That Want To Grow, Need The Advice of a Business Advisory Pro!

 

How To Find Out If Your Business is Doomed to Fail: The Top 3 Warning Signs of Customer Dependence

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Photo by Natalie Rhea Riggs on Unsplash

 

We’ve all heard the old saying, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket!”

The idea is that one simple mistake or change in the status quo can cause total destruction of all your hard work.  You lose everything simply because everything you have is concentrated in one small area.

Are your largest customers all in one “basket”?

Are most of your business revenue streams relying on just a few customers or purchase decisions?

What if trends change?

What if a ‘decision maker’ changes careers, or moves to another company?

What if your largest customer, or customers, decide to try something different, or go with one of your competitors to save some money?

What then?

If your business is largely dependent on a single client, a small group of customers, a single product, or service, your business is just one quick decision from complete disaster.

What is Customer Dependence?

Signs that your business has a Customer Dependence Issue:

  1. Single customer representing over 20 percent of revenue
  2. A small group of customers (three to five) representing over 50 percent of revenue
  3. Dependency upon a single vendor or supplier

There really isn’t a universal definition of Customer Dependence.  There are too many variables to consider and each business is slightly different.  However, if you take a hard look at your business and find that a single customer accounts for more than 20 percent of revenue, or if a small number of customers (three to five) account for more than 50 percent of your business revenue, then we’re afraid that your company may have a customer dependence problem.

Balance is Key!

Your business is only as stable as its foundation.  And the most solid and stable foundations are always wider than what is built upon them.

Without a solid, spanning foundation your business is out of balance and anything out of balance is inherently dangerous of collapse.

Small businesses overly dependent on the purchasing of a single client isn’t the only risk. Small to mid-sized businesses are typically dependent on a single market, service, or product.  The problem is so typical because that’s the way most small businesses get their start.

Small business is born by solving a specific problem for a specific consumer, or type of customer.  But once your business takes root, it becomes increasingly necessary to diversify.

Many small businesses that are just starting up find initial success by landing that first big job or securing a lucrative client relationship.

There are benefits to this of course.  It’s a huge break that can finally put your business on the path to growth and success.  However, this is also a precarious situation that carries considerable potential risks.

If that client pulls back, changes direction or stops doing business with your organization, it will be pretty tough to pivot in time to make up the shortfall in revenue.

Diversifying your products, services and client base should quickly become one of your highest priorities –second only to customer service –if continued growth and stability are to continue.

Regardless of the size of your business, even modestly diversifying your products and services to appeal to a larger audience has been proven to outperform less-diversified businesses.

Small businesses that are diversified in at least two ways (by the customer, product or service, sector, the location of markets, or location of operations) have continually proved to be far more likely to achieve strong financial performance over time.

Fortunately, there are plenty of smart business building strategies you can implement to be prepared for future growth and business success.

Remember the 3 Signs that your business has a Customer Dependence Issue:

  1. A Single customer representing over 20 percent of revenue
  2. A small group of customers (three to five) representing over 50 percent of revenue
  3. Dependency upon a single vendor or supplier

So, to combat this issue, your initial focus is to diversify your client and vendor/supplier base.

This brings challenges of its own, including the fact that you may need to allocate more resources to marketing, sales, management, and administration.  However, diversifying your business and procuring a larger client base provides a much more stable foundation for continued business growth and success.

Here are some actionable items to get you started.

What can business owners do to mitigate the risk of Customer Dependency?

Diversify your small business in at least two of the following ways:

  • Diversify the customer base
  • Diversify the sector(s) served
  • Diversify the service(s) offered
  • Diversify the product(s) offered
  • Diversify the geographical location of the markets served
  • Diversify the geographical location of your business operations

Here are a few more ideas to consider as well:

Increase sales offerings to your other existing customers.

Make sure your customer relationships are not tied to just one person in your company.

Establish relationships with your customer’s other ‘Decision Makers’ in the organization.

To find out if your business is balanced and sufficiently diversified, consider using the Gateway Commercial Finance Customer Concentration Calculator available HERE

For more assistance and professional guidance, sign up to speak with one of our Certified Small Business Advisory Professionals HERE

Businesses That Want To Grow, Seek Advice From An Accounting PRO!

Top 3 Things That Will Destroy Your Small Business and What to Do About Them

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Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

 

Small business owners usually love the technical side of what they do, but the day-to-day business matters often bog them down, weigh on their minds and stress them out.

The following three issues seem to be the most stressful for the small business owners we work with.  And if left unchecked, these 3 things will absolutely destroy your small business.

Fortunately, there are fairly simple solutions for each of these problems, and we can help you with implementing all of them.

  1. Cash Flow
    Most small businesses operate on very tight budgets. Slow, or stalled customer payments, equipment breakdowns and unexpected expenses can rattle even the most seasoned small business owner.

The good news is that most cash flow issues are easily curable.  The key is finding the solutions that best fit your particular business model.

  • Keeping Tabs:
    Too many small business owners try to “Do it All Themselves” in an attempt to save a few dollars. This is a mistake.  If you’re not a trained bookkeeper, you’re wasting valuable time, and working very hard at something you’re just not very good at.  The DIY Business approach is foolish and much more costly in the long

Hire a trained professional to keep your books and track your expenses.  If you are in a seasonal industry with thin margins or if your customer base is notorious for slow-payment, it’s critical to the survival of your business to stay on top of your cash flow weekly or even daily. You, as the owner, don’t have the time or the expertise for this.

~Seriously: Hire a Pro

  • Automate:
    Unexpected surprises are the worst! By automating your payables and receivables, you take the element of surprise completely out of the equation.  You will always know exactly where you stand and what resources you have on hand at any given time.

 

It’s in the Cloud.  Online invoicing makes it easy for your most reluctant clients to part with their money.   They don’t even have to think about it!   We’ve taken that task right off their “To-Do” list for them.  One-time payments and monthly subscriptions are automatically deducted from their account and deposited in your business account.  Cash flow problem solved!   There are great software platforms that can do this, such as Bill.com

 

But even with the closest eyes on your books, and trimming every expense to the bone, there will still be times when the bank accounts look fantastic one day and then, a few things come up, payroll is processed, or maybe an unexpected bill comes due.  Then, all of a sudden, you’re lying awake at night praying that there are no other surprises waiting in the shadows.

In nearly every scenario, when it comes to cash flow,
your best Defense is always going to be an aggressive Offense. 

Which brings us to our next major worry for the small business owner

  1. Lagging Revenues
    The main ingredient in any business is sales. To grow your business, and to increase your revenues –you need to increase your sales!

Sales Solve Problems

  • Sales expert Jim Keenan says, increasing sales revenue comes down to four things:
    ~Strategy – What’s the Plan?
    ~Structure – How are you carrying out the Plan?
    ~People – Do you have the right people in the right positions?
    ~Process – Does each part of the Plan fit and work well with the other parts?

If your small business isn’t large enough to employ a full-time sales staff, or if the people you have haven’t been trained in sales -it may be time to either hire the right people or train the people you have.

  • Diversify your Offerings Do some research on your current customers.  Is there something that you can do, and do well, that solves a problem for the customers you currently serve?
  • Identify your “Perfect Customer” Which of your customers purchase the “big ticket items?  What do they all have in common?  Of all your customers, what are the similarities between those who make the highest volume of purchases, and/or give you the most repeat business?
    Once you’ve identified your “Perfect Customer” you can focus your sales and marketing efforts where you already know you will find these “Perfect Prospects.”

Start attracting new clients from your most profitable segment, carefully differentiating your offer to ensure it appeals directly to this type of customer and their very specific needs.

  1. Slim Profit Margins

Just because we’ve increased sales doesn’t mean we’re now profitable all of a sudden.

More money = More problems

This is another area in which it’s critical for small businesses owners to realize the downside to the “DIY Mentality.”  It’s easy to slip into complacency during your busy season or when times are good.  Sales are up, the bills are all paid and the business is running profitably.

However, you may just be wasting thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars by not micromanaging your finances.  This isn’t easy -especially if you haven’t been trained in bookkeeping or accounting.

  • Hire a Bookkeeper As a business owner, you may not know how to properly read your Profit and Loss statements.  How could you know?  You didn’t go to school for that!  You were never trained in accounting or finance. You do what you do better than anyone else.  You’re an expert in YOUR Field.  And that’s great!

Here’s where you can benefit from outsourcing with an expert.

  • Stay Agile Small business owners with as few as five to ten employees, don’t have the luxury of sitting back and waiting for the quarterly reports to come out to see where the business stands.  You need up to be the Value-Leader compared to your competition (who may have access to better resources and economies of scale). The only answer is to
  • Innovate and optimize constantly and stay one step ahead of your competitors.

Add Value.  Improve Service.  Slash Overhead.  Repeat!

 

Conclusion:

  • Delegate your pain points
  • Automate as much as possible
  • SELL! Nothing builds a business like Sales
  • Focus on your “Perfect Customer”
  • Slash costs…at all costs
  • Attention to every little detail

Small business owners are experts in ‘Delivering the Goods.’  However, being an expert one’s own trade doesn’t always translate to being an expert in all facets of running a business.

The smart move is to focus on the things you know you do well and then strategically delegate the areas of your business which require training and technical skills beyond your scope of expertise.

Contact Us to discuss your needs and let us help you grow.

 

Businesses That Want To Grow, Need Advice From An Accounting PRO!

The Value of Coaching for Your Small Business

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Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

 

“My best skill was that I was coachable.  I was a sponge and aggressive to learn.”
~
Michael Jordan

Most of us recognize Michael Jordan as one of the hardest working and most highly skilled players to have ever played in the NBA.   However, Michael Jordan will often point to the fact that his greatest skill and attribute was his willingness to be coached.

Jordan understood that by learning as much about the game of basketball as he could, and from as many different perspectives as possible, that he would have an advantage over those who simply practiced their skills.

This is true in sports and in business.

Working hard for what we want seems natural for entrepreneurs.  We’re good at it.  We excel at things like hard work, perseverance, taking risks, and learning from our mistakes.

But even seasoned, hard-working, risk-taking entrepreneurs recognize that working hard on the wrong things won’t produce the right results.  And, that may be the most valuable part of the entrepreneurial equation

Hard Work –on the Right Things = Produces the Desired RESULTS!

Working hard is necessary.

Working hard on the right things…that’s Critical

Anyone who has ever succeeded at a high level in their chosen field –whether in sports or in business –has succeeded with the help of good coaching, mentorship, and advice.

The great Henry Ford once said:

“Work mixed with management becomes not only easier but more profitable.”

Ford was also a big believer in making time for what he called ‘dreaming fresh dreams:’ –surrounding yourself with people who have knowledge and experience in the areas you may lack, and relying on their advice and guidance to think creative new thoughts –and dream new possibilities.

If you don’t have the time to think creatively about your business alongside experts in a variety of areas, you may just be working hard, and not working smart.

If this sounds familiar, you could probably use our help.

Seeking the advice of a knowledgeable small business advisor can help you imagine a profitable future for your business –and also help create a plan to get you there.

Every member of The Girl Up Front small business advisory group is a professionally trained and certified small business advisor with a strong background in the specific areas of your small business you need to develop in order to be successful.

  • Accounting
  • Automation Platforms and Apps
  • Business Strategies
  • Bookkeeping
  • Growth Strategies
  • Vendor Management Portals
  • Sales Strategies and Techniques

When business owners realize they can benefit from outside advisory services, that’s the very moment when real change, growth, improvement, and profitability becomes possible.

The small business advisors of The Girl Up Front can provide expertise and guidance as you grow and develop your small business –giving you valuable insights, feedback, and assistance throughout your entrepreneurial journey.

Contact us to set up an appointment.

Businesses That Want To Grow, Get Advice From An Accounting PRO!

Small Business Preparation for TAX Time – We are here to get you ready!

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Photo by Olu Eletu on Unsplash

 

TAX Time is here! Are you ready?

We’re here to help you get organized for this stressful time of the year with the following Small Business Tax Time Tips.

Get your Records in Order

No matter what you use to track your expenses:

  • Online platforms
  • Spreadsheet
  • Mobile apps
  • Paper, pencil, and ledger

You (or your accountant) are going to need all your business transactions for the entire year all organized and in one place.

That means, all your purchases, all your sales, every cent that came in or when out of your business.

All of IT!.

And, hopefully, you’ve been diligently (and accurately) keeping track of all this, because there’s no way to fake it now.

“One of the most overlooked ways for small businesses to save at tax time starts at the beginning of each tax year,” advises David Ayoub, CPA in Syracuse, N.Y.

“It’s simple. Keep every receipt. Find a way to corral all the loose receipts lying around your desk, in your purse, and in your car. They can add up to a lot of deductions.”

“Keep track of everything in a log,” adds Ayoub.

 Moving forward, as you track your expenditures, be sure you’re keeping your business expenses separate from your personal finances.  This is a critical distinction that trips up many

It’s absolutely imperative to keep separate business accounts and credit card accounts from your personal accounts your business.  If you are ever audited by the IRS, you’ll need to show accurate records with no confusion in this regard.

 Know your Deductions

Do you use a portion of your home for business? If you do, you may be able to take the Home Office Deduction

In order to qualify, you must have a dedicated space in your home that you use for the business and nothing else.  Be honest here.  The IRS can double back on you and take a hard look at your entire return if they smell something fishy.

Since the 2013 tax year, small businesses have been able to deduct $5.00 per square foot for the area of a home actively used as an office.  Of course, there are limits.  Currently, this deduction is capped at $1,500.00 total.

Small businesses can deduct the cost of certain property used in the course of their business as well.

You’ll want to check with your accountant to be sure you qualify. The IRS Business Tax Help website also provided helpful tips too, for those of you who choose to file for yourself.

Did you purchase new equipment this year?

Equipment (capital expenditures) are classified as items you use in your business that last longer than just a year or two. Cars, trucks, trailers, production equipment, computers, computer software, office upgrades and furniture, are just a few examples of equipment.

With the Section 179 deduction, you are able to write off the entire cost of new equipment in one year (up to $500,000), rather than taking depreciation over multiple years.

Do you travel for business?

  • Site visits?
  • Meetings?
  • Conferences?

If you leave the office and travel during the course of conducting your business you can also deduct these expenses.

Nearly any travel expenses will qualify, provided they were strictly business related.

  • Airfare
  • Bus fare
  • Train
  • Taxis, Uber, Lyft etc…
  • Parking fees
  • Rental cars

You can even deduct your lodging and tips from business-related travel as well as half your meals each day.  Check with IRS Publication #463 for all the details, allowances and restrictions.

Remember, small deductions add up.  Even picking up the tab for lunch with a client or tickets to a ball game…these minor expenses, over the course of a year, add up to HUGE expenditures that you’re entitled to claim.

Making Time = Making Money!

Plan to block out at least a couple hours each week to organize all your receipts and the mountains of paperwork that accumulate so you aren’t laying catch-up when tax time gets here.

Another good option would be to just hire the services of an experienced small business bookkeeping service like The Girl Up Front, LLC.

The Girl Up Front, LLC has the training, experience, and know-how to plan you’re the future growth of your business.  Let us automate and streamline your business operations, help you track your business expenditures and maximizing all your allowable deductions at tax time.

Give us a call  (248)-787-8234 -or click the link HERE to set up your free consultation.

 

 

 

 

Are you making one of the 3 most common bookkeeping mistakes?

Photo by Ali Yahya on Unsplash
Photo by Ali Yahya on Unsplash

No one goes into business for themselves believing that everything is going to be easy.  But very few entrepreneurs are prepared for the level of detailed work required to make their business a success.

Sometimes working hard just isn’t enough.  Let’s take a look at the 3 most common bookkeeping mistakes and how making a few simple changes can make all the difference in your business.

Are you making one of the 3 most common bookkeeping mistakes?

  1. Not Utilizing the Latest in Accounting Technology

Hopefully, you’re not still using a paper ledger to log all of your business transactions.

We certainly understand how overwhelming technology can be.  And we empathize with you when you say that you don’t trust anyone or anything with your valuable financial information.

We get it!

But what if we could set it up so that you get all of the advantages and benefits of technology in your business, while also providing you with the physical paperwork that you can then file and secure exactly the way you’re doing it now?

You can have the best of both worlds!

Digital accounting platforms like Quickbooks are reliable, accurate, flexible and completely customizable to suit whatever kind of business you run.  Using digital accounting software will streamline your business operations –saving you valuable time, resources, and of course, that saves you money.

We recommend Quickbooks to all of our small business owners for its flexibility, accuracy and the customizable reporting features

Let The Girl Up Front, LLC help you design the perfect technology stack for your business. 

We can show you how a carefully designed blend of online accounting solutions can integrate all your sales, service, and delivery systems into one streamlined workflow to get you paid faster and improve your customer service experience too.

      2.  Relying on Manual Data Input

You know, “there’s an app for that,” right?

Of course, there’s more to accounting software than just easier, more accurate bookkeeping.

No matter what business you’re in, we can help you automate your operation so that not a moment is lost between completion of the sale (or service) and that payment deposited in your account.

Imagine, one of your crews completes a service –whether it’s a lawn mowing, tree trimming, flat-tire repair, truck washing, locksmith service… anything!  The crew completes the service, and with a few clicks on a tablet or their mobile device, an invoice is created and your customer can pay that bill right then and there, on the spot.

Or, if your customer has set up an account with you (we can help you with this too!), and this is a recurring service, as soon as the service is completed, the money is transferred from your customer’s account to your business account via ACH transfer –instantly!

No more keeping track of service tickets, collecting and transcribing information, manually creating invoices, addressing envelopes, buying postage, waiting for the mail service to pick up and deliver that stack of invoices –just to wait some more to get paid.

No matter what it is that you do, no matter what business you’re in The Girl Up Front, LLC can drastically shorten the amount of time it talks you to get paid for your goods and services!

And isn’t that what you’re in business for anyway….to provide Value and then Get Paid!!

And while we’re talking about payment processing, you know we can automate that too, right?

Whether your business model is based on point of sale purchases, services, recurring services or a subscription service based model, The Girl Up Front. LLC can streamline your process to provide more time-saving value and convenience to your customer while eliminating the bottlenecks in your cash flow and revenue streams.

     3. Improper Cash Flow Management

It takes money to make money, right?

Nothing slows the growth of a business like a lack of cash flow.  A lack of available capital is probably the number one pain point for every small business owner.

Having the cash necessary to purchase tools, equipment, inventory, and for major capital reinvestment can make the difference between a successful business and a devastating failure.

But there are some strategies that can help a small business owner maximize the revenue the business generates.  Here are just a few of our most common (and effective) recommendations:

  • Monitor your cash flow regularly
  • Cut costs wherever possible
  • Automate accounts receivable (AR) and accounts payable (AP) immediately
  • Shorten or eliminate payment terms
  • Lease depreciable assets rather than buy
  • Minimize inventory on hand
  • Require cash deposits on large orders
  • Secure a line of credit for your business

It may sound simple enough, but most business owners are too busy working in their business to effectively work on their business.  Having a trusted advisor, such as an independent bookkeeping service, to provide valuable input can really make a dramatic difference in the success of your business.

Schedule an appointment with us to discuss your bookkeeping needs.

You may be pleasantly surprised at how affordable success can be!

Businesses That Want To Grow, Take Advice From An Accounting PRO!