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Is Your Website Mobile-Friendly?

You may have heard that Google has rolled out a new search algorithm that ranks mobile-friendly websites higher than sites that are not mobile-friendly. You don’t need to worry too much about this unless you rely on website leads for new clients to build your business.

If you do rely on website leads for new business and your leads have dropped off over the summer, the reason could be that your site is not mobile-friendly and has been ranked lower because of it.  Here are three steps you can go through to determine the status of your site.

Take a Free Mobile-Friendly Test

Go to this link and enter your domain name.

https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/

It takes about a minute or two to find out whether your site is mobile-ready.

If your site passes, you’re done!  You don’t need to do anything.  If it doesn’t, then go to step 2.

Contact Your Webmaster

Ask your webmaster for an estimate to get your site mobile-ready.

Take Action

Google started making changes to the search algorithm the week of April 20, 2015 has now implemented it worldwide.  To benefit from mobile traffic and a higher search ranking, make plans to get your site mobile-friendly sooner rather than later.

Get Finance-Savvy with 10 Accounting Terms

It’s good to know some basic accounting terms, and here are ten terms with friendly definitions for your review.

Asset:  Essentially, assets are what you own.   These include your bank accounts, business equipment, and even the amounts that customers owe you.

Revenue:  Revenue is what you make.  Another word for it is Sales.  You generate revenue in your business when you make a sale to a customer.  The amount of the sale is included in revenue.

Expense:  An expense is what you spend in your business on items that are not expected to benefit you in the long term.  Expenses include credit card fees, office supplies, insurance, rent, payroll expense, and similar items that you need to incur to keep your business running.

COGS:  COGS stands for Cost of Goods Sold.  It’s a form of expense that directly relates to the product or service being sold.  For example, if shoes are being sold, the cost of purchasing those shoes are consider COGS, while something like rent or insurance is simply an expense.  COGS is more important in manufacturing, retail, and distribution companies.

Net Income:  Another word for net income is profit.  It’s calculated by subtracting expenses from revenue.  If what’s left over is a positive number, it’s net income and if it’s negative, it’s a net loss.  Besides your salary, it’s the amount of money you can either keep or re-invest into your business.

Debit:  A debit is a term that tells you whether money is being increased or decreased.  The hard part is that it’s opposite depending on the account and the company.  Here are some examples:

  • A debit to cash increases it, so that’s good.
  • A debit to a loan you owe decreases it, so that’s good too because you are paying it off.
  • When you talk to a bank teller and they want to debit your account, it means they are taking money away, because your account is a liability to them.  So it’s opposite.

Credit:  A credit is a term that tells you whether money is being increased or decreased.  The hard part is that it’s opposite depending on the account and the company.  Here are some examples:

  • A credit to cash decreases it, as in writing a check to someone.
  • A credit to a loan you owe increases it, so you owe more money.
  • When you talk to a bank teller and they want to credit your account, it means they are putting money in, because your account is a liability to them.  So it’s opposite.

 

GAAP: GAAP stands for Generally Accepted Accounting Principles.  It refers to the set of standards that must be followed by accountants when creating accounting reports for people like bankers and investors who rely on them.

Liabilities:  Liabilities are what you owe.  If you have loans taken out for your business or owe vendors money for invoices of purchases they sent you, those are liabilities.  Common liabilities include sales tax that you’ve collected but not paid, unpaid vendors’ invoices, credit cards that are not paid off each month, mortgages on buildings, and any bank loans you’ve taken out.

Equity:  In mathematical terms, equity is the net of your assets less your liabilities.  In more philosophical terms, it’s the net amount you and your fellow business owners have invested in your business adjusted by the years of net income you’ve made less what you’ve taken out of the business.

How many terms did you already know?  Do you feel smarter already?  Knowing accounting terms will help you understand this aspect of your business a bit better.

Cool Tech Tools: Automate Your To-Do List

Keeping a to-do list is a great way to be productive, avoid having things fall through the crack, and unclutter your brain.  How you maintain your to-do list varies: some people use pen and paper because they love the feeling of crossing tasks off, others use Excel or Google documents.  Still others might try Evernote.

If all of those still have you feeling unorganized, then you’re in luck.  There’s a whole new genre of apps to automate your to-do list.  Here is a list of things to consider:

  1. Would it be great to access your to-do list from any device?
  2. Do you need subtasks?
  3. Would you like to set priorities and due dates?
  4. Do you want notifications or reminders?
  5. Do you want to share tasks with others?
  6. Do you have repeating tasks that need to be handled differently?
  7. Do you need to be able to make comments or notes for each task?
  8. Would it be nice to forward an email to your to-do list and just have it logged?
  9. Do you want to be able to print your to-do list?
  10. Do you want to be able to set hash tags, filters, and labels for each task?

Once you’ve thought about your requirements, now you can look for an app that meets it.  Here are two to get you started:

  • ToDoist.com
  • Wunderlist.com

If those don’t work out, Google “to-do list apps” and you’ll have a bevy of selections to choose from.  These to-do lists will work for not only business projects but also major life projects like weddings, vacations, and more.

Try these new to-do list apps and let us know what you think.

How Pinterest and Instagram Can Make You Money

There’s a visual side to every business, and Pinterest and Instagram, which are social media applications, can show your customers and prospects what your business looks like form day to day. Plus, you can have some real fun with it.

Pinterest allows people to post graphics to online bulletin boards and share them with others. In Pinterest, graphics of all kinds are allowed, including photographs, screen prints, logos, and more. In Instagram, photos are posted and shared among users. Here are some tips you can implement in your business to take advantage of Pinterest and Instagram.

1. Take pictures of your work.

Even if you’re a plumber, work can be interesting and artistic at times. Take a picture of the child’s toy that was clogging the toilet, and you could have an entire pinboard of “Things that we’ve pulled out of toilets.” If you’re in personal service, you can photograph your client’s new manicure or hairdo (with their permission of course). If you’re in landscaping you can snap the cleanup job you just did. If you’re a webmaster, take screen prints of your clients’ new webpages and post them to Pinterest.

2. Take pictures of the happy client.

Before leaving your happy client, grab a photo of them showing their new product. With their permission you can post these to both Pinterest and Instagram. As an added plus, use the client’s testimonials or review as your caption, and if they are a small business owner, include their URL to help them out a bit with their marketing and social media.

3. Grab before and after shots.

Before and after photos are great for your portfolio and work well in both Pinterest and Instagram. They can show a future customer what’s possible with your service.

4. Shoot daily scenes at your office or place of work.

Do all your employees hangout in the morning before going their separate ways? Do you ever have all-hands staff meetings? If so, you can add these photos to your growing collection at Instagram.

5. Create topical pinboards.

Even if your job isn’t very funny, you can make funny pinboards about it (exceptions possibly being hospitals and funeral homes). Accounting humor, attorney jokes, and engineering humor can make for a fun Pinterest board. Other ideas include:

  • A pinboard of people you look up to or who have mentored you,
  • Favorite books you’ve read or like,
  • Inspirational quotes,
  • Favorite places,
  • Your team of employees, and
  • Any of the categories mentioned above.

Go wild with photos and screen shots in your business, and your business will get noticed on social media.

Eight Ways to Save Time You Might Not Have Thought About

Time is money as they say, and if you can save time, you’re also saving money. Since your time is limited to 24/7, both personal and business time saved is profitable. Here are eight ways to save time (and money) for your consideration. Go through all of them with an open mind, and see which one might work best for you.

1. The trip to the grocery store

If you’re making several trips to the grocery store throughout the week, this one is for you. Cut down on those trips by taking inventory of your kitchen and seeing what you’ll need for the week (or longer). Shopping once a week will save precious time throughout the week.

Better yet, have your groceries delivered. Some shops will also pick and bag your times so your selections are ready for pickup. Even better, hire an assistant to shop for you so that your refrigerator and pantry is stocked when you get home.

2. Appointment scheduling

Automate your appointment scheduling and you’ll free up weeks of admin time for either you or your staff. There are dozens of apps, many industry-specific that can help you save time making appointments. Once you’ve set it up, send the link to the people you’ll be meeting and voila, it will appear on your calendar.

Here are a few to check out:

For field service companies in the home repair or maintenance industries that serve commercial and residential customers, Google “field service scheduling” to get the right software for your business.

3. Office supplies

Order your supplies online and have them delivered.

4. Email interruptions

Turn off automatic send and receive in your email software to get rid of that nasty interruption. Mark your calendar to check and answer your email three to four times a day. You’ll go home happier and feeling more in control of your work with this one change.

5. The commute

If you can manage it, working from home one to two days a week can save you commute time. You may also be able to avoid rush hour by altering your work hours if you have some flexibility. After all, it’s your business.

6. Those errands

Batching your errands all into one day will save precious start and stop time on your other work days. Better yet, choose one day a week for outside errands and personal appointments so that you can get into the habit of this for the long term.

7. Takeout

Do you go out for lunch every day? You may need the break or you may need to have that power lunch with a new business partner or client. But on days you don’t, have takeout delivered so you don’t have to waste time ordering and standing in line.

8. The bank

Are you going to the bank constantly? If so, you can avoid it in a number of ways:

• Take credit cards, and have clients pay online.
• Ask your bank about remote or mobile check deposit options.
• Hire a company to transport your cash deposits – Google “Cash logistics” to find companies with armored car services. It won’t hurt to find out how much it costs and you might be surprised.

Did you get an idea on how to save time? If so, it’s your turn to implement and reap the benefits.

Three Costly Accounting Mistakes to Avoid

Small business owners have a lot on their plates, and time simply does not allow you to become an expert in all the areas required for running a business. Here are a couple of common mistakes that we see all the time. Correcting them will help you be more productive and profitable in your business.

1. Mismanaging receipts

Maintaining receipts are challenging for everyone, but the IRS requires that you have proof of business expenditures. Periodically, we come across people who feel that keeping the credit card statements are enough; unfortunately, they’re not. You’ll want to create a process to keep your receipts all in one place so they don’t get lost.

Receipts printed on thermal paper (think gas station receipts and many more) will fade within a year or two, and the bad news is the IRS could audit several years back if they come calling. Correct this by scanning them in or taking a clear picture of them using your smartphone.

Some accounting systems and/or document management applications allow you to upload the receipt and attach it to the transaction in your accounting system. This is a great solution, and if you’re interested in this, please ask us about it.

2. Ignoring the accounting reports

There are gold nuggets in your accounting reports, but some business owners don’t take the time to review them or are uncertain about how to interpret them. Your accountant can help you understand the reports and find the gold nuggets that can help you take action toward profitability.

Some of the things you can do with your reports include:

  • Identifying your highest selling services or products
  • Projecting cash flow so you’re not caught short at payroll time
  • Getting clear on your top customers or your demographic of top customers
  • Evaluating your marketing or business development spend
  • Pointing out trends compared to prior years, budget, or seasonality effects
  • Checking up on profit margins per product or service to make sure you are priced correctly
  • Managing aging receivables or speeding up collections
  • Measuring employee profitability, if relevant
  • And so much more
  • Being proactive with your accounting will help you spot opportunities in your business that you can act on, as well as spot and correct problems long before they manifest into trouble.

    3. Mixing business and pleasure

    In your bank accounts and on your credit cards, mixing business and pleasure is to be avoided when possible. All businesses should have a separate bank account, and all business transactions should go through there. It takes an accountant much longer to correctly book a business deposit that was deposited into a personal account.

    Taking out a separate credit card and putting all your business transactions on it will save your bookkeeper a ton of time. The credit card doesn’t even have to be a business credit card. It can just be a personal credit card that’s solely used for business. If you have employees making credit card charges, sometimes a separate card for them helps you control fraud.

    The hardest area in which to separate business from pleasure is cash transactions. Be sure your accountant knows about these. The accountant can either set up a petty cash account or a reimbursement process so that you can get credit for cash expenditures that are for the business.

    How did you rate on these three mistakes? Avoid these three and your accounting department as well as your business will run a lot smoother.

Cool Apps: Zapier

Do you need to get data from one app to another?   If so, it’s time to check out Zapier.

You might be moving data manually from, let’s say, your shopping cart to your CRM or from Evernote to Google Docs, or something like that.  Zapier allows you to automate the process with what they call a Zap.

In the Zapier app, click Make a Zap, and you’ll see two dropdown menus:  Trigger app and Action app.  Your trigger app is the one where the data is stored and your action app is the one where you want the data to be moved to.

Continuing the shopping cart example above, you would choose your shopping cart app as the trigger app.  Zapier support BigCommerce, Ontraport, Infusionsoft, Shopify, Magento, and more.  It will then ask you for details about the transaction and the type of data you want to port over.  Your action app will be your CRM, and Zapier supports dozens of them.  It will ask you for your user ID and password for each application and some more specifics about the type of data you want to transfer.

You can run your zap one time or every fifteen minutes, depending on the nature of your data transfer.  Here are some ideas to get your creative juices flowing:

  • From Evernote to Google Calendar, add an event.
  • From your blog to Facebook, post your latest blog entry.
  • Create QuickBooks Online sales receipt from PayPal
  • Create QBO customer from Salesforce (or other CRM)
  • Create Constant Contact contact from QBO customer
  • And several thousand more combinations!

The admin time you will save will amaze you.  Data entry and moving data around is truly becoming a thing of the past.  You can go to Zapier.com and create a free trial.  There is a charge for a larger number of zaps.

And, as always, if you’d like our help, please reach out.

Attract More Customers with Event Marketing

Holding your own event is a great way to meet new people and allow them to sample your business in a low-risk setting.  A face-to-face event allows you to build trust quicker than many other marketing methods, and trust is almost always required before a sale can be made.

Types of Events

Some of the more popular types of events you can hold include:

  • A seminar or class
  • An open house
  • A neighborhood sale
  • A networking meeting
  • A reception or party or celebration or festival
  • A conference

If you’re new to holding events, start small and/or join with another business so that you’ll have a larger number of people to invite.

Participants

Once you’ve decided on the type of event you want to hold, you’ll want to determine who you will invite.  Will it be clients only?  Will you join with other businesses and combine your lists?  You’ll want to invite a larger number of people than you might think.  If the event is free, there may be several no-shows, even if they have RSVP’d.   The more formal the event, the fewer the no-shows.

Topic or Purpose

For the best turnout, choose a topic that’s interesting to your clients as well as relevant to the services you offer.  Provide education that the customer needs, a new money-making strategy, a new product or service roll-out, or something that will affect your customers’ well-being, and you’ll experience the best turnout.

Spread the Word

Now that you’re ready to hold your event, it’s time to get the word out.  Plan on sending multiple emails (more than you might be comfortable with) to let people know about your event.  Email is a good way to notify people, but if you have the budget, mail invitations.  Call the most important people and let them know you want them at your event.

Have Fun and Make Money

Be sure to have a high ratio of staff to guests so that more than one of your staff can meet each person.  Enjoy your event, and hopefully, you’ll be able to get to know many future customers there as well.

Your Daily Numbers

Some numbers need reviewing on a daily basis, and one example of this is cash.  When cash is coming in from a number of places, it’s great to have a daily summary of what was collected.

It’s also great to make sure all the collections hit your bank account so you can feel confident that no errors were made along the way.  A daily cash reconciliation report will serve both needs very well.

A daily cash report will vary depending on the type of business you have, but it will look like a combination of a bank reconciliation and a sales report wrapped into one.

If you are managing your cash closely from day to day, then this report will help you stay sane.  You’ll need two very brief spreadsheets to get started.  The first one below is your daily sales from all sources.  Your accounting system may be able to generate this.

Today’s Sales
Cash $300.00
Checks $600.00
Total Bank Deposit $900.00
Mastercard Visa $400.00
American Express $200.00
Total Credit Card Due $600.00
PayPal $100.00

If your accounting system is up to date, all you’ll need to do is pull the cash balance and adjust for today’s activity.  The following day, you can double check your accuracy and adjust accordingly using the last two rows.

Daily Cash Report
Book Cash Balance $5,000.00
Deposit from Today’s Sales $900.00
Merchant Deposit $600.00
Less Checks Written Today ($1,200.00)
$5,300.00
Expected Bank Balance Tomorrow $8,300.00
Actual Bank Balance $8,300.00
Explain any differences

If your accounting system is not updated in real time, you’ll need to start with the bank balance and correct it for uncleared transactions as well as list today’s activity.

Daily Cash Report
Bank Balance $5,000.00
Deposit from Today’s Sales $900.00
Merchant Deposit $600.00
Less Checks Written Today ($1,200.00)
$5,300.00
Checks Still Outstanding ($3,000.00)
Deposit from A/R Paid $5,000.00
Expected Bank Balance Tomorrow $8,300.00

 

Using these formats, you can easily extend them to cover the entire week.  This way, you’ll know what your cash balance will be from day to day.

If you see the value of this report for your business and would like help creating it, please reach out.

Make Your Cash Register Ring With LinkedIn / Part 1: The Game

The most common concern that I hear when people come to me to request LinkedIn training is: “It takes so much time!”

As it turns out, when small many small business owners think of LinkedIn, they see the opportunity but quickly think of the excess hours that their teenage kids spend on Facebook. And so they don’t play the game. They leave money and influence on the table while their competitors launch into cyberspace.

As a CPA, I have a keen sense for the value of every hour. When I started using LinkedIn myself, I had to limit my nonbillable time. So I developed a methodology for being highly effective (read: making my cash register ring…remember, I’m a CPA, not a PR person) on LinkedIn in no more than 15-30 minutes at a shot.

Turns out, this method works for a lot of other people, too – I’ve been giving courses and private consulting on this methodology for a few years now.

It doesn’t have anything to do with what to click on in LinkedIn – that’s for another article – but it is the reason why my clients can now grow their businesses with such a small time commitment in the social media space.

Accountants often say – and rightly so -– that every dollar that you spend has the potential to increase the value of your business. What about every hour that you spend?

So here it is. Be able to answer these questions or don’t waste your time on LinkedIn.

(1) Who am I and what do I want for my life?
Yes, this CPA just went there. And keep it to a phrase or a few sentences.

(2) Why am I in business?
Don’t tell me “to make money” or “to help people.” You can do that by being an employee and by sharing your umbrella with someone. Why are you in business?

(3) What is my exit strategy?
“Exit? What do you mean exit? I just started!” I hear you say. There are different ways to develop your business NOW depending on whether you want to position it for sale, be bought out by a partner, pass it on to the next generation, or simply close the doors when you don’t want to run it anymore.

(4) What is my long-term vision for this business?
Mom-and-pop shop? Global takeover? Exclusive community? Ubiquitous?

(5) Who are the types of players needed to make that happen?
These players help you to accomplish your vision for your business and for your life.

(6) Which of my stories are compelling to key people in face-to-face conversations?
The time a customer said, “I [can sleep at night / increased sales by 15% / prevented total disaster / looked like a hero] because of what your company did for me!”

(7) In what ways is my company’s offering unique to the marketplace?
No, I mean actually unique. And it’s probably not what you’re selling. I didn’t say product/service, I said offering. If I had a nickel for every business owner I’ve heard claim that there is no competition for their product or service…

(8) What are the key experiences that touch the people most important to my business?
No matter your product or service, there is something deep down that causes someone to say “yes” – and that is what is present when your company suddenly looks like an opportunity for someone’s life.

If you own a business and you can’t answer these questions, you probably don’t own a business. You have a job.

But if you can answer the above questions clearly and concisely, you have major rocket fuel. Translate these into the LinkedIn actions and you’ll take off – and you’ll give your CRM system a run for the money. Engage by doing what your business does and you’ll hear ringing in your ears…from your cash register, that is.

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