7

Save Money with Small Business Management Software

Small businesses owners often find that there are certain times of the year when cash flow is not as healthy as it could be. This could be due to the fact that the business has seasonal customers, money being spent wastefully or through outmoded business practices. Regardless of the reason as to why money is being lost one thing is for certain good business owners and managers are all looking for a way to save the business money.

One way to save money in a small business is to implement small business management software. Software such as this enables a business with less than 50 employees to be operated via one software application. By being able to switch to one application a small business owner can save thousands every year as all other applications that require a monthly or annual fee to be discontinued.

As soon as they see just what small business management software can do many business owners and managers are keen to start using it. Not only can small business management software save a business money in terms of slashing the number of applications a business has to pay for it also saves money in other ways such as:

Increasing the number of leads that are converted into sales with ease. When using small business management software an employee can create a quote and save this to a customers file. This will contain their contact details and other relevant information. If this quote is not accepted within a certain period of time, this lead can then be chased up by the sales department.

By ensuring that projects are always completed on time a business will not lose customers. With small business management software projects can be assigned and tracked in real time. Managers and owners can quickly and easily check on projects that are nearing their due date in order to ensure that they are progressing as they should be. By utilizing this feature projects should never be behind schedule ever again, which means that money will be saved in the long run through customer retention.

Small business management software also allows employee calendars to be seen by owners and managers at a glance. This means that projects and so on can be planned with regard to staffing numbers. Money is therefore saved by ensuring that all employees are working to capacity and not being diverted to projects which are already fully subscribed.

As small business management software is web based it means that it can be accessed from anywhere in the world that has an internet connection. So if a manager or owner is away from the office on business they can access the application and get any information that they need. This saves business money as laptops and mobile internet is not required when an owner or manager visits potential customers.

These are just a few of the ways in which small business management software can save a business money each month.

19

Curing The Top 3 Business Frustrations With Small Business Coaching

When considering whether you are ready for small business coaching, check first to see if you are suffering from any of the following 3 business frustrations. An experienced coach can guide and support you in remedying these road blocks to small business success.

Not Enough Customers

One of the major frustrations for entrepreneurs is how to consistently fill their sales pipeline with qualified prospects Are you suffering from too few prospects to convert into customers? Have you considered your approach to how you go about marketing your business?.Many businesses utilize a very limited tool box of strategies and tactics in bringing potential customers to their business. A small business coaching program can open your eyes to many different methods for pulling more clients and their dollars.

Lack of Focus and Lack of Direction
It is very easy to become distracted and diminish your effectiveness by splitting your attention over too many tasks. Are you doing too many things and think this means you are productive? This can lead to poor results and an unhappy business owner. Machines can multi task; humans weren’t designed for this function.
Reaching your goals and dreams is more probable when a clear focus and defined objectives are directing your energies. To satisfy your main business goals you need to forego the adhoc decision making approach and structure the way you make decisions based on important priorities. A decision to commence a small business coaching program could be the answer.

Working Too Many Hours
Perform this exercise and enlighten yourself. Write down how many hours you are putting in each week towards running your business. Multiply this by say 50. Now jot down how much you draw in remuneration from the business per annum. Divide the dollar amount by the yearly hours and this will reveal your hourly rate. Sometimes owners will discover what they already feared; that they are earning less than some of their employees.

One of your reasons for starting a small business coaching regime may have been to be financial independent or at least to make enough to enjoy a great lifestyle. The main goal here is to improve your business to the point where:

– You are making more income than if you were working for someone else
– The business is making a profit (not just covering your drawings)
– You will eventually be working less hours

4

Why Small Business Needs Accounting

According to the NY Times, one of the ten reasons small businesses fail is due to improper or lack of accounting. Corporations spend a significant amount of money and hire accountants to report on the status of the company and maintain day to day operations. Yet, many small businesses end up failing to maintain proper accounting.

Accounting Helps with Operating Your Business
Proper Accounting helps pay employees and vendors; helps with customer invoicing, helps post payments; tracks your business assets and liabilities, and most importantly, it calculates any profits and losses. Small businesses cannot operate if they can not pay their employees or ignore vendors bills and continue receiving materials for their products. Often, those functions are ignored by small businesses due to lack of time thus resulting to work stoppages.

Accounting Provides Feedback
At the end of every period, may it be monthly or yearly, as small business owners, you have some idea of how you performed and accounting provides you the validation you need. It will tell you if you made a profit or loss. If you happen to have a loss, it will determine where your biggest expenses are coming from and if you did make a profit and still left with a small cash balance, it will probably tell you which customers havent paid and which customers are now delinquent. Small businesses fail when what they think is not true and this is the most important reason why small businesses need accounting.

Accounting Helps Comply With Legal and Contractual Obligations
The IRS, other government agencies, and banking covenants require businesses to provide a detailed accounting of their revenue and expenses. Depending on the size and entity type, it also requires you to have a balance sheet or listing of assets, liabilities, and equity. Accounting provides you with that information easily. It provides business owners the right amount of withholding, deductions, and back-up just incase they get audited.

Accounting Provides Non-Financial Insights
Many small businesses fail to realize that accounting is not just financial information. It has information on timing, customer information, employee information, and other information that may not necessarily be part of your financials. For example. a key non-financial trend that small business could pay attention to is their customer demographics, you can identify what your customers age, location, and how they order products and services and you can zone in on advertising to that demographics thus increasing revenue and could lead to increased profit. Another, key non-financial trend small business can pay attention to is monthly sales figures, when a small business realize that a continuous trend of slow monthly per year. A small business could either ramp-up advertising 30 days before as anticipation of the slow month or they could plan a family vacation.

4

Small Business Resources Every Business Owner Needs

Seeking out small business resources doesnt have to take long if you know what your business needs. Small business owners can find a wealth of resources on the many websites that cater to the tools, services and employer information that every business needs to run efficiently. By using the right small business resources to find everything they need online, small business owners can save themselves time that could be used in that business.

Business Tools Online

No business runs well without the right tools available to employees. Small business machines such as computers, printers and labelers are all used in the typical office, and staying on top of the latest innovations in those machines can mean staying on top of the competition. Whether its postage meters that a business needs or a simple calculator, employees cant use them if they dont have them. Software, office furniture, printing paper and more can be found at low prices online, and shopping for them takes less time when its done on a website.

Hiring Employees and Contractors

Every business needs employees to keep it running. To find those, business owners dont have to place a newspaper ad any longer. They can use one of the many websites that can assist them in finding productive employees. Some sites allow you to read the profiles or resumes that are posted by job seekers. This is an easy way to find qualified candidates for the open positions.

Another type of site is one that allows business owners to put up an advertisement for a job opening. Many employers prefer to post an ad because they want fresh employee leads and want to post the job specifications. Using these jobs, business owners can seek out employees, independent contractors or even interns. Owners can choose popular sites that will yield hundreds of applicants or more specialized sites that will attract candidates within a specific field. Other job sites, such as bidding sites, allow employers to post specific projects and to receive bids from multiple contractors.

Financial and Legal Services

Sometimes, its the services that a business owners uses that determines how successful that business is. The business must have an effective payroll system to keep employees and contractors paid in full on time. It may need legal services for drawing up contracts and protecting the company against liability. Finding out which services you need and where to go to get them can both be done through sites that provide these business resources.

In some cases, the services can be provided through websites. In others, the sites connect business owners to local professionals who can provide those vital services. For owners who simply need information about which services are important and how they can be integrated into the business, there are plenty of educational resources online as well.

4

Why seek employment law advice for your small business

While it is perfectly normal for a business owner to want to focus on the most essential processes that contribute to the success and growth of its small business or startup, paying attention to the legal aspects of running a business is also very important. Statutory compliance, staff employment, terms of service and supplier contracts are the areas where professional legal advice services can help secure your business and save money in the long term.

According to a recent report published by the UK Legal Services Board, called In Need of Advice? and based on a YouGov survey of over 9000 British small businesses, 38% of surveyed small businesses experienced one or more legal problems in the past year, out of which employment law issues were second most common situations business owners had to face, right after issues concerning trading. While 45% of surveyed small business owners considered that legal problems have a tangible impact on their business operations and growth, in the majority of cases they dealt with problems entirely on their own (52%), with only 16% of legal problems being solved through professional legal services.

Prepare your small business for future employment law situations

As businesses grow, its almost inevitable that small business owners will have to deal with the occasional difficult employment scenario, the most common issues revolving around employee gross misconduct, unfair dismissal and redundancy. These employment issues can have a negative impact on the overall performance of the business and can quickly escalate and generate loss if the correct legal steps are not followed. This is why seeking employment law advice from the outset helps a small business be prepared to handle any employment situation correctly .

Employment law advice directly from the experts

It is good business practice to seek employment legal advice not only when employee grievances arise or legal action is required, but from the very beginning of your business setup.

Other than offering employment law advice and support in cases of gross misconduct, redundancy and dismissals, an employment law solicitor can play a preventive role, by helping small business owners set up the correct employment contracts, prepare employee handbooks and other essential employment procedures and keep the business up to date on employment legislation.

Affordable employment legal advice

There are many ways in which small businesses that cannot afford a dedicated HR and employment service can still benefit from expert employment legal advice. While engaging a high street employment firm of solicitors on matters requiring legal action in court can prove to be an expensive exercise, small business owners can seek employment law advice with local professional associations and groups, which offer a series of online legal advice resources that any small business can easily access. Another route to take is to engage independent accounting and tax consultants that often include employment solicitors and offer employment law advice and guidance on a retainer arrangement, which is usually the most cost-effective solution for small businesses.

20

Questions to Ask When Searching for a Small Business Banking Account

The bank a small business owner chooses to bank with is critical to the success of a business. Choose a bank that takes too many fees out, or one that doesnt offer the services a small business needs, and the success of the business is on the line. Conducting research before choosing which bank you use for your small business banking is critical. If you are in the beginning stages of your bank research, the following questions can help you determine if a bank is right for your small business.

The first question you should ask is what banking options the bank provides your small business. Every small business is different, and the banking options one business needs will vary from another. Determining what features are offered, and how they help your small business can help you determine if a certain bank is right for your small business banking needs. Some questions to consider asking include if a bank provides online access to bank accounts, the ability to choose remote checking, and the option to directly deposit checks and money remotely. Once you have determined what features and banking options are being offered to your small business, you can determine what bank offers you the most.

The second question you should ask is what, if any, potential is there for accessing small business loans. Some banks include in their small business banking features the ability to easily gain access to small business loans. If there is reason to believe that your small business may need to apply for a loan sometime in the future, then a bank that offers easy access to a small business loan might be beneficial. If a small business loan is not on the horizon, then the small business loan feature doesnt affect your decision on which bank to use.

The third question you should ask is what bank fees will your small business occur over time. Small businesses will sometimes incur thousands in bank fees over a period of time. Asking what bank fees are can help you assess whether a particular bank is right for your small business banking needs. Banks fees to consider include account holding fees, fees to access online accounts, transaction fees, debit card fees, and remote banking fees. Once you have determined what fees are being assessed by which bank, you can determine which bank is the best choice for your small business.

18

What More You Need to Know About Small Business Cash Advance

Small Business Cash Advance is almost similar to a small amount of business loan your business house applies and receives the funding and can utilize the funds for various uses in the business and your business house needs to repay the advance. However, there are substantial differences.

The Small Business Cash Advance is by nature, unsecured. The approval for business cash advance is not subject to the investigation or scrutiny that is undertaken in the case of a small business loan. You do not need to prove your credentials or demonstrate your plan.

Additionally, Small Business Cash Advance does not require any kind of share in equity ownership in the business house and the business house is free to utilize the funds in any manner whatsoever, as is required. The lenders of Small Business Cash Advance determine the amount of Small Business Cash Advance based on the amount of cash flow from the monthly credit card charges.

The approval rates of Small Business Cash Advance almost ten times higher than that of a regular bank loan. This is mainly because of the multiple barriers and the long winding application cycles and processes banks thrust upon the loan applicant.

If you want to procure a Small Business Cash Advance from any of the institutional lenders, your business house will have to accept the credit cards as a standard mode of payment.

The applicant of the Small Business Cash Advance will have to process a minimum amount as credit card sales every month, and additionally, the business must have been operational for a period of at least a year. There are usually no fixed payments decided; you do not need to bear any upfront costs and no need to bear any closing cost.

The biggest advantage is that the funding is made steady and is always consistently available to the applicant business house so that at no point in time, lack of cash becomes a hindrance in the development of the business and puts the business house in difficulties.

Small Business cash advances can be repaid by credit card sales and the repayments are usually processed through the merchant account of the business house. All other kinds of payments received in the form of check, cash or any other means are not accepted for repayment. There are usually no fixed payments decided; you do not need to bear any upfront costs and no need to bear any closing cost.

The biggest advantage with the small business cash advances is that they are hassle free and the business houses can procure such loans or advances very easily and with minimal documentation. The only downside is that these advances are unsecured and unsecured business cash advance can tend to become a liability.

4

The Urgency in Deploying Network Security Appliance for Small Business Networks

Information is business assets, like other valuable business assets, that must be protected against any threats. In medium to enterprise business networks, the management of the information security is a must. In small business networks, generally the organizations lack of competent security experts that should manage the information security. Therefore the choice of the deployment of small business network security appliance is a must for small organizations.

In large enterprise networks, they have many layers of security protections including the endpoint security, the management of information security and policies which must be enforced to all business unit groups. Unlike large scale business or enterprise networks, in small organizations – generally they do not develop the management of information security in place.

This is generally due to lack of IT security expertise which does not compare to the assets that must be rotected. Any layers of security that should be deployed, depends on how critical your information assets is. Therefore, they mainly focus in securing the endpoint security.

The entry point of the private network generally where all the internet threats are coming from, the intruders or the hackers as well as the malware will start to attack the vulnerabilities they found. Therefore, small business network security should concentrate in protecting the entry point by any types of secured firewall appliances. There are many security appliances available in the marketplace you can consider to use for your organization.

The following are some of the small business network security appliances you can consider to use for your small organizations. DSD-150 is designed for home or SOHO networks that use broadband internet connection.

DSD-150 Security appliance

D-Link DSD-150 internet security adapter is an all-in-one small business network security which is designed for home and small business networks. With this single device connected in the entry point of your broadband internet connection, you have a complete protection including network protection, firewall protection, virus protection, spyware protection, identity protection, pop-up blocker, SPAM blocker, and parental control – all in a palm-sized box.

DSD-150 is suitable for home and SOHO as small business network security which has 4 computers or more. installation and configuration is easy, DSD-150 has 2 Ethernet ports, WAN port must be connected to the modem (RJ-45 LAN port), and the LAN port must be connected to the wireless router.

CheckPoint Safe Office 500

CheckPoint Safe Office 500 is a small business network security a total internet security appliance for small to medium sized business networks. If your organization is lack of security personnel, dont worry trust the network security to this CheckPoint Safe Office 500 that can protect a network of up to 100 users from any types of network threats.

5

Transition from Military Life to Small Business Careers

Perhaps one of the most challenging career and employment situations imaginable takes place every single day when individuals serving in the military prepare to move from military service to a new career. This involves thousands of motivated government employees who at first glance should have absolutely no trouble in obtaining an appropriate job. It is hard to imagine any prospective employees who would have more motivation to work hard and succeed in whatever they do.

Despite initial appearances, military personnel are currently experiencing a high unemployment and underemployment rate. Perhaps because of this or outdated assumptions about the value of all forms of college education, the first step in military transition to business careers is often a decision to obtain a college degree. This can prove to be the right move in some cases, but it can also become an expensive mistake.

The difference between education and training is frequently misunderstood by many people, and such misunderstandings probably contribute to a disproportionate percentage of career choices focusing on educational institutions instead of more specialized (and much cheaper) career training programs. While advanced education has a special place for specific purposes and goals, it is simply not the best career choice in a surprising number of cases. One of the best possible illustrations of this dilemma occurs when someone is departing from the military. In this situation, education can appear to be the “easy” decision. But with more scrutiny, training frequently emerges as the “smart” decision.

Just as specialized business training is usually one of the most cost-effective strategies available to small businesses, the selection of a practical career training program will often prove to be a more cost-effective military transition alternative in comparison to other options that include lengthy and expensive university studies. It is true that the most viable and appropriate training choices will require some investigative time and effort to evaluate thoroughly. In large part this is due to the fact that colleges and universities have extensive marketing resources to advertise and persuade while the less well-known training opportunities are more of a “word of mouth” situation.

For example, one of the most effective career training situations devotes no resources whatsoever to advertising and lobbying. In this case the program leads to a small business finance consulting career. Because overhead is much less than the highly-capitalized universities, the cost of such services are understandably much less. Unfortunately it is not always true that you get what you pay for, so a prudent military transition will require due diligence from start to finish.

Stephen Bush has provided candid business advice to small business owners for over 30 years. He specializes in business negotiating and business proposal writing. Steve offers career training programs for small business finance consulting throughout the United States and Canada. He is a U.S. Navy veteran who works directly with individuals leaving military service and helps with the transition to a small business career.

9

An Exchange Server Alternative For Small Business

For the business user, the main advantages to working in a company that has an exchange server are:

1. File sharing
2. Access to email from any configured computer
3. Contacts access
4. calendar syncrhonized and shared between all employees

Essentially it means the office worker can use any configured computer to access his or her files, emails and calendar. The company will often configure a laptop and provide remote access so the member of staff can also work from home or while travelling and still have complete access.

The problem with this kind of product when it comes to a small or mid sized company, is that it requires someone to manage it and there is a huge cost, in terms of both initial cost and ongoing expenses.

So if you manage a small business and you want your employees to have a high level of flexibility i.e. to be able to telework or while travelling, or even to hotdesk at the office, you will need an exchange substitute.

There are two alternatives which will offer you many of the features of Exchange without the expenditure.

The first is a hosted exchange server. The second is the Easy-Email synchronization solution plus file synchronization software.

A Hosted Exchange server is a great solution. You get almost all the advantages but you are spared the resource cost and management time. You simply pay according to the number of users. This allows for quick expansion so as the business grows you just increase a user.

Easy-Email is a fabulous alternative for small firms.
Its an email sync answer set out in the form of a series of guides that you, or an IT professional you hire, can follow. It will sync a users mail and contacts on their desktop, laptop, home computer, pda or netbook. In addition it will allow them to manage their email from any other computer via Gmail.

The Easy-Email solution is incredibly good value compared to any other alternative solutions It’s just $67 US for the Advanced Guide to Outlook and you can get all of your staff set up for this fee!
The disadvantage in comparison with exchange is that there is at present no shared calendar so you will need to use a google calendar or similar.

And in terms of shared files and folders its really simple. Set up Dropbox. Dropbox provides you with a system of shared folders that are all automatically sync’d via the internet but they are also stored on the computer so you dont have to be online to access the files. You can select which people have access to which folders and the first 2GB of storage space is free (and it’s very reasonable after that).