Category: Business

5 Reasons your Startup Shouldn’t Take on Accounting Solo

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You can take easy steps to eliminate some of the stress and anxiety of launching a startup with small adjustments such as by hiring an outside accountant, which is recommended by Forbes. These are five reasons your startup should not do your accounting in house.

Low Overhead

Many entrepreneurs believe they can take on the accounting or to assign it to another founder or team member. This is one area that often overwhelms people because they do not anticipate that small business accounting will be so dramatically different from personal accounting. Also, when you hire an accountant are only paying for the time they actually work; therefore, you will save money. This allows your team, including yourself, to focus on other imperative areas of business.

On-Time Payments

Your reputation is of the utmost importance during your early days. You do not want to have the reputation of being a business that does not pay bills on time. This is an issue for many startups who simply do not have enough time for everything that needs to be done. Often times, accounting is overlooked. If bills are paid late, you will tarnish relationships with your preferred suppliers and potentially close your doors before they were ever really open.

Personal versus Professional

You must separate your personal banking from your company banking. You might think it to be easier to keep all the money in one place seeing as you will be paying yourself a salary, however this will cause more problems than you can imagine. If you hire a professional to do your taxes, it will help to minimize the temptation to pay yourself and others money that should remain in the business account until the appropriate time.Entrepreneur.com has compiled a list of resources that will help you understand your accountant and their decisions more easily.

Record Keeping

One of the best ways accounts help is that they will manage all of your transactions and records for you. When entrepreneurs try to maintain their books early on they rarely keep track of every transaction including money withdrawals at cash points and coffee for the break room. When you do not manage your accounts meticulously, you have no idea which bills you can and cannot pay at the end of the month. An accountant eliminates this guesswork.

Accounting Laws

Entrepreneurs are typically not experts in accounting practices nor accounting laws. If you do not follow accounting and tax laws properly, you could put your business in jeopardy at anytime throughout the year. You also must ensure you are making legal write-offs and that you are spending the appropriate amount of money at the end of the year to maximize your returns.

It may be tempting to try to complete your accounting in house during the startup phase, however it will most likely cost you more money in time, effort and errors than if you paid someone a few hours a week to manage your books. You will save money, time and stress which is all priceless as you work to create a sustainable business that will be profitable.

4 Instant Benefits of Asset Management

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Just because you have a lot of assets doesn’t mean that you are the best at managing them. A trained professional may understand why it is better to hold them in a trust, why it may be better to sell a portion of an asset at a loss or why it may be best to hold on to an asset even if it has greatly appreciated in value. What are some other benefits that you gain from proper asset management?

Keep Your Portfolio Properly Diversified

You never want to invest in just one asset class. Even within a certain market sector, it may be best to have a variety of investments in different classes of that sector. For instance, if you are invested in real estate, you will want to own both residential property and commercial property. Proper diversification lowers your risk while increasing your overall returns from your portfolio.

Never Stray From Your Goals

If your portfolio strays away from what you want it to accomplish, it can be rebalanced for you. This means that when a certain stock or mutual fund loses too much of its value or becomes an outsized portion of your portfolio as it grows in value, a professional will be able to help you calibrate and get back to what you want to do with your money.

Gain the Benefit of Someone Else’s Experience

When you decide to have someone else manage your assets, you automatically gain that person’s wisdom and expertise. It makes it a lot easier to accomplish your goals when you have someone who can compliment your passion and ideas with the knowledge to see them through. If you ever have a question about executing and idea that you have, you will have an expert to talk to and determine whether your idea is feasible before you potentially lose money trying it out.

Acquire More Assets With Help Than You Could on Your Own

Allowing someone else to manage some or all of your assets means that there is less work for you to do. This means that you can go ahead and acquire new assets without worrying about how you will keep track of them all. When you have a larger portfolio, you have more chances to make money and let your gains compound over time. This benefits you today as well as in the future when you are ready to sell or transfer those assets to future generations who may oversee them.

With a professional asset manager, you will have someone who has the expertise and experience managing portfolios both large and small. Instead of spending time making decisions as to whether to buy or sell stocks or other assets every time they go up or down, you can spend your time enjoying your money and living life the way that you want to.

5 Innovative Ways 3D Scanning Can Change your Business

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3D scanning is revolutionizing how businesses design, develop, test and manufacture products. In actual fact, 3D scanning technology can be used during any stage of the manufacturing process to save time, materials and most important, money. 3D scanning directly results in better quality and fitting parts that cost less to manufacture. Industry experts note that typical manufacturing costs can be reduced by 50 to 70 percent through using 3D scanning technology.

The Design Process
Normally, the design process begins when a prototype is created to conceptualize the product idea. This normally involves an industrial technician who creates a foam or clay lead prototype. Similar to 3D printing, 3D scanning allows the project’s team to digitize and experiment with different objects. This is a great way to start the project out right, because all key members of the design team will be able to translate and adjust their product vision with only a few mouse clicks. This is a very efficient and effective way to explore different product conceptualizations.

The Manufacturing Process
After 3D scanning creates a basic approved CAD model, the design team will be able to add details and incorporate other objects into the existing design. For example, a simple piece of equipment will need multiple CAD models to be accurately incorporated into the master design. Being able to digitally perform reverse engineer will ensure that the actual parts fit better on a consistent basis. Thus, these CAD designs will optimize the engineering process.

The Prototype Process
3D scanning can be utilized during the prototype stage in many ways. For example, the best benefit of 3D designing is actually reducing the total amounts most common is actually to reduce the number of prototype design cycles necessary. Therefore, instead of an expensive and time consuming process, a the prototype is actually a single 3D scan data that results in precise measurements that will be used to create a perfect prototype.

The Production Process
When parts are actually being made, 3D scanning can be used to digitally capture changes. This may involve an experienced professional hand crafting, or tooling, the part to make minor adjustments. Through 3D scanning, modifications and optimizations performed by hand can be easily transferred from tool to tool to ensure that all parts are identically manufactured. Furthermore, 3D scanning can also be used to analyze tool wear during the production process.

Quality Control
3D scanning integrates well into quality control programs. For example, regular quality control involves a manufacturing expert who inspects the shape and size of all parts to detect any issues, such as parts that are warped. However, 3D scanning can easily be used in conjunction with a visual inspection, which will result in a highly accurate report created through statistical analysis software. Overall, quality control during the initial design stage will drastically increase the cost effectiveness of the project.

In the end, 3D scanning can be used during every phase of the manufacturing process to improve quality and efficiency, as well as reduce wasted time and money.

 

5 Ways Proxies Keep Your Business Safe and Secure

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Protecting the business servers should be atop the list of priorities to prioritize for your business especially if the servers hold customer information that is sensitive. This is the reason why the security experts that rank among the top in the world opine that using proxies is one sure way of protecting your business as they block any direct access of the business network. A proxy is the server that often sits between the user and the internet and it manages the incoming and outgoing traffic. Below are some instances which point exactly how this technology is used to keep businesses safe and secure.

Maintaining Safety

When the business has a proxy server well in place, it is able to be in control of all the traffic that comes into its network as well as out of it. The proxy can be set in such a way that it would be able to monitor traffic as well identify any type of issues that may arise. This control enables the business to easily recognize the instance of any unusual behavior taking place.

Blocking the Access to Websites

If you wish to get the maximum of your employee’s productivity and energy, you can block access to some websites they frequent when they should be working. Blocking access to some websites is important as it reduces the chances of users in your business from accessing sites that could turn out to be dangerous to the servers. There are some sites that have the potential to open your business network to the hackers.

Improving Marketing Efforts

Businesses are wholly committed to improving their efforts at marketing. The proxy servers are also helpful in attaining the same as they are capable of getting URLs and keywords from the search engines that are deemed popular. This enables the business to readjust its marketing SEO strategy by use of a private proxy to monitor web traffic. This offers a business a competitive edge over its competition.

Hiding Your Identity

As the business team or staff go surfing the internet, the IP address they use is exposed to third parties. It is possible for such information to land in the hands of unscrupulous people who can utilize it to do illegal activities and cause the same to be traced to your business. The proxy servers take care of this issue of leaving a digital print by hiding your business IP address. This allows you and your team to surf the internet without any limitations thus opening up more markets and opportunities.

Faster Surfing

Proxy servers enable fast surfing through caching websites that have been visited. This makes it possible for your team to visit the cached pages without the need to go looking for them again. This increases surfing speeds and frees resources. Click here for more information on this point.

 

Business Solutions: Manage Better Time with Wall Clocks

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Time is among the most critical elements of a workday, and everything from efficiency to productivity and promptness will be based on it. As a manager or business owner, you may be focused on ways to better manage time yourself as well as to encourage your employees to do the same throughout the day. Many will go to great lengths to improve their own efforts and their employees in this area, but one of the best steps you can take may be far easier than you may think. Investing in a wall clock for your business can enhance your efforts and help you to achieve the results you desire.

The Ability to Quickly Tell Time
There are numerous strategies and techniques that you can research and implement in order to improve time management, efficiency and productivity, but these may be difficult to incorporate into your daily business activities if you cannot quickly and easily determine what time it is. In many work environments, there are numerous clocks and watches that you will be able to see, but they may not be easy to easy or noticeable. A large wall clock may be strategically placed so that you can glance up and determine the time when you are on the phone, walking to a meeting, working at the computer or performing other activities. This will ensure that you are always aware of what time it is regardless of what you are doing or where you are located in the room.

A Noticeable Feature
Even when you have a clock on your laptop or desktop PC, a readout on your smartphone or a watch on your wrist, the unfortunate reality is that you may not notice these features. You will not be able to determine what time it is if you do not look at the clock. Some wall clocks are several feet in length and may be a foot or more tall. They also may have large, easy-to-read numerals that can catch your eye. When you are selecting a wall clock to purchase and to hang on the wall in your office, look for a noticeable feature that will catch your eye even when you are not actively trying to tell what time it is.

Productivity, efficiency and overall time management are important to your business activities, but in order to improve time management, you will need to have access to a clock that is both noticeable and easy to read. There are numerous clocks that are available for you to hang on the wall in your office, but you may consider finding a clock that has a large display and features that are easy for you and others to ready.

Beginner Investors: How to Build a Laundromat Business

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Starting a Laundromat business is a unique entrepreneurial opportunity for anyone interested in offering a valuable service to the public. However, as explained below, the unappealing Laundromats of the past are being replaced by modern, user-friendly businesses.

The Laundromat Revolution
Laundromats have a notorious reputation for being unclean and unpleasant places with sketchy customers. However, according to Entrepreneur magazine, modern Laundromats are now multi-service businesses with plenty to offer their customers. For example, newer Laundromats offer everything from snack bars to video game consoles to kid-friendly play areas. Even better, coin-operated washer and dryers are being replaced with machines that use convenient swipe cards. Laundromats also offer value added services, such as dry-cleaning and drop-off services. This means that the customer can save time through simply dropping off and picking up their clothing at their convenience. Some Laundromats are taking this to the next level through offering a complete pick up and drop off service, which means they will pick up the clothes at the clients’ home and drop them off after the service is finished.

Buying vs. Building a Laundromat Business

Purchasing an existing Laundromat will come with a detailed sales history. Therefore, the potential investor will be able to assess the Laundromat’s performance and observe the current customer base. However, most people won’t sell a profitable Laundromat unless they are retiring. If the investor is serious about buying an existing Laundromat, they must carefully assess whether they will have to upgrade their machines to a digital smart card laundry system. On the other hand, building your own Laundromat will most likely involved financed equipment, which means there will be lower start-up costs and thus more resources for other important things. New equipment will also come with warranties, so the operating and maintenance costs of the first few years will be low. Fortunately, there are proven ways to calculate the potential costs of starting a Laundromat business.

Laundromat Basics
Laundromats don’t just laundry clothes; they are a customer-service based enterprise that requires the entrepreneur to have excellent interpersonal and communication skills. Entrepreneurs who are organized and enthusiastic will excel in the Laundromat business. Laundromat owners must perform basic business tasks, such as promptly opening, cleaning and closing the store. They must collect money, change machines and stock vending items. They will also have to increase their basic maintenance skills and knowledge in order to keep their machines operating. Therefore, they must be familiar with preventative maintenance management. They may also be required to supervise other employees and even assist customers wash and fold their clothing.

In summary, starting a Laundromat business is an excellent business opportunity for anyone who wants to invest their money into a proven money making enterprise.

5 Expert Franchiser Quotes (and what they mean)

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Many entrepreneurs may struggle with their franchise because they lack business experience or business acumen. However, the following five quotes from top business leaders will provide inspiration and information to anyone who wants to start a franchise.

Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs was one of the most influential entrepreneurs and visionaries who helped revolutionize technology and how people access digital media and information. Steve Jobs famously said, “your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.” This means that many people become entrapped in the destructive and narrow minded viewpoints of other people. As a result, they are imprisoned by second-hand ignorance and resistance to change. Steve Jobs did this and so much more. In the end, he transformed how people and technology interact.

Bill Gates
Bill Gates is equally as important as Steve Jobs, but in different ways. Mr. Gates’ led the creation of his company Microsoft, which created the personal computer industry. In fact, their products and services are the golden standard for both personal and commercial computer programs. Bill Gates famously said, “it’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.” In other words, business people must have a level head when it comes to dealing with their success.

Warren Buffett
Warren Buffett is considered to be the most successful investor in all business history. His advice and decisions are valued by millions of investors, business people and even franchises around the country. Mr. Buffet famously said, “it takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” This means that entrepreneurs must consider PR management and corporate social responsibility (CSR) to be among their top priorities.

Jeff Bezos
Jeff Bezos is the CEO and chairman Amazon, which is the largest online retailer in the world. Amazon was one of the first companies to embrace e-commerce and as a result, they are the global e-commerce leader. Mr. Bezos famously said, “you don’t choose your passions; your passions choose you.” This means that people shouldn’t force themselves to engage in activities that they aren’t truly committed to. Instead, they should find empowerment through following their interests and inspirations.

Henry Ford
Henry Ford, the entrepreneur who created the American car industry, famously said that “whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right!” While this adage is old, it still rings true today. Entrepreneurs must understand that their attitude will determine their personal and business future.

In the end, all entrepreneurs should seek and follow the wisdom of successful business moguls. Doing so will help them follow their dreams and intuitions, develop their professional skills and adapt to market changes.

Business Owners: Increase Business with a Loyalty Program

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Many businesses struggle to stay profitable while dealing with increased local and online competition. Markets saturated with companies that offer similar products and services should offer a loyalty program that will increase customer retention and satisfaction.

The Monetary Benefits of Loyalty Programs
There are proven benefits to customer loyalty programs. For example, they help acquire new customers and retain old customers. In fact, loyalty programs and data analytics go hand in hand because sales, marketing and customer service data is beneficial for understanding to and adapting to customers. Loyalty programs are also a useful tool to win back customers who have defected or temporarily turned to a different brand. Loyalty programs also companies to focus on profitable customers and weed out unprofitable customers. That is, business owners can simply select the highest spending customers for their loyalty program.

The Conceptual Benefits of Loyalty Programs
The benefits of loyalty programs aren’t just limited to financial rewards. Loyalty programs are a great marketing tool that will raise awareness of the brand and company. As a result, the company will enjoy a good reputation among customers and competitors alike. Additionally, the company will gain exclusive marketing data and insight into which incentives work best. A loyalty program will help build mutually beneficial relationships between the company and lifelong customers. In the end, a loyalty program will increase the customer lifetime value (CLV) rates.

The Most Popular Loyalty Program
A simple point system is one of the most popular loyalty programs. For example, many grocery and retail stores offer membership cards that allow the users to collect points which can be redeemed for discounts or free items. In fact, all major credit companies offer cash back benefits using the simple point system. The most effective point system allows consumers to choose their reward category. For example, credit card owners can choose target spending categories, such as gas, groceries or restaurants. Keep in mind that consumers are often confused by complex reward systems that equate points to money or percentage discounts for future purchases.

Tiered Loyalty Program
There are obvious differences between a silver and platinum membership level. A tiered loyalty program helps companies reward both low and high spending customers. For example, low spending customers can receive short-term base offerings while big spenders can receive long-term, lucrative benefits. Tiered loyalty programs work well with industries with higher prices and commitments, such as hotels, airlines and insurance companies.

VIP Benefits with a Price Tag
Sometimes, loyalty programs can come with a basic membership fee that opens the door for exclusive benefits. For example, many wholesale retails, such as Costco, offer membership cards that come with unique discounts and rebates. This system is most effective with businesses that require frequent purchases. The membership fee removes standard inconveniences that regular customers must experience. For example, Amazon Prime is an excellent of how paying customers are rewarded for their membership.

To recap, loyalty programs are very beneficial for sales, marketing and customer service purposes. The two most popular loyalty programs are point systems and tiered programs.

4 Unique Advertising Ideas that Will Attract Customers

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Advertising is becoming increasing difficult with the online revolution that is allowing endless amounts of competitors to cheaply advertise their products or services. As a result, businesses need to use creative and eye-catching advertisements in order to keep attracting customers.

The Power of Free Products and Services
Giving away free products or services is one of the best ways to raise brand awareness and engage customers. It allows the company to demonstrate the value of their product or service. It will create a long lasting impression, especially if it is an item like a tote bag or item of clothing. For example, an office products store could offer free printing to the first ten customers or they could hand out useful items, such as fun sticky pads or pens. On the other hand, an athletic store could feature a free miniature golf exhibit that customers can play for free. If they score well, they could win a prize.

Double Discounts
Customers are drawn to stores that regularly offer discounts, which are a low cost way to get customers in the store. Everyone loves discounts, but when stores offer them, they often prohibit discounts being combined with other offers. Therefore, consider offering exclusive discounts in conjunction with special sales. Additionally, consider collaborating with another local business to offer mutually beneficial deals. For example, when customers purchase something at one store, they automatically receive an exclusive offer at a nearby local store.

Contests
Consumers not only enjoy winning contests, but they also enjoy playing too. Contests are a very interactive way to build brand awareness and engage customers. Consequently, businesses should regularly host engaging contests that encourage contact with the public and promote their products or services. For example, a store that sells baby clothing could host a cutest baby contest with the winner being awarded a well-paying gift card. On the other hand, a sport and outdoor store could host an athletic contest where contestants compete against each other for expensive camping items.

Social Media Engagement
Social media is quickly becoming the primary platform that businesses engage and communicate with customers. Social media platforms offer many distinctive ways for companies to advertise their products or services. Customer driven content is one of the best ways to create meaningful content while covertly advertising their business. For example, create an online private membership program that offers distinct benefits and allows members to review products or services.

All in all, creative advertising plays a critical role in supporting a company’s sales and marketing activities. Distinct advertising techniques, such as free products, double discounts and contests, will increase awareness of a company. Additionally, customer created content through social media platforms is an important way for companies to advertise their services.

Business Strategy: How to Increase Consumer Action

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Do you think it is easier to persuade someone else of something, or easier for them to persuade themselves? Of course people buy what they want, but when people buy what they naturally desired as opposed to what they were convinced they should want, the overall sales experience becomes enjoyable, and in effect, more customers take action and make a purchase. But when it comes to actually getting the consumers to take action, the key rests in your ability to captivate their attention then convert into them into customers. Once you have earned their business the first time, you want to connect and engage with them to gain their loyalty. So, how do you do that?

While the internet has become the best way to attract customers and make sales, the best results and highest sales rates are accomplished when the online marketing materials have been optimized. Optimizing your marketing materials is actually more simple than it sounds because it is all about small details. Using high ranking keywords in your headlines helps the search engines find your marketing every time a person searches for those words. Once the consumer has found your website and is reviewing your material, the hope is they make a purchase. The simple fact is, people have to be told or reminded to take action. For that reason, using motivating and enticing calls-to-actions increases the amount of people who actually make a purchase instead of walking away.

Once you have attracted a new customer, the task is to encourage them to engage with you on social media. In order to do that, you need the customers to take action and associate with your company through social media or other mediums. While the power of social media comes from the ability to interact with your audience, the main goal of that communication is to entice them into returning as a repeat customer. Entice consumers into joining your online community by offering exclusive deals to new subscribers or provide access to members-only freebies, gifts or contests. Not only should you use calls-to-actions to motivate your customers to engage with your company on social media, but you should also use them in your posts. By instructing them to click links, download coupons or share a post, you will get more consumers to take action.