• February 24, 2018 /  Business Center
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    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.

  • February 15, 2018 /  Business Center
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    Wondering if your business is too small for a group retirement plan?

    One of the keys to attracting and retaining top employees is to offer a high-quality retirement plan. A group savings plan conveniently helps employees save money for the future while reducing and deferring taxes today. Plus, the investment you make in a group retirement plan is an investment you make in your organization, your employees and your reputation. Everyone’s a winner.

    Three options stand-out depending on what you want to accomplish with your plan and how much flexibility you need. These are: 401(k) plans, SEP IRAs and SIMPLE IRAs.

    The 401(k) Offers the Most Flexibility and High Contribution Limits The traditional 401(k) is probably the most widely known retirement product on the market. It’s the fully loaded, high performance SUV of retirement plans. It’s generally defined as one that enables a business owner and employees to make consistent, tax-deferred contributions during the length of their careers.

    SEP IRAs are Pretty Easy to Start and 100% Funded by the Employer Simplified Employee Pensions, more commonly referred to as SEPs, are also a popular retirement plan choice as they offer a contribution limit that’s similar to a 401(k). It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of a 401(k) plan, but it’s got a good engine under the hood. One of the most important things to understand about SEPs is that 100 percent of the contributions made are by the employer (no employee contributions allowed) and these dollars are immediately vested for the employee.

    The SIMPLE IRA is a Solid, Affordable Third Option

    The SIMPLE IRA’s name is a bit misleading (it actually stands for Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees). While both employer and employee can contribute to the plan, the employer must match and matching is vested immediately.

    If you do decide that you want to offer a retirement plan, you are definitely going to need some professional advice and guidance. Pension rules are complex, and the tax aspects of retirement plans can also be confusing.

    As a financial planning and wealth management professional firm, Mintco Financial has been helping its clients effectively plan for comfortable retirements.

    Michael Minter, as a managing partner of Mintco Financial, is a trusted investment management professional who carries more than 16 years of experience in this challenging career field.

    Throughout his professional history, Michael Minter has gained strong insight into what skills and knowledge is necessary to perform investment management, wealth building services, small business development and retirement plans.

    Michael MInter is also author of the book I-Plan, a guide for your financial security.

    Call Michael Minter at 813-964-7100 at Mintco Financial.

    Retirement Planning for Small Business

  • January 17, 2018 /  Business Center
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    As February rushes by, those New Year resolutions may be turning into distant memories if not forgotten dreams. Except for that one significant promise, to become master of your own destiny and invest in your own business.

    If you are dreaming of owning your own business, there are some trends in your favour. Slow to moderate overall economic growth in many countries hard hit by the recession is forecast to continue through 2011. In the US, the small business sector remained in recession in 2010, lagging in recovery, and is now predicted to see stronger demand and better business conditions this coming year. Key trends seen as driving the growth of small business are
    small manufacturing businesses in niche markets aided by technology making barriers to entry lower,
    the weak dollar aiding US manufacturing cost competitiveness,
    the internet becoming more widely known to small business as a low cost way of sourcing and selling goods and services.
    Small business growing more familiar with and making greater use of social media in their local marketing efforts -think Groupon Inc and its highly successful coupon business supporting local deals!

    When time is not on your side, the resilient and proven franchise business model allows you a faster and often comparatively risk adverse track to generating positive cash flow. Although its your own business, you don`t have to go it alone making a proven franchise operation a smart choice. Strong viable franchise opportunities are there for the qualified buyer, so how to join that select group?

    Access to financing from traditional sources is expected to remain tight in the US throughout 2011, in spite of the Governments continuing efforts to support small business through tough times. We recommend that potential franchise buyers be cautious when selecting companies to do their 401(k) rollovers or when selecting a financing company with all of the fraud that has occurred in the banking sector over the last several years, finding a reputable company to provide your financing is more important than ever and a winning point in your favor with franchisors.

    MatchPoint Franchise Consulting Network was founded in 2006 with a mission of helping companies expand their franchise networks and improve their system. The advice offered freely to franchise buyers by MatchPoint consultants is vital to the buyer in making a better, prudent, buying decision. The advice offered by our consultants does not make us lawyers; it is there to help the investor with a high quality due diligence process.

    MatchPoint consultants know the red flags in the investment field. It takes the very few promoters that practice business fraud to taint the dream of the franchisee and their family.

    That`s where seeking the independent advice of an expert franchising consultant is prudent and invaluable.

  • January 16, 2018 /  Business Center
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    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.

  • January 11, 2018 /  Business Center
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    When running a small business, marketing your products and services is an important aspect your must consider and plan for. No matter what industry you play in you will no doubt have competition. Even if you provide a better service or product you still need to stand out so consumers know. Marketing can be a big cost but there are also many affordable alternative to advertise your business.

    Here are three simple advertising ideas and suggestions to give you high visility.

    Vehicle back windows

    A rear car window covererd with a sticker of your business is an affordable option to promote your business. Whenever your car is being driven around your business is being seen. For as little as one hundred and fifty dollars this is a small investment. Depending on how many years your sticker last, the breakdown cost of purchasing you rear window sticker works out to be even less.

    Don’t overload the sticker with too much details. Keep the sticker bright and colorful. Avoid a cluttered look with too much details. Keep it simple. Don’t put more than three items of information. Your logo with business name, phone and tagline is all you need.

    Car magnets

    Large car magnets are another cheap alternative. These magnets are strong enough to withstand high speeds. To repeat – keep the design simple. Order many at a time and hand them out to your friends for their cars. You can purchase four magnets for as little as fifty dollars.

    An alternative to magnets is use multiple smaller sized ones. A stack of twenty five magnets can be bought for about thirty dollars. Get people to take notice by scattering you car with these. When people take your magnets you know they’re working.

    Outdoor banners

    Ask your signwriter to print you a large banner. The cost of a small banner can be as little as one hundred dollars. We’ve even seen banners from as low as six dollars.

    Use the small banners effectively by parking at the front of a busy event or location. Hang the banner from the side of your car. Your car and banner can’t be missed.

    These are three simple advertising ideas to kick start your marketing on a budget.

    Click Here to see Ryan Johns working these advertising ideas

  • January 9, 2018 /  Business Center
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    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.

  • January 8, 2018 /  Business Center
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    An Efficient Mailroom Can Help Grow Your Small Business

    Enterprises often waste money on mail even though franking machine prices are low, and its computer interface can streamline a mailroom.

    Every enterprise needs an efficient method to track costs: how much is spent, and where. Small, medium and large enterprises must all do this and most have franking machines.

    Inefficiency wastes money, time and always means additional costs. Even medium and large enterprises often run inefficiently; this is an unnecessary drain on resources especially when renting a franking machine prices can be as low as 15 per month. And in addition, franked mail is 30% cheaper than stamped mail.

    Lets Talk About Performance

    Franking machines are quieter and more efficient than ever. The technology is neater: they are no longer the hulking eyesores that people expect. They dont take up as much space – for small businesses a franking machines can be a sleek desktop device.

    The latest generation of franking machines are a wide range of models to suit any business. Franking machine prices have to reflect a businesss budget and are graded by the quantity of mail the business sends out per month.
    A weighing platform makes sure you never pay more postage than you need to, which is one reason why a lot of stamped mail costs the sender more than it should. The weighing platform is controlled from the password protected control centre; here you allocate mail into pre-programmed accounts, eg: public relations department, and can review their account history over a 13 month period.
    Franking supplies – ink toner and labels – are as inexpensive as franking machine prices, but you can reorder them using the control panel.

    Small Businesses With Low Requirement
    If youre a small business with a low budget and requirements you can find franking machine prices as low as 5 per week. Often these include a free trial. NeoPost offer trials of their award-winning Autostamp 2, for example.

    Small Businesses With Medium Requirement
    Small businesses sometimes send more mail than larger companies – it depends on the nature of their work.
    For medium requirements, the U40 is not a bad option at all. It uses digital inkjet technology so can frank a clean logo onto your mail, which is useful for marketing purposes. And if your requirements increase you can attach extra parts many franking machines are scalable, and come with scalable franking machine prices too.

  • January 1, 2018 /  Business Center
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    Small businesses are often beaten out by larger competitors because the bigger business has better practices than the small ones do. The good news is that there are many of the business best practices that are used by big companies that can be translated for small businesses.

    These business best practices are some of the best kept secrets and will in the long run make a business more successful. Here are a few ways you can use these business practices to fit your small business.

    One: Borrowing ideas from other companies is one business practice you can use in your small business. This is known as best practice benchmarking and it can lead to vast improvements in your business structure if it is done the right way.

    Most small businesses have a tighter budget than the big businesses do so the business practices that you learn can save money and can be even more beneficial to you than it would be for the big business. When you emulate another business and how they cut costs, you will be able to do the same thing they have done in a much shorter time period.

    Two: You have to have a clear understanding of business methods if you are going to borrow their business practices. You need to do some heavy research and ask questions. This will help you figure out how others were able to get the job done to get them to their goals.

    This is imperative if you are going to have success using these practices with your small business. One helpful way to find out the information you need is to send surveys to businesses that are successful in the business field you are looking at.

    Three: Once you have studied the business best practices and you know how that business uses them, you will need to translate them to fit your small business. Before they will work for your business t want business practice you can use in your small business is borrowing ideas from other companies here may be some crucial modifications that need to be made.

    Four: One business practice that is imperative to the success of any business of any size is to have good communication in your business. This means that you need to communicate on a regular basis with your employees.

    You have to do this to make sure that everyone is on the same page business wise. Otherwise, you may find problems cropping up that you will have to deal with.

    Emulating business best practices is fine but you want to make sure that you don’t steal their practices outright. Always do your research and use the business practices that you can modify to fit your small business. Don’t do anything to get your business in trouble in the future.

  • December 31, 2017 /  Business Center
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    As a network computer technician I’ve come to the choice that I don’t think my small business clients that employ between 2-10 people should even bother with installing what we might consider a regular server nowadays. It is overkill, expensive and a major source of problems if something goes wrong. So what do I recommend instead? I would recommend a file server with local and offline backup. What made me come to this decision? A number of real world issues, actually.

    Too many computer consultants come from an environment where they were taught and schooled on how to maintain servers. To me this is the old way of doing things. Unless you are hosting your email in-house there isn’t the need for the old server.

    Think about this…what services do you really want to provide that are mission critical for your clients? For my clients the most important need is a way to create and access files that are backed up on a regular basis. I have seen too many small businesses shut down for days on end because they put all of their trust in a old server and a tape backup system. Why are these servers and tapes such a problem?

    Think about this for a second. If a piece of hardware fails in your server, chance are that you won’t be able to replace that broken or failing part with something you can buy locally. Often times you have to call the server manufacturer and wait patiently for them to ship you a replacement part, all the while your business is at a stand still.

    And tapes for backing up data? Unless you have an enormous amount of data, backing up to multiple hard drives is faster. And these hard drives will be able to access that data in other computer while you get your server fixed.

    Another solution I recommend is using a service such as Dropbox to backup files. I don’t completely rely on Dropbox, though. I prefer to have a physical backup of the client’s data at the site of their business and then use Dropbox as a way to get a backup off-site. If anything catastrophic were to happen to the small business, such as a fire of a flood, it is easier to get a computer up and running, re-attach it to Dropbox and the data is back and ready to be used.

  • December 15, 2017 /  Business Center
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    If you are thinking to grow any small business in todays era then you need to focus on new avenues that many have been avoiding so far. What many business sales consultants do is simply work on doing more of whats already being done. Making more ads and do all the phone calls. What one can effectively do and find success is all by changing their approach. Thinking big and exploring new avenues which the competitors have missed are the solution for all small business to grow bigger.

    Many have tried all doors to expand capital needed to grow business. Even traditional bank lenders show their back in need of working capital. And if the time is anyway related to recession then it surely gives an excuse to them to move out.

    The newest technique suggested by sales consultants was opting for a specialized form of asset based finance in which all the money is lent against companys purchase orders. This thing works like a transactional line of credit in which they are able to give 100% credit to foreign suppliers for producing goods. During challenging economic times, inventive solutions were approached by few sales consultants like this to help companies stay afloat and remain competitive. It is a time for any businessman to reinvent all strategies as according to the situations prevailing and stay financed to do all the market and sell. Many turnaround ideas for entrepreneurs to be used are:

    One can create independent sales with distributorships or franchises. The more people you have it will get shared for the better. Sometimes one can find partners with more capabilities that you were finding difficult to handle.

    Attach with a complementary business. For instance if you are making cars you can try your hands on companies that can make tyres for your car. The technique exposes you to a new customer base and all marketing and promotional expenses get shared too.

    Expansion in the form of new location open new scales and avenues in steps of entrepreneur. This attracts whole new crowd and gives you a potential to sell more or grow up however the prospects can be vice versa too.

    Getting online is a must for any business these days and is helpful in boosting up business. It gives an exposure to a small business on a wider circle with many prospective leads, new markets and collects new idea from all around the world.

    Enhance your customer base as it is the most cost effective way to grow your business. Acquiring new customers always involve high costs so introducing new lines in your current product keeps complimenting each other.