Continuing education for your business and your mind!

brainYour brain is a muscle and just like any other muscle in your body if you don’t use it then you lose it.  Continuing to seek out new knowledge is important to keep your brain healthy and active.  By keeping your brain healthy and active will result in your business running smoother and more efficiently!  There are several ways to incorporate continuing education into your business to expand your knowledge.  Here are a few of my favorite ideas:

  1. Attend conferences – Find a conference related to your niche.  These conferences are filled with tons of helpful information.  Every time I return home from a conference I feel energized and excited to try something new with my business.  Also be sure to use any time that they offer for networking to try and get tips from others in your field.  This has been so helpful for me because other people are often experiencing the same struggles that I am.  So when you put more brains in the mix great ideas can come out of it.  It’s a win for everyone involved!
  2. Watch webinars – There are so many webinars out there so try looking around to find the ones right for you.  Every niche has many experts in the field.  Try to find an expert and search their website to see if they ever offer any free webinars.  It may take some time to really find the right ones but once you find a helpful one it will all be worth it.  I know I struggled with SEO work for a long time and I came across a webinar that really laid it all out in everyday language that I could understand.  I was ecstatic after it ended because it really provided me with helpful tools that I was able to implement myself.
  3. Listen to podcasts – Podcasts are amazing.  I have many of them saved to my favorites and I listen to them regularly.  Search for podcasts relevant to your niche because those will be the most helpful for you and help you to weed out the ones you don’t need to focus on right away.  Once you find the right one you will be hooked.  Podcasts can really help get you motivated and provide you with tons of useful tools to try out.
  4. Check out Udemy – In case you haven’t heard of it before, Udemy is an awesome website filled with tons of courses.  Anything and everything you can think of is out there.  And the best part is most of the courses go on sale.  Search around the site and find something that you have been wanting to learn about to help your business and then bookmark it.  Check back every few days and I bet you will see it go on sale.  I have taken several courses on there and I always learn tons of new things that help to expand my business.
  5. Search for articles – There are tons of articles and business resources available on the web.  Do some google searches and find some websites that have regular writers on them to learn more about your niche.  Articles are a great way to get some useful information in a shorter format than reading an entire book.

These are just a few ideas that I have used to expand my knowledge and keep my brain active.  What have you tried?  We’d love to hear feedback!

And, as always if you have any questions do not hesitate to ask.


Current customers are your best business asset!

good_customer_service-marketingWhen companies start looking at marketing strategies one thing they often don’t realize is that the best marketing asset they have is right underneath their nose.  Their current customers are their best assets in the community to provide referrals, recommendations, and reviews to other potential customers.  Most people conduct some research before hiring someone to work with them so incorporating that into your marketing plan is important.  Nowadays the world is reliant on the internet so spreading the word has become easier than it ever was before.  But the trick is you may have to ask your customers for these referrals, reviews, or recommendations.  If your customers are happy then most of the time they would be happy to do so!  Here are a few tips about how to get these ideas into action!

  • Referrals – How often do you hear people asking friends or family members for a referral to a type of business? I know I get requests all the time about if I know a good hair stylist or a nice place to eat.  Referrals can come in many shapes and sizes.  Start by asking your customers if they would be interested in sharing your service with people they may know.  Then try asking friends and family members to share your business as well.  Finally, there are always places online popping up to request referrals.  One that I recently came across is a local neighborhood site called NextDoor.  Depending on your business, NextDoor could be a huge asset to gain customers or to have current customers refer you to others!
  • Recommendations – There are several ways to receive a recommendation from your customers. Two of the most common ways that I have seen recently are using LinkedIn or Alignable.  Both of these social media websites have the capability to recommend one business to others.  Try reaching out to some of your connections and ask them to recommend you to others.  A small business owner is more likely to be interested in the service you are providing if they hear about it from another small business owner.  If you would like more detailed instructions about how to use the recommendation feature on either of these sites just reach out to me and I would be happy to share.
  • Reviews – These are huge! I am constantly on the hunt for companies’ reviews before I use their service.  Just recently I was searching for a plumber and the one I hired was because they had amazing reviews about their service.  I was pleased with their service and the next day I gave a referral to someone who needed a plumber on Facebook.  You never know when having reviews will help you to build clients without having to spend a lot money on marketing.  If you have some customers that you have been working with for quite some time and they are very happy with your service, ask them if they would mind writing up a review and posting it on Google, Facebook, Yelp, Angie’s List, or other common websites.  The more reviews you get the more likely your business will start taking off even more!

These are just a few ideas that have been successful for my business.  What works well for you?  We’d love to hear feedback about how to incorporate your customers into your marketing plan.

And, as always if you have any questions do not hesitate to ask.

A few tips to increase productivity!


Everyone has those days that they wake up and just aren’t in the mood to get started working.  But as a small business owner if you don’t get yourself motivated no one else will.  Without productive days your business can’t grow and move forward.

Here are a few tips I have found that work for me to get going on the days that I feel as though I may have lost some motivation.

  1. Knock out the important stuff first – When you look over your to do list for the day there is usually at least one or two things that have to get done.  Unfortunately these tasks tend to be the not very exciting but necessary for your business.  Just get them over with first and then move on to the fun stuff.  Once they are done you can move forward and forget about them and enjoy your day.
  2. Set up procedures – Most small business owners have procedures that they keep in their head to get things done.  Spend a little bit of time and get these written out on paper.  Having written procedures can really help to make you feel more organized and efficient with your time.  Also these written procedures will give you a back up option in case you get slammed and need to delegate some tasks to someone to help.  Now you can just hand them the procedure and feel confident that the task can be done correctly with limited direction.  Doing this work ahead of time can save you precious time in the future when your business is thriving and you need that extra time to get stuff done!
  3. Listen to music – This is my favorite tip!  I feel like when I turn a radio station on that is playing my favorite songs I can start knocking out tasks with ease.  Find that song that you listen to at the gym that gets you pumped up and play it while you are working.  You would be amazed how quickly stuff gets done when you are feeling energized by your favorite music.  I am always amazed at how much music can impact someones mood so why not incorporate it into your work routine as well.

I always love to hear from others too!  These are just a few of my favorite productivity tips but if you have some feel free to share.  I would love to extend my list with ideas that others have used.

And, as always if you have any questions do not hesitate to ask.

QuickBooks offers Free ACH Payments

Did you know that you can set up ACH payments in QuickBooks Online for free.  There are several reasons to utilize this great service.  This is a great feature for small businesses to reduce fees that other payment processors charge and increase profits!  You can also organize your invoices in one place to help keep things organized.  And finally, your payments go straight to the bank so you don’t have to mess with any transfers later on.

Here is an easy to follow video that will help you set up QuickBooks Payments for your business!  I can set these up for you as well, so if you need any help feel free to send me a message.

And, as always if you have any questions do not hesitate to ask.

Should you let your spouse or family member keep your books for your small business?

When a small desktop-computer-typingbusiness owner first starts out they are often looking for ways to reduce expenses to get going.  One of the bigger expenses can be setting up and maintaining your books.  Often times business owners will look to a family member to keep their books for them not realizing the pros and cons that go along with this decision.

I’m sure you’re thinking why wouldn’t I let my spouse do my books, they’re free which is important when there isn’t any income in the business yet and I can trust them because they are working towards the same goals that I am.  But there are some serious concerns to take into consideration before allowing a spouse or family member maintain your bookkeeping for your small business.

Things to consider:

  1. Industry knowledge – Most bookkeepers specialize in a niche and are able to answer industry specific questions. If your spouse or family member has never worked in the industry they may not know some of the issues that can come up and how to handle them appropriately.  Each industry has specific bookkeeping metrics to look at that will help them to make better business decisions.  Having a bookkeeper that is knowledgeable about those metrics will help your business succeed!
  2. Accounting experience – Many family members don’t have any professional accounting experience and this can be a huge barrier to producing a quality set of books each month. This can often cause unnecessary stress as well when they aren’t sure exactly what they are doing.  Using your financial statements to make better business decisions is essential for moving forward with your business.  Be sure to check with your family member and ensure they have a solid understanding of the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) to ensure your books are handled correctly.
  3. Business decisions – Many business decisions are made based on issues identified in your books. A simple data entry error could end up causing your business hundreds or thousands of dollars.  For a new business this could be make or break.  This data entry error could just be from lack of knowledge about how the accounting system works.  Having a professional bookkeeper who knows the ins and outs of the bookkeeping software is important because they will be able to catch these errors easier since they know what they are looking at.

Saving a few dollars in the beginning by hiring a family member may not make the most sense moving forward with your business.  Consider reaching out to a few bookkeepers and learn about their services before deciding on a family member.

For more information do not hesitate to ask.

Tracking Stocks

Just like in business, when trading stocks, you need to track your performance in order to know if your strategy is working.  I had a request to develop a spreadsheet to track stocks. I developed this spreadsheet with the fact that the person had multiple brokerage accounts. Here is a screen shot of the column and there headers. I’ll explain what each column is and what it is for. Stock Spreadshee

The first column is the date the stock was brought. The second column is the stock name or symbol. Followed by the name of the account. In this example, the person has three brokerage accounts. One is their “main” account, one is a self managed IRA account and the last account is an accounting that they have with “Robinhood” (Brokerage App) Filters were added so that they can click the filter and filter by only the account that they need to look at. For example filter for only the taxable accounts.

The “Buy” column is where you enter price that the stock was brought at. The “Share” column is where you enter the number of shares brought. The next column is a calculation of cost. It’s simply the Buy price times the number of shares plus the commission (if any). The buy date can be filtered by year and by month so that you can see what stocks you brought by what time frame.

The next set of column are the Sell Date, Sell Price per share, #Shares and Proceeds. The Proceeds column is the only calculation with the rest of them simple data entry. And just like the buy date the sell date can be filtered by time frame as well. The calculation of the proceeds is just like the Cost. It is the number shares times the sell price plus any commission.

The next column is for any dividends that you received, This will factor into the Profit calculation that we will do at the end.  The adjust column for any miscellaneous adjustments that you may have.

The Profit $ column is a calculation of Proceeds – Cost + Dividends + adjustments. This column gives you the dollar amount of the profit or loss for that particular stock. The last column is the profit or loss % for that stock. It is the Cost divided by the profit or loss $ amount.

If you would like a copy of this spreadsheet feel free to send me an email.



Debt /Equity Ratio

GrowthUsing your financial statements to measure your business is one way to make sure that you and your business is moving in the right direction. In order to accomplish this you need a few things.


  • Financial Statements (both accurate and timely)
  • Consistency – In order to track the direction of the business, consistency is key. Knowing your ratios only once in a while will not show a true and accurate picture of your business and can lead to bad business decisions.
  • Picking the right KPI’s (Key performance Indicators) or ratios. Some ratios are a better fit for some businesses more so than others.

The Debt to Equity Ratio is a good ratio to track the businesses financial leverage. It shows as a percent how well the business is at managing it’s debt to make a profit.

The higher the ratio the more reliant the business is on debt to turn a profit.

Example: Company A – Total Liabilities $80,000, Total Equity $120,000

$80,000 / $120,000 = .6666 or 66.66%

Company B – Total Liabilities $150,000, Total Equity $80,000

$150,000 / $80,000 =  1.875 or 187.5%

Company B is higher in debt and more reliant on external loans to make a profit. However, only showing this at one point in time does not show which direction the company is going in. Company A could have a lower ratio right now but shown over time could be increasing and Company B shown over time could be decreasing. Calculating this ratio over time shows the true nature of the ratio and shows if it is improving or not.

For more information do not hesitate to ask.