How To Financially Prepare Yourself For a New Business in 2018

As the new year kicks off, you’ve probably set goals for yourself that you’re excited to work towards. If one of your 2018 goals is opening a new business, financially preparing yourself for everything that comes along with becoming an entrepreneur and business owner is important. Here are a few ways you can financially prep yourself for a new business.

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Prepare for Behind-the-Scene Fees

Whether your company will be web-based or have a physical location, some unexpected and high fees, include trademarking your company name, filing permits and licenses or becoming a limited liability company (LLC). You may be excited to get your idea off the ground, but do research on your state’s fees and exactly what you need legally to start your business.

 

Consider Your Funding

 

Decide early if you’re going to use your own investments or use lending resources. Consider reaching out to other sources to help with the start-up fees. Your options include crowdfunding, government grants and loans from the Small Business Administration or banks, and even family and friends.

 

Note: Consider loans as a last resort! It’s better not to start with debt.

 

Set Up Your Business Account

 

Once your company has a name, open up a business account. Yes, separate the business from your personal account. Get into the habit of keeping funds separate. Make sure you also learn about the differences between your personal credit card and your business credit card.

 

One difference: Business credit cards have higher limits.

 

Talk to a Tax Expert

Many business owners are caught off guard by the taxes that come with being a business owner. Talking with an accountant before opening your business will give you a better understanding of how business income is taxed and what to expect.

The Little Things

Don’t forget about the little things that go into your business. Opening a retail store? Add hangers and racks to your budget. Will you be needing things like printers, customized letterheads, Wi-Fi, and digital software? Be sure not to forget the small things that are essential to your business.

Starting a new business can be both exciting and daunting. It’s important to make sure you’re prepared financially for your new endeavor. If you need help setting up your accounting software or managing your books, contact us! We also offer one-on-one trainings.

Good luck to all you aspiring business owners!

5 Ways to Plan an Affordable Winter Getaway

With temperatures hitting record lows across the U.S., you’re probably imagining yourself on a beach or somewhere warm. But, it’s hard to plan a trip that won’t break the bank with such short notice. Here are five ways to plan an affordable winter getaway.

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1. Book Package Deals

On travel sites, you can find great deals, by booking your airfare and hotel together. You should be able to save an extra hundred bucks. If you want to brave the cold and hit the slopes, check the ski resorts for packages. Looking for something warmer? Don’t worry, they should have deals available too.

2. Caribbean Deals

While some islands didn’t see much damage from hurricanes Irma and Maria, others are rebuilding and will be for some time. Nevertheless, funds are needed to help countries repair. There are plenty of amazing beaches and views to see and helping countries you love to visit rebuild will be an extra incentive. Many countries have released updates on their hotels and progress via their travel websites, so be sure to check for updates.

3. Try Vacation Rentals

Usually cheaper than hotels on a per-person basis, vacation rentals tend to sleep more people and make it easier to split the cost if you’re traveling with a group. Most times you’ll also have your own kitchen to help save on food expenses as well. Do research on vacation rental sites to see what’s available where you’re planning to travel.

4. Take Advance of “Wave Season”

The cruise industry offers customers great deals for the first three months of the year. They refer to this time as “wave season”. You’ll not only be able to find savings on year-round trips, but also last minute winter getaways.

5. Think Outside The Box

A great way to save is to plan trips to locations that aren’t as popular as the high-season spots. Think Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, and other non-Carribean locales that are in the middle of the summer season without the typical tourist fanfare.

Looking for more ways to save money and plan your finances? Stay tuned to our blog and connect with us to learn more about our financial services.

 

3 Financial Tips to End Your Year on a High Note

As 2017 comes to a close, you’re probably trying to budget for those holiday meals, gift shopping, and maybe even hoping for a year-end/holiday bonus. This is the time of year where everyone is looking for the best deals and ways to save and avoid unnecessary stress as we ring in the new year. Here are three ways you can end your 2017 on a financial high note!

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1. Track Your Spending and Bills

With end of the year work projects, family members coming into town or traveling yourself, keeping track of where you’re spending money and what bills are due can get a little hectic. It’s important to monitor your spending, whether through mobile-banking apps or monthly account reports from your bank. You don’t want to end up confused about where your money went, especially when bills are due. Don’t let an important payment catch you off guard. Set reminders for yourself.

2.  Set a Budget and Stick to It

Parents want to get their children the toys they want, and hosts want their guest to enjoy themselves. It’s extremely important to be realistic about what you can and can’t do for the holidays. Set a budget and follow it! Make sure not to splurge unnecessarily no matter how good a deal may look.

3.  Think of 2018

When you’re deciding when to save and when to spend, think of special events, goals or big purchases. There’s still time to factor those items into your budget. Your bank account will appreciate you for saving early for that trip or upgrade on your home.

Want to start planning your finances for next year? Or do you want 2018 to be the year you completely understand your finances? Give us a call and we can help you take the next steps to an organized financial life.

 

5 Steps on How to Maintain Your Books as an Entrepreneur

You've registered your business, secured several clients and now it's time to track your income and expenses. It's okay if you're not ready to hire a professional Accountant or Bookkeeper, right away. Try following these simple steps to keep your books in order.

  1. Separate your personal and business accounts. Sign up for a small business checking account with your preferred bank. Haven't you ever heard, "Never mix business with pleasure"? This account should be used to receive client payments and spend money on supplies. If the business account is running low, transfer funds, either online or in the branch, from your personal account.

  2. Keep your receipts organized using technology. There are so many apps on the iPhone and Android market to help you streamline operations. If you make businesses purchases using cash, try out Receipt Bank. You can take a picture of the receipt and sync the expense to your Xero or QuickBooks Online software.

  3. Use a cloud-based document storage system. Let's file invoices, receipts, contracts and other business papers, securely in the cloud. Some of my favorites are Google Drive, Hubdoc, and DropBox. Instead of emailing documents, back and forth to team members, or clients, you can share a link.

  4. Open up your bank statements. Take an hour at the end of each month, to review your business bank statements. You want to be sure there are no fraudulent charges and most importantly, to track your spending and income.

  5. Ditch the spreadsheets and get cloud accounting software. QuickBooks Online offers an affordable monthly subscription and a free 30-day trial. If you're not a QuickBooks lover, don't worry, there's FreshBooks, Xero, Kashoo, and the list goes on. With a click of a mouse, you can link your bank and credit card accounts, and the information will automatically load into your choice of software.

Once the business starts booming and you starting falling behind, don't fret. Give us a call. We offer a variety of services, including monthly packages, software setup and clean-up.

4 Useful Tips to Reduce "Chasing Payments"

What’s your worst nightmare, as a small business owner? Late paying clients or customers? Non-paying customers impact the cash flow, your stress level and most importantly, business relationships. Collections calls and emails will start to regulate your day-to-day agenda, restricting you from focusing on your service or product and business development.

Here are four tips to keep the cash flowing in and late payments, to a minimum.

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1.       Require a deposit, at the execution of the contract. 

Upon contract execution or signing, require a deposit of at least 25%, or up to 75%. If you're a service-based firm, i.e. event planner or graphic designer, you also have the option of implementing stage payments for milestones. For example, you can require 25% at the start of the project, 25% when drafts have been sent to a client and 50% once the client approves or deliverables have been finalized.

2.       Offer discounts for early payment of invoices.

Be clear about what your payment terms are, net 10, net 30 or “on receipt”. Typical payment terms are Net 30, which is 30 days from the invoice date. Feel free to offer a 2% to 5% discount for clients who pay within 10 to 15 days.

3.       Allow your Accountant to connect with the Accounts Payable department.

Hire a professional who can stay on top of your invoicing. Your Accountant or Bookkeeper should start with an email or call to your clients’ Accounts Payable department, and say “Hello, I’m xxx with xxx." Opening up the line of communication between the Accounting departments or Accountants, create a healthy and trusting relationship, especially about money. There should be constant communication about any issues that may arise with timely payment.

4.       Automate your payment options.

Checks are almost ancient! No more empty promises about the check being in the mail. Cloud accounting software like QuickBooks Online, Xero, and FreshBooks allow clients to pay their invoice online. Make it easy and secure to receive payments using a credit card or Paypal, receiving payments in minutes. For monthly customers, offer the flexibility of automated clearing house (ACH) transfers, which may take 2 to 3 days. Some automated options require clients to pay a processing fee of $2 to $5.

The choice is yours – using one or all of the tips above, I'm certain the hassle of chasing payments or having to deal with limited cash flow, will be a thing of the past.