Bookkeeping Tips for the Everyday Entrepreneur

How to Provide More Service Than Your SaaS Competitors

In an ideal environment, your SaaS start-up would address a common problem that no one else is addressing. You want your software to provide something your customers can't get anywhere else. Unfortunately, the software market is a crowded space, so in addition to figuring out your special niche, you will probably also need to show that you're better than the competition. So how can your SaaS start-up get an edge on  more  established competition in your market?   Read Your Competitors' Bad Reviews What is your competitor doing that their customers don't like? Sometimes they focus on a primary problem, but there  are  a whole slew of secondary problems that their software could be addressing but isn't. Sometimes the problem is not with the software itself but with customer support. Providing quality customer service can make a major difference.   Laser Focus on the Big Problems These days, a lot of SaaS start-ups focus on addressing multiple problems with their software. After all, we naturally assume that customers prefer software that has multiple functions. However, your SaaS doesn't need to be as big as Quickbooks right off the bat. Having software that can focus and execute perfectly on one big problem that your customers  need solved  can be a major boon. If you do one thing, do it to the best of your ability in an easy to understand way. Then sell that expertise.   Provide Better Content By providing clear and concise support, trouble-shooting tips, and a blog that can give complimentary information about the market your software supports, you are setting up your customers with powerful tools that can help them succeed. And that success will set you apart from the pack. Even if your competitor has the better software (we're sure they don't),  if most of their customers don't know how to use it or how to solve problems with the service, they will flock to you because you provide helpful assistance that's easy to use.  Sometimes the best way to edge out a competitor is to spend more time on your product and your customers. The best way to do that is to outsource as much as possible. Bookkeeping is a great place to start. If that is what your business needs, contact us today.  
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4 Ways Your Small Business is Wasting Money

There is no single, perfect guide on building a successful business. Much of the job of starting and running a company is trial and error. If something works, celebrate and keep doing it. If it doesn't, hope the damage isn't too bad and change course. However, there are certain areas where most business owners could use some focused energy: not just serving their customers but making their business more efficient, especially when it comes to financial efficiency. Could you be wasting your hard-earned revenue on things your business doesn't need? Paying for too Much Space Space is the biggest and most common waste of money in the small business world. Of course you want your business to have room to grow, but if you are renting that massive suite of offices right from the get-go, your huge space might be a huge waste of money. Get just what you need for where you are, with just a bit of growing room if you can't stop yourself. But rest assured that if you experience enough growth that you need to move into a bigger space, you will probably also have built a customer base that will move with you. Chasing Around Customers on Social Media Social media is a powerful tool, but it can also take up a lot of money and time (which, as we know, is money). Social media marketing campaigns are great if they're getting you results, but just publishing for the sake of publishing, without understanding the returns, is wasting your business's hard-earned revenue. Engaging with followers and customers is important, but make sure you know what customers you're going after and whether your efforts are working.  Over-hiring New business owners may be tempted to bring on a lot of staff quickly in the hopes that many hands will lead to many customers. Unfortunately, h iring a full staff early on is a big mistake. When you are still developing a young business, you need to do as much as you can to make it profitable, and this may mean working those long hours doing many jobs yourself until you have the revenue to support a larger staff.   Doing Tasks You Have No Experience In Yes, over-hiring can be a big money waster, but a bigger one business owners make is trying to wedge themselves into roles that they are ill-equipped to successfully complete. Taking on tasks you don't understand may not only waste money, it could also cause dangerous mistakes. Sometimes hiring or outsourcing is the right choice.  Luckily, if you need help where most entrepreneurs do, in the accounting department, you can contact us today to see how we can support your growing business. 
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Small Business Payroll: Outsource It or Not?

Managing payroll is probably on most business owners' list of tasks they least enjoy. Keeping track of even a few employees can quickly become complicated. A busy small business owner or entrepreneur has a couple options to ease the strain: outsource payroll or keep it in-house and opt for a software program like  Quickbooks .  Keeping Payroll In-House Keeping payroll in-house could be the more affordable option in terms of direct cash out the door, as long as a business owner limits software purchases to just one or two. But any decision to keep a bookkeeping or accounting function in-house must come with an understanding of the opportunity costs. For some owners, the time managing payroll is well-spent because they want to stay closely connected to the books. However, hours pouring over payrolls documents are hours no longer available for other tasks, like brainstorming new product ideas or figuring out how to  create more efficiencies in your operations . An in-house system could also become difficult if problems or questions arise, and the business owner doesn't have an expert to call. Outsourcing Payroll Outsourcing payroll is likely to cost more up front than keeping payroll in-house, though the opportunity costs will probably be lower. A small business owner or entrepreneur who outsources will have more time for other business activities and will be less likely to spend frustrated hours wrangling the numbers and trying to understand the tax code. For business owners who are not as adept at accounting, outsourcing also provides a level of comfort that the company is complying with relevant tax laws. Both outsourcing and keeping payroll in-house have benefits, depending on a business owner's particular needs and abilities. If you are looking for accounting options to help handle your payroll and other business accounting needs,  contact us  today.
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From the CEO: How to Create a Strong Company Culture Even If Your Team Is Remote

In today’s digital economy, technological advances allow many of us to do our jobs from anywhere in the world--as long as we have a laptop and an internet connection. And that lifestyle is appealing to everyone from digital nomads who want a different view for every day of the week to stay at home parents who are looking for the flexibility to make an income in between wrangling kids.    The concept is most associated with freelancers, who work for themselves and set their own rules. But what if you’re a business owner looking to employ a team of people who don’t come to an office? How do you make them feel like part of a team if they never see the other players?    These are the questions that I’m confronted with each day as I build out our team here at Reconciled It. As the founder of a technology-based company, I love that we are not bound by geography. Cutting those ties gives me the power to hire the best people for the job, no matter where they are.    They’re also the face of my business, so our company culture needs to cultivate the types of work relationships that lead to excellent customer service even when I rarely see my employees.    So how do you create that culture?    First, figure out what you want your company culture to be.    We provide digital bookkeeping and other financial services for entrepreneurs. Handing over your finances to someone is a big risk. Our clients like that they’re working with a real person that can call up on the phone, build a relationship with. Creating trust and authenticity are key to our business, which means they are at the center of our company culture.    Next, find people who match that culture.    Since trust and authenticity are critical to our brand, I look for certain qualities right away in the interview process. I seek out general honesty, but I focus in specifically on the ability to admit weaknesses. I ask two questions during an interview that really get at the root of it for me. I ask applicants to tell me about a time when they were given a task they didn’t know how to complete and the specific steps they took to complete it. I’m not interested in people who know how to do everything. Technology is changing too fast for anyone to stay ahead of it all the time. Instead, I want employees who admit that they don’t know how to do something and jump into figuring it out.    I also ask applicants to tell me about a big mistake they made and how they resolved it. We all make mistakes. I’ll admit it when I make a mistake, and I need employees who will do the same. My clients demand it.    Finally, cultivate that culture by communicating it to your employees.    You might think cultivating a company culture around trust and authenticity is impossible if you never stand face to face with your employees. But it’s not.   The key is showing the value of your culture by modeling it and communicating it to your employees. I give all of my employees a lot of freedom and autonomy to express their personality with our clients. I give them a high level of trust, which is a risk I take on because I think people step up to the challenges placed before them. I express my own personality, and I share when things are challenging so that they know they can do the same.    In an office setting, staff members get to know each other through interactions over the course of their days. I work to create spaces for that to occur outside the office setting. We have biweekly Google Hangout staff meetings, which give the team the opportunity to see each other’s faces, even if we’re not in the same space. On those calls, I ask my employees to share an insight, a victory, or a challenge. Sometimes the discussion is more focused on work; sometimes it’s more personal--the two are often intertwined. We also have quarterly in-person gatherings that give an even better opportunity for employees to connect.    Because my employees don’t come into an office, it’s especially important that I check in about how their work life is going. I connect regularly with all my employees through Slack and do a somewhat formal quarterly meeting, often over video. I want to know if they’re sick or if their workspace isn’t working for them and they need some assistance with a better laptop or a new phone or just to talk through a problem.        A remote workforce allows for keeping overhead costs low and hiring great employees who may not otherwise be able to work for you because of a long commute or a need to remain in the home. But ensuring that employees outside the office stay invested in the company culture requires connection and the thoughtful use of technology to keep everyone on the same page. 
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Work smarter, not longer in your small business

If you want to work shorter hours, then starting a small business probably isn’t your best choice. Small business owners often work nearly twice as long as employees at larger companies. Of course, there's a bigger dream at stake, and the desire to grow and thrive is a big driver. But even the most determined entrepreneur can't work nonstop.  Inefficient use of time is one crucial mistake that can leave  a small business owner working way longer than they actually need to. So what can a small business owner do to shave a few hours off their endless week? Let Go of Control Often small business owners think they need to do everything. Perhaps the thought is justified because they can’t afford to hire someone to do it for them. But often there's an employee available, and letting go of control has simply proved too difficult for the owner. Good small business owners need to know how to delegate tasks and trust their workers with the work they are given. Vetting employees well during an interview process to make sure they can be trusted with the necessary tasks is critical to handing over control.   Embrace Time Management Poor time management is about more than personal distractions. There are so many items on a to-do list that a small business owner could easily get distracted organizing their filing cabinet when they need to be sending out invoices. An entrepreneur that wants to cut down on their hours needs to examine how they spend their time and prioritize tasks that are aimed at making money and improving the business rather than more menial jobs, which can be delegated to employees. Automate It There is the old way of doing things, and then there's the new way. These days administrative tasks like accounting don’t need long hours with a calculator and a pencil. Instead, there are hundreds of different programs out there designed to make administrative tasks easier and faster for small businesses. Find the few that will make your days easier.  If you want to learn more about how you can save some of those precious hours spent working on your small business's bookkeeping and accounting,  contact us  today.
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