QuickBooks

Business Referrals That Lead to Sales – Your NEW BUSINESS LEADS WILL ROCK YOUR SALES!

If you decide to get involved in a networking group, it can be hard (at first) to get referrals from your other networking group members. What you can do, instead of tossing in the towel and giving up, is to motivate and encourage these people to spread the word about your services and your company. That may seem daunting at first – especially if you are normally the person ‘behind the scenes’ and feel a bit awkward or shy. You may even feel as if you are wearing blinders and that getting involved in a referral group is the carrot dangling in front of you. In a sense, that is true, the leads are the carrots, and everybody but you seems to have a sack full of them.

mwbmw-com-getsalesreferrals3tips to help you succeedWhen business people begin a business and start to develop a referral-base, their first year they only get a small referral percentage. Their credibility is being tested by the other group members in their first year and people have a, “wait and see if they will be in business the second year,” attitude. After their second year, the statistic nearly doubles that of the first year (for some the percentage is higher), and after the third year the percentage goes way up.

 

Three things help you build a successful word-of-mouth based business:

1 – Cultivate Relationships If you approach your first year with the sole motivation of getting to know the original members of your networking group, you will be farther ahead than the majority of ‘newbie’s’ in the group. You first have to build a strong foundation with the people you hope will refer you to others, because people do business with people they know and trust. Everybody else just looks like a desperate phony and they will quickly wash out of the group. Seasoned professionals can spot the fakes from far away.

2 – Be Reliable – For the first year you are basically putting in your time and you just have to be credible to the other professionals with whom you want to network.

3 – Give Referrals –After building and seeding your relationships and proving yourself to be the reliable you are, the result is that you will get referrals. Building a word of mouth referral based business is all about the building of solid relationships – from the ground up. This is all because in these groups you have to give in order to receive.

Perform a check on yourself to see how well and effectively you are referring the people in your networking group. You might be surprised to see how little you actually refer or that you always give your leads to the same 2-3 people. Others in your group will notice that behavior. Being aware is the first step to correcting a pattern.

Track your referrals and look for those types of behaviors. The worst thing you can do is run like a rabbit if you are not getting the results you want in a week. Believe me, your reputation will go ahead of you with that attitude. Take the time to get to know the people in your group and help them understand that they are important — to you (not your pocketbook).

Where will you be in one year?


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Beginning a bookkeeping business in 1999 had me running to try to find different software that was both effective and affordable for my clients. The accounting software I was ideally looking for also had to be as easy as possible to use and understand because I had to teach people how to use it and get the most out of it. That was when I found QuickBooks.


Sure there are other accounting software programs, but QuickBooks accounting and small business software proved to quickly become an industry standard, narrowing my choice almost immediately.

Although Peachtree and Quicken continue to be used by a smaller percentage of users, these programs still provide a good accounting tool for beginning users.

Every version of QuickBooks since 1999 still occupies my computer – Yes, some people just do not like change. If my clients have other software then I use it on their premises instead of keeping their accounting software loaded on my computer. This helps keep my costs lower and my hard drive capacity controllable.

These things make using QuickBooks an amazing accounting software tool:

– Quickly became an industry standard used by most businesses, bookkeepers and CPAs.
– Makes creation and generation of easily understood reports and files that can be sent to your bookkeeper or CPA over the internet.
– Uses an auto-generated chart of accounts for your choice of business operations and that chart can be easily modified to add or delete accounts as you need or want them.
– Understandably and Easily walks you through your company set-up in just a few minutes
– Is Used both across the USA and Canada
– I work in both places and use both Canada and USA QB Products.
– Automatic memory function and decimal placement on entries reduces data entry and speeds up all entries
– Basic Payroll functions are effective and mostly accurate, but an end of year  or quarterly adjustment may be necessary by your accountant to reconcile some necessary government paperwork reporting and filing requirements.

If you’re not a bookkeeper these things will make you crazy:

– It is a double entry system and you have to know how debits and credits work or you will be in a constant state of ‘needing help’ with your bookkeeping entries, reports, and understanding how the program works.
– Although you can automatically download your bank statement entries, I do not recommend it because it downloads them into generic chart of account line items (like miscellaneous instead of Office Supplies) and it does not download them with the vendor names, it uses exactly what your statement says, so the $4.99 you spent at an office supply store goes into your books as a “miscellaneous expense” from vendor “000123524579” This equates to a re-do on each entry by hand when you could have done it by hand in the first place and saved time.
– The payroll function works best for smaller businesses – say up to around 30 employees. After that it gets a little confusing and time consuming to monitor.
– QuickBooks support is difficult and expensive, but they have a QuickBooks Pro Adviser designation for those CPA and bookkeeper professionals who sign up for it. If you look online you can find those helpful people, or just ask me. I am a former QB Pro Adviser.
– The Multi-Currency function makes data entry a challenge if you go back and forth a lot and use different currencies.  If you do then just create a separate account for – Foreign Currency Banking.”

There are other software programs available. Check them all to find the best one for you and ask your CPA, bookkeeper or tax adviser what they suggest. It’s been my experience that you will love the way this software works with and FOR your business.

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Writing Your Business Plan –

Tips on What Goes in a Great Business Plan

Writing “The” Business Plan

mwbmw-com-Writing Your Business Plan – What Goes in a Great Business PlanWhat goes in it? No one business plan is truly better than another, although there is general agreement in the industry about what makes a business plan easier to read, therefore easier to defend. Here are my thoughts on an effective business plan.

1. A Business Plan includes these – list each section in your table of contents

1a. A Description of your business – Please use your words effectively. There is nothing worse than 150 pages of fluff and 5 pages of real content. The method of if you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with B/S does not work here. You are not talking to stupid people when it comes to business plans. Never assume they can be fooled. You aren’t that smart. Nobody is.

1b. Marketing – The methods you intend to use or already are using and what has worked well in the past (proven results are ALWAYS a win-win). Online research is perfect for this!

1c. Competition – Who is YOUR competition and how are you going to manage to take a significant portion of the market share of your niche? Grandstanding is not allowed. Don’t boast about anything here other than PROVEN results. If you do then you risk losing respect and end up looking like an… dummy opportunist.

1d. Operating procedures – What type of an office do you intend to operate, and how will you operate it? Do you have office space or are you looking for something to rent/buy?. If you are looking then when you go out take your camera and have 3-4 sites documented – with address and map information (PowerPoint presentations have excellent formats to create this type of document-with eye appeal). Will you use an answering service or a receptionist?…

1e. Personnel – You don’t need a list of everyone down to the janitor (unless you are creating a business plan for a janitorial service), but you will need a list and resume of the main corporate structure beginning with the president down to the secretary, a listing of a board of directors if you have one (3-5 is a good amount to begin with). List your advisors here too, like your CPA, Business Advisor, attorney, and other professionals that you use regularly – they may be your Board of Directors.

1f. Business insurance – As a bookkeeper I carry a 2 million insurance bond on myself. That is a lot, but I would include my insurance paperwork in this section to prove my integrity.

2. All of your Financial Data – also listed in your table of contents

2a. Loan applications – any paperwork that you prepared for a loan and if you are asking a partner or friend, stop by a bank and get a copy of their loan request documents and use those for yourself. You’ll look like a pro if you do!

2b. Capital equipment and supply list – from the supplies on the desk to the desk itself – get an office supply catalog if you aren’t sure so that you do not leave things out that might add up to unexpected costs down the road.

2c. Balance sheet – If you don’t know how to make one, ask a professional or create one from the numerous examples online, or go to your small business administration and ask them. They have mentors there who will sit down with you and review your business plan with you to see how it can be more effective – usually retired professionals with a lot of business savvy.

2d. Breakeven analysis – See ‘Balance Sheet.’

2e. Pro-forma income projections (profit & loss statements) – See ‘Balance Sheet’

2f. Three-year summary – Do each year separately and do a summary of years 1-3 combined also, so that you have year by year comparisons and a total column too.

2g. A first year detail by the month (Month 1, Day 1 through 30)

2h. Detail by quarters, Quarter 1, 2, 3, 4 for your first year, second and third year.

2i. List the assumptions that your projections are based on – example: additional staff decisions are based on growth projections of 20% per month for the first 8 months in year one…

2j. Pro-forma cash flow – See ‘Balance Sheet’

3. Any and All remaining Supporting Documents – List in your table of contents

3a. Tax returns of principals for last three years Personal financial
statement (you can pick these forms up at most all banks). Even though it seems like it is none of anyone’s business these are relevant to a bank or loaning institution so that they can see your history and how you operate (or don’t operate).

3b. For any franchised businesses, a copy of your franchise contract and all the supporting documents provided by the franchise operator.

3c. A copy of your proposed lease or purchase agreement for building or rental space.

3d. A copy of any licenses you may have acquired for your business and any other legal documents you may have.

3e. A copy of the resumes of all the principals – people you consider to be your main people you are putting in the top company positions.

3f. Copies of letters of intent from suppliers, etc. – those that will buy from you if you go into business (can also be considered a list of potential customers who signed a document to do business with you.

3g. A well executed exit strategy is worth its weight in gold for paying back a loan, or money to an investor (if you are asking for private funds). Don’t forget to write this out and include it in your business plan as well (also in your table of contents).

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