Posts Tagged ‘Business Tips’

9 Quick Business Tips for a Great 2015!

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

january-february-business-tipsAll of us start the New Year wanting better for ourselves and our business. Here are some quick tips for how to get your business off on the right foot in 2015 and get your mind set on growth!

Organize your desk – a clean workspace makes you much more productive

Purge your paper files that are piling up.  And you know they are!

Clean up your email

Tidy up your books:

Total up your income, expenses, loan payments, etc.  Prepare your Profit & Loss and Balance Sheet reports.  Instead of printing out your financial reports this year, ask if you can email them to your CPA.  Of course, this saves you paper, but it will save you time when you meet with your tax pro since he/she will have the information in advance.

Get a jump on your tax preparation and filing:

For me, each year doesn’t officially start until taxes are DONE.  I always try to have them filed by the first few days in February so I can rid of that pressure as soon as possible.  Contact your tax professional to set up a meeting by the end of January when you should have received most of your year-end documents.

Start preparing for tax documents you will need next January:

Start a new file folder or box labeled “Tax Prep 2015”.  Throughout the year, you will put every document, business and personal, that you may need for filing taxes: business expense receipts, charitable deductions, medical costs, tuition paid, investments made, and any new loan information.  Next January while you are waiting on year-end statements to arrive, you will pull out this folder or box and separate business and personal.  You will be happy each year that you do not have to wonder if you have everything needed to maximize your tax deductions.

Tune up your marketing and advertising campaigns:

– Update your business website.  Add or change content, links and images that are useful to your visitors in understanding your business.  Help make it an easy decision to contact you for the work they need done.  If you do not have a website, it should be Priority #1 this year.  Having a website for your business is a must and if you do not have one, you are missing out on a ton of potential clients.  In addition, owning a website and advertising it online is much more affordable than traditional print advertising in newspapers, phone books, etc.  Check out sites like Squarespace to get started easily.

– Google Analytics – Review the performance for your website from the past year to see where the traffic is coming from, what pages were visited the most and for how long.  This will help you make better decisions on what to add or change on your website to optimize for better results this year.

– Google Adwords – Adjust your bidding, add different keyword phrases to target, and try out some new ad structures.  Adwords is a must-have for local advertising and works well to attract qualified leads to your website.

– Get your design on!  Open up Photoshop and get to work.  If you own a home services company, it might be time to finally do that door hanging campaign you’ve been thinking about forever.  Or how about ordering some yard signs to leave at your client’s house after each service?

– Are your business cards up to date?  If you added or changed any contact information or services you offer, it may be time to update your cards.  Services like VistaPrint are easy and affordable, so don’t delay!

– Be more social.  Marketing by engaging in social media is starting to dominate this day and age.  If you don’t have a profile on the top social media sites, then you are missing out on networking with potential clients without high costs.  Show off the latest project completed by your business, offer special promotions to your followers, share tips about the work you do for others to learn, or just let everybody know where you are treating your work crew to lunch that day!  Whatever you do today will be more than you probably did yesterday if you are new to social media.  Just think about this, it is highly likely that your potential clients all use social media today.

Lists, lists, lists:

If you own a service business, you have tools and equipment that need maintenance and eventually an upgrade.  Make a list of repairs/maintenance items that need to be done and when you plan to do them.  Decide if it is time to purchase that new pressure washer, mower, nail gun, or other critical piece equipment.  Start planning for how and when you will pay, by starting with listing everything you can think of that needs attention.

Streamline your estimating, invoicing, and payments process:

If you are a little behind on how you create and send client estimates and bills, you will find relief using online invoicing software.  Sign Up for services like GreenerBilling to make it a breeze sending professional invoices and estimates to your clients.

While this is not an all-encompassing list, it’s enough to get any business-minded professional a proper checklist to promote growth and an opportunity for more invoicing and moneymaking! Greenerbilling hopes to see you through a very successful year!

Do They Love You?

Thursday, July 8th, 2010

"make customers love your website"What business doesn’t have a Web site these days? When connecting online is the standard, it’s only logical to use the Internet as your marketing tool. Now, the only question that comes to mind is: Are you maximizing the power of the World Wide Web through your Web site? (more…)

Please, just once, say: “I don’t know”.

Thursday, August 20th, 2009

Mr. Know-it-AllThat last post – the drawing of the various ways business can be built or ruined – had me mesmerized. What was the one negative element that really stood out for me ?

Aha ! “Hotel Know-It-All”.

Is there a “know-it-all” in your networking group, or on your team? How can they be recognized? Usually you will know by the 2nd or 3rd encounter. (more…)

Road to Business Success: What route are you taking?

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009

Click to view full-size

Click to view full-size

Well, if a picture is worth a thousand words, then this picture pretty much says it all.

Image contributed by The Rails Team

3 Major Reasons You Should Invoice Clients by E-mail

Saturday, July 25th, 2009

Money in handMicrobusiness owners rely heavily on timely receivables. The sooner your client has the invoice in-hand the faster you could see that money in YOUR hand. Sending invoices by e-mail shaves days off invoice aging which gives your client the opportunity to send payment the same day this invoice is received, thus increasing your positive cash flow. If you are still printing and mailing invoices, the following list may convince you to seek e-mail addresses from your clients:

1. Cost: The savings add up quickly.

Save on:

  • Ink – great looking PDF/e-mailed invoices – no printing costs
  • Paper – unless, of course, you have stock in pulp factories
  • Envelopes – (see reason above)
  • Stamps – prices are already approaching $0.50 a pop and the climb will continue
  • Gas – reduce trips to the post office/mailbox and office supply store

2. Time: Spend more of it growing your business.

No more:
  • annoying printer issues
  • folding invoices
  • stuffing, sealing, stamping invoices
  • driving to post office/mailbox
  • additional mail delivery days for invoice aging

3. Environment: Green-up your operations.

Spare the need for:
  • Ink
  • Paper
  • Envelopes
  • Stamps
  • Gas

Clearly there are some big advantages to paperless invoicing. Today most clients should willingly opt-in to receive invoices by e-mail since it is faster and more friendly to Mother Earth. However, some clients reluctant to make the switch from paper to electronic invoice delivery will require creative strategy. Consider offering a small discount to the clients willing to make the change. Suddenly everyone has incentive to decrease invoice aging!

Breaking Habits

Monday, June 1st, 2009

Here in North Florida, during what seemed to be torrential downpours that required looking for gopher wood (used to build Noah’s ark), there were countless traffic problems.

When we have those kinds of rains (you know the type), common sense should dictate that caution would be taken. I found it interesting, that despite the warnings, some drivers still ignored the obvious.

Why didn’t they leave earlier, drive slower, stay off the cell phone, or even stop texting? Because those things had become habits.  And habits can sometimes inhibit our ability to engage in healthy alternatives.

Stop for a moment and think about those activities that we do repeatedly in our businesses. Are we making the very best use of our time? Do we check up on our customers as often as we should? Are we keeping their satisfaction paramount? Have our employees become “paid personnel” or are they still highly valued? Did we make the change to “green-up” the office as we promised? Are we looking for someone to blame when things turn sour……..or did that bitter taste happen because we just didn’t prepare? Are we continuing to do the same things over and over and expecting different results? (That’s the definition of “insanity”.)

Let’s take the time to assess the condition of our habits. Consider it a catharsis for the life of our businesses. Take hold of those habits and give them a good shake. Be willing to honestly evaluate everything that falls out. If you’re not sure what those habits are – just ask a co-worker, or your spouse. And don’t shoot the messenger!

As for me - I’m going to find my husband and ask him a question. I’ll let you know what falls out!

Interview with the Founder – More “meat”

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

Below is a series of questions a business associate posed to Dave recently.  I was given permission to post them and Dave’s answers.  I thought it would add more “meat to the bones” of Greenerbilling.

M: Dave, Web invoicing applications are out there.  What makes yours different?

D: What’s different is that it’s based on my logic — I knew what I needed as an invoicing system for my business, but it wasn’t out there.

M: How is your logic different from the others?

D: I guess the easiest way to answer that starts with being a “blue collar” business owner. My focus was on billing and getting paid for my labor.

I wanted to keep it simple, focusing only on what’s necessary to help the small business owner stay on top of billing clients and collecting payments.

M: Is this another “accounting” application?

D: No, this is not another “accounting” application.

My understanding of “accounting” involves, among other things, tracking and itemizing expenses, balancing checkbooks, managing credit cards and loans, and applying tax line items.   Therefore, by keeping Greenerbilling focused on “billing” and “getting paid”, I am not crossing “that fine line” into what I consider “complete accounting”.

Plus, I wanted to keep it truly international.  Greenerbilling offers extensive currency formatting.  So, by focusing on billing and getting paid, rather than complete accounting principles, our subscriber base can be worldwide.

M: You mentioned Greenerbilling with an international focus.  How many countries currently have subscribers to Greenerbilling?

D: I am really pleased to say that we have subscribers in over 45 countries right now. And there’s certainly a BIG market left for expansion.

M:  What kind of businesses are using the application?

D: It runs the gamut of product and service providers, primarily among microBusinesses. Blue collar, trade professionals, consultants, freelancers, and wholesalers . . . just to name a few.  Right now we’re at over 50 different business types.

M:  How have you met the challenges of servicing all these business types?

D: That’s a great question!  The entire team is dedicated to treating each subscriber as a fellow business owner, not as a customer.  We ALL pay very close attention to each subscriber inquiry and need.  Every single page of the Greenerbilling application invites feedback.  It is this feedback that drives the development of Greenerbilling — and always will.

M: You seem really passionate about this.

D:  I’ve been a business owner too long to discount the importance of customer relations.  Customers are the building blocks of every successful business.  I have kept the following quote posted in my office for over 10 years:

“There is only one boss — the customer. And he/she can fire everyone in the
company from the CEO on down, simply by spending his/her money elsewhere.”
-Sam Walton
Founder of Wal-Mart

M: You mentioned your Team.  Tell me about them.

D: Well, good business practices say to surround yourself with the people who are best at what they do.  That’s exactly what I’ve done.  I consider myself a strong visionary, but am not gifted in coding (among other things).

So, my core Executive Team consists of myself and two others, an Operations Professional and a Marketing Professional.  Expand that team to include my tech staff – headed by a well-established, successful, and dedicated Web Developer.  Add to the mix, a top-of-the-line Designer.  Glue it all together with attorney and accountant groups that keep everything “floating in the right direction”.

I can honestly say that Greenerbilling wouldn’t be headed for world-class stature without them.

M: What do you see in the future for Greenerbilling?

D: I see Greenerbilling becoming the best invoicing system out there; providing a state-of-the-art, remote work platform. It will always provide a rich user experience for business invoicing.

M: Can you be more specific?

D: Sure. We continue to develop new features for Greenerbilling. For example, this week, we have a totally new “look and feel” to the application and Web site. We enhanced the “curb appeal” of Greenerbilling. It’s really important that our users enjoy the look of what they have to work with.

In addition, the application now includes Estimates – definitely a major feature and asset to our subscribers. There are a lot more things “in the works”, but I can’t get into them right now.

Greenerbilling – Who, What, Where, Wow!

Sunday, March 22nd, 2009

I have been known to most people as “Dave Kollasch – professional rollerblader” – who, starting at 15 years of age, toured the world in the sport of extreme inline skating (even holding the record for longest rail-slide – 394 feet). My sponsors included Senate and Razors.

Long before Internet-based invoicing, I was billing my sponsors from wherever I was in the world. I would create these invoices by hand and fax or mail them, hoping for prompt receipt and payment. This tedious process continued for 7 years. Between opening a skate shop (at age 19) and starting a lawn service business (at age 23), it was obvious that I needed a faster, high-tech, solution to address low or high volume invoicing.

Ready-made computer programs did not allow me to create estimates, submit invoices, or track time when I was away from my desktop computer. Using QuickBooks*, for example, I found myself immersed in accounting principles that are “like glaciers, when all I needed was an ice cube”.

Necessity is the Mother of Invention! Consequently, I began constructing a Web-based invoicing system that comes from the perspective of an entrepreneur – not an accountant. To help small business, Greenerbilling has “reinvented the ice cube”.

Greenerbilling provides:

- an office on the go
- graphic invoicing and estimating via e-mail
- an earth-friendly snail-mail alternative to doing business
- all data safely and securely stored on remote servers
- a universally compatible, state-of-the-art remote work platform

I’m excited over the direction Greenerbilling is heading. The biggest bonus that I see is the feedback that comes from our users. They are providing wonderful ideas, needs specific to their business, and valid critiques that propel Greenerbilling to greater success.

Watch this blog for future posts of Greenerbilling In the News and product updates. Plus, let the Greenerbilling Team know what you need and how we can help.

*QuickBooks is a registered trademark of Intuit, Inc.