Items tagged with SBDC Business Tips Articles
There are many different software options in the business world and google happens to be one of my favorites for many reasons. Today I would like to share with you some of those reasons with you and specifically focus on those that help us increase our productivity.
February 27You want to open a business. You know almost exactly how much it will cost you to start; supplies, furniture, rent, utilities, etc. But, what about sales tax? As a new business owner, this will be one of the first taxes you will encounter once you start selling your product or service.
Customer service is a key component of any successful business. Below are a brief discussion and reminder of some elements of good customer service.
Small businesses in Texas have a great opportunity by being a Historically Utilized Business (HUB) and it is free of charge.January 30State agencies and universities are always looking to work with businesses certified as HUBs.
January 16We have all heard the words cybersecurity, but what does that really mean and how does it affect your business.
January 2Peggy Rosser retiring from ASU SBDC January 31, 2017.
Hiring the right employee can be challenging because interviews can bring out the best in candidates but once hired their actual performance can be much different. Having certain strategies in place will help you in the process of hiring the right employee for your business. The process is not easy, and it is important to keep in mind that it will take time and will have a monetary impact and possible reputational consequences if you make a bad hire.
Attention San Angelo entrepreneurs! The 2017 San Angelo Business Plan Competition is now open to all eligible small business owners and those wishing to start a business. The cash prize awards are bigger than ever with $25,000 for 1st place, $20,000 for 2nd place, and $15,000 for 3rd place. In addition, each winner will receive an in-kind prize package worth thousands of dollars from local service providers in areas such as marketing, advertising, office supplies, accounting assistance and legal assistance.
November 21As I discussed in my last article, small businesses can do business with the federal government. They purchase up to $500 billion of goods and services annually. The Small Business Administration (SBA) created the 8(a) Business Development Program in order to help small, disadvantaged business compete in the marketplace.
Opportunity is knocking for Entrepreneurs and Small Business Owners in San Angelo.
Will you answer?
It is the responsibility of a Small Business Development Advisor, me – Peggy Rosser, to introduce you, the small business owner, to any type of system which will help you successfully manage your business. THIS business tips article explains the cutting edge system, used across the nation, which will help you match your work requirements with employees who have those skills.
Recently I had the opportunity to attend the annual America’s SBDC conference in Florida and one of the keynote speakers was Jason Dorsey, Millennials and Gen Y researcher. Jason’s gift is solving tough generational challenges for companies and leaders through unique research, results-based consulting, and his acclaimed keynote presentation.
The U. S. Government purchases $500 million worth every year! The distinction of being a small business is important if you wish to register for government contracting. Any small business can register in the System for Award Management (SAM).
LinkedIn is a unique social media site that you can truly take advantage of to better your business. This platform is designed specifically for professional networking, finding a job or seeking an employee, discovering sales leads and connecting business to business. With a worldwide membership of over 433 million registered users linked in has risen to be in the top four most visited social media websites.
Connect, find, and be found:
At the end of a great performance, whether theatrical, oracle, or musical, an audience will clap and continuously call out, “Encore, Encore, Encore!” a gesture asking for an additional curtain call.
One would like to think that the same is true when someone retires from working in their career job. “Encore, Encore, Encore!” But when you retire, it also opens other opportunities, including starting a business. This group, over 50 years of age, are known as – Encore Entrepreneurs.
The U.S. Small Business Administration and AARP have formed an alliance to help this burgeoning group seeking assistance in starting their own small business. “With years of valuable work experience, maturity and plenty of energy at their disposal, today’s older workers are increasingly finding financial and personal fulfillment in running their own small businesses,” as stated in Business USA.
I am sure you have heard the saying “Happy wife…Happy life” I think we can apply this same saying to any business with “Happy employees…Happy business.” Often times we think the only way to retain good employees is by offering them a monetary incentive but in this case the old saying is also right: “Money doesn’t buy happiness.” The main reason is this, not even the best employees will stay in an environment that doesn’t feel right, where they don’t feel part of the team.
The article “11 Secrets to Keeping Employees Happy (Without a Raise)” by Nicole Fallon Taylor from the Business News Daily discussed this issue and referred to different key influences that can be used with employees to keep them content when salary isn’t the driving factor. I encounter the following 5 concepts most suitable for all businesses.
The new rule from the U.S. Department of Labor affecting overtime for white collar workers goes into effect December 1, 2016. It may have a profound effect on many small businesses and organizations who have salaried employees. Below is a brief overview of the new rule and the resources available to help.
Currently, white collar salaried workers who meet one of the five categories of eligible exemptions: executive, administrative, professional, outside sales and some computer employees, and are also paid $23,660 a year ($455 per week) or more, are exempt from overtime pay. The new rule effective December 1st raises the required level of pay to $47,476 per year ($913 per week) to remain exempt from overtime for those salaried workers meeting one of the categories of exemptions just mentioned.
Many small businesses struggle with cash flow problems. For some businesses, it is the number one problem of concern. Cash flow can be described various ways. One way is this: how cash moves or “flows” from the time the business pays for the expense of cost of goods or service (cash out) until the time it is collected by the business from the customer (cash in). The length of this process can determine the extent of the problem a business has with its cash flow. The longer the period of time from expense to collection, the larger the cash flow problems the business may have. The longer it takes the more cash a business will require to cover cash needs. What causes cash flow issues? Your cash may be tied up in your customer’s “pockets” through aging of accounts receivable or tied up in inventory that is not moving fast enough. In addition, your prices may be too low causing your gross profit dollars to be less than they should. Gross profit dollars are used to cover overhead expenses. Finally, your overhead expenses may be too high. It could be one of these reasons or it could be a combination of these reasons causing cash flow problems.
Cash flow and accountability are what makes or breaks many small businesses. Accurate recordings of transactions, along with proper assessment and processing, give small business owners a firm base on which to make decisions and create opportunities for growth.
Understanding and recording the sales, expenses and other basic business financials should be easy enough for small business owners. Understanding the accounting needs of a business is not always so simple. What type of activity is considered bookkeeping, and when do you need an accountant instead? What is the difference between the two?
There is, and it is a simple but important one. Bookkeepers record a small business’ daily transactions, while accountants verify and analyze that information. A bookkeeper’s area is daily financial transactions, which include purchases, receipts, sales and payments. Recording these items is usually done through a general ledger or journal. Many small businesses use software to keep track of their entries, debits and credits. These efforts culminate in a trial balance, which means the final total of debits and credits match.
Could you, would you, should you take a vacation? Most small business owners would answer this with an emphatic “no way.” The answer should really be, “Yes, WAY!”
You could take a vacation, all it takes is proper planning. Be intentional about taking time off, get it on the calendar as far in advance as possible.
Anticipation of taking a vacation will help you prioritize your to-do list. For example, you have a list of things which you’ve been putting in that “I’ll get to that when I have time” folder. Take that list and assign tasks to yourself and your employees then promptly complete the tasks. You will find that having these chores finished will make a difference in how relaxed you’ll feel on vacation.
Tax season is over but now is the right time to recap and implement strategies to have an easier process during your next filing season. The beginning of the year for small business owners is usually somehow stressful mainly because of tax season. You are having to put all the business paperwork together to file taxes. No matter whether you’re a sole proprietor or corporation, if you sell goods or services for financial gain, you should have an accounting structure in place and if you collect sales tax you must send that money to the government. It’s theirs anyway. Tax returns and payments are due by April 15th or the first business day thereafter.
The first questions you will be asked when filing taxes is: What is your accounting period? For almost every business it’s from January 1 through December 31 of the same year. The year is broken down into quarters and typically you should be paying an estimated tax to both state and federal offices each quarter. But to pay taxes is necessary to keep a record of your sales as well as your expenses. The best way to keep up with it is with preparation during the year.
Lately I have been thinking of the word “trust” as it relates to business. Most people would say business is based on good relationships and good relationships are built on trust. In fact for some businesses, relationships built on trust are everything.
Trust means someone has our best interests at heart and will strive to act in a manner that protects our best interests along with theirs, however difficult it may be at times. We trust our professional advisors will give us good advice and challenge certain ways we do things in order to protect us. We trust our suppliers not to push the latest promotion but to promote items that will benefit our business, even if it means they do not make the monthly sales quota. We want to deal with those we trust and I believe once we find those who are trustworthy, we will continue to do business with them and overlook the minor glitches and modest but necessary price increases. Trust can even be a competitive advantage.
lead·er·ship - ˈlēdərˌSHip/ noun Meaning: the action of leading a group of people or an organization.
Defining Leadership is a hard task. Leadership is subjective in many cases and is defined in many ways. Leadership can be defined as many things in various situations involving different people. You do not have to be the Mayor of your city, or the boss of your business, or the head of the organization in order to be a leader. I would say in most cases leadership is not fostered by the title you hold but gains its power from the actions you take.
The Angelo State University Small Business Development Center is excited to announce that we will be hosting the live simulcast event Leadercast Angelo State right here in San Angelo, TX. With the help from our partners and sponsors, we will participate as a host site in a live broadcast presentation that originates from Atlanta Georgia. This is an annual experience with the purpose to instill leadership values and inspire individuals to achieve more in their daily lives.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then your logo must be worth a million!
Your logo is the face of your business. It is a key element when it comes to advertising your business and is at the center of all of your branding. This is why it is important to have a logo that you can use anywhere, put anywhere and send to anyone.
Many small business owners run into the issue of not having their logo saved as a digital file. This makes it very difficult for print companies to replicate or create marketing materials for you. In order to better understand your logo files, I would like to explore some of the different file types and explain why it is easier to work with some files as opposed to others.
I am continually fascinated how our past experiences shape our future decisions. Such was the case when I landed my first teaching job. The principal called to offer me a fifth grade teaching position and before I accepted, I asked one question, “May I ask about the procedure on how flags are raised and lowered each day at school?”
Her answer surprised me, “The janitor takes care of that.” To which I replied, “I would like to have the fifth grade class be in charge of the flag.” Having students, studying American history as fifth graders, raise and lower the flag was a natural fit. The principal said “Yes, that would be nice.” And I had my first teaching job!
So how did the desire to be in charge of the flag become so important for me. Simple. When I was in the fifth grade, only boys were crossing guards and only the boys raised and lowered the flag. All I wanted to do was participate in the raising of the flag. So fast forward many, many years and I was able to provide that opportunity over a ten year period to about 700+ fifth grade students.
It seemed like a good idea at the time…starting your own business that is. After all, how hard could it be? All I have to do is buy or make something and sell it to someone who wants or needs it. Simple. All you had to do was establish a legal business structure, set up an account with the State Comptroller’s office, find a business location, and obtain some financing. You jumped through some hoops to get all that done and now you are in business and you are doing well. Or are you? How do you know?
Many new small business owners never print any kind of financial statement until the end of the year when they have to file a tax return. They have gone 12 months without knowing if they are making a profit or showing a loss. They have been operating in the blind. It’s kind of like flying an airplane with no gauges or windows, except once a year. Operating this way assumes that as long as you are still flying, everything must be good. The problem is that you can’t tell if you’re on course, or if your altitude is sufficient to keep your from running into mountains, or if your speed is sufficient to maintain flight.
I thought it fitting to pay a tribute to our good friend and economic development partner, San Angelo Chamber of Commerce President Phil Neighbors, who many of you know passed away unexpectedly a week or so ago. During this time I have reflected not only on Phil’s positive personal life, which came to light for many of us, but also his professional life as a leader and partner in San Angelo’s economic development and business development.
My reflection has shed light on something. We can take for granted, people and their positive influence especially when they tend to be low-key as Phil was known to be. When they are gone we realize the impact they had and the void they will leave. Many have related Phil’s positive influence on community endeavors, the Chamber of Commerce, City of San Angelo, Angelo State University, Howard College, SAISD, Goodfellow Air Force Base, and many others. All of us marveled at his boundless energy to be involved and make a positive difference. His absence will be an emptiness we will all feel.
Time is running out for those who wish to enter the San Angelo Business Plan Competition for new ventures. The deadline is Tuesday, Feb 2nd at 5pm. There is a cash prize of $15,000 for first place and $10,000 for second place, plus both first and second place come with thousands of dollars’ worth of in-kind services from local service providers. But the deadline is tomorrow!
The purpose of the business plan competition is to encourage local entrepreneurs to create new ventures or for existing business owners to create a new entity. The creation of new businesses will help the economy, especially since the oil and gas industry are currently in a down phase. The competition is open to anyone who wishes to create a new entity in San Angelo or its Extra-Territorial Jurisdiction (ETJ), which is 3.5 miles outside of the city limits.
Those entering the competition should be committed to job creation. Preference will be given to business plans that create primary jobs. Primary jobs are those created when a business generates 80% of its revenue from outside San Angelo market area. The initial entry will cost nothing more than time to put together a two page maximum overview of your proposed business.
Many small businesses will need a commercial loan or a line of credit from a bank at some point. Especially when times are slow or the company is struggling, banker relations can become strained. When the banker is worried, he may start asking hard questions. Let us look at some ideas on how to deal with this situation and how to make your banker a partner all the time, not just when things are going well.
The key to excellent relations with your banker is having excellent communication. To have him on your side, he needs to understand what you are doing and to be confident of what to expect in the future. You must reach a point in your relationship with him that you tell him what is happening before it happens. The better able you are to project, the more confidence he will have.
Opportunity is knocking for Entrepreneurs in San Angelo. Will you answer?
The ASU-SBDC is partnering with the ASU College of Business and The Business Factory to bring you an unparalleled opportunity to receive guidance and support in building your small business dreams. The San Angelo Business Plan Competition is your opportunity to develop a viable business plan that will create a business in San Angelo.
The competition consists of three phases. The first phase is your initial entry into the competition. You will need to submit a two-page business overview with details about your proposed business. It will need to include the essential elements of your new venture such as; the product or service you will offer, information about your target market, your potential for revenue generation, and the economic impact for San Angelo. This business plan overview needs to be submitted by February 2nd.