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Friday, February 21, 2014

8 bookkeeping secrets for business owners

By Phil Steel

Small business accounting tips
Proper bookkeeping practices improve business efficiency
Starting your own business is no small endeavor! With the satisfaction of being your own boss however, comes a host of other challenges. The most important of these are being able to survive, sustain and succeed despite competition and market forces. 

According to surveys done on the subject –just half of the businesses survive beyond the initial years. Those that do, do so because they work according to a business plan, budget well, correctly understand their financials, apply appropriate bookkeeping practices and have accurate cash flow projections.

According to a document authored by the Philadelphia Bar Association, the top bookkeeping issues that small business owners face, range from ‘selecting the wrong business formation,’  ‘lack of a sound business accounting system,’ ‘lack of qualified accountants on staff,’ ‘faulty understanding of cash vs. accrual accounting or bookkeeping,’ ‘not being able to maintain proper financial records’ and ‘inability to properly prepare and file tax returns and reports.’

Provided below are some revealing suggestions from the Philadelphia Bar Association, to arrest these issues.

Lesser known bookkeeping secrets that business owners must know:

  • Business formation: When selecting their business formation whether - Sole Proprietor, LLC, LLP, S-Corp, or CCorp- business owners must not base their judgement only on the legal protection each formation offers, but also on the bookkeeping consequences of each.
  • Bookkeeping systems: These are not universal. They vary according to the industry and organization a business operates in. Thus, their selection must be done according to the needs of the particular business.
  • Computerized bookkeeping packages: Before purchasing or subscribing to any popular computerized bookkeeping package, it is essential that business owners, study the requirements of their enterprise thoroughly, research the package carefully, and then buy it only if it matches the requirements of their business.
  • Accounting staff: Business owners are advised to employ only qualified and experienced accounting professionals who have the necessary knowledge of bookkeeping, relevant to their specific business and industry.
  • Industry specific knowledge: When recruiting staff, greater attention needs to be paid to the candidate’s in-depth understanding of the ‘debits and credits’ specific to the business and industry in which the business owner operates; rather than his mathematical aptitude.
  • GAAP compliant method of bookkeeping: It is wiser to follow the accrual method of bookkeeping, as compared to the cash principal, because the former is considered more generally accepted (GAAP). The accrual method of bookkeeping is recognised to be GAAP-compliant. It is also more readily accepted by third-party users of a business’s financial statements, such as banks, investors, and other creditors.
  • Audits and tax preparation: No business owner can risk ignoring proper bookkeeping practices, because  eventually important  documents like bills, cancel checks, and bank statements will be needed for financial statement audits and for tax preparation.
Some enlightening insights provided by Eileen P. Gunn in her blog in Entrepreneur.com. further highlights, how proper bookkeeping practices can lead to entrepreneurial success, in the long term.
  • Appropriate bookkeeping is linked to entrepreneurial success
Eileen P. Gunn believes that following the right bookkeeping practices, enables business owners, to be able to plan for important expenses in the future. “You'll avoid taking money out of the company during the flush periods only to find yourself short in the slower months, when costly projects like upgrading computers or replacing factory components usually happen,” she states. In addition, doing so, also helps entrepreneurs track expenses, record deposits accurately, set aside money for paying taxes and follow up on pending payments and bills that still have to be issued to customers, for whom work has been done, she states.

About the author: This article was written by Phil Steel, an experienced writer on finance, who is a keen follower of the latest trends in the sphere of bookkeeping.

Image license: SmartPhotoStock

Brand activation-cooking the perfect recipe to draw more sales

By Kenneth Fabian

The first time I discovered and used brand activation (as one of my marketing tools), I was astounded by its ability to draw instant results in the simplest, yet most effective ways. Yes, you read that right, "instant results." Most marketers grow much of a fervor to the brand equity aspect of building a brand due to the fact that it is very easy to execute, however, uneasy to measure in the short term picture of market research. Nonetheless, brand activation proves to be a fairly vital option for online marketers to take.

A simple definition

Food marketing assists businesses facilitate sales objectives
Brand activation pro-actively engages consumers
Brand activation is a road show that lets you take a certain brand right to the people for the purpose of them being able to experience what your brand is like.

Take for instance your ultimately beloved band. They are a brand, too, and whenever you come to their live shows, you are actually experiencing the brand of musical pieces they have first hand. And that is how brand activation goes.

On a rather professional note, it is commonly referred to as experiential marketing, which is a known method for generating concrete experiences from the brand itself for the consumer or customer. It works magnificently for rapidly moving consumer goods based on my personal experiences.

Creating the perfect recipe

Just like any other marketing strategy, brand activation requires the right elements to be executed in the most proper of manners. Just as the holidays are going for the climax of it repertory, it is also high time for you to up your marketing game. You must, however, know the right meal to cook for your target audience that will really live up to their points of satiation. And that is why you really need to bear three ingredients in mind: paid, earned and owned media. If you get to blend stuff correctly, there is no doubting your odds of reinforcing exceptional experiences that will really engage consumers to root more for your business with its products and services.

Why the PEO RECIPE is of the ESSENCE

Food marketing tips
Food events often appeal to an interested crowd
Let me make things simpler for you to comprehend. Paid media is something that gives you better control over your business in terms of reaching out to multitudes of prospects, finding the right targets and sharing a much denser voice to draw stronger impact to your target market.

Earned media allows you to present your brand's context and reputability to your target market with the showcasing of a third party promotional group.

Owned media offers substantive value to your target audiences, allowing you to put up your very own marketing channel. While these three are individual options, packing them together for collective execution can draw you more traffic and sales conversion in a much higher scale.

There is no better way to determine an item's value than having an on-hand experience with it. For that reason, brand activation is truly vital for an online business's continuous progression. With the conglomeration of paid, earned and owned media techniques, you can go farther than you have anticipated. So, cook up your marketing meal now for ultimately kaleidoscopic experiences for your customer's satisfaction. Let them be your benefiting instruments for marketing success. 

About the author: Kenneth Fabian, Founder & Owner of OGL Asia - a brand activation company specialising in Events, Exhibition and Design Communications since 1989.

With 27 years of experience, Kenneth was able to gather the right contacts, strategies and resources to ensure an effective brand engagement.

Image licenses: 1. Glory Foods, CC BY 2.0;    2. City Year, CC BY 2.0

How to pick the best binary options trading platform

Binary options trading platform tips
Binary trading uses indicators to predict price movement
I would like to start off this discussion with a quote “Binary options are, at their core, a simple prediction as to whether or not the price of an asset will rise or fall.” This is one of the most simplistic definitions of binary options that I have come across so far. It is a simple way of taking advantage of short term market movements. This definition also leads me to the next part, which is to define the binary options platform. 

A binary option platform is basically a gateway that allows the traders of binary options to profit from these simple predictions. Without the binary options platforms, then traders who make these predictions would actually have no way of trading or profiting from their skills. Choosing a binary option platform is one of the most important decisions that you will have to make as a binary options trader. Some of the things that you will need to look out for when choosing a binary options platform include:

The rate of return

Everyone who joins the binary options market is out there to make money. As such, it only makes sense that someone looking for a binary options trading platform would choose one that offers much higher returns. As a rule, new comers in to the market and for that matter, old dogs who would like to change platforms are often advised to look for platforms that offer a minimum of between 65% and 70-% payouts. The good thing with binary options is that there payouts are usually known in advance. This means that the trader actually understands and knows exactly what he or she stands to either gain or lose. To make money, all you need is to be in the money by 0.001, whether the underlying asset’s movement was great or small. If this is matched with a great payout percentage, then you stand to make a good sum of money.

Out of money options

Like in any market, there comes a time when your trades complete out of the money. During these times, traders stand to lose a lot of money depending with the size of the investment made. However, Many platforms have now come up with an out of the money settlement option. This means that the trader still gets a percentage of the original investment as a pat on the back from the platform to ensure that they do not go home empty handed. Such is the kind of a platform that you should seek out. In such cases, you will be assured of recouping part of your investment and as such, give you the impetus to participate more on the platform. This is where binary trading platforms such as One Two Trade actually have an advantage. With this kind of “buy back offer” so to speak, the platforms show you that it is just not about money with them but rather a relationship that helps you build your portfolio on the binary options trading platform.

Underlying asset base

The asset base that a particular platform has is something that cannot be ignored. The media has created a potent tool for information flow. It allows the binary options traders to interact not only with the underlying assets that they trade in but also each other. As such, they get access to trends and possible limiting factors. Now with all this information, why would you want to limit yourself to a platform with fewer pickings? I would rather, and I speak for many of the binary options traders in this case, have the platform that has a much wider variety offering me more opportunities to make money.

Hidden charges

Like every other business, these platforms were designed to make money. While their main job is facilitating you to make your trades, they also need to self-sustain. In some cases, platforms can create a number of hidden charges so as to make money. As a binary options trader, it is advisable to be on the lookout for those platforms that have hidden charges and extra costs, especially those that you do not understand. One Two Trade reviews show that this is one of the few platforms that do not have all these hidden charges.

Good security measures

This is one of the most important points that you will need to look into. When it comes to money, there are a number of people who would always want to defraud you. As such, it is important for you to be on the lookout for those platforms that have better security options. In this regard, you may want to look into their encryption systems as well as their money transfer policies. Protecting your money is not an option in this market, it is a requirement.

Customer service

One of the things that most people overlook is the quality of customer care. Good customer car can help you through the hardest of problems. As such, you should be on the lookout for a platform that not only provides good customer service but also has the necessary staff to help you. The training of these staff members should be such that whether you are a novice, a professional or simply a pass timer.

At the very least, you should go through reviews in different websites about the platforms to avoid and the platforms to go with. While this should not entirely determine you decision, it will give you an inkling of what other uses on the platform think about the different binary options platforms.

Image license: Rafael Matsunaga; CC BY 2.0

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The need for trustworthy, effective appointment setting companies

Advantages of appointment setting companies
Experienced schedulers facilitate access to business networks
Setting appointments is a crucial part of almost any business. Cold calling and making a pitch is rarely effective because the people who are receiving those calls are quite busy. They have so many things to do that they tend to feel frustrated and annoyed by a cold call, which can turn them off to a product that they would actually love. 

A far better strategy is to make your calls, or to hire appointment setting companies who can make them for you, to set up meetings in the future. These could be face-to-face meetings or appointments that you hold over the phone. Either way, you can use these future meetings, which are scheduled and anticipated by both parties, to make the pitch.

When looking for appointment setting companies, it is important to know exactly what qualities to search for so that you can find a company that can handle the work that you have for them in an effective manner. First, you must find a company that is trustworthy. You need to know that they value your company as much as you do. This mindset pushes them to put in the work that is required to produce results. You need to know that you can trust them to contribute just as much effort as you have to make good on their promises and projections.

Another thing to look for as you seek out the best appointment setting companies is a company that is highly motivated. In a competitive market, they have to be driven toward the end results. They have to be dedicated to setting up the meetings for you so that you can take over and pitch your products and services, and close the sales. Remember that there are many other businesses out there doing the same thing that you are, so only a company that is motivated by results will give you an edge over the competition.

It is also imperative that you find appointment setting companies that have experience. This is not to say that new appointment setting companies have no hope of securing you any potentially lucrative meetings, but companies that have been doing this for years have networks that they can turn to. They have contacts within many different realms of business, and they often know exactly who to call as soon as they see your products and services. Networking is as important as anything in the business world, and appointment setting companies that provide you with access to a network can set up meetings with the right people more quickly than companies with no experience.

Remember that appointment setting companies can take you away from cold calling and give you meetings with interested parties who are far more likely to do business with you, which will increase your sales quickly and make your sales team more efficient. You need a company that can work hard on your behalf, that will always be motivated to produce results and that can offer you contacts in the industry. Search for these qualities first, and let them guide you to the right appointment setting company.

This post is brought to you by intelliverse.com.

Image license: Evan Bench, CC BY 2.0