Protect Your Small Business – A Guide to Stopping Payroll Fraud

Payroll-Fraud

The last thing you want as a small business owner is your money going down the drain. According to statistics, half of all businesses collapse by their fifth year. While the reason for the collapse is usually a combination of many factors, payroll fraud can bring your business down fast. Luckily, you can protect your business from this kind of fraud if you implement the right measures. This guide highlights several ways to identify payroll fraud and how to stop it before it brings your business to its knees. 

What is Payroll Fraud?

Payroll fraud is any fraudulent activity that results in the unauthorized use of company funds. Payroll fraud is not limited to small businesses.

According to statistics, payroll fraud occurs in 27% of all businesses, but small businesses are impacted the most because of their limited revenue and lack of proper safeguards.

Different Forms of Payroll Fraud

Payroll-Fraud

Check Tampering

Check tampering is arguably the most common type of payroll fraud in America. It occurs when an employee steals, forges, or alters a check payable from the employer’s account.

Ghost Employees

This type of fraud is perpetrated by employees responsible for managing the payroll. It involves entering a non-existent person into the payroll to pocket the ghost employer’s salary.

Timesheet Fraud

Most small businesses pay their employees by the hour. This means the more hours they clock in a week, the more they earn. Some employees are tempted to falsify the hours worked, especially if your company does not have foolproof measures to prevent timesheet fraud.

Pay Scale Alterations

Employees are paid different hourly rates based on their classification. Unscrupulous human resource employees can work in cahoots with some employees to make pay scale alterations so that an employee gets more than they deserve. 

Customer Payroll Fraud

Not all forms of fraud are perpetrated by employees. Your customers can also engage in payroll fraud to give the wrong impression of their financial situation.

For example, in the real estate industry, you may require prospective clients to produce proof of income before getting accommodation. Unfortunately, sometimes customers can use fake pay stubs as proof of income and get rental accommodation, which could mean allowing tenancy to someone that may not afford to pay rent.

Worker Misclassification Fraud

Worker misclassification fraud is another type of fraud not perpetuated by the employee. Instead, it is perpetrated by employers to avoid remunerating their employees as required under the law or denying them their benefits.

Often it involves classifying employees as independent contractors, denying them employees the benefits they deserve, and avoiding paying payroll taxes. Employee misclassification is a serious offense that can result in penalties that include hefty fines, higher tax rates, interests on taxes not paid, and prison time.

Safeguarding Against Payroll Fraud

Different types of fraud call for different preventive measures. So what works for one business person may not work for you. But some standard practices can help minimize the chances of payroll fraud irrespective of the type. Some of these measures include:

Taking Formal Business Management Classes

Payroll-Fraud

Most employees take advantage of employers that do not have business management knowledge. If you depend solely on the word of your employees to manage your business, you will be at a greater risk of fraud.

So, your first step to preventing payroll fraud will be taking formal business and financial accounting classes. Doing so helps ensure that you are on top of your business accounts which can help minimize the loss of revenue through fraudulent activity.

Incorporate Technology in Payroll Management

Preventing fraud in your small business is possible, but it can take too much time and effort that could be used in handling other important matters of handling a business.

Luckily you do not have to handle all the work yourself. You can leverage technology to make payroll management easier and error-free. For example, rather than use traditional timesheets to track employees’ hours, you can use apps connected to your employee’s android or IOS devices that make it impossible to clock in unless they are on location. 

Outsource Payroll Management

Even with the best payroll management software, unscrupulous employees may still find a way to cheat the system. So, it is best to outsource payroll management to ensure that your payroll management is watertight.

There are many payroll management service providers in the market. You only need a service provider who checks all your boxes to handle payroll on your behalf. Besides eliminating the chances of fraud, outsourcing payroll can save you time, so you focus on areas that need your attention, like improving customer experiences.

Have an External Auditor Audit Your Firm

If you only depend on internal auditors to audit your business accounts, they may falsify figures to steal from you. So it’s always best to have an outsider conduct an audit from time to time.

Because an external auditor has no vested interest in the outcome of their audit, you can expect to get reliable audit results from them which can help you identify where you could be losing money.

Role Segregation prevents Payroll Fraud

While it’s possible to have some bad players in your business, chances are not all your employees are corruptible, which you could use to your advantage. For example, you can have several people handle different stages rather than having one person handle all payroll matters.

One can track the employees’ timesheets, the other writes the checks, and has another counter check to see everything is okay before you can sign. This way, one unscrupulous employee may not succeed in defrauding your business.

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10 Reasons for Productizing Your Service Business

Productizing your service business has many advantages. It can help you scale your business, attract new customers, and improve your bottom line. Here are 10 reasons to productize your service business.

What is productizing?

Productizing is the process of turning your services into products. This can be done by packaging your services into an online course, ebook, or membership site. It can also be done by offering a subscription-based service, or by creating a physical product that delivers your services. You can use a simple SMS reminder or email marketing to notify customers of any product development or launch.

Below are some of the main reasons it makes sense to productize when and where you can.

It can give you a competitive advantage

productizing

If you’re the only one in your field offering a productized service, you have a huge leg up on your competition. Why? Because you can offer a standardized, repeatable service that’s easy for your customers to understand and purchase. This is much more appealing than trying to explain what you do in a way that makes sense to each individual customer.

Plus, when you productize your service, you can show would-be customers exactly what they’re getting before they make a purchase. This is a big selling point that your competition is likely missing.

In short, if you want to stand out from the crowd and offer your customers a better experience, productizing your service is the way to go.

Productizing is easier to scale

When you productize your service, it becomes much easier to scale because you’re not relying on yourself (or a small team of people) to do all the work.

Instead, you can document your process and train others to follow it. This allows you to take on more customers without having to worry about quality control.

And as your business grows, you can continue to add more products and services to your lineup. This gives you a much better chance of success than trying to scale a traditional service business, which is often limited by the number of hours in a day.

It makes marketing easier

Productizing your service also makes marketing easier, as it lets you better target a specific audience with your marketing efforts and craft a message that resonates with them.

For example, let’s say you offer a productized social media management service. You could target small businesses that are looking for help with their social media but don’t have the time or resources to do it themselves.

This is a much more effective approach than trying to market your services to everyone and hoping that someone bites.

Productizing increases profits

When you productize your service, you can charge more for it because customers are willing to pay more for a product that’s easy to understand and purchase. Plus, since you’re not trading hours for dollars, you can make a lot more money with a productized service than a traditional service.

And if you package your productized service in a subscription, you can make even more money by recurring revenue. This is a great way to increase your profits and the stability of your business.

It attracts better customers

Productizing your service will also help you attract better customers. This comes down to the fact that when you offer a productized service, you’re making it clear who your target market is. This allows you to attract people who are actually interested in what you’re offering.

And since you’re not trying to appeal to everyone, you won’t waste your time on tire kickers and tire-spinners. This will save you a lot of energy and frustration in the long run. You can also use your marketing efforts to attract even more of your ideal customers.

It makes selling easier

productizing

When you productize your service, selling becomes much easier. It makes sense because you are now able to explain more clearly what your service is and how it can help potential customers. You can also show them exactly what they’re getting before they make a purchase.

This is a big selling point that your competition is likely missing. In short, if you want to make selling easier, productizing your service is the way to go.

When you make selling easier, what you are essentially doing is decreasing your cost per acquisition. This is the amount of money you spend to acquire a new customer.

It makes delivering your service easier

The reason it can be easier to deliver your service is because you will have systems and processes in place that you can follow. This makes it much easier to deliver a consistent experience to your customers.

It also means that you can outsource some or all of the work to other people. This can free up your time so that you can focus on other areas of your business.

You can use it as a lead-generation tool

Productizing your service can also be a great lead-generation tool. This is because when you offer a free or low-cost product, you can attract people who are interested in what you have to offer.

The alternative is to try to sell your services to people who have no idea who you are or what you do. This is a tough sell, and it’s often not worth the effort. But with a productized service, you can offer potential customers a taste of what you have to offer without asking for anything in return.

You can then use these leads to upsell them on your other products and services. This is a great way to grow your business without spending a lot of money on advertising.

There are less customer service issues

Productizing your service also comes with some built-in customer service advantages. This is due to the fact that when people purchase a product, they generally have fewer questions and concerns than when they purchase a traditional service.

This is because, with a product, they know exactly what they’re getting. They don’t have to worry about the details of the service or whether they’re getting what they paid for.

Of course, you still need to provide excellent customer service. But you’ll likely find that there are fewer customer service issues when you productize your service.

Conclusion on Productizing

Productizing your service is a great way to grow your business. It allows you to charge more, attract better customers, sell more easily, and generate leads. Plus, there are fewer customer service issues to deal with. If you’re looking for a way to take your business to the next level, productizing your service is the way to go.

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Wi-Fi Marketing for Retail: How Does It Work To Boost Sales

Wi-Fi-Marketing

The retail industry is under immense pressure to keep up with the rapidly changing landscape. In order to stay ahead of the curve, retailers need to be constantly innovating and finding new ways to engage with their customers. One of the most effective ways to do this is through Wi-Fi marketing. By offering free Wi-Fi in your store, you can not only attract more customers, but also collect valuable data about their shopping habits. Here are 10 ways that Wi-Fi marketing can help boost sales for your retail business.

What is Wi-Fi Marketing?

Wi-Fi marketing is a type of marketing that uses Wi-Fi hotspots to reach potential customers. By offering free or discounted Wi-Fi access, businesses can attract people to their locations and encourage them to spend more time – and money – there.

In addition to boosting foot traffic, Wi-Fi marketing can also be used to gather data about customers, such as their contact information and purchase history. This information can be used to create targeted marketing campaigns that are more likely to result in sales.

There is a lot of data backing up the efficacy of Wi-Fi marketing.

Here are 10 ways that Wi-Fi marketing can boost sales for retail businesses.

Increased foot traffic

Wi-Fi-Marketing

How often have you been somewhere–a mall, a store–and you’ve seen people just sitting around on their phones? Now, instead of being a place for people to take a break from shopping, your business can become a destination for people to connect to the internet and get things done.

By offering free Wi-Fi inside the store (that’s the kicker), you ‘re essentially saying, “Come on in and shop–and while you’re here, why not connect to the internet and do some work?” You may not think that people would take you up on such an offer, but you’d be surprised.

In fact, a study by JiWire found that 74% of consumers said they would visit a business more often if it offered free Wi-Fi.

Turn window shoppers into paying customers

If you have a brick-and-mortar store, chances are you’ve had people come in, browse around, and then leave without buying anything. It’s frustrating, but it happens. However, with Wi-Fi marketing, you can turn those window shoppers into paying customers.

How? By offering Wi-Fi access, you can encourage people to come inside and browse–and then, once they’re connected to the internet, they may be more likely to make a purchase. Even if they don’t make a purchase right there on the spot, they may contemplate buying something that they otherwise wouldn’t have, which is still a win for you.

Gather customer data with Wi-Fi Marketing

When people connect to your Wi-Fi, you can gather data about them, such as their contact information and purchase history. This information can be used to create targeted marketing campaigns that are more likely to result in sales.

For example, if you know that a customer has purchased items from you in the past, you can send them targeted emails or ads for similar products. Or, if you have a list of email addresses, you can send out a monthly newsletter with exclusive deals and promotions.

The bottom line is that Wi-Fi marketing gives you the ability to collect data about your customers and use it to your advantage.

Upsell and cross-sell

Once you have gathered data about your customers, you can use it to upsell and cross-sell them products and services that they may be interested in.

For example, let’s say that a customer has purchased a pair of shoes from you in the past. When they connect to your Wi-Fi, you can send them a message about a new style of shoes that you have in stock–or, if you know their size, you can send them a coupon for 20% off their next purchase.

The key here is to use the data that you’ve gathered to offer products and services that your customers will actually want to buy.

Enhance the customer experience with Wi-Fi marketing

In today’s world, people expect more than just a product or service–they want an experience. And with Wi-Fi marketing, you can enhance the customer experience by offering things like digital loyalty programs, in-store competitions, and social media integration.

For example, you can offer a digital loyalty program where customers can earn points for every purchase they make. These points can then be redeemed for rewards, such as discounts or free items.

You can also use Wi-Fi to run in-store competitions, such as social media contests or scavenger hunts. These competitions can not only drive sales, but also create a sense of community and loyalty among your customers.

Finally, you can use Wi-Fi to integrate with social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter. This way, you can offer discounts and promotions to people who follow you on social media–and you can also use social media to drive traffic to your store.

Offer guest Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi-Marketing

If you have a business that gets a lot of foot traffic–such as a restaurant, cafe, or retail store–you can use Wi-Fi marketing to offer guest Wi-Fi. This way, people who come into your business can connect to the internet without using their data plan.

Not only is this a nice perk for your customers, but it can also help you generate leads. How? Well, when people connect to your guest Wi-Fi, you can require them to enter their contact information, such as their name and email address. This way, you can add them to your marketing list and start sending them targeted emails and ads.

Increase dwell time

When people are connected to your Wi-Fi, they’re more likely to stick around and browse–which means that you have a chance to convert them into a paying customer. And the longer they stay, the more likely they are to make a purchase.

So, if you want to increase sales, then you need to find ways to keep people in your store for longer. And one way to do this is by offering Wi-Fi.

For example, you can offer Wi-Fi-based games or quizzes that people can play while they’re in your store. Or, you can offer Wi-Fi-based content, such as articles, videos, or podcasts. This way, people will have something to keep them occupied while they’re in your store–and they may even learn something new.

Allows for better multi-channel marketing

Wi-Fi Marketing is a great way to get people signing up for email lists, liking and following social media accounts and even sharing contact information with you so you can market to them in the future.

This type of marketing allows you to have a constant connection with customers, rather than just when they’re in your store. You can use things like pop-ups or splash pages to get people to sign up for your email list or follow you on social media.

This way, you can continue marketing to them even after they leave your store and turn them into lifelong customers.

Use push notifications

Push notifications are a great way to re-engage customers and get them back into your store. With Wi-Fi marketing, you can send push notifications to people’s phones or devices when they connect to your Wi-Fi.

For example, you can send a notification that offers a discount to people who haven’t been in your store in a while. Or, you can send a notification about a new product or service that you’re offering.

Push notifications are a great way to increase sales and get people interested in what you have to offer.

Conclusion on Wi-Fi Marketing

Wi-Fi marketing is a great way to boost sales and increase dwell time. By offering guest Wi-Fi, you can generate leads, and by using push notifications, you can re-engage customers. So, if you’re looking for ways to increase sales, then consider using Wi-Fi marketing in your store. It can be a great way to boost sales and increase customer loyalty.

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4 Ways to Put Customer Service at the Forefront of Your Business

Running a business takes a lot of work, and customer service is one of the most important aspects. Without it, clients have nowhere to turn to within the company for assistance. Whether they need to report a poor experience or leave a good review, without customer service, there’s no way to present that to your company directly. 

How can you put customer service first to watch your business grow? This article will cover the best ways to prioritize and maximize results from quality customer service.

1. Quality Assurance

Customer-Service

When looking to prioritize connection with clientele, customer service quality assurance is the way to go. Quality assurance monitors your progress with customer service, giving you feedback on your customers, agents, and business statistics. 

The best quality assurance services can be integrated with numerous platforms to help with a smooth transition for your company. Employees will be trained to be the best representative agents they can be, assisting customers with their needs and ensuring they feel heard and satisfied with their care. Never underestimate the potential of auditing your employees’ progress towards helping you retain customer loyalty. 

2. Listen to Feedback

Client feedback is vital to success. When a customer has an impactful experience, good or bad, they must be heard. Even Elon Musk understands how crucial feedback is in shaping a business platform. Whether or not you believe a customer is exaggerating about a negative experience, it reflects well on the company to address the issue swiftly and directly. 

If clients are unhappy with a practice or product, listen to them! While things don’t need to change overnight, you must show them that you take them seriously and treat them as more than just another number.  

3. Engage with Clients

Now more than ever, a company’s presence on social media is crucial to improving engagement rates. It’s important to lead your actions with kindness but also be humorous when appropriate. Creating a rapport with customers can build loyalty and draw attention to your company!

When you engage with customers, you show that you are approachable. Customers are more likely to engage and perform transactions with a business they view in a positive light, especially when they have several options available to them. Customer service skills are a determining factor in where customers spend their time and money, and setting yourself apart can help sway the decision in your favor.

4. Act with Urgency

Customer-Service

When a problem arises, it’s crucial to act quickly. Customers will notice if you drag your feet to address a problem or ignore it entirely. What builds loyalty and a great customer service reputation is a fast response that addresses the issue without talking down to the customer. The sooner a company reacts, the sooner the affected person feels like they’re being taken care of and looked after.

While problem-solving can take time, maintaining customer loyalty through superior customer service is vital. Letting clients know that you are working quickly to correct the issue reassures them that you are on their side. Without clients, there is no business! Great customer service means taking action as soon as possible when needed.

Final Thoughts on Customer Service

Quality assurance and engagement are crucial parts of running a business, big or small. With small businesses, it’s even more important to hone these skills because they set the tone for future endeavors.

Don’t sacrifice customer service when trying to improve aspects of your business – prioritize it! Loyalty is an invaluable asset that will carry your business through, and maintaining it ensures a profitable future.

Don’t underestimate the power of great customer service!

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5 Ways To Optimize Your Online Store Performance

There is no denying the industry-wide shift to internet shopping. Online companies that are just starting out and traditional stores that are making the transition to the web both have significant potential for growth, thanks to e-commerce. Nevertheless, having an online storefront isn’t enough. Retail internet stores that are most likely to succeed are those that are tailored to the specific items, brands, and customers they serve. This factor plays a significant role in the modern digital sales cycle. Online store performance is crucial to the success of your business.

There are many options that come up in a search for a clothes shop, for instance. Have you ever pondered the discrepancy between the popularity of the sites that appear in the first three search results and those on page 16, for example? Because those successful businesses nailed the optimization of their online storefront. In order to reach the same levels, follow our tips about it below.

1. Choose The Appropriate Website Address

Online-Store-Performance

When trying to enhance the efficiency of your online business, it is impossible to overstate the significance of selecting an appropriate domain name. This choice needs to have some connection to the products or services that you will be providing to clients. If you are running a website that sells shoes and sandals, for illustration, you need to be certain that the website address includes one or more of the goods that you are offering via the website. Keep in mind that the simpler the domain name, the easier it will be for your consumers to recognize the name of your business.

2. Start Thinking Like A Search Engine Itself

If you’re like most people, you do some preliminary research on the Internet before making any major purchases, right? If you type something like “best hairstylist in Arizona” or “electric blow dryer” into Google, you’re probably going to select one of the first pages that come up. The statistics demonstrate, putting aside individual experience:

  • When performing an internet search, 33% of people will choose the first result.
  • 75% of search users only explore the first five ones.

What this implies is that you can’t afford to have your online shop show up on the 12th column of your target audience’s Google search results. Its visibility may improve with a few simple SEO tweaks. First, let’s go over what this crucial acronym stands for.

3. Clear Cache Files

It might not sound so promising at the beginning, but taking care of cache files will help you with questions like: “How can I clean my Macbook properly?”. So, if you want to understand how to clear an application cache on Mac, you must learn what it represents. Well, it refers to the temporary storage of information that offers many options and is used later by an application, browser, or computer system. The material stored in these files is crucial since Mac clear caches with a quick route to a process that may be used again in the future. While this data was designed to speed up site loading on your device, it might actually cause problems.

 If the site you’re visiting has been modified since your device stored its information, your computer will still display the old web page. The files that haven’t been used in a while do nothing except take up space and slow down your machine. What was once helpful becomes a burden when the extra data it generates causes your Mac to run slower. Unredacted data not only causes task incompatibilities but also other system problems.

4. Add Images, Title, And Description

Online-Store-Performance

Both the requested and meta descriptions on your website might benefit from optimization. It relays to search engines everything your brand is advertising and refreshes your summary on the SERP. There should be no more than 60 characters in the title tag, which should contain your company name and location. Words like “free” and “shipping” as well as “sale” and “money-back guarantee” tend to attract customers’ attention.

Don’t forget to optimize your photographs, either. Online shoppers really need to be able to view the products they’re purchasing before making their decision; thus high-quality product photos are essential. However, displaying images on the homepage may significantly slow download times, driving away potential clients. In addition, your SEO will suffer if you use photos that haven’t been optimized. You may avoid these problems by adjusting the size of your photographs to the precise dimensions you want. If you resize them, you may minimize their file footprint and improve page responses.

5. Meet Your Intended Audience’s Sticking Points

Make the content on your product description about the aims of your target audience rather than about your business. Keep in mind that the majority of buyers acquire products in an effort to address their difficulties. They won’t give their money just due to their feelings of affection for a certain brand. And even though they have a strong affinity for a certain business, they won’t part with their cash if they don’t see that the action will provide them with any personal benefit. Put an emphasis on the pain areas that your customers are experiencing by utilizing a bulleted list, client tales, stats, and other material that is relevant. The next step is to demonstrate that your product is the best answer there is to those problems.

Conclusion on Your Online Store Performance

It is essential for the success of your e-commerce business to have a website with a performance that has been optimized. It has an immediate bearing on both your income and engagement rates. However, the vast majority of proprietors in this industry are more concerned with their sales than the enhancement of their websites. Keeping this in mind, the purpose of this post is to provide an overview of the tried-and-true strategies that may improve the functionality of your online store performance.

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The Top Ten Ways to Improve Your Cash Flow

Improve your cash flow

When the economy is in turmoil, it’s not just big businesses that need to worry about their cash flow. Smaller companies also struggle with keeping up with expenses when sales fall and they cannot afford any long-term debt obligations or future spending commitments for new equipment which could help them get through these tough times more easily than if left on an empty wallet alone

A business coach can provide you guidance on how best to manage your finances so as avoid going under before circumstances improve – all while helping ensure survival during difficult economic periods

Bootstrapping in Businesscash flow

Small business owners, listen up! Bootstrapping is a term you need to know if you’re looking for ways to start and run your business on a tight budget. Bootstrapping (the act of starting and running a business with little capital) can be a positive or negative thing, depending on your perspective. On the plus side, bootstrapping can force you to be more mindful of your spending and help you stay afloat during tough times. On the other hand, being under-capitalized is one of the leading causes of business failure. If you’re thinking of bootstrapping your business, it’s important to be aware of the pros and cons before making a final decision.

The pros of bootstrapping:

  1. It can force you to be more mindful of your spending.
  2. It can help you stay afloat during tough times.
  3. It can make you more resourceful.
  4. It can help you better understand your customers and what they want/need.

The cons of bootstrapping:

  1. You may not have enough capital to get your business off the ground.
  2. You may have to work longer hours to make ends meet.
  3. You may have to forgo some luxuries, like hiring help or renting office space.
  4. You may put your personal credit at risk.

Covering Your Monthly Business Obligations

As a business owner, you know that even when you’re bringing in customers left and right, expenses can still get the best of you. You have weekly and monthly fixed expenses- think: payroll, loans, rent, utilities, phone bills, and advertising costs- as well as variable ones which adjust according to your sales. For example: if the business is booming and you’ve had to bring on extra hourly staff for the increased demand or paid more in credit card fees because of additional inventory ordered; those would be categorized under variable spending.

Sales may vary, and there can sometimes be a delay in receiving payment. If you have a business that only operates during certain seasons, one bad peak season could put you under for good. Usually, fixed expenses don’t wait for the cash to come flooding in from sales; they arrive on schedule whether or not we’re ready for them. I learned this the hard way when my former business saw a 400% increase in revenue from our off-peak season to our peak season. Needless to say, we had to pick up some extra tricks for managing cash flow!

cash flow

  1. Have a cash cushion – A cash cushion is essentially an emergency fund for your business. It’s there to help you cover unexpected costs or tide you over during lean periods. I recommend having 3-6 months’ worth of fixed expenses set aside in a separate account that you only dip into in case of an emergency.
  2. Manage your invoices – When you’re busy, it’s easy to let invoicing fall by the wayside. But staying on top of your invoicing is crucial to maintaining a healthy cash flow. Make sure you’re sending out invoices as soon as the work is completed and following up regularly to ensure they’re being paid on time.
  3. Get creative with financing – If you find yourself in a tight spot, there are a number of alternative financing options available to small businesses. From lines of credit to invoice factoring, there’s likely a solution that will work for you. Don’t be afraid to get creative and explore all your options.

By following these tips, you can help ensure that your business is able to weather any storm. Fixed expenses are always going to be a part of doing business, but by being prepared and mindful of your cash flow, you can avoid any major bumps in the road.

Pro-Tip: Grab 30 minutes on my calendar to ask any questions you have about business coaching. I’ve been a business coach (and business broker) for over 20 years. I also have a business coach of my own, so I know what successful coaching looks like on both sides of the table.~ Alan Melton, Small Business Coach Associates


Getting Started With Improving Cash Flow

When you’re trying to improve your business’ cash flow, you need to predict two things: how much money you’ll bring in from sales this month, and how much your expenses will be (fixed and variable). If you expect to have more money coming in than going out, and you deliver on that prediction, you have positive cash flow. You always want to be cash-flow positive, but that can be tough when you’re just starting out and growing your business. You don’t want to overspend, especially if your sales aren’t growing as predicted.

Here is my top ten list of ways to improve your cash flow:

 

1.    Implement cash flow budgeting and management.

Budgeting and managing your cash flow are crucial to the success of your business. By doing this monthly, you can keep track of your sales and expenses, and make changes accordingly. If your sales are falling short, cut back on your expenses. This will help ensure that your business stays afloat.

If your business is struggling to make ends meet, it’s time to take a close look at your cash flow. By creating a budget and tracking your spending, you can get a better handle on where your money is going. If you see that you’re spending more than you’re bringing in, it’s time to cut back on expenses. This will help you keep your business afloat.

2.    Promote credit card and cash payment at the time of the order.

If you are selling a product or service, it is best to collect payment upfront by credit card or cash. This ensures that you will be paid for your work and prevents any issues with customers who may try to avoid paying after the product or service has been rendered. If a customer asks for terms, get their credit card number as security for payment. This way, you can be sure that you will receive payment for your work.

3.    Improve payment terms on extended projects or services.

When you are working on an extended project or service, it is crucial that you change your payment terms. This means receiving a large deposit at the time of purchase, and then additional payments throughout the duration of the contract. Do not hand over the final product until after you have been paid completely. In doing this, you will guarantee that you are fairly compensated for your work.

4.    Make a portion of your payroll variable.

A great method to lessen your overhead costs is to make a section of your payroll variable. What this means is that you only pay employees when you need them, and their salaries correlate with sales activity. When business is booming, you can hire independent contractors or seasonal workers to assist; however, during slower times their hours will be cut back or eliminated. Consequently, by making your payroll adjustable according to needs, you are able to decrease expenses and sync staffing requirements with business activity.

5.    Discounts for timely payments.

You can often encourage customers to pay their invoices on time by offering a discount. For example, many businesses offer a 1-2% discount for payments made within 30 days. This not only incentivizes customers but also helps improve the business’s cash flow.

6.    Negotiate extended payment cycles with vendors during peak seasons.

cash flow

By reaching out to your vendors and negotiating extended payment cycles before your busy season, you can avoid any potential issues with late payments. If your vendor is not willing or able to be flexible, then it might be time to look for a new supplier that meets your needs better.

7.    Do a credit check on new customers.

As a small business owner, it’s important to do a credit check on new customers. This will help you determine whether or not they are likely to pay their invoices on time. You can either do this yourself or hire a credit reporting agency to do it for you. Additionally, you may want to consider buying credit insurance, which will cover you in the event that a customer does not pay their invoice.

8.    Track inventory and supplies.

In order to keep track of inventory and supplies, it is important to identify waste and make improvements to save money. This can be done by closely monitoring stock levels and implementing systems to optimize inventory management. By doing so, businesses can avoid over-ordering or running out of necessary items. Additionally, reducing waste can cut down on costs associated with storage and disposal.

Another way to save money is by improving the organization and storage of inventory. This can minimize the amount of time needed to locate items and make it easier to keep track of stock levels. Additionally, well-organized inventory can help businesses avoid damage or loss of valuable supplies. By taking these steps, businesses can improve their inventory management and save money in the long run.

Pro-Tip: Grab 30 minutes on my calendar to ask any questions you have about business coaching. I’ve been a business coach (and business broker) for over 20 years. I also have a business coach of my own, so I know what successful coaching looks like on both sides of the table.~ Alan Melton, Small Business Coach Associates

9.    Shorten product or service cycle times.

If you can find ways to shorten the product or service cycle time, you’ll get paid faster. This could involve improving your manufacturing process, being more efficient in your delivery, or finding ways to streamline your operations. By doing this, you can improve your cash flow and keep your business running smoothly.

10.    Have a backup plan and emergency strategies.

A backup plan is essential in preparing for the unknown. This could include having cash on hand, obtaining a line of credit from your bank, or keeping some low-interest credit cards with zero balance.
cash flow

Coaching Client Adds $176,000 in Cash Flow

We were recently working with a client that had a severe cash-flow shortage. We identified seven areas of improvement that added $176,000 to his bottom line and dramatically improved his cash flow in 30 days. Although his cash flow had been poor for ten years, we were able to solve his problem in three meetings with the owner and his staff!

The client was amazed at how quickly we were able to turn around his cash flow shortage. He’d been struggling for years, but with our help, he was able to add $176,000 to his bottom line in just 30 days! We identified seven areas of improvement and worked closely with the owner and his staff to implement them. This was a huge success story and we’re so proud to have been able to help!

Conclusion

A wise saying is “you get what you focus on.” Cash flow management is important to keeping your business running smoothly and stressed-free. By investing some time each month in cash flow management, you can ensure that your business has the cash it needs to keep growing and seizing opportunities as they come. Having a handle on your cash flow will make you “The Cash King” and help you lead your business to success.

Questions about our small business coaching services?

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Leveraging Technology to Enhance your Business

Leveraging-Technology

Over the past decade, the world has experienced increasing digitalization, as reflected in various aspects of our lives. This trend doesn’t appear to be stopping anytime soon. While this increased digitalization has brought certain concerns, such as data privacy and protection, it also provides various opportunities. Leveraging technology is crucial to the success of your business.

The business sector is one area where technological advances have been of immense benefit. In the past couple of years, many business technology tools have come up to help streamline processes and improve efficiency. Undoubtedly, these tools can afford businesses various competitive advantages that may catalyze growth and improve profitability.

This article discusses some technological tools you can leverage to grow your business. Let’s dive right in: 

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software

Customers are the most valuable assets for most businesses, whether individual or corporate. This is why businesses have to pay attention to customer engagement. However, keeping track of every customer while delivering top-notch customer service can be quite burdensome. Customer relationship management (CRM) software helps manage this problem. 

CRM software can help your business offer customers a unique and better customer experience, thereby building lasting relationships with them. Similarly, CRM software keeps track of your interactions with customers, collecting and analyzing data based on the history of interactions. This helps you identify your customer’s needs, enabling you to provide them with personalized services and further drive sales. 

Examples of CRM software include Salesforce, Zoho CRM, and HubSpot CRM. 

Accounting Software Helps With Leveraging Technology

This is a tool that helps businesses record and report financial transactions. Essentially, it keeps track of accounts payable, receivable, and billing. Accounting software can be beneficial, particularly if your business is a startup. You can leverage the software to constantly stay on top of your business’s finances, monitoring financial performance and cash flow.  

Similarly, accounting software can help create and send invoices. Some accounting software can also develop financial reports that you can customize to track specific KPIs. Some great accounting software includes Xero, Intuit QuickBooks, and FreshBooks. 

Employee Recognition Software

Leveraging-Technology

Employees are a crucial part of your business since your business’s growth is most likely hinged on the quality of output delivered by them. This being the case, many businesses try to promote optimal employee performance through incentives and reward systems. Employee recognition software can be another way for your business to do this.

Employee recognition software helps you efficiently manage employee satisfaction and relationships for excellent work culture. There are several recognition programs for companies with different functionalities. However, most allow for recognition and reward of employees either by other employees (peer-to-peer) or by managers based on the business’s values. Therefore, employee recognition software can be a great way to develop an ideal work culture that motivates your employees and improves their productivity. 

Email Marketing Software

With businesses becoming increasingly competitive, you must improve your marketing efforts to retain and expand your customer base. One of the most effective ways of doing this is email marketing. 

Email marketing efforts can be further improved by email marketing software. These tools can help you send and track emails. In addition, email marketing software can also be instrumental in increasing your audience, monitoring responses, and segmenting your lists. Similarly, some email marketing tools enable you to automate personalized emails to subscribers based on user behavior. 

Ultimately, email marketing software can be a great way to drive awareness about your business among the right audience, increase engagement and potentially increase sales. Some great email marketing software includes Mailchimp, MailerLite, and Active Campaign. 

Payroll Software

Your business, whether small or large, has to pay employees. However, the process of making payments to employees can be lengthy and complex. You do have to set up direct deposits, keep appropriate records and withhold payroll taxes. Doing all this manually without proper knowledge of how to prepare a payroll can lead to mistakes, which can eventually lead to you getting fined. 

Fortunately, you can leverage payroll software to streamline and automate this process. This reduces the likelihood of errors while saving you a lot of time. Some popular payroll software includes Gusto, Paychex Flex, and OnPay. 

Final Thoughts on Leveraging Technology

This article shows that you can enhance your businesses by leveraging technology in various ways. It is, therefore, important that business owners leverage these tools as may be necessary to solve their problems and improve internal processes. 

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Benefits of Integrating an Email Analytics Tool Into Your Business

email-analytics-tool

Email marketing is one of the most popular methods businesses use to promote their product or service and establish a loyal customer base. However, most organizations do not track the analytics for their email marketing or consider that a priority, and that’s where their campaigns begin to lack. In this age of digitalization and automation, an email analytics tool can help your business keep track of all the emails sent by employees and create a secure database of valuable insights. Here are some significant benefits of integrating an email analytics tool into your business, which can help improve your management and track record:

1. Track Your Emails

One of the most significant benefits of tools like Gmail analytics is that it enables you to track emails from your workplace and all your employees through a single platform. You can also follow when a potential customer has opened your email or read your message. It further lets you track how your employees take your instruction regarding collaboration among each other and communication with prospective clients. Additionally, these tools allow you to track the average time your employees bring to respond to customer emails. You can use this data to improve decision-making and set targets for your business’s next term. 

Email analytics tools are particularly beneficial for expanding organizations that want to keep track of the correspondence data of their employees with their prospects and clients on a single platform. As a business owner or manager, they will be invaluable for you to track all the emails sent under the name of your business and collect valuable data from the emailing record. 

2. Provides Insights

An email analytics software creates a database of all the emails sent and their response rates. Thisemail-analytics-tool can represent a  clear connection between types of emails that work well with customers and those that do not. This data can help get unique insights into how your emails should be drafted and make data-driven decisions for your business. 

3. Send More Impactful Follow-Ups

An email analytics system enables you to send a proper follow-up to a potential client, which increases your probability of generating a lead. An analytics software notifies you when a prospect has clicked on any links through emails sent by your team or added your email address to spam or trash. This helps your salespeople create an engaging follow-up message that fuels the online chat. An email analytics system also helps your team determine the recipient’s interest and if sending any follow-up sequences is even worth the time and effort. That can also help create more personalized emails and increase your chances of generating more leads.

4. Helps Schedule Right Time for Emailing

An email analytics software can enable you to determine the right time for sending out emails to prospective clients based on records of open rates and demonstrated interest by the customers. Some tools also allow you to schedule response messages and can help keep your team on track. 

5. Increase Conversion Rates

Increasing your leads and improving conversion rates is the ultimate goal of email marketing. Using email analytics systems helps your team engage more intelligently with prospective clients, increasing conversion chances. This also helps promote two-way communication between your team and prospective clients, increasing the client’s interest in your business and enabling you to develop a loyal customer base over time.

6. Provides Context

Email analytics systems help you gain insights into the mentality and interest of prospects and customers by tracking the engagement rates and response time. This can help you get more context into the changing trends and customer demands. The context of consumer behavior and demands can help your business identify market gaps and improve your marketing strategies accordingly.

7. Improved Marketing and Sales

Research has shown that personalized emails generate 18 times more revenue than any broadcast email. An email tracking system can greatly benefit your marketing and sales by providing them valuable insights and helping them make their marketing efforts more impactful and personalized. Email analytics tools sometimes also track the time each recipient spends reading a particular email. This can help marketers create more engaging content and constantly assess the engagement rates of their emails. 

Endnote on Having an Email Analytics Tool

Email marketing is one of the oldest yet most effective methods of marketing your product to a broader audience. Emails also make for an excellent medium for inter-organizational communication among employees. However, some tools, like email analytics tools, are essential to maximizing the benefits of emails. 

Having an email analytics tool can help track the emails sent out by all your team members and the response times of each email and can provide valuable insights into your employees dealing with your prospective customers. 

These tools can help improve conversion rates by enabling your marketing and sales team to create impactful follow-ups to emails and understand the changing consumer demands. They can enable your team to determine the right time for sending emails, generating maximum engagement and conversions. 

If you have been letting your emails proceed in an obscure manner, you should consider investing in these tools to enhance transparency and data collection in your organization.

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A Business Owner’s Guide To Setting Up Trust Funds

Trust-Funds

As a business owner, you’re constantly looking for ways to protect your assets and your family’s financial future and pay the least amount of taxes possible. One way to do this is to set up trust funds. A trust is a legal arrangement wherein a trustee manages property or assets for the benefit of another person or the beneficiary. 

The agreement names the trustee and beneficiary and sets the trust’s terms. The trustee is the person who manages the trust, and the beneficiary is the person who benefits from the trust funds. The terms of the trust determine how the trustee must manage the trust and how the beneficiary can receive distributions from the trust.

Trusts can be used for various purposes, including asset protection, estate planning, and tax planning. Trusts can be complex legal documents, so it’s essential to understand how they work and what options are available before you make any decisions. Read this article to understand more about trusts and how to set up one for your business. 

The Different Types Of Trust Funds

Trust-Funds

Since there are various types of trusts, you should choose the one that meets your specific objectives. The most common types of trusts are revocable trusts and irrevocable trusts. Below is a discussion of the difference between revocable trust and irrevocable trust.

  • Revocable Trusts 

Revocable trusts, also known as living trusts, are the most flexible type. The terms of a revocable trust are alterable at any time, and the assets in the trust can be accessed and used as needed. Revocable trusts are often used to avoid probate, a time-consuming and expensive legal process that distributes a person’s assets after they die. 

A revocable trust may be a good option if you want to maintain control over the trust property. This trust can hold business assets, such as inventory, equipment, and real estate. You can change the terms of the trust at any time and can even dissolve the trust if desired. However, a revocable trust will not protect the trust property from creditors. If you owe them money, they may be able to seize the trust property to satisfy the debt. 

  • Irrevocable Trusts 

Irrevocable trusts are much more permanent than revocable trusts. Once an irrevocable trust is created, the terms are impossible to change, and the assets in the trust cannot be accessed or used without the beneficiary’s consent. Irrevocable trusts are often used for asset protection, tax, and estate planning purposes.   

You may consider establishing an irrevocable trust if you want to protect the trust property from creditors. Once an irrevocable trust is created, you cannot change the terms of the trust or dissolve it. This means if you owe creditors money, they won’t be able to seize the trust property to satisfy the debt.

How To Set Up Trust Funds

Trusts can be complex and may prove challenging to set up on your own. It’s crucial to seek the advice of an experienced attorney when creating a trust for your business and to make sure that it meets your needs. Here are some steps to get you started: 

  • Step One: Determine The Purpose Of The Trust 

The first step in setting up a trust is to determine the purpose of the trust. What assets will be placed in the trust? For what purpose will the trust be used? There are various types of trusts, each with a corresponding purpose. Therefore, you should opt for the type of trust that meets your specific needs and goals. 

  • Step Two: Choose A Trustee 

The trustee is the person who will manage the trust and its assets. The trustee can be an individual, a corporation, or a trust company. When choosing a trustee, consider someone who is trustworthy and competent to manage the trust and its assets. Another thing to consider is whether the trustee will have any conflicts of interest in managing the trust.   

  • Step Three: Draft The Trust Agreement 

The trust agreement is the legal document that creates the trust. The trust agreement will detail the terms of the trust, the duties of the trustee, and the rights of the beneficiaries. The trust agreement must be signed by the settlor (the person creating the trust) and the trustee, then notarized by a notary public.   

  • Step Four: Fund The Trust 

The next step is to fund the trust with assets before it can begin operating. The settlor or any other person can transfer the assets to the trust. The details on how the trust is to be funded are stipulated in the trust agreement. The trustee will need to pay attention to these details and take the necessary steps to transfer the assets into the trust.   

  • Step Five: Manage The Trust 

Once the trust is funded, the trustee will need to manage the trust and its assets following the terms of the trust agreement. The trustee will be responsible for investing the trust assets, paying the bills, and distributing the assets to the beneficiaries. The trustee will also keep accurate records of the trust assets and transactions. It’s essential to keep the records in a safe place where they can be available for review by the beneficiaries.   

  • Step Six: Terminate The Trust 

The trust can be terminated at any time as long as the terms of the agreement allow for it. The trustee follows the procedures outlined in the agreement to terminate the trust. Once the trust is terminated, the trustee will need to distribute the trust’s assets to the beneficiaries. The trustee will also need to file a final tax return for the trust.  

With the detailed steps listed above, you now have a better idea of how to set up a trust. 

The Benefits Of Setting Up Trust Funds

Trust-Funds

Setting up a trust may have many advantages if you’re a business owner. Here are some of the benefits of setting up a trust: 

    • Avoiding Probate: Probate is the court-supervised process that takes place after someone dies. It can be a long and expensive process. However, it can be avoided if the deceased person’s assets are held in trust.   
    • Tax Savings: Depending on the type of trust you create, you may be able to save on taxes. For example, if you create a charitable trust, the assets in the trust may be eligible for a tax deduction.   
  • Asset Protection: If you’re concerned about your assets being taken away in a divorce or lawsuit, a trust can help protect these. This is because assets placed in a trust are not considered part of your estate.   
  • Providing For Your Family: If you have young children, setting up a trust provides for their care in the event of your death. You can also use a trust to provide for a family member with special needs.   
  • Gaining Control Over How Your Assets Are Used: If you want to make sure that your assets are used for a specific purpose, such as education or charitable giving, a trust can help you do that. You can specify how you want the assets to be used in the trust document. 

As you can see, setting up a trust can bring several benefits.

Summary on Trust Funds

To sum up, a trust can be a helpful tool for you, your family, and your business. However, setting up a trust can be confusing and daunting. With careful planning and the help of a professional, setting up a trust can be a straightforward process. If you’re a business owner interested in setting up a trust, consult with a qualified attorney or financial advisor and discuss the type of trust that is right for you.

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How Will M&A Affect the Global Economy in 2022?

An M&A (mergers and acquisitions) deal is when a company buys another company for the purpose of strengthening its position in the market, offering additional products or services, reducing manufacturing or processing costs, or other economic benefits.

But how will M&A deals impact the global economy? Let’s find out!

Types of M&A deals

There are two primary types of mergers: horizontal mergers and vertical mergers.

In a horizontal merger, a company may seek to acquire one of its direct competitors. Here’s how this can be beneficial:

  • Bigger market share 
  • Reduced competition  
  • Increased diversification of products and services 
  • Optimized economies of scale (increased capital, higher production with lower product costs, etc.)

A vertical merger, on the other hand, is when a company acquires another company in a different production stage. For example, a mobile phone manufacturer that outsources LED screens from a different supplier may decide to acquire the supplier, enabling it to reduce its production costs and maximize efficiency.

To find out more information about mergers and acquisitions, their types, structure, and the main development trends, head over to..

How do M&A deals affect the global economy?

M&A

Generally speaking, M&As are good for the economy. They enable better products and services for consumers. M&As also pave the way for efficiencies.

However, this may not always be the case. Each M&A deal can either affect the economy in a positive or negative way. Usually, the deal is beneficial for both companies, but from a consumer point of view, things are different.

For instance, if an M&A deal causes prices of specific products or services to increase, that’s an indicator that it’s not good for the economy or the consumer.

An M&A deal can also enhance a company’s distribution capacities, giving it the opportunity to expand geographically into new countries or even continents. Companies also enjoy sharing their financial resources pool, which can help the new company reach more customers with a wider product variety. 

The other side of it

Despite having numerous potential benefits for the companies involved, M&A deals may have a negative impact on the economy. If only a few companies dominate a particular industry, the barrier to entry for entrepreneurs into the market will be tough. Such market dominance gives more power and control to the big players.

It’s also worth noting that M&A deals may lead to job losses. For example, if two functional departments have the same duties in the two companies, the new company may simply decide that one department is enough, resulting in layoffs. An M&A deal may also mean that the services of certain departments or employees are no longer needed in the company’s future roadmap.  

The role of the government

Sometimes, governments may intervene in certain M&A deals if the economic analysis yields unfavorable results that could damage the economy. For example, if two direct competitors are about to merge, the government may oppose the deal, as this can harm the consumer.

However, governments only challenge about 3% of M&A deals, so, most of the time, these deals can actually be good for the economy.  

How are M&A deals conducted?

M&A

Traditionally, M&A deals were conducted in physical data rooms to maintain document security and confidentiality. Since an M&A deal involves sharing sensitive documents required for due diligence and other transactions, concerns about security questioned the effectiveness of physical data rooms. Not to mention, company representatives from both had to travel to a single location, which wasn’t the most efficient way to do things.

In recent years, more and more companies started utilizing virtual data rooms (VDRs) offered by virtual data room providers. A virtual data room provides a safe, cloud-based environment where companies are able to exchange information securely, remotely, and efficiently. In addition, access permissions for documents can be adjusted on a granular level, and any data room software will have a minimum level of encryption that safeguards against data breaches.

Moreover, electronic data room software makes organizing and sorting files a breeze. Many online data room software providers also incorporate watermarking for copyright protection.

Some of the best data room providers include iDeals, Firmex, Intralinks, and Brainloop. You might also want to check out a data room comparison to find out how different data room services stack up. 

Conclusion on M&A

To recap, mergers and acquisitions will definitely impact the economy. Whether that impact will be positive or negative is debatable.

Some economists claim that M&As eliminate competition and may even lead to monopolies, while others believe that M&As provide more value and product variety for the consumer.

M&As can give a company access to new technologies and top talent, as well as facilitate expansion into new markets in the global economy. 

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