FPC Client of the Week: Rise of the Rest winner SOLOMO Technology

SOLOMO, which stands for social, local, mobile, takes consumer information and provides it to businesses to give them better insight into what the customer’s interests are. As stated by Liz Eversoll, CEO, “Location Data is a brand new category that provides us amazing insight into consumers and what experiences they’d like to have”.

SOLOMO along with eight other Madison startups were selected out of hundreds to have an opportunity to pitch to Steve Case, the founder of AOL, at his Rise of the Rest Event. The event was held in downtown Madison at the Majestic last Monday. Rise of the Rest is a five city, 1,800-mile bus tour that will give startups across the mid-west a chance to pitch their company for a chance to win.

After waiting in anticipation after pitching in the afternoon, Liz Eversoll was announced the winner at the event later that evening. Case mentioned that many would be shocked that SOLOMO was out of Madison, WI as what they are developing ideas that typically come out of Silicon Valley. Case stated that they chose SOLOMO because they have “the potential to really be a break out company…to send a signal all around the country and all around the world that Madison is a hot startup hub”.

And what exactly was the prize you might ask? SOLOMO won $100,000 from Case’s investment firm and a trip to the 2015 South by Southwest Startup Village in March for an opportunity to win even more additional funding!

We are super excited to be a part of SOLOMO Technology and to be able to hear all about their journey in the future. Congratulations!

To see the SOLOMO team celebration click here.

Video: What Did You Want to Be When You Were Younger?

Get in touch with a financial consultant at Fine Point Consulting today by clicking here.

Video Transcript

Title Slide: What Did You Want to Be When You Were Younger?

Leah Shales: When I was younger I wanted to be a writer or an archaeologist, mostly an archaeologist.

Jen Hildahl: What did I want to be when I was younger? You know, I think that changed every day, so I don’t have a good answer for that. It certainly wasn’t an accountant. 

Luella Schmidt: Oh, when I was really young I wanted to be a writer, which I never really did anything with. I used to write poems when I was little. Later, my backup career was always, I thought it would be cool to be a History Professor, I don’t know if cool is the right word.

Music: Mini Adventure from JewelBeat.com

4 Bootstrapping Tips To Fit Any Startup Budget

For entrepreneurs and small business owners confident they can start their business endeavor without outside help from investors or other outside sources, having the freedom to keep your earnings in full is a huge advantage if you know how to properly bootstrap.

What many don’t realize when they launch their business is just how difficult bootstrapping can be, especially for those who need to put each dollar they make directly back into the business.

For those who don’t want the financial stress and extra responsibility that comes with making personal financial sacrifices or giving part of your earnings back to investors, here are some steps you can take to make your business idea a reality all on your own.

If you need an office, look for shared space

Depending on the type of your business, you may not need an office space at all. Work that lends itself to more of a freelance style, even with a team of employees, can be accomplished through a virtual office and run from home. While this can mean a huge cut in expenses when everything involved with office upkeep is taken into account, it can quickly become isolating and detrimental to team collaboration if communication starts to wane.

Shared office space is the happy medium between going all-out with an office of your own and giving one up altogether. Try finding another company with office space to spare and make a deal to move in.

If you’re interested in getting even more out of a shared space, consider the many co-working spaces popping up specifically to give startups a place of professional community where entrepreneurs can get their business off the ground together. You’ll end up saving money and most likely meet valuable partners than can help your idea come to fruition.

Don’t overspend on a website right away

A professional-looking website with clear and easy functionality is essential for every business big and small today, but you don’t have to spend a fortune to create a great online presence right away. While agencies and design shops can customize a site to fit exactly what you’re looking for, the costs might not be worth it right away.

Instead, there are a whole variety of web services that provide small businesses and startups with inexpensive or even free website creation services that offer powerful tools and capabilities while maintaining a branded look. WordPress has emerged as a particularly popular tool for a number of DIY or template-based web design applications.

Use friends, partners and other connections to get discounts and second-hand supplies

Do you have friends in high places? Don’t be afraid to reach out through your network to see if you can get in on a great deal. Apple, for instance gives considerable discounts to their employees. Unless cutting edge technology is vital to your business, don’t be afraid to settle for hand-me-downs from other businesses who don’t mind lending you older equipment.

Avoid PR right away and get social instead

One of the hardest things for entrepreneurs with a brand new business to do it get their name out to the right people. Public relations and marketing are extremely useful for this, but there are alternatives if you simply can’t afford it on your bootstrapped budget.

Instead, put time aside to engage as much as possible through social media. There are a number of web tools around to help you manage and automate your social efforts which are cheap and sometimes free. When used effectively, social media can expose your idea, products, and services to huge groups of followers. The trick is to be seen and engaged by those that hold the key to the big audiences you need to see your idea.

If you’re a business owner and need to establish a bookkeeping system, give us a call. Our outsourced accounting and CFO services experts can help you navigate these waters.

3 Parts Of Your Madison, WI Small Business Prone To Losses

Doing your best to get your young startup or small business off the ground and on the road toward profitability? In this economic climate, that road can prove to be a bumpy one, especially for those making their first foray into entrepreneurship.

Even for those who have years of business experience under their belt, going in a new direction or starting over from scratch can be equally daunting without a solid financial plan and a detailed list of possible pitfalls.

There are dozens of financial problems that can easily fly under your radar, but some may be hiding in plain sight. Whether you consider them essential elements of a successful business or you simply aren’t tracking your expenses in full, here are three parts of your business you may be surprised aren’t worth their weight when it comes to moving forward.

1. An underqualified staff

While personality, likeability, and eagerness are all extremely important, hiring unqualified people to positions that require a more skilled individual can turn into an anchor for your earnings over time.

While young, eager workers can certainly bridge knowledge gaps quickly, those who require lengthy instruction and investments in internal training courses can be a significant burden on your company wallet, especially if you’re hiring multiple people at once who each require different training.

While some instruction is necessary for almost all new hires, it’s worth it as an employer who may or may not be bootstrapping expenses to wait for the right candidates. Training for a job is one thing, but teaching a skill is a whole different story.

2. Unnecessary office space

Although the stigma of the business office has been engrained into what we envision a business to look like from a cultural standpoint, the idea that every small business or startup needs to immediately invest in a dedicated office couldn’t be further from the truth.

While some businesses require an office depending on the kind of business they do, the monthly costs associated with an office can be immense when every component is listed out. Rent, insurance, internet and phone service, furniture and all the upkeep can turn into a black hole you can avoid completely with a little ingenuity.

If you don’t absolutely need an office, look into the many options available for virtual offices. This software allows you to conduct video conferences, share files, chat, and perform other communal tasks you would normally do in person at a fraction of the cost.

3. Undercharging for your products and service

While startups and small businesses are often forced to take on every client or customer they possibly can when they’re first getting off the ground, it’s important not to let this continue on after you’re stable enough to pick and choose the work that has long-term earning potential.

Undervaluing your service to the point where clients aren’t paying you what it’s worth will ultimately result in a loss for you no matter which way you look at it. If a client is fervent about not being able to afford what you have to offer, it’s not you, it’s them. If they can’t swing the bill, they should be the ones reevaluating their move.

What’s the bottom line? Don’t put blind trust in any of your expenses no matter how essential they may seem at first. As a budding business, you need to keep an extremely watchful eye over your finances at all time. If your accounting task is simply too much for you to handle, we’re here to help.

If you’re looking to outsource your bookkeeping to focus on moving your business forward, contact our start-up accounting and CFO services experts for assistance.

Photo Credit: williamhartz via Compfight cc

5 Ways To Rebound Your Small Business From A Cash Flow Slump

In today’s turbulent business environment, businesses big and small are at risk for cash flow woes. We’ve discussed what it takes to keep a good balance of cash flow in the past, but for those who find their businesses pulling in drastically less earnings than the projected you’re probably searching for options to get your expenses balanced properly.

Stabilizing your business’s cash flow during a period of downturn or other unfortunate circumstances that affect your finances is something entrepreneurs and small business owners deal with every day, so don’t panic, there are plenty of options to choose from.

Let’s take a look at some options geared specifically to startups and small businesses in search of a plan to get back on track: (more…)