3 Invoicing Tips For Small Businesses And Startups in Madison, WI

 

If you’re still mailing custom invoices by hand when billing time comes around, your invoicing system is long overdue for an overhaul.

With tons of software choices to help you organize, manage, and automate your invoicing, the real trick is to find the right payment solutions to fit the way your particular business runs.

Unlike the old days of throwing a stamp on your letters and handing them off to the postal worker in hopes they find their way to their correct destinations, today’s software tools give you the ability to track your purchases from the very first estimate until it’s completely paid. (more…)

4 Ways Wisconsin Startups Can Strengthen The Hiring Process

As a small business or startup owner, it’s easy to lose track of how your employees are feeling with their jobs when there are countless other tasks to handle everyday. Losing morale inside the company can be devastating when it results less productivity and high turnover––two things no business ever wants.

When it comes to hiring new recruits and supporting the team that holds your business up, there are a few things that are commonly overlooked but very necessary if you intend on keeping talent for the long haul.

 1. Start valuing quality over quantity when it comes to your staff 

For small businesses and startups just getting off the ground, one of the most common problems is a budget so thin only the cheapest hires seem feasible. In reality, while payroll is certainly an immediate expense, paying more to get more usually turns into an investment later down the road.

Instead of looking at your one-year plan––find the right candidate that fits your 3 to 5 year plan and hire with that budget in mind. If you plan to reach 10 employees the cheapest way possible, try readjusting for 7 or 8 exceptional ones prepared to do the work.

 2. Be sure you need to hire someone new in the first place 

These days, training can be pretty cheap compared to a new hire with the variety of online educational tools at an employer’s disposal. Instead of immediately assuming a new task requires a whole new person on the team, look internally to see if those skills don’t already exist either with a current team member or throughout a team.

Instead of costs, think value––working to constantly grow your employees to evolve with the business is always more advantageous than having to churn through new people when your business makes a turn. Leverage the power of training and education to grow a trusted, long-term team.

 3. Don’t trap yourself in the present when hiring new team members

While employment history and experience is certainly a serious consideration to take in to account when considering a new hire, keep in mind resumes are more about the past than the future. By only looking at what’s on the paper, you’ve essentially hired their experience rather than who they’ll become as your employee.

Switch the focus during the hiring process to center around not what that person has done in the past, but specifically, what they’re capable of doing for your company in the future.

4. If recognition isn’t your strong point, start identifying your best talent

Creating expectations for future hires isn’t always the most realistic way to go about creating the best criteria to judge new candidates with. A better way is to look inside your team and identify who is making the biggest contributions––what characteristics allow them to do so?

Learn who your star team members are, and from that, build your ideal employee around traits that people truly possess the next time you need to reach out and add to your team.

If you have questions or are looking for human resources services, our outsourced accounting and CFO services experts can help.  

Photo credit: Startup Photos

 

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.

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…)

4 Myths About Small Business Startups in Madison, WI

Whether you’re preparing to make a career change or are starting fresh in the business world for the first time, the decision to make your ideas into a reality with a business of your own is a decision that takes serious consideration and planning. When done right, you can find a whole new definition of professional satisfaction steering your company into the future. When done wrong, you can quickly find yourself in a financial mess that can be difficult to pull yourself out of.

We’ve talked at length about what every startup owner should consider prior to cutting the blue ribbon on opening day, but it’s equally important to know the myths and commonly-held beliefs about entrepreneurship that simply don’t hold up in the real world. Whether it comes in the form of advice from one owner to the next, or whether you read about a particularly striking story in the news, acting on misinformation can deal a big blow to productivity. (more…)