How to Build a Stellar Small Business Team

Small business owners agree that staffing is their number one challenge. It’s not easy building a team that works well together, but it’s very doable if you know what it takes to nurture individuals, keep morale up, and align goals. A productive team with a positive attitude is a critical component of running a successful business.

Image via tbctraining.co.uk

Image via tbctraining.co.uk

Take a look at these tips for how to build a winning small business team:

Build Genuine Connections

Creating an open, honest, and professional relationship with your staff members goes a long way. If you build mutual trust and respect early on, your employees will feel more committed to you and be more invested in your business. Relationship building is not something that runs on autopilot. It requires effort, ongoing dialogue, and authenticity to make a difference.

  1. Are you being inclusive or exclusive?
    Make sure your staff understands what your business objectives are. The clearer you’re able to communicate your goals, the more informed your employees will be on how to reach those targets. Ultimately, you and your employees are in this together. Don’t separate yourself – use inclusive language like “us,” “we,” and “our” instead of “I” or “my.”

  2. What’s your company culture?
    Culture is not something that’s reserved exclusively for tech startups and enterprise businesses, nor does it develop on its own. Small businesses shouldn’t neglect how much culture can play a role in employee satisfaction. What are your core values? Communicate what they are and integrate those values into how you work. It takes a dedicated leader to ensure the right kind of culture is maintained and evolve that culture over time.

  3. Understand the value of diversity among your staff
    Differences in race, gender, sexual orientation, and skill level can make for a dynamic, collaborative, and versatile environment. Be mindful that different backgrounds and personality types will also mean that staff needs to be appropriately trained to manage certain topics sensitively and compassionately.

  4. Lead by example
    If your team sees you working as hard or even harder than they are, they will not only respect you more, but they’ll work to match your effort. "The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires."

Getting to Work

It’s important to hit the ground running and build enthusiasm from the start. If your employees are excited about your business, use that momentum to your advantage.

  1. Train your employees right away. Get their feet wet and hands dirty as early and as often as you can. A curious employee is one who’s eager to learn. If you can, limit micro-management. The more autonomy you provide with thorough, immersive training, the more empowered your employees will feel to inform themselves and make the right decisions.

  2. Encourage team members to provide constructive feedback for new hires. If it makes sense, you can even pair new hires with senior staff members. Or, if you have the time, mentor new hires yourself. You will expose your employees to new ideas, different ways of doing things, and encourage them to challenge one another.

  3. Some individuals are more competitive than others, so be mindful of how you acknowledge a job well done. Make it clear that you value each employee and stay away from playing favorites.

  4. Outline roles clearly. It’s easy to wear a lot of hats as a small business employee, but making sure employees understand their unique job description gives them a clear sense of purpose. You can also balance that by encouraging employees to have a take-charge attitude, so they feel empowered to tackle any obstacle with confidence.

  5. Consult your bookkeeper to ensure that all employees are compliant and properly set up with payroll and appropriate tax forms.

Image via www.trodly.com

Image via www.trodly.com

Don’t Forget to Have Fun

A happy team is a productive team. Think about what kinds of staff outings or team-building activities or volunteer events you can offer. Keep things fun and lighthearted but always stay professional. Don’t forget to celebrate your victories, even the smallest ones. Recognizing those minor achievements can strengthen the drive to do more and constantly improve.   

When Things Go Sour

Not everything will be rainbows and butterflies all the time. When things don’t go as planned, keep a cool head. It’s easy to react immediately, but take a few moments and consider your options. It’s better for you and your team if you stay calm and collected and review the best ways to move forward. If you react with anger, you can make a bad impression, which can weaken morale and negatively impact the positive environment you’ve worked so hard to build.

If tension arises between employees, address it quickly and be diplomatic with resolutions.

Building Your Business Support Team

Your small business team goes beyond just your regular staff members.

  1. Consider outsourcing some of the more mundane parts of your business you may not  want to deal with (like bookkeeping) as these tasks can be a drag on you and your team. You should always look to find someone who’s an expert in your industry, who can consult on improving operational processes and business performance.

  2. You can even explore small business mentors or coaches. Seek someone out who has experience in your industry, someone you admire and look up to. Perhaps you can reach out and invite them to speak to your team or have regular leadership trainings with select staff.

  3. Are there other ways you can build your team’s skills outside of your business? Perhaps looking into specific trainings or vocational classes will bring tremendous value. There are both online and in-person options you can look into to develop your employees’ strengths.

Your business is your baby. Make sure you surround it with people you trust. Take the first step in building a stellar small business team, and connect with your bookkeeper today.

 

Did Your Bookkeeper Quit? Here’s What to Do Next

Getting abandoned by your old bookkeeper can leave you feeling frantic and distressed. It’s not like you can put your business on hold while you look for a solution – and as you look, you want to make sure your next bookkeeper is going to be the right fit. When you engage any kind of professional service, it’s important to be ready with a back-up plan in case something goes awry. Whether your bookkeeper quit abruptly, or if you were the one who cut ties because your standards weren’t met, there are steps you can take to ensure that your business doesn’t freefall from its upward trajectory.

When one door closes, an opportunity opens up. Here are some tips to handle the relationship postmortem:

  1. Don’t panic
    It’s easy to get lost in the frenzy of never-ending bookkeeping tasks. And now that your bookkeeper is gone, you might be feeling more lost than ever. Don’t worry – with the right approach, you can get back into the groove of things faster than you think. Look at this as an opportunity for you to overhaul how your business financials are being managed, and assess what other aspects of your business can use some fine-tuning.

  2. Get your things back from your ex
    Regardless of how the relationship with your bookkeeper ended, you have the right to your own financial data. Ensure a smooth transition and get all of your latest financial reports and files from your old bookkeeper. They may send you a QuickBooks file, or data from other kinds of bookkeeping software. Be sure that your new bookkeeper is up-to-date with the latest technologies so they know how to extract the appropriate data from old files and sort things accordingly.

  3. Scope out the scene
    As you get ready to start fresh, consider what your options are. Although it will work to your advantage to act quickly, it’s also important that you’re setting yourself up for success long-term by taking necessary steps to vet talent. When you’re considering who your next bookkeeper will be, ask yourself the following: Do they know what my needs are? Can they help with other business processes like payroll and bill payments? Are they familiar with my industry? How else will they be adding value?

  4. Finding the perfect match
    Anyone would proceed with caution after a sudden ending to a relationship, let alone a business partnership. When you’re finding the right bookkeeper for your business, don’t be afraid to ask hard-hitting questions. Look for someone who will nurture the business relationship, who specializes in your particular industry, has a positive track record with their other clients, and someone who’ll go the extra mile.

If you’re wondering what to do after your bookkeeper quits, take action quickly but don’t be too hasty, or your short-term disruption can turn into a long-term setback. BKE would be happy to see if we can help. Request a free consultation today, and we’ll do our best to help you get back on your feet .

5 Ways Yoga Studios Can Get More Financially Balanced

Over 36 million individuals practice yoga in the US alone, and nearly 35% of all Americans will likely practice yoga at some point in the next year. Yoga is a $27 billion dollar industry that has been steadily growing over the last few decades, and the enthusiasm is only increasing. The opportunity is massive for yoga practitioners to capitalize on this business.

Whether you’re looking to open up your own yoga studio, or trying to grow your yoga business, it’s necessary to find some zen with your finances as early and as regularly as possible.

Here are five things you can do to get your yoga business more financially balanced:

via www.etrigg.com

via www.etrigg.com

  1. Connect with a bookkeeper who’s an expert in health and wellness.
    Would you rather entrust your business to a finance professional who knows your industry inside and out? Or, hire any ol’ Joe Bookkeeper to set up your yoga studio’s general ledger? Working with a bookkeeper who has loads of experience in your particular industry can make an enormous difference. They can shed more insight on yoga studio expenses, industry trends, and advise you on software and technologies best suited for health and wellness businesses.  
     

  2. Track your expenses and never miss a bill payment
    Are you keeping tabs on exactly how your money is being spent? Accurately tracking business expenses for your yoga studio will not only allow you to closely monitor business growth, it will also allow your bookkeeper and accountant to provide you with up-to-date financial statements, advise you on all deductible expenses, and prepare timely tax returns. Having financial experts on your team who utilize accounting software will ensure that you pay all of your bills on time. This includes vendor fees, studio rental costs, employee payroll, and business tax obligations.  
     

  3. Regularly reconcile bank transactions
    As a yoga studio owner, understanding cashflow matters more to you than anything. The last thing you want to do is sort through credit card and payment activities en masse. Your bookkeeper can reconcile bank and credit card transactions as they happen, so you know that every transaction is being accurately filed away into appropriate categories. It’s a seamless way to stay on top of your business transactions so you don’t have to deal with countless receipts, confusing spreadsheets, and inaccurate calculations.
     

  4. Track employee hours so your staff is paid on time
    If you’re a first-time entrepreneur and employer, you may be unsure about the whole how-do-I-pay-my-staff thing. Heck, maybe you don’t even know how much you should be paying yourself. Connect with your bookkeeper to first make sense of your financial status, review compliance laws, and consider the different employment options. Then, work with them to see which payroll tools would be best to use for your yoga studio. This is another area where working with a bookkeeper who has tons of experience with yoga studios and other health and wellness businesses really comes in handy.
     

  5. Use reports to get regular updates on how your studio is performing
    As your yoga studio ramps up with more clients, it’ll require more of your time and energy to make sure all aspects of your business are running smoothly. You’ll need to work on marketing yoga classes and services, onboarding new members, training new staff members, and trying to improve overall business processes. Collaborate with your bookkeeper to see what operational functions can use some rejuvenating. Your bookkeeper can pull specific reports like balance sheets, profit and loss summaries, budgets, and even custom reports to help you get a clear idea of business performance.

You got into the yoga business because you wanted to share your love of getting physically, mentally and spiritually centered – not because you enjoy expense management, organizing financial statements, and balancing books. Spend your time doing more of what you love. Work with a bookkeeper who understands your unique needs so you can feel more at peace that your yoga business is being taken care of.  

Bots vs. Bookkeepers: The Battle for Small Business

It’s no secret that technology has completely transformed the way we operate. It has made us rethink which of our day-to-day tasks, both personal and professional, can be enhanced or replaced by our machine counterparts.

Virtually every industry – from communications and transportation to financial services, real estate, and countless others – has seen a massive shift in how operational processes and business practices are carried out due to different technologies and software. But there seems to be a looming question in regards to how we should react to all of this: Do we embrace technology, fear it, or reject it?

Are The Bots Taking Over?

When it comes to accounting and bookkeeping, “bots” have been inching closer and closer to mirroring the complex functionalities of bookkeeping professionals. Smart accounting software companies stay on top of innovative technologies – like machine learning and artificial intelligence – to help automate processes like transaction coding and other manual tasks. As these technologies get more sophisticated, the relationships between bookkeepers and their clients will also develop in ways where both parties can extract more value. How? Think about it. If technology is taking over basic manual processes, it’s pushing bookkeepers to upgrade their service offerings because clients will have higher expectations. This is not a bad thing. In fact, it’s a great thing, because it deepens the relationship and trust between bookkeeper and business owner, and makes for a much more fruitful partnership. 

Mathew Heggem, said it best when he wrote, “Bots will speed data processing but businesses that let bots entirely replace humans will find it impossible to stay competitive.” Technology has certainly made an impression on how bookkeepers work with small businesses, and will continue to do so, but it has hardly made the job bookkeepers do obsolete.

Why Does Everyone Keep Talking About Technology?

Not talking about the impact of technology is like not addressing climate change. It’s happening, folks. And we need to understand how to work harmoniously with technology to improve the way we do things, not deny it. That’s why it’s so important for small business owners to hire bookkeepers who implement the latest technologies. As a small business owner, you’ll know that you’re engaging with a professional who’s serious about providing best-in-class service, who’s proactive about applying the latest and greatest techniques, and who’s committed to delivering the most value. 

Be sure to ask the right questions when finding the right bookkeeper for your business type and working style. You also want to make sure you’re working with an experienced  professional who understands the importance of designing solutions around your unique needs. Additionally, see what other services your bookkeeper may be able to provide. Sure, bookkeeping is a lot of data tracking and record keeping, but it’s what your bookkeeper does to help make sense of these transactions and turn them into actionable business recommendations that make you want to keep them around.

Why Technology Won’t Replace Humans

The thought of technology running humans out of rat race is terrifying. But, it’s comforting to know that we’re nowhere near that reality, and hopefully never will be. Human-to-human relationships are necessary, especially in business, and they’re what keep things moving forward. Machines don’t have the capability to understand business goals, individual needs, frustrations, or expectations. Nor do they have the ability to communicate dynamically or empathetically, and collaborate with you on business objectives. But, we can’t deny how much technology has positively affected the direction of the bookkeeping industry, and it’s exciting to see where things will continue to go. 

Should You Do Your Own Bookkeeping?

As a small business owner, there’s no escaping the need to keep financial records in order. It’s what allows your business to run smoothly and keeps headaches at bay, especially when tax time rolls around. But, is bookkeeping something you should you do on your own? Or, is it wiser to call on a professional for help? 

What Do Bookkeepers Even Do?
In short, good bookkeepers ensure that the financial transactions of your business are accurately filed, reported on, and managed. They also play a key role in providing significant financial insights into your business through careful analysis of annual sales, purchases, expenses, and even payroll. Bookkeepers may also specialize in specific industries, which enables them to have more meaningful conversations with small business owners, and offer valuable recommendations on business processes. Expert bookkeepers also make sure your financial data is recorded and securely stored, so it’s far easier to stay compliant and provide necessary information to accountants or auditors. In addition, skilled bookkeepers use the latest accounting and bookkeeping technologies to get robust reports that shed light on overall business performance. 

Do You Have Enough Time?
When you became a small business owner, the amount of responsibilities you took on probably doubled, maybe even tripled. But, you still have only 24 hours to work with each m, and you understand the value of how every minute is spent. Yeah, it’s totally possible to make time to do your own bookkeeping, but is that the best use of your limited hours? Also, are you confident you have the skillset to perform the tasks needed to keep your business financials organized? Analyzing and managing balance sheets, accounts receivable and payable, financial statements, general ledgers, tax calculations, and more. If you have the time and enjoy doing these jobs, more power to you! If not, you may want to consider other options. 

Does It Make Sense?
Time commitments aside, ask yourself – does it make sense to do your own bookkeeping? There are other factors to consider to help determine whether it’s something you could, and should, manage yourself. Will you constantly be wondering if you’re recording all of your business transactions properly? Are you being strategic about how you’re spending your money and how you can better save? What would you rather be doing?

Finding the Right Bookkeeper
If you’ve exhausted yourself trying to do your own bookkeeping, it’s time to start looking into finding the right bookkeeper for your business. Know what specific questions to ask when hiring a bookkeeper, like what their experience in your particular industry looks like, what kinds of accounting software they use, and what other solutions they are able to provide. Small business owners are known to have a DIY-attitude, and that’s something to be proud of. But some things just may be better left handled by a seasoned professional. 

A Bookkeeper’s Guide to Opening a Gym

You have an insatiable appetite for hitting new personal records and getting others to buy into your vision of a fitter, healthier future. But when it comes to turning your vision into a business, do you have what it takes to open your own gym, or do you need a financial expert to spot you?

image00.jpg

Use this bookkeeper’s guide to make sure your gym is built on a strong foundation and maintains financial health.

  1. Create a Business Plan
    Every business needs a well thought-out plan. Mapping out what the next three to five years could look like will prepare you for any pitfall or challenge along the way. What does your gym’s operational profile look like? What about your company description? Who will your gym serve? What are your goals? It’s critical to assess your industry, market, and competition, and working with a bookkeeper who really understands your industry sheds a ton of light on your overall business plan.

  2. Figure out the Legal Structure of Your Business
    It’s necessary to decide what form of business entity to establish. Will your gym be operating under sole proprietorship, partnership, or LLC? Discuss what the differences are with your bookkeeper and learn which option would make most sense for your business. This will determine which income tax forms you have to file.

  3. Register Your Business Name
    Here’s where you can flex some of your creativity and work on your brand. But registering your business name isn’t just a creative exercise. If you’re going to be naming your business anything other than your own name, you must register it correctly as your “Doing Business As” (DBA) name on all government forms and applications. Your bookkeeper can confirm whether the legal name of your business has been registered properly.

  4. Register for State and Local Taxes
    On top of federal business taxes, you’ll also have to pay for state and local taxes. The most common types of small business state and local taxes are income taxes and employment taxes. Each state and region will have unique requirements, so it’s important to work with a bookkeeper to understand your specific obligations.

  5. Set Up a Business Bank Account
    It’s a good idea to keep your personal and business checking accounts separate. This will make it much easier to track expenses and cashflow come tax time. Opening a business bank account also makes it easier to process debit and credit card sales for your gym. Speaking of credit cards, it may also be worthwhile to get one for your business.

  6. Know Your Responsibilities as an Employer
    If you’re a first-time business owner, be sure you’re staying compliant with state and federal regulations. This includes obtaining employee identification numbers (EIN) for each of your employees, keeping records for withholding taxes, verifying that each employee is eligible to work, and getting worker’s compensation insurance. Work with a bookkeeper who knows the ins and outs of gym businesses to know what other responsibilities you’ll have to assume as an employer.

There are several other factors to consider when opening up your gym. You’ve got to think about location, marketing strategies, and hiring the right staff, among other things. But, making sure your business is financially sound is of utmost priority.

Opening up your own gym can be such a fulfilling venture. It takes hard work, determination, and a resilient attitude to be successful. But, it can also be incredibly intimidating and stressful if you’re not prepared mentally or emotionally, and most of all, financially.

Working with a bookkeeper can provide the assistance and training you need to turn your passion for health and fitness into a lucrative business. Lastly, don’t forget to have fun! You’re going after your dreams, and that’s reason enough to celebrate. Toast every single win along the way, and don’t be too hard on yourself when things don’t go according to plan. It’s always good to keep challenging yourself, and as you would do for your clients, continue setting new goals. Let a bookkeeper who’s well-versed in the health and wellness industry do the heavy lifting, so you can focus on building a top-performing gym.

 

Year-end Small Business Checklist

The end of the year can get a little crazy. People are planning for holiday travel, scrambling to meet deadlines, and trying to get ahead for the upcoming year. As a small business owner, there are likely even more items to cross off on your to-do list before ringing in the new year. It’s easy to get flustered just thinking about year-end tasks, but the last thing you want to do is put off important business responsibilities and play catch-up for the rest of the following year. Take advantage of these last couple of months and prepare for success.

Review this end-of-the-year checklist with your bookkeeper to get your business set up for a prosperous new year:

  1. Analyze key reports
    As the end of the year approaches, it’s essential to have a clear idea of where you stand financially. Ask your bookkeeper to pull key reports including a profit and loss statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement. How did you perform compared to previous years? How can you reallocate resources for the upcoming year? Going over these numbers with your bookkeeper can shed a ton of light on how you can improve your business operationally. That way, you know what changes and improvements to make to drive more revenue for your business.

  2. Dive deep into cash flow
    This one deserves its own highlight. Thoroughly assess your cash flow statements with your bookkeeper to see exactly how money was coming in and going out this past year. What were your total operating costs in terms of revenue and overall expenses? What did your investing activities look like? Were you able to reconcile loans and repayments? Look into these specific costs and see where you can start tightening up budgets. This will allow you to more accurately forecast earnings and any losses for next year.

  3. Double-check vendor and employee information
    Make sure all of the vendor and employee information you have on file is up to date. Take this time to clear out any old or outdated vendor and employee information. While you’re at it, protect your data and contacts by backing up all your client files, employee information, and any other information or documents you need to safeguard.

  4. Clean-up outstanding accounts receivable and payable
    It’s such a good feeling when you have a clean slate to start the new year. Do you still have any unpaid invoices? Or, do you still owe money to any vendors or contract employees? Be sure to chase these payments and pay any outstanding bills so you can start fresh in the new year. Keeping A/R and A/P up to date and reconciled (or hiring a bookkeeper to do so) throughout the year can help make this process less painful!

  5. Confirm tax deadlines
    Here’s another place where your bookkeeper becomes your best friend. Tax deadlines vary depending on how your small business is structured, so be well-informed about key dates and deadlines as you wrap up the year and prepare for the next. Finding the right bookkeeper can help solve tax headaches and keep your business compliant.

  6. Celebrate!
    Evaluate overall performance of this past year and celebrate your business accomplishments. You deserve it! But, be sure to set new goals. Whether it be to hit new numbers, get more organized, focus on certain areas of your business, or to ask for help when you need it, reflect on what you can do better and work with your bookkeeper to execute.