Press "Enter" to skip to content

Posts published in “Small Business Operations”

Auto Added by WPeMatico

Apply These Secret Techniques When Dealing with Late Paying Clients

I’ve been fortunate over the last several years to have clients who usually pay on time. There’s only been two — that I can vividly remember — who have paid late consistently. Managing late invoices are a drag, and it can also be discouraging. If you put in work for a client, you would hope they would show appreciation by sending you the payment promptly. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. How to Deal with Late Paying Clients Here’s how I deal with my habitually late payer: Bill Twice Per Month or Upfront Early in my career I made the mistake of only billing once per month. It was terrible for cash flow. I would be waiting on pins and needles for payments to come through so I could pay my own personal bills. It’s a nightmare. Now I bill twice a month for all of my clients. Billing frequently is especially important for the chronically late paying clients. If you don’t get them on a regular schedule, you could find them backed up on a large sum that you really need. My client was late on multiple payments at one point. This can be an absolute headache for bookkeeping. Another approach you can take is requesting payment for services beforehand. Your contract may state that you bill afterward. However, it’s understandable to request an adjustment to the contract payment terms if your client is constantly late. Send Out an Email with the First Invoice An invoice follow up is something that you may do a few days or weeks after sending the initial invoice. For this client, I send out the follow up right away after sending an invoice. I immediately ask when I can expect the invoice to be paid so I can follow up again according to the timeframe given. Ask for a Contact in Accounts Payable My contact for this client was only the marketing manager for a while. I would reach out to this person for all invoice needs but using a go-between caused a communication challenge. Now I have the contact for the accounts payable department so I can…

Monday.com Offers Another Team Management Software Option for Small Businesses

Monday.com is a project management tool designed to help teams work better together by building a culture of transparency, managing workloads, tracking projects and communicating with ease. Formerly dapulse, Monday.com was founded in 2012 and launched as an independent startup in 2014. Online project management tools such as Microsoft Project, Smartsheet and Huddle, have long been helping small businesses complete tasks in less time and work more effectively and efficiently. But what makes Monday.com any different? What are the key features of this tool designed to simplify the way teams work together and how will they help your small business? Monday Team Management Software Features Track Everything from a Single Dashboard Enhancing the simplicity of using Monday.com is the project management tool’s single dashboard, where you can see, at an instance, everything your team is working on and who is working on what. From this single, easy-to-use board you can add tasks, projects, missions and to-dos, and assign teammates to specific projects or tasks. Keep Team Communication in One Place Your small business can add rows, known as pulses, to your board to help keep communication between team members in one convenient place. This can reduce the need for meetings and long, difficult-to-navigate email threads. This differs to the likes of Wrike.com, in which users create tasks from emails. Team members are notified of conversations and mentions via mobile or desktop in real-time. Users can also comment on and thumbs up teammates’ work. Use Visualization to Manage Time A bit like Basecamp with its fun and playful imagery, Monday.com is big on visualization. Though Monday.com utilizes visualization in the form of clearly-defined chats accompanied by a thumbnail image of each teammate user, designed to help small businesses manage their time more proficiency and plan ahead visually. The idea is such imagery helps you visualize what your team is working on at a single glance, so you can see, with ease, who’s busy and who isn’t busy, to ensure all deadlines and targets are met. Keep Clients in the Loop Similar to other project management tools such as Zoho Projects, Monday.com…

Want an Easy Fix for Expense Reimbursement Fraud? Read This

Expense reimbursement fraud can be very expensive to small businesses. A recent study by Chrome River Technologies reports there’s potential for it to cost American companies up to $1.9 billion every year in total. That’s approximately $35,000 per business.  Small Business Trends spoke with Anne Becknell, senior vice president of customer success at Chrome River Technologies about what small business needs to know. Like the name suggests, expense reimbursement fraud is a crime that occurs when an employee submits a claim to get paid for false business expenses. How to Avoid Expense Reimbursement Fraud Use Updated Technology Managing and auditing expense reporting needs to use modern technology to be effective. Using manual expense reports was the number one issue from the survey. “It’s amazing how many small and medium-size businesses are still using the candlelight and crayon method,” Becknell says. “They’re still doing it by paper or with excel spreadsheets and emailing it around the firm.” The issue with these antiquated systems is the inability to track and see trends that should set off alarms.  Technology incorporating tools like automated analytics helps you to spot the hotspots like the same receipt that’s been submitted a number of times. Becknell says automation cuts expense reimbursement fraud in half. Understand Men Cheat More Expense reimbursement fraud isn’t one area where there’s equality between the sexes. In fact, the report states men were more than twice as likely to commit the crime than their female counterparts. Not only that, they were over four times more likely to add at least $1000 to their expenses. Know Younger Employees Commit More of These Crimes In fact, almost 83% of expense reimbursement fraud was committed by employees between 25 and 44. Implement a Formal Written Policy Not only is a written policy important, small business should have a procedure to go through that tells management employees have processed what they need to know. Becknell suggest getting employees to sign the document helps them to take ownership of the policy. “When you sign something there’s an emotional attachment,” she says. Incorporate High Level Rules The policy doesn’t need to…

Avoid Lavatory Flush Buttons and Self Check-In Surfaces on Your Next Business Trip

Business travel has increased, with an estimated 1.3 million business trips occurring each day in the U.S. An equally staggering number of small business owners fly the friendly skies for business purposes each year, including flying to meet a client, attend a conference or just to explore new markets for expansion. While business travel may be important and necessary for your business, germs found at airports pose a serious health risk for business travelers. Germs When You Travel a Risk for Business Folks on the Road According to Austin, Texas-based online insurance provider InsuranceQuotes.com, the increased number of business travelers and increased foot traffic through airports over the past nine years has increased the germs brought in by passengers and left waiting for their source of transportation: you. InsuranceQuotes conducted a study to determine the average number of viable bacteria and fungal cells per square inch, or colony-forming units across three major U.S. airports and airline flights, including the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta. The insurance provider did 18 tests of six airport surfaces during the busy holiday season, and the results were eye-opening. Apparently, the number of germs found on some airport surfaces were recorded at over 1 million colony-forming units. In comparison, an average of only 172 colony-forming units (PDF) are found on toilet seats. Needless to say, many types of germs and bacteria (not all types) can make you sick and ruin your business trip. Most Germ-Laden Airport Surfaces Some of the dirtiest and most germ-laden surfaces at airports were identified as the self-check-in screen, airline gate bench armrest and water fountain button. One airline self-check-in screen recorded over 1 million colony-forming units, with the average being 253,857. The average colony-forming units on airline gate bench armrests and water fountain buttons was 21, 630 and 19, 181 respectively. Inside airplanes, the most germ-filled surfaces were identified as lavatory flush buttons, seat belt buckle and tray tables. Yuck! Of all the germs and bacteria in airports and airplanes, the most helpful, disease-fighting bacteria were most likely to be found on airport water fountain buttons, making up 59 percent…

The Best and Worst International Airlines for Small Business Travelers in 2018

Consumers choose a brand for a host of different reasons, and the new survey carried out by GraphicSprings.com asked international passengers which airline they would like to fly based just on the logo. And not surprisingly, depending on how you look at it, one of the best airlines in the world, Etihad was first. Remember this was just based on the logo of the company. This result highlights why it is significant for companies to put their best effort into all of their customer-facing products, whether it is a logo or something else. For international small business travelers, the logo may be a nice feature, but value is more important. And as more small businesses continue to expand globally, finding the best value for their travel budget is a challenge. The study was extensive, analyzing the survey from 24,000 people between the age of 17 and 78 in 68 countries who flew in the past 24 months. The survey was part of a larger study on corporate logos and branding penetration. The goal was to understand how marketing and other pieces of data affect travelers on the desirability of a particular airline and whether they would like to fly on it. The Result Brands associated with luxury, such as Etihad and Qatar airlines were in the top three, with Germany’s Lufthansa taking the third place. For these airlines, 98, 96, and 95 percent of the respondents respectively said they would like to fly them. When it comes to the most recognized airlines, Lufthansa and British Airways took top spots, which in part affected how respondents felt about the airlines overall. Being recognized brings with it biases both good and bad. For overall desirability, the airlines from the Gulf States, such as Emirates, Qatar, Etihad and even Turkish Airlines are all seeing their brand growing. 2018 Best and Worst International Airlines The Top Tier Airlines The Bottom Tier Airlines Brand recognition plays a very important role for any company. And in this survey, companies with highly recognized brands did much better than those with little recognition. Air Astana from Kazakhstan was…

68% of Workers Still Get Most Work Done in Traditional Offices

The way we work has changed across the board, but the traditional office still persists when it comes to the workplace. And according to the new Clutch 2018 Future of Work survey, more than two thirds or 68% of workers are still completing their jobs in a traditional office. This survey has revealed offices are still the most popular workplace option for many companies and employees. This is despite the fact more Americans are now working remotely. For small business owners looking at this contradicting data, finding the right balance between remote and office workers is key. This will depend on the industry you happen to be in and the demographics of your workforce. While young workers want a flexible working arrangement, older employees might prefer staying in the office to get the job done. The Clutch survey was carried out with the participation of 1,003 employees whose work can be completed in an office. The respondents were made up of 67% women and 33% men across different age groups. Millennials (18-34) made up 35%, Generation X (35-54) came in at 41% and baby boomers 23%. As to their working arrangements, 73% were full-time W2 employees along with 12% part-time workers who were also W2 employees. Full-time freelancers/contractors made up 10%, and another 8% were part-time freelancers/contractors. Where Employees Work – Key Findings Keeping up with the theme of traditional offices, private offices are the most common arrangement for 38% of workers compared to 31% for a shared office and 25% cubicles. The benefit of each type of office is highlighted in the report by Elizabeth Ballou, Content Creator & Marketer, Clutch. She says the best setups end up being multiple workspaces with both private and shared spaces. When it comes to managers, 77% of them work at a traditional office while 20% work at home. Employees, on the other hand, prefer remote work options, but according to Ballou, this is because in most cases workers don’t have access to the ideal work environment. Of those who have access to multiple working options, 62% say it is preferable or very…

Best QuickBooks Apps for Small Business Users

QuickBooks is one of the top bookkeeping tools available today. With a desktop software and online version available, businesses of all sizes have used the product to track their earnings, expenses and other financial data. But the platform can do even more when you start making use of integrated apps. There are third-party apps available for everything from uploading data from spreadsheets to tracking employee time and pay. All of these are available in the QuickBooks App Store, where you can browse or search and then download the apps of your choice directly from each product page. So if you’re looking to improve your QuickBooks experience, here are some of the most popular and highly rated QuickBooks apps to consider. Best QuickBooks Apps TSheets Time Tracking One of the most highly rated apps in the QuickBooks marketplace, TSheets offers a time tracking, payroll and invoicing solution for teams that need a bit of help managing time and/or their employees’ time and pay. There’s a free version for single-person teams, so you can access it just to track your own processes. Or you can opt for a paid plan starting at $20 per month, plus an additional $5 per user per month. Expensify It’s becoming more and more important for small businesses to have a way to track expenses even while on the go. So Expensify offers a tool that you can use to take photos of receipts and other expense data so that you can automatically update that information in Quickbooks. Pricing starts at $5 per active user per month. LivePlan LivePlan is an app available for QuickBooks that helps business owners plan for the future with financial forecasts and budgeting tools. It works with QuickBooks to give you real time updates on your key business metrics, so you can see exactly how any new developments might make an impact on your company’s finances in the future. Business Payments Since so many businesses use payment platforms like PayPal and Stripe to actually facilitate transactions, Business Payments offers a solution for syncing those services directly with QuickBooks. For businesses that process…

The Truth about the Looming UPS Strike – and How Your Business Can Prepare

More than 250,000 unionized United Parcel Services (UPS) (NYSE: UPS) members have voted to authorize a strike should negotiations for a new contract fall through. UPS union members are bargaining for improved wages, pensions, welfare contributions and overtime provisions. The current contract expires at the end of July, and workers say they will strike on August 1 if they fail to get a new contract on their terms. Impact of a UPS Strike For small businesses regularly shipping items to customers, having one of the biggest couriers in the United States suspend service could come as a significant blow, wreaking havoc with deliveries. Small businesses selling goods and requiring shipping services, could find themselves facing expensive shipping backlogs if UPS workers strike this August. Failing to get orders to customers on time could cost a small business in time, money and reputation. If you’re a small business relying on the world’s largest shipping company for your delivery services, now’s the time to start preparing for what looks like an impending UPS strike. Think About Timeframes In 1997, UPS workers were involved in a strike involving more than 185,000 teamster members. The strike shut down UPS services for 16 days, costing the transportation company hundreds of millions of dollars. With 250,000 union members set to strike, the 2018 UPS walk-out could be even larger than the historic 1997 strike and could effectively shut down the company for  similar amount of time — or more. With this in mind, if you’re a small business that relies on UPS for shipping, you will need to consider the duration of the strike and look to other shipping companies to ‘step in’ while UPS is not operating. Investigate Other Shipping Companies Of course, UPS is not the only shipping company in the United States. Now’s the time to start investigating other courier firms that could take over your shipping requirements for the duration of the UPS strike. For example GoShip’s principle customer base is small businesses, offering cost-effective and reliable shipping services to enable small businesses to ship items across the country quickly. Another alternative could…

What is Hive and How Can it Help Your Small Business?

Hive is a productivity platform designed to help small businesses work at their best. This powerful and intuitive project management software allows small businesses to streamline their work, track time with greater efficiency and leverage data to help identify inefficiencies. Similar to Slack, Asana, TopTracker and the host of productivity tools available for small businesses, Hive is a valuable communication tool giving teams greater control over projects and tasks. If you run a small business and are looking for a management tool to give your business’s productivity a boost, take a look at what exactly Hive is and how it can help your small business. Hive Productivity Platform Features This intuitive productivity platform comes with a myriad of features to supercharge the productivity of your small business. The tool is designed to help your team plan projects with greater proficiency with: Flexible Projects where you can organize tasks in a gantt chart, Kanban board, or calendar, Multiple Views where you can access projects by status, team members, or assigned labels, Action Templates where you can plan and repeat tasks easily. Hive helps you manage projects and tasks more efficiently with the following features: Action Cards allow you to access the information needed to complete a task with ease, Action List allows you to create personal to-do lists and see what you need to complete daily, Hive Forms enable you to collect the important information required on each project. Hive makes communication between team members easier and quicker with these features: Chat allows you to have conversations with individuals or groups, File Sharing means you can streamline your work by connecting your Dropbox, Google Drive, One Drive or Box account directly to Hive, External Users enables you to invite partners outside your business such as contractors or clients to collaborate on a single project. This comprehensive productivity platform also allows you to monitor data, so you can make valuable changes and predictions related to tasks and productivity with the following features: Hive Analytics is an interaction dashboard providing actionable insights to productivity, Predictive Alerts are real-time notifications about anomalies in your…

Amazon Adds New Essentials Tier to Business Prime Shipping Service

When Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) announced its Prime Business shipping service in October of 2017, it gave businesses the same convenience it did consumer with unlimited shipping. But the lowest tier of the service started with up to 10 users, pricing out many smaller businesses. Amazon Business Prime Shipping Essentials Tiers The new tier, called Essentials is going to allow businesses with up to three users to start using the service for $179 per year. This is much lower than the $499 annual price for the Small tier businesses may have had to choose because they didn’t have another option. Shipping has become a critical piece of today’s business environment — and not just for ecommerce. Whether a small business is shipping items or receiving them, Amazon Prime Business provides an affordable solution. According to Amazon, Essentials was created to address the specific needs of small-to-medium sized businesses as well as sole proprietors and startups. With Essentials, companies with up to three users on their Amazon Business account now have a shipping option that is more affordable. The membership tiers and prices for Amazon Business so far include: Essentials: $179 per year for up to 3 users Small: $499 per year for up to 10 users Medium: $1,299 per year for up to 100 users Enterprise: $10,099 per year for over 100 users What is Amazon Business Prime Shipping? Amazon Business Prime Shipping allows everyone on your business account to get unlimited free two-day shipping when making purchases on behalf of the business on eligible items. Some of the other benefits of the membership include Prime Early Access to deals and more shipping options. In addition to the free two-day shipping, standard shipping is also free. One-day shipping is free on qualifying items for orders over $35 so long as the orders are placed prior to standard delivery cutoff times and are bound for available delivery destinations. To check whether these delivery options are available for your location or shipping destinations see eligible items and addresses here. The Convenience of Free Shipping As a business, you probably purchase many items from Amazon to run your…

Cookies help us deliver our services. By using our services, you agree to our use of cookies. More Info | Close