Most owners hate dealing with anything involving finances. However, they need to prioritize the back-office tasks if they want to have a successful business.
The key to organizing your finances is to take the time to develop a system for your records. No matter what industry you belong to, it is important to know what’s going in and out of the organization.
By being organized, you avoid anxiety when it is time for filing taxes. To help maintain good financial health, the following are some tips on how to organize your finances.
1. Learn about Business Finances
As the owner, you should know the different aspects of your finances. You should know how to read and understand financial statements. These documents tell you where the money came from and where it is at present.
Every financial statement has four important details: income statement, statement of equity, balance sheet, and cash flow statement. You should learn what information you can get from financial statements and how it can help with your organization.
2. Talk to an Accountant
An accountant can help you come up with a long-term strategy for your finances and can also act as your tax advisor. With the help of a Certified Public Accountant, also called a CPA, you will enjoy a more lucrative future, instead of simply trying to get by year after year.
The CPA can guide you about what to do with your finances. CPAs can also give you tips on how to avoid mistakes that are difficult to correct in the future.
3. Reevaluate Business Entity
Small businesses often start as a partnership or a single proprietorship. Frequently though, there’s a need to change the business entity into something else as it grows. You might need to think about creating a Limited Liability Company, abbreviated as LLC, to protect you from financial risks. You might also save money on taxes in the process. A CPA or lawyer can help you choose the right legal entity.
In most cases, forming an LLC is the smart choice because it protects you from various financial risks. Your corporate liabilities will not affect your personal finances.
4. Separate Personal and Business Finances
One of the common mistakes owners make is to mix their personal finances with their business finances. You should always keep a separate bank account for your company. You should also consider getting a debit card, which is the best way of monitoring your expenses.
Another thing you should do is to set aside 25 percent of payments you receive for products or services into the corporate account. That way you have enough money to pay taxes when tax season arrives.
5. Keep Financial Records Up to Date
You should not wait for tax season to arrive before you look for your financial statements and documents. Make sure that you keep all your documents up to date. By doing so, you will know your biggest expenses and understand where you can or need to cut back.
By keeping track of your finances, you remove the guesswork. You can easily monitor the important performance indicators: revenue, expenses, cash flow, and profit, just to name a few.
6. Use Technology Wisely
Technology helps companies organize their finances. Tools, such as tax software, accounting apps, and cloud hosting are available to help you with all your back-office tasks. The best thing about new business technologies is that most of them integrate seamlessly with one another. They can monitor your finances and generate reports.
When choosing software, make sure that it suits your operations. Various online tools provide real-time information that you can access from anywhere, as long as you have an internet connection.
There are many available apps to choose from, and you should make sure that you pick the right one for your organization. If you are unsatisfied with your current software, you can easily switch to another one that provides better services.
7. Pay Loans on Time
It is important to keep current with your loans so you can maintain a good credit rating. While a business is kept separate from your personal finances, some realistic loans companies report to both personal and corporate credit bureaus. If you are business-savvy and pay your loans on time, then you don’t need to worry about the loan affecting your personal credit rating.
8. Keep Your Desk Clean
One way to organize your finance is to organize your desk as well. You should keep your desk clean and clutter-free. Organize receipts, letters, and other documents so that they are not scattered all over the desk. By organizing it sensibly, it will be easier for you to maintain a more productive, and profitable mindset. You will also know where you kept documents and other important paperwork.
9. Always Remember Your Goal
You created the business because you have a goal 15 year mortgage vs 30 year mortgage. No matter what happens, it is important that you constantly strive toward that goal. It can help you stay motivated in organizing your finances. You should remember the reason why you started the company, as well as where you envision it going in the future.
Organizing your business finances might seem complicated, but you will get used to it over time. You will gain insightful information that can help your organization grow by simply being more organized. The good news is that you have advanced technology at your disposal. You can let it do the complicated work, which will allow you to focus on using the data technology produces to cultivate and grow your company.
10 quick SEO wins for your small business
Getting SEO right has never been so important for small businesses. If you want to attract new customers: increase your digital footprint, increase your organic site traffic for the keywords that matter to your business, and outrank your competitors in the search engine results pages (SERPs). You have to put time and effort into your SEO strategy. We’ve compiled a list of 10 quick wins to kick-start your SEO efforts, but we recommend working with an experienced SEO agency to put some weight and expertise behind your plan.
- Target the right keywords
Your time is finite, so you should focus on optimising your website and content for the keywords that mean most to your business. They could be product keywords, niche specific phrases, or keywords you know lead to the most leads or sales.
- Craft unique and engaging content
72% of marketerssay that content creation is their most effective SEO tactic. Take inspiration from lifestyle brand Sheer Luxe and guitar brand D’Angelico, which produce engaging visual and written content to connect with their audiences.
- Refine your on-page SEO
Title tags, meta tags, meta descriptions, image alt tags, image and video weight optimisation, quick-to-load page speed, responsive design – Google wants you to give your audience the best experience possible, and making sure these areas are in order is a great starting point for better SEO and ranking.
- Optimise and refresh existing content
It’s all well and good creating new content, but don’t forget to audit and freshen up any existing content you already have. Google looks for content that is current, unique and relevant to your audience. If you’ve got old content on your site, leverage its existence and get it Google-ready by reworking the copy and making sure all of the on-page SEO areas are in order.
- Think mobile first
Google indexes mobile first, which means it looks at the mobile version of your website first and uses that experience to help determine where your pages should rank when people search. Etsy is a fantastic example of a mobile web experience done well.
- Earn backlinks
Every time a site links to yours, this is like a ‘yes’ vote to Google, telling it to trust you and marking your website as having content that is useful and worth sharing. Try creating standout content that excites your audience and makes people want to link to it. Surfing website Rip Curl is a example of linkworthy content – it’s unique, engaging and speaks directly to its audience: the surfing community.
- Take a close look at your competitors
If you’ve noticed your competitors rising above you in the search-engine ranks, do some digging around their website. What are they publishing? Which keywords are they targeting? Are they doing anything different to you? Take note of their activity and bring something better to the table.
- Make your listing as clickable as possible
Your website meta description and title can be the first interaction your audience has with your website. It has to be clickable, to entice people to take the next step into visiting your website.
- Test different types of content
Written, video, imagery, infographic, interactive – which type of content best engages with your audience and earns you those valuable backlinks? You won’t know until you test different formats. TED conferences shot to global fame because of fantastic content marketing, with video and podcasts working extremely well for them.
- Add your business to Google My Business
This last point is really simple and really easy to execute. If you’re a business with a website, you mustlist yourself on Google My Business to give you as much visibility as possible within search-engine results pages.
SEO isn’t new. Many brands and businesses have spent years investing time and resource into their SEO strategy, so now is the time to get on board with your own search engine optimisation. These 10 quick wins will get your started on your SEO journey, but they are just the tip of the iceberg. Partner with an SEO agency to really understand the best way to approach your SEO strategy and how to build a plan that will set you up for future search-engine excellence and growth.
Guide to the Best Online Loans Available
When looking for the best online loans available, you must do your homework so that you’ll know exactly what to expect online lenders to be looking for when you request a loan.
Obviously, the best online loans won’t be the easiest to get; to get the best interest rates and terms, you must take time to thoroughly check out numerous online lenders. Your collateral will have to be worth substantially more than the loan requested and you need to understand up front that if you have bad credit you will probably be paying a higher interest rate than someone who has good credit. This is just the price that has to be paid in order to improve your credit score.
If you take the time to carefully consider all of your options and choose a loan based that will fit your needs, it’s very likely that you’ll have a positive experience with your online financing.
Secured loans will probably have the most desirable payback terms… this is because the lender is guaranteed repayment by the collateral so they are willing to offer interest rates and loan terms that wouldn’t be possible if the loan was unsecured. Lenders are more confident that they will be paid back if the loan is secured by your property. Using the internet to offer their services sometimes limits the forms of collateral that will be accepted. This is because of the paperwork that is involved.
It is sometimes possible to use the item that you are financing to secure the loan… this is especially true if you are looking for a home loan or a car loan. However, you are probably going to need a down payment. Once the application is done you will know how much cash you will need for the down payment.
Some online lenders will not advance loans for purchasing something. They tend to lead more toward consolidating your debts or improving your credit. These lenders will usually accept high-value home equity as a good choice of collateral because it is easier to handle and they do not need storage space as they do for physical properties like vehicles. It is easy to transfer the ownership because the actual property is not involved. It is simply a matter of paper work.
Options for Repayment
Just like any other financial transaction, the best online loans will have some repayment terms that will be agreeable for both the lender and the borrower. This is essential. Lots of online lenders offer automatic payments from the customer’s bank account. This is an easy method of payment and the borrower will not forget the due date or have to write and mail checks. Many customers will find an option on the website so they can choose to use a wire transfer or pay online. If you prefer, you can mail your payment to the physical address.
Doing the Paperwork
It is easy to apply for best online loan available over the internet, but there is still some paperwork that has to be completed and mailed or faxed to the lender.
To make things easier for everyone involved, the best loans do as much of the paperwork online as possible but there may still be, some forms that have to be printed out, completed, and signed. The lender will want a hard copy of all documents along with identification.
How to organise your online content
You’ve decided to embark on a content strategy – that’s a smart move, because it’s one of the most powerful and cost-effective digital marketing strategies. But now the hard work starts. Whether it’s just you producing and promoting content, or whether you lead a team of writers, keeping track can be tricky. If you’re not organised, you’ll quickly lose track of what you’ve released and what you haven’t, and what was successful and what wasn’t. This can be multiplied several times if your team is large.
Here we’ll take a look at some of the best ways to keep your content machine well oiled and organised – and ensure your five-star strategy has the best chance of success.
Create a content calendar
The first thing to do is create a content calendar. It should detail what you intend to write and when, as well as where you plan to publish the content. It sets out your strategy as actual concrete content, with deadlines to sharpen the mind and ensure you get things done. Undelivered content is worthless.
An effective strategy to help make things easier is to divide your calendar into content themes. Rather than flitting from topic to topic, this helps you delve deeper into particular subjects and reduce the time needed on research. The culmination of each theme can be an in-depth white paper you offer as a download in exchange for contact details to build your email list.
Depending on your strategy, you’ll also need to make sure you have a good balance between on- and off-site content – content calendars are the ideal way to ensure this.
Finding the right project management tools
There are a plethora of content project management tools (not to be confused with content management systems) out there, with a host of features. The hard part is choosing the right one – this image from Curata demonstrates just how complex the landscape is.
You need to set out what you want to achieve and the level of collaboration and workflow management you need. Chad Harwood-Jones, Managing Director of content marketing agency WooContent, says: ‘It’s ultimately about finding the right tool for your business. Recommendations help, but the most important thing is to define your objectives first then select the provider that can best help you achieve them.’
If you’re unsure, or just want to get going quickly, Google Drive is a great place to start. Google’s G Suite contains software to create documents, spreadsheets, presentations and more – all of the systems can be used collaboratively with everyone editing the same documents. Personal accounts are free, and business accounts can be more cost effective than more expensive alternatives.
Set the standard with templates
While you don’t just want to produce cookie-cutter content, using templates to promote consistency can save hours in edits and re-edits. By creating a template with the correct formatting, sub-headings and images, you’ll ensure your writers and collaborators are more likely to get the required results first time. Make sure people know how much they need to take the templates as gospel and how much they can use their creative licence.
Create toolkits, checklists and brand guidelines
Another way to ensure cohesion between all content producers is to create documents that detail your identity and standards. Your brand guidelines should detail your company’s personality, writing style and visual identity, so will help new collaborators to produce content that meets your specifications.
This can then be extended to toolkits and checklists you can use for more detailed instructions on each channel, such as a blog-writing checklist or video-marketing toolkit.
Reporting on your success
A measure not to be overlooked, reporting on your success (or not) is crucial to learning and optimising your activity going forwards. If a piece of content is successful, great. Evaluate how successful it was, analyse why and replicate it. Maybe you could repurpose it into other formats?
If it didn’t work, pick yourself up, dust yourself off and make sure you don’t repeat the same mistakes! Effective measurement and reporting is the only way you’ll know what’s working and what isn’t.
Although it’s not the most exciting part of content marketing, without effective organisation, your content strategy is doomed to fail before you’ve even begun. Putting the time in to produce effective processes before delving headlong into content production will reap rewards in the long run.