Tips and Tricks to Write a Content Plan for Your Business

Introduction

According to the latest data, successful b2b marketers spend around 40 percent of their budget on content marketing. However, spending millions of dollars on content marketing won’t do you any good without a proper content marketing plan. Before you venture into promoting your business, there are a few tips we’d like to share with you in order to help you design the best content strategy which will help you achieve your goals.

Know your audience

If your business offers products or services that include different types of customers, it is important that you address each audience type separately. It’s a good practice to mingle with your leads and find out what they are looking for in a product, what problems they need to resolve, what keywords they include in their searches. This way you can create content that will hit the spot with your target audience.

Your content should be valuable to your audience and help them improve their business. Remember that there are those that already use your product or service, so you should build content that will make their user experience even better. In addition, there are those that are yet to become your customers – these people should receive such content that will show how your business can solve their problems.

Create a calendar

Publishing content on a regular base is the essence of good content marketing. Nevertheless, you can’t just plan topics at random and publish when you feel like it. Create a calendar with a dedicated time frame for each post. This will remove the pressure from your writers and give them enough time to write deeply researched quality content. Moreover, this way you will have enough time to edit all the content long before it’s time to publish it.

Have a backup plan

Furthermore, your writers could be unavailable for any reason, which could put you in a bad spot. The calendar allows you to hire a writer before the deadlines come knocking. In addition, there are so many online writing services you can hire like UK Best Essays, Essay Writing Lab, SuperiorPapers, EduGeeksClub Service and others that could deliver the content for you just when you need it.

Mix it up

Your audience is everywhere these days – they follow social media of all sorts, watch YouTube videos, scan job opportunities on LinkedIn, and surf the web for helpful textual content, or inform themselves via infographics. Therefore, it would be unwise to base your content strategy solely on a single channel rather than using all the possibilities that the internet has placed before us. Combining resources and mediums will help you achieve much higher reach.

However, if in your research you find out that certain channels don’t hold enough potential or your business it’s best not to waste your resources betting on the wrong horse. Do your research and find out which channels serve your purposes.

The same goes for various content types, sometimes a video placed on YouTube will not show the same results as it would show if it were posted on Instagram or Facebook. Don’t throw away the chance to reach your audience via video content just because it doesn’t show expected results on one platform, rather do some research and see how the content behaves with other platforms. If you get more views or shares on Facebook, focus your video posts there.

Set measurable goals

Your Key Performance Indicators depend on your campaign goal; it could be sales, pageviews, email subscribers, or anything you set as a business goal. Measure your campaign success progress against your final goal and you will be able to fine-tune your strategy on the run, depending on your current indicators. This is also a good way to check if a particular member of your team is doing a good job or you should consider getting a better solution for your team.

Conclusion

If you set a clear campaign goal, perform deep research, distribute your resources carefully, and create a strong plan of action, you will be able to craft compelling content which will engage your audience. We hope these tips will help you develop a swift content plan or your business so you could enjoy a larger pool of customers and a higher return on investments.

Guest Post: About the Author

Lilian Chifley is an IT specialist, teacher, and blogger from Sydney. She loves to talk about artificial intelligence and modern education. You can find Lilian on Facebook and Twitter.

6 Useless But All-Too-Common Expenses That Turn Your Business Into a Money Pit

It takes a lot of money to keep a small business going – especially if you’re trying to make that business grow. When money is so important, every single cent needs to be spent wisely.

Many small businesses wind up spending a lot more money than they actually need to spend. Those funds would be better off allocated for growth or expansion. Cut the fluff out of your budget and use your newfound cash to help you build a brighter future.

Unnecessary Office Supplies

You’re always going to need office supplies, but changing the way you do things can reduce the amount you’ll spend. Going paperless is one of the easiest ways to save money. Keeping things digital allows you to save on paper, recycling, toner, and printing supplies. Many small businesses burn through mountains of these materials, and paperless businesses barely use them. Going paperless also makes your business eco-friendly, and that’s never a bad thing.

Leasing a Huge Building

You need to give yourself some room to grow for the next year or two, but not for the next decade. While it is a wise move to opt for an office space or retail space that will give everyone some room to move, it’s not a wise idea to overspend on something that you’ll never completely use. It may be wiser to choose a shorter lease on something slightly smaller. If you have your heart set on that huge building, try to negotiate the lease. You might be able to get it for a little less.

High Health Insurance Costs

You need your employees to be healthy, and offering decent insurance is a surefire way to attract top talent. There’s something else you can do that would benefit both your business and your employees. Start a wellness program. A wellness program is much less expensive than high insurance costs, and people who prioritize their wellness are a little less likely to need to use their insurance. Offer up some healthy snacks and partner up with a local gym for a discounted membership. Encourage your employees to use their sick days to discourage them from spreading germs around the office.

Advertising to the Whole World

Small businesses want to acquire as many customers as possible. They take to the internet to spread their message far and wide in an attempt to be heard by the right people. The problem with that overzealous approach is that casting a wide net is expensive. In addition to its hefty cost, it’s more of a gamble when it comes to locating an ideal customer.

Focusing on highly targeted ads will help you obtain customers and spread your message with little effort. If you don’t sell your products online, limit your advertising to people who live within a tight radius of your physical location. If you do sell online within your country, only advertise to people who fit your demographic within that country. It’s the most efficient way to spend your ad dollars. When you expand your business, you can begin to expand your reach.

Having Too Many Employees

It takes a lot to run a small business, and this means you’ll need people to make things run smoothly. Hiring people whom you can barely afford to pay may hinder you more than help you. It might be worthwhile to spend a little more on a rock star employee who is content to wear many hats, rather than paying several people the minimum to deliver an average amount of effort. Quality is more important than quantity when it comes to small business employees.

You can also reduce workload by automating as many processes as possible. The right tools can help you achieve a whole day’s work in just a few hours. Don’t do anything manually unless it absolutely requires live human involvement.

Failing to Follow Rules and Regulations

Making legal mistakes is one of the most expensive situations a small business can wind up in. Small businesses try their best, but sometimes fail to secure the right permits or licenses they need to operate or expand the way they’ve planned. Running a business is a learning experience, but you can’t afford to learn with your money.

It might be worthwhile to retain a lawyer for your small business. You need someone to look over the money, the rules, and the licenses as you grow and change. A lawyer might seem expensive now, but nothing is more expensive than finding yourself on the wrong side of the law.

Many small businesses work with tight budgets, but sometimes those budgets are tighter than they need to be. Keep a close eye on the books to be sure you’re not tossing away the funding for your success.

Guest Post: About the Author

Alana Downer is an avid finance blogger from Sydney, Australia, currently writing on behalf of Learn to Trade– money and finance experts. Interested in all things connected to growing a stable income, Alana might often be found online, sharing her financial tips and participating in discussions. Feel free to reach out to her on @alanadownerLTT.

Why Companies Need Corporate Wellness Program Apps

Taking care of the wellbeing of your employees shows more than just your corporate culture, it’s also a signal that your company cares for its own future and prosperity. More and more companies include different wellness programs in order to enhance the health status of their workforce. These programs rely on various tools and activities that track and maintain the health status of the working people. Let’s take a more detailed look at all the benefits that wellness apps bring to companies.

Easier implementation of the wellness program

First and foremost, wellness apps facilitate the implementation of your wellness program. Conducting these types of programs is never easy, especially within companies that include a large number of workers or remote employees. Automation, provided by mobile and desktop apps, makes the implementation of the program much easier and brings in a few extra features that would otherwise be difficult to carry out.

Reduced Absenteeism

Absenteeism is a large issue for any company in the world. The productivity drops every time you have a person on sick leave, no matter how capable your team might be when it comes to covering for the absent co-worker. The best way to reduce the number of workers that turn in sick, is for a company todo whatever it takes to improve the well-being of its employees. Using wellness program apps within your company allows your employees to keep track of their health status, which further increases their chances of preventing any future health issues.

Keeping a high level of productivity

According to research, productivity depends, in a large measure, on the physical and mental status of your workforce. Wellness apps provide food recommendations, fitness instructions, track vital signs, all of which can reduce the chance of sickness. Workers that maintain their physical health status, feel better and more eager for work, which is essential for company productivity. Furthermore, as we already stated, even if the rest of your team is able to cover for their colleague, heavier workload and the need to perform faster leaves room for mistakes, which have to be fixed so more time gets wasted.

Apps allow wellness program improvement

Without comprehensive feedback, it’s difficult to improve a wellness program that your company implements. Apps, allow you to conduct surveys and get all sorts of analytics that could show which parts of your wellness program need improvement. It’s important for the success of your program to know which aspects don’t show desired results, which ones take too much time, and where you need to put in an extra effort to make the program work seamlessly.

Ability to create healthy dining options

There’s an old saying “we are what we eat”. Rather than suggesting that I’m a bowl of pasta, this piece of wisdom means that our mental and physical state depends on the food we place on our tables. Wellness apps allow you to create healthy dining menus and suggestions for various types of food. For instance, you can have your employees check in to see what gluten-free options they have, which vegan courses are available, or simply learn how to make a new tasty dish.

This way, your employees avoid the risk of heart diseases, cancer, digestive problems, and other health issues that both you and your workers want to avoid.

Conclusion

A company is doing well as long as the people that contribute to its success are doing well. Therefore, business owners should invest in the wellbeing of their workforce if they wish to maintain a high level of productivity. Moreover, the companies that show care for their employees build a positive image, which is important for business expansion and recruitment of talents. Wellness apps automate and simplify the implementation of your corporate wellness program, making it more efficient and reliable.

Guest Post: About the Author

Becky Holton is a journalist and a blogger at ProEssayWriting. She is interested in education technologies and is always ready to support informative speaking. Follow her on Twitter.

Looking to implement a wellness program in your corporate structure? IOU Financial can help with up to $300,000 in as little as 24 hours.

Local SEO Tips For Small Businesses

SEO (search engine optimization) has dominated digital marketing in 2018 and will no doubt continue to do so in 2019. SEO is equally important for small businesses as it is for the world’s biggest brands.

For small businesses with a local presence such as a physical storefront, or simply a customer base in a specific geographical area, local SEO is particularly important. Figures show that 97% of customers search for a local business online. This means that having a strong online presence and ranking highly on search results can make a huge difference in capturing customers and revenue.

In this article we will cover top tips for improving your local SEO to help you to grow your business in 2019.

What Is Local SEO?

Local SEO is the practice of improving your online presence to rank in searches on Google, Google Maps, and other search engines and directories around a specific geographic location. This could be a city, suburb, district or general geographical area. Refining local SEO can help businesses to generate sales leads and attract customers in their local area, and when done well is extremely effective in standing out from the competition.

Keywords

Whether for local, national or global SEO, using the right keywords is extremely important (though not the whole picture, as we’ll cover later in this article). With 40,000 Google searches conducted every second, the purpose of SEO is demonstrating to Google that your site is the most relevant to the search query.

The number one factor that Google looks for in determining relevance is keywords. Therefore finding the strongest keywords which will mean your business reaches the most number of customers. This means reaching not only any users, but those most relevant to your business, who are most likely to purchase your goods and services. For local SEO this means a combination of location-based keywords and other keywords relevant to your target audience. You should determine  these through keyword research using tools like Moz, SEMrush, Answer the Public or  Ahrefs.

Online Listings

Online listings are an extremely important part of local SEO, and Google My Business is arguably the most important platform. It is essential for all small businesses to ensure they have a current, complete and accurate listing on Google My Business to improve their ranking on Google Maps and other apps, as well as Google search results more broadly. Having lots of reviews on Google also increases your ranking, so be sure to encourage your customers and contacts to give you a positive review.

Other online listings are also important for local SEO. Having a presence on these directories can not only drive more organic traffic to your business, but it also strengthens your online presence and therefore improves local SEO. It is a good idea for local businesses to register for as many online directories as possible: the most popular directories such as Yelp.com, Better Business Bureau and Yell.com in the UK should be a priority, as well as any influential directories specific to your area or your sector. Make sure that you have complete and up-to-date listings in each. It is also important for Google ranking purposes that the information in each listing is exactly the same, and exactly matches the name, address and phone number shown on your website.

On-Page Optimization

On-page optimization is an important process, and involves making sure all pages and posts on your site are doing everything possible to encourage Google to rank your site highly in results. When Google is deciding which results to rank first, it will check (“crawl”) pages to determine which are the most relevant to the search. The search engine looks at certain parts on the page in particular when deciding how relevant it is to the user’s search.

One of these key aspects is the SEO title: that is, the title of your page or post which appears on the Google search results, which is also the title shown at the top of the page’s tab on a web browser.

The second important element is the page or post’s title as it appears at the top of the page (also known as the H1 heading), and the page’s permalink or URL. Be sure to include as many primary keywords as possible in all three of these elements, and long tail keywords if possible. Other important elements to prime with keywords are subheadings and alt-tags (alternative text descriptions) on images.

Link Building

As previously mentioned, Google looks not only for post relevance but also signs that your site is authoritative and reputable in determining rankings on its SERPs. Backlinks, or links back to your site from other well-known and reputable sites, are a key way to demonstrate that your site is authoritative, and along with keywords one of the two top ranking factors on Google.

You can build backlinks by creating valuable, useful and informative content which is relevant to your audience. By producing valuable content, you will encourage other sites to link to your site, although this is rather a long-term strategy. You can actively build backlinks through a PR strategy involving approaching online publications and sites and pitching guest articles or other content. These types of link building techniques are highly effective in both boosting local SEO and driving organic traffic via other sites and blogs.

Citations and within your site can also demonstrate to Google that your site is reputable, improving your rankings. Include citations (links from your site to sources) for any information, quotes or figures you give, as well as products and companies you mention in your content. Building internal links within your site (links to other pages and posts within the same domain) will also improve SEO. This is because internal links make it easier for Google to navigate or “crawl” your site.

Implementing these local SEO tips and techniques can make a world of difference. By building a great local SEO strategy you can bring more traffic to your site, attract potential customers, boost revenue and grow your business in 2019.

Guest Post: About the Author

Tom Buckland is a digital marketing and Amazon seller consultant specializing in technical SEO. He’s the founder of Cardiff-based digital marketing agency HQ SEO in the UK and loves helping businesses profit through smart digital marketing strategies.

Small Business Guide to Big Technology

Over the past decade, technology has become a major part of the business world. Although advanced technology previously only belonged to large-scale businesses, that’s no longer the case. No matter what size the company, technology is an integral part of the day-to-day processes at any scale. In fact, a large percentage of small enterprises reported the use of at least one digital platform for sharing information with customers, advertising, communications and sales. 

The use of big technology may seem daunting to smaller businesses; however, the implementation of tech like mobile applications, cloud computing, automation and AI-based chatbots can be a game changer. The use of these types of programs helps businesses to make better use of their precious time and operate in a more cost-effective, efficient manner. 

Cloud computing

One of the most important innovations to hit the small business scene is the transition of data storage, processing, and analysis to the cloud. Cloud computing decentralizes data and eliminates the need for an on-site data hub. 

According to industry front-runner, Mark Hurd,  “The cloud has changed the dynamic significantly … You don’t need an IT department anymore — that’s changed. With the cloud, the work is done for you.” This means that companies can instead focus those resources on tasks which will more directly benefit the organization, which is an important perk, especially for small businesses.

Using the cloud is a much safer alternative to an on-site storage system. Because artificial intelligence technologies are included in many cloud-based computing applications, the level of security is much higher, allowing for more secure data and higher customer satisfaction.

Business automation

The amount of time, energy and resources it takes to complete tedious, everyday tasks can get a bit frustrating. However, through the use of business process automation (BPA), those tasks can be handled without the need for actual human labor. Automation instead employs AI and machine learning to complete the more mundane, data-driven responsibilities of a corporation. 

Basic processes like forwarding and transferring data, sending notifications and reminders, extracting info, organizing data and processing multitudes of information can all be put into the hands of BPA. Doing this reduces the number of errors and allows the tasks to be completed at a much quicker pace than they could ever be done by humans. Not only does it help the business operate more smoothly and efficiently, but it also frees up those employees for more valuable work. 

AI-based chatbots

The need for a human at the other end of a chat tunnel has become obsolete. Businesses are now turning to computer programs that mimic real human interaction and do so to converse with customers. This means that businesses large and small can cut down on customer service representatives and instead employ this technology to do the work of multiple people. 

Chatbots offer large-scale, 24/7 availability to customers and reach a much larger audience without increasing costs. They can be customized to the business, learn as they go and provide round-the-clock customer assistance, offering quick solutions and real-time support for nearly any question a customer may have.

Not only does this create a much more customer-friendly funnel for service, but chatbots can also become interactive platforms for marketing. Customers can chat via Facebook messenger and receive information about a company or even discounts and coupon codes at the click of a button.

Mobile applications

In this day and age, nearly everyone owns a cell phone and uses mobile apps multiple times a day. No matter the size of the business, creating an app for customers to use can be a vital ingredient for success. For businesses like salons, exercise studios and restaurants, apps can be used to handle day-to-day tasks like scheduling and setting reminders. 

Moreover, a mobile app creates more engagement at a faster rate by reducing the number of touchpoints and human interaction while creating a more personalized experience. These apps can remember favorite orders, settings and other user preferences. In this way, the apps can send and share information regarding sales and other offers to the audiences most likely to enjoy and use them. 

By having a mobile app, organizations can create a high level of brand awareness. A consistent, recognizable design that lives on a customer’s cell phone allows companies to have constant exposure and subtle advertisement. Even when a consumer is not actively engaging with the app, the logo is still present and making an impression, however small. 

Guest Post: About the Author

Maddie Davis is co-founder of Enlightened Digital and a tech-obsessed female from the Big Apple. She lives by building and redesigning websites, running marathons, and reading anything and everything on the NYT Best Sellers list.

5 Reasons Why SEO is so Important for Small Business

Small businesses nowadays have difficulty in keeping up with larger corporations for a number of reasons, which include inadequate experience of market dynamics. However, they have some quite interesting advantages that keep them afloat. The advent of SEO has partly levelled the playing ground in order to make small business more visible amid giant companies. But for you to profitably utilize SEO for your small business, you should be fully aware of its importance and significance for a small business. That’s what this piece seeks to discuss.

SEO and its significance in modern business

SEO is an acronym for “Search Engine Optimization.” It is a strategy you can implement in order to qualitatively and quantitatively improve search engine traffic to your website. If properly implemented, SEO can help you rate your webpage higher in organic search engine results. In our modern market where 81% of buyers conduct their product research on internet and 89% of consumers engage search engines before settling for their choice product, you can’t afford to joke with SEO in your business.

Advantages of SEO in business

  • SEO is the major source of website traffic and it helps business to bypass some competition.
  • It is a form of free advert, it is therefore cost effective.
  • SEO can help businesses to build trust and credibility which will in turn add value to such businesses.
  • SEO can be measured easily. Some of the attributes you can measure in your SEO include; organic traffic, website ranking, conversion and the source of conversion etc.

Disadvantages of SEO

  • SEO requires long time to achieve desired results.
  • For businesses in highly competitive niches, effective SEO might require more investment.
  • SEO doesn’t provide full control for businesses.

5 Reasons why SEO implementation is beneficial for small businesses

Despite the challenges associated with SEO, there are still numerous success stories out there. Aside being “a free advert” which small businesses can leverage on, SEO could help consumers to locate small businesses in the “internet crowd”. As a startup, SEO could be your only affordable stepping stone to your target audience. The following are the reasons why well-implemented SEO is beneficial to small businesses.

1. SEO can provide users with a better experience

Every business owner wants a good level of ranking and effective visibility. Most people fail to realize that having a good user experience is a big step in getting there. A good example of a strong user experience is how Google has become the most sought-after search engine. A good SEO adds a memorable experience for users, which in turn works in favor of the brand.

2. SEO improves the purchase cycle

Using SEO strategies in relaying your message and the increase in the dependability of your services would definitely put you in a good spot with your customers. It will improve the purchase cycle when practiced in the right way. This is a major benefit from the buyer’s and seller’s perspective.

3. SEO improves business visibility and branding

When customers check online for products and services, they expect to find websites where their needs can be met. There have been testimonies from various people who easily found their way to EssaysOnTime via search engine, just at the right time they urgently needed their academic tasks done. If your webpage can continually appear in search results, it means you are gaining more potential customers.

4. SEO offers your business a wider coverage

It gives you the avenue to sell to people outside your comfort zone when they are looking for products that your business provides. You don’t have to pay for spaces in magazines and newspapers. It beats all forms of traditional advertisement. You just come up when they are looking for businesses like yours. Even if you’re in a competitive industry, you can still standout using the right SEO strategies. For example, Emerson’s PHP development website was able to rank as number one, despite using a competitive keyword and being a new website. This is just one of the numerous SEO success stories achieved through appropriate strategies.

5. SEO helps you keep insight on your customers

Google Analytics is a tool that helps you monitor the traffic your customers generate, the language they speak, how they search and browse. This helps you make timely and informed decisions about your business and your techniques.

Conclusion

A developing business has a lot of space to flourish, and SEO constitutes a significant part of this space because of the numerous opportunities it offers. The benefits of adopting SEO in running a small business include the increased awareness, better user experience and improved purchase cycle. Therefore, you would be enhancing your small business the most cost-effective way, if you utilize the opportunities SEO has to offer.

Guest Post: About the Author

Jacob Dillon is a professional writer and distinctive journalist from Sydney. Being passionate about what he does, Jacob likes to discuss stirring events as well as express his opinion about technological advancements and evolution of society. Find Jacob on Twitter and Facebook.

Facebook Trends for 2019 to Optimize Your Business Page

Nowadays, businesses are highly focusing on social media marketing. The right platforms help them to reach to a wider community at a lower budget.

One of the most popular platforms is Facebook, which had 2.23 billion monthly active users from 2008 to 2018. So, small and big businessman target Facebook business pages as an integral part of their marketing strategy to reach out to a huge audience.

Does your business have a social presence on Facebook? If not, setting up Facebook pages for business can get you a noticeable entrepreneurial hike within a few days.

As we enter 2019 in a few months, you should know about the latest Facebook trends.

Innovative Visual Content

You might have heard that a picture is worth a thousand words. So be sure to use compelling graphics in your Facebook posts. Use images, videos, and GIFs to spruce up your timeline. Visuals are more attractive and can convey the message you are trying to communicate in less time.

GIFs are an amazing medium for building a Facebook business page. It not only stands out from static images but also requires less of a monetary investment compared to videos, carousel, and lead ads.

Frequent Posts on Facebook Live and Stories

Apart from your Facebook page, you can use Facebook live and stories to keep your audience updated about your business. In fact, this is a more trending way as live content drives three times more engagement on Facebook.

This feature is all about showcasing the content regarding and what is happening presently. By going live, you can engage with a lot of people on the spot thereby increasing your business authenticity and popularity in the audience’s eyes. People simply love to see live streaming of events, product launch, office fun, etc.

Expanding Your Store on the Facebook Shop

If you have a robust Facebook community, setting up a Facebook store should be your next move. It helps your customers get whatever they are looking for. Moreover, there are functional plugins available at Knowband for Prestashop and Magento store that let you connect your Facebook shop with the Facebook business page.

This feature leads the visitors directly to your store thereby increasing the conversion rate. It also automatically updates the Facebook store, when you make changes on your store.

A CTA Button on the Business Page

Facebook keeps changing its algorithms to personalize what users see in their feed. The call-to-action is one such feature which helps you to drive action on your page. This feature can be placed below the cover image of your Facebook business page.

It helps to send traffic to your website, direct messages, signups and more. You have a range of options to add including shopping, booking, learning, or getting in touch. You can link this button to any destination on or off Facebook. Make sure your page’s call-to-action is linked with your preferred activity.

Continuous Rise of Facebook Ads 

You might feel that Facebook ads are not effective to optimize your business, but they are more worthy than you think. According to Sprout Social research on Facebook Advertising, about 3 million businesses use Facebook advertising to market their business.

The advantage of using this means to advertise is that you get to target a specific audience by selecting factors like demographics, age, interest, and many other options. Facebook ads  are a good medium if you want to run a PPC (pay per click) campaign to reach a targeted audience to maximize your business recognition. Also, planning your Facebook ads campaign before setting up Facebook for business is advisable.

Among the 2 billion Facebook users, one-third regularly engage with brands on Facebook. So plan your Facebook marketing techniques in accordance with these Facebook trends to optimize and build a Facebook business page. Moreover, make sure you are analyzing the traffic coming to your page to plan your future marketing strategies.

Guest Post: About the Author

Sanket Patel is Founder & Director of www.blurbpointmedia.com, an SEO, and digital marketing company. His passion for helping people in all aspects of online marketing flows through in the expert industry coverage he provides. He is an expert in Web marketing, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media, Affiliate Marketing, B2B Marketing, Online Advertisement of Google, Yahoo and MSN. Connect on Twitter.

7 Smart Bookkeeping Tips Every Small Business Can’t Live Without

For small business owners, bookkeeping serves as their personal scorecard. Numbers show your success and failure and give a quantifiable shape to your business results

In a small business benefit, your future is on the line. You need to have a good overview of all the expenses and revenue. Perfect bookkeeping can save you a lot of time, money, and nerves.

To help you establish an effective bookkeeping strategy, we’ve assembled this 7-tip list. If you like assessing the numbers and want to keep crucial business matters in your own hands, bookkeeping is the way out. Let’s explore more.

Never mix personal and business finances

For an up-and-coming brand manager or CEO, it may be tempting to achieve as much as possible in as little time as possible.

The over-dynamic outlook could lead to severe financial consequences. In a lot of cases, company heads will use company money for personal expenses and vice versa. Doing so will only cause additional chaos.

When your business is only starting, spending a lot of money is an attractive thought. To prevent tax-related headaches, issue a business credit card along with a separate business account. Taking care of this takes mere minutes and allows you to earn your company a proper credit rating.

“One might find it surprising that a lot of small businesses and startups fail because of improper financial allocation,” explains Josh McCarty, a marketing and economics writer at Brilliantassignment.co.uk. “Separate your finances because mistakes will happen once your business grows.”

Make use of automation

Bookkeeping was once considered a difficult and time-consuming activity. Accountants and bookkeepers had to do everything manually, but a lot has changed in recent years. With the development of AI technology and automated software, bookkeeping has never been easier. There are no more tedious instances of manually creating spreadsheets.

Bookkeeping software makes our lives easier. For one, the data you need is stored in the cloud. Unlike physical storage, cloud storage is safe from any compromising.

No matter the conditions or situation, your data will be stored safely. In addition to this initial security feature, small businesses should immediately connect their banking accounts to bookkeeping software.

By establishing this connection, you will ensure that your books are up to date and that there is no need for last minute checks.

Do regular check-ups

Most bookkeepers and companies keep track of their reports and records on a quarterly basis. A tip that will make your life easier is to check your reports on a weekly basis. The interval here will give you enough time to grow your business, but you’ll also be able to identify any changes in your revenue.

Having a clear overview of your transactions and the overall financial state is a business advantage you deserve to have.

With each new product launch or a promotion, you can see how good the move was by looking at the reports. By analyzing reports from a certain period, you can see if a move was successful or not. If it was, you can repeat it and invest more money or stop implementing it if it was a failure.

Use tracking software to monitor your employees’ hours

Running a small business can face you against some hardships. If you have a dedicated team of employees, tracking their hours might be somewhat difficult manually.

Without knowing exactly how much has someone worked, you risk budgets deficits, imprecise payments and other spending that you don’t need. To prevent this from happening, have your entire small business use time tracking software.

Employees will also find the change refreshing. With time tracking software, they will know exactly how much they’re being owed and when they have vacation time and what was their sick time.

Bookkeeping will be much easier, and your small business will grow exponentially. Integrate the tracking software and the time tracking software for ultimate efficiency and swiftness.

Always track business expenses

Brand growth is something everyone wants to feel, but not to experience. Why is this the case? When small businesses grow, there is another echelon of responsibilities that you have to take over.

Business expenses are just one of them. Even though you might feel good about having a bigger budget, you will find it annoying to file tax reports. Overspending is often a case, and precisely because of that, you need to track your business expenses.

When traveling, make sure you keep every receipt and categorize it accordingly. There are several apps that allow you to scan the receipts and store them on the cloud.

The move might seem simple, but it’s a bookkeeping tip that every small business can’t survive without. By tracking your business expenses, managing your budget and filing tax reports will be much easier.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

At the beginning of every company’s life, you can most certainly handle all numbers by using off-the-shelf software. However, once you start experiencing growth, you might feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of tasks needed.

Keeping track of everything is important, but many companies tend to shut down because they’re hesitant to hire a professional.

Although it may seem like hiring a professional bookkeeper is unnecessary spending, it’s a massive benefit that can save you a whole fortune. Letting a professional handle your bookkeeping will free up valuable time you can use to focus on making your business grow. Associating yourself with a professional is an investment for the future.

Have your deadlines and tax obligations in a visible place

Bookkeeping is both monitoring the growth of your company and working from deadline to deadline. From tax reports to building business credit, it’s always beneficial.

Tax reports have to be filed, but even the most important deadlines can be missed if you’re overwhelmed. Thus, before undertaking anything new, you should write down all upcoming deadlines and obligations.

Having visible dates will allow you to run your small business without unnecessary stress. Additionally, missing deadlines and ignoring obligations will only bring you problems with the law.

The IRS has many useful tools for calibrating your calendar. If you’re more of an old-fashioned person, you can write them down on a piece of paper. Knowing your deadlines allows you to plan accordingly and increase revenue.

To conclude

Every small business relies on impeccable bookkeeping. Implementing these tips will require minimal effort and bring you maximal results. Remember to always be organized, prepared, and aware of upcoming deadlines. With recent developments in technology, you will rely on software to do the heavy lifting. Just by implementing these tips, you will ensure a fast and beneficial period of business growth.

Guest Post: About the Author

Scott Mathews is a professional content writer in such topics as bookkeeping, work productivity and marketing. Scott`s the biggest passion is blogging and travelling. He regularly takes part in different career growth conferences and contributes his posts to different  websites. Contact him on Facebook and Twitter.

Starting a Home-Based Business: What You Need to Know

Starting a home-based business takes a lot of hard work, but for millions of Americans, it really pays off. More and more people are discovering the possibilities of being small business owners on their own terms as the nine-to-five workday increasingly becomes a thing of the past. Even large companies are hiring freelancers who can work remotely in order to save on costs, from insurance to office space.

Growing a business from your home can be extremely lucrative and rewarding, but it has to start with careful planning in order to work. Not only do you have to be very focused and have goals set from the beginning, you also have to remain motivated throughout the process of garnering clients and expanding your business. Fortunately, there are several tools at your disposal, from websites to grants and other funding opportunities.

Keep reading to find out how you can start a home-based business and what you need to succeed.

Know Your Stuff

Before you start thinking about the details, it’s important to look at big-picture things first. You’ll want to be very knowledgeable when it comes to the area you want your business to be in, and you’ll need some experience, too. Very few entrepreneurs have found success with a business that they’ve never worked with before. For instance, if you want to become a consultant, you need to be well educated in whatever area you want to consult in, acquire the right licenses and certifications, and stay patient as you grow your business. Keeping realistic expectations is imperative for entrepreneurs.

Hire the Right Help

Depending on the nature of your business, it may be in your best interest to hire people to get yourself up and running, and keep it operating as a successful venture once it’s fully launched. Even if you plan an independent business that you fully oversee, ask yourself if there are people you can recruit to make you stand out among the competition. For example, if you’re going to be selling handmade works of art on a site like Etsy, should you hire a professional photographer to take eye-catching photos of your products? Has your company grown so successful that you need a second (or third or fourth) set of hands to help you create your crafts? Think about what types of employees will take your business to the next level, and then start lining up interviews. Be sure you’ve adequately prepared yourself on the job interview process by doing your research on what to ask, what you can’t legally inquire about, and what to look for in a candidate.

Stay Productive

One of the hardest things about running your own business is having to stay productive all the time on your own, with no one to motivate you. You have to be your own cheerleader, which means it’s extra important to create a space in which you can work efficiently. This includes setting up a home office without distractions and making the most of natural lighting, which can boost your energy and keep things running smoothly. It’s also important to make sure you have the right equipment for the jobs you’ll be doing; you can’t expect success if you don’t start with the right tools.

Network

Starting a home-based business usually means you can make your own schedule and set your own rules, but it also means a lot of solitude and not much time spent checking out other businesses. Networking is important to entrepreneurs because it allows them to make connections with like-minded people that could be useful now or down the road, and it also provides a support system that is helpful in the first few years of owning a business. Get online and create a web presence on social media; Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn are all great places to start. You can also check out conventions and similar businesses that are local.

Keep Your Personal and Business Lives Separate

It can sometimes be difficult to separate your personal and business lives, especially if your office is inside your home, but it’s imperative that you do everything you can to draw a line between the two. This means having separate bank accounts, keeping different sets of books, and making sure your tax liabilities are taken care of. Getting organized and keeping excellent records will help, as will having business credit cards and email addresses.

Starting a home-based business can be a very lucrative venture for you, but only if you put in the work. Start with a solid plan — talk to someone who’s been doing it for a while to get some advice — and use all the tools at your disposal to build up your company.

Guest Post: About the Author

Brittany has spent over 20 years as a CPA, and is writing a book about financial literacy. She also runs Financiallywell.info.

Looking to start a business? Be sure your budget is in order with our Business Budget Smart Sheet available for FREE download!

5 Online Courses to Develop Your Management Skills

As a business owner,  it is important to have the developed skills of a leader alongside other hard skills that will benefit your company. Nowadays, people learn various stuff online, from foreign languages to cooking and programming.  There are hundreds of courses available online and most of them are free. Those that have to be paid for, are still significantly cheaper than offline lessons. Browse this list of 5 of the most effective online courses that will turn you into an awesome leader in no time!

Becoming a manager, Lynda

Lynda is an online learning platform developed by LinkedIn. It offers 1 month free trial and you can try any of the lessons for this period. Taking a course will give you a good idea of the qualities a good manager must possess to be useful for the team and company in general. During this time, you’ll get to know your strengths, discover your personal motivation, and learn how to build a good relationship between you and your employees. Also, you will learn how to hire the right people, how to connect, motivate and engage with your team, and act as a coach and role model for your team.

Management course, Alison

Courses on Alison are specialized to suit your own needs. Here we suggest you try not only one lesson, but complete all three courses to make sure that you’re becoming a qualified specialist. Whether you focus on managing people, individual projects, quality, or corporate leadership, there is an opportunity for you to learn from these courses. You can also try a diploma program that is offered in specialty areas. Taking these programs will ensure your success in the field.

Beginning Project Management, Udemy

In this course at Udemy, you will learn the absolute basics of Private Management. You’ll discover the big picture of it and its life cycle. By the end of the program, you’ll have a great grasp of what Private Management is about, what your roles and responsibilities as a Private Manager will be, and how to move forward in your career.

Growing as a Manager, Future Learn

What differs this program from the previous ones in this list? It has been developed by The Open University Business School – a pioneering institution that is triple accredited by Chartered Management Institute (CMI) – the leading authority on leadership in the UK. Even if you are not planning to work in Great Britain, this online certification will turn your professional skills to the new level.

Business Strategy, EDX

A qualified business owner must not be only the leader and a good team player. They must know how to develop the business. One of the fundamentals of professional development for managers is mastering of business strategy essentials. What helps people to improve their position in the marketplace? A good strategy does. To execute an effective strategy, a specialist must have a grasp of specific tools and frameworks. That is exactly what Business strategy course from Wharton will give to you. Here you’ll gain knowledge that will make you competent enough to evaluate your strategic environment in the present and the future, and engage you in a strategic planning process that works.

Guest Post: About the Author 

Judy Nelson is a writer at https://eduzaurus.com/ whose main topics are dedicated to management issues of different kinds. She used to share her thoughts with all those who were interested in getting useful information on business topics mostly. Her life motto is: “A good leader has to have a purpose that is larger than his daily duties are, and the balanced personality and skills to put that purpose into action.”