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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.”

Five Tips to Be a Happier, More Balanced Business Owner

If you run a small business, you probably have become accustomed to working hard….really hard. Seven-days-a-week hard, with nary a day off. Admirable, but also dangerous, because you risk burnout, health problems, and grumbling employees. It’s up to you to create a healthier work-life balance, so here are five tips to get you started:

Shorten your workweek:

Nowadays, many business owners feel guilty if they work less than 10 hours a day, including weekends. This is sure to exhaust your mind and hamper your creativity. If you want to increase your productivity, shorten your workweek. Put in no more than 40 per week and try to not work on weekends. Remember, sitting at your desk for long hours doesn’t equate to productivity. Work the hours you actually need to and relax the rest of the time.

Use technology:

We live in the high-tech era, so let technology do some of the heavy lifting for you. Automate your workday with a suite of apps that collect, process and distribute information. AI apps can automatically generate your Twitter tweets, schedule your appointments and alert you to important news. Update your old apps – email campaigns are much more sophisticated than they were five years ago, so use a modern app to manage your email marketing.

Enter the cloud:

Are your data and apps still residing on a hard disk on your computer? That’s a shame, because migrating to the cloud opens up all sorts of possibilities that can make you more productive and save you time. Look at apps like accounting, CRM, design and development. They need to share data to operate most efficiently. By putting your databases on the cloud, you can take advantage of scalable software that is constantly updated and doesn’t take up valuable real estate on your computer.

Take a vacation:

If you feel you are indispensable all the time, you’ll never get any time off. You deserve a vacation, and two weeks of sun and fun will do wonders for helping you get through the remaining 50. Pick your least busy time of year, and either close up shop or assign tasks to employees you can trust. Maybe two weeks is out of reach right now, but try to get at least three or four days in a block, and build from there.

Stop fretting about money:

Many small businesses have variable cash flows that sometimes leaves them cash-starved. This constant worry will drain all the joy out of being a business owner. The solution is to create a relationship with a trustworthy business lender, like IOU Financial. You can borrow and pay back quickly on convenient terms, with never a pre-payment penalty. Daily or weekly payments mean no large monthly lump-sum repayments to worry about. And with loans up to $300,000, we can give you peace of mind for just about any circumstance.

You started your own business to make money, be your own boss and do things the way you want. But wasn’t the ultimate goal to achieve a happy life? Don’t wait until it’s too late – add some joy to your life right now. Adopt our five tips, plus ones you come across in other articles. If you work with a team, what better way to demonstrate the value you place on work-life balance than to practice it yourself? Protect yourself from burnout now, and you’re more likely to happily remain in business over the long run.

Small Business Best Practices 2018

Best practices involve business owners finding and using ideas from outside their company to help improve performance and morale in the workforce. Operating a small business can be a challenging process at times, but small businesses can receive substantial benefits through professional development. Here is a list of the best practices that small business owners should focus on this year:

Have A Solid Foundation

Being successful starts at the core of the business. Owners should make sure that they have a solid team in place. Small business owners should look to hire people who share their passion and dedication to achieving success. Owners should hire employees based on the demand for their services. Small business owners should only consider hiring someone when the business is suffering from being short staffed.

Set Clear Expectations

Setting clear expectations for all employees and demanding accountability can make a huge impact. Small business owners should consider bringing all the managers and executives together monthly to discuss each department in the business. This is a good opportunity for small business owners to give and receive feedback.

Be Punctual

A common trait among successful business owners is that they are always on time. Staying on time will help small business owners develop better relationships with their partners and clients. Punctuality holds the business owner accountable and helps your day run a little bit smoother.

Small business owners should respond to any questions or concerns that a customer has in a timely manner. The faster that the business responds, the more impressed a customer will be.

Avoid only responding when a client initiates the dialogue. Try to answer questions in advance. Never let a client feel that the business doesn’t value their support.

Avoid Getting an Ego

Many small business owners can be stubborn at times. However, the most successful owners aren’t bothered by criticism or feedback. Business owners must be good listeners, willing to accept that things may not be going well and focus on the changes that need to be made.

Use Updated Technology

Running a business can be complex at times, as there are multiple variables that can impact outcomes. Small business owners should rely on data. Using data based decision making allows small business owners to take an objective viewpoint and keep track of important records. Protect yourself and your employees by installing cyber security systems.

Document Everything

When small business owners provide clear documentation for everything, that promotes transparency. Employees should have a clear idea of what is being asked of them. Documentation makes it easy for owners to bring on new employees while also stopping the business from being over reliant on a few employees.

Market Your Business

Your small business may not be a branding giant but there are small marketing steps to take to make your business more visible.

  • Stay active on social media accounts
  • Use paid advertising
  • Promote special events or sales
  • Make sure your contact information is updated and available

Marketing your business will increase revenue and your customers while also helping you connect to the community around you.

Always Think About the Future

Small business owners should incorporate policies that will be successful right now and in the coming years down the line. Owners should constantly look ahead so that they can continue evolving and avoid becoming outdated. Stay consistent and focus on the longevity of your business.

Emphasizing Customer Service

The most successful businesses have made proving excellent customer service a major point of emphasis. Dealing with unhappy customers is something that every business will have to deal with at some point. If the business handles the complaint with professionalism, that will enhance their reputation in the industry.

Save Money

Small business owners should try to put aside at least $1,000 to $1,500 a month. That way they can have a peace of mind concerning their finances and avoid fears of going out of business. Many business owners have said that getting their finances in order has helped their relationships with vendors.

Embody Your Mission Statement

Create a mission statement if you do not already have and let that be the heart of your business. Small business owners should enjoy the process of creativity. People and products are important, look to surround yourself with good people and strive to create innovative products.

Guest Post: About the Author

Brittany Waddell is a contributing writer and media specialist for NextGen Wealth. She often produces content for a variety of business blogs.

How to Prepare Your E-commerce Business for the Holidays

The holidays are upon us! While you may just be getting ready for Halloween, it’s vital to start thinking beyond that to prepare your e-commerce business for the winter holidays. In fact, most marketing experts believe that July is the right time to start planning, so if you haven’t yet, you’re already behind!

The holiday season can be an extremely profitable time for your business if you are smart about your strategy! Shoppers spent over $108 billion online during the holiday season last year, with online sales growing faster than traditional retail sales from year to year! To capitalize on that momentum, utilize the following strategies to get the most out seasonal promotional opportunities:

Create Holiday Strategies

Although we like to call the events starting from November to January, “the holidays,” it’s important to celebrate and plan for each one. The holiday season includes:

  • Thanksgiving
  • Black Friday
  • Cyber Monday
  • Christmas Eve
  • Christmas Day
  • New Year’s

Prepare a unique seasonal campaign for each holiday to offer your customers unique offers, products and designs to keep them coming back for more instead of making a single purchase.

Be Prepared

If all goes well, you will make record sales this holiday season. However, marketing your brand is only the first step to success. You must make sure that your business is prepared to deliver on the sales to keep up with customer demand.

Evaluate how much inventory you have in stock, and how quickly you can order more. It’s advantageous to reach out to your suppliers to inquire about their estimates for inventory during this time. They may very well sell out of popular items, leaving you in a lurch if you need to order something last minute and are not able to.

Many shoppers purchase last minute items, which is why you should consider offering different shipping options.  You may see an increase in sales if you allow your customers to get their deliveries in as little as 1 to 2 business days.  Research how much it would cost you to ship your items faster, and make sure to include those options on your sales page.

In preparation of increased orders around the holiday time, create your staff schedules early on, and make sure your employees commit to those schedules. People tend to take time off around the holidays, which is why you must make sure you have a sufficient number of workers ready to receive and prepare orders to go out.

Save

For any business to make money, it must first spend money. As such, you should save a considerable amount of money to both market and sell your products.

You will likely see an  increase in conversion rates during the holidays, but that also means that you will see more ad competition on social media. However, if you plan early, you can purchase ad inventory at lower prices than if you wait until the last minute.

If you simply cannot afford to compete with others for ads during this time, utilize other  resources to promote engagement. Start building an email list now so you have a completely free way to reach out to your customers to alert them about special deals and exclusive offers.

SEO

Online shoppers use seasonal keywords to shop for their products. Consider how your target shoppers would find your site, and optimize your content for those keywords.

They may include:

  • “Best Christmas gifts for teenagers”
  • “Funny holiday gifts”
  • “Employee holiday gifts”

Use Google Keyword Planner to search for keywords relevant to your niche, and try to choose the ones with the lowest competition and the highest monthly searches.

You can create Pay-Per-Click (PPC) campaigns and bid for shoppers to click on your link, or you can add those keywords to your blogs, video descriptions and social media posts to encourage engagement for little to no investment.

People love to spend money around the holiday time, and you should consider how you can encourage them to do it on your site! The strategies outlined in this article are the first steps you should take to prepare. If you need financial help in investing in your business during this time, contact IOU Financial. We work with small and medium-sized businesses to fund their goals with loans up to $300,000.

Are You Interviewing Wrong?

When a valuable employee has moved on from your organization, or there is a need for additional manpower to handle growing responsibilities, management may want to fill that position as soon as possible. However, it is imperative to give this process the time it deserves in order to hire a candidate that would fit all the criteria needed to make a valuable addition to the team.

It’s frustrating when a new hire doesn’t work out, and this can negatively affect the team’s productivity and company culture. If your department doesn’t seem to be able to hold onto new hires for a reasonable time, it’s time to consider if you may be interviewing wrong. Learning better strategies to this process will help you choose the right candidate from the get go.

Interview Mistake #1: Choosing Someone You Like

As people, we tend to gravitate towards people we like, typically those that are similar to us. You may bond with a person because they are from your hometown, or like the same sports team. While it’s important to like your colleagues, you must strive to use objective criteria instead of subjective criteria during the interview.

It may be advantageous to utilize a job screening assessment when recruiting new employees. This is a test that evaluates a potential candidate’s knowledge and skills in a specific area. Whether you choose a computer test or a paper test, the answers will give you a comprehensive view of the person’s expertise in the area, and a preview of how valuable they could be to the team.

That being said, it’s also not a good idea to hire someone when you have no gut feeling that they will work out. If a person seems rude, arrogant or simply disinterested, don’t hire them just because they aced their job assessment.

Interview Mistake #2: Not Asking for Input From Multiple People

Most employees don’t meet their new colleague until their first day on the job, which is too late for them to provide their input. Instead of single handedly selecting a new employee, utilize the peer-to-peer interviewing technique, which allows existing employees to interview potential candidates on a one-on-one-basis.

This provides several benefits to both the interviewer and the interviewee; your staff members can evaluate their potential new coworker and ask questions to see how they would fit into the team. The interviewee can use the opportunity to ask questions about the working hours, management style, and typical day on the job which they may not have been comfortable asking leadership.

Improving your interview process with simple adjustments can help you make a better decision about bringing on the right candidate. Remember to discuss the criteria most important to the team, and focus on assessing whether the individual meets those criteria.

Guest post: About the Author

Grace Ma is a Managing Director at Ex-Consultants Agency (ECA). ECA is a specialized executive search firm that focuses on placing former management consultants into project-based and full-time roles. Before joining ECA, Grace worked as an Engagement Manager at Strategy& (formerly Booz & Company) and VP of Strategy at JPMorgan Chase & Co.

3 Must-Haves for Smooth Running Operations

This is an exciting time to manage a business—technological advances and new opportunities due to increased globalization lead to greater profits, innovative business models and new customer bases. However, increased competition and higher demands from customers create new challenges for managers and business owners that leave some unsure as to what goals are right for them.

One of the most vital answers to running a successful business in current times is streamlined operations. When staff is properly trained and motivated, smart systems are in place and customer demands are met—the company is headed on a positive path. To keep your operations running smoothly, make sure you focus on the following three must haves:

No Single Point of Failure

One of the most common pitfalls that stagnate growth is a single point of failure in any aspect of operations. Most companies train specific employees in different areas of the business; however, when an unforeseen emergency arises preventing them from their duties, no one else is able to take over their responsibilities.

To prevent this from occurring at your workplace, work with Human Resources to cross train your workers. Additionally, it may be advantageous to switch teams within your organization, thus allowing different team members to handle various aspects of the operations.

This practice would prevent a single point of failure and would make certain that there is always someone at the workplace that can take over for a colleague should they be unavailable for work.

Automation

Operations are always at risk for human failure, which is why automating processes with the latest technological offerings is a beneficial way to streamline this area of your business. Although automating processes usually involves a high upfront cost to purchase software, integrate it into your routines and train staff, the return on your investment (ROI) is usually significant.

Automation leads to higher productivity, reduced costs, better customer service and reduction in errors. It is important to note that even artificial intelligence and machine make errors, so designating a team to review these operations on a regular basis is imperative to running a tight ship.

Motivate Employees

Your business is nothing without its employees, and successful operations result from motivated and empowered staff. An employee who comes to work daily and gets away with minimal effort is one that is failed by management.

Create incentives to encourage your employees to work hard, be proactive and creative instead of those that are satisfied with the status quo. Maintain that with constant feedback, recognition and rewards for your highers performers—the more invested your employees are in the success of your company, the smoother your operations will be!

It’s always a good idea to invest financially into projects and strategies that will streamline your operations. IOU Financial is ready to offer financial help into your endeavour. Contact us today to inquire about our quick and easy business loans.

 

Five Tips for More Productive Meetings

Meetings are necessary at the office, but the truth is that everyone dreads them. They tend to get a bad rep for being overly long, boring and often unnecessary. You don’t have to follow the same status quo when it comes to having meetings, you can implement ways to make them more productive with these tips:

Time Meetings

It’s been found that “64% of meetings last more than an hour, with 39% of all meetings exceeding 90 minutes. With the length of these meetings, it’s no wonder that most of us cringe when we get a meeting request.

The duration of meetings don’t match with scientific evidence about our ability to concentrate before getting bored or distracted, which is anywhere between 10 and 18 minutes (fun fact, this is why Ted Talks are 18 minutes or less).

Many modern managers are limiting meetings at 15 minutes, which increases productivity as employees are more alert and able to follow along.

Create an Agenda

Some teams are so used to holding weekly meetings that they forget that it is not a necessity. To make the meeting more productive, require that the organizer create an agenda, which is distributed a few days prior to the meeting. No agenda = no meeting!

This is imperative so that everyone understands the relevancy of the meeting, and only the required employees attend instead of everyone in the department. This also lets the attendees prepare instead of being surprised during the meeting.

Stick to the Agenda

There are a lot of moving parts in an office, and it’s easy to get sidetracked. However, to optimize the meeting in the time you have, stick only to the items on the agenda.

This will structure the meeting and sidestep any unnecessary conversations, which will simply waste time. Designate a person who will be responsible for monitoring chatter, and cut off those that go off topic.

Stand Up During the Meeting

A meeting doesn’t have to be confined to a conference room with chairs. To make the meeting more efficient, require that the attendees stand up. This has several benefits—the first being that we sit too long during the day, which leads to physical and health-related issues.

The second benefit is that after a while, we get tired of standing, and we try our best to end the meeting so we can get back to our comfortable chairs.

The third advantage, and perhaps the biggest one, is that standing allows us to be more creative, energetic and collaborative than sitting.

Create an Action Plan

It’s important to discuss topics during the meeting, but don’t dismiss your employees without creating a game plan on what happens next. Otherwise, you’ll just meet next time without any progress having been made.

In addition to creating goals, distribute a follow up email after every meeting to summarize what was discuss and outline objectives with due dates so everyone is on the same page.

If you are invested in making positive changes within your company and could benefit from a small business loan, IOU Financial can help. We offer quick and hassle-free loans of up to $300,000 in 24-48 hours.

How to Choose the Right POS System

It’s safe to say that we’ve finally reached a point where hard cash and cash registers have become rather obsolete. Even credit card processing systems and hardware don’t do the trick anymore and, considering how technology has progressed over the years, and it’s not surprising in the slightest.

Making the correct choice when it comes to new and state-of-the-art POS systems requires some knowledge and skill. The big issue people have here is that there are many different, yet effective platforms that offer POS solutions. So, which one is the best one? In this review, we’ll be talking about what to look out for when choosing your first POS system. Here’s what you need to do:

Define the Needs of your Business

First thing’s first – you’ll need to openly define what you want with your business and what it needs. This includes functions, features, services, inventory, the checkout process, and even customer management and relationship. The thing is, not all POS systems can support what you’re looking for, so this should hopefully sift all the incompatible ones right away and leave you with the ones that are capable of fulfilling the needs of your business.

Additionally, have a chat with your employees – their opinion and happiness (as well as efficiency and productivity) matter as well.

Set a Budget

It’s no surprise that you won’t have unlimited resources to deal with so setting a budget is crucial. It all depends on the size of your business and what you need from a POS system. Your usual desktop-based programs and software require between $1,200 and $2,500 for a license (for a single user).

There are also cloud-based POS systems that are vastly superior to traditional ones and can range from being free to around $50-$200 a month (again, depends on the complexity and size of the business).

Audit and Compare POS Systems

Try to find some industry feedback and reviews on POS systems to get a feel for what is good and what isn’t. Experiences also matter (as for everything in life) so be sure to talk to other retailers that have opted for a POS system. There are many ways to do this, and it’s up to you – ask up front, search LinkedIn, check on forums, and even call vendors to see how they’ve chosen the correct POS system.

Get the Set-up Right

When you’ve finally reached a decision on which POS system you want, it’s time to set it up as best as possible. This means getting all the crucial software and equipment. The set-up itself depends on what kind of POS you’ve chosen (alongside the requirements and size of the business). The POS vendor should give you instructions on how to set it up but, if you run into any issues, make sure to contact them for help. It’s better to get it right from the start than trying to figure out what’s wrong and fixing it.

Make the Most of your POS System

Once the system is in place and ready to start working, you’ll want to maximize its efficiency and use. This comes down to picking and getting apps, extra POS-enhancing hardware, and various add-ons. A great idea that you should practice is to establish a warm relationship with your POS vendor as, not only will they help you with servicing the POS system, they’ll also be there for you to give a hand in expanding your expertise and business.

Conclusion

The truth of the matter is, choosing and setting up a POS system isn’t easy, and you probably won’t be able to do it yourself. You’ll need all the help you can get, but once it’s up and running, it gets easier. Remember – keep your POS vendor close for the reasons we already mentioned. You don’t want to be left alone with a faulty POS system that might be very easy to fix if only you contact the vendor. If you need help – ask; there’s nothing wrong with having someone else give you a hand!

 

Guest post: About the Author

With over 10 years in the financial vertical, focusing mainly on debt, Kevin Tomlinson is an experienced writer with the best tips and tricks for dealing with debt of any sort.

Finance 101: Keeping Your Business Finances Organized

Managing your company’s finances is the most important part of running a business. Surprisingly, some business owners don’t know the first thing about organizing their finances. This is not only a problem because they can’t pinpoint exactly how much loss or profit they generate in a year, but for other, more serious concerns.

Companies often experience negative cash flows, especially during the startup phase. Some businesses are seasonal, and need a cash reserve to carry them through the slower months. If your business thrives, it will need an investment of funds to sustain growth.

If there is no management of funds, financial planning and savings, it can be detrimental to a business. In this article, we present Finance 101: Keeping your business organized with these tips:

Separate Personal and Business Finances

This may seem like no brainer, but many small business owners don’t realize they must maintain their personal and business finances separately. They charge both types of expenses on the same credit card, finance their business goals with personal loans and transfer profits into their personal banking account.

This presents a major headache at tax time, when either the business owner or their tax accountant must separate every expense into different categories, causing confusion. Plus, fusing finances can raise a red flag and lead IRS to audit your business.

Invest into Accounting Software

If you cannot afford to hire a dedicated accountant to manage your business expenses, purchase accounting software. Although there is likely to be a small learning curve with every new program, this is an efficient way to enter all of your spending, sales, payroll information, etc.

If the software is cloud-based, it will securely maintain your records online, making them accessible anywhere at anytime. This will cut down on your paper usage and make it much more efficient to view and change your financial information at any time.

Register for an Employer Identification Number (EIN)

Just as you require a social security number (SSN) to open personal accounts or register for government issued documents, your business needs its own tax number, called an EIN. You can easily apply for an EIN on the IRS website for free by following this link. This will be required to open credit cards and financial accounts, as well as retirement plans.

Consult a Professional

Every state and some cities have different laws and regulations about running a business. To make sure you are in compliance with these rules, are filing your taxes properly and know the ins and outs of payroll law, it is advantageous to consult a professional about these matters at least once per year.

These can involve certified public accountants (CPA), labor law attorneys and Human Resource administrators. You are not required to hire these professionals on permanently, but can use their services on an as-needed basis.

Although you will need to pay for their expertise, making sure you are following the law will save you from paying penalties or risk ruining your brand image and losing your business.

IOU Financial is committed to helping small businesses become financially secure. We specialize in hassle-free, easy and secure small business loans of up to $300,000. Contact us today at www.ioufinancial.com to speak to us about qualifying for our loans.