Are you a Bookkeeper or a Rainmaker?

Are you a Bookkeeper or a Rainmaker?

May I ask you a very honest question? Are you a bookkeeper or are you a “rainmaker”? You’re the owner of a small business or in a key position to decide who does your bookkeeping; so, why would any small business attempt to do their own bookkeeping? We often hear “how hard can it be?” OR “I can save a few hundred dollars and do it myself”. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this because, intuitively, as business-people, we often perceive we can do it all or learn it all. Of course, as a bookkeeping specialist, my question is quite rhetorical – you are a rainmaker, not a bookkeeper.

A rainmaker is someone who “makes it rain” within their organization. Most often this is the face of the company initially such as the business owner. Time and opportunity costs are hard to measure so the safest bet is to make the best use of your time to get yourself or key selling personnel in front of good prospects meanwhile tasks such as bookkeeping are best assigned to specialists.

Bookkeeping is an acquired skill with a flair for numbers and a good bookkeeper can see your numbers dancing on paper. Trust and acumen go hand-in-hand when selecting a bookkeeper. An even better bookkeeper will tell you exactly what you need to do to develop the best outcomes for your tax preparation. And the best bookkeepers will not waver from the best-practices and “how they get the job done” for you month after month after month.

When your business retains a great bookkeeper, you will notice a few things will become very apparent. First, you will quickly realize this is a task left to us number-crunchers. Next, your time will quickly be reallocated to making it rain! You will also know your numbers as you never did before. You will have better tools to plan forecasts for the future or make needed course corrections financially. Finally, you will be able to work more closely with your CPA, Accountant or Tax-planner so you can hopefully be in a better position to lower your tax liabilities for your business.

At Shabro Alternative Office Solutions, our staff is addicted to numbers. We love bookkeeping. You may begin this journey with boxes and boxes of receipts, credit card statements and bank statements and that’s OK! After we get you straightened out, set-up your Quickbooks and get a few months under your belt, you will wonder why you ever thought you could (or should) be a bookkeeper when you really are a rainmaker!

When you are ready to make it rain, leave the bookkeeping to us so you can do what you do best! Call us at (239) 437-3016 to schedule your complimentary consultation in our office to learn more about our bookkeeping, HR (human resource) and payroll services.

The Small Business Owner’s Guide to Filing Your Taxes

How can I make filing my small business’s taxes easier?

Tax season is always a stressful time of year for Americans across the country. As an entrepreneur myself, I know firsthand how much weight the added complexities of owning your own business can add to our already over-loaded shoulders.

From sales records and Profit and Loss statements to inventory records and receipts for deductions, the sheer number of documents and amount of data involved can seem like the stuff of nightmares. However, with a little bit of organization, planning and expert bookkeeping, tax season can be relatively painless, even for the busiest of small business owners. In this blog post we will discuss three strategies to make your life a whole lot easier!

Utilize a Small Business Tax Calendar

A small business tax calendar can be an entrepreneur’s best friend. Filing your business’s taxes is all about planning and organization and when it comes to preparing for and meeting essential deadlines, nothing can beat the good ol’ fashioned calendar. As quaint as it may seem, it is absolutely vital to keep a thoroughly documented calendar that contains a clear record of both your tax-related appointments (accountants, bookkeepers, attorneys, business partners, etc.), as well as each and every deadline for which you are legally mandated to submit both your own and your business’s detailed financial records. Being diligent about keeping your calendar up-to-date (AND sticking to it!) will not only make your life a lot easier to handle, it can, quite frankly, be a financial life saver.

For your convenience, a detailed list of the numerous obligatory deadlines for submission, as dictated by the The Internal Revenue Service of the United States of America, for the months of March and April, 2019 can be found here:

Small Business Owners Bookkeeping and Tax Checklist (March – April 2019)

Keep Your Financial Records Diligently Organized and Up-to-Date

Despite the fact that records from the Internal Revenue Service indicate that nearly a quarter of the US population waits until the last 14 days before the filing deadline to submit their taxes, I assure you, procrastinating on your taxes is NEVER a good idea, especially true for small business owners!

One of the most common “reasons” people cite for their procrastination is that they have trouble locating all the necessary documents and data required to complete the task (in my opinion, this is simply an excuse, not a legitimate reason…thus the quotations). I’m sure you’ve all heard the old anecdote that, “A failure to plan, is a plan to fail”; well, in regards to your small business’s taxes, I can’t stress enough how incredibly true that old piece of practical wisdom really is. As a small business owner, it is incredibly important you are consistently keeping a very thorough and well-organized record of your company’s finances, including (but certainly not limited to):

  • Gross receipts from all sales or services rendered
  • Records relating to personal use of assets
  • Detailed accounting of all income and expenses
  • Returns and allowances
  • Inventory accounting
  • Interest earned from your business’s checking and/or savings accounts (Form 1099-INT)
  • Documentation of any deduction you wish to claim

And the list goes on and on and on… The systemic failure to faithfully keep your business’s bookkeeping and accounting records up-to-date and very well-organized leads to nothing but trouble. Not only could you be missing out on deductions and exposing yourself to a higher than necessary tax liability, if you did happen to get audited the resulting consequences of your careless bookkeeping could potentially prove to be absolutely catastrophic to both your company’s AND your personal finances.

Maximize Your Deductions and Minimize Your Tax Liability Using a Bookkeeping Service

Hiring a reputable, local bookkeeping service is absolutely essential to ensuring that your business’s finances are kept meticulously organized and up-to-date. ShaBro Alternative Office Solutions has been providing professional bookkeeping services for Southwest Florida small business owners for over a decade, helping dozens of companies maximize their deductions and minimize their tax liabilities. So, this year, do yourself a favor and avoid putting yourself through the unnecessary stress and anxiety that inevitably accompanies tax season…

Give us a call today and let ShaBro Alternative Office Solutions handle all of your small business’s bookkeeping needs, so that you can focus on what you do best, running your business! (239) 437-3016

3 Easy Ways to Boost Employee Morale and Reduce Turnover

Super Fast Morale Boost Speedometer Words

Well, it’s official! Season is here and, as a Southwest Florida small business owner, you likely feel like there simply aren’t enough hours in the day. Busy days and late nights can result in very high levels of stress for any entrepreneur. That being said, its important to be cognizant of the fact that it’s not just you, the small business owner, who is feeling the pressure of this hectic time of year: your employees do too!

That’s why it’s especially important during this time of year to ensure that employee morale does not drop; after all, the last thing you need is to lose one of your best employees as the result of a decrease in morale. In this blog post we will discuss 3 easy ways to help keep your employees happy, productive and loving their jobs.

Foster an Environment That Encourages the Free Flow of Ideas

Every employee wants to feel like they are a valued part of the team, and nothing alienates a staff member as much as a workplace culture that does not encourage the free flow of ideas; or worse yet, one in which employees are reluctant (and, in some extreme cases, ever fearful) of bringing up new ideas to management.

To truly get the most out of your staff, it is absolutely essential to give them a real opportunity to provide suggestions and feedback, without fear of reprisal by management. This can be as simple as implementing an employee suggestion box or encouraging feedback via email; regardless of how you do it, ensuring your employees feel they have a voice in the company will do wonders for reducing employee turnover and improving morale.

Show That You Care

In addition to feeling valued professionally, study after study affirms the fact that when an employee feels their boss genuinely cares about them, on a personal level, productivity and morale soars! There are countless simple and cost-effective ways of doing this, such as:

  • Recognize and celebrate every staff members’ birthday
  • Take time out of your schedule to have non-work-related one-on-one meetings, to catch-up on what’s going on in each employee’s life outside of work
  • Surprise your team with a free lunch
  • Invite employees to join you for happy hour

Promote from Within

Most average employees are, for the most part, content with where they are. Yes, they certainly may expect a raise every year or so, but beyond that, many people are perfectly fine with punching-in, punching-out, going home and cashing their paycheck.

However, extraordinary employees tend to be quite a bit more ambitious. They strongly desire the opportunity to move up and grow within your company; and if they are not provided with such opportunities, their morale will drop significantly. This is especially problematic as most extraordinary employees are natural leaders whose opinions can carry great weight amongst their peers, meaning the drop in their own personal morale could potentially drag down that of the rest of your staff members as well. And worse yet, if an extraordinary employee feels as if they have no opportunity to advance within your organization, they will more than likely move on to greener pastures. By promoting from within, you will demonstrate that you are committed to providing your staff with the chance to be upwardly mobile and grow with the company.

Shabro Alternative Office Solutions has extensive experience with workplace dynamics and human resource management. If you feel you or your organization could benefit from our services in the areas of human resources, payroll or bookkeeping please contact us today. (239) 437-3016

The True Cost of Payroll

How much does payroll cost small business owners?

One of the most common questions I hear from clients, friends and fellow small business owners alike is, “How much does it cost to pay my employees?”.

Unfortunately, to really answer that question in a clear and accurate manner, there a few key concepts you need to understand first.

What Costs Are Associated with Payroll for a Small Business?

There are two different categories of costs associated with processing payroll for a small business; there are costs that are constant and there are costs that are variable. Once you have determined your constant and variable costs, then figuring out the true cost of paying your small business’s employees becomes a simple equation.

What Are Constant Costs?

Constant costs, in the context of this explanation, are expenses that are simply unavoidable. No matter what you do to try to reduce the expenses associated with your payroll, constant costs will always be there. There are 3 distinct constant costs involved when calculating payroll expenditures for a small business.

Salary

The first cost is the price of the labor itself. In other words, how much do you pay in employee wages each pay period? Naturally, for many small businesses there will be employees that have a labor cost that fluctuates pay period to pay period. Common examples are part-time employee who have schedules that change frequently, and any full-time employees that are paid hourly, but may work either slightly more or less than the standard 40 hours on any given week.

Regardless of the fact that this cost may fluctuate, it is still considered a constant cost because you will always have to pay your workforce for their labor. Calculate an average weekly wage for all of your employees, individually, add them all together and the result is the first constant cost of payroll your business must pay for, salary.

Payroll Taxes

Generally accredited to Benjamin Franklin, who, in 1789 wrote in a letter, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes”, this popular turn of phrase is likely one that you all have heard before. Your small business’s payroll certainly is no exception to Mr. Franklin’s old adage. This is an expense that will always exist in one form or another; thusly, we have identified the second constant cost of processing payroll for your small business, taxes.

Payroll Service Fees

When you sit down to do your company’s payroll, you are more than likely utilizing the services of two or more 3rd parties to accomplish the necessary tasks. The software programs used to input the payroll information into to your small business’s financial records definitely make life easier, but they also charge your licensing fee. Additionally, there are payroll service companies (EX: ADP) that handle the transferring of money between accounts, print checks, generate W-2s, etc. Those services are also not free either. A basic payroll service will charge your business per check that it is distributed, will collect a base account fee and charges for additional services like direct deposit and tax filing.

All the aforementioned expenses, in addition to accounting software subscriptions, are just simply the cost of doing business. As a business owner these tools and services are not optional; those expenses constitute the 3rd constant cost of involved in the processing of payroll, fees.

SALARY + TAXES + FEES = CONSTANT COST OF PAYROLL
(MONTHLY)

What Are the Variable Costs?

Variable costs are a bit more tricky. For the purpose of this blog think of a variable cost as a cost that every individual person out there would put their own price-tag on. It’s variable because it is not quantifiable in the strictly mathematical sense. With regards to you, as a small business owner that sits down at their desk and processes their own company’s payroll every pay period, you are likely receiving some sort of basic salary each month, in addition to any profits the company may produce. The cost of that salary is already factored into the equation under the constant cost of what you determined your company’s expense was for salary.

The variable cost you need to think about is what is known as an opportunity cost, and it is strictly determined on an individual basis and for one’s self. To determine the opportunity cost you have to ask yourself some serious questions and really reflect on your answers. Consider the following.:

  • How many hours each month does it take you to perform the tasks necessary to ensure you properly run your small business’s payroll?
  • If you weren’t fulfilling your company’s payroll obligations, how much more revenue could you have directly or indirectly generated for your business?
  • What projects could be finished or goals accomplished if you didn’t have to spend time on payroll each pay period?
  • In what other ways could my business benefit from the elimination of the administrative burden of payroll duties?

Now, expand a little more and start thinking outside of the world of your business:

  • What is something, not related to your business, that you could have been doing instead of doing payroll?
  • Would you have spent time with friends or family?
  • Would you have done an activity that leaves you feeling refreshed and less stressful?
  • What other aspects of your life do your small business’s payroll obligations take time away from?
  • Are my administrative payroll duties the best use of my time?

Think about your answers carefully. Consider the answers of those that can be numerically quantified and those that can’t. Based on your answers, you need to determine the value of the final element to the equation, (missed) opportunity cost.

With the equation complete you can quantify all aspects of the constant costs and come up with a numerical total. Take that number and add it to both the quantifiable and unquantifiable aspects of your opportunity cost analysis alikem and you have the true cost of payroll.

CONSTANT COST OF PAYROLL + OPPORTUNITY COST =
( + / – ) TRUE COST OF PAYROLL

Now answer one final question…Does the True Cost of Payroll come out to be a justifiable (+ / -) expense to both the company and its most important asset, you?

Why Do GREAT Employees Quit Their Jobs?
(You’ll Be Surprised At #7!!)

Employee Leaving Their Job

Nobody likes to lose talent, especially to their competition! We all know how hard it is to “find good people”. You believe you run a good business with sound policies and procedures and take good care of your staff, team, employees, etc. So, have you ever wondered why “good people” quit? What reasons do they give for leaving?
According to a recent article from Forbes, below are the top 10 reasons why GREAT employees quit their jobs. We have expanded on these reasons and offered some useful advice along the way…

1) They grow tired of arguing their positions. In other words, they grow tired of caring. Great employees are great because they have internal drivers that set them apart from most others. When great employees don’t feel wanted, needed or appreciated by management (their boss/superior) they will stop caring and find the path of lesser resistance which is typically finding work elsewhere where they believe they will be appreciated.

How to avoid this situation: INCLUDE great employees within management meetings and give them the floor for a few minutes to update management. INCLUDE great employees in management outings or special events. INCLUDE great employees in the development of policies/procedures or best-practices that help others do their jobs better.

2) They get tired of being overlooked and ignored. Great employees are great because they believe in what they are doing and feel like they’re working toward a common goal or vision which includes them. You need them worse than they need you and don’t forget that for a minute because in a pinch they will find employment elsewhere quicker than you could replace them.

How to avoid this situation: INCLUDE great employees within management discussions regarding operations. Also, be sure to promote great employees into deserved positions of greater responsibility rather holding them back because you’re concerned someone next won’t do as good of a job.

3) They lose faith in the leadership of the organization. Great employees are evaluating their superiors more than they themselves are being evaluated. Great employees easily envision themselves in greater roles of responsibility and stature. Once you lose your “locker-room” you will lose great players to the other team, your competition.

How to avoid this situation: As leaders, you should be keenly aware you walk-the-walk and talk-the-talk every day. You have the first boot on the ground and the last to leave. Never have the perception you “haven’t been there and done that”. Instill confidence and stand tall and lead by example. Fundamentals never go out of style!

4) They are exhausted! Great employees are work-horses but ride those horses too hard and they will get tired. Often great employees leave so they can find that greener grass and not be tasked into oblivion. Sure, who doesn’t like over-time BUT be careful because as you’ll see with #7 below, far fewer great employees leave because of pay.

How to avoid this situation: INCLUDE great employees with scheduling responsibilities. They know their areas of responsibility and may have input. Don’t be afraid to utilize others around your great employees to shoulder the workload so you don’t run your best horse into the ground.

5) They are fed up with internal politics! Great employees typically hang around longer and can tolerate more “stuff” than others. They see who gets promoted and when. Once enough of the boss’ buddies get promoted or family members get promoted before your great employee then you are asking for trouble. Business politics typically don’t play well with high-performers. Do you promote bureaucrats or people that can get the job done and develop others?

How to avoid this situation: Have a “kick butt” workplace mentality NOT a kiss butt workplace mentality! Evaluate and promote employees on merit and not who they know or how well they schmooze.

6) They have big ideas they want to implement. Great employees are great in part because they find unique ways to get betters results. Great employees want to share these ideas within the organization, so they feel they have contributed to the greater good and helped others along the way. Great employees will not stay around long when they feel their ideas that made them great performers are not worthy of utilizing within your organization.

How to avoid this situation: Always be on the lookout for better ways to do things better. Never fail to recognize the source of a good idea especially when it saves your company money or enables you to become more efficient. Public recognition with an award will go a long way to retaining your top-guns!

7) They are underpaid relative to your marketplace. It still holds true that people traditionally do not quit because of pay. Employers too often get caught up thinking their employees jump ship for pennies when this isn’t typically true.

How to avoid this situation: Do your homework. Be sure to be competitive. Remember it costs more to replace a great employee than to attract, hire, train and retain another. Plus, your lost productivity has a cost as well.

8) They can’t move up as quickly as your company’s structure will allow. Once the great employee feels they have hit a wall or the glass ceiling they will look for a bigger room or taller building. Be sure to engage them with other matters of real importance within your organization.

9) They want to change career paths and there aren’t any available within your company. A dead -end is a dead-end and a great employee will find a place with a longer road.

10) They want to work for themselves. Some great employees have an entrepreneurial spirit that cannot be held back at some point. You were once a great employee and now you own your own company, so we are sure you can relate to this point.

Shabro Alternative Office Solutions has extensive experience with workplace dynamics and human resource management. If you feel you or your organization could benefit from our services in the areas of human resources, payroll or bookkeeping please contact us today. (239) 437-3016

4th Quarter Checklist for Small Businesses

business accounting and finance concept

The 4th Fiscal Quarter is officially here and, as a small business owner, there are a number of things that you should be doing to not just maximize your company’s final quarter performance, but also to prepare yourself for the new year.

Maximizing your business’s earning potential during the final and first quarter of the year is especially important here in Southwest Florida, where a large portion of your sales are likely coming during “season”. In an effort to help you best prepare yourself for the road ahead, here is a “4th Quarter Checklist”, specifically created with Southwest Floridian business owners in mind.

1. Examine Your Sales Figures, Set Goals and Make Projections

Take a very close look at how your business has performed historically during the fourth fiscal quarter and compare those figures to where you are now. Comparing your current Profit & Loss statement with last year’s numbers (during the same period) will give you the chance to determine exactly how your business needs to perform during the final months of 2018 to reach, if not exceed, your annual goals. Take the time to double-check that all of your accounting is accurate and up-to-date, this will ensure that any goals you set, and projections you make, are based upon the most recently available data.

2. Adjust Your Staffing and Marketing Efforts Accordingly

We all know there is a massive influx in population during the final months of the year as we begin welcoming back all the seasonal residents that flock to our beautiful coastal community to escape the harsh winter weather. Couple that with the holiday shopping season, and it is easy to see why the fourth quarter is very often the busiest (and most profitable) time of year for many local businesses. Plan ahead, utilizing the goals and projections you’ve created, and hire any additional seasonal employees that are needed to ensure you have the resources necessary to keep up with the increased demand for your business’s products or services.

Additionally, take the time to review your current marketing efforts and consider how they could be adjusted to maximize your earning potential during this pivotal time of year. Utilize social media to drive customers to your website and to share any holiday specials or seasonal promotions you are running; doing so will not just result in higher exposure and increased brand awareness, but will also help increase sales and generate new leads.

3. Prepare for the New Year

Don’t fall into the trap of becoming so focused on finishing the year off with a “BANG”, that you fail to adequately prepare for 2019. This is especially important in regards to getting your financial house in order. Consult with your C.P.A., bookkeeper or tax preparation specialist to see what (if any) accounting records you need to update or review. As the fiscal year closes it is absolutely essential to begin preparing for tax season; do not procrastinate! The more you do now, the less stressed and better off you’ll be, come tax time.

At ShaBro Alternative Office Solutions we want you to focus on what YOU do best, which is growing your business and let ShaBro handle the rest.

Contact ShaBro Alternative Office Solutions today!

(239) 437-3016

sharon@shabroofficesolutions.com

It Really IS Hard to Find Good Help

Resume

As an entrepreneur, I am all too familiar with how difficult it can be to find good help, especially here in Southwest Florida! The process of hiring can be a very tedious and stressful undertaking for any small business owner. Sorting through seemingly never-ending stacks of resumes, weeding out under and un-qualified candidates, setting up and completing interviews…all of this takes a lot of time; and as a small business owner, your time is (quite literally) money.

The unfortunate fact of the matter is that Southwest Florida is experiencing a very real (and serious) shortage in the labor force right now. Those hit the hardest by this critical shortage are, generally speaking, the medical and construction industries; that being said, the difficulties associated with finding the right addition to your team is being felt by everyone from retail stores looking for seasonal employees to established companies searching for motivated young professionals.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could have access to the best human resource talent in your industry, with just a few simple phone calls? No more piles of applications. No more interviewing potential candidates. Nothing.

Well, I have good news for you, and EVERY Southwest Florida small business owner…there is an alternative!

At ShaBro Alternative Office Solutions we have a team of experienced human resource professionals who know all the pitfalls that you need to look out for when hiring a new staff member. We will assist you with the entire hiring process. From employee pre-screening and personality testing to interviewing and onboarding, the knowledgeable HR pros at ShaBro Alternative Office Solutions will help you to cut through the masses and find the talented, high-quality candidate that your small business needs AND deserves!

There really is no price tag that can be placed on hiring the best employee possible. So instead of wasting valuable time and resources trying to find your “unicorn”, leave it to our highly-trained human resource professionals. Not only will we make the entire hiring process easy and stress-free for you but, because we handle all the “heavy-lifting” per se, you will also be freed up to concentrate on working with and training the newest addition to your business.

At ShaBro Alternative Office Solutions we are always here for you. Because we want you to focus on what YOU do best, growing your business…just let ShaBro handle the rest!

For help with hiring, employee pre-screening, interviewing, personality testing and so much more, contact ShaBro Alternative Office Solutions today!

(239) 437-3016

sharon@shabroofficesolutions.com

Don’t Get So Busy Making A Living… That You Forget to Live!

Work Life Balance

As we near the end of summer, and rapidly approach the influx of seasonal residents, it is far too easy for entrepreneurs (including myself, admittedly) to lose sight of what really matters. We become so caught up in the day-to-day operations of running a business that we forget to make time for the most important things in our lives…spending time with our loved ones.

As a small business owner, your time is undoubtedly in very short supply. But finding a healthy work-life balance is absolutely essential to maintaining and nurturing the relationships you have in your personal life (family, friends, significant other, etc.); and the benefits don’t stop there! It also dramatically improves your mental and physical well-being and even enhances productivity, while preventing burnout. Here are a few ways to help you strike that perfect balance…

SCHEDULE EVERYTHING

If you want to live a truly satisfying and happy life, both personally and professionally, you must be intentional about it. Utilizing a calendar to organize your social schedule, and sticking to it (just as you would at work), lets you block-out specific times of the day and reserve them for activities that allow you to recharge.

RE-EXAMINE YOUR PRIORITIES

Take a moment and think about what really matters most in your life. Yes, there will always be some pressing business-related issue that you feel needs to be dealt with immediately; that’s the life we chose as entrepreneurs. But time doesn’t stop for anyone or anything…Children grow up, friends move away, older relatives pass-on and, when the relationship is not perceived to be a serious priority of yours, significant others and even spouses go in a different direction.

Make a concerted effort to set aside time for those you care about most and consciously ensure that you are not just physically, but MENTALLY present (Hint-Hint…PUT THE SMARTPHONE DOWN!!) during that time. And always remember…

“Only a life lived for others, is a life worthwhile”

-Albert Einstein

At ShaBro Office Solutions we are always here for you because we want you to focus on what you do best, growing your business…and let ShaBro handle the rest!

(239) 437-3016

Preparing Your Business for the Upcoming Season

Increased Business

The dog days of summer are rapidly coming to a close…for Southwest Florida business owners that means it’s time to gear up for the upcoming season.

Is your small business prepared to handle all of the snowbirds that will be flocking in?

If you answered with anything less than a confident and resounding, “YES!”, here are ways you can maximize your business’s earning potential during the seasonal sales peak…

ANALYZE DATA TO IDENTIFY TRENDS

One of the most important things you can do to prepare your small business for the upcoming seasonal surge is to thoroughly analyze your financial reports from the previous 3 years and identify seasonal trends.

Every small business is unique; as such, seasonality will inevitably impact every small business differently. Doing your research will allow you to gain better insight into how seasonality impacts each aspect of your business. Start by reviewing your sales data and identifying what your busiest days and hottest sellers were historically. Use this data to plan-out your staffing needs and inventory-acquisition accordingly, thus ensuring that you have the manpower and inventory to meet demand.

Although this may seem tedious, understanding how the ebb and flow of seasonal visitors affected your business in years prior is vital to successfully preparing yourself for the future.

MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR OFFSEASON

We all know how hectic things can get in the middle of the busy season, that is why it is of paramount importance that you utilize the summer offseason efficiently. Take this downtime as an opportunity to accomplish everything that you know you will not have the time to do in peak season when business is booming.

Make improvements to your property, grow your business through networking or attend an industry-related conference…whatever you do, do NOT just sit idly by and wait for the return of peak season.

BEGIN YOUR MARKETING EFFORTS EARLY

To truly maximize your business’s earning potential during the busy season, it is essential to get your brand’s message out PRIOR to its arrival. Email marketing and targeted social media campaigns are both great ways to preemptively engage with your customers; giving you a chance to re-connect with past patrons, build your brand awareness and nurture new relationships.

At ShaBro Office Solutions we are always here for you, through EVERY season, because we want you to focus on what you do best, growing your business…and let ShaBro handle the rest!

(239) 437-3016

Contact Shabro Office Solutions

Business Vital Signs Part 3

golden-parachute

Part 3 of 3

Planning! – Performance! – Parachute!

…a quick recap.

Thank you for returning for part 3 of 3 of “Business Vital Signs”. The 3 parts are:

  1. What is your business plan before you open?
  2. What are you doing to maximize profits while you operate?
  3. What is your exit plan?

Well, what IS your exit plan? Don’t feel bad nor be surprised if you have not put much thought into your “exit plan”. A quick scan of Google reveals the majority of businesses do not have an exit strategy at the time they desire to sell and that number is much higher when they open the doors.

Why would it be important to have an exit strategy / plan before you even open your doors or accept your first dollar? First and foremost, this puts you in the frame of mind that you should be working “on” your business and not just “in” your business. Yes, we completely understand many small business entrepreneurs ARE the face of there company or an integral component for the success of the day-to-day operations BUT at some point, you should have a growth plan that includes your migration from working as much “in” your business to a larger role of working “on” your business.

Below are several key factors to keep in mind when developing your “exit strategy” for your business:

  1. Planning – As Dr. Stephen Covey famously stated; “Begin with the end in mind”. This is where the planning of your business takes on its most important roles. Business planning before you open and forecasting your year-over-year accomplishments is key. Do NOT be afraid to put your finger on the calendar 5, 7 or 10 years in the future and write down that date. If it isn’t written down – it does not exist!
  2. Your Health & Your People – After your best laid plans are laid; one of the most important things to consider will be your overall health and to what extent you are involved along the way regarding your business and the day-to-day activities. IF you are an integral part of the day-to-day activities then you had better invest in your wellness early and be sure you are fit to not quit! Long days today should be the building blocks to working smarter versus harder. Building value within your business always begins and ends with your people and you are one of your people. Be sure to have an adequate succession plan in place that helps guide you through the people parts of growing your company year over year because if you don’t have your people in place at the time of your exit then your business will lack serious marketability.
  3. Building and Maintaining Value – All fiscal decisions carry consequences. Driving top-line sales while managing expenses may help your bottom-line BUT this isn’t the ONLY way to build and maintain value. A few other things to consider:
    • Your Online Presence – YES! Your digital online presence is an appreciating asset. Businesses “today” must have an effective digital online presence. Your brand, reputation and exposure are all reflective here. A business with an incredibly well-built and maintained online presence is worth more comparatively to a similar business at the time of sale that does not have an effective online presence!
    • Reputation – Believe it or not another intangible is your business reputation. It cannot be measured like a bank account or real estate BUT it can be a deal killer in a New York minute! Be ever mindful of your reputation on the ground as well as online.
    • Acquisitions – There’s an old saying that comes to mind; “finance appreciating assets and pay cash for depreciating assets”. There are times when it is cheaper to use other people’s money “financing” to better manage cash flow and then there will be times when it is best to buy outright that “thing” needed within your business at some particular time. When it is time to sell you will want a good balance between assets and cash.
    • Product and Service Development – Staying current with your product / service offerings will be crucial to your viability within the marketplace you serve. Outdated products or services that don’t solve problems for the consumer will affect your value not just along the way but certainly when you are ready to sell. Be sure to revisit your product offerings and your services at least once per quarter.
    • Strategic Alliances – There will come opportunities over time to develop strategic alliances with vendors and even others within your market space. For example, you may not serve a particular market segment as well as a competitor, so you must weight out your barrier to entry versus a potential collaboration effort. Often times this is where M&A seeds are planted which develop over time. Retaining a good business law attorney will be essential to protecting your interests.
  4. Focus and Flexibility – It is hard to walk and chew gum at the same time! The successful entrepreneur will master maintaining incredible focus on the target down-field 5,7 or 10 years AND demonstrate incredible flexibility to make minor and sometime major course-adjustments that are keeping you on course toward your exit strategy. Combining focus, with energy and the ability to “govern your passions” to think first and be flexible will pay many dividends down the road.

ShaBro Alternative Office Solutions loves to put plan to paper and then into ACTION! Budding entrepreneurs need planning and an exit strategy and so does the seasoned-business veteran wanting to sail off into the sunset someday. Do not wait until you “have” to sell or worse! Call us today to learn more about how we can help you develop an effective Business Exit Strategy.