Big Impact by Shopping Small

Tis the season that small local businesses shine.  They have spent all year getting ready for these precious few weeks where more people are shopping, buying gifts, gathering with friends and spending money.  Did you know that many local retail stores rely on these next few weeks for 30-40% of their annual sales?

So much has gone on behind the scenes in these small local shops to get ready for these festive days. Their 'buyers' have spent hundreds of hours analyzing and predicting what you might be interested in this holiday season.  They have spent many more hours creating and tweaking spreadsheets to come up with the best price point and quantity to order. They have spent hours contacting and negotiating with  suppliers for these items. All along hoping that the  ‘accounting department' will make payment for this inventory.  ‘Human Resources’ advertises for seasonal help, pours over applicants, interviews candidates to find the best talent who aligns with the company’s core values.  Then the 'merchandising team' steps in and figures out how to creatively present these products in the a way that will make the consumer enticed enough to pick it up, envision it in their home or someone else's or under the tree and then make that purchase. 

Seems like a simple process, Amazon, Nordstrom, and Starbucks make it all look simple.  Now consider that the team of ‘buyers’ is in fact the sole proprietor of the business who has to fit in all this analyzing and planning before the store opens, in between customers or after dinner. “Human Resources’ is also the shop owner who not only has to find someone who is responsible and friendly but they also need to add doing payroll to their tasks. The ‘merchandising’ team is, you guessed it, the sole proprietor who is opening and closing the store each day. The money issued from that ‘accounting department’  is often directly from the sole proprietor's personal bank account or credit cards, which they are willing to risk for the success of the season. 

So next time you feel too lazy to pop in to a small local shop and think “I could just order something online”, stop for a second and consider what has gone on behind the scenes of  that simple storefront full of wonderful unique items that you just hurried by.

One more thing, When you shop small and  go up to the counter with your items and hand over your credit card, I guarantee you that the ‘buying department’, the ‘merchandising department’, the 'accounting department’ and the ‘HR department' are all doing a little happy dance! That small feeling of success is their 'Bonus check'!  Who do you think is doing that happy dance when you buy something online from a major retailer?

Think Small, think local this holiday season!  I would love to hear about your small local experiences and don’t forget to give a shout out to your favorite shops to your friends, family and on social media.  You can make a difference, you could help add some sparkle to their holidays. (Can you guess who their ‘social media manager’ is?)

 

 

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Don't leave money on the table

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Overwhelmed with the numbers side of your business?  3 things to focus on to boost the cash in your bank account

 

1      Know who owes you

2      Make it easy for them to pay you

3      Know who you owe

 

Often times we are so busy filling orders, servicing our clients’ needs and creating content that we don’t take the time to pay attention to who owes us money. 

We have done the work and customers/clients are happy and they want to pay you, So you need to strike while that ‘smile’  is fresh on their faces. 

They can’t pay an invoice that hasn’t been created.  You need to make this part super easy. Invoice immediately and make it easy for them to pay!

 

2. If it is easy to pay immediately most clients will do it immediately. If they can pay in just a few clicks, in just few seconds, most people will prefer to do it immediately rather than have to remember to do it later. How do you make it easy?

Accept more than one payment option-Paypal, stripe, VIISA or ACH.  Yes, there are some fees involved but depending on the $ amount, I believe that it is worth the fee to get the money into your bank account ASAP.  Most of those fees are about 3% which is $6 on a $200 purchase.  Take the fee into consideration when you are setting your prices. I think that it’s well worth it!

 

Another tip is to make the invoices clear and concise with as much information as possible.  Less questions, fewer steps involved, quicker to pay.

 

3. Know who you Owe:

Keep track of who you owe and how much aka accounts payable!

Enter bills that you receive onto a spreadsheet with correct due dates

Enter recurring payments so you know what is coming up.

No late fees- don’t pay anything late, unnecessary costs.

Set payment reminders if necessary either on your calendar or ask Siri to “remind me on 6/7/17 to pay the Electric bill”. Siri is really good at this.

 

Have any questions?  Send me an email.  I always love to chat with business owners.

Getting Started with Bookkeeping

Sitting down to write my first blog post, I think “who wants to read about bookkeeping?”  Show of hands, please.  That’s what I thought.  Looking at a pile of receipts or downloading transactions is not sexy or exciting.  Quite the contrary, it can make your palms sweat and your blood pressure go up quickly.  

Q: Why is that?

A: Fear of the unknown. And that is all it is – UNKNOWN. So make it known! The situation is not usually as bad as you imagine it to be, but you will never know unless you open that mail; sort those receipts; and classify those transactions.  

Q: Where do I start?

A: Just start!

Q: What if I make a mistake?

A: Everything is fixable no matter what accounting software or system you are using.  Even if you are using a pencil and paper, an eraser will take care of the problem.

Q: What if I am late paying some bills?  

A: It will only be more late tomorrow. As tempting as it is to shut that shoe box, this is not the best option. With every passing day or week, the stresses grow greater! I have experimented with this tactic, and know it to be true. 

My goal with this blog is to chat about the realities small businesses face, and offer tips and ideas to make it less scary, more sexy and help you be more successful.

Be Local and Be Awesome!