Are you struggling to generate leads for your small business? Regardless of what your small business sells, you’ll need high-quality sales to whom you can pitch your products or services. Unfortunately, many small businesses have a lackluster lead generation that hinders their ability to succeed. If this sounds familiar, you should consider the five following strategies to generate more leads for your small business.
#1) Direct Mail
Direct mail offers a highly effective channel for generating leads. Statistics show that over one in two consumers believe print-based ads, including direct mail, are the most trustworthy of all marketing channels. With direct mail, you’ll be able to target households within your small business’s key market regions, allowing for high-quality leads that are easy to convert into customers.
Along with direct mail, you can use email to generate more leads for your small business. One report found that that email is the single most popular lead generation channel for business-to-business (B2B) businesses. Whether your business sells to other businesses or consumers, though, you can use email to attract more leads. Just set up a newsletter, at which point prospective customers can provide their email addresses to receive updates and news via email.
#3) Social Media
Of course, social media has become an increasingly popular lead generation channel among small businesses. Statistics show over three in four U.S. adults have a Facebook account. Facebook, however, is just one of many social media networks. By creating an active presence on the leading social media networks, including Facebook, you’ll attract more leads to your small business.
#4) Ask in Person
Assuming your small business operates locally, you can ask prospective customers for their information in person. Even if a shopper doesn’t make a purchase, you can still ask for his or her contact information so that you can reach out with deals and promotions in the future. If the shopper obliges, you’ll have a new lead to whom you can pitch your small business’s products or services.
Does your small business have a blog? If not, you should consider creating one. A form of content marketing, blogging is a highly effective lead generation strategy. As you create high-quality posts that are relevant to your small business’s audience, you’ll create a steady flow of new, high-quality leads.
Know any other lead generation strategies that you’d like to share with our readers? Let us know in the comments section below!
Do you operate or help run a nonprofit organization? If so, you may need to send transaction statements to donors? In most states, nonprofit organizations are legally required to send some or all of their donors statements about their transactions. The purpose of this is to provide a high level of transparency regarding the way in which nonprofit organizations spend and generate money. While you can always create and send transaction statements manually, an easier way to automate the process using Quickbooks.
Steps to Sending a Transaction Statement in Quickbooks
To send a transaction statement in Quickbooks, you’ll need to log in to your account and click “Sales” on the main left-hand menu, followed by “Donors.” You should then see a list of all your nonprofit organization’s donors. Scroll through this list and choose the donor to whom you want to send a transaction statement.
After selecting the appropriate donor, select “Create statement” under the “Action” drop-down menu. Next, choose “Transaction Statement” for the “Statement Type” drop-down menu. You can then specify the date range for the statement. When finished, click the “Save and send” button at the bottom. Quickbooks will then save the transaction statement while simultaneously emailing a copy of it to the respective donor.
How to Create Multiple Transaction Statements
Of course, it can take a while to create a transaction statement for each of your nonprofit organization’s donors. The good news is that Quickbooks allows you to create multiple transaction statements at once.
To create multiple transaction statements, click on the (+) icon on the home screen and choose “Statement” under the “Other” menu. Next, choose the option for “Transaction Statement” under the “Statement Type” drop-down menu. Like when creating single transaction statements, you must then enter a date range for the statement. When finished, click “Apply.”
Now you’ll have the option of specifying which donors you want to receive the transaction statement. Click the “Statements available” button, after which you can place a check mark next to the donors whom you wish to receive the transaction statement. To complete the process, click “Save and send.”
Quickbooks makes it easy for nonprofit organizations to create and send transaction statements to their donors. Whether you need to send a statement to a single donor or 100 donors, the popular accounting software can take this burden off your shoulders.
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As a business owner, you probably know the importance of maintaining good credit. With bad credit — or no credit for that matter — you’ll struggle to secure financing. Whether you’re applying for a loan, a credit card or a line of credit, you’ll have a better chance of getting approved if you have good credit. With that said, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the differences between personal credit and business credit.
What Is Personal Credit?
Personal credit refers to the credit-based financial metric of an individual. In the United States, it’s linked to a person’s Social Security Number. When you apply for a mortgage or any other loan, you’ll have to provide the lender with your SSN. The lender will then check your credit score, as well as your credit history, to determine whether to approve or deny your application.
You can obtain a report of your personal credit for free once a year by visiting AnnualCreditReport.com. Available by clicking the aforementioned link, it’s operated jointly by the three major credit bureaus, including Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Even if you don’t plan on using your personal credit, you should still get into the habit of checking it on a regular basis. Using AnnualCreditReport.com, you can obtain a copy of your personal credit from all three credit bureaus for free.
What Is Business Credit?
Business credit, on the other hand, is a credit-based financial metric of a business entity. Unlike with personal credit, business credit isn’t linked to a person’s SSN. Instead, it’s linked to a person’s Employee Identification Number (EIN).
With the exception of sole proprietorships, most U.S. businesses have an EIN. Also known as a Federal Employer Identification Number or Federal Tax Identification Number, it’s assigned to businesses for tax purposes. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) gives each U.S. business a unique EIN. In addition to being used for tax filings, though, EINs are also used for business credit.
To check your business credit, you’ll need to purchase a copy from one or more credit bureaus.
The Bottom Line
Personal and business credit are pretty much the same, with the only difference being that personal credit is linked to a person’s SSN, whereas business credit is linked to a business entity’s EIN. Keep in mind that some lenders may look at both types of credit when you apply for a business loan. Therefore, you should actively monitor, as well as improve, your personal credit and business credit.
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Do you charge customers late fees or similar service/finance charges? If so, you’ll need to record these transactions so they are included in your business’s total annual revenue. Assuming you use Quickbooks, you can simply create an invoice for late fees, at which point it will automatically be recorded. For more information on how to add late fees in Quickbooks, keep reading.
Create a New Invoice
There are two ways to record a late fee in Quickbooks: You can either create a new invoice for the late fee or add the late fee to an existing invoice. For the former option, log in to Quickbooks and click the (+) button, followed by “Invoice” under the “Customers” menu. From here, you can complete the fields for the new invoice. In the “Product/Service” menu, click “finance/service charge or late fee.” You can then enter the total amount for the late fee, followed by “Save and Close” to complete the process.
Use an Existing Invoice
Alternatively, you can attach a late fee to an existing invoice. This is done by logging in to Quickbooks and choosing “Sales,” followed by “Customers.” You should then be able to choose the customer to whom you want to charge a late fee. After choosing the appropriate customer, you’ll need to select an existing invoice.
For the “Product/Service” menu, choose “finance/service charge or late fee” followed by “Add new.” Next, complete all the required fields, including the amount of the late fee. Like with the first method, you’ll need to choose “Save and Close” to complete the process.
The Bottom Line on Late Fees
Not all businesses charge their customers late fees. If you require payment immediately — when the customer receives the product or service — you probably won’t use late fees. But if you allow customers to pay after their product has been delivered or their service has been finished, you may need to use late fees as an incentive for customers to pay.
In Quickbooks, you can record late fees by either creating a new invoice for the fee or attaching the fee to an existing invoice. Either option will allow you to easily track the late fee so that it’s reflected in your business’s revenue.
Keep in mind that Quickbooks Online allows you to set up automatic late fees. With automatic late fees, customers will automatically be charged a specific amount if they don’t pay their invoice by a specific date.
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One of the biggest challenges entrepreneurs face when starting a small business is paying taxes. When you run your own business — as opposed to working for an employer — you’ll be responsible for calculating and paying your own taxes. While there’s no way to avoid taxes, there are ways to lower the financial burden of Uncle Sam.
#1) Incorporate Your Small Business
There are several different ways you can structure your small business, including the use of a sole proprietorship, limited liability company (LLC) or a corporation. Of those options, a corporation typically offers the greatest tax-savings benefits.
#2) Start a 401(k) Retirement Plan
Another way to save money on small business taxes is to start a 401(k) retirement plan. When running your own business, you won’t receive the same “match” that you would with a retirement plan offered by an employer. Nonetheless, you can still start an individual 401(k) retirement plan to lower your overall tax burden.
#3) Claim the Home Office Deduction
If you regularly work from home, don’t forget to claim the home office tax deduction when filing your taxes. You can learn more about the home office deduction by visiting the IRS’s website. Basically, though, you use either the simplified or regular method, the former of which is easiest. With the simplified method, you’ll receive a deduction of $5 per square foot of business space in your home, with a maximum deduction of 300 square feet.
#4) Purchase Goods and Services With a Credit or Debit Card
What’s wrong with using cash to purchase goods and services for your small business? Well, if you pay with cash, you won’t have a digital trail of your expenses. Instead, you’ll have to keep track of paper receipts, which are bound to get lost at some point or another.
#5) Consider Tossing Old Equipment
When a piece of equipment has reached the end of its usable life, consider tossing it in the trash instead of selling it. If you sell old equipment, you’ll incur a capital loss. If you toss it, on the other hand, you’ll incur an ordinary loss, which you can deduct from your taxes.
#6) Use Quickbooks for Accounting
The right accounting software can help you save money on your taxes. By using Quickbooks, you’ll have the tools and resources needed to maximize your tax deductions. Available in both cloud-based and on-premise versions, Quickbooks is the leading accounting software used by small businesses.
Have any other tax tips that you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments section below!
When sending invoices to your business’s customers, it’s recommended that you use a custom template. While generic templates may still contain all the necessary information — product name, purchase price, tax, etc. — you’ll experience better results when using a customized email template. Assuming you use Quickbooks Desktop, follow these five tips to customize your business’s email template.
#1) Use Single-User Mode
If you are currently logged in to Quickbooks under multi-user mode, you’ll need to sign out and sign back in under single-user mode. In Quickbooks Desktop, you can only customize templates, including email templates, in single-user mode. This is designed to prevent other individuals from creating conflicting changes to the same template. Therefore, you should use single-user mode if you’re planning to customize your email template.
#2) Add Your Logo
It’s recommended that you customize your email template to include your business’s logo. When you pull up the customization menu for your desired template, you should see an option labeled “Use logo.” First, however, you’ll need to click the “Select Logo” button to upload your logo. Once the logo has uploaded to Quickbooks, you can click the “Use logo” button.
#3) Use Contrasting Colors
Another tip to improve the performance of your email template is to use contrasting colors. In other words, the color of the text should contrast with the color of the template’s background. You can always use black text against a white background, but this is just one of many color combinations from which to choose.
#4) Display the Right Business Information
Of course, you should also display the right business information in your email template. If you only include your business’s name, customers may not recognize your business as being the sender of the email. Under the “Company & Transaction Information” section, you can specify the type of business information that you want to appear in your email invoice. Some of the options include your business’s name, business’s address, fax number, phone number, email address and website address. Generally speaking, the more information you display in your email template, the better.
#5) Preview Before Saving
After making the desired changes to your email template, use the print preview function to see exactly what it looks like. At the bottom-right corner of the customization window, you should see a “Print Preview” button. Clicking this button will show you how the email looks when printed.
Have any other tips that you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments section below!
Have you taken out a line of credit for the purpose of funding your small business? If so, you’ll need to track it. Whether it’s $1,000 or $1 million, tracking lines of credit is important because it allows you to see exactly how much of the available credit you’ve used. As a result, you can take precautions to ensure that you don’t overspend and up paying an excessive amount of interest. If you use Quickbooks Online, you can easily track lines of credit.
Create an Account for the Principle
To get started, you need to create an account for the principle of the line of credit. While logged in to Quickbooks Online, click the “Settings” button on the home screen and choose “Chart of Accounts.” From here, select “New,” at which point you can choose “Current liabilities” form the “Account Type” menu, followed by “Line of Credit” in the “Detail Type” field.
Assuming you followed these steps correctly, you should see a field for the account’s name. While you can use any name that you’d like, it’s recommended that you choose something meaningful, such as “credit line.” When finished, click “Save and Close” to complete the process.
Create an Expense Account
After setting up the principle account, you need to create an expense account for the line of credit. This is done by going back to the Quickbooks Online home screen and clicking “Settings,” followed by “Chart of Accounts” and “New.” From here, select “Current liabilities” in the “Account type” menu. Next, choose “Expenses” and “Interest Paid” for the “Detail Type” field.
Like with the principle account, you’ll have the option of naming your expense account. Once you’ve named your expense account, click “Save and Close” to complete the process.
Tracking the Line of Credit
Once you’ve created an account for the principle and an expense account, you can begin tracking the line of credit in Quickbooks Online. When you use your line of credit to make a purchase, for example, you’ll probably incur interest charges. As a result, you should record these interest payments in your newly created expense account.
Additionally, you should record payments made towards the outstanding balance of your line of credit. If you make a payment towards the balance, record the payment in your principle account By tracking all payments, you’ll have a better understanding of your small business’s financial health.
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With the holiday shopping season right around the corner, you should use this opportunity to prepare your small business. Although there are exceptions, most small businesses — particularly those that operate in a business-to-consumer (B2C) industry like retail — generate more sales during the months of November and December as opposed to other times of the year. By planning ahead, you can maximize your small business’s sales during the holidays.
Stock Up on Inventory
As a small business owner, you probably know the importance of keeping products in stock. If you run out of a product, you may have to turn away shoppers in search of that product. During the holidays, out-of-stock products can cost your small business big bucks. Therefore, it’s a good idea to order a surplus of products in anticipation of the increased holiday sales.
Hire Additional Employees
Of course, you may need to hire additional employees during the holidays. While some small business owners are reluctant to hire employees, there’s only so much work you can do yourself. And with the holidays being the busiest time of year for most small businesses, hiring additional employees can prove to be a smart investment. Just remember to choose highly motivated employees who are willing to put forth the necessary effort to help your small business succeed.
Consider offering discounts that are only available during the holidays. Prior to visiting your small business during the holidays, prospective customers may search for coupons or promo codes online. If they don’t find any discounts when scouring the internet, they may take their money elsewhere, such as a competitor’s small business.
Change Your Hours
Finally, evaluate your small business’s hours of operation to determine whether they need changing. If your small business typically closes at 6:00 p.m., for example, you may want to extend its hours of operation to 7:00 p.m. or 8:00 p.m. during the holidays. By extending your small business’s hours of operation, you’ll attract more customers during this critically important time of year.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) recommends that business owners decorate their establishment during the holidays. Adding just a few seasonally relevant decorations will make your small business stand out. At the same time, it will encourage more shoppers to visit your small business, resulting in higher sales revenue during the holidays.
Have any other tips that you’d like to share with our readers? Let us know in the comments section below!
Statistics show over half of all small businesses will fail within their first five years. To prevent this from happening to your small business, you need a strong marketing strategy. By following these six marketing tips, you can bolster your small business’s presence to achieve greater success.
#1) Create Social Media Profiles
Even if you have a personal profile on all the leading social media networks, you should still create profiles under your small business’s name. Prospective customers will often search for small businesses on Facebook, Twitter and other social media networks. By maintaining active social media profiles, these users will be able to find your small business more easily.
#2) Sponsor Local Activities and Events
Don’t underestimate the value of local sponsorships. By sponsoring activities and events in your city, you’ll reach more prospective customers, some of whom may choose your small business the next time they need a product or service you sell. Sponsorships typically aren’t free, but they are well worth the investment when marketing a small business.
#3) Hand Out Business Cards
Even in today’s digitally connected landscape, business cards are still a useful marketing tool for small businesses. When you encounter a prospective customer, you can provide him or her with a business card. Considering that business cards typically cost just pennies to produce, it’s a small price to pay to spread the word about your small business.
#4) Launch a Website
Of course, you can use a website to market and promote your small business. Not all prospective customers will use social media to search for your business. Some may use a search engine like Google or Bing. Assuming your small business has a website, these prospective customers can find your small business more easily.
#5) Create an Email Newsletter
Email has become of the most commonly used communication channels in the world. As a result, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to learn that an email newsletter can improve your small business’s marketing strategy. With an email newsletter, you can collect the email addresses of prospective customers. Once collected, you can then send them emails containing advertisements for your small business’s products or services.
Finally, networking offers a simple yet effective way to market your small business. Regardless of where your small business operates, there are probably networking events available. During these events, you can meet other business owners, as well as prospective customers, to further grow your small business.
Have any other small business marketing tips that you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments section below!
If you use Quickbooks to keep track of your business’s financial transactions, you’re probably well aware of journal entries. In Quickbooks, a journal entry is a record of a credit or debit. Unbeknownst to many business owners, however, Quickbooks also supports the use of adjusting journal entries.
What Is an Adjusting Journal Entry?
An adjusting journal entry, as the name suggests, is a record of a credit or debit that automatically adjusts an account balance. In other words, it will force the account balance with which it’s associated to change. If you’re recording a debit for credit card fees, for example, you may want to use an adjusting journal entry. Once entered, the entry will automatically adjust the account balance to reflect the fees.
You can use adjusting journal entries for more than just recording credit card fees. Other times to consider using them include recording amortization, reversing accruals of expenses and adjusting taxes for interests or penalties. Keep in mind, however, that adjusting journal entries will automatically change the balance of the account to which they are connected.
Steps to Creating an Adjusting Journal Entry
In Quickbooks Online, you can create an adjusting journal entry in just a few easy steps. After logging in to your account, click the + button and select “Journal Entry” under “Other.” You should then see a message asking if this is an adjusting journal entry. Click the box next to this option so that it places it a checkmark inside the box. When finished, you can then enter the adjusting journal entry — just like you would for a normal journal entry. Upon clicking the “Save” button, the credit or debit will be recorded as an adjusting journal entry.
What Is the Adjusted Trial Balance?
You’ll probably see an adjusted trial balance when creating and using adjusting journal entries. Basically, an adjusted trial balance is a snapshot of all your account balances before the adjusting journal entries. It’s a good idea to review your adjusted trial balance to ensure it’s aligned with the rest of your financial transactions.
To pull up your adjusted trial balance, click the “Reports” link and search for the “adjusted trial balance.” On the adjusted trial balance page, you’ll see a list of all account balances and their respective adjusting journal entries before those entries have been applied.
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