SBS – A Reflection on the Past

“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.” – Albert Einstein

As we prepare for an exciting change as a company (stay tuned – announcement coming at the end of July!), I wanted to take a few minutes to reflect on where we have been as a business, what we have learned and, ultimately, God’s faithfulness.

It is hard to believe that it was 13 years ago when I made the life-changing decision to start my own business! I had three clients at the time, a laptop computer (no cloud!), no QuickBooks software (my clients owned the licenses) and no employees – but I did have a lot of ambition. I had no office. Well, actually, I did – it was a desk in the back of a clothes closet in our one- bedroom apartment.

The main thing I had was the Lord, who gave me clients that believed in me and were willing to give me a chance at transforming their businesses. Back in those days, I would typically travel to each client’s office. Boy, the messes I would encounter and the things I would be asked to do! I remember one time being asked to set up a home audio system. How does a bookkeeper get asked to do such things? Anyway, it was an interesting time, but also a great learning experience.

Slowly, the business grew. Eventually, I needed to make my first hire. Who do you first turn to in those situations? Family! While I know it can be challenging at times to work with family, I am very thankful for both my mom and brother who were crazy enough to work for me from the beginning and who still work for me today. Mom (Susan) handles all our mail processing, and Daniel is my right-hand man who manages our company’s operations.

However, getting non-family members to buy into my vision and work for me was not as easy. In the beginning, we had to go through a lot of new hires, but eventually, one employee stuck, then another and another. God has been so good to build a wonderful team of family and non-family to serve our clients and provide so much diversity and talent to our company.

One of my passions early on was to build a business model that was scalable and could be replicated. This was challenging, seeing that I started doing pretty much anything the client asked me to do (think office manager), billed by the hour, and used whatever tools and equipment the client supplied me with. Slowly but surely, we started developing and implementing standard practices that have totally transformed our business and allowed us to grow. Now, we serve more clients more effectively and focus on our core competencies.

From the very beginning, the heart of our business and our core has always been to care about our clients on a personal level. In the last couple of years, the Lord has led us to start praying for each of our clients by name on a regular basis. We truly desire God’s blessing on each of our clients, not only in their businesses, but also in the personal lives and in their relationship with him. It rejoices me beyond measure when I hear of our staff going out of their way to serve our clients and meet their needs.

I can also remember when we decided to go virtual as a company. As they say, necessity is the mother of invention. One of our earlier non-family hires told me one day that she was going to be moving away. This was devastating, especially seeing how much we needed her help, how well she worked and how invested she was in our company. We had a physical server in our office closet (does anyone use those anymore?). My IT guy, who is still with me (thank you, Damon!), was able to figure out how to make our server accessible from the outside in a secure fashion. This allowed my staff member to keep working for me. Eventually, we all began to work remotely and it totally transformed my business. Now, we provide 95 percent of all our services virtually and all my staff works from their home offices.

God has truly been good to Sound Business Services! We have learned a lot and grown a lot over the last 13 years. I am totally excited about the future and serving our clients in even greater ways.

What are Advisory Services all About?

Before getting into what advisory services are all about, and discussing my new and exciting role with Sound Business Services (SBS), I first want to introduce myself. I’m Becca Paradis and the lead on advisory services at SBS. For more than a decade, I’ve been honing my skills in reporting, annual budgeting and planning, and data evaluation. I’ve worked in many big corporations that invest in technology and analytics at a rapid pace. They’ve employed teams of financial and marketing analysts to develop data-driven strategies to grow their businesses.

These experiences led me to my current role with SBS, and I hope you are as excited as I am about the launch of SBS advisory services! I started partnering with Jonathan Bill on this idea in January, and we’ve been hard at work putting together a selection of packages to serve all types of businesses and budgets. The main goal of the new advisory arm of SBS is to provide financial analytics services to businesses that want to operate in a more strategic way, but don’t have access to dedicated analytics resources in-house. It’s difficult enough to compete in this data-driven era; don’t let a lack of resources or number crunching set you back!

“The main goal of the new advisory arm of SBS is to provide financial analytics services to businesses that want to operate in a more strategic way, but don’t have access to dedicated analytics resources in-house.”

All of the advisory packages available provide a suite of financial reports and access to a business advisor. The reports included are designed to provide insights and knowledge about your business. You will have all the detailed financial information you need at your fingertips, and it will be timely, easy to read and beautiful, too!  

As your trusted advisor, we will hold recurring meetings with you to get to know and understand your business, and start planning for the future. Speaking of the future, the higher level plans help you dream big and start down the path toward realizing the potential you see in your business. These packages include annual business planning and budgeting support.

During the budget and planning process, we will work as a team to define clear growth goals and a strategic plan. You will receive reports tracking your performance to those goals and we will have meetings throughout the year to check in on progress. All businesses need to be operating with their future in mind, and SBS’s advisory service can help you get there. 

Sounds pretty great, right? I hope that if you weren’t excited before, you are now! Please reach out to us today to explore each package and select the one that is right for you and your business. It’s never too soon to begin a data-driven journey to achieve business success.

Editor’s note: This article was written by Becca Paradis, who previously worked with Sound Business Services to build our advisory services practice. Becca is a lifelong Atlanta native who grew up in Clayton County. She completed her undergraduate degree in mathematics from Kennesaw State University and went on to get a master’s in statistics from Georgia State University. Her first couple of jobs in the workforce as an analyst showed her the power of data-driven strategy. It’s this background that started her on the path that led to using her skills to support independent businesses and their growth objectives. She currently lives in Roswell with her family, a supportive husband and two young children. In her spare time, she loves to hike with her family, go to the movies and bake delicious desserts.

A Pair of Powerful Payment Features in QuickBooks Online

If you’ve kept up with our blogs (thank you!), you’ve seen my passion for QuickBooks Online (QBO). Already equipped with powerful tools and resources to make your lives easier and your businesses flourish, QBO truly goes to the next level in delivering the customer experience you ask for and deserve.

Intuit makes sure to listen to your feedback and constantly update QBO with new features to drive growth. Going the extra mile is something Sound Business Services (SBS) strives to do every day, so we very much admire Intuit’s commitment to their customers. It’s when you combine these new features with SBS’s knowledge and expertise that you get a recipe for success.

The latest batch of new QBO features brings a pair of payment enhancements to the forefront. Here are those features, and of course, SBS can help you implement them into your workflow.

Next-Day Deposits to Ignite Cash Flow

As a small business owner, cash is king. Nothing is worse than knowing you have been paid, but not having the actual cash on hand when you need it. That’s a thing of the past with next-day deposits inside QBO Payments.

Whether you are already on QBO, or ready to make the leap and join, all QBO Payments customers will receive debit and credit card deposits into their bank account the very next business day. This not only keeps your business afloat, but also allows you to have the cash flow you need to grow your business.

On top of that, you’ll be able to allow for next-day deposits on bank transfers – just weeks after signing up.  

Taking the Stress out of Sales Tax

Calculating sales tax can be a head-scratcher, stressful and a time suck. But, thanks to the new auto-calculated sales tax feature in QBO, you no longer have to worry about this dilemma.

Intuit has you covered, tracking thousands of sales tax laws to deliver you the correct sales tax amount on your invoices every time. The photo below provides an example of how QBO calculates tax rate, based on location.

More good news for Georgia residents! The new feature also lets you e-file and pay your taxes through QuickBooks. See below for an example, and know that SBS will help you through this process. 

Ready to Capitalize on These Payment Features or Have any Questions? We’re here to help!

While these new and exciting features provide solutions to your payment needs, our help and expertise is crucial for not only implementing them, but also being there every step of the way to transform your business. If you’re ready to add these to your QBO arsenal, or still haven’t made the jump to QBO, contact us today. You’ll be on your way to small business success and long-term growth.

(Images courtesy of Intuit QuickBooks)

Should You Outsource or Keep it Inside Your Company?

As small business owners and entrepreneurs, we tend to want complete control over every decision, task and process. While we wear many hats, it’s simply not possible to be everywhere at once or feasible to handle every aspect of the business ourselves.

That’s led to the increasingly popular decision many of us pursue: outsourcing. Knowing when to outsource or keep the work in-house can make or break the growth and longevity of your business. Done well, outsourcing can streamline your operations, create meaningful partnerships, lead to powerful resources and provide you more time to focus on strategically growing your business. On the other hand, outsourcing when you shouldn’t can compromise your reputation, disrupt your message, stunt growth and even send you on a tailspin that you may not come back from.

At Sound Business Services (SBS), we’ve spent more than a decade discovering what’s best to outsource. And, while we are always learning more about ourselves and adjusting to new innovations and challenges, here are some of our top tips on outsourcing.

Yes, Let’s Outsource!

In this digital age, outsourcing has never been easier or more efficient. Still, you must make smart choices on when to outsource. Here are some of the top reasons:

When my time is best spent elsewhere. As a small business owner, your time is extremely valuable. It’s a win any time you can get something done well that gives you more time to focus on running and growing your business, and doesn’t put you in a hole. Look at tasks that are vital to your operations, but not a key part of your actual strategy. For example, while it’s imperative that you and your business handle the marketing or sale of a product, it’s best to outsource the delivery of that product, a cost-effective solution that enables you to spend more time on strategic tasks.

When the job can be done better. When you’re the owner or in charge, it can hard to admit that others can do some things better. But, the sign of a great leader is knowing when to delegate and when to tap into other resources to get things done in the best way possible.

Take your bookkeeping and accounting. Staying on top of your books and running payroll are very complicated and time-consuming. At SBS, that is what we love to do and where our expertise lies, and with ever-changing tax laws and always-changing employment compliance issues, a good CPA is also extremely valuable. In fact, SBS believes that the best approach is for the bookkeeper, CPA and small business owner to work together, producing a powerful team for next-level solutions and maximum growth and success. Let us know if you would like to discuss pursuing this partnership.

When you can reduce costs and it makes sense. While cash flow and making more money are always considerations, they shouldn’t be your top reason for outsourcing. It all comes down to assessing the cost and time of the specific task at hand. Does it make sense to outsource something for said price, when factoring in the time and manpower it would take if kept in-house? For example, when it comes to a software developer who can monitor your back-end systems and continually update your website, it might be worth outsourcing. Unless you have the connections to quickly recruit an expert in this field, it makes sense to seek help elsewhere; you need to build your brand and keep your business secure and functional.

When Not to Outsource

When you decide to outsource and start establishing a rhythm, it’s tempting to outsource just about everything. Don’t do it – it’s one step forward, two steps back … as the saying goes.

Here are some of the top reasons not to outsource:

When it compromises your core. When it comes to your mission, messaging and manual labor, your team needs to be at the forefront. For example, when it comes to marketing and selling your product or service, or providing great service, your staff is the best source to do this because they have the knowledge and skillset.

When it takes away your control. Just because you outsource something doesn’t mean you lose control. If you task someone on the outside to handle certain files and documents, and they deny you access to those things, that’s a giant red flag. When outsourcing, make sure you establish clear guidelines from the get-go. You must be able to monitor the status of all tasks, and meet regularly to make improvements and adjustments.

When promoting, retaining or firing staff. You know your business and employees better than anyone. Outsourcing how you go about developing and promoting team members, and even firing them, must be left in the hands of you and your leadership team.

In developing your team, you must be the one to train them, so that they know exactly what you want and expect. Keeping great team members around means knowing what it takes to keep them happy and leading by example. If you expect them to put in long hours to carry out your message, you must be present, too. And, finally, as difficult as it may be, it’s ultimately your responsibility to let employees go. You can certainly ask others for guidance on the best strategies for releasing someone, but it’s on you to meet face to face to deliver the news.

Want to Explore Outsourcing? We are Here to Help

As you might imagine, deciding when to outsource and when not is complicated. Outsourcing can be a very valuable strategy for taking your business to the next level, relieving stress and giving you more time to focus on growing your business. At the same time, you must work with the people you outsource to in order to make sure they know how the nature of your industry’s culture and language works. Otherwise, lack of communication and understanding will impede progress.

We know this can be very overwhelming, but don’t worry because we are here to help. If you have any questions about outsourcing, or want to get started on a plan to do so, contact us today. You’ll be on your way to getting more done in less time, optimizing your business for long-term growth.

4 New QuickBooks Online Features: Next-Level Solutions for Your Workflow

You may have heard me say it before, but QuickBooks Online (QBO) makes a big difference for small business success. Besides providing powerful tools and resources that change how you work, QBO is constantly being updated with new features to not only alleviate stress, but also deliver you next-level solutions to your everyday needs – all thanks to Intuit.

The latest batch is no exception. Here are four QBO enhancements and how they impact your business. And, of course, Sound Business Services (SBS) is here for you every step of the way to help you implement, and get the most out of, these features.

1. Time-off tracking is now a breeze. As a small business owner, you know how important it is for you and your staff to take time off to be with friends and family, and get a much-needed break from work. In the past, tracking paid and unpaid time was always a challenge, but now it’s a breeze, thanks to QuickBooks Online Payroll.

Now, packed inside QBO Payroll, you’ll have tracking options that keep you compliant and less worried, allowing you to focus more time on helping grow your business and less time stressed while on vacation. SBS can show you how to use this new feature.

2. Contractor payments made easy. Sometimes, we forget to make contractor payments on time; after all, we are human. Either way, this could send a contractor into a frenzy.

Make that a thing of the past by implementing this new feature inside QBO Payroll, where you can schedule contractor payments in advance. Not only will you cut down on missed payments, but you’ll also avoid having to sign in on specific dates to pay your contractors.

Here is an example of how to schedule out a contractor payment:

3. Cover your bases with a third accountant. Now in the new QuickBooks Advanced, Intuit’s online solution for mid-market businesses, you can add a third accountant user to your subscription – for free.

That’s right, why have two heads when you can have a third? So, whatever you need tax-wise, such as support or consulting, you can get from a third accountant in your system.

Here’s where you’ll see the list of accounting pros available to help:

4. Customized fields for maximum tracking. At SBS, our customers are our business. We make it our personal mission to go the extra mile in delivering them the services and solutions they need to grow their businesses and experience success.

One solution that’s new in QBO Advanced is the custom fields option. This allows you to create an unlimited number of customer fields (having up to 10 active at once) in order to have everything you want/need to know about your customer at your disposal. So, whether it’s sales report data, transactions, customer bios or anything else, you’re able to keep all the pertinent information in one place, serving your customers in the best way you can.

Here’s an example of some customized fields showing up on your invoice:

Ready to Tap Into These New Features or Have any Questions? We’re Here to Help

It’s fantastic that Intuit takes your feedback and delivers new and exciting features to impact your business, but our help and expertise is the key to getting you the best solutions you need to grow and prosper. If you still haven’t made the leap to QBO, or are ready to tap into these great new features, contact us today. You’ll be on your way to next-level growth and maximizing your workflow.

(Images courtesy of Intuit QuickBooks)

SBS Staff Spotlight: Jennifer Richardson

Welcome to Sound Business Services’ staff spotlight. We recently interviewed Jennifer Richardson of Sound Business Services (SBS). Here is what she had to say about her role at SBS, the benefits of working remotely and what she does in her spare time.

Jonathan Bill: How long have you been at SBS?  

Jennifer Richardson: I started as a part-time employee in December 2016, but moved to a more full-time position in the early fall of 2018. 

JB: What do you do for SBS?

JR: I am an account manager.

JB: What is the most satisfying part of your job?

JR: It’s when I am able to help my client to better understand their reports and see how their business is performing. I also like building rapport with my clients so that they know when they call and ask for something, they know it will get done.    

JB: What do you think is the most productive app to use with QuickBooks Online (QBO)?    

JR: I think my favorite would be Bill.com. It’s an effective way to allow my clients more control over what is paid and when – there is a clear process for approvals. You can also see when bills were processed and if they’ve cleared. It allows the client to have users that work with the bills, but don’t necessarily have QuickBooks access.    

JB: What is it like working remotely, and what tools do you use to do so?

JR: I really enjoy working remotely! There are a few times something needs to be handled in person, but most of the time, having the quiet time to work helps to be more efficient. We have a variety of resources to reach out to our peers or managers if the need arises. I enjoy my set up of using three monitors. When I have the need to go on-site or somewhere else and have to use my laptop, I miss the monitor “real estate.”    

JB: Can you describe a complicated client issue and how you solved it?  

JR: One of my clients was having a hard time seeing the bottom line number on the report each month that we were providing. After speaking with him at length to understand what information he was trying to glean, we worked on the formatting of the report until it became clearer for him to understand and find the number he was looking for each month to be able to monitor the health of his business. 

JB: What is your favorite thing to do outside of work? 

JR: Spending time with my family, whether that’s at church, taking trips to the zoo or a sporting event. We enjoy our time with one another.

JB: Thanks Jennifer!    

5 Spring Cleaning Tips for Business Growth in 2019

Before the summer heat and a much-needed vacation, it’s time to spring into action and come up with goals and strategies to make 2019 your best year yet in business.

As small business owners, we often have so much on our plate that we tend to neglect shifting our time, energy and focus to actually growing our businesses. At Sound Business Services (SBS), we want to do the heavy lifting for you, getting you the solutions you need to empower you so that you can do what you do best – run your business and be there for your staff and customers.

That’s why we’ve come up with a handful of spring cleaning tips we feel will set you on a path for growth in 2019. And, of course, SBS is here to help you through all of these strategies.

1. Invest in technology. Small business owners know we must make certain investments in resources to grow and succeed. At the same time, we are naturally hesitant to spend time and money, as both are extremely valuable to running a business. But, when it comes to QuickBooks Online (QBO) and the hundreds of amazing apps that integrate with QBO, the investment is a no-brainer.

QBO changes how you work, providing the flexibility to work anywhere at anytime, seamlessly scaling to any of your business needs. This allows you to manage your team from anywhere, and helps you employ a virtual staff, if that’s something that works for you. Besides this 180-degree transformation for you and your team, you’ll also enjoy top-notch security in the cloud, with access to real-time data. Perhaps best of all, many of the apps that integrate with QBO provide many benefits and solutions to your back office needs and business growth.

At SBS, we will not only recommend which apps work best for your specific business, but we’ll also help set them up and get you the most of QuickBooks Online, too. Feel free to reach out today to learn more!

2. Implement paperless tracking. The days of sorting through those pesky receipts piling up on your desk are gone with paperless time tracking, using TSheets by QuickBooks. With this feature, you can complete tasks and meet deadlines much more efficiently, and enjoy other features such as cost savings, identity theft protection and making the environment a better place.

If you have employees who travel for work, or drive around town for work, our go-to app for paperless mileage tracking is Mile IQ. Tracking your miles on that notepad in your glove compartment is tedious, time consuming and sometimes hard to remember. With Mile IQ, it’s all done for you. All you have to do is set up the app, and your miles will be tracked whenever you’re on the go. Having this reporting at our fingertips – and yours – makes both of our lives easier come tax time.

3. Take control of your financial picture. Knowing where your business stands financially is important; that means bringing your books up-to-date on a continuous basis. You may think that doing so monthly will suffice, but that’s where things tend to go wrong.

Looking back is good for evaluating past performance, but provides little benefit in understanding your current cash position. By bringing your books up-to-date on a more frequent basis, you can know what your true bank balance is, and if all outstanding deposits and checks are entered into your books. You’ll also know your current credit card balances and month-to-date profitability.

At SBS, we can meet with you on a quarterly or even monthly basis, finding a time that works best for you. That way, you have complete control of your financial picture, and we can work consistently to meet your goals and address your concerns. We even offer a service where we send our clients a cash position report via email so that they can have their key numbers in front of them on a regular basis.

4. Create an annual budget. Many of us think it’s a chore to create a budget – or even stick to a budget. Perhaps, we think they’re too rigid or static, or maybe we hear our parents’ voices telling us to budget so that we don’t spend too much on ice cream or movies and popcorn. Whatever the case, when it comes to proactively planning for our business’ future and tracking our actual performance against our goals, a budget is a real positive.

It’s not hard to create a budget using historic data and making adjustments to meet your future goals. On top of that, making budgets leads to projections, giving you another powerful tool as you strive to grow your business.

5. Know your KPIs to capitalize on your goals and unforeseen spending. KPIs, or key performance indicators, mean a lot to us; hopefully, you’ve noticed in our recent newsletters! With KPIs, we are not just able to see how your business is running, but also find the specific data we need to bring you powerful business solutions for growth and prosperity. KPIs provide us the lens into what needs fixing or changing, as well as what key drivers decide your company’s future success.

The process for determining your KPIs and getting you set up on a strategic path for growth is simple. We’ll first meet with you to understand your pain points, review your financial picture and suggest a list of KPIs for you to track. We’ll go over your KPIs, discuss trends, celebrate wins and learn from mistakes.

Ready to Grow in 2019?

This list doesn’t represent all of our spring cleaning ideas for a memorable 2019 for your business, but we feel it’s a good start. So, if you’re ready to get started, or have any questions, contact us today. You’ll be on your way to reaching your untapped potential and skyrocketing to business success.

Powering Up Your Profit With This New QuickBooks Online Feature

You may have heard me say it before, but QuickBooks Online (QBO) is a must for small businesses. Besides delivering powerful solutions to your everyday needs and transforming the way you do business, Intuit is constantly looking to improve the product to provide new features just about every month.

The latest addition provides next-level insight into which projects are worth pursuing, setting the stage for long-term growth and success in your business. Here’s the latest new feature, and, of course, Sound Business Services (SBS) is here to help you every step of the way.

Having Trouble Projecting a Project’s Merit? Project Profitability is Your Lifeline

As a small business owner, time is everything and acquiring new business is almost always a goal. In this pursuit, we often take on clients and projects that turn out to be a bad fit, hurting our bottom line and wasting our time.

Imagine a tool that could provide a solution to this conundrum. There is one – Project Profitability!

With Project Profitability, you can discover which projects are worth your time and which are best left off your plate. That’s right … no more spending lots of time, energy and hard work on projects, only to become a complete waste and halt your growth.

How it Works

Now, within QuickBooks Online Plus or Advanced, you get a comprehensive picture of just how much profit each project is churning. Important criteria, such as project expenses, income and labor costs, are all tracked to determine if the project is worth your time and effort. In turn, this helps SBS get you deeper data and better decision-making, as we look to take your business to the next level.

Here are some examples of how project profitability works.

Below shows a list of projects, along with a profit margin:

Visit All Projects Profitability, as pictured below, to get a more in-depth view of job costs compared to other projects.

Check out a specific project’s transaction details and reports, as seen below.

Now, know exactly how many billable hours each staff member logged during a project.

Ready to Implement Project Profitability or Have Any Questions? We’re Here to Help

While Intuit continues to do a great job bringing new and exciting features to transform your experience, our help and expertise is crucial to getting you the best solutions you need to grow and prosper. If you have yet to make the leap from QuickBooks Desktop to QBO, or have questions about this new feature, contact us today. You’ll be on your way to bigger profits, better time management and a stronger business sense.

(Images courtesy of Intuit QuickBooks)

3 Things That Keep Entrepreneurs up at Night

As small business owners and entrepreneurs, we wear many hats and have many responsibilities. This often creates an overwhelming feeling that causes us to try to do everything in the fastest way possible, which can negatively affect our businesses.

On top of that, it leads to stress that ultimately keeps us up and night and affects our work-life balance. At Sound Business Services (SBS), our #1 goal is for our clients to be able to live happy and healthy lives through the powerful solutions we provide. With this in mind, here are three things that keep us up at night, along with some strategies and tips to empower you to tackle these challenges and improve your business.

1. Finding and Retaining Good Employees

I discovered long ago that I could not run my business by myself and certainly could not be everywhere at once. That meant finding staff who not only did the right thing every time by our clients, but was also capable of getting our clients the solutions they need, while treating them with respect and integrity.

More than a decade later, I am truly blessed to say that I have the best staff I could ever hope for. That said – as many of you may know – finding great staff, or “team members” as I like to call them, is only half the battle. Retaining them for the long haul is a major key to success, as well as keeping your clients or customers happy.

Here are some tips on how to retain great employees:

  • Get to know each team member and meet regularly. Whether your team is virtual or local, meeting on a regular basis is very important. It builds rapport, and creates better collaboration, communication and respect. Make an effort to ask about their personal lives. In our team meetings, we ask each person to share something about themselves, such as a recent trip or how their family is doing. We then allot time to pray for each other’s needs. In meeting deadlines and growing our businesses, it’s easy to forget to show genuine interest and care in each team member; that can distance us from the team and potentially lead them to join a competitor.
  • Practice what you preach. If you expect your team to show up and work hard for you every day, you should, too, as the owner. In other words, lead by example. By showing staff that you are present and ready to work toward a common goal, they are likely to be more motivated and willing to join you. This builds team togetherness and unity, and they will develop faith in you and your mission. It’s a two-way street – don’t forget that!
  • Constantly train your team. Finding great employees isn’t always about seeking out people with the most impressive credentials or experience. Those who are willing to learn, work hard, carry out your message and goals, and care for your clients and their needs, are invaluable. Remember, you can always train your team on the technical side and how you want them to represent your business.
  • Own up to your mistakes and take ownership. None of us are perfect and we all make mistakes. If you are at fault or if your team is facing issues, simply admit to the mistake or take responsibility, and work out a solution. Your team will respect you more for doing so, and learn how to make sure the problem doesn’t escalate or happen again.
  • Reward your staff. Sometimes, all your staff wants is to feel appreciated. After all, they’ve put in hard work and helped your business flourish. A gift or raise in pay is welcome, but a one-on-one sit-down thanking them for all they do goes a long way as well. You’d be surprised how much a simple gesture of kindness will mean to your team members.

2. Cash Flow Issues

Many small business owners don’t understand cash flow, or simply don’t take the time to strategize for it. Don’t worry – SBS is here to help!

Your cash flow is everything. It’s not just how you survive, but how you thrive as a business. Cash flow is all about knowing if you are truly making money, and being able to invest that money in your business for long-term growth and prosperity. It also involves doing projections, creating a budget and knowing your key performance indicators – key data that allows us to get a vision of the key drivers that decide your company’s success.

At SBS, we take great pride in providing these powerful solutions to our customers. Here is a resource for a more detailed breakdown, and don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns.

3. Finding My Next Job

As small business owners and entrepreneurs, we are always trying to drum up new business to grow our companies. Depending on the type of business, this can be more challenging for some than others. Nevertheless, we all must continue to find ways to get new business.

Here are some strategies that we’ve found successful that we hope will work for you, too.

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for referrals. You may naturally be hesitant to ask a client to do something, afraid that it might put them out of their comfort zone. When it comes to landing referrals, that’s a big no-no! You must be willing to ask your customers for referrals to grow your business. And, if you have proven your value to your customers, they will be happy to do so more than you might think. Start with those customers you feel are the best and most loyal, as they’re the likeliest to go to bat for you.
  • Work on your value proposition. A value proposition is about being able to illustrate what differentiates you and your business. With competition literally just around the corner (phone call, internet or car ride), you must stand out by showing prospects and customers why you are the one to do business with. Whether it’s a certain niche, the quality and delivery of your product or service, the performance of your staff, or a combination of all these things and more, your audience must be able to connect with you and be motivated to choose you. Make sure your value proposition is clear and compelling, and that your staff is fully behind its message.
  • Market, market, market! A strategic marketing effort is a must for attracting others to give you new business. At SBS, we constantly work on this. It’s a big time commitment, but extremely worth it if you go about it the right way. For us, this meant building a website that is eye appealing and informative, writing blogs and newsletters each month, and putting all these things on our social media channels to build awareness, traffic and engagement. It is an ongoing effort, and we’d be more than happy to discuss this more in-depth and come up with solutions and strategies to help you market your businesses.

Let us Know How we Can Help!

While this list could go on forever, we feel these are three key areas that many business owners struggle with. At SBS, we know how valuable your time is and how important it is to provide you solutions that take your business to the next level.

Feel free to contact us today if you have any questions or comments, or are ready to get started. We’d love to hear what keeps you up at night and strive to find solutions to those issues.

A Dynamic Duo of New QuickBooks Online Features: Empowering You and Your Business

You’ve probably heard me say it before, but QuickBooks Online (QBO) is a real game changer for small businesses. Besides bringing so many amazing benefits to the table, Intuit is always looking to improve the product, developing powerful new features just about every month.

The latest batch represents a dynamic duo of QBO enhancements that will improve your workflow and the health of your business. Here are those two new features and, of course, Sound Business Services (SBS) is here to help you every step of the way.

Managing Multiple Companies? A Simple Solution to Your Everyday Needs

If you need to track the books for more than one company or entity, you can now do that in QBO. That’s right – no more moving from browser to browser, or signing in and out of different accounts. It’s all at your fingertips in one place.

From a simple and easy-to-navigate drop-down tab (see Andrew’s Apples above), you can toggle between as many tabs and windows as you prefer, anywhere and across multiple screens. Packed inside the app is the many beneficial features that already exist to save you time that you can put toward doing what you do best – running your business and helping it grow.

Keep Your Business Healthy With Workers Comp Insurance

The second QBO feature keeps you compliant. While we hope to never use it, the reality is that on-the-job injuries do happen, and you must have workers’ comp insurance in place to safeguard your staff and your business. In Georgia, for example, the State Board of Workers Compensation Insurance requires most employers with three or more full-time, part-time or seasonal employees to have workers’ compensation insurance. If the business is incorporated or an LLC, the corporate officers or members are included in the three or more employee count, regardless of whether they exempt themselves from coverage.

Now, available directly inside QBO, you can manage the entire workers’ comp experience. From getting a quote to the complete shopping and buying experience online, QBO has you covered.

Simply find the Workers’ Comp tab above, click the “Get set up” button, and you’re off and running. From there, you will answer some basic questions, get a quote and purchase a policy directly online. With the ability to choose automatic payments taken from your payroll, you can dodge a hefty upfront premium and improve your cash flow.

Ready to Get Started or Have any Questions? We are Here to Help

There’s no doubt that Intuit continues to deliver new and exciting features to take your experience to the next level, but our help and expertise is vital to empowering you and your business with the best solutions you need to succeed. If you haven’t made the leap from QuickBooks Desktop to QBO, or are ready to make the most out of these new features in QBO, contact us today. You’ll be on your way to rocking your workflow, improving your business and taking control of your time management to be a stronger business owner.

(Images courtesy of Intuit QuickBooks)