Beginners Bookkeeping For Small Business Owners

On the road to building a viable business, certain things are not to be compromised. Your small business needs a robust foundation and a great deal of support to thrive.

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The foundation is made up of important pillars such as a flexible workforce, a digitally-savvy marketing team, a knowledgeable IT desk, a business website hosted on servers with sufficient resources and featuring a domain name that communicates brand values, business insurance and a well-rounded leadership structure.
Equally important though, is a robust bookkeeping process. Regardless of how all the important fragments enumerated above line up, poor bookkeeping can hinder the business from making any progress. In worst case scenarios, the business will fail.
Profit tracking, cash flow and paying tax are important aspects of a business, and are the key reasons why you must keep an eye on your bookkeeping. A lot of businesses that fail do so because they overspend and don’t track their cash flow closely enough.

Sorting through receipts, invoices, taxes and other bills may seem like a lot of work in the early days. To help you stay in control of your bookkeeping, here are guides especially for you.

Create a system for proper documentation:

It is very important for you to always send out invoices and issue receipts when due. You need to also keep tabs on all the bills that you have to pay and be in control of your company’s finances.
The good news is that there is help to keep up; you can make use of tools like our online invoicing software right here on Cloudbooks.

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Time to Organize:
No! It is not sensible for you to keep stashing those receipts together in a basket besides your desk as your business keeps expanding.

Make it easy on yourself by sorting the different documents out in files. Start by getting
a) A lever arch file
b) Plastic punched pockets
c) A set of dividers, labelled for each month

Religiously keep each document where it belongs- invoices, bank statements, employee expenses, phone bills and whatever other documents you use in your line of business.

You could also create an Excel sheet. it may seem like a lot to ask to do daily entry, but once you make the habit of making a record of every transaction, it becomes easier to keep track of all you do. Using software like the Microsoft Office 365 makes it even easier for you to enter data anywhere, on any of your device.

It will also save you a lot of mental stress to use an online document management services to help you keep your house in order. You may then customise the categories or use their pre-set categories as you file away.

Be careful how you handle your cash:
It is tempting to use the cash you have at hand for daily expenses. If the cash is from your business sales, ensure you remit it to your business bank account.

Aside from the discipline it gives you as a money manager, it makes it easy for you to also keep track of your sales.
It is absolutely imperative that you have a true record of your business ins and outs.

Separate your accounts

It is easy to muddle together personal expenses with business expenses, especially when you just start your business. It will save you a lot of stress to separate your finances by keeping your personal expenditures out of your business expenses. This is sure to save you a lot of trouble. To start with you need to have a separate account for your business. If you do not have separate accounts, then you should be disciplined enough to carefully highlight what you spend on your business and record it accordingly (in the appropriate journal or sheet) going through your bank records. Plan to get a business account as soon as possible.

If you keep separate accounts, then your work is partly done. You may, however, still find yourself drawing from your business account for personal use or using your personal funds for your business. The key thing here is to have a record of all these transactions. Beginner bookkeeping suggested making regular weekly or monthly drawings in the form of a wage/salary to meet personal needs, instead of withdrawing frequently or at random times, which makes it hard to keep track of the withdrawals being made.

You should also keep track of when personal funds are being used to fund business supplies or services. If you need to fund the business from personal money then consider it a loan to the business, and do it in a lump sum, rather than ad hoc.

Reconcile your accounts

Having a properly reconciled account is the ultimate goal in bookkeeping. Reconciling your account is when you compare two accounts and make sure they are in agreement. This is what you do when you compare your bank statements with the financial records you have been keeping.

It is important that there are no discrepancies between the numbers you have recorded and the ones from your bank statement.
If all this seems too much for you, there are lots of great tools and resources to facilitate and educate. Technology has made keeping the books easier than ever; so make use of it!

Improve the Customer Experience for Your Small Business Using Technology

As any small business owner knows, the customer is king. Creating and constantly improving a great customer experience is the key to steady business growth, especially for small businesses looking to scale. Technology is the practical answer to smoothing processes and improving efficiency and delivering enhanced service levels without having to charge uncompetitive prices

Customers are attracted to Superior Service

What attracts customers in the first place is superior service. Customers want to be valued when they choose to use your company’s products and services. What makes them stay is when they see they are getting good value for their time and resources.

When time and attention is drawn away from implementing the benefits appropriately selected technology can offer to improve the customer experience it can contribute to the downfall of a small business.
There are probably hundreds of companies in competition with your own, and it is increasingly harder to compete. Investing in good technological upgrades can help to proffer a needed boost in different areas of your business, from reception to storage, and, most importantly, sales.

How to Use Technology to Improve Customer Experience in a Small Business

● Automate emails to customers
● Build a strong web presence
● Use the Cloud
● Manage data electronically
● Create a mobile app
● Leverage social media
● Create a more intimate channel of contact

Automate Emails to Customers

Email is a simple yet effective way to reach out to customers, keeping in constant touch with them, manage issues and complaints and to maintain new leads. It is also a useful way for small businesses to keep tabs on your customer base as it grows. Some services are highly productive for automating interaction and communication with clients via email. The important thing is to discover one or a couple that is well suited to the needs of your company and provides the best customer experience. Examples of such services include big names like Gmail and Microsoft Outlook or other equally effective services like HubSpot and Marketo

Build a Strong Web Presence

A web presence is more important than ever before for both online businesses and brick and mortar companies. Make a great first impression with a value-rich website that provides solutions to customers’ questions and their wants and needs. Customers tend to look online and browse through a site first before they make a decision on whether or not to patronise a business. Make such a decision easy for them by providing useful information on every page of your website. A strong presence can be achieved through a detailed “About Page” and “FAQ Page”.
Make sure you smooth the experience by keeping your code clean, plugins light and by getting a good web host with servers in the country/region where your visitors are. This will ensure that that visitors don’t abandon your site out of frustration before they get a chance to absorb your offering. Website visitors are extremely impatient, and won’t wait for a low loading page unless they have a very good reason to do so.

Use the Cloud

Cloud storage technology and cloud hosting have made information sharing, managing an online presence, and work processes much easier. Your clients want you available as much as possible, and having documents on the cloud and processes there too, like with our cloud-based application, will make you super efficient while you commute, use time waiting for a meeting, or work from home. If you use cloud hosting, from a company like Umbrellar Cloud or UKFast, you won’t have to worry about site uptime, site monitoring and site security. Such services take all the time out of the server management process, leaving you to concentrate on your core activities.

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Businesses that are not using the cloud as an integral part of their business these days are at a distinct disadvantage.

Manage Data Electronically

Managing data is easier when relevant technology is applied. Customer experience is improved when you can appropriately match each customer with the data they provide to create fantastic services tailored to their specific preferences. Making use of high-tech customer intelligence and web analytics platforms as a small business gives you an edge over the competition when it comes to satisfying a client with an unforgettably pleasant experience. Two examples of platforms that can provide your business with this advantage are Kissmetrics and ClearStory Data

Build a Mobile App

Mobile apps provide interesting ways for customers to interact with businesses and vice-versa. Small businesses can achieve omnipresent status through mobile apps. Your availability as a source of particular products and services is a form of heightening customer experience in itself. Your current customers and potential customers use smartphones and tablets, so you can reach out and connect with them no matter where they are. An app will also afford you the chance to send customers information concerning any changes or upgrades to your services.

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Leverage Social Media

Active social media for a small business is useful to keep you within easy reach of your customers, and also to keep open channels of communication with them where you can collect relevant information about their interests and suggestions. Different social media channels exist, and with supporting tools, you can employ to aim excellent customer experiences towards your users. A critical aspect of improving customer experience is by communicating with your customers at the right time, right place, and through the right means. You can achieve this by using social media.

Create a More Intimate Channel of Contact

The more customer-intimate or customer-centric your company is, the greater the chance you are providing your customers with a high-quality customer experience. A more intimate channel of communication between you and your customers will result in strong, long-term relationships. So if you haven’t done this already, now is the time to begin to transform or transition into a small business with a big focus on valuing your customers.

Using technology to improve the customer experience for your small business can be as simple as closing the gap between your clients and your business. Some handy software is available to ease this process. They include Interakt, Kayako, Freshdesk, and Crisp. These can be integrated into your website design to add value and improve your customer journey.
These are simple ways to use technology to enhance customer experience for your small business. They improve your company’s value to customers and create informal channels to reach out and interact with customers, both existing and potential.