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Choosing Business Partners (Part 2 of 2) C2online
How do you choose a partner(s) for your business?


As I wrote in the first installment, setting up a business partnership is like getting
married—you need to carefully choose your partner.

Here’s the second of two installments to help you make the right decision in considering
a business partner(s).

4. Financial Capacity and Shares – every business needs capital to run. Are you
clear how much money you need to get the business up and running? Are you
sure you want to have equal shares? Or do want to retain control by having
majority shares? Is he putting in money as well? It’s also crucial to know if the
partner you are considering is financially stable or is carrying a great deal of
debt. If you are taking on a partner, you need to ensure the partner is able to
be responsible financially and can handle any losses. It’s essential you protect
yourself financially when entering into a partnership.

5. Chemistry – do you have at least one common passion or hobby to tie you
together? Do you both want to make a difference in the world? Or does working
in the outdoors energize you both? Whatever that bond may be, it’s important to
have something in common so you enjoy working together over the long-term.
Trust your intuition—if it is telling you this is not the right person, then don’t enter
into the partnership.

6. Exit Strategy – once you’ve considered everything, it’s important to create an
exit strategy before signing on the dotted line. There may come a point where
the partnership is no longer working or valuable. An exit strategy, which has
been agreed to and signed off on by all parties, should be part of the partnership
agreement.

There are no hard and fast rules in choosing a partner but these are six areas
you should consider. If you are going to be working with someone closely on a
day-to-day business, do your homework first and ensure you’ve chosen the right
person.

How do you choose a partner(s) for your business? (Part 1 of 2) C2online

A business partnership is like a marriage; in both cases, you need to make the right choice in a partner. Once you’ve made that choice, it needs to work or you will both end up unhappy.

Here’s the first of two installments to help you discern whether or not the person you are considering is a perfect fit to be your business partner:

  1. Relationship – is he your friend, your in-law, a close family member, a relative, or just a buddy? Are you willing to risk your relationship with this person in the event that something goes wrong with the business? If you are concerned about risking your relationship with this person, the wise choice is not to enter into a partnership. A personal relationship can cloud many aspects of your decision-making. If you are not 100 percent confident the connection can withstand being in business together and that your decision-making will still be objective, it’s better to safeguard the relationship by not entering into business together.

  2. Expertise – is this person adding value to the business? Carefully consider the reasons you are bringing him on. Partnering with someone who brings something to the table can be valuable for the growth of your business. Partnering with someone for the sake of having a partner can lead to disaster.

  3. Past collaboration– have you worked with this person before? Working successfully together in the past is important, especially if you are working with someone you have a close relationship with. Someone who is fun to socialize with isn’t necessarily as enjoyable to work with. Working on a pilot project together first to determine whether you are a good fit can be valuable, before entering into a partnership.

    Photo Credit: Danilo Rizzuti at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


A Christmas Wish to Santa C2online

THE COMMUNITY of Newtown, western Connecticut, is mourning the loss of 26 people, including 20 children, who were killed during a horrific massacre.  Let us help spread the word on this Santa letter to honor those who passed on that horrible day...

 


Loved Customers are Loyal Customers C2online

One of the main reasons companies succeed is because of high sales volumes; conversely, companies fail because of low sales. A sale takes place when an able and willing customer pays for your product or service. Most businesses make the mistake of thinking they need to find more customers to increase their sales. That’s where they go wrong.

One key to success is to provide a highly satisfying experience to customers so they become repeat customers and then go onto become loyal, committed customers who will spread the word about your company.

How do you do that? The answer is simple: Love. Let’s talk about love and how you can translate it to your customer experience, creating fiercely loyal customers and a highly successful business.

We all know how love happens; you’re attracted to someone, you date, you date more, then you commit, and you develop a long-term relationship in which the two of you are loyal to each other. In many cases, the relationship begins to deteriorate when one or both of you stops caring about the attraction factor, the two of you spend less time together, stop doing nice things for each other, communication begins to break down and so on.

Love happens the same way in business, your customer walks in to your shop, or sees your attractive advertisement and was impressed by your sales presentation (attraction), so they’ve decided to try you (dating), they were satisfied with the experience so they tried you again (dating more), then they finally committed to your product or services and they declare their loyalty by making your business their product or service provider (long-term relationship).  Now it is really up to you if you want this love story to continue to a happy ever after story.

How can you keep your customers committed and loyal to you?

  • continue to make your business attractive (store ambience, good packaging, fresh new products, updated marketing materials),
  • check-in with your customers to ensure their experiences are always positive and satisfactory,
  • ongoing and regular communication with customers to show you care,
  • consistently keep them attracted to you by developing new products they may need; create easy ways to them to reach you and continue to purchase your products and
  • say sorry when you make a mistake and recommit to providing satisfaction in the future.

Continue to captivate your customers and create loyalty, so they commit to you and share your love story with others, leading to more loyal customers and more success for your business.  

Image Credit: fakhar


Removing stress by hiring a bookkeeper C2online
We’ve talked about guidelines on how to choose a bookkeeper, but perhaps you are still not convinced
you really need one. Let’s review your situation.

Not that long ago, starting a business and fulfilling your passion was your dream.

You’ve taken that step—you’ve created your own business. It’s beginning to take off and you’re looking
to expand. There’s a lot on your plate—you’re testing the market, looking for a new location, meeting
with potential customers, interviewing, training and hiring new employees, setting up the office, and
purchasing inventory, among many other tasks.

The business is starting to make a profit; the day-to-day running of it keeps you busy full-time. Tracking
inventory records, accounts payable, accounts receivable and other transactions needs to be done.

Instead of having that extra time to play with your kids, spend time with your partner or pursue personal
interests, you are now swamped with receipts and records at nights and on weekends. You can’t sleep
soundly because you are worried about inventory, cash flow and the myriad of other items a business
owner needs to stay on top of. Financial record keeping just keeps getting put on the back burner.

As an entrepreneur, you need devote your energy to growing and running your business. You need some
personal time; everyone does. It’s also critical to stay on top of your finances. How do you achieve all of
that?

The best way to accomplish that is by hiring a bookkeeper, freeing you up to manage the running and
growing of your business. You can reduce your workload and stress, focus on things you are good at—
the reason you started the business in the first place--and have a bookkeeper handle the tracking and
recording of your finances.

Taking this step will allow you to breathe easier. Simplify your life—hire a bookkeeper. If you need to find one check out the North American Bookkeeper Directory and if you are a bookkeeper get listed for Free.

Image Credit: bizior 


How to Open the Door - It's About Them Not You! C2online

Part of being a successful entrepreneur is being able to develop your business. It is not just about running around trying to drum up new business. You need to be creative, have a thorough understanding of the company’s product, technology, market and competition. You must be highly focused and have the ability to not only open doors but also close deals. Lets talk about opening that door.

 

When I look at a product or service that I am going to be involved in and I need to focus on the business development strategy I research what companies would benefit the most from the offering.  Once I have analyzed the potential JV’s, VC’s and alliances, I build a road map in my mind and duplicate it on paper.

 The road map is very much like your typical road map but instead of the cities, and towns being locations they are companies.   Analyzing the vision in my head on paper allows me to see how everything is interconnected and visually your target business development opportunities appear before your eyes.

Now that's the easy part!   Now you know who to contact but how do you get that door open to talk to them. Now you need to focus all about them, who they are as a company, an executive and how they can benefit from your offering.

Making contact with the right person is key, and your first attempt once you decide who that should be may fail.  That’s ok cause you are determined.   First, look at the executive staff and ascertain if anyone you know in your rolodex may have a connection to that particular person or someone in the company that can provide you an introduction.  If the answer results in a no, you then need to contact them directly.  Keep it simple, explain who you are, why you are contacting them and then make sure you make the introduction all about them and how you can help them.

If that attempt fails, try another executive or perhaps maybe an employee that may be able to provide that introduction that cracks that door open for you.  Never give up and be persistent but don't be a pest. 

Good Luck

Lisa Patrick
CEO Co-Founder C2online.ca


How to Spot a Good Bookkeeper for Your Business? C2online

As your business grows, or even during the start-up stage, it’s a must that you have someone who takes care of the bookkeeping tasks for you.

Business documents pile up so quickly, like receipts and invoices, bills to be paid and those that were already paid for.  Taxes and other financial documents also directly impact one’s business stature.  And getting things in order is a must if you want to be on top of your financial transactions.
Let’s face it, as business progresses, everybody becomes busier, and without a bookkeeper to take care these, things can get messier than one can imagine.
But hiring a good one can also be a difficult process, here are some tips to spot the best bookkeeper for your business during the hiring process:
Is the candidate well-experienced in the bookkeeping process?
Does the candidate for the position have the necessary experience?  Did he work before in a similar capacity? It pays to have someone who’s experienced on the job, so that they can also bring to the table learnings from his prior employment.
Does he show genuine interest during the interview process? 
Does he ask questions about your business? Does he sound really interested?  You may be able to discern if a person is interested if he asks questions that’ll lead him to how he can make improvements with your current business processes.
What is his educational background?
Would you hire a surgeon that is self-taught?  The same thing also goes for the bookkeeper position.  It is important to have someone who has a degree, or a certificate that he can really render bookkeeping services.
Does he know the software that you’re currently using?
Or does he know any bookkeeping software?  Nowadays, it is highly important to hire someone who is knowledgeable about the various software available, even if just one.  So that it’lll not be hard to train them.
Does he tell you negative things about his previous employer?
If he does, you may just show him the door.  Bookkeeping task is a very serious matter.  It’s the lifeblood of any business, after sales that is.  Would you be comfortable to hire someone, who might squeal on you should your employee-employer relationship turn sour?
Getting a good bookkeeper is not an easy process.  And it is very important to take the necessary precaution when you decide to get one.

Bookkeeper Job Responsibilities Defined C2online

A bookkeeper is someone who is hired to handle the recording of a company’s financial transactions.  He manages the company’s books of original entries – which is called the Journal, and the books of final entries – otherwise known as the ledger.



He plays a crucial role in making sure that a company’s financial records are kept up to date, and making sure that all transactions are accounted for correctly.

He also plays other important roles, and his duties include the following:

Assists in Payroll Preparation.

A bookkeeper makes sure that employees’ payroll is prepared and the corresponding taxes, and government mandated benefits are tracked accordingly.  He makes sure that correct tax exemptions are given to each employee, this is so that no major tax adjustments will be necessary during the year-end preparation of employees’ withholding taxes.  Though he may be not directly involved in the payroll preparation process, he works hand in hand with the payroll master to make sure that payroll is prepared accordingly.

Tax Filing.

A bookkeeper makes sure that all receipts, invoices and any other documents are kept and recorded.  This helps in properly accounting for all transactions that may impact tax declaration, most especially during the year-end financial statement preparations.

Help in the Preparation of Financial Statements.

Since the bookkeeper takes care of the company’s book of accounts, it’s but logical that he works hand in hand with the accountant during the preparation of the company’s balance sheet and income statement.  And others, like the statement of cash flow.

He must make sure that everything is recorded.  Even small amount that are not recorded shouldn’t be missed.  This is because everything adds up eventually. 

And companies may lose a lot of great deal by ignoring minor expenses that go unnoticed.

Monitoring Bank Transactions and Preparing Bank Reconciliation Statement.

The bookkeeper helps ensure that cash in bank balances match the cash balances reflected in the company’s books. Any discrepancy is a cause for alarm because that shows that there are transactions that weren’t recorded by the bookkeeper.  This should be done on a regular basis, like monthly or quarterly.


Is your Business in the Red? C2online

As a business owner, if asked this very same question, will you be able to give an answer with a straight face?

At times, in business, owners or managers would assume that their hectic day-to-day activities are a sign that their business is actually doing well.  Watching the frantic activities happening in the stores or the shops, give them that feeling that their business is really making lots of money.

But what if the supposed crazy business activities don’t necessarily mean profitability?  Yes, like activity doesn’t really reflect productivity.
We have to admit, many business owners are at a lost when it comes to understanding how their company’s really doing.
Maybe it’s about time you talk to your bookkeeper and accountant and see if your business is really making the profits that you want.  Let’s face it, how can you deal with a problem that you don’t even know exist.
Do you have the right mark-up for your products or services? 
Are you just on break-even for every sale that you make? 
Is your overhead not eating your profits? 
What business expenses are taking a huge slice of the pie in your budget? 
What costs can you trim down further to improve cash flow? 
Are you collecting from your account receivables on the dates that they are supposed to become due? 
Can you still afford to invest in new equipment or technology for your business?
The questions can go on and on. 
And as you talk to your accountant and bookkeeper, more questions than answers have to be resolved so that you can set your business towards the direction that you want.
Besides, sound business decisions can only be made if you have the right financial information. And the best person to talk about this first is your bookkeeper -- who holds the key to your books of accounts.  Next, is your accountant who can either solidify further, or have a more thorough analysis of your current financial condition.
You don’t have to sleep at night not knowing where your business is really heading.  Hire a bookkeeper if you don’t have one yet.  And make sure that you have a professional who can assist you in keeping your financial house in order.
It pays to know your business numbers!  And there’s no better time to do that but NOW!

Business Alert: Is your Bookkeeping taking a Backseat? C2online
It happens all the time, especially with small business owners.



“Why hire a bookkeeper when I can do it on my own?”


The best of intentions….


We understand—bookkeeping is tedious. It often requires a lot of time and mental effort.
Time that is needed to put out fires or to grow your business, which is why it gets put on
the back burner.


But crucial business decisions should be based on how well the business is doing
financially…and you can’t know that without good bookkeeping records.


And without proper record keeping, your company’s financial statements can be put into
question.


These are some of the common ways business owners run into problems:


Delayed record keeping


This tops the list. Falling behind on bookkeeping has a snowball effect. Small expenses
that seem insignificant at the time aren’t recorded—and because they are small,
business owners disregard them. But over time, they can add up, having an impact on
the company’s financial situation.


Improperly allocated expenses


This can have serious implications for your tax return. Possible scenarios are:


Significant amounts are wrongly assigned as non-tax deductible expenses.
Advances to suppliers and other business entities are not converted to
expenses when the contracts are fulfilled. Your assets will look good, but your
expenses will be understated, potentially leading to business decisions based on
misinformation.
Incorrect classification of salaries to employees and payments to consultants
and/or contractors—which fall into different categories. When these aren’t
classified properly, expense claims and tax deductions can be lost.
Sales Tax. This is an often-neglected bookkeeping task. When a business has
sales, the usual reporting method is to acknowledge sales in the books, and cash
received or update the receivables. But Sales Tax? It has to be declared, but
many business owners forget or neglect to do this.


Advice? Hiring a good bookkeeper will save you money over the long-term and free you
to do what you do best—grow your business.


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