Are you prepared to manage your cash flow this year?

​A cash flow shortage is the number one reason why small businesses fail, but even mid-sized and large companies need smart cash flow management to survive and thrive. Insufficient cash forces companies to make difficult decisions about who is going to get paid and when. Unfortunately, this can lead to vendors and suppliers being paid late, being overdue on rent, and even employees waiting on paychecks.

So, are you ready to manage cash flow for your business?

#1 PLANNING AND FORECASTING. Effective cash flow management hinges on predicting when cash in-flows will slump to hold onto enough cash during surges to fill in the gaps.

#2 REDUCING SPENDING. Understanding where spending has exceeded (or is on pace to exceed) budgeted amounts is a surefire way to identify areas that need to be looked at more critically. The goal is to improve profit margins without stifling future business growth.

#3 SUSTAINING CASH IN-FLOWS. Anticipate cash flow valleys by understanding whether your business has any seasonality that will affect revenue. Look at revenue numbers and sales figures by month and compare them to historical data from previous years.

#4 FINANCING. When your business needs to bring in more money quickly, you may need to lean on outside financing in the form of a bank loan or line of credit. Working capital provides the resources needed to continue, and even expand, daily operations. Bringing in additional capital improves cash flow, making it easier to manage the lifeblood of the business and facilitate long-term strategic planning.

A bookkeeper’s expertize is instrumental in managing your cash flow. If you need help finding bookkeeping services that fit your business needs, contact us!

Money-Saving Hacks for Small Businesses

Money-Saving Hacks for Small Businesses

Do you ever look up life hacks on the internet?

There are countless websites out there, all offering life hacks that are guaranteed to change the way you do things. We’re sure that you’ve seen tips like these before:

  • Pour cola into your toilet to make it spotlessly clean
  • Put pancake mix into an empty ketchup bottle for a perfect batter pour
  • Use your car’s seat warmer to keep your pizza box hot on the way home

But when you’re running a small business, you don’t need life hacks; you need money-saving hacks. Unfortunately, these are usually less fun than life hacks. But if you implement these simple hacks at your small business, you could see some significant changes to your bottom line!

Revamp Your Advertising

If you’re a small business (especially a newer one), most traditional advertising and marketing methods simply won’t work for you.

Reaching out with big newspaper ads or TV spots casts too wide a net, not to mention that both marketing methods are costly. If you’re a small business, we encourage you to think about targeted advertising, so you are reaching out to the exact audience you want to capture.

This method is often much cheaper as well, as you can use digital marketing strategies to massively narrow the focus of your campaign. For example, Facebook Ads allow you to specifically pick the audience you want to target, in terms of both demographics and locations. You can also choose your exact budget, guaranteeing that you won’t go over budget.

You can also utilize free marketing platforms like YouTube. By creating a few fun YouTube videos advertising your business, you will have content that you can share on all of your social media profiles!

In other words, when it comes to your marketing, don’t think “big.” Instead, think “targeted.”

Utilize Remote Work

Remote work has become more common than ever. But have you ever considered how powerful it could be to hire remote workers for your business?

We’re not necessarily talking about full-time employees here. If you have repetitive tasks that take up a ton of your time every week, you might want to look at hiring a virtual assistant to help you out part-time. You usually only need to pay them for the time they spend on a task, making them extremely cost-effective for targeted work.

Other reasons to hire remote workers like virtual assistants are that you often don’t need to spend money or time to train them and you don’t need to pay them benefits. If you’re a small business that needs some extra hands, but you can’t afford to bring on new employees, then remote workers might be the way to go!

Review All Your Expenses

Okay, this might not sound like a hack. But you would be surprised at the number of small businesses out there that never look closely at their books to see where they can cut back on expenses.

Monitoring your expenses has become even more critical as we move into a post-pandemic world. Small expenses, like paper supplies, can be a significant drain over the life of your business. It might be time to think about creating a paperless office, especially if you are now working from home!

And if you’ve already transitioned your small business into a home office environment, maybe you should consider staying that way. Not only will it save you big bucks in office rent, but you could also likely write off a part of your mortgage or home rent. We can help you find those savings!

It can also be a challenge to identify these savings if your books are not well-organized. If you have excellent bookkeeping, then finding these expenses should be a piece of cake. In fact, one of the best ways to make sure all of your finances are organized (besides hiring a professional bookkeeper) is our next hack!

Learn to Use QuickBooks Online

Here at The Number Works, we are huge fans of QuickBooks Online. This cloud-based accounting software has entirely changed the game for countless small businesses, including many that we have worked with directly.

In many cases, we take the lead on the management of your finances, but what if you want to do it yourself? Then you need to learn all the ins and outs of QBO! It may sound easy, but it can be trickier than you think. While it’s simple enough to learn the basics, things can get complicated when you get into many of its more advanced financial management features.

That’s why we think one of the best money-saving hacks you can try is getting QuickBooks Online training. It’s one of the reasons why we offer this service to small business owners. It can save you money on hiring an accountant, and it will also deeply immerse you in the financial health of your business. You’ll know exactly what is going on in your business at all times!

Save on Office Supplies

Remember what we said about saving on paper? What if you need paper at work? Well, it might be time to look at your office supplies supplier and see if someone else can offer you a better deal.

You might want to look for savings in places where you would typically pay a premium. For example, how much do you spend on “genuine” ink for your printer? If you use toner, it can cost you hundreds of dollars a year. You can always look into third-party ink or toner cartridges. Just make sure to do your research first, ensuring that they are guaranteed not to damage your printer or copier. But using off-brand products like these can save you a massive amount of money!

Life and small business hacks are fantastic, but nothing beats solid financial management strategies when it comes to saving money. If you want to set yourself up for success in managing your business finances by learning QuickBooks Online, contact us today to ensure that your small business’ finances are always well taken care of!

Hooks

Money Saving Tips for Small Businesses

Money Saving Tips for Small Businesses

Have you been tightening your belt lately at your small business?

It seems like everyone is looking for places to save some money right now. And that makes sense, as most small businesses have been closed for the last few months. Even though we’re well into reopening across the province, it’s still going to take some time for everything to get back to normal. For businesses to rebound quickly, they’re going to need every spare penny they can find!

If you’ve been going through your small business’ budget looking for places to trim some fat, here are some ideas on how you might save some money throughout the rest of the year:

Change Up Your Advertising

When it comes to advertising, new small businesses sometimes think they need to break the bank to get people to notice them. That could be a big mistake, especially if they’re already working from a limited budget.

Rather than spending as much money on marketing as possible, it would be a better strategy to make the biggest impact for as little money as possible. ROI is crucial when it comes to marketing, so don’t splurge for that full-page newspaper ad right off the bat!

Do you have a professional-looking website? You should! If you’re just starting out, avoid going with a custom design and stick with a service like SquareSpace or WordPress. These are “do-it-yourself” website building and hosting companies that can deliver incredible-looking and easy-to-manage sites.

Once you have your website up, start building your social media presence online. It’s free to create profiles on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for your business. From there, you can start to create social media ads. They cost a fraction of what traditional advertising methods cost, but can deliver big returns!

Optimize Your Time

Some people think “time is money” is just an old cliche. Small business owners know better.

The more time you spend on small but time-consuming tasks, the less you’re going to have to spend on the big important stuff that actually makes you money. If you have a staff, you want to be paying them for hard work, not busy work and wasted time. To do this, you need to optimize how you’re spending your hours at work.

To do this, we recommend using a project management system such as Asana or Teamwork. Disorganization is usually the reason why time gets wasted, so fix this by using a tool that keeps your projects and tasks in one place! You’ll be amazed at how much more productive you and your staff become when everyone is clear on what they need to do.

Use Alternative or Open-Source Software

One of the biggest drags on the income of small businesses is the computer software they use. For example, if you work on PCs, then you likely have Microsoft Office installed. If you go with the standalone version of the software that you can only install on a single computer, you’re going to be paying $250. If you go with the subscription model, you’re going to be paying $100 a year. Either way, that’s a lot of money!

There are much cheaper alternatives out there for such software that offer almost identical functionality. For example, Google Suite is not only free, but it includes a great word processor, calendar, spreadsheets, and just about everything else you could get from Microsoft Office. Or, if you want a more Office-like experience, why not try LibreOffice? It’s a free, open-source productivity suite that is very similar to Office in terms of functionality and interface.

Another expensive piece of software that almost every small business uses is Adobe. Adobe programs like Acrobat and Photoshop can be essentials for any workplace, but they can also be incredibly expensive. Subscribing to a single app can run you up to $30 a month. If you want to use all of them, that’s going to be closer to $80 a month. But there are alternatives!

If you want to spend less money on editing PDFs, you could try Nitro Pro. It offers similar functionality to Adobe Acrobat, but for a one-time purchase of $160. If you want a free graphics editor, your best bet would be GIMP (short for GNU Image Manipulation Program). Its interface might take a little getting used to, but its feature set is fantastic!

Have an Accountant Take Care of Your Books

Early on in their business, some small business owners think a great way to save money is to do their taxes themselves. Unfortunately, they often learn the hard way that this is not only a bad idea, but it could cost them money in the long run.

First, doing your own business’ taxes is super time-consuming. If you’ve never done them before, you’re likely unaware of credits and deductions that could significantly reduce your tax bill. Add to that the several hours that it takes to complete and send your taxes off to the CRA, and it often becomes a time investment you can’t afford.

When you work with a professional accountant/bookkeeper, all of that is taken care of for you. We have worked with dozens upon dozens of small businesses over the years, helping them reduce their tax burden and saving them money and headaches. Not only that, but we also help them find places in their budgets where they could cut back and save even more. We realize we’re slightly biased, but hiring a great accountant is a terrific investment in your business’ future!

If you want to learn more about how we can help you manage your business’ finances, we invite you to contact The Number Works today. With our years of accounting experience, we’ll work to save you money and help your business thrive throughout the rest of 2020!