Whether you’re small, c-suite, or enterprise: bookkeeping and accounting are important for any business. Bad books can lead to overpaid taxes, out of control expenses, and in the worst-case scenario… Legal ramifications or debts.
In November 2019 on the Google My Business Problems series, we had the opportunity to learn why bookkeeping is so important for businesses from Julie Shopa of Clarity Finances in Florida. During our interview, Julie answered a slew of hard-hitting questions that illustrate the importance of keeping books CORRECTLY.
Here’s what we learned:
You Need to Hire a Quickbooks Pro Advisor
If you’re using your Quickbooks to manage your bookkeeping and accounting, you need to hire a Certified Quickbooks Pro Advisor. Quickbooks is easy to use incorrectly if you’re untrained. Pro Advisors are trained to understand the program and optimize the program to help streamline operations.
If your books are being tracked incorrectly- you’re going to end up paying taxes on the money you haven’t made. Worse yet, you’re going to pay for the help to straighten your books. According to Dave Ramsey, over 2.2 million taxpayers overpaid. Don’t be one of them! Hiring a Quickbooks Pro Advisor will save you time, money, and heartache.
You Can’t Afford Not to Have a Bookkeeper
As we mentioned in the introduction, bookkeeping is essential to functioning properly (and legally). There are many different ways to make bookkeeping affordable. More often than not, you will be able to find a professional that can what you’re trying to do in a fraction of the time.
Choose a provider than can:
Grow with you
Is a Quickbooks Pro Advisors
Consider the value of your time. How many hours do you spend trying to clean your books? How much does an hour of your time cost? If you hired a professional, you could gain precious hours back. More importantly, the cost of bad information is much higher.
Review Your Books at Least Once a Month
At a minimum, you need to be looking at your reports on a monthly basis. Do your checks and balances. Make sure that you are regularly reconciling your accounts. If you’d like to increase the cadence, limit this to bi-weekly. Compare previous months and take note of trends.
With these reports, sit down with your bookkeeper and management team. Discuss the findings. Talk about the trends. This is a good way to unify operations and secure growth within your business. You’ll figure out what is working, what’s not, and what needs to change a lot quicker when you are able to attach products, services, and labor costs to a dollar value. We call this practice ROI protection.
Don’t Hire Friends and Family to Do Your Bookkeeping
It’s tempting to hire a friend or family. After all, they’re typically willing to help us cut costs and work at lower wages. Though this may be okay for some design work, it’s not okay when it comes to your bookkeeping. Not only can this create contention between you and loved ones, but it can also pose a variety of unique problems.
Here are a few examples:
Here’s the worst-case scenario: Julie had a client that needed their books reviewed. Their daughter had been doing their bookkeeping. We discovered that she had embezzled over ten thousand dollars.
Here’s the best: Your aunt is doing the books alone. She has been overworked lately and hasn’t been keeping the books straight. Now your taxes are due. Worse yet, you’ve found she didn’t have the skills needed to do perform the task.
Long story short? Opt for a professional.
Your Books are the Foundation of Your Business
No matter how small bookkeeping may seem, it plays a very real role in your business. Not only does it tell you how successful your business is, but it also keeps your tax bill in check. Don’t overlook its importance. Instead, hire a certified Quickbooks pro advisor (that you aren’t related to) and set monthly finance meetings. If you need help, turn to professionals like Julie Shopa who can grow with you throughout your business journey.
SEO, SEM, and PPC are all acronyms that are thrown around pretty heavily in the marketing world. But do you actually know what they mean to you and your business? In this episode of Google My Business Problems, we’re joined by Allyzon from Cast Haste to talk about the difference between SEO, SEM, and PPC.
SEO & SEM
We’re going to start with the two that live together the most, and those are SEM and SEO.
SEM stands for search engine marketing and entails everything you do from an offsite perspective to increase the organic traffic value of your website. This includes Paid Ads at the top of a Google search.
SEO or search engine optimization is the art of optimizing your website to communicate with the search engines and reach your target users. This is where you take the time to figure out keywords for your posts and optimize your site performance. You want to make sure your site loads quickly so people don’t leave before a page loads. You lose customers with every additional second it takes your page to load. You’ll never find them if you don’t relate to their search. Both aspects are extremely important for generating a great user experience on your site.
What is PPC?
PPC is another aspect of SEM. Pay per click advertisements can include the Display network, the Search network, and more. In PPC, you’re paying a price per click. To do PPC well, you want to have a low cost per click and qualified users.
To Make it Simple: SEO is in your control because it’s what you do with your website. SEM and PPC are what you do to drive paid traffic to your website. Both are good strategies if you have your budgeting done correctly, and the best websites use a clever mix of all three.
How Can You Use All of These to Succeed?
All of these can be used to your advantage if you want to succeed online. SEO is used to optimize your user experience through keyword intent, page speed, and user experience. SEM is used to improve your ability to get eyes on your site using paid ads or links from other publications. PPC is the keyword-driven segment of SEM where you pay when users click on your links from other websites your ad is displayed on. Each has its time and place for success online, but one can’t really be done successfully without the others.
The best place to start is with SEO optimization. By making sure your basics are cover, you can ensure your consumers have a great experience. When your site is fast and loaded with relevant, keyword-rich content, you can start to expand. Since you have a fast site, you will convert more with your customers, especially on an e-commerce site. That means you will get more potential out of your ads when you start to back your presence with money.
Quality control is the cornerstone of any good product or service. In this blog, Brook Borup of My Clone Solution is going to introduce herself and share her thoughts on maintaining quality standards in your business.
Who is Brook?
Brook has been described as your Swiss Army Knife for Business. As a jack of all trades and master of none, she is the go-to person for a solution to almost any business pain. As the owner and lead clone of her own business, My Clone Solution, she is an expert on providing virtual assistant support to small businesses and offering creative solutions to common small biz problems.
Her #1 Tip for Startups
Put systems in place. It’s the hardest thing that you’re ever going to do but it is the only way to be consistent, grow your business and be able to, when you do grow your business, be able to duplicate yourself because you cannot do it all.
I was just kind of gaffed up with the corporate world and people not caring and not appreciating what gets done for them by the people that support them. January 1st of 2014, I left my last corporate job and said, “I’m going to work with small business owners that appreciate having a good assistant.”
I basically started as a task master, a virtual assistant for small business owners, and I did stuff in person. Going to people’s offices and worked for them a couple of hours a week, because that’s all they could afford.
And now, 2016 is going to be an awesome year. Started a coaching program and I have now taken it online as well as live events. I also have an entire team of virtual assistants in the Philippines that are ready and willing to help all the small business owners in the United States.
How she manages quality control
My first virtual assistant that I brought on back in July, I went through a service and had 220 applicants for my one job that I posted. It took me an entire day to narrow those resumes down. Just like any hiring process is. I started working with her and we had a 90-day agreement.
By the time we got done with the first 30 days, I just knew. She is just like me and has common sense. She can work without having me to say, “Do this, do this, do this.” I can say, “OK, this is the task I need done. I don’t care how it gets done. Just do it.”
She makes it happen and that’s awesome. About 60 days into our relationship, we were having a conversation one night and she said, “I have been working in what they call VA houses for the last six years,” which is basically a staffing agency for virtual assistants. She’s like, “I can managed them and run them, but I’ve never been paid or had the kudos to do so.”
That kind of sounds familiar and so I said, “OK, you send me a proposal of what you think this looks like.” Within a day, I had an entire proposal put together on how she wanted to pay people, how she wanted to manage people, how she wanted to find people and how she wanted to work with me in doing it. I said, “I think we can make this work.”
Four months later we now have five virtual assistants. Three of them are employed by my own clients here in the US. The other two are employed by me. We are looking to grow that and help as many small business owners as we can.
Two of my virtual assistants right now handle four clients, so two clients each. They are appointment setters. They are cold calling from a listed script and they are setting appointments for our clients.
Working with employees in the Philippines
There’s so much experience in the Philippines. They have a huge population and they want to work from home. Most of them are sole breadwinners for their family or stay-at-home moms. When you have a mom that’s up with a baby all day long and her baby actually sleeps all through the night, they like to work at night. They work third shift because they work on our time, since they’re 12 hours ahead of us.
Their primary language is English. They learn English just like they learn their own language. In most cases speak it better than we do.
Standing out in the digital crowd
Right now, I’m posting about twice a month. I usually post the second and fourth Tuesdays. Take care of my other social media in between there. I hope to have a virtual assistant to start taking care of that for me.
I have a great following of business owners. That’s who my target is. My blog articles are really all about being productive. So with two million articles or two billion articles coming out every single day, they all reach to a different audience.
What her favorite tools of the trade
FullContact is my absolute favorite piece that’s on the cloud for automating your networking homework. Now FullContact works with Zapier, an aggregator between cloud-based services. I use Contactually as my CRM system, Constant Contact as my contact marketing management system and I use Gmail and the Gmail apps and stuff for my email management.
When I scan a business card into my FullContact, as soon as that transcription goes through, an email gets sent out from my Gmail saying, “It was nice to see you,” yada, yada, yada. Let’s meet up for coffee, here’s the link to my calendar. That gets dropped into my networking list in Constant Contact. It automatically gets added to my CRM and gets put into a program, all just by me taking a picture.
So now four of the processes that I would have done – had to do manually before, I can do all because of FullContact and Zapier.
Choose tech that helps you perform quality control
I love Gmail and the Chrome extensions. That is by far the biggest tool that anybody can have. I love the fact that Microsoft has Outlook and I was an Outlook user for years, but Microsoft is not cloud-based.
Until Microsoft gets its act together, Gmail has picked up the slack and has started working with companies and extensions like Mixmax, Streak and a few other Chrome extensions that are there to make your Gmail more robust. It’s much easier to manage quality control with robust tools.
You can color code them and with the help of Mixmax extension for Chrome. And you can track it. I mean even better than Outlook ever could and it’s free.
Mac or PC?
I’m a PC girl. I love Macs for the simple fact that they don’t get as many viruses and they don’t get as dirty as PCs do. But PCs are the most affordable solution for most people and when it comes down to running a business.I am a PC and Android girl all the way.
Final thoughts on quality control
Put systems in place. It’s the hardest thing that you’re ever going to do but it is the only way to be consistent, grow your business and be able to duplicate yourself because you cannot do it all. That is what quality control is built on.
In February of 2016, we were blessed to be on That Business Show to talk about our services.
Question: What do you do?
We provide full-scale virtual assistant services for business owners that need to learn how to delegate and automate their businesses. We do this by connecting business owners with virtual assistants in the Philipines at a cost they can actually afford. Or, if they’d rather hire onshore we will connect them with interns from local colleges or coach them through the process of delegation.
Question: What services do you offer?
We focus on business administration tasks. From sales calls to appointments settings to reporting and creating your sales automation.
Question: How long have you been in business?
This is my third year in business.
Question: What was your inspiration?
I’ve been an assistant in the hospitality management industry and realized I was very talented at support. As a girl who came from a small business family, I knew I needed to help small business owners. I wanted to make sure they got over the first 5 years.
Question: What are the pain points of your clients?
Time. They can’t seem to get started, know where they need to go, and can’t conquer all the work it takes to get there.
Question: How does the process actually work?
We use online tools to track our employees and interactions, primarily Google products and Zoom.
Question: Do you make office calls?
Right now, I’m making the house calls. But if a person is looking for an in-house solution, we’re always looking to find the perfect fit for you. We can do everything from posting the add to scanning the applicants.
Question: Can you share a client success story?
Sure. We had a telemarketing client and our Philipino Clones started making the calls. Now we’re setting 10-15 appointments a day, after just a few months. He needs to make one sale to pay off the fee of using our service.
Question: How do you talk about the cost of your service?
By talking to our potential clients about their hourly. Most people know what an hour of their time costs. Then I ask them the golden question: How much money are you wasting doing these tasks by yourself? Start slow and work your way up. Virtual is the perfect solution for slow beginnings that allow you to ramp up. (Your hourly rate is your net income divided by your hours worked).
Question: How do you overcome objections?
Most business owners think that it’s easier to do themselves or don’t know how to pass it off. That’s where we step in to create processes so that this can be offboarded.
We’re back with another episode of Google My Business Problems and we’re still talking SEO with Allyzon from Cast Haste. Today she’s answering the question: What is Onpage SEO? Let’s dive in.
What is Onpage SEO? How is it different from Offpage?
In short: Onpage SEO is everything you do on your web page (or website). Offpage is what you do outside of your website (such as backlinking). To perfect your onpage SEO, you need to address every element you can. This includes, but isn’t limited to:
When you are writing your content, make sure that these 7 items are taken care of. When it comes to best practices for onpage seo, you want to make sure your keywords are in the page title, URL, alt text, subheadings, and meta descriptions. If you place your keyword and synonyms in these spots, your content will have a higher value.
Image optimization extremely important, too. From compression rates to properly sizing the image for the page, taking the time to optimize your images will help your page load faster. The faster load times and smaller page sizes from properly optimized images will net you huge brownie points with the Google bots.
Site-Wide Onpage SEO
On a more site-wide level, it’s important to think about your website’s SEO overall. Make sure you are doing the following with your website:
Think of it this way: The more time you spend on optimization, the more time and effort you save Google as it crawls your page. More importantly, conducting onpage SEO allows you to accurately assess whether or not your pages are truly serving your readers. When you put all the piece of the puzzle together, you get a page that truly becomes an asset to your site. If you can optimize all of your content this way, you’re going to see the benefit in the search results.