Small Business Grants

The Real Scoop on Being Awarded Money to Start or Expand Your Business

You’ve probably heard the commercials promising big bucks for entrepreneurial-minded individuals looking to start their own businesses. Grants are a great source of income because you are not required to pay them back; it is money awarded to you, free of charge. But how easy is it, really, to secure a small business grant? Unfortunately, not as easy as those commercials suggest. But it is possible.While the federal government doesn’t award grants there are state agencies that do. Check out our resources below to discover the local opportunities that exist for your business.What might you do to make your application more appealing? The following four tips should help:

Recognize the process may be long and exhausting

It’s important that you be prepared to spend a significant amount of time and energy researching potential grants and their requirements. It may help to assign someone on your staff the responsibility of laying the ground work. You can visit the links below to get started.

Create a thorough Business Plan to evidence your preparedness

This may help you stand out from the competition. A thorough Business Plan demonstrates your attention to detail and the fact that you have thought about your business enough to devise a plan from startup to exit strategies.

Submit a complete and thoughtful application

The grant approval process is long enough as it is; you don’t want to delay the process further by submitting an unacceptable application. This also projects a poor image of your business and implies that your products and services just might be as sloppy as your grant application.

Maintain contact with the organization awarding the grant

Just as you would maintain contact with a potential employer that had interviewed you, so should you maintain contact with the organization awarding the grant. While you should avoid being intrusive and annoying, you can check on the review status and determine how long it might be until you are notified. It’s also a good time to see if they need anything else in order to decide whether or not you are the right candidate for their grant.

While it is possible to receive grant money to fund your business startup, it’s not always an easy process. You must pay close attention to the requirements and ensure that your business is eligible. You must also be willing to spend considerable time and energy preparing the necessary application. However, it’s not impossible and if you believe your business is suitable for a grant; it could be well worth it to go through the process.A Business with Little Startup CostsWhile every owner of a fledgling business would like some free cash to get going, starting an accounting practice requires little in startup costs. With no expensive equipment to purchase, the ability to work from home with as little a computer and internet connection, and the flexibility to work from the spare bedroom in your basement, an accounting and bookkeeping practice might just be the best home business yet. In fact, authors of The Best Home Businesses for the 21st Century, Paul and Sarah Edwards, rate a bookkeeping service as the “Best of the Best” home-based businesses. With a little training and professional certification, you could be on your way to a low-cost start-up with big returns.Currently there are countless students trying to earn their accounting degrees by spending hours at a university, learning accounting theory, but not much practice. Once they graduate and try to get a job they will discover that they have been prepared for less than 20% of accounting opportunities. They have been groomed to act as corporate accountants. Unfortunately for them, more than 85% of opportunities are with small businesses which continue to grow and grow every year. These small businesses have unique needs that are not easily met with corporate accounting practices. They need a specialist-a small business accountant.

The Professional Bookkeeper Program

Since Alf Bostrom opened its doors in 1979, Universal Accounting Center has been training individuals in the practical application of small-business accounting. With more than 25 years experience, we know what the small business needs, and we also know how to effectively train you to master small business accounting. In less than 60 hours you could complete the Professional Bookkeeper Program and start a small business’s books from scratch. You could also become that business’s Profit Expert. With such valuable skills you could manage not one, but multiple small business accounts, becoming the most popular contract accountant in your area.

The Professional Bookkeeper’s Guide (PBG) to QuickBooks

But why stop with just small business accounting? Why not add another valuable complementary service to your practice? Our Professional Bookkeeper’s Guide to QuickBooks will help you master QuickBooks, by far the most popular accounting software used by small businesses. Upon doing so you will not only be able to add QuickBooks services to your menu, but you will begin attracting a new demographic that will bring more business your way. And if you order both the Professional Bookkeeper (PB) Program and the Professional Bookkeeper’s Guide (PBG) to QuickBooks now, you will receive our newly released 2008 version of the PBG. This version beats out other QuickBooks training programs. Its features include the following:

  • Training targeted for all user types
  • The ability to work more efficiently
  • 6 months of follow-up support
  • The opportunity to earn a QuickBooks Specialist (QS) designation
  • 16 CDs with 15 hours of training
  • 4 books with over 800 pages of instruction
  • The ability to quickly pay your bills so you never incur late penalties.
  • The ability to write checks with one single click!
  • Be reminded when bills are due.
  • Quickly and effortlessly create invoices so you get paid sooner. It even takes care of sales tax.
  • Get organized. QuickBooks streamlines the process of tracking customers and vendors so you can easily look them up in one place.
  • Keep on top of incoming and outgoing payments. It’s like having your own accounts receivable and payable clerk you don’t have to pay.
  • Access easy-to-read financial reports NOW!

Start your own accounting practice by getting trained in small business accounting and QuickBooks. With minimal to no startup costs and services that will appeal to a wide market, you can be up and running in no time at all. This is as close as you can get to a guaranteed startup. So take a deep breath and imagine yourself working as a thriving contract accountant. Enroll today! Click HERE to pay in full or HERE to finance the programs.Resources for Finding Grants

How to Remember Names

Tips on How to Remember Names

Do You Have a Bad Memory For Names?

You meet your newest client’s wife and the next night, by chance, she attends the same concert you do. To your dismay, you cannot remember her name. You’re embarrassed, so you spend the evening dodging her.

How to Remember Names Better

There are solutions that are more rewarding, and certainly less nerve-racking, than playing hide and seek. Consider adopting some of these simple techniques for improving your name retaining power:

Listen

Carefully listen to the name and its pronunciation when first being introduced. The number one reason that you “forget” a name is that you never really committed it to memory in the first place. Ignore distractions, including those in your own head. Often, when a name is given, we are thinking about how to sell to this client, trying to make a good first impression, and so on. The mind can only concentrate on one thing at a time. If you are engaged in internal dialog, that is where your focus will be, and you will be unlikely to remember names or other important facts at a later date.

Repetition

It has been said that repetition is the mother of learning. This is especially true when it comes to remembering names. When you first hear the name, repeat the name to yourself, and consciously incorporate it into your conversation.

Ask the Spelling of the Name

When you first hear the name, ask how it is spelled, especially if it is a name whose spelling is not obvious. This does two things for you. First, it gives you several seconds to repeat it in your mind. Secondly, you are telling the other person that their name is important to you, so important that you don’t want to misspell it. Dale Carenegie, in his book “How to Win Friends and Influence People” teaches that a person’s name is the most important words in the english language. It opens doors. Write the name down in your planner, if possible, and make sure that you review the person’s name before meeting with or calling them for a second contact.

Association Tricks

The mind remembers by associating like things. Associate the person’s name with someone you already know, or with a familiar object or place. A friend of mine is very tall and is named Mr. Heimbigner. He makes his name remembered by making a joke, calling himself Mr. “I’m bigger ‘n you”. While most people will not have last names that make them as easily associable as this one, we can find attributes about the person that help the name stick in our minds.Connect the name with the person’s distinguishing features, and make the association something that you will remember. For example, if you meet a woman named Mrs Bird that has a large nose, picture in your mind a silly bird perched on her nose. Silly or funny things tend to stick in our memory easier than dull or common ones, which may explain why it is easier to remember a joke that a friend tells you than what you ate for dinner last Thursday.

Conclusion

These methods don’t assure that you’ll never be caught clueless on names again, but they will improve the odds in your favor. Again, most of us don’t “forget” a name; we simply didn’t take the time and effort to remember it. Some of the most successful people in business are ones that can remember in some cases thousands of names of people that they have met before. When you run into someone that was a passing acquantance and they know your name, you are impressed. In the same way, impress your clients by remembering their names and you will communicate to them that they are important to you.

Other Marketing Tips

Additional Marketing Tips are given in our Marketing and Selling Your Accounting Business section of this site. From how to get started marketing your company to how to get new clients each week with little effort on your part, this section teaches you the How’s of marketing your Accounting business.Learn How to Market Your BusinessModule 4 of the Professional Bookkeeper course teaches a step-by-step process for marketing your Accounting and Bookkeeping service.See How the Professional Bookkeeper Course Teaches How to Make $80,000 Per Year as an Accountant

How to Make the Best Decisions for Your Business

Three Things You Must Consider

The hardest thing to learn in life is which bridge to cross and which to burn. – David RussellYour life is the sum result of all the choices you make, both consciously and unconsciously. If you can control the process of choosing, you can take control of all aspects of your life. You can find the freedom that comes from being in charge of yourself. – Robert F. Bennett

A businessman examines data in efforts to make the best decision.Making business decisions that involve an investment can be daunting. Whether you are a fledgling practice or a tried-and-true business, any time money is involved you must take the time to make prudent choices. But what do you base these important decisions upon? And how do you truly weigh the pros and cons in order to best anticipate the potential outcome of your decision? Here’s a valuable three-point guideline that will help:

1. CapitalCapital is defined as the assets your business has available to use in the production of additional assets. Plainly speaking, you must have money to make more money. So if you are considering a choice that involves a monetary investment, you must first determine whether or not you have the necessary capital to make that choice. You may find the deal of a century, but unless you have the money to make it happen, in the long run that deal will do your business more harm than good.2. Return on InvestmentIt’s important that you evaluate ROI realistically. What type of return can you honestly anticipate from this investment? When you inflate this element, your perspective is skewed and you are unable to make the best choice possible for your business. When the return significantly eclipses the initial investment and you have the capital available to move forward, you’re looking at a potentially profitable decision.3. RiskBut before you make your final decision you must ask yourself, what are the chances this deal might go south in one aspect or another? You may find an opportunity promising a large return on your investment but the risk is high. While we’re not suggesting this should be a determining factor in your decision, we are recommending you look long and hard at the potential risk before moving forward.

Each of these elements is important to consider in the process of making good choices for your business. But more important than their individual significance is how they add up together. You shouldn’t make your decision looking at one element independently. It’s important that you see how they all measure up. Then, and only then, will you have a good idea of the best choice for your business.

UAC Offers Only the Most Lucrative Options for You and Your Business

Universal Accounting Center has more than 25 years experience helping professionals like you increase the profitability of their businesses. We recognize that business success depends upon two key elements: one, offering a service that is in high demand, and two, effectively marketing that service. That’s why we offer this special package deal: the Professional Bookkeeper and the Universal Practice Builder Programs.

The Professional Bookkeeper (PB) ProgramThe Professional Bookkeeper LogoThe accounting profession is booming, no doubt about it. If you are a bookkeeper or accountant, you are part of that talent pool from which countless businesses will look to fill gaps in their organizations. And if you’re not, it’s never too late to hop in. Recent corporate scandals have caused many businesses to look for bookkeepers and accountants they can trust, and typically that implies certification. Universal’s PB Program will not only teach you small business accounting with a practical, hands-on approach, but it will enable you to earn a designation that evidences your skill and expertise, putting potential clients at ease.The Universal Practice Builder (UPB) ProgramUniversal Practice Builder Program LogoEvery business, regardless of what it sells, is in the business of marketing. If you’re not selling your business, your business isn’t selling. Most accountants find themselves flustered when it comes to promoting their businesses; they feel more comfortable with numbers than they do with marketing strategies. Luckily UAC has developed a turn-key marketing solution which will enable you to grow your business with our proven system.

But how does this special package deal measure up to our three decision making criteria?Capital — Of course we’re in no position to tell you whether or not you have the funds to pay for these courses. If you can’t pay for the programs outright, you can enroll today for a down payment of just $400. Keep this in mind as you assess the remaining two criteria.Return on Investment – We guarantee that in using the principles taught in the UPB Program you will increase your annualized billings by $30,000 in just 12 months. That’s more than 9 times what you would pay for both courses and 75 times more than the down payment. Add to the ability to become a certified Professional Bookkeeper and you’ve definitely increased the value of your services, and thus your ability to attract more and more clients every month.Risk – We’ve eliminated all risk by providing this valuable guarantee: “If after following the steps of the Universal Practice Builder for 12 months, you do not have an increase of more than $30,000 in annualized billings, then simply return all materials given and we will refund all monies paid.” The Professional Bookkeeper guarantee is as follows: “If, after completing the course, you feel the course didn’t live up to your expectation, simply return the materials to Universal, for a 100% refund of any monies paid.” This valuable opportunity is 100% risk-free!UAC has provided you with a business building option that makes your decision easy. If you’ve been looking for the opportunity to expand your business, look no further. Enroll in the PB and UPB Programs today!

Improve Your People Skills

7 Tips That Will Boost Your Professional Exchanges

A group of professionals interacting.Accountants are stereotyped as introverted bean counters who don’t feel comfortable interacting with others. Thankfully that image is changing for the better. But some of us still struggle in social situations primed for profitable networking. Your business depends on your ability to put current and potential clients at ease, to communicate in a way that builds stronger professional relationships while getting you the information you need to secure new customers and do the best work you can for current costumers.If your people skills are lacking, here are 7 quick tips that will improve your interactions:

1. SmileNo one needs a smile as much as a person who fails to give one. -UnknownWhen all else fails there’s one thing you can do: smile. Regardless of what the other person does, a smile won’t damage your image or spoil a networking opportunity. This is especially important to remember if you’re feeling a little nervous. Chances are you’ll get lots of smiles in return which will put you at ease and make it easier to connect with others.2. ListenI think the one lesson I have learned is that there is no substitute for paying attention. – Diane SawyerWhile listening you will discover how your services can best fulfill the needs of those you’re talking to. The more you can get them to share about their business the better prepared you’ll be to illustrate how your expertise will improve their profitability.3. Remember namesWhen you remember names you’re communicating that the people they belong to are worth remembering. You should always strive to make the people you speak with feel important; remembering their names is an easy way to accomplish that.4. Remember common talking pointsAt the bottom of things, most people want to be understood and appreciated. – The BuddhaSometimes it’s a matter of knowing what you can talk about when there’s a lull in the conversation or you need to break the ice. Fortunately there are certain topics nearly all individuals love talking about:

  • The traffic
  • The weather
  • New movies
  • Their business
  • Their children
  • Family pets

5. Acknowledge things you have in commonThe more you have in common the more connected you will feel. Pointing out the similarities you share will help strengthen your bond and forge a solid professional relationship.6. Avoid gossipGossip needn’t be false to be evil; there’s a lot of truth that shouldn’t be passed around. – Frank A. ClarkAvoid gossip like the plague. While it may be easy to talk about someone else it certainly puts your character in question and causes the individual(s) you’re talking with to consider what you might say about them when they’re not there.7. Be positiveAttitudes are contagious. Are yours worth catching? – Dennis and Wendy ManneringNegativity will repel more contacts than you can imagine. Whether or not people recognize it they are drawn to individuals who are positive and affirming. Regardless of the topic of conversation, stay positive; it will leave a good and memorable impression.

And above all, remember that it takes time to develop good people skills, especially if it doesn’t come naturally. Just make an effort to work on one thing at a time and soon you’ll recognize an improvement that will not only put you more at ease with others but positively impact your business.

Improving Your Pitch

Getting Clients on Your Roster

A businessman seals the deal with a handshake.So you’re meeting with a potential client in order to explain exactly why your accounting services are the best, to convince them that working with you will make their business more profitable. How do you ensure the meeting will go well? Here are six tips you should consider:

1. Know ThyselfHow do you measure up to the competition? You should be able to explain why your services exceed that of your competitors. Consider these things before you even meet with a client so that you are ready to articulate the benefits of your services.2. Be casual, not cannedAll small business owners, including accountants, should have a sales pitch ready to deliver. The key is in making it sound casual, genuine, and spontaneous. A canned sales pitch turns clients off and may cause them to think they’re one of many potential clients on a sales pitch assembly line. Think of ways you can alter the pitch and make it unique for this particular client.3. Think of the clientBefore meeting with a potential client you should do a little homework to determine what they do and how your services could accommodate their needs. When a client feels you appreciate their needs and are aware of the unique nature of their business they will be more likely to enlist your help.4. Listen to the clientThe biggest mistake you could make in this crucial meeting with a potential client is to blather on and on about yourself without giving the client a second-thought. You’d be surprised at how well a client can articulate their own accounting needs, enabling you to alter your approach in order to respond to their specific requirements and concerns.5. Give them a dealEveryone likes a deal; rewarding potential clients for listening to your pitch by offering a discount can increase your chances of retaining their business.6. Exhibit confidenceMost importantly, you need to exhibit confidence (not arrogance). A potential client won’t enlist your services if they suspect that you’re uncertain of your own abilities. Confidence breeds confidence and a potential client will feel much more comfortable with you if they recognize your self-assurance.

Look to Universal for More Marketing Help

We understand that accountants are good with numbers but often not so good with sales. At Universal Accounting Center we want to help you better market your services in order to improve the profitability of your business. We have two programs that will help.

The Professional Bookkeeper ProgramProfessional Bookkeeper Program LogoIf you’re looking for ways to increase your confidence while offering clients exemplary and unique services, then you should enroll in the Professional Bookkeeper Program. Over 85% of the opportunities in the accounting field are within small businesses; when you have small business accounting expertise you can focus on this niche market and have confidence that you offer business owners unique and beneficial services.At Universal Accounting, we understand the needs of the small business like nobody else. We’ve helped people like you advance their career in small business accounting for over 25 years. The Professional Bookkeeper Program is designed specifically to address the needs of small businesses, and Universal Accounting Center’s small business accounting course is the most complete of anything else offered today. And depending on your schedule and situation, it will only take you 60 hours to complete. Imagine earning a professional designation in less than one month! That will definitely improve your sales pitch.

UAC Can Also Help You Get Clients

UAC has developed a turn-key marketing solution which will enable you to grow your business with our proven system. You could work for years on a marketing plan, hitting and missing, only to find your business growing at a snail’s pace. Imagine learning which marketing strategies work in just 48 hours!

The Universal Practice Builder WorkshopUniversal Practice Builder Workshop LogoThe Universal Practice Builder is a 2-day workshop designed to teach you the art and science of getting clients. Top your Professional Bookkeeper Designation off with this guaranteed program where you’ll walk away with over 12 marketing strategies that you can implement immediately. You’ll also be able to increase your annual billings by $30,000 in just 12 months!If you enroll today, you can purchase both programs for one low price. In a matter of months you could grow your business in ways you’ve only imagined. Don’t wait. Order now!

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