How You Can De-stress for Success

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Owning a small business or leading a busy professional life can be stressful even if you’re organized and have a solid plan. There are so many details to consider every day and so many responsibilities to handle to ensure that your business is a success. Part of running any business is setting new goals and figuring out how best to achieve them, and that can be difficult when you’re already feeling stressed.

The key is to look at your business objectively to see where improvements can be made, which can be difficult at first. You may feel overwhelmed with the amount of possibilities, or you may not know how to go about funding or implementing them. With a good plan and some tips on how to de-stress to maximize your performance, you can make your business a success.

Read on for some great tips on getting started.

Manage scheduling conflicts

Even if you feel you’re doing a good job at keeping things together, there’s almost always room for improvement. By taking a look at the way your scheduling is done and looking for ways to make it work better for you and your business, you can ensure your clients have a favorable impression of you and reduce the number of no-shows. By having a plan for how to deal with issues related to employee availability, double-booking, or shift distribution, you can run your business better and provide the goods or services your customers expect. There are many appointment reminder apps available, so do your research and look for one that offers all the qualities you’re looking for.

Consider a professional business coach

A professional business coach can ease your burden and help you focus your marketing objectives, teach you how to promote effectively, and give you tips on how to successfully handle a merger. There are many different types of business coaches who focus on various areas, so choosing the right one is important. Before making your selection, make sure to ask them some relevant questions to make sure they are a good fit.

Create some time for yourself

De-stressing is all about creating time for yourself inside a busy schedule. Whether you own your own business or are running one, it’s imperative to carve some “me” time” out of each day. When you’ve spent many hours worrying about your business, you need to find ways to relax and do something you enjoy. Set aside time every day—whether it’s half an hour or just 10 minutes—to take a deep breath and focus on yourself.

Acknowledge your limits

It’s important for anyone with a career to realize that they can only do so much in a given day. With so many jobs and responsibilities on your plate, you have to learn how to prioritize and tell yourself that it’s okay to take care of the rest tomorrow. Learning how to do this will help you focus on the most important items and will ease stress and anxiety as well.

Learn to say “no”

Running a business is usually a full-time job, which means you simply can’t take on everything that comes your way. Whether it’s a new project or a request from an employee, it’s important to learn how to say “no” when your schedule—or your stress level—has hit its limit.

“Entrepreneurs tend to think that they have to be superhuman sometimes,” says founder of iCustom Label Nick Chachula. “It’s just not true. Entrepreneurs, just like everyone else, have strengths and weaknesses. You will be happiest when you’re focusing on the areas where you’re strong, not where you’re weak.”

Learning how to de-stress can help you run your business more effectively, but more importantly, it can also help you stay focused and on-task with your day-to-day responsibilities. Practicing self-care, such as eating right and getting daily exercise, will also help lower your stress and give you a better outlook on your career.

By Julie Morris

Julie Morris is a life and career coach. She thrives on helping others live their best lives. It’s easy for her to relate to clients who feel run over by life because she’s been there. After years in a successful (but unfulfilling) career in finance, Julie busted out of the corner office that had become her prison. Today, she is fulfilled by helping busy professionals like her past self get the clarity they need in order to live inspired lives that fill more than just their bank accounts. When Julie isn’t working with clients, she enjoys writing and is currently working on her first book. She also loves spending time outdoors and getting lost in a good book.

What You’ve Always Wanted to Know about Prospective Buyers

client-centered-servicesWhat information would you most like to know about prospective buyers?  Most small-business owners would like to understand what makes them take the plunge into retaining financial services.  Understanding this would help many ensure that their marketing approaches, and the services they’re promoting, are more successful.

Recently Hinge Research Institute did a study with 1300 companies about what makes individuals retain professional services.  They discovered the following:

  • 21% of buyers felt that having a bottom-line impact was most important to them while only 2% of CPAs anticipated that as a prospective client’s most pressing concern.
  • 79% of buyers would like more services from their current provider.  Unfortunately, 48% of buyers admit they do not know which services sellers provide.
  • 69% of buyers are willing to recommend their service providers. If they don’t make a referral, 72% of the time it is because no one asked them to.
  • 47% of buyers felt that the best marketing approach was to have a reputation for producing results.
  • Only 8% of buyers felt cost was the most important criteria for selecting a provider.  

These are interesting statistics.  But what do they teach us?

  •  Buyers value specialized skill and expertise that positively impacts their bottom line.
  • Sellers do a poor job informing buyers about the services they offer.
  • Sellers don’t ask buyers to refer their services.
  • Buyers respond to marketing efforts that highlight a reputation for producing results.
  • And interestingly, when deciding between providers, cost is a minor consideration.  

So what’s the takeaway from this survey? Focus your efforts on ensuring that you promote services in a manner to which prospective clients will best respond.  Also, consider adding services to your offerings that current and prospective clients will value.  Because statistically speaking, clients are more likely to retain additional services, refer your practice, and respond to marketing efforts that highlight proven reputations for impacting a business’s bottom line, regardless of what it might cost them.

Add Small-Business Accounting Services to Your Menu!

Most of your competitors don’t offer specialized small-business accounting services.  But after completing the Professional Bookkeeper (PB) program, you can!  Consider a training program that is catered to your needs and busy schedule—one that will enable you to earn a professional designation after just 60 hours of your valuable time.

When you enroll in the Professional Bookkeeper Program you receive to the following:

  • Flexible training you complete on your own schedule
  • Rich and engaging training DVDs you can view again and again
  • Hands-on instruction and practice sets through which you gain much-needed experience
  • Training in building and marketing your new practice
  • 6 months of valuable follow-up support
  • The opportunity to earn professional certification
  • Our iron-clad risk-free guarantee

 Expand your service offerings by enrolling in UAC’s valuable Professional Bookkeeper Program call 1-877-833-7908 to enroll today!

Resource 

Taylor, Aaron.  “New Study Highlights: How Buyers Buy Professional Services.” HingeMarketing.com

A Quick Tutorial on QuickBooks Help Features

word-interfaceUAC’s Professional Bookkeeper’s Guide to QuickBooks is a tutorial-based course enabling students to master this popular accounting software.  In this article, we share a tutorial on QuickBooks Help System, taken directly from the course. 

Sometimes in QuickBooks you need help determining what forms to use or what to enter into those forms once you find them.  QuickBooks has a pretty good help system.  Some people are disappointed when they receive the QuickBooks software and realize that it didn’t come with a 1300 page user’s manual like they used to distribute in the good old days.  But to be honest with you, the help that’s available in the QuickBooks program itself is better and more complete than the assistance or help that we used to get in those 1300 page user manuals.

One thing that’s different in newer versions of the software is the position of the Help display.  If you click on Help and then select “QuickBooks Help” or press F1, help displays on the right-hand side of the screen.  To get help on something, click on this search topic and then type in a search phrase. In this example, we’re going to search for “job costing.”

Once you type in “job costing” and press enter, QuickBooks displays 15 different topics related to job costing.  You can view those different topics to see if any of them are helpful.  Let’s imagine you want “unbilled costs by job report.” You click on that link and QuickBooks tells you exactly how to get that report and what information should be on it.

The next Help feature that we want to talk about is the Learning Center Tutorials. To access these, go into Help and Learning Center Tutorials.  These are small videos that Intuit has created to help you understand how to use the program.  They’re very brief, but they provide an excellent overview.  Some of you might have your clients use them to get a general idea of how to use QuickBooks.

Let’s talk just a little bit about Support.  If you click on the support option, QuickBooks connects to the Internet and details the different support options available.  You have 30 days of free technical support when you first register your software, and that’s available immediately after you purchase it.  You can purchase support from Intuit as well.  You also might want to contact Universal Accounting Center to check on the support that we offer for QuickBooks and the Professional Guide to QuickBooks training program.

You can access QuickBooks Help in other areas of the program as well.  Our training includes complete details on how to take advantage of them all.

The Professional Bookkeeper’s Guide (PBG) to QuickBooks

If you found this tutorial useful, you’d probably like Universal’s Professional Bookkeeper’s Guide to QuickBooks program which will teach you all this and more with training targeted for all user types.  Enhance your service offerings, streamline client information, and manage your own business finances even better!  Call Universal at 1 -877-833-7909 to enroll today!

5 Unexpected Marketing Strategies

lightbulbEveryone is looking for new and effective ways to market their businesses.  If your current approach feels a bit stale and worn, perhaps it’s time to try some unexpected promotional tactics.  Consider the following 5 suggestions:

1. Guest blogging.  Visit blogs frequented by your target market, and offer to write a post in exchange for a byline with a link to your own website.  This will expose you to new prospective clients you may not have met otherwise.

2. Enter a business award competition.  Professional and trade organizations, chambers of commerce, Better Business Bureaus and even universities often offer award competitions for small businesses.  Winning one of these competitions can greatly enhance your reputation as well as offer countless marketing advantages.  You can post the information to your website, include it in a newsletter, mention it in your advertising campaigns, etc.

3. Share your expertise with the media.  Nothing says expert like a media quote.  You can write an article or column for your local paper or issue a press release regarding any new information about your practice.

4. Donate your services to a non-profit organization.  This is another method that will enable you to contribute to the community while generating good PR for your business. Not only that, but the donation is tax deductible. And when this organization promotes an event, you can ask that your store name be displayed somewhere on their booth, products, and promotional materials.

5. Create an event.  May 10th is Accounting Day and April 15th is Tax Day.  But you can create an event for any reason. Sponsoring a free event that people can attend in order to receive promotional materials or, perhaps, enter their names in a raffle, can be a great way to generate interest in your practice.  Remember to publish press releases to let people know about your event.

There are many creative ways you can promote your practice.  By employing just two of the above marketing tips, you can grow your business without spending a lot of money.

Build a Better Practice with BizBench

BizBench is an online business assessment tool that you can use to advance your financial practice.  For example you can use BizBench to accomplish the following:

Attract More New Clients. Give potential clients the incentive to become paying clients.  Offer them a report that benchmarks their business against similar businesses and charts and graphs their strengths and weaknesses and opportunities for growth.  Let them know you’re more than just an historian; but you can help shape their future.

Retain Existing Clients. Imagine the power that a complete and comprehensive benchmarking and profitability report will give you to shape the future of your existing clients.  They will see you as a valued and trusted adviser as you quantify monthly improvements against this benchmark in dollars and cents to further increase the value of your services each month.

Save Time. It only takes a few minutes to submit your client’s key income statement and balance sheet data online, and in just a few seconds, you have a comprehensive benchmarking and profitability report to present them.  BizBench does all the heavy lifting for you, and you take all the credit with this report branded for your business.

Change the face of your business today, and become a Profit and Growth Expert using BizBench Software!  Call Universal today at 888-265-5341.

Questions to Ask When Building a Business Website

One of the most inexpensive marketing tools available is your business website.  With minimal startup and maintenance costs you can develop a good website that will represent you well and increase your clientele.  It will also work 24/7 as a virtual receptionist, getting the word out about your business while you work.  And if well developed, your business website will be more than an inexpensive marketing tool, but a good point of contact and an effort to further brand your business.

But before building that all-important website you must ask yourself a few searching questions:

1. Who is your intended audience? Unless you clearly understand who your target audience is, you will be unable to build a website that both attracts them and satisfies their needs.  Obviously you will want your website to appeal to both current and prospective clients.  Once you clearly define who might comprise that intended audience, you can ask yourself more specific questions regarding their expectations.

2. What are your objectives? When you are able to determine what you hope to accomplish through your business website, you have a standard by which you can measure its success.  Would you like it to simply share your business information like an electronic business card?  While it’s good to have that type of information available, a website can accomplish so much more.  Would you like to secure more clients by offering special website promotions?  What about explaining your services and their value?  Be sure that your list of objectives is specific and exhaustive.  Once you have developed that list you can use it as a guide in building your site.

3. What should visitors expect to find on your site? Visitors will obviously expect to find an explanation of your services along with contact information.  What else might they expect?  You don’t want to disappoint prospective visitors by falling short of their expectations.  Consider posing this question to a handful of individuals from your intended audience.   Current clients could also provide you with valuable insight on what they would like to find on your site.

4. What will bring visitors back? Attracting first-time visitors is one thing, but how do you bring them back to your site continually?  Again you must look at your website from a visitor’s standpoint and determine what would interest them enough to not only like your site, but bookmark it.  The one thing that will bring visitors back is offering valuable content that you update continually.  Consider offering a tax tips section, a client spotlight, or a regular website promotion.

5. What will they take with them? You’ve determined how you might build a site that interests repeat visitors, but what do you want them to take from your site?  Obviously, you want them to value your services more.  You also want them to remember you, even if they don’t retain your services initially.  When they need tax help, you want them to remember your website and return to get your number so they can schedule an appointment.

Universal Accounting Center Can Help You Create a Custom Website for Your Practice

Imagine how difficult it would be to create your own website that addressed all the above questions.  Now imagine that UAC can manage that process for you, enabling you to create a strong web presence without expending much energy.  Universal’s Accountweb, a website development tool, is available exclusively for financial professionals.  Within a number of business days you can create a personalized website for your practice, enabling potential clients to access your business even after your office closes.

To see a sample of a website developed from the Universal Accountweb platform, go to www.universalaccountingservices.com.

Whether you run a full-time practice or perform tax services on the side, you need a website that tells potential clients about your business even when you are unable to.  If you haven’t yet developed a website for your business, today is the day!  Order your subscription now—your website will be up and running by the following business week.  And if you are a Universal Accounting student, you will receive a free six-month trial! 

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