Thursday, December 10, 2015

Do Your Own Payroll

One of the best ways for small businesses to save some money is to do their own payroll.  While you might be worried that you need to be an accountant or hire an accountant to process your payroll, there is really no need.

There are several online payroll software programs that can help you process your payroll, taxes, and W2s all on your own.  These programs calculate the federal and state taxes for you, including what should be taken out of each employee's check and what your company's tax liability is for each payroll.  You still have to complete and file your returns. But, at least you know the calculations are correct. A good program to use is Intuit online payroll program.  This program allows you to process your payroll from any computer, so you don't have to be at the office or even in the country to process your payroll.  All you need to do is get on a computer and enter in the hours. So, you could be on the beach in the Caribbean and still get your payroll done on time.

Payroll software or programs take the element of error out of your payroll process.  You enter in the information from each employee's W2 and the wage rate, and the program will calculate the correct amount of taxes.  Doing payroll by hand leaves a ton of room for error and also takes quite a bit of time.  With a program, you payroll is calculated in seconds.

Depending on the program you choose, the program can also calculate your quarterly payroll tax returns, annual returns, and W2s.  The program may even send you reminders of when each return is due.  While you might have to pay between 50 to 100 dollars a month for your payroll software, if you choose an online program,  and have a fair number of employees, the cost is still way less than what you would pay an accountant.

When you do your own payroll, you also learn all about the taxes that you pay and can know for sure that all the IRS forms that you need to complete are being done on-time and correct.  When you leave it up to someone else and don't understand what needs to be done on the financial side of your company, you run the risk of someone talking advantage of your ignorance and actually not doing everything he/she should be doing as your accountant.

Save some money and educate yourself on the payroll process and tax obligations for your company to protect you and your company.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

How to Create Your Company Website

A website for your company legitimizes your company and its services and makes it easier for clients to find you.  Depending on your type of business, you company can expand its cliental and range of services through a stable online presence.  These days website hosting services are affordable and easy to use.  There is no need to go out and hire an expensive IT service or person to build your website.  You can do it yourself by following these steps:

  • Find a hosting service for your website. Hosting services usually charge per month for your first website, which would be your main domain.  JustHost offers this at around $9/month.  By purchasing such a service, you can have additional websites hosted from your own server for around $15/year for each new domain.  Having your own hosting server is convenient if you have multiple businesses or associations that need independent websites.   Other companies such as bluehost and iPage offer such services starting at $4/month.  In choosing a hosting service, you want to make sure that the service has few down times and offers you unlimited domain options so that you never outgrow your service as you expand your business. Read the reviews of hosting services to get an idea of how often their sites goes down.  Every time your website and email goes down, you lose business.  As a result, you don't want to go with just the cheapest service but you want to pick the one that current clients claim has few down times and a quick responses to support help. 
  • Use oneclick installs.  Installing a template for your site is easy with oneclick installs. They save both time and money.   Most hosting sites offer oneclick installs for free for your new website,  so that you just press a button and Wordpress (for example) can be installed on your site.  This service gives you a template to work with and prompts on where and how to put content on your site. Most first time website creators find Wordpress themes easier to work with than other themes such as Joomla.  All hosting services have support services that will walk your through any aspects of creating your site.  Don't be afraid to just call them and have them walk you through.  Once you get the hang of posting your own content, you can do so at any time and make changes at any time.  No more waiting on someone to help you. 
  • Relevant Content.  Post content that is relevant to your business such as your services, testimonials from satisfied clients, and samples of your work.  Organize your site so that it is easy for clients to find the information they might be looking for such as how to contact you, hours, locations, and services with clear headings for each section. Clarity and clear headings on your site is a must for making sure potential clients aren't hunting for the information and leaving your site frustrated and confused.
  • Website Emails.  The use of company emails with your new domain name rather than using free emails such as gmail and yahoo signals to potential clients that you are an established business here to stay and not a fly-by-night.  Your hosting server should provide you company emails to go along with your new site.  Use them. 
  • Domain Renewal.  Renew your domain each year.  Don't make the mistake of forgetting to renew your site and lose the domain to someone else. Once you have established your online presence, you need to hang onto it.  Having a stable website address for your business indicates that you are a stable company and makes it easier for clients to find you year after year. Locations and phone numbers can change.  Your online presence should be stable. 
Small businesses need to hang onto their capital.  They can't afraid to waste money paying for services they can do for themselves. Don't be afraid to try your hand at creating your own website. There are plenty of tools and services to walk you through each step of the process.  Basic websites are easy and quick to create.  

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Management is Everything

Looking to get your business on the upswing instead of continuing to struggle just to make it day to day?  Take a good look at your management.  Even a small business owner and a small business, needs a little help in running a good company.  You can't be every where all the time. You can't make all the decisions. Emergencies come up and sometimes you need someone you can trust to make the correct decision at the right time.

Real management is hard to do and it is even harder to find good managers.  It is like hunting for a needle in a haystack.  But, don't give up.  It is worth the struggle it takes to find the right person who can do the job. It takes so much pressure off you as the owner to have a good solider you can count on who has your back.  So, don't give up!

What makes a good manager?  It is not what you think.  It is not about having enthusiasm or good ideas or even about kissing your butt. Anyone can talk a good game.  It is easy to come up with great ideas.  It is also easy to come up with excuses.  When it comes to management, you have to evaluate your candidates by their actions not words.

Look for someone who:

  • toes the party line, backs you up with action when you make a decision (especially a tough decision like letting someone go) and doesn't undercut you in front of other staff;  loyalty is the key and it can only be shown through actions not words
  • solves problems and addresses issues without asking you to throw money at a problem;  you need a fiscally responsible person who can think creatively about dealing with an issue and not just think about how you can and should spend your money - it is always easier to spend money than save money
  • works hard without complaining about pay, hours, or staff;  you don't need someone who complains as that means they don't believe in your business - bottomline
  • operates with a broad vision of how to make the company a success;  focuses on the bigger picture of sales and income performance and works to find ways to maximize the profits instead of how improvements benefit them on a personal level.

Yes.  You almost need to find a mini-me.  Someone who cares about your business as much as you do.  There are people out there who put themselves second to their work.  There are people who take pride in their work and want to do a good job.  Find one of those people and promote them to management - even if you have to spend the time to teach them and train them.   Get rid of management that is weak, complaining, costs you too much money and drags down the morale of your entire operation.