Start Ups and Social Media

What did the scissors say to the bed? Holy sheet! Ha! Jokes!

Creating a Business Plan on Pinterest

3 Ways to Use Facebook to Attract (And Keep) Customers

How to Know When to Start Your Own Business (Infographic)

Here are 3 articles I just found on Entrepreneur.com, without doing much digging (Oh, I love digging. Siri, make a note- dig more often). Notice anything in particular about these articles? How about the fact that they’re aimed toward start-ups and they’re all based in social media (yes, that infographic counts. It’s a viral piece of content, after all. And I make the rules around here, okay?)

Remember the old days when you were thinking about starting your own business and you had to do your soul searching off-line to think it through? You had to be an apprentice. You had to ask your family and friends and mentors for guidance and help. These days, you can still do all of that- you can also turn to the web and find a wealth of information on subjects you never even considered before.

If you’re interested in starting a business and not sure where to start, here are some great online resources for you:

Entrepreneur.com

Inc.com

Harvard Business Review (Online!)

AMEX Open Forum

Stay hungry, hunt happy!

RDS Bookkeeping  has provided expertise in accounting and bookkeeping to small business owners and individuals throughout Chicago for over 8 years. We serve every client with thoughtful, efficient care and strive to go above and beyond so that you can do what you set out to do- get down to business.  We are the proud founders of Pit Crew IL Rescue.  Sambuca is our dog.

The Power of Questions & When to Ask Them

What you talkin’ bout, Willis?

Why is there never enough bacon? Why can’t I eat a jar of peanut butter without Lady taking pictures of me? Why does the water from the hose frighten me so?

Good morning, peoples! Today’s topic of conversation is QUESTIONS. In my many years observing humans, I’ve noticed that there are two camps when it comes to questions- those who are afraid to ask them and those who aren’t. Sambuca, as you can see, has never met a question he didn’t like.

We’re talking about questions today because when you talk about small business operation and start-ups, questions are part and parcel (Sambuca never understood that expression. Can someone explain it to him, please?) It also applies to employees, people starting out in new careers and well, everyone! Don’t fear questions, people! When you’re new to something, asking questions is imperative. And if you want to grow (as a business, as a person), then guess what? You have to ask them then too. You want to act like you have all the answers, then go into teaching. Or politics.

When it comes to asking questions and business, the key to getting over your fear is knowing when to ask and how to do it. Here are Sambuca’s quickie guidelines, in case you need a place to start:

1. Choose the right time. This might seem obvious but it bears stating- schedule some time to ask them. Allow yourself an opportunity to gather your thoughts, get a pen and paper and also enable the person you’re asking to gather their thoughts and to give you their undivided attention. Don’t poke your head in the door when they’re on a call. Don’t ask while they’re typing up an important email. Don’t stick your head over their shoulder while they’re at lunch and they have lettuce in their teeth. Treat your questions as if they are of value and deserve attention and guess what? They’ll be treated that way, 9 times out of 10.

2. Ask yourself first. Before you launch yourself out of your chair and across the room, ask yourself your question. It might seem silly but it leads to a very, very important exercise: namely, can I find this out on my own? If all it takes is a trip to an online search engine, voila! You’ve answered your own question. Or maybe it prompts you to remember that your boss gave you a manual or document a few weeks (or months ago) that may contain the answer. If you can answer the question easily yourself, then chances are that the person you’re asking will realize it too. Avoid that awkward moment where the person you’re asking turns to their computer and pulls up Google and you say, “Oh, I could’ve done that.

3. Ask in a way that implies power, not weakness. The people who, foolishly, avoid asking questions at all costs generally do so because they think that not knowing is a sign of weakness. But questions are a tool and can empower you to perform optimally- remember that and you’ll ask in a way that does not place blame on yourself (I’m sorry, I should know this but…) or the person you’re asking (You never told me about…), ensuring you come off with the best intentions (I want to be sure I’m doing this right, for the sake of the assignment) and the best foot forward.

RDS Bookkeeping  has provided expertise in accounting and bookkeeping to small business owners and individuals throughout Chicago for over 8 years. We serve every client with thoughtful, efficient care and strive to go above and beyond so that you can do what you set out to do- get down to business.  We are the proud founders of Pit Crew IL Rescue.  Sambuca is our dog.

We’re on Vacation!

There is something wrong with this kiddie pool.

We’re on vacation this week! DON’T MISS US TOO MUCH.

Oh, okay you can’t survive without us? Here are some good reads from the archives:

Sambuca’s Guide to Worker’s Comp

Sambuca 101: Medical Insurance

Ownership Structures, Taxes and a Dog Named Bagel

See you next week, peoples!

RDS Bookkeeping  has provided expertise in accounting and bookkeeping to small business owners and individuals throughout Chicago for over 8 years. We serve every client with thoughtful, efficient care and strive to go above and beyond so that you can do what you set out to do- get down to business.  We are the proud founders of Pit Crew IL Rescue.  Sambuca is our dog.

The 10 Steps to Starting Your Own Business

Special delivery! It’s ME, Sambuca!

Happy Monday, peoples! Did you have a good weekend?  Is your summer feeling like the feel-good hit movie it’s supposed to be? Did you put sunblock on your arms at the beach and throw your head back and laugh? Did you sing a song into a hairbrush? Did you run carefree through the streets? (I’m a dog so I do that all the time. Though by “streets”, I mean sidewalk. And by “run carefree” I mean walk respectfully on a leash.)

We were spending some time on SBA.gov this morning, as you do, and by chance, hit on their top rated reads. One of them was Follow These 10 Steps to Starting a Business and we thought, “Hey! WE do all of that!”

Did you know that a bookkeeper could be instrumental in starting a business? It’s true. You may think that a bookkeeper is someone you need once you’re up and running fully, when the bills start coming in and you need to start logging expenses and planning for tax time. But a bookkeeper, like us, could also serve as a powerful administration tool in those very early days when you’re just starting out. Here, we’ll show you. The italicized is from SBA.gov. The rest is from us.

Step 1: Write a Business Plan

Use these tools and resources to create a business plan. This written guide will help you map out how you will start and run your business successfully. 

When you’re putting that business plan together, it’s a good idea to consult with people who already have put a business together- you know this. But what about consulting with someone who has put dozens and dozens of different types of businesses together? Someone like… that local bookkeeper you keep hearing so much about?

Step 2: Get Business Assistance and Training

Take advantage of free training and counseling services, from preparing a business plan and securing financing, to expanding or relocating a business.

We chuckled at this one because counseling services feels like such a natural part of our job! It’s a by-product of working so closely with you  on your business.

Step 3: Choose a Business Location

Get advice on how to select a customer-friendly location and comply with zoning laws.

Zoning! Welcome to your first tango with red tape. We can help you with that.

Step 4: Finance Your Business

Find government backed loans, venture capital and research grants to help you get started.

Yes, yes and yes. A successful bookkeeper works with many businesses and can be a valuable networking tool- if you remember to use us!

Step 5: Determine the Legal Structure of Your Business

Decide which form of ownership is best for you: sole proprietorship, partnership, Limited Liability Company (LLC), corporation, S corporation, nonprofit or cooperative.

Um, yup! Covered.

Step 6: Register a Business Name (“Doing Business As”)

Register your business name with your state government.

We’ve got this too. No worries.

Step 7: Get a Tax Identification Number

Learn which tax identification number you’ll need to obtain from the IRS and your state revenue agency.

Yup. Us too. See how easy this is?

Step 8: Register for State and Local Taxes

Register with your state to obtain a tax identification number, workers’ compensation, unemployment and disability insurance.

Yes, sir. That paperwork will be handled right away, sir.

Step 9: Obtain Business Licenses and Permits

Get a list of federal, state and local licenses and permits required for your business.

Permits? We LOVE permits! Our friends call us Permit the Frog.

Step 10: Understand Employer Responsibilities

Learn the legal steps you need to take to hire employees.

Well, look at that! See how easy this is when you’ve got the right people in your corner? Spread the word!

RDS Bookkeeping  has provided expertise in accounting and bookkeeping to small business owners and individuals throughout Chicago for over 8 years. We serve every client with thoughtful, efficient care and strive to go above and beyond so that you can do what you set out to do- get down to business.  We are the proud founders of Pit Crew IL Rescue.  Sambuca is our dog.

How to Optimize Your Small Business Over Summer Vacation

Summer lovin, had me a bla-ast…

It’s SUMMER. We’re in the deep of it, peoples. It’s hot, it’s quiet and you’ve doubtlessly noticed the sound of crickets as employees, clients and vendors wander off at different times over these two months for vacation.

Summer can be a quiet time for almost all businesses (except for construction- we’ll see you guys in winter) but there are ways to optimize your small business over summer vacations. Don’t despair over the lulls; take advantage of them!
Here are 4 Tips to Make Summer Work For You:

1. Schedule a sales push in mid-summer

It might feel like you’re the only one working but we assure you, you’re not! In fact, this quiet time is a great opportunity to grab the ear of that COO who has always been too busy to schedule a 30 minute chat. After all, he has to come back from St. Barts sometime! Take advantage of the downtime at other businesses, including your competitors, and double up on your sales efforts in the middle of summer. (It’s a great way to show them how hard you’re working too!)

2. Get ORGANIZED

Since when does the “deep cleaning” have to only happen in spring? Use the longer, quieter days of summer to tackle Big Projects that don’t exactly result in profits but go a long way toward streamlining process and optimizing your employees’ effectiveness. Keep your office organized and orderly and they’ll feel more organized and orderly too- tackle those boxes of old files piling up in the corners, clean out drawers and basements, and update your filing systems. Toss out old and expired food in the kitchen while you’re at it!

3. Change the scenery

Have a couple of hours on a quiet summer Friday? Redecorate a little! Gather your employees and devise ways to re-organize the office furniture. It costs nothing (just time and a little elbow-grease) but the change will invigorate your workers a bit and give them some new scenery too! It also sends a message to visiting clients- you’re not sitting still! Things are moving and changing around your office and real change is happening. It instills confidence without you having to say a word.

4. One-on-One Time

Take this opportunity to get to know your employees, clients and vendors a little better. Everyone has a bit more time this season so take advantage- schedule longer lunches, go on short, productive outings and plan summer treats that will allow you to get to know the people in your business a little better. Foster these relationships now when you have the time and reap the benefits in the busier seasons when things are happening too fast for pleasantries. You’ll be happy you did it when you had the chance!

RDS Bookkeeping  has provided expertise in accounting and bookkeeping to small business owners and individuals throughout Chicago for over 8 years. We serve every client with thoughtful, efficient care and strive to go above and beyond so that you can do what you set out to do- get down to business.  We are the proud founders of Pit Crew IL Rescue.  Sambuca is our dog.

Get Inspired! How to Overcome Failure

IT IS HOT. OMG IT IS SO SO HOT.

Peoples, it is SO hot in Chicago. HOT. I AM BAKING. I AM A HOT DOG OH NO NOW DO I HAVE TO EAT MYSELF?

Lady and I are keeping cool by… staying inside. Do not let that picture fool you. Sambuca is inside with the air conditioning on full blast. He is spending his time on the lappy toppy, reading articles and catching up on his correspondence.

Along my travels, I came upon this article from the Wall Street Journal and thought I would share it with you! It’s about two topics that tend to make ambitious people very nervous- intelligence and failure.

Intelligence and failure: very few of us are born with genius IQs and those of us who have had to pull ourselves up by our kitten mittens and carve a niche for ourselves with a small business have, at one time or another, come to grips with the perceived limitations in our intelligence. Sometimes we don’t feel smart enough. Sometimes we don’t feel like we were born with what it take. Anyone who has been successful or has tasted success has also felt the taste of failure. It’s rare to have one without the other, frankly. Only when you have faced failure, do you realize that it no longer has a hold on you. Only when you have faced failure, do you realize you have what it takes to overcome it.

That’s our take anyway. Here is another take: Ken Bain from the Wall Street Journal tackles failure and the power of a flexible view of learning.

RDS Bookkeeping  has provided expertise in accounting and bookkeeping to small business owners and individuals throughout Chicago for over 8 years. We serve every client with thoughtful, efficient care and strive to go above and beyond so that you can do what you set out to do- get down to business.  We are the proud founders of Pit Crew IL Rescue.  Sambuca is our dog.

Small Business Tips: Make Your Own Mantras

What do you call a business owner who is also a dog owner? A gentle leader! Ha ha, just kidding I really hate this stupid thing.

Good morrow, peoples! The week is starting, it’s SUMMER, there are hot dogs burning on a grill somewhere and the long days of July and August are great excuses for refocusing on your business and your work (hey, more hours for work and play!)

This week on the Twitter, we’ll be sharing some of our favorite work mantras. And we had so much fun coming up with them, we thought we’d share the exercise as a small business tip!

Mantras aren’t just for meditation- in business, you can think of them like mini business missions. They’re perfect, Twitter-sized missives of how you work and what you believe when it comes to business and they are a great way to let current and potential customers know what you’re about!

Some sample mantras:

My deepest pride is rooted in the solving of your biggest problems.

I strive to be the boss I have always wanted for myself.

Work without focus will get neither of us anywhere we want to be.

Still struggling with your own mission for your business? Start with some mantras and see where they take you. We bet you have more to say than you realize!

RDS Bookkeeping  has provided expertise in accounting and bookkeeping to small business owners and individuals throughout Chicago for over 8 years. We serve every client with thoughtful, efficient care and strive to go above and beyond so that you can do what you set out to do- get down to business.  We are the proud founders of Pit Crew IL Rescue.  Sambuca is our dog.