Monday, September 29, 2008

How To Select Accounting Software For Your Small Business

Posted by:Business week online on September 16

Here’s a step-by-step approach to help you decide which program can best serve your business accounting needs:

1. Determine and create a list of the specific types of accounting functions you want to perform. At a minimum, the software should handle cash disbursement and cash receipts, post all charges to the profit-and-loss statement automatically, and offer a complete reporting package. Reports should include a detailed general ledger, balance sheet, income statement (profit and loss), and cash-flow statement, as well as specific function reports for payroll and job costing.

2. Don’t pay for features and functions you won’t use. The typical small business writes fewer than 100 checks per month, makes 10 to 20 bank deposits per month, and produces 20 to 100 invoices per month. It doesn’t take a major accounting program to handle these functions, and it’s not worth it to buy a program that has lots of features you won’t use and that end up making the program more difficult to operate.

3. The most important step is to talk with other people in businesses similar to yours about what accounting software they use and what they like or don’t like about it. There is no better source for finding out about a program than those who have been using it for a while.

Gene Fairbrother
Business Consultant
National Association for the Self-Employed

Thursday, September 25, 2008

More vs. enough

More vs. enough

Lesley reminds us of Herzberg's work on hygiene.

It's not just theory, it's a vitally important marketing concept. It's easy to believe that joy lives on a simple curve. If you give me more of what I want, you give me more joy.

If one baseball game is good, season tickets are better. If $300 an hour for consulting is good, $400 is better.

Improved = more.

It turns out, though, that there isn't just one curve, there are two. The second one is about hygiene. Not just being clean, of course, but being in an environment in which certain requirements are met. All the farm-fresh groceries in the world won't make you happy if your kitchen is filled with bugs. A high-paying job that delivers a screaming boss, no job security and a home life fraught with tension isn't a stable place for most people. Not because the money isn't there, but because basic "hygiene" needs aren't being met.

Hygiene We see this with computer hardware and software (crashing is a hygiene issue). We see it with thrift stores for food (freshness, or the appearance of it, is more important than money for many people). And we see it with every human resource issue.

Next time you try to grow market share, while it may be tempting to lower price or offer more features, perhaps it's worth considering addressing unfixed hygiene issues instead.

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Power of Red

The Power of Red

via How to Change the World by GuyKawasaki on 8/27/08


The Pope dons red Prada kicks, politicians break out red ties in election season and that darn Netflix package always seems to stand out in a crowd of manilla and ivory mail. Why red? Do humans have a penchant for the rainbow’s most fiery color?

This study released in 2005 discovered that red-clad athletes out-performed competitors donning blue uniforms and suggested that the win discrepancy occurred because of an innate association of red with dominance and assertiveness. New research goes further in exploring the power of red. Researchers at Germany’s University of M√ľnster threw judged competitions like tae kwon do into the mix and found that referees awarded athletes in red an average of 13 percent more points than azure-wearing sportsmen. So, why exactly does red provide such a distinct advantage?

The German study attributed their findings to an unconscious bias, but did not conclude where the bias stems from--suggesting that the reason could be as simple as red being more eye-catching. Other studies suggest that our weakness for red comes from primates’ unique color vision that in the past allowed the first humans to forage the forest and successfully locate ripe fruit. Instinctive or not, red definitely boasts some serious power.

While red might not be the color choice for a business looking to soothe and relax customers, like say a meditation studio or spa, if a company hopes to grab a bit of attention and give off an assertive message, strong shades of red might do the trick. Redbox, Red Lobster, Red Hat, (Product) Red and countless other companies have created instantly recognizable logos, websites and packaging that all appeal to our predisposition for all things scarlet, cherry, ruby, and straight-up red.


Small is the new big by Seth Godin

Small is the new big by Seth Godin

Big used to matter. Big meant economies of scale. (You never hear about "economies of tiny" do you?) People, usually guys, often ex-Marines, wanted to be CEO of a big company. The Fortune 500 is where people went to make… a fortune.

There was a good reason for this. Value was added in ways that big organizations were good at. Value was added with efficient manufacturing, widespread distribution and very large R&D staffs. Value came from hundreds of operators standing by and from nine-figure TV ad budgets. Value came from a huge sales force.

Of course, it's not just big organizations that added value. Big planes were better than small ones, because they were faster and more efficient. Big buildings were better than small ones because they facilitated communications and used downtown land quite efficiently. Bigger computers could handle more simultaneous users, as well.

Get Big Fast was the motto for startups, because big companies can go public and get more access to capital and use that capital to get even bigger. Big accounting firms were the place to go to get audited if you were a big company, because a big accounting firm could be trusted. Big law firms were the place to find the right lawyer, because big law firms were a one-stop shop.

And then small happened.

Enron (big) got audited by Andersen (big) and failed (big.) The World Trade Center was a target. TV advertising is collapsing so fast you can hear it. American Airlines (big) is getting creamed by Jet Blue (think small). BoingBoing (four people) has a readership growing a hundred times faster than the New Yorker (hundreds of people).

Big computers are silly. They use lots of power and are not nearly as efficient as properly networked Dell boxes (at least that's the way it works at Yahoo and Google). Big boom boxes are replaced by tiny ipod shuffles. (Yeah, I know big-screen tvs are the big thing. Can't be right all the time).

Today, little companies often make more money than big companies. Little churches grow faster than worldwide ones. Little jets are way faster (door to door) than big ones.

Today, Craigslist (18 employees) is the fourth most visited site according to some measures. They are partly owned by eBay (more than 4,000 employees) which hopes to stay in the same league, traffic-wise. They're certainly not growing nearly as fast.

Small means the founder makes a far greater percentage of the customer interactions. Small means the founder is close to the decisions that matter and can make them, quickly.

Small is the new big because small gives you the flexibility to change the business model when your competition changes theirs.

Small means you can tell the truth on your blog.

Small means that you can answer email from your customers.

Small means that you will outsource the boring, low-impact stuff like manufacturing and shipping and billing and packing to others, while you keep the power because you invent the remarkable and tell stories to people who want to hear them.

A small law firm or accounting firm or ad agency is succeeding because they're good, not because they're big. So smart small companies are happy to hire them.

A small restaurant has an owner who greets you by name.

A small venture fund doesn't have to fund big bad ideas in order to get capital doing work. They can make small investments in tiny companies with good (big) ideas.

A small church has a minister with the time to visit you in the hospital when you're sick.

Is it better to be the head of Craigslist or the head of UPS?

Small is the new big only when the person running the small thinks big.

Don't wait. Get small. Think big.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

We are back !

We are back with vengeance to increase your Productivity & profit with some great use full tips .