Small Business Owners Seek Advice From Accountants & Each Other recently recapped a report by the Barlow Institute for research on where small business owners go for advice.

Surprisingly, most small business owners either turn to each other or their accountants as shown by the graphic below.

The Power of Accountants

Barlow’s research confirms what the Emergent Research’s 2013 study shared in the Intuit Future of Accountancy report.
They said that accountants will “… take on new roles as consultants and advisors, providing performance management, decision support, IT advice and similar services, with less emphasis on nuts-and-bolts functions such as computation and tax preparation.”

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Making It Through Common Business Roadblocks

  1. Challenge: Legal and Financial Requirements

Filling the proper work with the government and local authorities, securing starting capital, and ensuring adequate cash flow are the most basic things a business owner needs to have in place before the doors open. Each of these areas can take hours of research and follow-through and can seriously hurt your business if not taken carefully.

Solution: Create a long-term plan and checklist

Creating a long-term plan and checklist ensures that you always know what direction you’re going. It might be wise to sit down with an accountant and attorney to go over your own research and incorporate any hints or tips they might have.


  1. Challenge: Spreading the word about your new business

Just because your business might be unique, or best in the business, doesn’t guarantee that people will find out about you quickly. Making sure that your client base knows you exist isn’t as easy as it sounds.

Solution: Build a marketing plan

According to Small Business Chron[1], an advertising should be anywhere from 5-15% of your budget. Running campaigns on social media or paid advertising channels are the quickest way to get your business out there. Keep in mind however, that keeping your marketing purely organic/non-paid can decrease the rate at which your business grows by a large amount.


  1. Challenge: Paperwork

A lot goes into keeping a small business running, and keeping it legal. Accounts payable, employee wages, taxes, and other expenses seem to each have their own roll of paper and by the end of the month you might feel like you’re drowning in paperwork.

Solution: Create good habits

Having things planned out in advance can make your life a lot easier. Set apart times of the day, days of the week, and times of the month for each individual task that requires paperwork. Keeping to a schedule will ensure that you never get that feeling of unending paperwork.



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4 Steps to Mitigate Risk in Small Business

Running a business does not guarantee success.

According to Bloomberg [1] nearly 8 out of 10 businesses fail within the first year. This high rate of failure paints a picture of the difficult terrain that confronts all business owners.

A popular 80’s cartoon coined the phrase -“knowing is half the battle.”  In business, knowing how to deal with risks before they become reality is half the battle of staying profitable.

We’ve created 4 steps you can take today to identify and evaluate risks to your business.


1. Identify Potential Risks

Risks can come in many shapes and sizes. Here are the main areas of risk that business owners should care the most about.


Where you’re based is almost as important as your product. If your customers don’t know where to find you, or they can’t easily see you in the course of their daily lives, you lose their business.

Location doesn’t just apply to physical businesses either; online location is just as important. Listing your business with proper directories and local search sites like Yelp, ensures that you show up where a customer is looking. How does your site look compared to your competition? Are you perceived correctly?


Does your business rely on a certain piece of technology? What would happen if that technology suddenly became obsolete or disappeared? Without a plan in place, or adequate preparation, you risk losing your entire customer base due to an upgrade.


Customer’s wants and needs change quickly and without warning. Whether your product is a luxury or necessity, a shift in preference can have a large impact on your business.


A downward trend in the stock market or downturn in the national economy might be seen as hiccups for large corporations. As a small business owner however,  that hiccup can turn into hurricane.


2. Monitor Potential Risks

Monitoring potential risk factors might seem like a full time job, but it’s easier than you think. With a little preparation and consistency, you’ll create an early warning system that could mean the difference between going under or weathering the storm


Measuring factors like total potential customers, retained customers, and how many people have seen or heard of your particular business is a powerful way of catching negative trends before they do damage.

If you’re an online business there are many excellent tools to help you measure what matters most.

If you’re a physical location, measuring daily business can be as simple running customer surveys, engaging customers in conversation or monitoring daily and monthly sales and retention. Grapevine

Current events

Monitor any news source that would have a direct impact on your business. Not only will you have advance warning of shifting trends or new technology, but you’ll have constant access to new strategies of doing business and finding success


3. Create mechanisms to stop risk

When the worst happens you need to be prepared. Just like a fire escape plan for your home or business, having an emergency plan in place can mean the difference between going under and staying afloat. Consider organizing them into the following categories and then building a specific plan to deal with each one

  1. Very Likely to Occur
  2. Some chance of occurrence
  3. Small chance of occurrence
  4. Very little chance of occurrence


4. Create habits of analysis and evaluation

Make risk analysis and evaluation part of your daily business. Dedicate time in daily meetings and planning sessions to include potential risks and solutions.

Before making any big decisions or purchases you should evaluate and analyze any new risks that might arise.


Risk management can be considered one of the most important factors in successful business; though it’s often overlooked. Take some time today to evaluate your own company and see if you’re as prepared for potential risks as you should be.



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Using Your Merchant Cash Advance Wisely

Using Your Merchant Cash Advance Wisely

As with any form of funding, careful and thought-out application of assisted funds can be a huge benefit to your business. While it may be tempting to use the money to quickly procure fleeting wants, thinking about the long term of your business and how to wisely distribute your funding into areas that will not only meet temporary needs, but help provide a sustainable business model is what it’s all about.

What are you planning on doing with it?

One of the first steps you need to make in order to get maximum benefit out of your advance is to plan ahead. Where is this money going? How much of it is devoted to each growth facet? Having a well throughout plan can help you make sure that every penny goes to keeping you in business, not burdening you with unnecessary extra expenses from purchasing habits that will only perpetuate debt[1]. The purpose of getting an advance is to help make ends meet, not create new debt.

Using advances for emergencies

Emergencies do happen, and not having any allotted capital to help pay for it is a bummer. When used carefully, a business cash advance can help you stay afloat in the event of sudden, unexpected expenditures. These situations are born out of necessity, rather than just a sporadic venture. A cash advance can help you get by if you don’t have time to wait.

Understand your payment system

One nice feature of a merchant cash advance is the lender is paid when you are paid. How it works: the lender will take a portion of your credit card processing on a per day basis. Understanding how the payment system works will help you be able to work around paying back your advance. As long as you are still generating income, the debt will be paid off in a timely manner.


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Getting Some Help Financing Your Small Business

Some of the most successful small business ventures start as nothing more than a smart idea or a big dream. As with all big dreams, sometimes they tend to be a bit bigger than the average person has capital for, at least during the average pay cycle. Thankfully, in an age where big business has left a poor impression with weary consumers, there is real demand for small businesses again.

With the charge to help reestablish sustainability and cultural promotion of the “ma and Pa” shop, there are several tools the potential small business owner has at their disposal. Not only has the internet helped introduce a whole new audience to the idea of specialty markets, in place of large “Big Box” operations, it has expanded the reach of the small business as well. Much of your potential customers will be young, tech savvies whom have grown to maturity in the era of the Internet[1], and developing a web presence will be mandatory to sustaining success. Options such as a merchant cash advance will help you get a foothold on your business and allow you to start producing revenue while you build your business without having to wait for the next check. Other aids include Services to help develop a sound business plan, as well as legal counseling if you are trying to form an entity such as an LLC.

While it may be a bit daunting starting your own business in the shadow large outlets such as multi location restaurants and nationwide retail stores, the prospect of starting a thriving personal business is better than it has been in decades. There is a strong trend to promote small business, and it’s a refreshing change. If you’ve had the notion to go into business for yourself, dare to take the plunge. The tools are out there to help you succeed.


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