Time to Catch-up!

So, am sorry that I have been away for so long. My personal life just seemed to explode the day after I wrote my last blog. My Grandfather was admitting to hospital and I have been tending to him and my Grandmother ever since, on top of that my day job, my school and my family… So something had to give and that was my writing.

We are back and ready to go, better than ever!

Here’s the topic for today — Identify a pressing problem in your industry and provide the solution.

A pressing problem in this industry is people being taken advantage of. I have walked into a business and seen more staff than is really needed. Mind you keeping the fraud blog in mind… You do need more than one person.

So take for instance. A business I worked for… The had one person doing only what they called Human Resources, one person doing AP, another doing AR, yet someone else entering the inventory received, a warehouse Manager to count it, stock boy to put it out and five sales guys standing behind a counter WAITING for someone to come in to sell to…

WHY!? WHY!? WHY!? This is something I see all too often. People in businesses like mine tell business owners that they need a certain amount of money to do something and then milk it for all they can.

A friend of mine is paying someone $300/month to do payroll twice a month (for five people, with a software program) and taxes, which are generally set out amounts that you run a cheque for. My friend was flabbergasted when I informed him that I would charge $20/hr and it might take three hours a month…

A lot of businesses want to have a few clients who pay big… But remember the blog about diversifying your client base!

Don’t be stupid about charging your clients, don’t be stupid about over-paying! Do some research… Have a number of small paying clients, it might be more work but it is security in the end.

I hope you have enjoyed this…

Thanks for being patient and for coming back… Stay tuned there will be more where this came from!

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New Year! A Recap and then a List of People you should follow on Twitter.

And so we are back.

Refreshed from our little break. I told you, that you needed it. I know that I sure did.

So before we went on vacation we covered the following.

* Welcome to Connie McCools
* A Short History of who we are
* The Personal Side of CM
* Learning to do Admin and Ops all by yourself
* Leading by example
* Being consistent, fair, Inclusive, Responsive and Available
* Quitting a client
* Fraud
* Social Media
* What to expect when calling a small business
* 10 Books every New Business Owner should read
* Taking breaks.

So I have a number of things I want to cover moving on but I thought I would ask if there is anything you would like to see covered. Please leave topics in the comment sections.

Moving on… Here’s the twitter list.

Fox Small Business @fbsmallbiz
Our job is to help you run a better small business.

Yahoo Small Business @YSmallBusiness
Our Blog: bit.ly/8bTw32 System Status: bit.ly/8UvngN Contact Us: bit.ly/4KxPwd

Small Business Tech @businesstech
Small Business Tech team on twitter. Follow us for tech advice & tips for the small business world. Why not write a guest post?

Anita Campbell @smallbiztrends
Tweets from the Small Business Trends community and its CEO, Anita Campbell. Author of @VisualMktgBook. A Forbes Top Influential Woman for Entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneur @EntMagazine
Entrepreneur is the magazine for the small-business community.

For more simply sign into Twitter and type small business into the search bar.

Good luck and happy following!

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Filed under blog, business survival guide., client, Company Start-up, Efficient Operations of Admintration, fraud, lead by example, manager, new business owner, Responsive, Small Business, small business owners, Social Media, Stumbe Upon, Tumblr, Twitter, Uncategorized, What we do

Taking a Break!

With the Holiday Season in full swing, well peeps there are only 5 days 10 hours 22 mins and 14 secs till the big Christmas day! If that is what you celebrate. I know that Chanukah falls around the same time and well yule is Wed…

What I am trying to say is that as a business owner it is easy to get caught up in having to be “there!” And in wanting to be “there” we forget to take vacation, holidays, time off, time away… Then we burn out.

No matter how much you LOVE what you do. EVERYONE needs a break.

So whether it be a week in Florida or somewhere more exotic… OR an at home week of leisure. REmember to treat yourself to some much-needed YOU time…

We have gone through the steps of

* surrounding yourself with people you trust.
* keeping people honest by splitting job functions
* you are blogging and social mediaing to keep the customers coming in
* you have read the books that will help you to set this up

So now you should be OK to go… Go go goooooo!

Anyway from our family at Connie McCools to yours… Have a happy Holiday Season no matter what you celebrate. Celebrate well! Be safe, be happy and enjoy!

We are going to take our own advise and we are off the air till the new year!

See ya then!

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Tip of the week – 10 books the might help with Operations and Administration. PART 2

1 — The Complete Canadian Small Business Guide [Hardcover]
Douglas Gray

2 — Prepare for the Worst, Plan for the Best: Disaster Preparedness and Recovery for Small Businesses [Paperback]
Donna R. Childs

“An essential handbook for anyone who owns, or plans to start, a small business, Prepare for the Worst, Plan for the Best helps you move from paralysis to preparedness. It’s a logical, understandable approach to protecting the business you worked so hard to build.”
—Lauren Simonds, Managing Editor, SmallBusinessComputing.com

3 — The Pocket Small Business Owner’s Guide to Negotiating [Paperback]
Richard Weisgrau

Product Description
Not confident with your negotiating skills? This book will cure you! A must-have for any small business owner, The Pocket Small Business Owner’s Guide to Negotiating is full of helpful tips and strategies for getting what you want without alienating your clients and suppliers. You will learn to analyze your wants, needs, advantages, and disadvantages going in, maintain your resolve, and see the negotiation through to a successful end. Topics include position bargaining, contracts, purchases, conflict resolution, and more. Also included are sample negotiation scenarios to illustrate different approaches. Concisely, clearly, and engagingly written, this guide will empower you to reach your negotiation goals!

4 — Make Sure It’s Deductible, Fourth Edition [Paperback] Evelyn Jacks

About the Author
Evelyn Jacks is the president of the Knowledge Bureau and one of Canada’s most prolific authors. She is an award-winning entrepreneur, having written over 40 books on the subjects of personal taxation and wealth management. Evelyn has recently been appointed to the Federal Task Force on Financial Literacy, which will set a national strategy for financial literacy for Canada. Evelyn lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

5 — Canadian Small Business Kit for Dummies [Paperback]
Margaret Kerr (Author), JoAnn Kurtz (Author)

Amazon.ca
It takes a certain type of person to start a small business. Among other things, you need self-confidence, a flair for innovation, the ability to work alone as well as a knack for managing others. Being your own boss isn’t all about polished leather executive chairs and business lunches. It’s about long hours, stress, and risk. So it’s fortunate that the Canadian Small Business Kit for Dummies begins with a small-business personality aptitude test. If it shows that you are fit for a life of entrepreneurship, then be prepared for the crash course in how to run a business. You have to know more than the expertise or product you are selling your customers; to be the owner of your own business you have to become an expert in purchasing, marketing, accounting, and many skills you thought you’d left behind in high school.
It’s all in the details, and the Small Business Kit covers all of them, leaving no eventuality to chance. “We bet you can’t believe you paid money for some of this advice,” the authors tell us at one point. It’s true. It is common sense. But there are so many small points to consider when you’re running a small business that it’s vital to organize and prioritize everything to cut the risk. Each chapter ends with action items to put into your agenda, as in: “Give some thought to your distribution channels” and “Take the first steps towards calculating the break-even cost of your product or service.” It’s elementary, but it’s essential. –Edward Trapunski –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Thank-You Amazon.com for this information (this is simply a conglomeration of information I found on amazon.com)

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Filed under blog, Books, business survival guide., Canadian Business, Company Start-up, Complete Guide, deductible, Pocket Guide, Prepare for the worst, Uncategorized

Tip of the week – 10 books the might help with Operations and Administration. PART 1

1 — Effective Operations and Controls for the Small Privately Held Business — Rob Reider
This book is broken into 12 chapters that range from Understanding Small Business through to Organization Structure and Management Roles. It will make you think about things that most forget when they leave a job to start their own business in the same industry.

2 — Business Plans to Manage Day-to-Day Operations, Real Life Results for Small Business Owners and Operators/Book and Disk — Christopher R. Malburg

3 — Canadian Small Business Survival Guide — Benj GallanderThis book has case studies and actual checklists and very visual components to learn from

4 — Women Entrepreneurs in Small & Medium Enterprises — Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development
This book is from the late 90′s but still relevant. And had to get some “Girl Power” in here too!

5 — Succeeding Generations: Realizing the Dream of Families in Business — Ivan Lansberg
Just another angle on a small business, just because it was successful for your pop doesn’t mean it will be for you!

So get your Christmas (Chanukkah, Kwanza, whatever you celebrate) list ready and add these… Happy Holiday reading.

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Filed under blog, Books, business survival guide., christopher r malburg, rob reider, small business owners, Uncategorized, visual components

What to Expect When you call-up a Business Like us!

When you call-up a small business like us to inquire about services please keep in mind that we are probably as small as you are.

Most small businesses do not have offices, they work out of the owner’s home.

So if you do that, then expect that the person you are calling just may do that too.

Also when you call us for services we will need to see somethings that you feel are confidential…

For example, you call us to ask us to help you to get your “books in order and to pay your taxes…” please don’t be shocked when we tell you that in order to do that we have to see your books… We cannot pay taxes when we don’t know what we are paying for…

Sure some places are very forward and may have software that will allow them to remote into your system, however you should be prepared to meet with the person that you are hiring to take care of your financials…

Really I don’t want to work for someone I have never met anymore than you should want someone who you have never met working for you.

Be prepared as well to have to wait for a meeting… Just like you are a business and have other jobs than the one you are talking to me about… So might I. Just because you may want to meet in five minutes because you are on your third “pay your taxes” notice from the Ministry of Finance, doesn’t mean I am going to be able to accommodate that schedule.

Also, if you are going to use some obscure software for your finances, because it is cheap please remember that someone is going to have to learn to work with it in order to do your books and that is going to be at your expense…

Anyway… These are just somethings that have come up in phone calls lately and I felt the need to share them.

I will try my best to help you… But I am also in business… to make money. I cannot help you by lowering my costs because you are small… My costs are set based on the level of service you are getting.

So… Now that I have pretty much un-professionally had a rant here… Please tell me what you think!

Have a great day and see you next week!

Image of Rant from — http://www.mylot.com/w/photokeywords/2/rant.aspx

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Filed under available, book-keeper, Bookkeeping, client, confindentiality clause, Consistency, Efficient Operations of Admintration, files, Financial Information System, FIS, fraud, new business owner, petty cash, Scheduling, Vendor, voice mail

Get your Blog on before you Stumble & Tumblr into Facebook and Digg, Twitter

Hmmm what the heck is she talking about you asking now that you have read the title. Well if you are Social Media Savvy you may not be asking that question, but there are a lot of small businesses out there who don’t have and advertising budget and are missing out on this wonderful source of promotion for your company.

Don’t have a website budget? Well that could be the kiss of death for your business in this day and age. BUT… You don’t really need it. Just start a blog. You can not only advertise your company, what you do, pass on info about you or your products, but you can promote sales, and well… Give advise and actually have conversations with your clients.

Check out wordpress.com. That is what you are reading this on. I personally find this to be the easiest to maneuver blog system. There are others. Blogger.com, Blogspot.com etc. You should look at them all and decide which one you like best it’s really up to you. You are the one who has to maintain it. You have to be comfortable.

Once you have your blog you should sign up for StumbleUpon.com it calls itself a discovery engine that finds the best of the web, recommended just for you. You can set up you own parameters and you can stumble while others are stumbling you.

Another site that is GREAT is Tumblr.com. It’s a micro blog site. You can post a link to your blog here and it will simply be seen by another audience. Go over and check it out.

So once you have set up your blog you need only maintain it to make sure that your info is up-to-date. If you choose write a blog for your clients like I do, you can choose a weekly, monthly etc time frame and just make sure you keep it up. Once you finish that blog you can simply take that link and past it in all the other sites and Bob’s your uncle you have a network of advertising. Because remember you post it and then other’s share it.

So You can set your blog up (if you are with workpress.com) to automatically post to Facebook and Twitter as soon as you publish it. But if you have a Facebook or Twitter account you need to make sure that you have time to at least daily read and respond to all the posts. If you leave them to linger people will lose interest. Also remember that if you ask for an audience of one million you have to be ready to service an audience of one million. If you can only service and audience of 579 then gear your social media presence to that number.

Also remember that you need to make sure that you keep all of your writing to online standard.

Make it short
Get to the point quickly
Write in short chunky passage
Put keywords in as many times as you can for Search Engine Optimization.

Most of all have fun with it. You can build a huge audience and take advantage of free word of mouth and online advertising for your business…

Check out this FB page that I think is successful. Surf Dog Ricochet

and this Twitter account… Puppy Rescue Mission

Come back and post a comment on why you think they are successful.

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Filed under blog, Digg, Facebook, Puppy Rescue Mission, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media, Stumbe Upon, Surf Dog Ricochet, Tumblr, Twitter, Uncategorized