Get Your Small Business Ready For the Holidays

 

Fall and winter holidays are quickly approaching us. Although this year may look different, people are still looking forward to spending time with their families (safely, of course.) 

 

Get ready for holiday promotions, high traffic in-store and online, and increased profits. Is your small business ready for the holidays?

 

holidays

Plan Ahead of Time

 

The holidays are hectic and stressful. Stay level-headed by planning as much as you can ahead of time. Determine what promotions you are having each week. Make your advertisements. Estimate your expenses. Planning ahead helps manage your finances

 

Set Sales Goals

 

Many small businesses have their busy season around the holidays and Small Business Saturday. Set goals based on last year’s sales. These goals help you measure success

 

In the long run, your sales goals will make a major difference in your business. These goals can gradually increase as you accomplish them.

 

Follow Up and Get Reviews

 

What makes your business stand out? With so many options for consumers to purchase from, it may be hard to choose. When your business has positive feedback on social media and your website, people are more likely to purchase from it.

 

Encourage your customers to give their input on your products, services, and promotions so you can make changes for next year. Maybe something that you did went better than expected, and it is important to know that so you can leverage it. 

 

Support Your Community

 

During the season of giving, provide a helping hand to your local community. Donate to charities as an act of kindness. Donations include money, food, clothing, and services. 

 

Get your customers involved by setting up a canned food drive inside your business. Put up a “giving tree” where customers choose a person in need and purchase gifts for them. Match every dollar that customers put into your donation jar for an important cause.

 

Show Employees Your Appreciation

 

Your employees work hard all year, and even more so during the holidays. Express how much they mean to you. Do this verbally, in a written card, or with gifts. Each one of your employees is unique, so personalize their gifts. 

 

Some employees may want a bonus or a monetary gift. Others love getting clothing items or bottles of wine. You can even throw a holiday party at a local restaurant.

 

Give your employees time off on major holidays if you can. This acknowledges that their time is valuable. They have the chance to spend the day with their family instead of working. 

 

Happy Holidays!

 

PL Consulting hopes that this holiday season runs smoothly for your business. Get your business ready!

 

We customize our services to each client and their business plans. Your ideas are unique to your business, and we understand that. 

 

Have questions about financing, bookkeeping, or increasing profits? We are here for all of your questions as a small business owner. If you would like to set up an appointment, call us at 410-764-3731.

 

6 Productivity Tips for Small Business Owners

 

Small businesses continuously figure out ways to expand their reach and compete with large corporations. Among their many talents, small business owners come up with creative ways to succeed with their productivity.

 

small business owners

Prioritize Tasks

 

Write or type out a list of your tasks. This list determines what should be focused on right away. You will know what does not need as much attention at the moment. Your running task list should have due dates, so you never miss a deadline. Continue to update this list as you gain or complete your tasks.

 

Once you decide the order of tasks that you need to work on, delegate tasks to one of your employees or an outside contractor. If you are new to this, check out our guide about when you should start delegating tasks as a small business owner

 

Set Up an FAQ on Your Website

 

An FAQ page shows customers important information about your business. Answer simple and common questions that many of your customers have. This page minimizes the number of phone calls, messages, and emails your business gets daily because customers will have more clarity.

 

Automate Everything You Can

 

Do what you love as a business owner. Again, the less time that is taken answering repeat questions, the more time you have to work on new products and scale your business. 

 

On your business’s Facebook page, people have the option to send instant messages. Set up recurring questions that your customers typically have so it is easier for them. Turn your automatic response on for those common questions and answer them thoroughly.

 

Websites have a similar option with instant messenger chatbots. These pop up on websites and answer almost any question that a customer has. If the person’s question is not answered with the automated responses, they either have the option to call or message an employee.

 

When customers call your business, have an automated response giving them information about store hours, location, and other frequently asked questions. This frees up time spent on the phone with customers, giving you more time for productivity.

 

Streamline Your Processes

 

Refining each one of your business’s processes leaves less confusion and sets clear expectations for your customers and employees. Streamline your management style as a small business owner so you have more time to focus on creativity and strategy. 

 

Have Great Communication

 

Arrange daily or weekly meetings with your staff so that everyone is on the same page. Make these meetings short and focused so that everyone can get back to working on their task list.

 

Communicate with your employees about what the strategies and policies are in your business. By relaying these vital details, you are setting employees up for success.

 

Outsource Your Bookkeeping

 

Outsource your business’s bookkeeping to a firm that specializes in it instead of doing it yourself. PL Consulting customizes services to each client and their business plans. Your ideas are unique to your business, and we understand that. 

 

Small business owners, we are here to answer questions you have about keeping your small business productive. If you would like to set up an appointment, call us at 410-764-3731.

 

The Best Podcasts For Small Business Owners

 

Podcasts are great to listen to while getting work done, driving in the car, or as background noise. With so many options of what to listen to, we broke down the following podcasts by categories that are helpful to small business owners. 

 

podcasts

Marketing

This aspect of your small business includes social media, online marketing, traditional marketing, and even blogging. These three podcasts will keep you up-to-date with the newest trends.

 

Online Marketing Made Easy with Amy Porterfield 

Wondering how to start your business online? This podcast features mini marketing masterclasses and step-by-step guides.

 

Social Pros

Get insights from social media strategists including current trends and ideas. 

 

Pro Blogger 

The goal of Pro Blogger is to help business owners develop effective blog writing habits. 

 

Finance and Investing

Your small business needs financing and investing to grow. Listen to these podcasts for money making tips and tricks.

 

Masters in Business

If you are looking for people that speak about the market, financing, and investing, this is the podcast for you. 

 

Smart Passive Income

Pat Flynn dives into techniques for increasing profits and growing your business. 

 

So Money 

The host of So Money, Farnoosh Torabi, brings on guests to talk about their personal stories around money. This helps listeners learn lessons others have already learned the hard way.

 

Technology and Software

If your small business is into using the latest technology and software, listen to these podcasts.

 

Shopify Masters 

Successful entrepreneurs are invited to this show to talk about their experience and advice for growing businesses with Shopify. 

 

Startups For the Rest of Us

This podcast is helpful for both startups and businesses with years of experience. The host Rob Walling shares his experiences and mistakes for business owners, designers, and developers to avoid. 

 

This Week in Tech

TWiT focuses on tech news and reviews, consumer electronics, and the internet. The panelists vary from week to week. 

 

Inspirational

Lacking motivation or ideas? These inspirational podcasts will give you the push that you need.

 

Goal Digger 

Tune in to learn how to work hard and tackle your biggest goals along the way.

 

The Tim Ferriss Show 

Ferriss speaks to high achievers in business, investing, music, science, and sports about how to do things better in their industry.

 

The GaryVee Audio Experience 

GaryVee has a motivational tone that makes his podcast inspiring for startup businesses. 

 

Questions About Your Small Business?

If you have questions outside of what these podcasts offer you, we are here to help. PL Consulting has resources for bookkeeping, taxes and accounting, budgeting, and so much more. Our one-on-one interactions are valuable for both your team and ours. 

 

We customize our services to each of our clients and their business plans. Your ideas are unique to your business, and we understand that. 

 

We are here to answer questions you have about running your small business. If you would like to set up an appointment, call us at 410-764-3731.

 

How to Streamline Your Payroll Process

 

Paying your employees consistently and promptly is important for your business. Small businesses and startups may struggle with an efficient system. A streamlined payroll process is something that any business needs to have.

 

streamline payroll process

Choose a Paperless System

Many small businesses still use paper checks, time cards, and paper stubs. An online system for payroll makes paying your employees easier. This is also an opportunity for your business to become sustainable. 

 

It is in your employees’ best interest for them to receive their pay stubs and pay information electronically. Make sure that you can pay every employee through direct deposit.

 

Connect Systems

Choose a system that integrates your time log software and payroll software. This minimizes the time spent manually logging hours into the payroll system. All the data transfers automatically. Because of this, human error is less likely. 

 

Minimize Pay Cycles

Some businesses pay employees at different times depending on their level or rank. It is common for management to be paid monthly and midlevel to entry-level employees to be paid on a bi-weekly basis.

 

However, it is more efficient to pay every employee at the same time. Combining pay schedules decreases the chance of errors made during the payroll process.

 

Processing Payroll

If you own a small business and do not have the means to pay for a payroll department, it is often better to do it yourself. There is great payroll software that will keep adequate track of getting payroll out on time. Find one that has the correct information for taxes.

 

Stay Current on Tax Laws and Policies

You must stay up to date on the current IRS regulations and tax laws. Make sure you are filing your payroll taxes correctly and on time. States and Federal tax regulations are always being updated, so make sure you are aware of the changes when you are filing.

 

Get Payroll Help

If your business is growing and you find it hard to keep up with payroll on your own, it is important to send it to an outside contractor. The last thing you need is your employees noticing you are not paying them on time because you are too busy. This gives you time to focus on what is more important to running your business.

 

If you submit payroll to a bookkeeping firm, keep track of your employee’s working hours. Input a time clock so you have the most accurate data. It is easy for your employees to manage the time clock, and motivates them to come to work on time.

 

 

Are you considering outsourcing your payroll process or have further questions? PL Consulting is here as your business’s go-to resource for bookkeeping. We customize our services to each of our clients and their business plans. Call us at 410.764.3731.

 

Why Your Small Business Should Support Fair Trade Certified Products

 

October is Fair Trade Month. It is about supporting businesses that are Fair Trade Certified. These businesses create equality in the international trade system through respect and transparency. Americans are encouraged to shop Fair Trade businesses this month in their communities. 

 

Last year, Fair Trade USA impacted over 975,000 farmers and workers in 45 countries across Africa, Asia, Oceania, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Fair Trade USA stated that “the fair trade market is growing because of businesses’ dedication to Fair Trade USA standards. As a result, consumer awareness of the Fair Trade Certified seal is at 63%—nearly double what it was in 2008.”

 

pl consulting fair trade

Fair Trade product categories include:

  • Bananas
  • Avocados
  • Coffee
  • Chocolate
  • Textiles
  • Clothing

 

Here are the benefits of why your business should support Fair Trade Certified products.

 

Help End Poor Working Conditions

Certifications prevent poverty due to businesses paying low wages. It also focuses on ending sweatshop labor conditions. This assists producers in developing countries to achieve fair trade relationships.

 

Back Your Mission

If your small business sells or uses Fair Trade Certified products, it supports your business’s philanthropy of promoting the welfare of others. It motivates your community to support this movement. Your business will have a meaningful impact on equality and do something good for the world.

 

Focus on Sustainability

Environmental degradation is another focal point of Fair Trade Certified products. This includes the depletion of air, water, and soil resources; the destruction of ecosystems; habitat destruction; the extinction of wildlife; and pollution. Your business would support environmentally friendly business practices to reduce the amount of degradation. 

 

Keeping up with consumer trends is important for small businesses, and this is a topic that many people care about. This will attract more customers to your business if you support the causes they believe in.

 

Find Fair Trade Certified Products

When a customer spots the green and blue Fairtrade Mark, they can shop with confidence and know that your business is making a positive impact on the world. Both the business and consumer are using their purchasing power to support farmers and workers who deserve to enjoy sustainable livelihoods and equality. Not sure where to start? Check out these Fair Trade Certified products

 

We encourage your business to support Fair Trade Certified products. Sell certified food items at your stores like avocados and bananas. Make employee uniforms from Fair Trade clothing. If you sell coffee or offer it for free to customers/employees, find a Fair Trade option. Supporting these products stimulates business growth and opportunity. 

 

PL Consulting is here as your business’s go-to resource when you have questions. Not sure how Fair Trade products fit into your business plan? Call us at 410.764.3731. We customize our services to each of our clients and their business plans.