Startup Business Expenses to Consider in Your Budget

 

Starting your own business is exciting, but you must also focus on your numbers. This includes budgeting, accounting, and bookkeeping. 

 

Do you want to run a successful business? You must consider the startup business expenses below in your budget. 

 

Estimating an accurate startup cost will help you meet your business goals. Before starting your business, get the funding that you need.

 

 

business

Professional and Legal Costs

Registering your business is one of the first major steps. Obtaining an LLC is only around $100, but it depends on which state you live in. There are other ways to register your business. Some people choose to register as a corporation or limited partnership. Find out what to register your business as and add in those costs.

 

You must consider any copyrights and patents that will protect your business. This brings you to the cost of lawyers. These people are important when signing and creating contracts with clients and vendors.

 

Marketing

Get potential customers to know about your new startup business. You must invest in marketing. The first step in marketing is developing your branding and packaging. This gets people interested in your business, shows personality, and makes a memorable mark.

 

After you invest in branding, choose marketing that will reach your target market. Focus on online marketing. This includes website ads, social media ads, and social media accounts. You can also choose a non-digital form of marketing like newspapers and billboards.

 

Attend trade shows and local festivals to get your brand noticed. Offer freebies to potential customers. You need to add this cost to your budget.

 

Technology

It is non-negotiable to run a company without a website these days. Hosting a website costs money, and it depends on which host you want to use. If you aren’t tech-savvy, build your website with templates from Squarespace or Weebly. You can choose to outsource to a web designer to build your site, but this will cost you much more money. Research which option is best for your business and your budget. 

 

Other technologies like computers, printers, phones, and Wi-Fi are necessary to get your business up and running. For businesses that will have a brick and mortar location, having a register and credit card machine are important costs. 

 

Product and Material Costs

If you plan on selling tangible goods, you must consider the cost of the products or raw materials. The first few purchases from your business may even cost your business money. Add in the cost of your warehouse, shipping costs, and shipping insurance into the price of the materials. 

 

Administrative Costs

Take anything and everything into account when starting your business. This includes small items like paper, staples, and pens. You are also going to need furniture like desks and office chairs. Where is this furniture going to go? You must consider rent costs and utilities for the first year as well. 

 

Hire a Bookkeeper and Accountant

To maintain your business’s budget, hire a bookkeeper and accountant. By keeping room in your budget for these extra expenses, you will end up saving money in the long run. 

A bookkeeper creates invoices, tracks billing, runs payroll, and creates general ledgers to document all transactions. They ensure that all financial data is correct and coded to the right accounts so that the information is both accurate and easy to access.

 

An accountant also deals with the ongoing finances of a business, but the main difference is that they handle finances that are already finalized and closed out. Accountants interpret financial data that the bookkeeper documents. They compile the information into financial reports. These reports give your business an idea of your financial progress. This helps to analyze the growth of your business and gauge any changes that you may need to make. Accountants also provide tax planning and advice.

 

Accountants and bookkeepers complement one another. They are both equally important to the success of your company. Although starting a new company is overwhelming, remember that there are people here to help you. Get a mentor and outsource work to other business professionals when possible. 

Do you need help with budgeting, accounting, and bookkeeping for your startup? Contact PL Consulting to help with your startup expenses at 410.764.3731 or contact us on our website.

 

 

January-October Financial Review for Tax Planning: Why It’s Beneficial

 

Financial reviews evaluate your financial position. Since everyone’s tax planning needs are different, each review focuses on what is most important to you. 

 

Financial reviews help with future tax planning. This gives you structure in your transactions and minimizes the legitimate amount of tax you pay. Tax planning is a great tool to use for businesses, wills, retirement plans, and properties. 

 

Tax season is a stressful time of year for everyone, but everything becomes easier when there is a tax plan in place. These 4 concepts are a part of the tax planning process and will benefit your business. 

 

tax planning

 

Utilize Tax Deductions and Tax Credits

 

Both tax credits and deductions reduce your tax bill. Tax credits are more beneficial, giving you a dollar-for-dollar reduction of income tax that you owe.

 

Tax deductions are expenses that are subtracted from your taxable income. Expenses include contract labor, supplies, and depreciation. These expenses must be for business use, and not personal use. You should keep track of your tax deductions throughout the year. 

 

Decide on Standard Deductions or Itemizing

 

Many taxpayers use standard deduction because it is much faster. Standard deductions are a flat rate deduction. The government provides set amounts of standard deductions each year based on filing statuses. 

 

Itemizing is a longer process, but typically ends up with more deductions. Itemizing takes your tax deductions one by one.

 

Determine Your Tax Bracket

 

Knowing which tax bracket you fall in is vital because it gives you knowledge of your current standing. It also helps you plan for the future. The higher your income is, the more money you may have to pay in taxes.

 

Keep Track of Your Tax Records

 

The most important part of tax planning is keeping records of past tax returns and documents. Stay organized so it is easy to find the paperwork. If you work with a tax preparer, it helps them keep you on track to filing taxes on time. 

 

It can take the IRS up to three years to decide whether to audit your return, so hold on to your records for at least that long.

 

Financial Review for Tax Planning

 

PL Consulting is experienced in all facets of tax planning and financial reviews. We structure tax plans to cut the legitimate amount of tax you pay. We help plan your tax obligations for the entire year, so there are not any surprises at tax time. We can explain the tax structure so you know where your money is going. 

 

Whatever your financial objectives are, we will discuss them with you and then deliver a plan to help you achieve them. We are here as your business’s go-to resource when you have questions about bookkeeping, taxes, and finances. Our services are customized to each of our clients and their business plans. 

If you have questions about why financial reviews for tax planning is beneficial, call us at 410.764.3731 or visit us at https://www.plcfo.com/contact/.

End of Year Bookkeeping Tips: Preparing for 2021

 

We are quickly approaching the end of 2020. This year many construction companies, small businesses, and restaurants lost money due to COVID-19. The upcoming year is a fresh start for everyone. With these bookkeeping tips, you can stay optimistic and improve your business after the pandemic.

 

Now is the perfect time to sit down and analyze your business finances. Create a plan to save money, increase profits, and ensure success. Stay prepared for the upcoming year. Follow these bookkeeping tips to end the year smoothly and plan for 2021.

 

bookkeeping

Submit Tax Forms

Although Tax Day (April 15, 2021) seems far away, you want to give your accountants time to file tax forms. Try not to wait until the last minute in case you need to fix any information. Additionally, these common mistakes on your taxes should be avoided. 

 

Gather important information from your vendors. This includes their name, address, and tax ID number. If your business works with 1099 contract workers, be sure to prepare and submit those forms by January 31, 2021. 

 

Bookkeeping: Plan a 2021 Budget

Create a new budget for the year based on the previous year. Keep track of what your money is going towards. Budgets put you in the right standing and prevent you from spending money on unnecessary products and services. 

 

If you are looking for new vendors, do it at the beginning of the year when they are giving out discounts for new customers. The right vendor will be reasonably priced and provide quality products to your company. Make note of the vendor expenses so you can make your payments on time. 

 

Bonuses and Holiday Gifts

You might still have room in your budget at the end of this year to give back to your hardworking employees. If you decide on using that money towards an end-of-the-year bonus, keep in mind that taxes are involved. These are taxed differently than normal paychecks. Check with an accounting professional if you are unsure of tax laws.

 

There may also be room in your budget to purchase holiday gifts for employees, customers, or clients. Although you may want to gift them with something expensive to show your appreciation, remember that you have a budget for a reason. Choose gifts that they will enjoy while staying within your means. 

 

Set and Review Bookkeeping Goals

Measure the success of your yearly goals. You may need to reevaluate or work on some goals. Use these as benchmarks for the next year. Remember that your goals can be quantitative and qualitative. Measure sales, financial statements, customers, and the satisfaction of yourself and customers. 

 

Get Ready for the New Year

PL Consulting hopes that you enjoy the holidays. Use these business tips to end the year strong and prepare your business for the new year. 

 

Do you want to learn more about bookkeeping, budgeting, taxes, or goal setting? We are here for all the questions you have as a business owner. If you would like to set up an appointment, call us at 410-764-3731.

 

Budgeting Basics for Small Business Owners

 

Creating a budget is one of the most important parts of running your small business. Your budget should be realistic. Match expenses to your expected revenue. Budgeting should allow your small business to expand and grow. 

 

It is nearly impossible to run a successful business without a budget in place, so you must keep track of what your money is going towards. Budget planning helps with the financial aspect of your business. It also improves general business management. Here is our expert advice on budgeting basics that you need to know to run your small business.

budgeting benefits

Budget Research

Extensive research is the first thing you want to do when developing your budget. Learn about industry standards and common costs that go into running your type of business. Speak with other business owners to get an insight on what expenses are like for them. 

 

Find suppliers and vendors that fit within your budget. Determine which business has the best deals and quality. Ask the right questions about bulk orders and payment plans.

 

Use Spreadsheets

When creating a budget for your small business, you must use a spreadsheet to manage your expenses. Drafting a spreadsheet is an effective way to lie out all the important numbers. Constantly update your spreadsheet with your revenue and costs.

 

Pricing Help

A budget maps out each of your costs including health care, utilities, wages, rent, and marketing. Once you have figured out the costs, you can set a reasonable price for your products and services to make a profit.

 

Spend What You Need

Budgets prevent you from spending money on unnecessary products and services. Your budget shows your upcoming business costs so you can prepare for them. This ensures that you make your payments in the right amounts and on time. 

 

Loan Assistance

You might take out a loan to grow your business. This could be for a building renovation, new product, or marketing expenses. Show lenders that you make payments on time and have valuable assets. Your budget proves that you are financially stable enough for their loans. 

 

Planning for the Unknown

Plans do not always work out. Having a budget in place means you can easily track your business’ financial activity and performance throughout the year. Adjust your budget as new expenses come along so that you are ready for unexpected occurrences. 

 

Build Your Budget

Whether you do the budgeting on your own or delegate the task to someone else, it needs to be done. Increase your profits, save money, and run a successful business.

 

PL Consulting has served the Baltimore, Maryland area for many years. We customize our services to each client and their business plans. Your ideas are unique to your business, and we understand that. 

 

Want to learn more about budgeting basics and benefits? We are here for all of the questions that you have as a small business owner. If you would like to set up an appointment, call us at 410-764-3731.

 

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.

 

How to Attract New Customers to Your Family-Owned Business

Determining how to attract new customers to your business is a challenging task that changes frequently. Increasing your customer base should be a top priority. These simple tips will help you attract new customers to your family-owned business

 

New Customers

Focus on Current Customers

Your current customers bring in new customers. A customer’s positive experience with your business encourages them to leave reviews online. Potential new customers can see these. If you build a relationship with your current customers, they will be more inclined to talk about your business with friends and family. Set up a process that incentivizes current customers to leave referrals. These referrals are important and beneficial, but an effort still needs to be put in to attract these new customers to your business. 

 

Research, Research, Research

Attracting new customers requires time and research. Secondary research has already been done, so use that to your advantage. If your business has enough budget, develop primary research. Surveys and focus groups will help see what your ideal audience has an interest in. You can also determine their buying behaviors, what types of media they prefer, and information on their demographics. 

 

Run Social Media Campaigns 

Social media campaigns can help your business attract new customers. You can engage and target new audiences with marketing tactics. Use your research to target audiences that use each platform the most. 

 

Another successful way to attract new customers is by running social media giveaways. Have each person tag a few friends to enter, which encourages new people to check out your page. Do not be afraid to get creative with these giveaways, but make sure they align with your ideal customer base.

 

Utilize Your Website

Keep your website updated so that new visitors have all the right information. Show any promotions on the website that will incentivize them to make a purchase or schedule your services. Answer questions with an FAQ page, chatbot, or provide contact information for them to call. 

 

Get Involved in the Community

Find any local events or fairs that are happening soon. Consider setting up a table, passing out promotional products, or sponsoring the event. This will get your name out to people surrounding your business. Another way to get involved with your community is to support local schools and charities. 

 

Grow Your Customer Base

Growing your business and customer base takes time. Find what works best to attract new people to your business. Show new customers that your family-owned business will be important in their lives. Attracting new customers may take trial and error, but you will eventually find the right process. 

 

PL Consulting offers a diverse range of bookkeeping and budgeting services. We are here as your business’s go-to resource when you have questions. Our services are customized to each of our clients and their business plans. 

 

If you have questions about attracting new clients, call us at 410.764.3731 or book an appointment through https://calendly.com/michaelplc.

 

 

What To Do When Competition Opens Up In Your Area

 

 

Owning and operating a small business comes with unexpected events. Your company might be one of the few ones to sell a specific product or service in your area. When new competition opens up near you, what should you do? 

 

You might think this can be a disadvantage. Maybe you think that your company will lose money. Competition brings quite the opposite effect on a business, and will most likely create success if your business is already operating well.

What To Do When Competition Opens Up In Your Area

Evaluate Your Business

If the new business is opening up soon, take it as a wake-up call. Make sure you are satisfying your customers and their needs. If your business is doing a good job, your competition will not matter as much.

 

Once the other business is open, find a new advantage that your business has over them. Take notes on their pricing, promotions, and other benchmarks. See if your business can make any changes to increase sales.

 

Stay Friendly

Stay cordial and friendly with the owners of the new business. When speaking to your customers, keep a positive tone about your competition even if you do not feel that way. Bashing others will never lift your business up. Customers want to purchase from a business that stays professional when the unexpected happens. 

 

Grow Your Customer Base

Besides looking after your current customer base, you should be looking for new customers. Consider how you are marketing your business. Is it time to try something new? Place an advertisement in a different place or have a promotion on a product or service that has not been done before. Remember to use any forms of free advertising that you can like social media and encouraging word-of-mouth. 

 

Business Refresh

Appearance is important for businesses, including the brick and mortar location and online presence. This affects customer’s perceptions of your business. Your competitor will most likely be freshly decorated or revamped from an old building. Take the time to do a deep clean of the premises, update some old decor, or touch up with a fresh coat of paint. Update your social media bios and add up-to-date information to your website. Maybe it is time to re-do your branding and logo design as well.

 

Reward Loyalty

If your business does not already utilize a loyalty program, you should consider doing so. Reward programs create an incentive for customers to return back to your business. Your loyalty program can be a simple stamp card if the business has a small budget, or you can find a digital program to keep track of the customer’s loyalty points. Once the customer’s point goals are met, you can offer them a discount or a free product/service to show your appreciation to them.

 

Stay Competitive

Although it can be difficult when another business first opens up, there are many actions you can take to keep your business going strong. It is also important to stay realistic in your expectations. It is uncertain what may happen, especially if the competitor is a large corporation with a massive marketing budget. Take action as soon as possible.

 

PL Consulting can help you with business planning, budgeting, and other bookkeeping services. We are here as your business’s go-to resource when you have questions. We customize our services to each of our clients and their business plans. 

 

Please do not hesitate to reach out to us with any questions. We are still available via phone and email for anything you may need. You can reach us at 410-764-3731 or on the website here.

 

 

Business Tips To Follow Before The Year Ends

Follow these business tips before 2018 ends.

We are entering the month of December which means we are getting closer and closer to 2019.  With the new year fastly approaching, you need to make sure you are tying up any loose ends when it comes to your business.  You want to make sure you are in a positive financial situation once the new year comes.  Luckily, there are a few simple business tips you can follow so that you can end the year smoothly. Continue reading “Business Tips To Follow Before The Year Ends”