It can be hard when you’re starting out in business. You’ve got great skills in your chosen profession, but often you won’t have any experience with business administration and accounting practices. If you want to sell your products and services and get paid without getting into a tangle of paperwork, falling foul of government regulations, or suffering financial headaches, then take a look at the following resources for small businesses and learn how to get things done.
Introduction to Financing
The U.S. Small Business administration provides a free 30 minute course that will get you up to speed with the basics of accounting. You’ll learn about cash flow statements and keeping balance sheets.
IRS Tax Workshop
Keep your business compliant with federal rules and regulations by taking their online virtual workshop. The workshop covers getting an EIN, record keeping, bookkeeping systems, requirements when you run a home-based business, filing and paying your taxes, managing payroll, and more.
Tax Deductions You Won’t Want to Miss
Forbes has a handy list of business expenses that you’ll want to claim for when tax season rolls around. Check it out and make sure that you aren’t leaving money on the table.
Easy to Use Accounting Apps
There are some great accounting apps in the marketplace today that take the headache out of keeping your paperwork in order. They’re designed to be as accessible as possible, so you’ll be able to get going with the system of your choice just moments after you sign up.
Accounting apps let you set up customer profiles and store all of your products and services, so generating an invoice takes just a couple of clicks. Plus you can email the invoice from within the system, which cuts out another time consuming step.
Link up your bank accounts and PayPal account to receive automatic updates, and record invoices as paid in real time. You can set up hands free payment reminders for overdue accounts and easily add late charges and interest.
Many systems also offer payroll management, which is perfect for small organizations that can’t afford to pay someone to manage that process.
Your accounting system will keep track of your business related expenses, and give you detailed reports showing you where your money is going, how much you’re earning and which taxes are due.
Take a look at QuickBooks, Wave, Sage One, and Zoho Books to get an idea of how these accounting apps can save you time and make your life easier.
Short Term Financing Options
Pick up a zero interest credit card—As long as you’re certain that you can pay off the balance before interest charges kick in, then zero interest credit cards could let you pay for the supplies and services that you need when your bank account is empty.
Raise money on outstanding invoices—You may encounter situations where you’ve got plenty of money owed in 60 or 90 days but you don’t have the cash to meet your payroll obligations this month, or to pay your suppliers. Many businesses take advantage of accounts receivable financing in this situation. You simply sell your invoices to an invoice factoring company and they advance you the money that you’re owed.
Arrange a line of credit with your bank—If your credit score is good then arranging a traditional line of credit with your bank is often the easiest route to take.
See if you’re eligible for government help—Use this portal and answer a few quick questions to find out if you can get some assistance from government programs. Depending on the type of business that you’re running, your location, and sometimes your status (African American, Native American, female, etc.), you’ll be presented with a variety of financing options ranging from government loans to grants, that you can apply for.
Find a Business Mentor
Often when you’re faced with making difficult decisions, especially when you have to make a fast decision, it can be helpful to have an experienced advisor to lean on.
Mentors have a wealth of experience and will be able to identify pitfalls that you haven’t seen or opportunities that you’ve missed. If you build a good relationship with your mentor, you will also have the chance to take advantage of their connections and grow your business.
Try your local Chamber of Commerce first to find out if there are any mentors in your local community. If you can’t find anyone locally, then sign up to an organization like MicroMentor and see if you can connect with someone there.
These are just some of the resources that are available to you as a small business owner. Be sure to take advantage of them so that you understand the basics of business administration, and so that you know what to do if you run short of funds.