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Green Ideas for Your Business: What Can Paper Reduction Mean to the Environment?

clock January 17, 2011 3:27 PM by author StephanieE

Here are some staggering facts about the impact of paper on the environment, taken directly from www.payitgreen.org:

In one year, by switching from paper to electronic billing, statements, and payments, the average American household would...

  • Save 6.6 pounds of paper
  • Avoid producing 171 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions—the equivalent of:
    • The emissions avoided by not driving 169 miles
    • The emissions avoided by not consuming 8.8 gallons of gasoline
    • Planting 2 tree seedlings and allowing them to grow for 10 years
    • Preserving 24 square feet of forestland
  • Avoid releasing 63 gallons of wastewater into the environment
  • Avoid using 4.5 gallons of gasoline to mail paper items

Many people and businesses making small changes add up to a big difference!

Here are some things your business can do to help cut down on the use of paper:

  • Send invoices electronically via e-mail.
  • Provide your customers the option of electronic billing and payment options.
  • Sign up your own business to receive and pay bills electronically.
  • Send financial and other reports via e-mail instead of printing them.
  • Use direct deposit to pay employees, and use electronic tax filing.


Internet Marketing: Landing Page 101

clock January 14, 2011 10:06 AM by author StephanieE

Have you heard all the talk about landing pages? Much like a landing strip for airplanes to land upon, a landing page is where you want internet searchers to land (once they have clicked on your online ad), so you can show your custom messages to them. You wouldn’t want an airplane to land on the grass, now would you? The landing strip is smooth and long enough for the pilot to land carefully and safely. That’s because it’s MEANT to be landed on. The landing page is a similar concept. You purposefully develop a page on which you would like internet searchers to land. If you are currently doing online advertising or are interested in giving it a try, maximize your efforts by creating landing pages with these rules of thumb:

  • Develop different landing pages for each subject/ad you are running. You want your visitors to know they are in the right place, so they don’t click away!
  • Have one clear, compelling call to action. Clearly show people what you want them to do, whether it’s to fill in a form, buy a product, call you, or something else
  • Keep the landing page clean and simple. Don’t clutter the page with lots of text and confusing layout. Make it simple, so people can easily find what they are looking for quickly.
  • Keep your fulfillment form simple. Don’t ask your customers or prospects to fill in 20 questions-- internet searchers want information fast.
  • Use short, simple points instead of lengthy paragraphs. Long paragraphs don’t work on the internet, where people want to get their information and go.

Having specific landing pages for your online marketing can drastically improve your results, and can also reduce your costs.



Order Entry - What is It, and Do You Need It?

clock January 10, 2011 1:31 PM by author StephanieE

As you are busy managing your business, it isn’t likely that you are mulling over which things you can add on to your software to make your life easier. And yet, you might be shocked to know how much the jobs of multiple people could be streamlined by simply adding a new accounting software function to your system.

The purpose of an order entry system is to track and manage orders in your system, before sending them over to accounts receivable for billing. Adding order entry functionality to an inventory management software system can be beneficial to any small business. If you are experiencing any of the following problems, you might just find that order entry can solve them for your business.

“I cannot track backorders.”

“I have no way of printing pick tickets and packing slips.”

“I want to allocate products to a customer’s order, but don’t want to ship it yet.”

“I want to know how many items are in stock while I am taking the customer’s order.”

“One person writes down our customers’ orders, and another enters the order when the order has been filled.”

Check into adding order entry to your accounting software if you find the above situations are true for your business.



Accounting Software - What Matters Most?

clock January 7, 2011 10:24 AM by author StephanieE

Let’s face it, you can find accounting software fairly easily these days, whether you purchase it from a local accounting software professional, research and purchase on the Web, or simply walk into a chain store and purchase it off the shelf. And while accounting software may be easy to find and purchase, what really matters most in your decision are two things. 1. Are you able to enter your data into the program easily and in a way that is meaningful? 2. Are you able to pull out the information you have entered in such a way that it allows you to make good management decisions for your business? Here is why.

  1. Are you able to enter your data into the program easily and in a way that is meaningful? A business typically has transactions to be entered on a daily basis. The system you use should allow you to enter these transactions easily and intuitively. Be sure that you are able to easily find the correct account code for entering the transaction, so the data will be accumulated into the correct ‘income or expense bucket’. If your business accounting software system is not intuitive or is just plain difficult, you will find mistakes being made, and this will make the analysis of the data extremely difficult, if not impossible. If mistakes are made, be sure there is a way to easily fix them with an audit trail to track those changes. Without an easy to use entry system, the entry of your data will be a difficult and frustrating effort.
  2. Are you able to pull out the information you have entered in such a way that allows you to make good decisions about your business? The number one reason for having an accounting software program is for viewing information that allows you to make important management decisions. Do we need to cut the marketing budget in order to stay profitable? Why did we spend three times more than budgeted in sales last month, and how will this affect us? These are just a few of the questions that can be asked if the data is analyzed. Without the ability to review the data and ask such questions, you are left to make decisions that are not based on good, accurate financial data. By using your accounting software and data in the correct way, you are ensured of making better, more informed decisions, thereby improving your business’s profitability in the short term and for years to come.


Do You Need a Web Site for your Business?

clock January 3, 2011 1:46 PM by author StephanieE

Surely you are busy managing your business, and as you are chugging along, a nagging voice keeps saying, “Why don’t you have a Web site yet? You should get one. Everybody says you need one…”

I know, I know, creating a Web site can be a daunting task! But, there are some real benefits, even for the smallest businesses. Here are some reasons you DO need a Web site for your business.

  • People can find your business. Where are people going to find your business? Sure, they may look in the yellow pages or ask a friend, but let’s face it. These days people can quickly do internet searches, even from their phone when they are out driving! If your business doesn’t show up when they are searching, you just lost business. Having a Web site can help those people find you.
  • People can learn about the products and services you offer. A Web site is an excellent place to show people what your company does. Sure, you already have your company catalog but people cannot search through it at their leisure while sitting at home, drinking a cup of coffee (unless they happen to have a copy of it at their home). By listing all of your products and services on your site, customers and prospects both can learn about things they didn’t know you offered. And, this means increased sales for you.
  • People may perceive your business as old-fashioned without a Web site. I know business owners who say, “A Web site does no good for me. I get all my business from word-of-mouth advertising.” While this may be completely true, that same person doesn’t even know the business they are missing out on because they have never had a Web site. If people go searching for you on the internet by your business name and no results come up, it can leave them wondering if your business is old-fashioned or unprofessional, or even out of business. Even a simple Web site that is informative can make a big difference!


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