I recently returned from a conference in St. Louis attended by about 40 consultants and business owners from around the United States. There were several interesting topics on big data, business planning, replicating yourself, and how to move your business to the next generation or management team when you are ready to move to a different life adventure. (I don’t plan to move on any time soon, but the topic was interesting.)
I have been attending the conference and annual meeting of this national, 50-year-old, group for close to 30 years. I have served on several committees and on its board of directors in many positions, including its president. I go to these meetings primarily for three reasons: 1) the networking opportunities it provides, 2) the continuing education I receive, and 3) attending a certain number of meetings is a requirement of maintaining the certification I earned from the group.
The reason I bring this up is to remind everyone about the importance continuing education has on staying on top of your business or career. Many people attend classroom training provided by Red Wing Software to attain some of the knowledge they need to get a better handle on the finances of their operation.
In an effort to provide even more value to attending Red Wing Software educational training sessions, we received certification from NASBA (National Association of State Boards of Accountancy) that allows us to issues CPE (Continuing Professional Education) credit for attending our software training classes.
What this means for our customers is that they can now not only get valuable information from attending our seminars, but can also get credit toward professional continuing education to satisfy educational requirements of several organizations like the CPA designation. You can find a list of the classroom training sessions schedule for 2015 by going to our web site at this link: Red Wing Software Classroom Training
We feel this is one more item in a long list of important benefits we can offer to our customers.
- Ken Hilton, President
If you’ve read this column for any length of time, you know I like to share experiences I’ve had in customer service. Sometimes good, sometimes not so good. And, if you read the column two months ago about word-of-mouth marketing and how I virtually promoted someone’s product, and then read this one, you’ll think I’m being paid to promote other companies. But, I have to, again, share an experience I had recently.
I was in Wichita, KS, last week and my brother took me to a restaurant called the Redrock Canyon Grill. It must be a small chain, as I learned there is one in Oklahoma City and one in Tulsa, as well. The building looked like many average priced restaurants, and the menu prices were average, too. But, that’s where average stopped.
The food was excellent, and even if the food had been mediocre, I would go back just for the service. Of course, we had our regular waitress that was assigned to our table when we arrived, but everyone else that worked there seemed to know exactly what was going on at our table. When our food arrived, delivered by someone that we hadn’t seen before, she knew who ordered what and where to set each plate. Another person noticed an empty beverage glass and offered to bring another, then when our regular server passed by a few seconds later, she said “that beverage will be out right away”.
When we started a conversation with the person clearing the plates when we were finished, another person noticed the conversation, took the plates, and finished clearing the table so the first person could continue talking to us. They understood that talking to their clients and making them feel like guests was important to securing repeat business.
I was so impressed with the efficiency in this place I wanted to go back the next night just to see if I could figure out how they do it. Wouldn’t it be nice if the service in every one of our companies was so good that, even if our product was average, people wanted to continue to do business with us just to get great service? Now, put a quality product with that service and you will have people telling all their friends about your business.
- Ken Hilton, President
As I write this, we are approaching a very important date in the history of the United States. This may sound a little strange at first, but I choose not to celebrate the 4th of July. Don’t get me wrong, our offices will be closed and I will be taking the day off. However, I will be celebrating Independence Day, it happens to be on July 4th.
I feel we have developed a tendency to recognize, observe, and celebrate dates rather than the events that made the dates important to us. So, while I think it is important to remember the special events that happened on a date, it is even more important to recognize why that date is important.
These thoughts can carry into your business management, as well. Every day, week, month, and year we run a variety of financial reports to track how our business is operating. We look at a Balance Sheet and get a snapshot of the financial health of our business, but do we dig into it and determine what actually caused the changes on this report? We run an Income Statement, P&L, Statement of Farming Activities, or Statement of Revenue and Expenditures (depending on your type of organization), but do we take the time to drill down and determine why the business is heading in the direction it is?
Every country and business has events and reports that they recognize and review at certain times of the year. Let’s make it a point to remember the reason we are running these reports, and especially the reason we are celebrating these dates.
- Ken Hilton, President
Seeing the recent severe weather devastation throughout the central United States has a tendency to put things into perspective. Our thoughts and prayers go to all those affected by the disaster. It sure makes Minnesota winters easier to handle.
We know that some of our valued customers were directly affected by the tornadoes. As a company, we at Red Wing Software will do what we can to help our clients who were affected by the storms get back to business and resume some sort of normal operations.
If you are subjected to a disaster of any kind, we will do whatever we can to help minimize the impact on your business recordkeeping tasks. Please call on us if replacement software is needed, help is needed re-installing programs or backups, or for any other task that our support staff can assist with.
This is a good time to remind everyone about the importance of data backups and disaster recovery plans. We can help with the replacement of your programs, but it’s up to you to have current copies of your data. Please count on the staff at Red Wing Software to help in any way we can.
You may not be able to tell by looking out the window, but the calendar says spring is here. This would be a good time to do some spring cleaning of your financial data.
Do you have some customers or vendors in the list of names in your database that no longer exist? Maybe you have some accounts that just don’t apply to your business anymore. These items are just making lists longer and harder to filter through to get to the information that you may be looking for.
Here are a few things you can do to spruce up you data. First, before you do anything that you haven’t done before, or may be uncomfortable with, make a backup of your data.
Depending on the software you are using, you may be able to mark unused list items as “inactive”. This could significantly reduce the size of these lists, and make finding useful information easier. It is often not possible to just “delete” these items, as they may have been used in transactions and they need to be available for historical reports.
You also may be able to “combine” items in a list. For instance, it is easy to accidently create two different names in a list just because you didn’t think the item was there. Combining the two names will make your reports more accurate and concise.
How long has it been since you checked to make sure your inventory is up-to-date? Several minor mistakes in inventory quantities or values can make a big difference, and your financial statements may not be accurate because of these issues.
Of course, it’s always a good idea to make sure all of your systems are providing you with the most valuable information for the management of your business, but if you haven’t spent a little time keeping up with these tasks, it might be a good time for some spring cleaning.