Whether you own a small business with a handful of employees or contractors, or you are a one man show, it is likely you could use some tools to help you get things under control. You have read every article on organizing a business, organizing your office, and even organizing your life trying to get things to run more smoothly, but there is something missing. The fact is, running a business is chaotic in the best of times, but if you let it get out of control it can be downright overwhelming. Though rewarding, the reins can slip quickly without the right tools to keep the business horse from running away. Missed bills, missed deadlines, and even paperwork can pile up quickly without help.
Have no fear! We are here with the best of the best tools to make sure you run your business, and not the other way around. You are the boss, not the paperwork, reports, finances, or any of the other necessary evils that come with the territory. What you need are free, or at least affordable, tools to help you do what has to be done in the most effective and efficient manner possible. Get ready, because we are about to introduce you to programs that can change the way you do business forever. Forget about missing a team member when making assignments, forget about failing to make an accounting entry, and forget about stressing over tracking remote employees’ time. We have the solutions you need. Each tool highlighted had to meet 3 criteria to get a mention from us:
1) Web-based option available; enabling you and your team members to access the tool anytime, anyplace with an Internet connection.
2) Free, Free Trial, or Affordable Monthly Fees
3) Responsive customer support. Easy set up with few steps, available help when you need it.
Today we will discuss the most important part of any business – Managing the Money! “With my mind on my money and my money on my mind”, here are a variety of tools that anyone can begin using to keep the funds in check. Our top pick for entrepreneurs and small businesses who have not formalized their accounting practices? Wave Accounting
is a top pick.
The best thing about this is it is free, but it is worth
paying for. That is the best kind of free, right? Funded by advertisers that actually offer users great deals, this web based accounting program is geared toward businesses of all types and sizes, even those business owners with no accounting experience. Check out the key points that make Wave Accounting so great:
- Free- Yes, like I said, it is totally free. This is not a free trial that will leave you hanging in a month or three months. It is totally free to get started and keep going thanks to advertisers.
- Deals- I could find no complaints about bothersome pop ups from advertisers, but what was available were numerous accolades from users pleased with the deals offered from those advertisers. Everything from computers to office supplies can be had at great prices often, and that is just a bonus.
- Full Feature Product- It may be expected, as with many free products, that the features are limited and there may or may not be the possibility of paying for more. Not so with Wave Accounting however, as you get unlimited invoicing, expense tracking, and anything else you will need to stay on top of things.
- Syncs with the bank- The software syncs with most banks and automatically updates bank transactions, which means much less work for you. Some entries will need to be made probably, but once you get your bank hooked up those will be few and far between. The best part, the only connection the program has with your bank is read-only. Wave can never, ever be used to move money to or from your account. There is also an option to manage your personal finances with the program in the same manner.
- Report Generation- All basic financial statements can be generated, including expense reports, balance sheets, income statements, and even journal entries.
- Security- All data is secured by 256-bit SSL encryption, which in lay terms basically means it is all coded and coded again with secure codes that pretty much cannot be broken. The storage is just as secure, and everything it backed up so if there is ever a crash, you are still in business. On top of all of this, they put all their securing measures to the test by and independent company and gained VeriSign and TrustE certification, meaning their security measures passed independent tests. What does all of that technical stuff mean for you? Your data is really, really safe.
The one drawback is that for those that need it, payroll systems are currently only available in Canada. However, they say the U.S. version is coming in 2012, so the wait could be short. Our next post will discuss Payroll Programs for those of you who definitely need to utilize this type of tool. Aside from the lack of payroll, Wave is basically a one stop shop for all things accounting. You can even manage the accounting for multiple businesses, and the customizable chart of accounts means the program grows with you. And did we mention it is free? Yeah, it’s free.
If you check out Wave
and need more advanced software, PCMag
recommends giving FreshBooks
a try. Intuit Quickbooks
has also released a web-based version for people who are already familiar with the desktop version.
Are you an entrepreneur who would like to attach the following verbs to your business?
- On schedule
- Cutting Edge
Entrepreneurship is a broad topic, but in the end,we all have the same goal: Merge a variety of tools and processes to ensure our businesses not only survive, but thrive. Inevitably, we all face the same dilemmas when it comes to growth: What tasks are the most important? How do I find help to delegate the tasks that are slowing me down? How do I document all of these processes and goals quickly and consistently? How do I keep the costs of running my business to a minimum without sacrificing growth?
There is ONE answer to all of these questions: ORGANIZATION
A business cannot thrive, let alone grow to its full potential, until the leader of that business has taken the appropriate steps to ensure some level of organization. If you are grimacing at the thought of sitting down to create and implement these tools and processes, we have good news for you! It’s a secret weapon that all successful business owners have harnessed the power of, and we’re going to help you get there by utilizing it: DELEGATION & SYSTEMS.
My favorite part of DELEGATE: It’s a fancy word that literally means “to assign responsibility”. The best part? You get to choose what stays on your plate, and what goes. Ready? Grab an old fashioned sheet of paper and draw a line down the middle. At the top of the first column, write ‘Like’, and at the top of the other column write ‘Dislike’. List EVERYTHING that goes into your day, even personal tasks (dropping kids off at school, checking voice mail, groceries, etc.). The goal is not to list all tasks related to your business, but ALL the tasks that hit you through-out the week. Take it Monday – Friday (include weekends if you suspect there are a lot of tasks packed in there). The goal is to have everything you do, day in and day out, written down and assigned to one column or the other. Be honest, no one will see this list but you! What will you do with this list? You will keep the ‘Like’ list on your plate, and slowly but surely, start delegating the items in the ‘Dislike’ list. We plan on addressing many items that may be on your dislike list. First we’ll venture into tools that will help you manage your money, because without the Benjamin’s rolling in, there IS no business! Then we’ll move onto topics like setting up a payroll/time tracking system, to eliminating the emails that come from assistants, employees and contractors by utilizing a Cloud based storage system or an online project management system. Ready? Set! Get Organized!