Thursday, March 25, 2010

Social media for small businesses

Beth and I are in the process of updating our marketing plan including changes to our website and increasing our knowledge and abilities with social media. It is a sometimes frustrating and daunting task, but we feel it is important not only for our own business but also for us to be able to help our small business clients. We have been tweeting for a while, but with the encouragement of one of our clients who is a social media star, we have set up a Facebook Fan page. You can check us out at E&S Entrepreneur Advisors on Facebook We attended a great presentation on Twitter put on by Lisa Cruz of Red Shoes Pr so our tweeting skills should improve soon. If you are looking for a great primer on Twitter, check out Red Shoes blog at

If any of you out there have any other best practices for social media, let us know!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Grow your business thoughtfully

Beth and I are finishing up a class we are teaching on business planning. The last topic of the course is growth or more specifically, planned growth. While the word growth may sound wonderful after the agony small businesses have suffered during this economic downturn, uncontrolled growth can bring disaster. There are three main problems uncontrolled growth can cause:

Cash flow is the most frequent problem that occurs if a small business does not plan and control its growth. More sales mean more cost of goods sold which means more purchasing which means more money to be paid out for purchases. How are you going to fund your growth? Can you arrange for extended terms from your suppliers now that you will be ordering larger quantities? Can you require a deposit from your new customers and use that money to fund your inventory costs? What is your relationship with your bank? Talk to your lender and see if the lending environment in your area will provide you with a line of credit to fund your growth.

The next issue growing businesses face is management. This usually occurs when another location is established. Make sure your existing operations are stable and well managed by someone else before you turn your attention to a new location. You will notice I said you. New locations should always be run by the owner or existing upper management. This will insure a continuation of the processes, procedures and philosophies that have made your business successful to date.

The final problem is maintaining quality. We have all witnessed what has happened with Toyota in the last month. It is debatable whether the company’s problems stem from poor management, greed or losing sight of what made them successful. Whatever the cause is, it is a lesson to be learned by all businesses. A company must stay focused on its core values and mission in order to succeed.

We all hope that growth is in the future for our own businesses and for our country. Just make sure your growth is planned.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Are You Concerned About the Integrity of Your Financial Information?

Every once in awhile a situation arises which reminds me of the reasons why Susan and I were compelled to start E&S Entrepreneur Advisors, LLC. This week I encountered one of those situations: a situation that happens over and over through no fault of the service provider, but which greatly impacts the small business owner.

If you bring your information to your tax accountant in a reasonable time frame (not March 31!) and your tax accountant immediately suggests filing an extension, then that might be a flag to you that your books are not in good order. If your tax accountant is asking you a lot of questions and indicates that they will have to make quite a few adjustments, then that is another flag that your books are not in good order.

Tax accountants are extremely busy from the beginning of the year until tax time, especially the smaller CPA firms and Single-Person Tax Providers. They do not have the time to be straightening out your books. They file extensions and then put your information aside until they do have time later. And, depending on the tax accountant's demeanor, they may never tell you that you are accounting for things incorrectly. Remember, the tax preparer's main focus is on taxes.

In the meantime, many small business owners are frustrated and overwhelmed. They end up incurring late penalties on their other year-end government reports and operating 6 months into the following year, at a minimum, with poor financial information. They are not comfortable with the integrity of their financial data.

If you are in this situation, give us a call now to set up a Free Consultation. We will straighten out your accounting situation and put procedures in place for you so that you have the vital information at your fingertips each month in order to effectively manage your business and make timely business decisions.