Turning a Start-up Into a Full Fledged Business

Turning your start-up idea into a full-fledged business can be more than just a dream! Every successful business started somewhere!

Here are some tips to turn your startup into a legitimate, profitable business!

1.Separate Your Work and Personal Life

While this may seem like the opposite of what you should be doing, it is important not to work yourself to death when you are first starting out to avoid major burn out! As excited as you are about your new venture, make sure to set a schedule for yourself that you can maintain over the long-term. Include activities in your schedule that you enjoy and keep you healthy, such as going to the gym.

You may be tempted to keep checking up on business matters outside of typical working hours but resist the urge to answer emails to maintain a healthy degree of separation.

2. Set SMART Goals and Hold Yourself Accountable

SMART goals are a goal-setting format used to set goals that are Smart, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. For instance, decide on a reasonable profit for your business idea, a date by which you will reach it, and a plan of attack. Use this plan to keep yourself on track, since you cannot reach your goal if you do not attend to the items in your plan.

You can also have your major goals in one place, such as making $100,00, broken down into smaller goals. Keeping your big dreams in mind will help you set reasonable smaller goals as well.

3. Find Clients

If your business start-up idea has been a side business for you, mention to your current clients that you are planning to grow your business into a full-time operation. Current clients may be your best source of new customers if they refer their associates to you. If you do not currently have clients, how do you plan to get them? Make a plan for marketing your new business with your budget in mind.

4.Set Realistic Prices

If your pricing scheme seems “too good to be true” to a potential client, then it probably is. You will not be able to maintain insanely low prices in the long run, so set reasonable and sustainable prices to begin with. Let your great work distinguish you from the competition! Research what your competitors charge for similar services and use this as a guideline.


5. Scaling Your Business

As excited as you are to grow and move forwards with your business, its important to make sure that your foundation is solid. Do you have a handle on accounting, organization, and other business processes that are helpful now but absolutely essential the bigger your business gets? Work on these areas or seek outside help if any aspects of your business are an area of weakness.



Protecting Your Employees: How Does It Effect Your Bottom Line?

Small business owners may hope to someday offer employee benefits beyond those that are legally required, but the reality is that only 14% of small businesses offer benefits beyond the requirements. It takes time, energy, legal expertise, and money to set up a benefits package for your employees. However, research has shown that 70% of employees who feel satisfied about their job benefits also feel loyalty towards their employers, making them less likely to leave their jobs. High employee turnover costs businesses quite a bit of money so avoiding them is best if you can. You may spend up to 150% of an employees’ salary searching for their replacement and 10-20% of their salary training them. Keeping these costs in mind, it may make a lot of sense for your business to offer benefits beyond the basics!

Here are some reasons to consider offering an expanded benefits package to your employees, such as life insurance or retirement plans.


Employee benefits are a great way to attract talented individuals to work for your business. About 30% of an employee’s total compensation comes from benefits. Your employees may have different needs, but everyone wants the benefits that a salary alone cannot provide.

Offering employee benefits such as a retirement plan and life insurance as well as superior health, dental, and vision can help you stand out as an excellent place to work.

Other employee benefits that can go a long way towards attracting talent include commuter benefits such as reimbursing for Metro fare or parking garages or less monetary benefits such as flexible office hours and vacation days. A recent study showed that 54% of millennials cite benefits as a determining factor in where they work, meaning you could be missing out on young, driven employees simply because your benefits package is not competitive.

Talented workers equal more money brought in and less money wasted, so consider the investment in benefits as a way to bring in the best people.

2. Satisfaction

Employees who are happy with their job and compensation are proven to work harder and be more engaged with their work. Large scale studies have demonstrated that over 80% of workers nationwide report not being fully engaged with their work, so treating your employees better than the competition may increase your engagement enough to make a difference. Research shows that employees who are happy are between 12-20% more productive than those who are not. Offering a comprehensive benefits package can make a big difference in employee satisfaction and engagement, both saving you money and potentially bringing in more revenue.


Over 40% of employees claim they would choose maintaining their current level of benefits over a small salary increase at a different company. That is significant, demonstrating the value of a benefits package. Employee turnover is expensive but a benefits package can help you avoid those costs since they encourage employees to stay in their jobs.

Consider offering beyond a bare bones employee benefits package. The initial investment may be a lot but the financial returns it offer your company may offset it.




Build your Operating Budget to Handle Your Company’s Growth

A budget is a tool for estimating revenue and expenses, but it is also so much more than that. A budget can help you make decisions about hiring additional employees, determining benefits packages, employee raises, and setting sales targets. It can also help you make adjustments as the market conditions change.

An operating budget can be a challenge to create since they are generally based on historical performance with the probability of future growth, market variables, and additional costs factored in. A yearly budget is better than nothing, but a quarterly or weekly budget can make it easier to make changes as you go, especially since business comes in spurts, with the amount of work and expenses varying often.

A good operating budget will include a realistic number to account for your salary as the business owner. This number should hopefully meet your personal needs but will also reflect your responsibility as a business owner. A salary benchmark often used is 6-15% of total revenue. This number is flexible should your business be growing. If you have not yet been paying yourself a salary, start now! This helps you evaluate the true cost of running a business.

Include the costs of goods sold in your budget. Everything that is going to be consumed by a project such as material, labor, and subcontractors goes in this part of the budget. Past years records are helpful here but hopefully the cost of goods sold will remain around 70% so aim for these numbers if your business has grown and prior years records do not make as much sense.

Labor costs for employees must include labor burden, which is everything you pay over and above the base wages. This includes payroll taxes, training, and vacation pay as well as topics you may not think about such as company picnics and parties. A helpful tip is to separate “field” labor costs from office labor costs. Office labor costs are easier to qualify as an overhead expenses since labor performed in the office is not directly bringing in money like an employee who is completing a job for a customer.

Fixed costs should be included as part of your overhead category. These are the costs that you would pay to keep the doors of your business open, even if you don’t get any work. These fixed costs usually do not vary much year to year, but if your business is growing you may need to take into account office space or extra work vehicles.

Variable Costs change a lot depending on revenue. More work will mean more labor hours paid and more materials used. If you are hoping to grow your business, you may also need to budget more for marketing in this category. This is a great category to include labor hours performed by you as the business owner such as negotiating with vendors or other tasks that are not billable to a specific job.

After you have set up these categories, it is time to see if this budget will actually work for you. Will the revenue from your business cover all the costs and leave any profit? Subtracting the Cost of Goods from your projected revenue should leave you enough money to cover costs plus something extra, which is your net profit. If it isn’t working out this way, than you need to figure out a way to either cut expenses or increase revenue.

A good operating budget will serve as a great guideline for growing your business. If you are having difficulty coming up with a great budget for you, seek the help of your accountant who can help guide you.



Why Class and Item Tracking are Important to Your Business

Transactions can have a ‘class’ added to them in Quickbooks for better business tracking. The primary purpose of class tracking is to help you keep track of balances associated with different locations or elements. For example, if your business has multiple retail locations, class tracking can determine the revenue generated by each division. Class tracking could help a photographer differentiate their income from wedding photoshoots, newborn baby photos, or family portraits to understand the most profitable aspects of their business. While very useful for larger businesses, class tracking may apply to your company as well.

Use class tracking specifically for transactions. The ‘types’ feature in Quickbooks is meant for customers or vendors.

How to Set up Class Tracking

1.Launch QuickBooks

2.Access Edit Menu > Preferences

3. Under Preferences, choose Accounting from the list on the left-hand side.

4. Click the box next to the option labeled Use class tracking.

5. When you are finished, click Ok to save the changes and finish the setup.

6. Once class tracking is enabled, a new Class field will be added to all new transactions.


Item Tracking

Item tracking will allow you to keep track of the items you buy, sell, and resell. Items can be classified in different ways to meet your needs. Large companies have barcoded items to help them better track the items bought and sold but item tracking can still be useful to your business.

Here are some ways to use item tracking,

1.Service item

A service item is used to track services that your company purchases or sells.

2. Non-Inventory Part Item

This classification is used to track all materials and goods that you do not plan to resell, such as office supplies.

3. Inventory Part Item

This classification tracks parts or raw materials that your company buys with the intention of reselling.

4. Discount Item

Useful when you want to apply a discount from the total for the item.



Best Apps that Connect to QuickBooks Online

You can get more mileage out of your QuickBooks account by using apps that connect with it! Here are some great ones with that work with QuickBooks to make your business run more efficiently!

1.Method CRM

This app is produced by Intuit and lets you create Web forms to help you get leads from your site, as well as can be used to create invoices, payments, and estimates, all while syncing with QuickBooks Online. You can use this app to create self-service portals for your clients as well, allowing them to have a My Account portion on your website. The cost is $25-$40 per month per user but provides some amazing all-in-one benefits!

2. SOS Inventory

This Intuit app offers inventory management, order management, and manufacturing features that are specifically meant to integrate with QuickBooks online. Use this app to create sales orders, shipments, and invoices, while also managing inventory stored in multiple locations, track items by a serial number, and look up cost history. You can also create packing slips. Plans with SOS Inventory start at $25 per month and go up to $200 per month.


BodeTree is an app that will help you see your finances in a light, visual way. This app will work with your QuickBooks to give you an estimated valuation of your business, one-click reports, and test scenarios for you to see how different metrics will impact your company’s value. The cost is $49.95/month to $495/year.

4. TripLog

This IRS compliant app tracks your gas mileage, making it easy to use this information at tax time. It also provides an easy way to reimburse your employees for miles driven. Estimating your miles driven can lead to an audit so accurate reporting of this business deduction is essential.

5. Late Fee Manager

Late Fee Manager is an app that helps you manage your cash flow by sending out reminders on late invoices or adds service charges to overdue invoices. This app can also send personalized payment reminders before, after, and on the day an invoice is due. Plans range from $19-$99/month depending on the number of invoices.