How to Smash End-Of-Year Business Goals for Mompreneurs

smash your goals, mompreneurs
Fall brings a lot of change – and if you’re a mom running her own business, that change can bring a lot of craziness. Not only are you buying school supplies, meeting with teachers, and getting your kids acclimated—but you’re also focused on your end-of-year business goals. Now that the kids are back in school, it’s time to refocus your energies on your business. Here are three ways to get back on track and end your business year strong.

Reorganize your space

For many moms, summer is a time when business is conducted anywhere and everywhere—the dining room table, the car, or the couch—all in an effort to keep an eye on the kids. With the kiddos back in school, it’s time to get organized.

To meet your EOY goals, set aside a day to clearly define your workspace so you can get re-focused. Now’s the time when office supplies and office furniture are the cheapest, so don’t feel guilty stocking up. Add a few touches of personality and inspiration – but don’t go overboard. Keep your workspace as minimal as possible. This will help you increase your energy and productivity during work hours.

Reassess your goals

Once your space is in order, it’s time for a check in on your business goals. The end of the year is just around the corner – are you where you want to be? If not, what needs to happen so you can get there – and is that doable in the next few months?

Strategic business planning is crucial for successful businesses – but you need to check in and adjust your plans as you go along. Take a step back so you can gain valuable insight into how you’ve missed (or hit) the mark. Make a roadmap that details specific year-end goals and how you can get there.

Pull out your business plan and look for areas where things may have gotten off track. Evaluate your new business procedures, marketing activities, spending, lead generation techniques and website presence. Where can you best use your time in the coming weeks to finish out the year strong?

Then turn those plans into targeted to-do lists. You can use online tools like Wunderlist or Todoist, or old-fashioned pen and paper. Just be sure to get it down! This way, you can sneak in to do items while the baby is down for a nap or your kids are at a friends’ house. Always be prepared to be productive!

Restructure your business

Smart mompreneurs know when they need help. It’s okay to admit that you’re overwhelmed with all the changes that need to take place in your business. You’re only human!

This month, pick an area of your business that you would like to improve, and then create a plan on how to do just that. Maybe this means outsourcing your marketing. Maybe it means using a more professional invoicing solution for your clients. Whatever it is, your restructuring project can help you gain momentum in these last few months and make way for a great new year.

Okay mompreneurs – your turn! How are you going to stay motivated for your year end goals?

About the author:

Jenn Boutwell – VP Marketing & Strategic Alliances
I am a Sage One brand ambassador and team building virtuoso. Professionally I am known for building strong teams and organizing complex situations. I am passionate about making small business owners’ lives easier so they can spend more time on what they are passionate about. When I’m not running between meetings, I’m running half-marathons and training for a full marathon.

Drop me a line at jennifer.boutwell@sage.com.

Think Business Etiquette Doesn’t Matter? Think Again

business etiquette tips for small businesses
You’re a small business owner, bidding on a project—and the competition is fierce. What can you do to close the deal?

In today’s fast paced world, the lines of the “dos” and “don’ts” of business dealings have been blurred. We get words thrown at us like “business etiquette” and “minding your manners,” but we assume these concepts are past their prime. The truth is, business etiquette is still very much alive and it could make the difference between losing the deal—or closing it.

The way to stand out over your small business competition is to be known not only for WHAT you do, but also for HOW you do it.

Here’s how:

  1. Thank You Cards

    “Convenient” isn’t the word that comes to mind when you think of sending out a physical thank you card to current and potential clients, however, there’s great power in a hand-written note. Etiquette expert, Margaret Page, recommends Send Out Cards—an online service that makes physical thank you card sending a breeze. Outshine your competition, and go all out with this “old school” technique.

  2. Establish the Relationship

    Before you even make the pitch, take the time to form genuine relationships with people you want to do business with. This will exponentially increase your chances of success. Building that trust will eventually help close the deal. People like doing business with people they like.

  3. Keep It Professional

    Never speak badly about a client—ever. This is the fastest way to destroy credibility and trust, and lose future business opportunities. Keep your social media profiles as clean as possible and always speak positively about your clients—past, present and future! Be smart about what information you post on social channels, and try to keep your personal and professional life separate. In the end, you’ll never regret NOT writing that borderline malicious tweet or post. Keep it classy, people.

  4. Email

    Your day-to-day correspondence should be well written and professional. Respond in a timely fashion – at least within 24 hours. Many times, a timely response can be the difference between you closing the deal and your competitor landing the job.

    Keep your emails concise and avoid a slew of exclamation points and smiley faces. If you receive an email that rubs you the wrong way, refrain from firing off a knee-jerk response. Close the email and go back to it later in the day, or call the person directly. And never email with bad news (cutting ties with an employee, client, or vendor). Remember, e-mail correspondence is permanent. Think before you send.

  5. Be Punctual

    If a client is expecting you to call or meet them at a certain time, follow through as promised. Whether it’s an in-person meeting or a scheduled call, being late sends the message that you don’t value the other person’s time. And time is that one thing we can’t get back once it’s gone! It’s good to remember this mantra “If you’re early, you’re on time. If you’re on time, you’re late.”

How do you define business etiquette? How do you keep things classy to close the deal?

About the author:

Tobi North – Creativity rock star and marketing master
I enjoy being innovative and creating communications that customers can relate to. I am always looking for that “light bulb” moment, when I find an interesting topic that I know our customers will love to learn more about. In between creative brainstorming sessions, you can probably find me at a concert or searching for the best BBQ joint in town. 

Follow me on Twitter.

3 Can’t-Miss October Events for Canadian Small Biz Owners

October smallbiz events
October 1st, 2014 marked the start of Small Business Month across Canada. Now in its seventh year, Small Business Month provides small businesses an opportunity to attend one of several events and get exposure to; networking tips, strategies for finding new customers and suppliers, and learning growth tactics from many experienced entrepreneurs and professionals.

Sage One has partnered with many leading business brands across Canada to support Small Business Month and offer businesses like yours a special prize package worth $16,000. Enter online simply by telling us a little about yourself and what your business goal is for 2015.

In addition to this amazing prize, we’ll be in attendance at one of Canada’s largest national business event series, the SOHO SME Business Expo in Toronto on 15th October and Vancouver on 30th October. We’re excited to be a sponsor of this event – it’s a great opportunity to be inspired by other successful small business owners. Learn from our speakers’ success and failure stories and get valuable tips for sales, marketing, finances and more. If you’re in the area, drop in and come meet us. Say hi, submit a feature request or offer some feedback – we love meeting our Sage One customers!

This month, we’ll also be sponsoring the Canadian National Women in Business Conference on October 19th and 20th in Vancouver. This fantastic event delivers every time! It’s where women business owners and professionals learn, network and develop meaningful mentoring relationships. We have a special offer just for Sage One customers– receive discounted entry and pay just $100 for registration when you enter the promo code SavewithSage before October 17th. If you’re planning on attending then let us know so we can arrange to meet you!

Finally, October marks the kickoff of the Small Business BC Awards. Nominations are open to businesses in British Columbia – so go ahead and nominate a business partner, customer, or even yourself! Every nomination counts.

Take part in one or more of the events offered this month – and get ready to launch your business into 2015. We wish you and your business endeavors the best of luck for October and the months ahead!

About the author:

Keith Arkle – Product specialist and customer advocate
My inspiration arises out of testing new ideas, learning from the results and implementing new features and products in order to better serve our customers. I am always on a mission to “crack the code” and discover what works best for our customers and their businesses. In my free time, I make it my mission to seek out the best cherry-flavored foods – cherry slushies are my Achilles heel.

Drop me a line at keith.arkle@sage.com. Follow me on Twitter.

Introducing the Sage One Mobile App

Sage One mobile app

Did you know that 94 percent of small businesses now use smartphones to conduct business? If you’re part of that 94 percent, this statistic may not surprise you. You’re probably among the two-thirds of this group who have saved money by using your smartphone to help manage your business. But has smartphone use also become a competitive necessity?

Your competitors are likely now using smartphones to help respond to customers more quickly. As a result, consumers have come to expect a higher level of service from large and small businesses alike. That’s why we’ve built a new app to help Sage One users better compete.

With the new Sage One iPhone app, you can create and send professional customer invoices from your phone. You can see the status of all invoices; apply customer payments, and re-send invoices that are unpaid. It also makes it so easy to track and categorize expenses while you’re on the go. Because the app is part of Sage One, you can switch between Sage One on your phone and in your browser without interruption.

Get your Sage One app on the App Store. If you’re not using Sage One yet, sign up for a free trial, then install the app. As always, send us your feedback and let us know what we can do to help you run a successful business…from anywhere!

 

About the author:

Mike Savory – Customer advocate and automation engineer
I operate at the intersection between technology and ease of use. I strive to make our customers’ lives easier through elegantly automating manual processes. Much of my time is spent listening to small business owners, making sure to bring their voice to the table in everything I do. My free time is spent with my kids, which includes being a Cub Scout leader for an energetic group of 10-year-olds where I’m lobbying for a Software Product Management badge.

Drop me a line at michael.savory@sage.com.

Follow me on Twitter.

Why Mobility for Small Biz is Taking Over

small business mobility
It’s official—mobile technology has taken the top spot as the United States’ leading digital platform. Total activity on smartphones and tablets now accounts for 60 percent of digital media time spent in our country.

It’s not surprising. Life – and work – happens on the go. With mobile technology, small business owners are able to work smarter and more efficiently. Mobility has changed the game for small businesses owners, and it’s no longer optional to participate in the mobile revolution.

As an entrepreneur, you know you need to get things done as quickly as possible—and that’s why mobility is your new best friend.

Mobile Helps With Crisis Aversion

In the past, when a business experienced computer trouble, there was no immediate back up. This could mean lost revenue or customer relationships just because of a technological malfunction. With cloud technology, business owners are able to swap to their tablets or smartphones with ease, never missing a beat.

Mobile Helps with Day-to-Day Operations

Small businesses harnessing mobile technology experience increased efficiency and flexibility. Integration can help your small business unlock incredible productivity potential. From expense reporting to file sharing—now anything can be done on the go.

Mobile Enables Better Customer Service

Being mobile equals faster response time and happier customers. In a recent Twitter chat on the power of mobility, a common theme centered on the increase in customer satisfaction. One attendee announced, “We are able to interact more and be more available.” Other thoughts included the consumer’s increased ability to provide self-service and small businesses being able to provide processes more tailored for the mobile lifestyle.

Mobile Provides You With Better Access to Your Customers

Mobility allows small businesses to meet the customer where he/she is. Mobile technology helps you engage your customers with real-time alerts and messages. Geolocation technology can even allow you to interact with your customer when they are in the right place at the right time. Investing in mobile can also help improve customer experience through optimized pages and easy access to product information.

Mobile Fosters Personal Freedom

By 2015, 1.3 billion people will be telecommuting. Gone are the days where being chained to a desk from 9 to 5 is required, or even necessary. Mobile technology is directly related to this major shift in work style and the trend will just continue to grow in years to come.

This shift is allowing companies to reduce their overhead and increase overall efficiency—and time is money. Business owners and employees will both see the benefits of this shift. With this new “mobile office” in place, teams will stay better connected, remain flexible with boosted morale, and work where they work best. A win-win on all sides!

This mobile office means more than simply being able to work on the go. It also means improved team communication, better customer service, and a more streamlined business. How will your small business invest in mobile technology this year?

About the author:

Mike Savory – Customer advocate and automation engineer
I operate at the intersection between technology and ease of use. I strive to make our customers’ lives easier through elegantly automating manual processes. Much of my time is spent listening to small business owners, making sure to bring their voice to the table in everything I do. My free time is spent with my kids, which includes being a Cub Scout leader for an energetic group of 10-year-olds where I’m lobbying for a Software Product Management badge.

Drop me a line at michael.savory@sage.com.

Follow me on Twitter.

How to Do More of What You Love in Your Small Business

Get free trial of Sage One accounting and invoicing software
You didn’t go into business to crunch numbers all day. You struck out on your own to do what you’re great at – and you’d probably want to spend your precious time doing just that. You love doing what you do and the more time you can do that, and get paid for it, the better.

Unfortunately, when you start a business you also inherit a bunch a responsibilities that you might not love as much. Billing, invoicing accounting – all that “math stuff” that keeps your bills paid and your doors open.

These essentials can’t be left to the wayside. When you put off following up on invoices with late paying clients or letting that website hosting bill slip through the cracks, you’re limiting your businesses’ success. As your stress levels over the numbers increase, you’ll find yourself enjoying the work you love less and less. And at the end of this downward spiral, you’ll find yourself with a failing business.

Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be this way – there’s a way to do more of what you love in your small business without letting the essentials fall off of your radar.

You can cut down on the “work” of doing your business by letting a smart tool take care of the details for you. We live in a day and age where you don’t have to pull out a pencil and calculator to get your finances in order. Take advantage of the technology tools that are available!

Sage offers two simple accounting and invoicing solutions that are built just for small businesses like yours. They let you get back to doing the work that you love by making it simple to send out payment requests, get a high level review of the financial status of your business and get freedom from accounting chaos.

Try Sage One Invoicing or Accounting Standard free for 15 days. Let us take care of the math so you can do more of what you love!

About the author:

Jenn Boutwell – VP Marketing & Strategic Alliances
I am a Sage One brand ambassador and team building virtuoso. Professionally I am known for building strong teams and organizing complex situations. I am passionate about making small business owners’ lives easier so they can spend more time on what they are passionate about. When I’m not running between meetings, I’m running half-marathons and training for a full marathon.

Drop me a line at jennifer.boutwell@sage.com.

Follow me on Twitter.