Are You Ready for Small Business Saturday?

Sage One supports small business on Small Biz Saturday - and every day!

Every year, your small business has an opportunity to get more attention – and dollars – coming in through the front door. Small Business Saturday, taking place this year on November 29, is an opportunity for businesses just like yours to compete with corporations for holiday sales.

American Express created the event five years ago to help small businesses thrive. Right between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the date is positioned in the middle of one of the biggest retail seasons of the year. AMEX advertises the event and offers multiple tools for small businesses to do the same. Thanks to the advertising, consumers in your area will be looking for local shops where they can spend their money – and have a unique experience. Here’s how you can participate.

  1. Offer special promotions.

    People love to save money – especially during the holiday season. So why not give them a good reason to come into your store? Whether you offer up freebies or discounts on products or services, a Small Biz Saturday promotion makes shopping at your store a no brainer. You can also use a charitable promotion to encourage people to shop. Give a portion of your sales to an important cause in your local community and position yourself as a business owner that gives back.

  2. Host a special event.

    Many people shop at local, small businesses because they can get a unique experience that they just can’t find at a big box store. Make yours a “must visit” destination on Small Business Saturday by hosting an event. Use the opportunity to partner with other businesses in your area so you both get exposure. For example, work with a local restaurant to offer appetizers and drinks while people shop, or have a local musician perform for your shoppers. You can also coordinate with other local businesses to have a “card swap” and display each other’s cards and flyers to encourage shoppers to explore other local stores.

  3. Spread the word on social media as soon as possible.

    Whether you’re a Facebook fiend or frequent Tweeter, now is the time to let your community know you’re ready for their business this small business Saturday. Use the hashtags #SmallBizSat or #ShopSmall on both Twitter and Facebook to let your audience know you’ll be participating. Start a pinboard on Pinterest with images of your store, special products and coupons you’ll be offering. Write a blog about what it means to be a local small business and what your store has planned for this special day.

In celebration and support of small businesses, we’re offering some awesome discounts starting today through November 30. Check this out:

This week only, Sage One Invoicing, which is normally just $9 per month is just $7.50 per month.

Sign up for Accounting Standard this week for just $11.90 per month (normally $14 per month). That’s a 15% discount!

Find out more and sign up by going here. 

Have you ever participated in Small Business Saturday? If so, what’s worked best for your small business and what do you have planned for this year?

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.

5 Business Books to Pack for Thanksgiving Weekend

books for entrepreneurs to read this Thanksgiving holiday weekend

Whether you’ll be joining your crazy in-laws or enjoying some much needed time to yourself, the weekend after Thanksgiving is a great time to pick up a book. Here’s a list of newly released business books that will inspire, motivate, or maybe just make you think. They are the perfect read for your long weekend.

  1. Everybody Writes by Ann Handley

    Looking to create ridiculously awesome content? This is your book. Written by the Chief Content Officer of MarketingProfs, Everybody Writes has some serious marketing clout. Regardless of the type of business you’re in, writing is an essential skill for success. This book will help you learn how to tell a great story and attract new business with your words.

    Quote: “Writing matters more now, not less. Our online words are our currency; they tell our customers who we are.” <retweet this link>

  2. Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t by Simon Sinek

    Does the name sound familiar? Simon Sinek wrote Start With Why, the 2009 bestseller about leaders inspiring action. His travels around the world inspired some critical questions for him —why do some teams pull together and others don’t? Why do some people love their job, but others are left feeling undervalued by their organizations? In this book he reveals some insights about leadership and teamwork.

    Quote: “Great leaders sacrifice their own comfort—even their own survival—for the good of those in their care.”

  3. How Google Works by Eric Schmidt & Jonathan Rosenberg

    Whether you use Google products or not, this book is fascinating. Released in September, the book was written by the Google Executive Chairman/ex-CEO and the former SVP of Products. This page-turner will pull you in and provide an insiders look into Schmidt and Rosenbergs’s incredible journey.

    Quote: “In an era when everything is speeding up, the best way for businesses to succeed is to attract smart-creative people and give them an environment where they can thrive at scale.”

  4. Crazy is a Compliment: The Power of Zigging When Everyone Else Zags by Linda Rottenberg

    To make it in this competitive business climate, thinking like an entrepreneur is critical. This book asks this question: “How do you take smart risks without risking it all?” Through a series of inspirational stories, practical advice, and original research, Rottenberg takes you on a creative journey to find the answer. If you have a dream, this book will help you overcome your fears to achieve it.

    Quote: “We all need to be nimble, adaptive, daring—and maybe even a little crazy—or risk being left behind.”

  5. The Daily Entrepreneur: 33 Success Habits for Small Business Owners, Freelancers, and Aspiring 9-5 Escape Artists by Rebecca Livermore

    Feeling stuck and stale in the rat race of big business? Get your small business on track with Livermore’s quirky and straightforward prose. The book includes a series of entrepreneur success habits (ESH) that are applicable and achievable for a demanding schedule.

    Quote: “You can train yourself to build a successful business. The trick is to form habits that spur you into action on a daily basis.”

Happy reading!

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 Reasons Why Entrepreneurs Make the World a Better Place

National Entrepreneurs Day
If you’re an entrepreneur, pat yourself on the back! While you may have initially explored self-employment and business building to meet personal goals, you’re actually doing the world a favor.

Entrepreneurs are essential to the growth of the economy and the betterment of our world. By taking your creative ideas and pursuing your passion, you’re making an impact that will cause a ripple effect throughout your community, your state and even the nation as a whole!

Here’s why entrepreneurs are so important – and why small businesses just like yours deserve a special day of recognition.

  1. Entrepreneurs fuel creativity and innovation in the business market.

    Entrepreneurs change the world with their ideas – and lead to waves of innovation that can transform an entire marketplace within a few years. By being a trailblazer in your industry, you spur other companies to change the way that they do business too. History is full of entrepreneurs who took initiative and made lasting change – imagine the world of computing without Bill Gates or try to picture the landscape of online shopping without Jeff Bezos. Even if your business goals are on a smaller scale than Amazon or Microsoft, you’re still inspiring innovation that can change the world.

  1. Entrepreneurs create new jobs for talented people.

    When an entrepreneur decides to delegate and hire full time employees, they look for the best and the brightest. They want employees who share their vision for a better world – and that means there are more opportunities for talented people to find meaningful work. Entrepreneurs provide a steady paycheck and great opportunities for those workers which, in turn, can have a big impact on the economy. As those workers use their paychecks to buy goods and services, it helps the economy overall.

  1. Entrepreneurs consistently contribute to the economy.

    Entrepreneurs may start small – but they have a major impact. According to the latest edition of the Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index, small businesses stats have increased in almost every category of measurement in the past year – which means good things for the economy overall.

    Whether it’s through taxes, making sales or hiring new employees, entrepreneurs have historically been the group to contribute the most to the economy. Whenever this country has experienced a deep recession or depression, small businesses have lead the charge out of the financial dark times. While they may not be generating the billions of dollars that mega corporations do, their financial growth is directly tied to the success of the nation’s economy.

Entrepreneurs like you built this country – and we think it’s time that you got the recognition you deserved. While National Entrepreneur’s Day has been a presidential proclamation since 2010, it’s time to make it an official national holiday.

House Resolution 401 aims to make the third Tuesday of Every November National Entrepreneur’s Day – and it needs your help. Cast your vote for this special day of recognition by visiting the National Entrepreneur’s Day official website. The aim is to get 50,000 votes in favor of the special holiday so that Congress will take note and make history.

Visit the official website, cast your vote and spread the word on social media. Take pride in your role in making the world a better place!

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.

5 Ways To Revolutionize Your Productivity With Sage One

mobility - Sage One

As David Allen famously said, “You can do anything, just not everything.”

Yet for business owners, choosing where to focus your time is tricky business. Making better decisions about how to boost productivity can ensure that you’re getting everything done without needing to spend your nights sitting behind the computer.

The productivity equation comes down to choosing the tools that accomplish tasks faster, and avoiding the things that stall progress or slow you down.

Over the last year more and more of my customers have moved to the cloud to eliminate paperwork and streamline bookkeeping so they can focus on the work they are really interested in. Sage One, One Drive, Google Drive and our accounting services made it possible.

Here are five ways Sage One can revolutionize your productivity and increase your progress toward your goals:

  1. Streamlined bookkeeping.
    You already use the cloud to access your bank accounts and email. Now you can massively reduce data entry time by connecting your bank and credit card accounts so you can settle your transactions and keep your records up to date faster and easier through Sage One – and then give your bookkeeper and accountant access to everything they need. They can reconcile your accounts on schedule and prepare your year-end return. You can also work with your bookkeeper to automate recurring bill payments and tax remittances based on your unique business needs.
  2. Convenient online invoicing.
    One of the most loved features of Sage One is online invoicing – which is available anywhere you have an internet connection on your mobile device or computer.For contractors and freelancers, this is a great solution – you can turn your quote into a professional invoice in seconds, and then send it out via email. Sage One makes sending invoices hassle free and paper free.
  3. Expanded payment options.
    With so many payment options to choose from, Sage One makes it simple for you to offer the most convenient payment options for your customers so you can get paid faster.Whether your customers prefer Credit Cards, PayPal or another form of payment you can easily add your options to your invoices. With a click, customers are able to take care of their invoices through their preferred method of payment.
  4. Useful reporting.
    You don’t have to be a master at interpreting your financial reports. Accountants, financial officers and bookkeepers all invested years in learning how to create and interpret the insight your financial reports provide – and Sage One can help you generate these reports with a click.Use the expertise of the people you trust to build the financial health of your business. Set up a monthly, quarterly or annual review to dig into the numbers with your bookkeeper or accountant to ensure you are implementing the right strategies to build the financial resources you need to create the results you want.You can access your income statement (also called a profit and loss statement), check your cash flow and review accounts receivable aging reports online so you can get your financial team up to date and make informed decisions to grow your business.
  5. Anytime, anywhere access.
    With Sage One there is no need to be at the office to access your files on one computer or server in a fixed location. You can log into your files from anywhere you have an Internet connection and collaborate with your team or professional advisors on all your tasks, reports or projects – and critical financial information.And with bank grade data security your information is well protected. Back ups are also automated so you don’t have to worry about data loss and you don’t have to pay for expensive back up system hardware, maintenance or support fees.

Over To You…

How can you see yourself working smarter and more efficiently using Sage One?

About the author:

Debrah Burleigh - Business owner and bookkeeping expert
I’m passionate about helping you better manage your business finances so you can achieve your financial goals. Since I started my accounting services firm in 2004, I have worked with remarkable small business owners & managers across a number of industries. I specialize in helping businesses streamline their accounting functions so they can access reliable reporting anytime & breakthrough the finance complexity without hiring a full time CFO. Outside of the office, I love my time on the mountain—skiing in fresh powder every chance I get to escape outdoors. More about me hereFollow me on Twitter. 

I’m in Charge? The Survival Guide for Entrepreneurial Leadership

small biz survival guide
So you’ve made that headfirst jump off a cliff and launched your own business. Things have been going well so far—so well that you find yourself in a position to hire a few people to join you. Until now, your focus has been on becoming your own boss. Now it’s time for you to be the boss. Are you ready?

Here are some crucial reminders if you’re an entrepreneur stepping into the uncharted territory of leadership.

  1. Commit to leadership, not micromanagement
    Think of some of the greatest leaders you know. What do they all have in common? Define what leadership means to you and then follow in their footsteps. Remember, to manage is to contain—to lead is to inspire and empower. Give your new hires the creative freedom they need, and provide plenty of resources for them to succeed.
  2. Share your vision
    As an entrepreneur, you have made it this far with your personal determination and vision for success. Now, it’s time to share that vision with a team. Delegation can be difficult, but it’s essential if you want to succeed. As a leader, your new job is to share your work, and do it well. Clearly communicate what is expected and the objectives/purpose of each assignment. Consider utilizing a project management system to keep goals on track.
  3. Keep the communication flowing
    Encourage open communication and create an environment where voicing concern and potential change is expected. For entrepreneurs, it’s easy to keep things in and make business issues a personal problem. You are no longer flying solo, and it’s detrimental to continue operating as if you are. Consistently send out updates to allow each member to feel directly responsible for the success of the business.
  4. Find your support system
    There are plenty of resources out there for new leaders. Take advantage of them! SBA.GOV offers a “Learning Center” for small business owners to learn and interact. Or if you need hands on help, consider a mentor so you can learn to lead through example. When questions arise, you can have someone to talk to and consult with.
  5. Build the team bond
    If you want your clients to be happy, don’t forget to boost the morale of your employees. As a leader, you are responsible for the connectedness of your team. Schedule regular team bonding activities to show your commitment. Break the barrier early on to encourage open communication and strong relationships.
  6. Face problems head on
    A team caught up in negativity can be like a cancer to your business. Catch problems early, and face them head on. Provide a system for team members to openly voice their concerns to you, and practice direct action rather than avoidance. If something makes you uncomfortable, do not procrastinate—fix it. Communicate. Make things happen.

Now that you’re the boss, what are you doing differently in your business to lead it toward success?

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.

Struggling to Maintain a Positive Cash Flow? Here’s How to Turn It Around

manage your cash flow
As a small biz owner, you know that cash flow is the lifeblood of your business. Without money in the bank, your vendors don’t get paid. And if vendors don’t get paid, your business could be sporting a “closed for business” sign on the door.

By making a few creative cash management changes, you can stop riding the cash flow roller coaster.

Here’s how to turn it around:

  1. Streamline your invoicing process

    You deserve to get paid for the work that you do – so make it as easy as possible to create, send, and get your invoices paid. The less time it takes for your receivables to turn over, the more cash you’ll have on hand to manage and grow your business. Make sure your clients have the ability to pay you online. Faster payment time equals better cash flow – so make it easy for clients to pay you.

  2. Be smart with your payables

    Always take advantage of payment terms. If an invoice from a vendor is not due for 30 days, don’t pay it in 10. Hang onto your money as long as you can.

    When you have to get creative with your money, making payroll should always be top of your list – then pay crucial vendors. If you’re really strapped for cash, reach out to vendors that you have had long-term relationships with and ask for help. Most understand the ebbs and flow of small business and are willing to accept partial payments or adjust the due date.

  3. Adjust your pricing

    When was the last time you took a look at your pricing and payment terms? If your costs and expenses continue to rise, but your prices stay the same, your profit margin is going to take a nosedive. Now could be the right time to consider increasing your prices. Do a check-in with industry pricing and make sure you’re within range of the standard, and ease the transition with your current customers.

  4. Change your terms

    If your pricing is on target, but you still want to improve cash flow, rethink your payment terms. If you aren’t adding late charges for clients that continually have open invoices, you’re losing money. Set up reminders through your online invoicing tool to keep invoices top of mind for your clients.

How do you master your small business’ cash flow?

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.