Business Start-Ups Blog Posts
July 26, 2017
Whether you’re already in the trenches fighting to launch your dream company or contemplating quitting your job to start your own venture, it’s important to remember you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. While your idea may be revolutionary, the keys to success are universal. Every successful startup does the following very well.
Ever heard of “shareyourworld.com”? We didn’t think so. It was the first video hosting service, which even came before YouTube. While the idea was obviously amazing, the timing wasn’t right and the website never became a household name. Just because you have a great idea, doesn’t mean it will change the world. It’s important to pick the best moment to begin.
Before you spend a dime on your company, you need to have a clean and detailed budget, and stick to it. Even if you have funding, you don’t want to waste any money on unnecessary expenses, as you may need cash down the road to avert an unforeseen crisis. Keeping your business financially sound requires self-discipline and expertise from either you, or someone you can trust.
Speaking of unforeseen crises, it’s imperative for startups and their founders to be flexible. While having a strong belief in yourself and your plans is crucial, most likely not everything about your plan is perfect, whether it’s something as specific as your branding or possibly even your entire business structure. So be willing to change if the evidence points to you adapting! After all, it worked for Steve Jobs and Pixar.
These aren’t the only things that matter when it comes to success in the business world, but every great company has mastered the above. We recognize doing so isn’t easy! To learn more, keep devouring information and seek guidance from the right places.
May 30, 2017
Building and growing a small business may seem like an insurmountable task initially and often seems to get even more confusing and stressful as time goes on. That’s why it’s wise to seek the advice from those who have been there before. These are some of the most universal tips:
1. Have a support network – often business owners like to think of themselves as lone wolf entrepreneurs who can do it all by themselves; this is a very bad idea. It’s important to avoid isolating yourself. Learn from other business owners through networking events and the Internet, stay in touch with family and friends for motivation, and remind yourself that while you’re setting an unforged path, you don’t have to do it alone.
2. Delegate when possible – speaking of not doing it alone, it’s important to have others work for you. Many business owners are either control freaks who spin themselves silly by trying to do everything, or try to save money by not paying for services like accounting and bookkeeping. Why you shouldn’t do this is actually pretty simple; if you can generate $100 of revenue doing what you’re really good at, but have to spend an entire day doing all of your bookkeeping when it could cost just $20 for an accountant to do it in an hour, wouldn’t you actually be saving/making more money by hiring the accountant? The facts speak for themselves.
3. Keep your day job…for now – we get it; your idea is awesome, you’re excited, and you want to spend all of your time working on it. And you will need to eventually do this; just not yet. It is very easy to run out of money during the early stages of a business venture, which will usually lead to entrepreneurs giving up. You’d be doing yourself a huge disservice not to start your company off on the best foot for a lucrative future.
This is only some of our advice to keep in mind when building your business. We understand that the beginning is the hardest part, so don’t hesitate to reach out to us with your questions!
March 30, 2017
Unfortunately, not everyone gets expert advice before they begin their business venture. Some mistakes may just cost you time and money (which of course no one wants to lose any of!), while others may spell the end of your business venture.
1. Be process-orientated
In order to save time, it is imperative to develop systems which can be used for handling customers and various tasks. Chances are if you do something once, you’ll have to do it again.
2. A foundation is more important than a pretty exterior
While having an eye-popping website and a recognizable brand are important attributes of a business, none of it will matter if you don’t understand what your business does for people and can actually achieve it!
3. Understand taxes and finances, or hire someone who does
When someone else is paying you, keeping track of your spending is pretty simple. However, when you’re on your own, no one is going to make sure you are spending your money appropriately. This is why we advise getting help, especially with taxes, in order to free up money from places you didn’t even know were possible.
4. Don’t be cheap and take shortcuts
In many cases where business owners try to save money, they end up having to spend far more later. Spend money on the right things at the right time!
5. Just because you build it, doesn’t mean they’ll come
You may offer vital services or make the coolest product, but if no one knows it exists, then none of it matters! This is where strategic marketing comes into play.
If you want to avoid these fatal mistakes which regularly plague entrepreneurs, we highly recommend a brief phone call with us. Even just five minutes could be the difference between your business sinking or swimming.
November 14, 2016
We've listed here some basic financial information that every startup should be familiar with.
First is the standard statement of cash flows, which is prepared by accountants under Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). This explains changes in the cash balance and compliments the income statement. Cash inflows & outflows include operating, investing, and financing activities. Understanding this document is critical for keeping track of your money!
It is likely that a potential investor will ask what your cash burn is. This is the rate at which your company uses its cash reserves. Calculate the burn rate for a selected period of time using this formula:
(ending cash balance - beginning cash balance) / months in period
The answer is a monthly value, and the lower it is, the better.
Also be familiar with how long your cash will last at the current burn rate. Calculate this with the following formula:
cash reserves / burn rate
The 13 week cash flow model is an alternative commonly used by companies in financial distress. This tool allows you to see the “big picture” and analyze the amount of cash you will need in the future. It is different from other financial forecasting tools because it is cash-based rather than accrual-based, which means that cash is measured only when it's available for use.
Something else to remember is that you must file a 1099 for all consultants you hire. This is done by the company or bookkeeper, and is due by January 31 of each year.
Thanks for checking out these tips from your trusted partner and Ohio Accountant BizImprove!
Contact Us About Your Business, Finance, Accounting or Tax Needs
October 14, 2016
Get rid of the fluff: You should always be as concise as possible and remove any filler language. Even if it sounds nice, fluff gets you nowhere and wastes space. Plus, no investors want to read a long business plan. Get to the point quickly.
Be realistic: You should be honest with yourself in your business plan, which is why it’s important to consider challenges and opportunities. If you’ve got a strong idea, let it stand on its merit.
Show you’re conservative: Everyone says they’re “conservative” in their business plans, but most aren’t. You should be. Use examples to demonstrate that you’re conservative in your approach and projections.
Visuals are good: Whenever possible, and without overdoing it, use visuals in your business plan. Graphs, charts, and images can help bring your concept to life. Plus, it breaks up the text and helps a plan flow better.
Be creative: Include a creative element in your business plan so you stand out and grab someone’s attention. You can use templates, but don’t look identical to a template. Do something unique to make the plan yours.
Contact Us About Your Business, Finance, Accounting or Tax Needs
September 30, 2016
You Won't Believe these 11 Business Facts!
- Wal-Mart averages a profit of $1.8 million every hour
- Apple’s iPad retina display is actually manufactured by Samsung
- U.S. corporations are reportedly hiding $1.6 trillion in profits offshore
- Candy Crush brings in a reported $633,000 a day in revenue
- The most productive day of the workweek is Tuesday
- If Bill Gates were a country, he’d be the 37th richest on earth
- If you have $10 in your pocket and no debts, you are wealthier than 25% of Americans
- Seventy percent of small businesses are owned and operated by a single person
- The Rubik’s cube is the best-selling product of all time (The iPhone is second)
- The world’s 100 richest people earned enough money in 2012 to end global poverty four times over
- More than 80 million “mouse ears” have been sold at Walt Disney World to date
Contact Us About Your Business, Finance, Accounting or Tax Needs
March 5, 2016
Looking for Financial Help? Call BIG
Have you thought about opening your own business or buying an existing company?
While the idea may have crossed your mind, you may be a bit hesitant for any number of reasons. Among those reasons may be worries over finances, taxes and cash flow.
If you’re contemplating a trip on that bumpy road, you’ll need someone who you trust that has a road map. That’s where BIG Financial and Advisory Services can help you. They’re located at 8043 Corporate Circle, Suite 2 in North Royalton.
BIG can help you get your business off the ground.
Or if your small or medium sized business is drowning in a sea of red ink, they can help you to right the ship.
Co-founders Jim Bonvissuto and Patti Sours, both CPAs, had a vision when they started the company in 2002. “We wanted to bring our executive level of expertise in working for Fortune 500 companies, large firms and private concerns, to small and medium-sized businesses at a reasonable price. But it wasn’t easy in the beginning. We started off marketing traditional CPA and tax services to individuals and businesses.
We found a niche in turn-arounds and courtappointed receiverships for businesses in financial trouble. That led to a client base.
Working with the owners of these businesses also led us to a service offering of tax and financial planning to individuals and businesses” said Jim.
BIG helps long-standing businesses with finances and taxes, but Jim and Patti can help the entrepreneur get started. They utilize their experience from starting their own business 14 years ago, as well as the knowledge they gained working with many startup businesses, to help the new entrepreneur avoid some common start up problems.
“While the entrepreneur is developing a market, selling his or her services, we can handle the financial side of things,” said Jim.
“We’ve been where the business owner has been, as an employee, as a manager, as an owner and as a consultant. We’re able to pair that with both operational and technical knowledge. We can put systems in place to help companies in trouble or to those just getting started,” Bonvissuto said.
Jim has been in this part of Cuyahoga County for many years. He graduated from Parma High School. He did his undergraduate work at Cleveland State and got his MBA from Baldwin-Wallace.
He was involved in building homes in this part of the County and liked this area so much he decided to open his business in North Royalton.
Another important part of Jim and Patti’s business is helping businesses and individuals with financial and estate planning plus income tax preparation and planning services. Patti is also a Personal Financial Specialist (CPA/PFS) “Depending upon your age, there are different financial goals to consider. For example, in your 30s you may consider saving for a home, or getting your kids set up for school. If you are in your 50s, you may look at preparing for your retirement. It seems that every 10 years or so, our financial goals seem to change. We can help you with all of those choices,” said Jim. For Jim Bonvissuto, terms like honesty and trust are not just words, but are at the core of his business. “Those words are important in every client relationship that we have,” said Jim. “Our steadiness and voice of reason is of utmost important to all of our clients.”
BIG Founders, Jim Bonvissuto and Patti Sours, bring executive level of expertise in working for Fortune 500 companies, large firms and private concerns, to small and medium-sized businesses at a reasonable price.
To get a hold of Jim Bonvissuto or Patti Sours, you can e-mail them at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Their phone number is 440-884-1400.
You can also fill out the “Contact” page on their website www.bizimprove.com.
Originally Published in the Royalton Recorder of North Royalton, Ohio.
January 31, 2016
1. Do Your Homework
Whether you are planning on starting a business or are already running one, be sure to do your research. It’s important to understand the different tax forms, write-offs, laws, licensing and other requirements that apply to your business. An awareness of these policies will help protect and stabilize your business in the long run.
2. Open an Account
Creating a separate account for your business from your personal checking makes it easier for you to keep track of your business’s income and makes it simpler for you to do taxes. Start with a simple business checking account and add a savings accounts if necessary. Also consider the benefits of having a business credit card to help you start building credit.
3. Keep Track of All Expenses
It is critical to the maintenance of your accounts and to the success of your business that you collect and track your expenses. This can be done by gathering receipts and recording payments. Even the infrequent meal expenses or travel costs need to be documented and handled correctly. Failing to maintain these accounts can prevent you from being able to build a reliable financial statement or prepare trustworthy reports on your tax returns. It also becomes difficult to monitor the expenses or growth of your business.
Accurate bookkeeping is necessary in order to compile clear and precise reports as well as determine how your business is doing. In that light, be sure to research your bookkeeping options thoroughly to ensure optimal maintenance of your accounts.
A DIY route requires tracking all of your expenses and meticulously documenting them in a spreadsheet. Then, it must be interpreted to produce clear data and exact reports. For many business owners, this option simply asks too much of them, as they have limited time that should be spent on moving their business forward, rather than on tedious accounting work.
A good option is to outsource your bookkeeping and accounting. For those that already have too much on their plate, this is the best option.
5. Establish Payroll
Whether you have your own employees or independent contractors, they all have to be paid for their services. Abiding by a payroll schedule and withholding the appropriate taxes are also steps that can complicate this process. Our services can help you check this item off your list so you and your employees can move on to bigger and better things.
6. Pay Taxes
It’s important to understand the ramifications of tax expenses, deductions and payment plans when organizing your business finances. The type of business that you have will determine the kinds of tax expenses you need to anticipate. Keeping track of various tax requirements as well as deductions that you can qualify for can be difficult. Not only that, but filing taxes can be a tedious process. Our services at Your Balance Sheet can help you accurately fulfill your tax requirements.
7. Gross Margin
The term “gross margin” simply refers to the difference between the cost of the goods you sell subtracted from the revenue that you generate from the sale of those goods. This figure is a helpful determining factor to keep your eye on as your business progresses forward in future months and years.
However, in order to keep tabs on this figure, you must have consistent and organized accounting practices working in the background. At Your Balance Sheet, we’re able to provide those services and provide you with consistent reports so that you can see a snapshot of your business at a moment’s notice. Our accounting tips for small businesses can help you manage your business better.
These are critical and what we recommend to all of our customers who use our CPA Services in North Royalton and Cleveland Ohio.
May 20, 2014
Jim Bonvissuto, President of Business Improvement Group, Inc., discusses joining with COSE (http://www.cose.org/), or the Council of Smaller Enterprises, to mentor entrepreneurs interested in purchasing, starting, or operating a business.
May 13, 2014
Credit to Brian Archer with newsnet5 Cleveland
CLEVELAND - Janice Buildt is busy working on her plan for Bricks 4 Kidz, a Lego based business that offers Lego-themed school programs and parties for children. It's something Buildt always wanted to do.
"I knew I had the tenacity and the energy and enthusiasm for the business," said Buildt.
But what this mother of two, with career in social work, didn't have was any business experience.
That's where Jim Bonvissuto (http://www.bizimprove.com/) comes in. A seasoned business owner for more than 20 years who's helping Buildt get off to a successful start.
"It's a very fulfilling feeling," said Bonvissuto, "when you're able to help and mentor people through business ownership."
COSE (http://www.cose.org/), or the Council of Smaller Enterprises, has been helping to connect startups with established business owners for years. They've recently created a formal structure for the process called Incfuse. (https://incfuse.com/)
"We saw a need for the because while there's more than a hundred resources in Northeast Ohio for small businesses, they're not all well connected together," explained COSE president and Executive Director Steve Millard. "So incfuse kind of stitches them together so somebody wants to start a business can get all the help they need."
Buildt is happy to get some help navigating through the facts and figured necessary to become a successful business owner.
"I don't know where I would have gone if it wasn't for this interaction of having Incfuse provide me with a mentor."
COSE is marking National Small Business Week (http://www.sba.gov/nsbw/nsbw) which runs from May12-16 2014.
For more information about how to start a business or how to mentor those that are through the infuse program click here. (https://incfuse.com/)