Four Decisions You Can't Make Without Financial Statements

When it comes to for-profit businesses, the main objective is to create a positive return on investment for the owners as well as any investors and shareholders in the firm. This, of course, is done by generating as much profitability for the firm as possible. Therefore, to increase profits, organizational decision-making should be based around the financial performance and projections of the business which can be pulled from assorted financial reports such as a balance sheet or income statement.

As balance sheet is the detailed report of an organization's assets, liabilities, and shareholders’ equity during a particular period. In short, it shows what the organization owns in comparison to what it owes and what is invested by shareholders. An income statement details the profits and losses of a business for a particular period. An income statement will show exactly how revenue comes into the business as well as how it is expensed. By using these types of documents, which indicate the financial health of a company, businesses can make more sound decisions that will help them cut back in expenses as well as increase revenues to become more profitable.

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When using financial statements as part of the decision-making process, you can have an accurate understanding of your firm’s cash flow. These avoid guesstimates and forgetting about certain fees and expenses while, at the same time, allows leaders to pinpoint where there successes and opportunities for improvement from a revenue stance lie. Below are four examples of business decisions that should never be made without the use of financial statements.

Making New Investments - Financial statements can tell you how your existing business investments are performing. When looking at finances over time, you should be able to tell how long it took the break-even, the rate of growth, how much growth has occurred and more. By taking the time to observe the financial outcomes of previous investments, it can help to serve as a guide into whether continuing to invest in aspects of the business that are performing well, how much to invest, what kinds of investments have helped to drive growth and so on. Additionally, it might help indicate what other aspects of the business that may be similar could also bring back high returns with an increase in investment. For instance, if a company started targeting a new market with an existing product and it performed better than expected, they may want to invest in bringing other related products to the same market as well.

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Cutting Back Expenses - Financial statements can also tell you where the money is bleeding out of your business. Some investments may yield a low return or even simply be costing the organization money. Some assets could potentially yield a bigger return but don’t because of some of the associated expenses that could be substituted or removed. Some expenses may serve more as a “want” as opposed to a “need” and, by slashing it from the budget, it can help improve the financial help of the business. Consulting your organization financial documents can help you uncover exactly why things in your business appear to cost so much money item by item and determine whether or not the spend is essential.

Selling Or Liquidating Assets - Sometimes, it’s better to get parts of your business that have some value off your hands as opposed to trying to continue to operate them. There may be an offer on the table from a larger firm looking to buy a product or even your entire company, and the payout might make more sense than trying to scale it any further. In other cases, parts of your business that might just be a hassle or aren’t providing the desirable return might serve you better by shutting down and liquidating the assets into cash. Financial statements are a vital part of making these choices and understanding the benefits and consequences of alleviating the responsibility holding on to assets and business functions that may be better of being exchanged for cash.

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Seeking Outside Funding - Everyone knows that it takes money to make money. Oftentimes, businesses need more money to fund their growth than they can make and so they need to obtain additional money through private investors, loans, credit, and other means. To receive funding, especially in the large quantities they often receive, they may need to present financial statements that can show how well the organization is presently doing and how they currently manage their finances. Financial statements aren’t just for internal decision-making, they also can be used by others who may consider lending or investing in the firm as well.

At The Vieras, we understand that keeping your financials in order is imperative but also a task many business leaders struggle to keep up with. Consider allowing us to take on your bookkeeping, financial reporting, and more. Set up your free consultation with us and focus your attention on revenue-generating activities while we keep track of them.

Four Ways to Reinvest Your Profits Back Into Your Firm

The main purpose of most businesses is to earn a profit and provide the owners and stakeholders with a positive return on any of their investments into the firm. While a profit is the remaining revenue a company has after it’s paid its expenses, it doesn’t (and shouldn’t) always mean it’s money that should be put directly into the CEO’s pockets. Financial management for organizations is absolutely vital for the continuation of a firm and, all too often, the lack of it is the reason why so many small businesses fail.        


According to Business Insider, a US Bank study concluded that 82% of all businesses closed due to poor cash flow - more money going out than coming in. In the same study, 29% of businesses also reported running out of money altogether. The truth is that organizational profits need to be reinvested back into the company. This is especially true in the early years of a business as 50% of all businesses close in the first five years.

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Of course, when investing back into your company having cash on hand, money which is available to you immediately or can be liquidated fairly quickly, is important. This can help offset slow cash flow during months when sales are lower than normal, help mitigate inconveniences and emergencies, and support other decisions within the business that require capital investment. However, putting aside cash isn’t the only “investment” firms can make into their organization.

Investments that make you money - As stated before, most businesses’ main objective is to make money. Most people also understand that in order to make significant amounts of money there has to be some sort of financial backing behind those endeavors. By using the money your organization is already producing to funnel into money generating investments such as marketing campaigns, you can scale your business without the interest that comes with loans or the risk of giving up equity to investors.

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Investments that save you money - Making money is usually a plus for any business, but only to the extent that the profit is also growing. When making more money, businesses also often find themselves spending more as well. If overall revenue is increasing, but profits are on the decline, something is wrong. Making investments that save money is also important for businesses to consider. This could include hiring an accountant who can help you keep a better eye on your cash flow or switching to a technology platform that integrates several moving pieces of your system at a reduced cost. Sometimes businesses will also have to spend a little more money in order to save a lot more down the road.

Investments that make you more productive - Productivity can be defined as an increase in effectiveness, the ability to work better, and efficiency, the ability to get more done using fewer resources. By increasing business productivity, business leaders should find themselves having more output with less labor. But just like saving money, investments into productivity can come with a price tag. For instance, the goal of hiring employees is to delegate tasks that aren’t feasible for one person to take on, to get more work done, and to have people using their talents in the best way possible. While employees can also end up being the most costly expenses a business can acquire, a firm can only grow so much while being run and operated by just one person.

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Investments that make you more knowledgeable - Acquiring new job-related knowledge is also an important investment for business leaders and professionals to make. Courses, programs, and certifications can help you gain skills that help improve performance, become a better leader, expand service offerings and more, while demonstrating your commitment to developing your expertise to existing clients. While the ROI on education is often hard to measure, it is generally accepted that it does have tremendous benefits that, in the long-term, can help you make money, save money, or become more productive overall at work.

In order to run, and ultimately grow, your company, it will require you to put earned profits back into your company whether it’s to increase your working capital or to make your business scalable or more efficient. The Vieras can help you with the latter. Whether it’s our marketing, administrative, or financial services, we can help you boost your productivity even if you’re not ready to take on your own full time employees. Learn more about our services and how we can help your business succeed today!


The Seven Part Checklist to Build Your Brand's Online Presence

In an increasingly digital and technology-driven marketplace, it’s more and more important for organizations to be accessible to their customers through the internet. According to a study conducted by Pew Research Center. in 2016 79% of Americans had purchased a product or service online. In a report on the study by TechCrunch, they summarize that the majority of online shoppers prefer to shop in-store but convenience, price comparisons, the ability to conduct more extensive research on a firm, and more ultimately led them to buy online.

Being online isn’t the only important factor for small businesses to consider. As we discussed in our blog on social media etiquette, 45% of the world’s population uses social media with approximately one million people joining new social platforms daily. Additionally, a 2018 Forbes article reports that more than 60% of social media users between the ages of 18-34 tend to be more loyal to the brands they follow online. In addition to being online, businesses need to use their online presence as a full-fledged marketing effort in order to maximize their audience reach and increase their revenue generation.

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Having a website is important, and so is having a social media account, but there is more to establishing an online presence than just those two factors. In fact, there are five other elements to creating an excellent online presence to capture new customers and retain existing ones.

Website A website the first part of creating your online presence. It is the central hub of your home online. Everything for your digital brand should exist there: Company information and bios, product and service catalogs, original content, and more. The main goal of digital marketing is to drive traffic to your website. Once you have users on your site, the goal is to then get them to convert to customers. Therefore, the quality, design, and user-friendliness of your website is imperative to optimizing your conversion rate. Don’t underestimate the power of updating your website and revamping from time to time.

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Google Business Listing Google is the #1 most-visited website. Therefore, having a Google My Business listing is crucial. As a free tool, it allows you to promote your business through Google search and helps you become identifiable on Google Maps. This tool also allows you to post pictures, create paid ads on Google, create a website if needed, generate customer reviews, and more. As a free resource, it’s also the first step to creating a top-notch SEO strategy.

Social Media These platforms are often where brands start out with their online presence. Since the most popular social media platforms generally allow users to create business profiles for free, it is a place where many businesses can begin to brand themselves before launching their website, which may take some time to develop. In the long-run though, social media can be a great way to build traction for your business. According to a 2018 report from Shareaholic, 25% of all website traffic came from social media in 2017. And between 2014 and 2017, social media was the top referral source for web traffic, beating out search engines. A strong social media presence can do wonders for your overall online presence and it’s important to treat it as a critical part of your marketing plan.

Content Marketing It’s one thing to make a post on social media or upload pre-existing content to your website, but original content marketing is something many brands become heavily invested in. Content marketing helps organizations communicate the value of their product or service with free or inexpensive media that can provide knowledge or entertainment for the user. The hope is to lead them to invest in a bigger company offering once they have had some connection with lower price or free content. Content marketing is extremely popular. In a 2018 Content Marketing Institute study, 91% of B2B marketers stated they currently create some sort of content for marketing purposes. And, on the user end, there is certainly a demand for it. A Forbes article states that there are about 5 billion video views on Youtube daily and 44% of the US population has recently listened to a podcast. While it can be time-consuming, content creation and marketing is a proven strategy to help communicate your company’s expertise and to drive sales.

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SEO Search engine results have been driving more traffic than even social media starting in 2017. Therefore, creating a site that is going to be search engine friendly and will appear to customers based on the keywords they may use is crucial. Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of increasing the organic website visibility in search engines through the coding, writing, and organization of content on a website. SEO is the attempt to make the content on your site compatible with the algorithms of top search engines to make your site rank highest with searches you would like to present on. By staying on top of ever-changing SEO trends, you stand the best chance of being discovered by new customers.

Email Marketing While we’ve noted that 45% of the world’s population uses social media, Entrepreneur reports over 1.2B more people also use email and that 72% of people would prefer to receive brand content via email as opposed to social media. This creates a big opportunity for email marketing which is inclusive of both cold and warm emails. Cold emails help you directly seek out the people whom you’d like to convert into customers without waiting for them to find you while warm emails help you continue an engaging relationship with those who are familiar with your brand, especially if they opt-in to your email list. Building an email list is an amazing way to build and interact with your brand’s community as well as to reach them immediately with any important sales, news, or content you want them to be aware of.

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Advertising While many aspects of your business’ online presence will be free, making an investment in advertising can make a huge difference. Platforms give priority to those who are running an advertising campaign and it can help your posts or offers stand out among the noise of everyone else on the internet. You can create settings to target exactly who you are looking to convert into customers as well as how often they see it or what posts will follow them through the internet via re-targeting efforts. Additionally, since platforms like Facebook and Instagram create algorithms that often change and make organic visibility harder (to encourage businesses to spend money on advertising), paid ads can boost your brand’s visibility beyond what organic (unpaid) efforts alone can do.

Staying on top of your online presence can be hard, especially because there are so many moving parts. The Vieras can help you with some of your marketing efforts. Check out the marketing services we offer to make your brand stand out online.

The Four Social Media Analytics You Need for Marketing Success

In a world where traditional media and marketing channels seem to be ever-changing, one thing most businesses have come to realize is the importance of having a solid digital presence. They know that in order to capture many lucrative markets digital media, especially social media, is a necessity. They are aware that when it comes to many of their users and customers if it doesn’t exist on platforms such as Facebook or Instagram, it basically doesn’t exist. This is a new reality for both small businesses and large corporations alike.

Because of this, businesses have begun to invest heavily in social media. This includes everything from hiring staff just to manage their various social media channels, to pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars into ad campaigns. Given these significant allocations of resources into social media, it’s not just enough for businesses to post on social media, but to track a number of metrics to properly measure ROI.

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The most obvious metrics people see on social media are their follower numbers as well as likes. These are public numbers that are seen by everyone, along with shares and comments. Often they signal popular accounts which can create some appeal around the brands. However, the “signaling” effect can be a matter of smoke and mirrors as popularity does not always translate into profitability. Brands that are too hyper-focused on these “vanity metrics” miss some of the more important metrics that are more likely to translate into revenue for their bottom line.

Impressions-to-Reach Ratio

Sometimes impressions and reach are used interchangeably and, while they are similar, they are very distinct. They both include how much an audience is viewing your content. Impressions are the total number of times your content is shown to users while reach is the number of unique views or impressions, your content gets. It shows how your social content spreads. So if one user views a post three different times, the number of impressions would increase by three while the reach would only increase by one. Overall, this would create an impressions-to-reach ratio of three. With organic content, that which is posted but not boosted with paid advertising behind it, a high impressions-to-reach ratio can signal that people are coming back to your content on multiple occasions but with content that does have advertising behind it, it can indicate your ad may be being shown too often to the same users.

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Engagement Score

While growing followers along with collecting likes and comments is important for social media, it’s the combination of these metrics that’s more important than stand-alone numbers. On Instagram, for instance, the number of likes and comments are added together and divided by the number of followers in order to get the engagement score. The engagement score is usually done to cover a specific number of most recent posts, or a posting period (i.e. the 12 most recent posts or the last 30 days). The overall engagement score shows just how connected your audience is to your social presence and how much they interact with your content. Clearly, the higher the score the better, because it creates more opportunity to turn followers into customers.

Traffic

Most people using social media understand what traffic is. It’s the number of people who come to your page. People may see your posts floating around but it may not mean they actually visit your page. By getting users to go to your page, they have more opportunities to engage with your content. The goal, of course, is to get people to visit your social media page and then funnel them to your website and engage with your main platform. You can measure the effectiveness by comparing the amount of reach you get from social media to the number of social media page views you get. Then you want to compare the social media page views to website clicks to see how effectively social media is giving you web traffic.

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Conversions

The last metric, and the most important to understand how well your social media strategy is for your business, is understanding your conversion rate. How many of the people you bring to your site via social media actually buy something? What are they buying? How many impressions or how much reach did a post or an ad get in order to convert into a sale on average? What is your ad spend per sale? Because for businesses looking to make a profit, ROI on social media is simply comparing how much a company spent on social media to how much they subsequently made from those efforts. And by tracking other metrics such as impressions-to-reach ratio, engagement score, and traffic, alongside conversion rates, firms can see where their social media funnels to sales are effective as well as where they may need to be improved.

Understanding what makes social media work best for your business is one of the challenges many companies still struggle with and, while the analytics side of it can seem overwhelming, it can help you make the required adjustments to achieve optimal results. We realize that understanding the ins and outs of social media can be tricky, so let us help. The Vieras offers a variety of digital marketing services, including social media management. Contact us today for more information.

Seven Social Media Etiquette Tips To Boost Your Brand Effectively

According to Hootsuite, approximately 3.48 billion people, or 45% of the world’s population, use social media, with a million more joining different platforms every day. In a world connected through the internet, social media has upped the ante on the ways in which we communicate through audio, pictures, videos, and more via the ability to connect through and around content. However, social media has not only been embraced by individuals. Hootsuite also reports that approximately 90% of brands also use social media with the majority managing anywhere from four to ten different social profiles.

Social media marketing is popular for a number of reasons. For one, it is significantly more cost-effective than other forms of traditional marketing such as billboards and magazine ads. It can also be easier to track ROI, increase conversion rates in conjunction with other digital marketing techniques, increase overall visibility on the internet, and much more. But, as most people know, once something is published to the internet, it’s likely to never actually go away for good even if it is taken down. And, as people are beginning to see, the internet can sometimes be quick to judge and slow to forgive companies who make blunders on social media.

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Social media is a fantastic tool for brands to reach people and drive brand awareness and, of course, sales. However, it needs to be used properly and social media etiquette does matter in being able to get the most from the investment. Below are seven considerations all brands need to be aware of before harnessing social media for their business.


1. Understand Your Audience As a brand, you need to know two things about your audience. The first is who you’re intentionally targeting as your customers and users. The other is who you attract even if they fall outside of the audience you have intentionally targeted. Like all marketing channels, different social media platforms will lead you to various different audiences. For instance, in a 2018 report by Spredfast, 72% of all internet users ages 50-64 use Facebook while only 13% of the same category used Instagram. Different platforms will be more suitable for your target demographics than others so it’s imperative to understand your audience and how they use social media.

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2. Stay on Brand There is quite a lot that takes place on social media. You’ll find everything from funny videos to inspirational quotes to industry-specific tips to “questions of the day.” Not only is there a lot of variety in what gets published to social media, but there are also a lot of people who do it VERY well and it can be tempting to experiment. There’s nothing wrong with experimenting and trying out new content ideas. However, in doing so it can be very easy to deviate from your brand. This is particularly crucial with highly-visual platforms such as Pinterest and Instagram where the aesthetics of the entire feed itself can attract and engage new followers who may be unfamiliar with the brand. It can also be confusing for your existing followers who have come to identify your brand with certain elements, to see too much experimentation from you.

3. Post Frequently and Consistently Social media content is constantly being posted by different users which makes it a very crowded space for new content to stay relevant for long. Brandwatch reported that, in 2015, 400 hours of new video was being uploaded to Youtube every single minute. And according to Hootsuite, any given tweet will get about 50% of reactions within the first 24 minutes of being posted. That said, it’s very easy to get your content that you worked so hard on lost in social media without getting too many eyes on it. This becomes increasingly difficult when platforms frequently change their algorithms which greatly influence, if not entirely dictate, the amount of reach or impressions any post may get. The best way to overcome these challenges is to post frequently when your audience is most likely to be online, and to post consistently so they can expect to see your posts.

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4. Address Relevant Topics While scheduling on social media makes marketing’s job much easier, from time to time, you will want to address relevant topics while they are trending. Catching on to a trending topic can help you capture a new audience who may be engulfed in that particular piece of news and all the content surrounding it. Additionally, should it be nationwide or international news, such as the Royal Wedding or a natural disaster, posting business as usual may come across as tone deaf to the rest of society who may be observing an event together for better or for worse. For instance, many brands have altered their logos for the month of June to incorporate rainbows in observance of Pride Month. These have been well thought out campaigns that address something relevant to their audiences that many brands want to voice their support for.

5. Stay Away from Controversial & Offensive Topics Most people understand that it’s often bad news that spreads the fastest and, when everyone in the world can be connected via social media, it can be a public relations nightmare for brands to get caught up in controversial topics. Brands have been forced to turn off their notifications, had to deactivate their accounts, have lost partnerships, and have even been boycotted based on content published to social media. In some cases, these were not recently made posts but those that had resurfaced after years that sparked new outrage. It’s better to play it safe and to avoid anything that could be offensive to others, even if they are not your primary audience.

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6. Engage with Your Audience When it comes to social media, posting itself isn’t enough. Unlike traditional marketing channels where communication only flows one way from the brand to the audience, social media allows for two-way communication. This can be through likes, shares, retweets/reposts, comments, direct messages, and more. This allows for brands to go beyond reaching their audience for the purposes of being seen to creating individualized experiences with their brand that can range from a happy birthday shout out to resolving a customer service issue. When you take the time to engage with your audience, you make them more loyal to you which will help keep your following engaged and increase the likelihood of purchases in the future.

7. Prioritize Communication Over Selling Most people spend time on social media for a way to connect with others, relax and enjoy their spare time, or to find interesting content. While social media is an excellent way to obtain sales, most people do not want to be bombarded with advertisements while browsing through social media. Instead, companies should focus on brand promotion and communication and, on occasion, focus on some direct sales pitches and advertisements. People who become more familiar with and loyal to your brand will ultimately be more likely to purchase when you do put out something to sell.

Social media marketing is a very rewarding business strategy with a number of benefits to it. However, it’s certainly not easy work to get your brand out there above the noise and congestion of what is already out there. One way to make social media marketing easier is to let professionals take it over. The Vieras offers marketing and social media management services that can help you stand out. Reach out today to see how we can help you build your brand across social media.


How To Communicate With Your Team

When looking at a job description for a position at any company, one requirement you're bound to see is “strong communication skills.” Whether it’s a generic template or a very well-written requisition, all teams benefit from having members who can speak articulately, professionally, and with confidence regardless of whether they are in a customer-facing position or not. And while most job seekers can expect this one skill to be valuable across the board, it is one which many don’t have. In a 2016 survey of over 60,000 conducted by Payscale, 46% stated they believe recent college graduates lacked communication skills. Additionally, 44% believe graduates lack writing proficiency and 39% believe the same about public speaking abilities.  

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New graduates aren’t the only ones struggling with communication skills. A Gallup study suggests that about 75% of the reasons why employees exit their organization are due to factors that managers can directly impact with their management styles, and the work environment itself being a leading factor. It’s likely that poor communication is a common symptom of poor employee-manager relationships. Additionally, a report by The Economist discusses several ramifications from poor communication whether it’s the loss of sales or clients, reduced morale for the team, or added stress for the workforce.  

The process of communication is relatively simple. First, you have a sender, who is the one creating the message, you have a channel for how the message is communicated, and then there is the receiver who is the other party the message is intended for. What complicates the process is that the sender and receiver may have different communication styles and the channel of communication may have a problem or be a bad fit for the type of message. These factors can cause the receiver to interpret the message differently than the sender intended, thus creating a breakdown in communication. 

Because communication is a skill, there are ways to improve your communication capabilities and to mitigate potential problems in the process. Here are five tips to help you improve communication with your team at work:  

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1) Be self-aware of your typical communication style:  The first step in honing your communication skills, as with any leadership skill, is to be self-aware. How do you typically communicate? Are you heavy on the details or tend to keep things brief? Do you try to communicate with your team frequently and check in regularly or do you only say something once? Are you an in-person communicator who wants to arrange face-to-face meetings, or will you use email and messaging to relay most of what you have to say? Once you’ve taken a step back to look at how you usually get your message across, it gives you room to improve on your skills in the future.  

2) Consider all the relevant details of the message: When it comes to communication, it’s always better to over-communicate than under-communicate. Under-communication can lead to the exclusion of pertinent details which can not only make a message more difficult to understand, it can change the entire context of the message. Nevertheless, over-communication of ALL the details can lead to information overload, which can also be confusing. It can also be time-consuming and therefore, may not be the best use of time. Make sure that you include the most relevant information that not only explains what you’re trying to get across but also answers questions you can expect to arise.  

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3) Consider the urgency and importance of the message: As you know, not all messages are going to be as important or as urgent as others. The difference between urgency and importance is that important information is determined by its value whereas urgency is about how quickly it needs to be conveyed and acted upon. Because of this, always give priority to messages that have more urgency, then focus on importance. These attributes will help you determine when to communicate, the order in which to communicate, the level of care required to communicate, and more.  

4) Understand your receiver: This factor can absolutely not be overlooked. When it comes to issues with communication, The Economist States that much of the problems arise from human error and the inability to understand HOW we are communicating as opposed to WHAT needs to be said. The same questions you ask yourself about your own communication style, you should consider trying to figure out with someone else’s. If you don’t know them well, take a moment as ask the questions about their work style and their preferred means of communication. If you do know them, consider what observations you’ve already made about how they communicate and how best to be clear and relevant.  

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5) Choose an appropriate communication channel: Once you’ve figured out the above steps, it’s time to send your message. The last thing to think about is how you intend to send it. For instance, urgent messages may need to be mass-emailed immediately, but if it’s also important and a sensitive issue, it may require an unplanned town hall to discuss as well as to receive feedback. If it’s a loaded subject and contextually complex, it may require quite a bit of preparation and visual aids alongside it. It may even be a matter of communication style. Some people find emails to be insincere when it comes to certain types of communication whereas other people don’t want to be pulled away from their desk when such information can be shared in a quick message. In the end, choosing the right channel is very subjective to the parties involved in the communication as well as a number of attributes related to the message itself.  

Communication is something that is a requirement in the workplace but many people, both entry-level and experienced, seem to struggle with. It’s because as easy as it is to send a message, it’s the act of getting it across as intended that is not as simple. However, like other skills, communication can be improved upon and these five steps can help you get more done by finding a better way to share knowledge, information, and ideas across your organization. 

How to Build Strong Teams

When starting a small business, many entrepreneurs begin with a strong technical talent or skill that can meet some marketplace demand. They will typically also face challenges and learning curves as they are required to then adopt new skills in order to run and scale their organization. For many small business owners, the ability to build a strong, reliable team to alleviate themselves from being burdened with every task is one of the many challenges they are faced with having to overcome to be more successful 

According to the SBA, about one out of every three businesses is a nonemployer firm with no paid employees. However, while most small businesses operating with only one individual, nonemployer firms only account for three percent of business receipts. This statistic is extremely telling of the importance of putting in place a strong team of talent in terms of becoming more productive and profitable. 

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Building strong teams is not only an issue faced by small firms. Larger companies who already have teams in place may experience human resource related issues that are indicative of their ability to build their teams properly. Low levels of engagement, motivation, and morale and high levels of turnover, absenteeism, and conflict are all potential signs that organizations need to adopt better systems in order to improve their workforce and their business as a whole. 

Below are eight steps leaders need to follow in order to build better, stronger, and more productive teams. 

1. Understand the vision, mission, and goals of your business - Like any other decision in your business, comprehending what your business is, why it operates, and how it makes both money and an impact are imperative to building strong teams. From the human resources perspective, the vision, mission, and goals of your organization help shape the organizational culture for your firm which is essentially defined as "the way things are done around here". Organizational culture encompasses workstyles, human resources systems, beliefs, rituals, and other elements for the day to day life of an employee at work. Because the vision, mission, and goals drive the direction for your company, they will profoundly influence how people work within your firm and getting clear on your company's culture is the first step in team building. 

2. Be cognizant of how your responsibilities align with your goals - Once you have a grasp on the culture, the next step is to determine what needs to be done. Again, you will have to return to the vision, mission, and goals of your organization and break them down several steps. These steps include how the organization can accomplish these tasks, how individual business units need to operate, and what individual employees need to do in order to accomplish these objectives. Roles, tasks, and performance metrics can then be assigned and delegated to ensure that each team and its members are able to use their domain expertise and talents in order to contribute their share to the whole organizational operations to move your business forward. 

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3. Know what you're good at - Being self-aware is crucial for all business leaders, especially for those who are solopreneurs and small business owners who are very much in both the strategy and tactical parts of their business. For such leaders, delegating tasks can be very challenging as they want to be in every part of their business. However, as your business expands, and even in order for your business to grow, assigning tasks to other team members is a requirement as opposed as a "nice to have". The first step to proper delegation is knowing what you're good at and admitting to where you should bring in someone else. According to Gallup, workers who focus on working with their strengths are six percent more engaged and perform eight times higher than those who do not. Your entire organization can thrive by understanding what you’re good at and leaving some of your other weaknesses to others. 

4. Admit what you don't enjoy doing - In addition to knowing what you're not good at, you should be honest enough to know what you simply don't enjoy doing. Being good at something isn't necessarily related to enjoying doing something. In the early days of entrepreneurship, it often requires us to do things we don't enjoy in order to do what we love. However, once again, our engagement and productivity can be increased by taking on the responsibilities we are both good at and enjoy and assigning the other tasks to those who are better suited to take them on. 

5. Acknowledge what the gaps in you or your team's abilities may be - In addition to knowing what you're good at and motivated by, leaders also need to be able to identify the gaps in their teams. Like previously stated, the organizational performance takes place at the firm-level, unit-level, and employee level. Understanding the strengthens and weaknesses at each level allows you to do a number of things. First, at the firm-level, you can identify what the entire business performs well in and what doesn't. Another benefit is the ability to see what business units and teams should be created, improved on, and dissolved based on seeing their performance. 

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6. Building your recruiting processes - Once you have decided what your organization needs in terms of talent, knowledge, and functionality it’s time to build out your recruiting process. This includes your employer branding and how you stand out as an employer of choice in a competitive candidate market, the experience you want each and every potential employee to have while going through the interview stages, how you find and reach out to candidates and more. Strong recruiting processes allow an organization to be able to find the best candidates, retain them through the different stages of the interview process, ensure that your organization selects the best talent for the role, and make them more likely to accept an offer at the end of the process if they make it there. 

7. Continue to develop your internal talent - Finding the right people is only the beginning of building a strong team. In addition to hiring people who fill in the gaps in organizational knowledge, skills, and talent, firms must also invest in their current workforce on an on-going basis. This ensures that the team is up-to-date with industry trends, best practices, and the latest innovative approaches to complete both their present workload more effectively but to also have them prepare to step into larger roles in the future. 

8. Motivate and retain your current workforce - No matter how much effort and success a leader can have in assembling a great team, it doesn't mean anything if they are not motivated or fail to commit to the organization on a long-term basis. Leaders must understand what drives their employees to both stays on task and go above and beyond for the business as well as their clients. Providing meaningful work, competitive compensation packages, clear guidelines for conflict resolution, and more can help leaders unlock their employee's full potential for the long-run and keep their overall organizational performance consistently high. 

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Regardless of the size of your organization, building strong teams is a challenging process. However, it can become much easier by enlisting the help of experts. Set up a consultation with us at The Vieras to see how we can help you with your human resource needs to help improve and strengthen your teams. 

Why Rebranding Can Save Your Company

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Your company’s brand presence is what sets you aside in the pool of your industry and of the planet. It’s the message that everyone remembers. Your company is your location or product but your brand is your stamp, an imprint of your mission. Rebranding in the right moment can be pivotal for your long-term success; ignoring when it’s time to shake things up can really turn your light off.

The Importance of Branding

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Imagine your dream consumer, where they live, what they eat, the kind of media they are into, even where they like to take their spin classes. Now imagine that person in 10 years - different, right? Even a year’s time can change a person dramatically. This means they’ll have different needs and characteristics and you’ll need to change with them or you’ll be talking to an empty room. People change, move, grow and how you communicate your brand to them must fit these new boxes. Every big box company we know, like Pepsi and Subway, have undergone major makeovers to adjust to the times. That can mean refined logos, contemporary font types, new brand color stories and more.

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When is The Right Time to Rebrand?

The right time to rebrand depends on what cycle your product or service type is in, or perhaps after you’ve already established yourself but are no longer playing in the realm of relevance. For example, if you’re launching a new product line or discontinuing a service or department, it’s the perfect time to reintroduce the value your company brings to the table. Catching this window of opportunity will strengthen the confidence of your consumer and allow you to reach a crowd of new ones, as well.

What Do You Need?

Think about what the defining factors of your brand consist of - a logo, a color palette and marketing materials tie it all together. First, your logo - how old is it? Is it still eye-catching? Does it stand out next to newer brands? Is the font type relevant? Your logo is the semi-permanent, initial visual that anyone who comes into contact with your company walks away with. It is a lasting impression and how you are instantly recognizable anywhere (Big Yellow Arches, anyone?).

Next, your brand colors are as important as the visuals you present to your audience. Colors create emotional reactions through our subconscious, therefore using the right colors will communicate what you desire to say without using words. After both of these aspects are tucked away, create, create, create. This is the chance for your mission to be reborn, so go the extra mile. Create new marketing materials, business cards, brochures, banners, both physically and digitally. Think of this transition as a makeover, where you’re reaffirming not only your company purpose but your confidence in making a difference to everyone you serve.

*We do not own any rights to this video*

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Summer's Exit & How To Plan For Q4

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Summertime is such a favorite season for so many of us; it's the time to catch up with our families and wind down from the year's momentum. It's the ideal entry to what we know in the business world as QUARTER 4. It's those last three months of the year that we're going into full gear getting ready to close it with a bang. Ideally, companies should plan each quarter to achieve objectives that align with their annual goals and the last one is so important because it's the home stretch to make the magic happen. That’s a lot of goals, a lot of alignment and a lot of planning to make it all work. But when everything comes together, and every decision is made with the end goal in mind, that said magic really does happen. The first step is to go in and evaluate all the fun you and your team have had in the past months leading up to now.

Prioritize

Using the past quarters as a guide, start planning the upcoming one by determining which goals will take priority and will make the biggest impression. This can be done as a companywide or an executive-team exercise -- whichever fits the company size and culture. We do suggest including all key players make the dials spin be included so the brainstorming process reaches all levels.

Make a collective list of everything the company should work to achieve by the end of the year. Then, go through the list and organize these objectives as first, second or third priorities and even go so far as to assign specific teams or departments to each set of tasks. Accountability will help achieve realistic and measurable results. This person or group is responsible for accomplishing that task or objective by the end of the next quarter.

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Establish Accountability

To hold each "goal owner" accountable, create a weekly or bi-weekly breakdown of how his or her goal will be achieved. For example, say "John" is assigned to prioritize closing 50 new deals during Q4. Make goals that are clear and attainable but non-negotiable. Also, create a system to communicate progress and any delays. Our team uses Slack & Monday to create boards dedicated to specific projects where our team can stay updated and connected throughout our goal-seeking.

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Communicate

Hold a weekly meeting with your team members to review the progress of their priorities. Make a visual chart that shows the completion percentage and set up a happy dance for when goals are met. In this way, everything will be clear so everyone will understand the progress that's been made toward those goals. Early warning signs and red flags will be evident from a mile away, while there is still time to fix them. Communication really is key.

 The chart you prepare will also help team members to cheer one another on to reach their goals; that happy dance will start anytime now. Use this chart to show the connection of these priorities to the company’s larger goals, to remind everyone what they’re working toward. All success is always a collective effort.

 Prepping for the end of year efficiently is key to bringing all your hard work from the past year into full fruition. Chat to one of our admins to see where we can pick up any slack to get ready for a strong next quarter.


#TheHelpYouNeed

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How To Keep It Cool During Slow Season

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here comes a time of year when things inevitably slow down, and it's the perfect opportunity to get creative with your catch-up tactics. Slow seasons serve the purpose of reevaluating your goals, implementing a growth plan, and winding up miscellaneous tasks that help the back end of your business. Catching up with office chores, working on your client strategy or upgrading any out-dated software or equipment are all things that, while minor, add up to a lot of staff-hours, especially if you're the only staff.

It's time to get C R E A T I V E.

Here are some areas to focus on when your clients are at the beach:

Organize your Office

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Feng Shui is a real thing - arranging your workspace to align to the right energy can amplify your productivity. Cleaning off your desk space, rearranging furniture, getting your shredding done, all contribute to a more efficient day. Down season is the time to reassess your space and its function. Simple wins like clearing your desk of miscellaneous paperwork, receipt piles, and un-filed invoices can make a huge difference when sitting down to get to work.

Tailor your Email Inbox

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Our inboxes set the beat for our work days. Creating categorized folders by type, name and task so that your messages are intentionally sorted will set you up for easy filling when business does pick up. If important messages fall through the cracks, this is your time to follow up with those contacts. On that note, email funnels ensure automatic filling and responses, which equal automatic action. This is your time to create email systems that work for your needs. Delete miscellaneous messages and follow up on any flagged messages from the past.

Follow Up on Pending & Flat Leads

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Create a fresh template and reach out to any prospective leads that have been on your radar. It may be a slow season but everybody is still actively planning for next quarter so why not get a jump on a pitch now? It’s the ideal opportunity to have the conversation about new packages, service plans, and strategies.

Strategize, Strategize, Strategize

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This is the time when pressure is low, so creativity within your team can really be embraced and cruise at full throttle. Meet with your team for a free-flowing, lightly-structured jam session to generate feedback and fresh ideas about client management, systems, and future projects on the horizon. Your team is on the ground making the wheels turn every day, and this is your chance to hear their direct input on areas of opportunity and observations from a different perspective.

Slow season doesn't have to be a bummer, not even a little bit! Stay busy by spending some energy in the areas of your business that aren't the prettiest, most prominent, or fast-paced, and it will pay off down the road.

Doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment.
― Oprah Winfrey

#TheHelpYouNeed

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Goal-setting Like A Boss

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Although 2019 is well underway, setting goals is important in starting a fresh week, month, or quarter. It’s also where you get to have some fun on illustrating your future by bringing in your biggest dreams of progress. Planning for your business is especially fun because you can fulfill your vision and cater to an audience at the same time. Goals facilitate progress and progress changes the game.

1) Get Creative

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Think of what is on your vision board, Your wildest biz-related dreams! A lavish team building trip at the beach! A fancy new marketing campaign! Contemporary new packaging! How about a yoga corner in the office? All of your craziest desires can come true with proper planning, that's why this step is so vital in your journey to goal-setting efficiency. What are some big changes, moves, and materials that can take your business to the next level? Think about opportunities in any departments that will facilitate reaching heights in this upcoming year. Dig deep, put them out into the universe and bring them to fruition with the following steps.

2) Plan by Period

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Break your goals down to a timeline. Evaluate what your cycle is, whether weekly, monthly, or quarterly, and assign actions to deadlines. Align these actions to specific weeks and months, create deadlines that are actionable, achievable, and assigned to appropriate people. This will also create accountability. Accountability is necessary in creating these shifts. This is the perfect technique to really make a difference and create sustainable change. Design this calendar around special events, product/service launches, or national holidays. For example, dropping a collection of novelty tees just in time for a big movie launch.

Chance caters to a prepared mind. - Louis Pastuer

3) Give Yourself a Timeline But  Also Some Credit

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Get focal and intentional with your deadlines, so they work as your checkpoints. They are clear indications of where you've gone and where you need to be to reach your goals. Don't beat yourself up if you miss one or two of these dates. These are meant to keep you motivated and on track, not to enable self-sabotage of your grind. Life happens and even though business IS business, you're still human and can't have control of everything. Take some time to acknowledge your progress, you've made it this far and you deserve a little victory dance. It will keep your engine fired, we promise.

4) Make Lists

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Lists are the ingredients to your perfect soup! They're the pieces to the puzzle to lead you into the next step. Each list should be curated from top priority to the least and based off of your personalized timeline. Place them in places you'll be able to revisit often. Your IPhone notes or wallpaper, Post-Its in your workspace, above your mirror or car dashboard. Do whatever makes it easy to check-in and check off as your #goalslaying

5) Pat Yourself on The Back

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Lists are the ingredients to your perfect soup! They're the pieces to the puzzle to lead you into the next step. Each list should be curated from top priority to the least and based on your personalized timeline. Put them in places you'll be able to revisit often like your IPhone notes or wallpaper, Post-Its in your workspace, above your mirror or car dashboard. Do whatever makes it easy to check-in and check off as you’re #goalslaying

#TheHelpYouNeed

Stay tuned for our live broadcast on How To Goal Set Like a Boss on our Facebook page.

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Your Tax Season Checklist

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Itemize, Itemize, Itemize

Numbers can be overwhelming, especially when it comes down to the details of tax matters. We say start small step by step, topic by topic, department by department. Begin by separating documents and receipts according to each specific area of your business. For example, office Supplies or payroll. Make a folder for each, label it by name, then file in alphabetical order.

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Account for All Technology & Software Purchases

Businesses of all sizes need to be updated on their technology, it's a way to run your business smoother and serve your clientele better. Under Section 179 of the tax code, equipment expenses such as computers, printers, and even company vehicles are tax-deductible. These are the items that help your operation succeed. Maximize those investments by deducting everything possible.

 

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Include Office & Staff Expenses

Subscriptions to business-related websites and magazines are fully deductible. Combined with the conference deductions (discussed below), staying informed in your industry is essential to staying on top of the game.

Receipts Are Your Friends

They pile up fast and they're easy to lose but their value is golden when accounting for your spending. Because they are usually itemized, dated and stamped, they’re the fool-proof way to keep track of where your money is going. It's hard to keep track of these pesky little pieces of information and filing can be kind of an ancient practice. Using apps like Expensify and Recieptmate are great for going digital. Also, in case of being audited, these will serve you well.

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Team Up With An Expert

Taxes are a complex topic because they are designed to place a carbon mark on your business and its spending. Get someone on board like an accountant, lawyer or consultant that specializes in accounting for all your spending, getting the best bang for your buck and organizing your files efficiently.

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As always with finances, especially taxes, it’s important to keep your receipts and details about the reason for purchases. While doing this for every purchase may seem over-the-top, it’s easy once you get into the habit of it. It will also save you a lot of grief if you get audited, and it will help you keep peace of mind that your finances aren’t going to get your business in trouble.

Filing for your business may be a new practice but as long as you stay organized and clear, it'll be a breeze to get through. Have any other questions? Feel free to chat with us, live!


#TheHelpYouNeed

 

 

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Get Ready For Your Best Year Yet

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Don't Ask Permission, Give Notice - Lisa Nichols

2018 has come to a close and it's time to evaluate where you're standing both personally and professionally. Planning effectively is essential in reaching goals small or large, and aside from that - being aware of the progress you've made is good for the soul. Set yourself up for next year, it's yours!

Clean Up Your Email Inbox

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With newsletters, promo codes, flash sales, new software assignments (the list goes on and on) incoming, they can take up space in your inbox. Think of your inbox as your desk or your mailbox at home; ignoring it can get out of control quickly. Clearing out all those useless emails takes time though, and who has endless amount of that? We hear you. This is the perfect time to clear out your notifications and get rid of any junk in there. Apps like Hop and CloudMagic can help you save, delete or archive messages. You need the space for all the great stuff coming in this year.

Clean Up Your Desk

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This is your domain of productivity, progress and magic, make space for it. Pull out your shredder, you Post-Its, and your Evernote app and get to work. Receipts tend to pile up quickly so use Evernote Scanner and take a picture of any important receipts; tag them into a folder and trash the excess. Label several folders and place billing and legal documents accordingly. After making a good amount of room, place items on your desk that can inspire you to keep working towards progress. Motivate for best results.

Make a List of Short & Long-Term Goals

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Breathe. Stretch. Shake

What's next? What goals did you get to this year? Create a list, considering new directions and strategies as well as your past progress. Write down 3 short-term goals that can be time-stamped for 6 months. Tasks like reorganizing your office space, itemizing files, or hiring a new assistant. Long term goals should be able to marinate a little longer, time stamp these at 8 to 12 months. This could range from 1 to 3 key goals that can be transformational to your business. Paint your bigger picture.

Audit Your Team Dynamic

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Take some time to see how your team is doing after everything you've achieved this year. Set up a time to connect, perhaps individually or as departments, and hear any thoughts, concerns or ideas they may have that can improve the flow of next year's workload. Ask questions like what are you most proud of? What would you do differently? Are there any tools you wish you had? This kind of insight can help you implement which leadership tools or resources can be applied to improve efficiency. This kind of communication also makes your team feel appreciated and motivated and therefore, invested.  

Pat Yourself On The Back

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You made it through the wilderness! Another year has gone by and you've conquered it with flying colors. Evaluate what your gains were in these last eleven months, large or small, they're still goals YOU were able to meet. Any win means you're a step closer to reaching your larger picture, so congrats! You are on your way.

Need help getting organized? Consult with us, we'll get you in shape for one heck of a new year.

#TheHelpYouNeed

Images courtesy of  Pexel

Why Outsourcing is a Trend

 

 

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Outsourcing is as cool as the internet in today's business landscape. It's a new, fresh take on company culture, feasibility and growth. Outsourcing is  when you take a department of your infrastructure and hand it to someone else whose goal is dedication to your projected results. It cuts costs on all aspects, including real estate, and is like a day at the spa;  you invest in a specialty and are delivered an experience in each department or role that you outsource. 

Outsourcing is a great option for them to make the work process easier to handle. Those working in a local company may choose to outsource work so that they can continue to focus on the core business processes. - Nimble

So here's why it may really work for you:

Cost 

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Time is money. Spend it where you should and consider where you probably shouldn't. Your company's expenses affect your bottom line considerably, so where can you maximize results the most by giving it some specialized attention? Where your time investment is invested enables that area to grow in a good way due to your nurturing. Cutting costs in areas like office supplies or utilities such as electricity and hardware purchases can make an exponential difference in where your bottom line lies and how high your profit can potentially reach. When hiring a partner to come in with a specialized goal designed around your immediate need, even the electricity bill is easier on the books.

Focus

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A firm specializing in accounting is built around the passion, profit and purpose of financial solutions and that's what you need on your team. An entity that takes your expenses and projections and make sense of them for you, so you can strategize that much more effectively. That's their one and only goal. So not only can you walk with confidence in your journey forward, but you can guarantee your quality to yourself and your team. Quality is provided by clear, direct efforts - so focus on working smarter not just harder.

Goals

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The underlying purpose of any business, brand or resource is to meet and surpass the goals of the client or consumer. Your entire model is made for these landmarks set into place to reach the bigger picture of whom you are serving. You are in business with the full investment of your set of goals, driving to fulfill them and truly make a difference. This affects the future of your employees, target market and even your family. An outsourced agent on your team, will collaborate with you to create timelines, grids and strategies to build the best version of your business because that's what they’re good at.  

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A to B and a bag of #makeyourgoal chips. 

- An #OutsourceProud Corp.

 

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Apps You Need

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Trello:

 Trello is the ultimate project management tool that makes collaboration easy and even fun. This visual list tool can organize work projects, family chores, travel plans, or just about anything else. Create cards for each department and add respective members so anyone at the company can connect with those individuals (far left list). Assign a project owner to each project card and they'll be in charge of updating the card on a regular basis. Alarms and notices can be set to enforce deadlines and monitor progress.  

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Hootsuite:

HootSuite is an amazing platform to keep up all your social media consistent, uniformed and effective. Being able to schedule posts across your chosen social media platforms in advance allows you to efficiently manage and analyze responses, tailor to a theme or incentive and pick specific times for your posts to be published. This in essence, allows you to develop a resourceful strategy and identify the crucial times to post that receive the most interaction. It also has unique analytic options that provide you with an in-depth view of how well your social media strategy is working. Monitor multiple social media streams in one place, schedule posts in advance, profile analytics, managing and responding to customers. It helps you keep track and manage your many social network channels to the T. 

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Google Drive:

Is a file sharing and online storage program engined by our dear Google network. Sync share and store documents, or photos in optimized folders accessible across the all affiliated software. The most basic way to describe Google Drive is that it’s an online file cabinet where you can store documents and other digital files. So Drive is not just a place to store things; it’s also a place to make things including presentations and forms. This means you and your team can use these tools to stay on the same page about any projects inside the same platform, you can also upload and organize straight from any device (including your phone). Every tool in Drive has built-in collaboration tools that allow multiple users to work on the same document, insert comments in the margins, or just let others take a peek at what they are working on. Saves automatically and you can keep buying as much storage as you need.

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Evernote:

 The app really shows its brilliance once you start using it as your default bookmark/webclip app, notetaker, repository of all your reference material, and so on. It’s great to index all the information and have it be searchable across every single platform. During meetings or presentations, opening it up and recording the meeting audio or footnotes, is an awesome incentive. Evernote integrates with just about everything. It has browser extensions that allow you to save a web page—in its entirety—in one click for future reference. Any document can be shared, edited and tweaked by anyone on task on any device. 

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Hours:

Properly keeping track of hours spend by your team or yourself can be a challenge. The lack of, makes it difficult to be able to address concerns about underpayments, invoicing etc. The Hours app makes it quick and easy for employees to record and store the hours they work, plus other information about their statuses. Employees can retrieve this information instantly if an issue about hours-worked and be confident when discussing the issue with their employer or a contractor. Users can export the data via email to save it somewhere securely, share it forward. It uses the phone’s location services and ‘geofencing’ technology to let users set their workplace location and automatically record when they start and finish work, based on their location. Automatic recording won’t work for all job types, such as people working in places with no mobile or Wi-Fi coverage or people who travel a lot for work. Manual recording  is a thing of the past.

Integrating technology efficiently can make the runnings of every project, deadline or incentive easy and efficient. 

Consult with us to find the right fit for your business!

#TheHelpYouNeed

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Viera Admin Solutions LLC. does not own the rights of any of these images. Source: Google.com

Branding 101

‘Your brand is your promise to your customer.
— Entreprenuer.com

Your brand is your company's signature, it's your stamp, your emblem.

It’s made up of everything representative of your business, on both small and large scales. It's your business’s set of standards, its favorite color, its aesthetic and its message to customers, staff and the market. The actual term is very broad, however. Here's where to start:

EXTERIOR:

A branding package consists of:

 

1) A Logo

2) Font Kit

3) Color Kit + Codes

4) Customized Templates

Each of these can go somewhere so you can leave a little bit of your company's breadcrumbs - places like your email signature, stationary, business card, services pamphlet, even pens. Your brand is like your uniform, how do you want to be remembered? Less is more, get to the point and make it personal.

Interior:

Defining your brand is like a journey of business self-discovery. It can be difficult, time-consuming and uncomfortable. It requires answering questions that create a sketch for you to later color in. 

What is your company's mission?

What are the benefits and features of your products or services?

What do your customers and prospects already think of your company?

What qualities do you want them to associate with your company?

In finding these answers you'll open a new door on how to expand your mission in business. How to cater to a specific demographic, how to find them. How to reach out to them best. What makes them tick? You can get down to what their favorite ice cream flavor is so you can go ahead and find the best recipe for that, too. Sound far-fetched? Companies like Coca-Cola and Amazon populate our screens with commercials displaying euphoric lifestyles that most of us only dream of having. What lifestyle is your customer buying into? Once you've had this pow-wow with yourself and your team, you'll create a fool-proof household brand. Your company culture will even be inspired by your new-found knowledge, you'll create a team and environment based off your standards, vision and goals.

Our resources are rock-solid, consult with us to get you on your road to brand success.

#TheHelpYouNeed

Viera Admin Solutions LLC. does not own the rights of any of these images. Source: Pinterest.com

Get Organized: 5 Ways to Get Your Business in Shape

Small businesses can become overwhelming - FAST. Overwhelm can bump you into procrastination nation and the next thing you know, it's tax season and you’re having a mental breakdown. Take some deep breaths and let's do this. The best version of your business awaits.

1. Purge Your Office

Simplicity allows your mind, body and soul to flow, so tailor your space to do just that. Toss any extra clutter like old paperwork, worn-out furniture and dated decor to make way for a fresh perspective. Label all your files, and then organize them alphabetically with a color code to quickly identify different types of files. And never, ever put the word "Misc" on any file -- once you file it, you'll forget what you put in it. If you can say out loud what the file is, you have your label. If it's truly "miscellaneous" you probably don't need it anymore.

2. Plan, Personally

Planning is essential in reaching your goals and potential, personally and professionally. Map out your success using techniques that work for you and your productivity style. Make To Do Lists, spend some time showing some TLC to your calendar and visualize what a perfect day, week or month should look like in your home and business. Figure out what system works best for you and your business.

3. Use the Cloud for Storage

Backing up files, documents and just plain old vital information to the cloud not only frees up space on your hardware, but it keeps all your goodies safe until you need to reference them again. It also keeps them from sitting on a shelf collecting dust or on your desktop taking up valuable real estate.

via Pinterest

via Pinterest

4. Tame Your Inbox

Does your email notification show a ridiculous number due to everyone trying to send you a new printable guide, sales announcement or hot deal to Cabo? Revitalize your inbox to display only the mail you need. Apps like Un.Roll and SaneBox can make the cleaning process straight-forward and manageable. A full inbox can also take up vital space on the devices you'll definitely need down the line.  

5. Digitize Your Books

Get to know our pals Quickbooks, Wave, and Square. They will each become as vital to your team as your receptionist and favorite smart phone app. Quickbooks is the fairy godmother to your bookkeeping needs and financial records. It breaks down your profit and loss statements, provides categorized expense sheets and even does receipt tracking. Wave is a digital haven for compiling information on the day-to-day running of your business and personal finances. You can even invoice clients directly and set up recurring billing. Square is your one-stop shop for processing sales in person or online; you can also send invoices to close the deal easily and effortlessly.

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