Most individuals and business owners are quite familiar with the usual services that an accountant can provide – tax preparation, audits, and standard bookkeeping services. What you might not already understand are some of the ways that an accountant can help you before you’re in a position of needing help for stressful or negative reasons.
Trusted Partnership Accounting is a complex language of business, and an accountant is much like an expert “translator” in the business world. They serve the role as a trusted partner - able to assist in a variety of ways including bookkeeping, tax, audit, financial reporting, consulting, etc. The best accountants will be your biggest cheerleader, maintain your best interests, and develop a long-lasting relationship with you and/or your business.
Strategic Growth If you’re a new business owner, consulting with an accounting professional can allow you to focus on your strengths, while they focus on the accounting. Outsourcing the CFO or Controller-level of work or hiring an accountant allows you more free time to focus on other business-related matters. Although hiring an accountant can be costly, the cost is an investment into the success of your business. Engaging an accountant provides valuable insight into the most efficient ways to boost income while driving down costs.
Tax Preparation For most, the mention of taxes seems daunting. Most public accountants provide tax services like tax/estate planning, tax filing, and of course, tax return preparation. Tax accountants keep up with the ever-changing tax laws to provide deduction maximization and search for additional tax benefits when applicable, knowing for certain that you have the support of an expert well-versed in the laws.
Personal Investing Whether you’re a first time or experienced investor, an investment accountant can aid in managing your investment portfolio. Examples of an investment accountant’s specialized work include staying current with regulations for reporting/management purposes, as well as tracking your returns on investments. Hiring an accountant can help individuals to get more ‘bang’ for their buck.
External Auditing External auditors give your financial statements an extra boost in quality and credibility. An audit will essentially measure the health of your business for internal and/or external use. External auditors will work with you and your financials to detect possible areas of weakness and areas for improvement in your business practices. Contrary to common auditor stereotypes, auditors want to see your business succeed by providing reasonable assurance that fraud is being prevented and government compliance is being followed in the world of business. They are not to be feared!
Jordan Poore Staff Accountant The Doty Group, P.S.
EVENT MARKETING STRATEGIES Whether your next event is a fundraiser or a friend-raiser, developing an event marketing plan is key to making it a success. Every possible opportunity to connect with your guests needs to be considered. Today’s customers are more empowered than ever, and there are so many variables when it comes to events. There is no one-size-fits-all approach; however, whether your objective is to generate leads, build a brand, educate the audience on a product, or raise funds for a good cause, there are proven event marketing tactics for all stages of the event that will make yours stand out.
Before the Event Let’s start with the basics: the invite list, the save-the-date, the invitation and RSVP’s. Event marketing is dual purpose when it comes to the planning stages. It’s great advertising to invite people to events; events expose people to your brand and gets them interested, talking and sharing about it. At the same time, being on top of tracking registrations helps you plan for the number of guests. Using a software program that tracks attendees and handles ticket sales is a must. There are many low-cost cloud-based options out there, and a lot of them have built-in integration to connect with your email marketing and social media marketing.
Depending on the event and target market, invitations and RSVP’s may be physical paper mailers or online registrations. Many times, the sweet spot of an event is a combination of both. If physical marketing pieces are being sent out, this will be one of your higher event marketing expenses unless you are able to print in-house. In order to get the most bang for your buck, make sure your team is organizing the mail data. When there’s no link to click, tracking data can be tricky. Some trusted ways to capture response rates from physical marketing pieces are by printing a unique phone number or email address for the event. If applicable, include a coupon, raffle ticket or contest entry that you can collect at the event. Making these strategic event marketing choices can save you time and money for next time, showing you what’s really working to bring in guests.
If you have an email list, now’s the time to put it to use. Just like traditional mail, save-the-dates should be sent out months in advance, followed by an official invitation. Reminders for registering should be sent out on a weekly basis, then some final notices 2-days and 1-day before the event. Find creative ways to switch up the emails each time so they aren’t repetitive. If there are guest speakers, add content with their biographies. If there’s a key topic for the event, include different photos and videos in each email. Answer frequently asked questions and provide new tidbits of information. You’ll get a better turnout by communicating with your audience early and often leading up to the event.
Another approach to event marketing is taking advantage of local press. Almost every newspaper or city-based website has an event calendar, and most are free to post event listings on. This works best for in-person events, but also has great SEO value by providing a lot of external links to your website. Keep a list of local journalists and send a press release to them. If a member of the press responds with interest in your event, offer them a free invite. Keep a list online calendars, their login information, and posting deadlines.
It may seem like advertising and marketing are two concepts that share exactly the same objective. In fact, they do have the same objective: alerting consumers to products and services being sold. Marketing and advertising have many things in common, but there are some differences.
Comprehension of these differences and similarities will help any business or organization with their strategy for customer and audience acquisition.
Marketing Marketing is a process that involves design, creation, research, and data mining about how to best align the idea of a product or service with the target audience. This gives the company top-of-mind awareness and name recognition. Marketing can be expensive but really should come first.
How Do You Market? Marketing involves research and analysis. This involves studying audience response and creating language and design that will best influence your target audience. Certain groups of consumers respond better to images and words than others. Slogans and mission statements that best communicate the “message” of the product are essential to marketing. Marketing strategy can be broken down into the 5 P’s: product, place, price people and promotion.
What Is Advertising? Advertising is the literal process of making a product and service known to an audience. It is the description used to present the product, idea or service to the world. This generally entails advertising campaigns in the media. An advertising campaign uses creative positioning in the media. Advertising must be timely and used in a specifically strategic way. It should always have a call to action.
Understanding the differences between marketing and advertising helps companies maximize their budgets, teams, and market reach. But you aren’t in it alone—contact MadCap Marketing to utilize our marketing and advertising experience.
The more we use our computers, the more data we create. The more data we create, the less paperwork we have filling up filing cabinets and desk drawers. Unfortunately your data could be at risk from hard drive failures, damaged or stolen equipment, or even user error. This lost data can mean thousands of dollars of lost revenues or even fines if the data contains sensitive information. So, what are the advantages to having a managed cloud backup service?
Eliminate manual and complex backup tasks Internal manual backups are becoming more complicated and difficult. Multiple technology platforms, amount of data, and the time necessary to complete this task can stretch a small IT staff thin. However, with a managed backup service, you can set it up once and let it go. This allows your staff to work on tasks that have a greater impact on the growth of your business.
Budgeting and cost prediction becomes easier It can be difficult to budget for software licenses for your servers, replacement hardware, maintenance, or the media on which the backups are stored when you manage your backups internally. With cloud backup services, the cost is the same each month.
Reliable and fast data recovery Do you test your internal backups? Do you know if you can fully recover your data? What if a tornado hits your building tonight, will you be able to get your staff back to work quickly? Managed cloud backup services automatically transmit changes to files and databases to a secure, off-site facility for backup. Some solutions can capture changes in open files and databases without upsetting your workflow. Being able to quickly recover your data will allow your employees to get back to work faster after a potential disaster. Once your data is stored in the cloud, it can be recovered where and whenever it is needed.
Easily scalable Your company’s storage needs will grow as your business grows. With a manual backup process, you will need to increase storage space and, potentially, add more servers as your needs expand. With managed backups, server and data sprawl are no longer an issue and there is no need to add additional equipment or software.
Share large files and documents via email Some email systems do not allow you to send large attachments. However, a managed cloud backup service, can allow you to create a link to the document that you want to share. You can paste the link into your email message and the recipient uses the link to download the file. This completely bypasses the attachment size limits.
Accessibility By storing your documents in the cloud, you gain the ability of accessing them from anywhere. Therefore, you will be able to view your files with a smart phone, tablet, laptop, or even a home computer if you have access to the internet and a web browser.
Starting and growing a small business in is not an easy task. As a lender dedicated to helping small businesses it is absolutely humbling to hear stories about how people have sacrificed in order to achieve their dream of owning a small business. Whether it is a retail store, new service business or manufacturing a product, each business has its unique challenges. As most business owners know, the #1 issue small businesses face is getting access to capital.
In the United States, we have an amazing government program called The SBA (U.S. Small Business Administration) The SBA works with banks in order to provide a loan guarantee to assist banks in making certain loans to small businesses when businesses do not qualify conventionally. The SBA does not directly lend money to business owners, the SBA partners with the bank to do so.
There are two main SBA lending programs.
SBA 7(a) – This program allows small businesses to finance inventory, working capital, vehicle and equipment purchases, business acquisitions and more. An average SBA 7(a) loan term (that doesn’t rely on real estate) are up to a 10 year term with market rates typically in the 5-9% range. SBA 7(a) can also be used for real estate with terms up to 25 years.
For borrowers who are seeking loans under $350,000, the SBA has the SBA Small Loan and SBA Express program that has increased overall efficiency with less paperwork the borrower needs to fill out and quicker turnaround times. With an average 7(a) loan amount around $350,000 this small loan program can really assist businesses get capital that they need quickly.
SBA 504 - This program is great for business owners looking to purchase large equipment or owner-occupied commercial real estate. An average SBA 504 Loan allows the borrower to have as low as a 10% down payment which keeps more capital in the business. The SBA lender then provides the funding for 50% of the loan and a Certified Development Company (aka the SBA portion) finances 40%. The best part of this program is that the SBA/CDC portion of the loan typically has a 10 or 20 year fixed interest rate. When applying for SBA loans, banks still look for the 5 c’s of credit:
Character -Having good credit personally and for the business will always be a big deciding factor in getting a loan. It is important to check your personal credit free each year at annualcreditreport.com.
Capacity – Be able to show you have a financial plan or historical proof on how you plan to pay back the loan. Having multiple sources of repayment is always a plus.
Capital – Lenders will always look to see how much cash or equity you put into the project. There are very few 100% lending programs for businesses available.
Collateral – Even though the SBA can be flexible with collateral, having some collateral is still required.
Conditions – How you are going to use the loan funds is also important. Make sure you have a solid budget and business plan.
1. O.M.G. One Main Goal Set one simple goal for yourself before each meeting, event or conversation with a prospective business partner. “Meet two people that also manufacture widgets and see what makes each one unique”
2. M.M.M. Meet Mingle Memorize When entering a room make sure to smile and make eye contact with people. Be courteous to those who may be greeting you. People tend to watch doorways to see who is entering. You don’t want their first impression of you to be bad. A huge part of successful networking is managing your actions and expressions. It is also important to not become so involved in a conversation that you do not have time to meet someone new. Take a mental note of the key points of the conversation or something special about the person you spoke with.
3. W.H.A.T. What is your Industry, Hobbies, All about them a little about you, Tell me more… The best questions are ones that are not a simple yes or no. “Who’s your ideal prospect?” “What is your greatest accomplishment this year?” “What do you do in your free time?” Not all conversations need to lead to a sale. Building a connection with someone that has similar interest can lead to stronger connections that are not just sales based.
4. V.A.L.U.E. Volunteer, Align, Listen, Understand, Engage Add value to all relationships. Give freely of your time, connections, knowledge, etc. and expect nothing in return. What are you amazing at that they may need help with? Who do you know that can help solve their problems? Be known as a resource and surround yourself with people who are valued resources as well.
5. T.H.E.M. Their Method Every Message There is nothing worse than the promise of a follow up that never happens. Set a realistic expectation and keep true to your word. Set aside time each week on your calendar to follow up with people you just met and to foster the relationships you already have. It is imperative to ask for their preferred contact method: email, mail, text, fax, LinkedIn, cell or office. Adapt to their preference, it’s about them and not you. When connecting make sure you send a message about a conversation that you would like to continue or why you want to connect. Follow up regularly so that you don’t become forgotten.
Most Importantly: Be yourself. Be bold. Be Daring. The worst that will happen is that one person may dislike you but ten others will adore you. Build your own tribe. Surround yourself with people you adore. It makes work so much better. If we all drank tea there would be no Tequila.
AUTHOR INFORMATION: Stephen Harrington Personal Lines Director Cross Insurance Agency
Boat tour at the Manufacturing Industrial Council Kick-Off Event Photo credit: Port of Tacoma
Last Tuesday November 13, Tacoma City Council voted to renew the existing Tideflats Interim Regulations as-is with no amendments, which is a big WIN for industrial lands in Tacoma and will allow continued growth and investment from our existing businesses.
The amendments would have effectively halted growth of industrial businesses for the next 2-4 years, and we appreciate the Mayor and council members who voted 6-3 opposing both amendments. Our message was loud and clear – businesses need certainty and predictability to invest, and Tacoma needs the living wage jobs that the manufacturing, industrial and maritime sectors provide.
This was a group effort, and it was gratifying to see the level of cooperation between many industries and partners who spoke up in support of safeguarding and improving people’s lives, creating a sustainable environment, and providing the family wage jobs that anchor our state and local economy. This resolution represents the sort of compromise and cooperation that we hope to see moving forward into the Tideflats Subarea Plan. The intergovernmental agreement was signed by all 3 parties on 11/15/18, which is the official start of the Subarea Plan. We look forward to collaborating in a meaningful way while having in-depth conversations about the future of our industrial and port maritime lands. A big thank you to everyone who spoke up, sent letters and advocated for keeping our industrial lands industrial. We need your voices so that the vocal minority doesn’t win.
Mitch Lowe speaking 'in the round' at this year's South Sound Summit
The South Sound Summit (S3) began last year as the Chamber’s reimagined Annual Meeting. Our Board of Directors, in conjunction with the Chamber’s 2021 Strategic Plan, had a vision to move away from the traditional annual meeting luncheon by creating a forward-thinking, interactive event where the best and brightest innovators, entrepreneurs, and thought leaders could gather to speak about how to advance business in the South Sound, providing more value to sponsors, speakers, and guests.
This year we saw over 500 attendees join us at the Greater Tacoma Convention for a half day conference.
The event kicked off with Chamber President & CEO Tom Pierson discussing some of the Chamber wins from our 2018 fiscal year including the launch of the Manufacturing Industrial Council, the Chamber’s #NoHeadTax video in response to Seattle City Council, and Sue’s Tech Kitchen. Sue’s Tech Kitchen was a travelling interactive STEM-fueled adventure aimed at getting youth, especially young girls, involved in TECH and STEM. Sue’s was the passion project of Randi Zuckerberg, who was our keynote at last year’s South Sound Summit. Tacoma was the only location selected on the West Coast to host Sue’s (beating out Seattle and San Francisco) and that conversation began because of Randi visiting Tacoma for S3.
That’s what South Sound Summit is all about. Starting conversations, inspiring, engaging, connecting, and collaborating, to make the South Sound the best place to do business in Washington State.
After the 15-minute opening, guests were able to customize their experience.
In the main ballroom, attendees heard lightning talks called, “Influencers of the South Sound.” These 15-minute TED-type talks saw our region’s visionaries share their ideas and expertise on how to elevate the South Sound community. The speakers included Dr. Ali Modarres, T’wina Nobles, and Congressman Derek Kilmer (visit www.southsoundsummit.com for the full lineup).
Alternatively, some guests chose to attend breakout sessions known as “Tactical Business Solutions,” where topics including HR, marketing, and tech, were designed to provide practical business applications.
Keynote Speaker was Mitch Lowe, co-founder of Netflix and MoviePass CEO. Mitch spoke about disrupting the market; if you are not innovating and staying ahead of your competition, you will get left behind.
Throughout the day guests were able to stop by over 40 business expo booths to connect with other businesses. The evening wrapped up with an “Elevation Celebration” with cocktails and hors oeuvres set against the biz expo backdrop.
BUSINESSES TO REACH NEW HEIGHTS AT SOUTH SOUND SUMMIT
TACOMA, Wash. – The Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber will host its 2nd annual South Sound Summit on Tuesday, October 30th, 2018 at the Greater Tacoma Convention Center. This half-day conference has all the components needed to advance South Sound business.
The program will kick off with an address by Chamber President & CEO Tom Pierson highlighting the Chamber’s accomplishments this year and vision for the future.
Attendees will convene in the round to hear the keynote presentation by top business speaker and entertainment industry visionary Mitch Lowe, CEO of MoviePass and Co-Founding Executive of Netflix. Lowe will share his experience from working with successful startups like Netflix, Redbox, and MoviePass to teach entrepreneurs how to simplify their business and to create a winning culture.
The evening will conclude with an elevation celebration - where cocktail party meets business expo. Attendees will be able to connect and meet future business partners in a relaxed environment.