Keys to Small Business Innovation

Keys to Small Business Innovation

One of the keys to any successful business, regardless of its size, is innovation. Developing new ideas is the fuel which will keep your business up to date. Innovation will keep operations, products, and services fresh. Adding this fuel will make your business more competitive. According to a study from PwC, an overwhelming 93 percent of business executives believe that “organic growth through innovation will drive the greater proportion of their revenue growth.” But, what exactly is innovation? The answer to this question can and will vary depending on your industry or market. Want to encourage innovation in your small business? Here are a variety of ways to do so:   1. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Keep innovation simple by improving your existing products or services, trying out a new marketing strategy, or finding a supplier that is offering you a better rate. 2. Make innovation a routine. Schedule an hour or so each week to brainstorm and exercise you and your team’s creativity and establish goals that encourage you to improve your business through techniques like mind mapping. 3. Solicit suggestions. Ask or survey your employees, customers, and even vendors or suppliers if they have any suggestions on how you can improve your business. 4. Get your team on-board. Have them involved in the entire innovation process, such as solving problems during a meeting, providing a suggestion box, rewarding them for their ideas that become implemented, and providing creativity or innovation workshops. 5. Invest in innovation. Purchase technology and equipment that can improve your business operations. Also invest in developing new products and services. 6....
Celebrating My 25th Wedding Anniversary

Celebrating My 25th Wedding Anniversary

Today is my final day in the office before heading on a vacation to celebrate my 25th wedding anniversary. I don’t usually write personal information on my blog which is usually dedicated to topics related to entrepreneurship, as well as bookkeeping and payroll tips to help business owners be successful. But since this is such a special occasion, I thought I’d share it with you. As a business owner, I have rarely taken vacations. I may take time off to visit family out of state, but I usually am in touch with my staff and clients by responding to email, or even doing some work remotely with the use of technology. I would usually log into my computer early in the morning and again later at night to handle tasks needing my attention. Because my industry has so many deadlines throughout the weeks and months of the year, it isn’t always easy to get away. But as my staff has grown and become responsible for handling many of these duties, it is giving me the opportunity to free up my schedule. And with this milestone anniversary, I am taking my dream trip! I’ve always wanted to see the Mediterranean and hoped I’d someday get to do a cruise there. And I told my husband we needed to do something nice to celebrate as 25 years together is a huge accomplishment. He has been gone much of the last 2 years as a long-distance truck driver, so it will give us time together while checking out some amazing places in another part of the world. So we are leaving on Tuesday...
Losing One of My Favorite Clients

Losing One of My Favorite Clients

I found out recently that someone I had enjoyed working with had passed away. I’ve written a few blogs about her over the years, and this will be the final one. I met Mrs. P. as I’ve called her in my prior writings in 2008 when she was referred to me by the in-home care company providing service for her husband. At that time, she was 91 and he was 94 and they needed assistance with bill payments and reconciling their accounts. She was losing her vision and it was becoming too difficult for her to manage the finances. I began to assist them with this task, and also began to develop a friendship with her. After her husband passed away, we would chat even more after I completed the work since she didn’t have too many people coming to see her or call on the phone. I learned about trips they’d taken through the years, the loss of both of her children (I can’t imagine losing one child let alone both), and about their love of cars. I’d take her out for frozen yogurt, or to eat at a favorite restaurant. She met my husband and children, and allowed my parents to stay in a room of her home one year when they came to visit. She’d ask how my kids were doing and enjoyed hearing stories of their living abroad in Taiwan. About two years ago, her CPA called me to let me know the estate attorney wanted everything handled by one person, so since I didn’t do taxes, all the bill payments and reconciliations would now...
Firm of the Future Summit

Firm of the Future Summit

A few months ago I wrote a blog about having been chosen as one of the winners of Intuit’s Firm of the Future contest. Those selected would coach with business consultant Ron Baker who specializes in teaching businesses how to move from hourly billing to value-priced services. If you didn’t have the chance to read that blog, you can find it here. The five business owners are located in different parts of the country, so our monthly group coaching is by phone. However, Ron wanted us to have the opportunity to meet and really dive into the information, so a summit was scheduled for us to come together. This was of a great benefit for a few reasons. Coaching calls are usually no more than an hour and a half which doesn’t allow for a lot of information to be shared at once. We usually only cover one or two main ideas. We had the opportunity to meet in person and get to know each other. We don’t have time on calls to talk about ourselves, our businesses, or who we serve. We were able to discuss challenges we are facing or successes we are having. It gave us the chance to support each other through this learning process. We met others who have gone through this change in pricing and are having great success. We heard stories and ideas of how to implement this pricing structure. There were 2 days of intensive learning allowing us to get more information at once rather than a little at a time. Of course, we need time to digest everything we heard, but getting this...
AB&P Sponsors PV HOOPS

AB&P Sponsors PV HOOPS

Many of my readers know how much I love giving back to the community and promoting growth of businesses and organizations. As an entrepreneur, the greatest accomplishment is helping other business owners do what they do best by providing reliable bookkeeping and payroll services–especially when there is a greater cause to support. Eric Hughes of Komodo Cloud has been a customer and friend for many years and I am more than excited to help him in his venture, the PV HOOPS Basketball Club. Headquartered in Rolling Hills, California, PV HOOPS strives to shape the future leaders of our communities by coaching each team member to realize their maximum potential and contribution to the game. I myself have been a sports mom for years and am well acquainted with the demands of running a sports club. Even now, I do my best to help my two kids who are running a soccer program for underprivileged youth in Taiwan. AB&P is proud to sponsor PV HOOPS by providing bookkeeping services for the organization. We hope that by removing the burden of dealing with financial matters, the organization will be more efficient and better able to accomplish their mission of creating an environment where young players learn to work and excel together. To learn more about PV HOOPS, visit www.pvhoops.org....
Thanks to my Team!

Thanks to my Team!

As you may know, I was out of the country this month to visit my daughter who lives in Taiwan. It was the first time I’ve ever really been out of my business. Yes, I’ve taken a trip to visit family, or had a “vacation” periodically, but I’ve never really not done work while I’ve been gone. In the past, I’d log into e-mail each day so if there were issues my staff could send me a note and I could respond. I’d scan through messages to see what needed to be handled so the rest of the day could be dedicated to my family. This time was different. I talked to my staff about how I wanted to spend the time I had with my daughter and experiencing her life. With the 16 hour time difference, the 8 hours my office is open just happen to be the 8 hours that I’d be sleeping, so it wasn’t really conducive to me being able to communicate quickly anyway. I left them with the authority to handle any situation, and only e-mail me if there were something they really were unsure how to handle. I gave my personal e-mail address and checked that each day just in case. Thankfully, there was only 1 thing they needed which was a code Intuit required to verify something through QuickBooks online, and all I had to do was quickly log in, find the code in e-mail and send to my staff. The rest of the time I was gone (2 1/2 weeks) I was not reading e-mails, writing blogs, doing client work or...

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