6 Personal Money Management Tips for Small Business Owners

As a small business owner, you know that managing your expenses is essential. Check out these six personal money management tips that you can put into action today.

As a small business owner, you know that managing your expenses is essential – every dollar you save is one more you can put toward the bottom line. If you don’t treat your personal finances like a business too, though, you could bring a host of problems on yourself. Check out these six personal money management tips that small business owners can put into action today.

1. Budget Your Personal Finances
Set up an Excel spreadsheet or use a free online resource like Mint to create a budget. List out all your monthly expenses, weigh them against your income, and set about getting your spending under what you’re bringing in.

2. Eliminate Credit Card Debt
Long-term credit card debt is the nemesis of many budgets. Total up all your balances, achieve a budget surplus through your cuts, and pay them down until they’re gone for good. Whether it takes you three months or three years, making an impact and sticking to it means moving in a positive direction.

3. Take Advantage of Coupons and Deals
Use grocery coupons, both from the Sunday paper and mobile apps like Grocery Pal and Saving Star. Check out websites like SlickDeals and FatWallet for deals on general purchases. Just make sure you truly need an item before you pull the trigger. If it’s for a food product you don’t normally eat or an electronic upgrade you don’t need, keep your money in your wallet.

4. Shop Online
Many retailer websites offer better pricing than they do in-store, so go online before heading out. Sign up for email newsletter updates to keep abreast of offers and cross-check prices for any purchase you’re considering on eBay or Amazon.

5. Cut Back on Personal Purchases
Avoid that fancy dinner, skip the upgrades on your TV and mobile device, and spend your vacation time at home. Your current wardrobe ought to serve you perfectly well, too. Forget about keeping up with the Joneses and leave the plastic in your pocket.

6. Automate Retirement Savings
Even though you probably don’t have access to a 401k plan, that doesn’t mean you can’t automate contributions to your IRA. Have your bank direct a preset amount to your retirement accounts, preferably at the beginning of each month. By getting your savings out of the way first, you can spend with a lot more freedom.

If you saved $1,000 on a business expense you would likely put it toward whatever area of your venture needed the most help – marketing or staffing, for example. Take the same approach with your personal savings. Invest them in your emergency fund if you have less than six months’ worth of living expenses, or direct them to a college fund for the kids. If those are not issues, boost your retirement investments and you just might be able to hang it up early. Managing your personal finances as a small business owner is important, but capitalizing on the fruit of those efforts is even better.

What ways can you think of for small business owners to better manage their money?

Image via Flickr

Paperless Small Business Accounting with Shoeboxed & Bench

In this User Success Story, you’ll meet Ryan and Carlos, two guys who run their own web development and business consulting company. Read on to find out how they use Shoeboxed and Bench together for a completely paperless small business accounting solution!

With Shoeboxed, there has never been one “best” way to use our service to stay organized. And after processing over a billion dollars of expense data since 2007, we say that from years of firsthand experience!

Shoeboxed takes enormous pride in serving clients from around the country and across the globe, all of whom use our service in a myriad of ways to fulfill a whole host of organizational needs in both their personal and professional lives.

It’s a super simple and super streamlined way to manage our finances. The Shoeboxed + Bench collaboration is a beautiful example of our own software and workflow philosophy: separate simple, yet powerful tools working together to create an exponentially more powerful solution!

-Ryan & Carlos of ryanandcarlos.com

CarlosIntroducing: Ryan and Carlos

Profession: Business Consultants & Web Developers

Location: New York City

ryanWebsite: ryanandcarlos.com

Shoeboxed: Thanks for taking the time to chat with us, Ryan and Carlos! Let’s start with you telling us a little about yourselves and your business. How did you get started?

Ryan & Carlos: We were both computer science graduates and working as software engineers when we decided to join forces and utilize our skills to help business owners and entrepreneurs use software to improve their businesses. We have known each other for years, and living amidst NYC’s thriving business and technology community, we knew that there were plenty of people who could make use of our shared expertise. So, at the end of 2010 we started our own company and have been helping others build theirs ever since!

SBX: That’s awesome! Congratulations on taking the plunge and starting your own business. So far, what is your favorite part of your job?

R&C: By far, the best part of the job is the variety of projects and the diversity of people that we get to work with. Every person and every business utilizes technology in a different way, and figuring out how best to help him/her keeps things exciting. Some days we are giving advice to an early-stage startup, other days we are designing and building a software solution for an investment firm. Making sure that we are best serving the needs of our clients can be tricky, but it’s definitely rewarding when we succeed in the end!

SBX: Being customer-centric certainly makes for a successful business, and so does having a solid small business accounting solution in place. Can you tell us a bit about how you use Shoeboxed and Bench to manage your business?

R&C: Shoeboxed and Bench are great tools on their own, but even better in tandem. We are able to scan my receipts, deposit slips, and bank statements directly into Shoeboxed, and our “bookkeeper-in-the-cloud” Luke over at Bench receives them right away after they’ve been processed. He uses those documents to update our financial records, and we are able to see an image of the relevant document alongside each transaction he enters.

It’s a super simple and super streamlined way to manage our finances. The Shoeboxed + Bench collaboration is a beautiful example of our own software and workflow philosophy: separate simple, yet powerful tools working together to create an exponentially more powerful solution!

SBX: That’s quite a rave review, guys — thanks! We’re honored to be a part of your paperless accounting workflow. So, how did you handle your bookkeeping before you started using Shoeboxed and Bench?

R&C: Being a company that builds technology for a living, we were naturally inclined to find a digital way to store our paper receipts and documents. We did not have to look any further than Shoeboxed, as it fit what we were looking for 100%. Despite having our receipt tracking in order, we struggled early on finding an adequate bookkeeping process. In the beginning, we did all the bookkeeping ourselves. This took us hours per week inputting transactions, categorizing them, making sure we didn’t miss anything.

Bench was a perfect fit because it allowed us to delegate this work to a more qualified person and freed us both up to focus on the business itself. Shoeboxed + Bench do for us what all great software solutions should do for any business: help us save time and money!

SBX: We’re so glad to hear that! That’s exactly what we aim to do: save our customers time and money so they can focus on doing what they love. Can you tell us a little bit about the features of Shoeboxed you use?

R&C: We use Shoeboxed to scan and store all of our receipts for tax purposes. At tax time, we print out expense reports and hand them over to our accountant, who is quite happy to receive a nicely formatted report instead of a folder filled with paper receipts. We’re meticulous with every aspect of our business and Shoeboxed helps us keep up that trend!

SBX: Awesome. Have you found any other benefits of using Shoeboxed and Bench together?

R&C: Absolutely! Shoeboxed + Bench has saved us hours upon hours of time each week, and this has allowed us to use that time saved on other important things for the business that help it grow.

Additionally, we’ve gained the peace-of-mind that everything is inputted and tracked correctly, and that our finances are in good shape come tax time. We can’t put a price on the fact that Shoeboxed + Bench helps us rest easy knowing that everything is in order. Every small business should absolutely have a system like this in place — we wish we had implemented it earlier!

SBX: But the important thing is that you’ve established a productive, effective workflow! Many businesses are struggling to get to that point, so congratulations. In closing, do you have any helpful tips for other small business owners that are trying to get organized?

R&C: Yes! We have a couple:

  1. Don’t leave it to the last minute. Stay on top of your finances throughout the year to save yourself trouble and frustration at the end.
  2. Make use of technology! Shoeboxed+Bench is an amazing example of how technology helps businesses run more efficiently, work smarter, and ultimately be more successful. If you aren’t leveraging technology to help your business, why not!? If you don’t know how, ask someone who does. In 2013, there’s no excuse not to :)

SBX: Those are great tips. Thank you so much for talking with us today, Ryan and Carlos, and sharing your small business accounting solution! We’re honored to be a part of your business as it grows and we wish you many years of de-cluttered success!

Are you a Shoeboxed user who has a success story and would like to be featured on our blog? Then we would love to hear from you! Please reach out to Emily at emily@team.shoeboxed.com for more information.

Until then, stay tuned… and stay organized!

Paperless Freedom: SMB Accounting with Shoeboxed & Evernote

With Shoeboxed there has never been one “best” way to use our service to stay organized. And after processing over a billion dollars of expense data since 2007, we say that from years of firsthand experience!

Shoeboxed takes enormous pride in serving clients from around the country and across the globe, all of whom use our service in a myriad of ways to fulfill a whole host of organizational needs in both their personal and professional lives.

Today’s post features Jody Seibert, a small business accountant!

“My business was paperless from the start and I did my own scanning. As my business grew, I fell behind and realized I needed another solution. Shoeboxed is perfect for me.”

-Jody Seibert

Shoeboxed User Jody SeibertIntroducing: Jody Seibert

Profession: Small Business Accountant, Fix Your Accounting

Location: Erie, Colorado 

LinkedIn: Jody Seibert

Twitter: @AccountingFixer

Shoeboxed: Hi Jody! First, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Jody Seibert: I support small businesses by helping them choose the right accounting software for their business, setting it up, providing training, as well as ongoing accounting services. I have over 14 years of experience in my field, including working with companies of all sizes and in a wide range of industries.

SBX: How did you make the jump to owning and operating your own small business?

Fix Your Accounting_10x5inchesJS: Running my own business was definitely not on the agenda! I accidentally started my business in early 2010 after losing my full time job two weeks before Christmas. Since that happened in the midst of the recession combined with the fact that I live in a small town, there were no jobs to apply for. So I started responding to ads on Craigslist posted by small businesses needing occasional help with their bookkeeping. I also stumbled on an opportunity to serve as a mentor at Northern Arizona Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology (www.nacet.org) that brought in clients as well. Work also came along in the way of part-time jobs, mostly temporary.  And suddenly I had a business – Fix Your Accounting. 

SBX: So now that you own your own small business, what is your favorite part of your job?

JS: Meeting small business owners and seeing the amazing things they are doing!

SBX: We love that too! So one thing all small business owners have in common is bookkeeping. When you were just starting out, how did you handle all of the paperwork?

JS: My business was paperless from the start, and I did my own scanning. As my business grew, I fell behind and realized I needed another solution. Shoeboxed is perfect for me.

SBX: That’s music to our ears! So how does Shoeboxed help you save time and stay organized?

JS: Shoeboxed definitely saves me time! I use the integration between Shoeboxed and Evernote to gather all my documents in one place. I receive some of my receipts via email and file everything in Evernote. My Shoeboxed documents go to a special notebook in Evernote. I can literally do my filing anywhere whenever I have a few minutes.

SBX: That’s awesome! Evernote is a great tool for keeping everything organized. Are there any other features of Shoeboxed that you especially love?

JS: Absolutely! Most of what I have scanned is receipts, business cards and other documents. Having the business cards scanned that I collect at networking events, etc makes it much easier to do referrals. All I have to do is email the business card instead of carrying around a huge stack of cards.

SBX: We’re thrilled that we can simplify your life and help your business grow. Now are there any other organization tips you have for other small business owners out there?

JS: Don’t wait. You won’t have more time later. Get workflow systems (accounting too!) in place and get organized now. Not being organized not only adds stress but can result in lost sales for your business.

SBX: Thanks for those wise words, Jody! We’re so glad you’re a satisfied, organized Shoeboxed ambassador.

Are you a Shoeboxed user who has a success story and would like to be featured on our blog? Then we would love to hear from you! Please reach out to Emily at emily@team.shoeboxed.com for more information.

Until then, stay tuned… and stay organized!