3 Ways to Keep Track of your Expenses & Income

By Anwuli Chukwurah

The Traditional Way – Pen & Paper

This is one of the easiest ways to keep track of your books. Pen and Paper are materials you could find anywhere. I have clients who are not comfortable with technology so showing them an easy system with paper allows them to see their business transactions. Although I do try to push our clients to become more comfortable with technology, I realize people are starting at different stages. I tell all our clients, regardless of whether they’re using technology, to have 12 manila folders to keep their physical receipts, invoices, and other documents by month. Then, I ask clients to have a dedicated notebook to track their expenses and income. Clients need to track the date the transaction was made, where it’s from, the amount, and their income. The client will need to manually calculate their monthly net profit as compared to using a computer that does the calculations for you.

  • The Spreadsheet Way – Excel or Google Sheets

Using spreadsheets will allow our clients to electronically enter your transactions and share it with someone online. Spreadsheets, graphs, and reports can easily be created from their entered transactions. This allows our clients to make business decisions based on their actual numbers. If you are not familiar with spreadsheets, you can search for local resources in your area that can teach you how to use it for your business purposes. A local nonprofit focused on helping business owners or the small business program of your city can be a great resource for finding help and support. For our clients at EGBI who are past the pen and paper stage but are not quite ready for an online accounting system, I show them how to use a simple spreadsheet tracker that tracks the date, amount, vendor/supplier, and income. This is an easy way for them to see how their business is doing on a monthly basis.

  • The Online Accounting System Way – QuickBooks Online

For clients that find using a spreadsheet to be cumbersome, an online accounting system like QuickBooks Online makes their lives easier and it can also be shared with someone else. It’s easier because they won’t have to manually document each transaction because QuickBooks Online automatically connects to their bank feed. But it’s harder because the client will need to learn how to correctly use the system so that their financial reports aren’t riddled with errors. Errors can be fixed if you know what you’re doing, but I ask our clients to come in and have a chat with me so I can show them the correct way to set up their QuickBooks. If your QuickBooks is set up incorrectly, it will cost the client more to retroactively fix their books. So, it’s always better for clients to search for local resources that can teach them how to correctly use QuickBooks if watching YouTube videos and reading QuickBooks tutorials wouldn’t work for them.

Bookkeeping

Planeando para el futuro

Por: Barbra Boeta

Marzo, para mi personalmente fue un mes horrible – mi carro decidió dejarme varada al lado de la carretera y perdí a dos de mis seres queridos.  Reparación de carro, funeral y gastos de viaje casi me llevaron hasta al borde. Por tiempos como estos me doy cuenta de lo importante que es tener una cuenta de ahorros de emergencias.

Como pequeños empresarios, rara vez nos tomamos un momento para guardar dinero para tiempos difíciles. Principalmente porque estamos muy ocupados tratando de mantenernos y cuando tenemos un algo extra queremos reinvertirlo en nuestros negocios. Invertir en tu negocio es grandioso, pero también tienes que invertir en ti.

Todos sabemos que necesitamos una cuenta de ahorros y una cuenta de jubilación. Pero el saber que necesitamos algo a realmente hacerlo son dos cosas MUY diferentes.

Aquí están algunos de mis consejos para comenzar una cuenta de ahorros personal.

  1.  Establecer una meta razonable – establecer y lograr objetivos es la mejor formar de sentir que uno está avanzando en lugar de ir solo en círculos. Por ejemplo, yo quiero ahorrar $200 en tres meses. Necesito agregar $30 a mis ahorros cada dos semanas para lograr mi objetivo.
  2. ¿Dónde poner tu dinero? Cuando pongo mi dinero en mis ahorros de emergencia trato de que sea en un banco diferente al de mi cuenta de cheques personal. De esta forma es menos probable que me lo gaste. Yo creo en la teoría: fuera de la vista, fuera de la mente.
  3. Respeta tu horario – si planeaste guardar dinero en tu cuenta asegúrate de hacerlo. Pero si algo sucede que no puedes hacerlo por una semana no te castigues, ni te rindas. Vuelve al buen camino y continúa ahorrando.
  4. Una vez lograda la meta establece otra. No tienes que aumentar la cantidad que estas ahorrando. Si aún no estás listo solo continúa ahorrando. Tu nuevo objetivo podría ser en tres meses quiero tener un total de $400 en mi cuenta de ahorros.

Piensa como si agregar dinero en tus ahorros fuera pagar tu renta. No es una opción. Una vez tengas ese habito de poner dinero en tu cuenta de ahorros ya ni siquiera extrañaras el dinero que ahorras. Y después cuando tengas esa emergencia, tendrás algo extra para ayudarte a calmar tu estrés.

¡Buena Suerte Mis Amigos!

Planning for the future

By: Barbra Boeta

March was a horrible month for me personally – my car decided to leave me on the side of the road and I lost two beloved family members. Car repairs, funeral and travel expenses just about pushed me to the edge. It’s times like these I realize the importance of having an emergency saving account.
As small business owners, we rarely take the time to put money aside for a rainy day. Mainly because we’re too busy trying to keep up and when we have a little extra we want to reinvest in our businesses. Investing I. Your business is great but you also have to invest in yourselves.
We all know we need a savings, account, and a retirement account. But knowing we need something and actually doing it are two VERY different things.
Here are a couple of my tips to start a personal savings account.

  1. Set a reasonable goal – setting and accomplishing goals is a great way to feel like you are moving forward instead of just going in circles. Example: I want to save $200 over three months. I need to add $30 to my savings every two weeks to reach my goal.
  2. Where to put your money. When I’m putting money in my emergency savings I try to keep it at a different bank than my personal checking. This way I’m less likely to spend it. I believe in the out of sight out of mind theory.
  3. Follow your schedule – if you plan on putting money in your account make sure you do it. But. If something happens that you can’t one week don’t beat yourself up and give up. Get back on track and continue to save.
  4. Once you accomplish that goal set another one. You don’t have to increase the amount you are saving. If you aren’t ready, just continue to save. Your new goal could be in 3 months I want to have a total of $400 in my savings.

Think of putting money in your savings like paying your rent. It’s not an option. Once you get in the habit of adding money to your savings account you won’t even miss the money your saving. And then when you have that emergency, you will have a little extra to help ease your stress.

Good Luck My Friends!

Horizons, Better Days. budget

CHAMBER MEMBERSHIP AND March EVENTS

By: Monica Peña

We are consistently encouraging our alumni to increase their circle of influence by attending professional events in the area. We are proud of the community partnership that we have with the four chambers; including Austin Young ChamberGreater Austin Asian Chamber of Commerce (GAACC)Greater Austin Black Chamber of Commerce (GABC), and Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (GAHCC). When our clients graduate from the Build Your Business PLAN workshop series, they qualify for one year membership to one of these chambers. Each chamber has unique opportunities for business owners.

Here are some of the opportunities the chambers have this month to learn something new or meet other business owners.

March 20th- Coffee Connection Presented by Rudy’s

March 22nd and 23rd- Asian Eats Night Market

March 28th- Small Biz U

MEMBRESIAS DE CAMARAS DE COMERCIO Y EVENTOS DE MARZO

Por: Mónica Peña

Constantemente alentamos a nuestros alumnos a incrementar su círculo de influencias atendiendo a eventos profesionales en el área. Nos sentimos orgullosos de la asociación comunitaria que tenemos con las cuatro cámaras de comercio; incluyendo, Austin Young ChamberGreater Austin Asian Chamber of Commerce (GAACC)Greater Austin Black Chamber of Commerce (GABC), y Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (GAHCC). Cuando nuestros clientes se gradúan de la serie de talleres; Construye tu PLAN de Negocios, ellos califican para una membresía de un año a cualquiera de las cámaras. Cada cámara tiene oportunidades únicas para dueños de negocios.

Aquí están algunas de las oportunidades que las cámaras tienen este mes, para aprender algo nuevo o conocer a otros dueños de negocios.

20 de marzo- Coffee Connection Presented by Rudy’s

22 y 23 de marzo- Asian Eats Night Market

28 de marzo- Small Biz U

Membresia de camara y eventos de febrero

Por Monica Peña

Estamos orgullosos de la asociación comunitaria que tenemos con las cuatro cámaras; incluyendo  Austin Young Chamber, Greater Austin Asian Chamber of Commerce (GAACC), Greater Austin Black Chamber of Commerce (GABC), y Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (GAHCC). Cuando nuestros clientes se gradúan de la serie de talleres Buils Your Business PLAN, califican para la membresía de un año en una de éstas cámaras. Cada cámara tiene diferentes beneficios de membresía que ayudan a sus miembros a aumentar la visibilidad en línea, y tarifas especiales para eventos de desarrolo profesional/de red.


Siempre animo a nuestros alumnos a visitar cada cámara o visitar al personal de la cámara  para ver qué organización se adapta mejor a sus necesidades comerciales. Estas son algunas de las oportunidades que las cámaras tienen éste mes para aprender algo nuevo o conocer a otros dueños de negocios.

21 de febrero – Power Networking Breakfast con GAHCC

27 de febrero: Leadership Talk with Minoj Saxena quien compartirá su experiencia como empresario con GAACC.

28 de febrero: Reúnase, salude y asista al Mixer con la Austin Young Chamber.

Asegúrese de visitar cada uno de sus sitios web para obtener más información sobre las cámaras y sus eventos. Por favor déjeme saber si usted es un ex-alumno y tiene alguna pregunta sobre las cámaras.

Chamber Membership and February events

By: Monica Peña

We are proud of the community partnership that we have with the four chambers; including Austin Young Chamber, Greater Austin Asian Chamber of Commerce (GAACC), Greater Austin Black Chamber of Commerce (GABC), and Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (GAHCC). When our clients graduate from the Build Your Business PLAN workshop series, they qualify for one year membership to one of these chambers. Each chamber has different membership benefits that assist their members increase online visibility and special rates to network/professional development events.

I always encourage our alumni to visit each chamber or visit with chamber staff to see which organization would best fit their business needs. Here are some of the opportunities the chambers have this month to learn something new or meet other business owners.

February 21st- Power Networking Breakfast with GAHCC

February 27th- Leadership Talk with Minoj Saxena who shares his entrepreneur journey with GAACC

February 28th- Meet, Greet, & Give Mixer with the Austin Young Chamber

Be sure to visit each of their web sites for more events and information about the chambers. Please let me know if you are an alumni and have any questions concerning the chambers as we are active with each of them.

Yelp Logo

The Yelp Experience

By: Michelle Rutan, owner of Prescription Pest and EGBI volunteer

Three years ago I bought an existing pest control company.  I had large dreams and not always realistic expectations, but despite some missteps, owning my own business is amazing and going great.

Our company’s differentiators are that we are family owned, good values and no contracts.  I have learned many times over that thinking big will not get us as far as focusing on doing the best job possible and those people will tell others.

Our Yelp profile started to bring in organic leads so I started to focus on it. I made sure to have compelling pictures and content to make things personable.  We do everything we can to keep customers happy so they leave more good reviews. After a couple months, I decided to do some paid advertising to try and build up our customer base and review count.

One of my first jobs out of college was buying online advertising for a large tech company, so I was familiar with the terminology of online advertising contracts. When reading the Yelp contract I came across this verbiage.

Cost-Per-Click (“CPC”) Auction-based Auto-bidding Program: Yelp delivers a variable and unguaranteed number of ad impressions to the Site to promote Client’s business, as determined at Yelp’s sole discretion based on available inventory and other factors, and Client pays Yelp for the number of clicks during a given period of time. A “click” is a single instance for which Yelp records that a user acts on an ad impression, such as clicking on it (including clicks that drive traffic to Client’s Yelp listing or that lead to phone calls and reservations) or sending Client a message in connection with it.

There are several alarming words and phrases in here: variable, unguaranteed and Yelp’s sole discretion. So they decide how many impressions (views of your ad) they give and only charge you for the clicks you get.  This is standard in the industry.   I asked the account representative what the CPC would be and she said it varied and gave me an estimated range.  It is not standard that they only list how much you are willing to pay per month rather than CPC in the contract. We discussed my goals and I assumed everything would work out. At $350 per month for 6 months, we would need 5 new sales a month (or 30 overall) to pay for this experiment which seemed reasonable. We created our ads and we were off.  I always put people on everything as it makes things more personable, especially when one of our main differentiators is family owned. You can see one of our ads below:



The first thing I learned is that Yelp “clicks” are just to your Yelp profile, not to your website. I was, in essence, paying Yelp to make even more money by having people click around on their site. After a week or so, I was not seeing conversions from clicks to leads or actions and I called Yelp support.  They looked over my profile and said that everything looked good and that it might help to add more pictures. We had 6 professional pictures and I couldn’t see how more would help.  I believe an issue with conversion was once visitors made it to your Yelp profile they could get distracted by ads by other pest control company ads (see Image 2).  There are no real guarantees on leads, since CPC is based on a “formula”.  For example, in July, I spent $335 for 31 clicks to see my Yelp profile, which resulted in 11 calls, emails or visits to my company website. This did not result in 5 new sales.

I contacted Yelp support weekly and it was painful. They had pleasant young women answering the phones that would only repeat pre-authorized phrases even if they didn’t answer or address my question, which was maddening.  Right away I could see this was going to be an issue.  I did everything I could to get credits and see what they could change to better fit my company’s needs.

The campaign did result in leads, but we had two main issues with the people that contacted us. The first was that people expect to hear back right away, and we have specific business hours.  If Yelp flooded our impressions over the weekend and people contact us, we didn’t respond until Monday, which was too late. Yelp support said they had no control over what days the ads were shown.  The other issue was people primarily shopping for bargain priced pest control.  Some companies will offer $25 pest control and they don’t do much.  We provide a quality service, guarantee it and treat our employees fairly, which is not cheap.  This meant that many of the leads Yelp generated for us were not good match. Over all the advertising campaign did not meet our goals of 5 new customers a month and resulted in a lot of work and frustration on my part. Below is a snapshot of three months .



On the bright side. The organic leads we get from Yelp are usually good so we switched went back to that model. The leads we received in 2017 were about steady with what we did in 2016.  In 2018 our leads shot up. I am not sure if it was how long we had our profile up or that our reviews increased, but we got better in their “formula” and got more leads .


While my experience was not great with Yelp paid advertising, their organic leads are great.  I believe if a company has a more expensive service, or product, it could be more beneficial. I don’t believe Yelp will be flexible with their pricing, duration of contract or other details to make businesses more successful, but you can always try. Yelp itself is a good platform for our business as we get more leads than through Google or other advertising methods.  I would suggest going into it knowing exactly what you need to get out of it. For us it was not enough to continue paying and the organic leads far outweigh the paid. Free and better is good enough for me, even if it won’t double our business.