Steps to Take Now to Safeguard Your IdentityRead More
“It's not the will to win that matters...everyone has that. It's the will to prepare to win that matters.” Bear Bryant
Preparation is everything. From the victorious team at the Super Bowl to a business owner building a profitable venture, preparation is the key to success. For those hungry for business growth, an essential component of preparation is the willingness to fuel one’s inner fire with self-empowering knowledge. A life-long pursuit of personal growth helps entrepreneurs to perform at peak levels not only in the workplace, but in their home life too.
Your ability to perform at optimal levels is significantly enhanced when you make the continual effort to increase your knowledge base. Implementing the strategies gleaned from motivational books can have far-reaching effects on your business success. If you are a performance-focused entrepreneur determined to achieve better results, the following five books should be on your reading list:
The Secret Collaborative Economy - Marsha Wright
Marsha Wright’s The Secret Collaborative Economy will have you rethinking your approach to business. Instead of the traditional competitive business mindset, this powerful book espouses the wisdom of business owners collaborating with each other. The adage ‘a rising tide lifts all boats’ is applicable to the collaborative economy mindset. Entrepreneurs working with each other instead of in competition are capable of much greater achievement than those toiling alone. The Secret Collaborative Economy offers a goldmine of actionable tips on everything from cultivating relationships to strategic business partnerships.
Focus on Impact - Wendy Lipton-Dibner
Focus on Impact by Wendy Lipton-Dibner helps entrepreneurs and small business owners understand that true business success comes through a focus on making an impact in the lives of their customers. Rather than concentrating on closing the deal or making the sale, the most successful leaders focus on how their business can improves the lives of their customers. This ability to truly make an impact comes from understanding your own inner entrepreneurial drive and being fully aware of the ‘why’ that guides your business journey. Once you have read Focus on Impact you will understand how helping others to grow leads to profound personal growth at the same time.
Never Eat Alone - Keith Ferrazzi
Keith Ferrazzi’s book Never Eat Alone offers powerful insights on networking. It is through building a network of individuals you can help (with no concern for repayment of that help) that you facilitate your own growth as an entrepreneur or small business owner. Honing your ability to reach out to others and offer assistance grows your network as a by-product, not as a means to an end. While this book does contain some not so subtle #humblebrags, the author does get his point across that building a life as a successful business owner comes from focusing on the quality of those in your network not the number of social media followers you collect or the number of contacts in your smartphone.
The ONE Thing - Gary Keller with Jay Papasan
The ONE Thing from Gary Keller and Jay Papasan is a panacea for our crazy, busy, distracted lives. Instead of being consumed the myriad of items demanding our attention, The ONE Thing teaches you to narrow your focus on completing the one critical thing that will make the most difference. This ability to focus on doing a few select things well catapults you into accomplishing more than you imagined possible. If you are ready to put your multi-tasking ways behind you and accelerate your success, add this business guide book to your must-read list.
Grit to Great - Linda Kaplan Thaler & Robin Koval
If you are an entrepreneur who believes that success will just magically happen overnight, Grit to Great is not for you. If on the other hand you believe that true success comes to those who never say die and who find a way to make their dreams a reality regardless of the speed bumps along the way, then this essential read is for you. Grit to Great teaches you strategies to help strengthen your resiliency and power your tenacity. Warning: this is not a read for the weak-willed.
Just like a football player becomes an elite athlete by relentlessly practicing their sport and studying the winning plays of others, increasing your performance as an entrepreneur or small business owner comes from dedication and a willingness to apply growth-enabling information. These five must-read books will not only help hone your professional development, they will accelerate your personal growth too. Are you ready to supercharge your entrepreneurial spirit?
Click HERE to check the status of your Federal refund
When to check status of your refund:
- Within 24 hours after the IRS has received your e-filed tax return; or
- 4 weeks after mailing your paper return.
When the IRS processes your tax return and approves your refund, you can see your approximate date of refund deposit. Even though the IRS issues most refunds in less than 21 days after they receive your tax return, it’s possible your tax return may require additional review and take longer.
You should only call the IRS if it has been:
- 21 days or more since you filed electronically;
- More than 6 weeks since you mailed your paper return; or
- The Where’s My Refund? tool directs you to contact them.
Click HERE to check the status of your IL refund.
Select the blue "Individuals" button at the top of the page and click the "Where's My Refund?" link under "Individual Income Tax-related Items" in the left hand column.
The Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR) is taking additional steps to protect Illinois taxpayers from identity theft and fraud. As a result of the new security measure, your refund may take longer than in previous years.
Small business owners are the kings of DIY and pride themselves on wearing many hats: marketing, managing, creating, IT, customer relations - the list goes on and on. The accessibility of financial software apps such as QuickBooks and Zero contributes to entrepreneurs’ belief that they should be doing their own bookkeeping too. Is spending time deep in the books a better use of your time than meeting with prospects and customers, finding new sales opportunities or developing your marketing plans? Chances are, you and only you can handle these all-important tasks, and finding a good bookkeeper will pay dividends in giving you the breathing room to engage in activities that are the lifeblood of your business. Add in the potential for saving money, and you will begin to wonder why you ever sat down with those piles of receipts to begin with.
Take Back Your Time
Outsourcing your bookkeeping tasks frees up valuable time which can be spent growing the business and developing critical systems – fundamental to bringing your business to the next level. At every stage of business, your time is money, and the hours you reclaim will allow you to concentrate on your core business, innate skills, and billable activities. Even if you have the necessary background and skills to complete the bookkeeping yourself, delegating the tasks will empower you and position you away from non-essential activities and towards customer-critical tasks.
Cutting Edge Expertise
Your business will benefit from full-time expertise without having to pay a full-time salary. By leveraging the knowledge base and experience of your outsourced bookkeeper, you will reap the benefits of best practices and efficiency that larger firms enjoy. An experienced bookkeeper is a highly skilled professional, and will be able to complete the job in less time while providing value through expert suggestions, comparisons to industry standards, and economies of scale. Tax and compliance regulations and technology change quickly – a bookkeeper who invests in training to stay current on issues and state-of-the-art solutions can reduce your risk and give you an important competitive advantage.
Better & More Timely Information
When your books are up-to-date, you have the necessary information at your fingertips to make informed decisions about your business. From applying for a loan to completing your annual workman’s comp audit, everything is more efficient with clean books. You can easily compare your monthly expenditures to your budget, and there’s the added benefit of having your information organized in a way that’s helpful when making forecasts. Estimating future income is always challenging, but the process is easier when you make your projections using sound historical data.
At first thought, you might be inclined to handle all your books yourself, or delegate the work to an existing employee. This may seem ideal on the surface – but consider what comes along with doing everything in-house. Unless you or another employee are experienced in bookkeeping, mistakes are inevitable – and the time to correct them can quickly outweigh the cost savings from not outsourcing. Outsourcing your bookkeeping means you won’t miss important payments, get behind on client invoicing, or make mistakes on critical compliance tasks such as filing payroll taxes and forms. These mistakes result in expensive penalties and interest, and cumbersome paperwork to fix the problems. While proper bookkeeping cannot guarantee you will never be subject to an audit, it may reduce your risk of being flagged for an audit. If you are audited, properly documented books will help you support your position with the IRS.
Every small business owner is looking to cut expenses, and hiring a bookkeeper seems counterintuitive to this goal. However, there are a number of ways in which professional assistance in this area can actually save you money. You will save money by having your books ready for year end with your tax accountant. You will save money by avoiding late fees. You will save money by not paying for hiring and training expenses, payroll taxes, employee benefits and IT equipment and support of an in-house employee. You will save money by not having to pay someone to fix your mistakes when it would have been cheaper and easier to have it done properly the first time. Finally, a dedicated bookkeeper is extremely focused on the tasks at hand instead of being distracted by other operational issues, so the hours you are paying for are all productive ones.
Outsourced bookkeeping allows you to expand or cut back as your needs require. A good bookkeeping firm will have the resources in place to start your project right away. A flexible service contract with your preferred vendor allows you to increase or reduce your level of service as your business requires. Hiring your own internal bookkeeper, by comparison, can take weeks or months and requires resources to train him and provide the support he needs. When you hire internally, you are committing to a dedicated payroll; with outsourced bookkeeping you pay only for what you need at the time.
Take the Next Step
When it comes down to it, finding a bookkeeper you trust can be extremely beneficial to you and your business; keeping costs down and allotting more time for you to attend to higher level matters in the company that require your particular area of expertise. You will want to make certain that your prospective bookkeeper has undergone a background check, has experience helping others in your industry, and has systems in place which will enhance accountability, communication, data security and uniform bookkeeping procedures. If there is anything the Sharp Point team can do to assist you in your search for the right bookkeeper, please feel free to contact us.
There are many benefits cloud computing can provide to your business, but there are also a few things you need to take into account. Here's some things to consider.Read More
Small business owners: 2015 is approaching, and with that comes the opportunity for changes in how you choose to run your business. Here are 5 ideas for New Year’s business resolutions to improve your bottom line.Read More
IRS Deadlines approaching
1099s must be mailed to recipients by February 2ndRead More
Join Sharp Point as we explore best bookkeeping practices, QuickBooks tips and tricks, tech news, small business success strategies, resources and newsworthy commentary.Read More