• So you think you need to borrow some money?

    | Categories: Business Growth , Business Tips , Cash flow , Cash Management , Profit First Coaching

    Blog by Fuel Accountants

      We are debt averse in general. Borrowing money should be the choice of last resort, not first. But there are times where capital is needed and the business does not have sufficient time to generate the capital needed through its regular operations. In that case, borrowing might be useful. But you’d better have a good reason to go down this road. There are several reasons to borrow money: Business expansion There are two aspects to business expansion:  Asset Acquisition: Sometimes when we expand the business we need to buy some assets like equipment, computers, etc.  Working Capital needs: When your business grows, your working capital needs to grow…

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  • Are you riding a rocking horse into a rut?

    | Categories: Building Strategy , Business Growth , Business Tips

    Blog by Fuel Accountants

      Excuse me for being obvious. If you ride a rocking horse long enough, you’ll end up creating a rut from repeating the same motion over and over. In other words, things that don’t change stay the same. And over time, inertia makes it more and more difficult to change. Feel stuck (like you’re in a rut)? Are you ready to get out? First, you must accept two business truths. Truth 1: Everything around us is always in motion. Tasks, phone calls, emails, texts, to do lists, etc. Then to compound the problem, as time goes by, things change. The business grows (or shrinks).…

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  • There isn't a person alive who can make a single lead pencil

    | Categories: Building Strategy , Business Coaching , Business Tips , Profit First

    Blog by Fuel Accountants

    The famous economist Milton Friedman once once made this observation. This article is all about understanding how to make your business system function more effectively from a cash management point of view. There is no way we can make a pencil. Why? Well silly, think of all the skills needed between wood working, making the eraser, the lead, paint, lettering, the metal part holding the eraser. So you see, even though a lead pencil is a rather simple instrument, we can’t make one on our own. We need all the materials and equipment to do it. Your business is no different.  When looking…

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  • Amortzing Prepaid Expenses over the year

    | Categories: Business Tips , Cash Management , Cashflow , Expenses

    Blog by Fuel Accountants

    Sometimes it’s cheaper (or you have no choice) to pay for recurring expenses (such as insurance or software subscriptions annually rather than monthly.  Now this can mess up your cash flow a bit, but if you plan it right you can get both the savings and a smooth cash flow (see my Top 10 Tips to Save Money on your Software Subscriptions article). A question we often get asked is “how do I get my accounting system to spread the expense out over the year even though I pay once a year?” Here are the steps to do this in Xero (you can…

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  • For Everyone Who Thinks They Know Everything About Marketing and Sales

    | Categories: Business Tips , Marketing , Sales

    Blog by Fuel Accountants

    (The rest if you can also read it if you’d like…) So you think you have this sales and marketing stuff figured out? Allow me to challenge that assumption. Here are some things to think about: Customer Attraction: Why would they want to talk to you in the first place? How well is your name recognized? Who else have you helped? What mannerisms matter? Do your marketing materials really speak to their biggest problems/threats? Do you have a clear target market? Geography Niche Specific problems you can solve Market Size (How many prospects are there?) Company Size (How big do they need to be to afford you?) How do you differentiate your features/benefits? How well…

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  • Did you think we were done talking about business implosion?

    | Categories: Building Strategy , Business Coaching , Business Tips

    Blog by Fuel Accountants

    As more information becomes available, it turns out that there were some definite warning signs about the submersible that imploded recently. Had the participants paid attention to certain warning signs, they might have been able to avoid the disastrous consequences that occurred. Last month we talked about business implosion. This month we’d like to talk about a few telltale warning signs you might want to be aware of. Signs, Signs, Everywhere There’s Signs… Someone should write a song about that, right? Hey, I don’t know about you, but sometimes I get annoyed with the sheer number of signs we are subjected to when driving…

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  • Are you in Danger of a Business Implosion?

    | Categories: Business Growth , Business Tips , Implosion , KPIs , Revenue

    Blog by Fuel Accountants

      Recently the world was transfixed on a catastrophic event where several people lost their lives due to the implosion of a small submersible vessel called The Titan.  Some people called the people involved heroic explorers, others called them silly for taking such a great risk. Which camp are you in? Either way, what I’d like to talk about is risk, and how to manage it by becoming a world class company and avoiding a catastrophic event. What can you do to insulate your business against risk? The following are the 6 Key Process Indicators (KPI’s) that greatly reduce risk and and help your business…

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  • Did You Realize That Your Service Business Has Inventory?

    | Categories: Business Growth , Business Tips , Inventory , Service

    Blog by Fuel Accountants

    What’s that you say? What have I been smoking? No, really, I’m not kidding you here. Service businesses really do have inventory they are trying to sell. Now before you think I’ve really gone off my rocker, let me explain… A service has two main things to sell: Time Knowhow And hey goofball, anytime you provide a service, you are selling both of these finite items. Let’s define what these mean… Time: You do know that there are only so many hours in the day, right? You can’t add any more (unless you have some magical power). The only thing you can do to expand…

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  • Are you sure you know how to customize your offering for customers?

    | Categories: Building Strategy , Business Tips , Service , Target Market

    Blog by Fuel Accountants

      Lots of people talk about how unique their products and services are. Many times when I listen to them, I start yawning. Boring… Why? 2 main reasons: Sellers tend to look at their offerings from their perspective. How much did this cost me to produce? What features and benefits should I offer? Sellers can be lazy. They don’t have a clear sense of their market demographics, and they don't do the market research to validate the characteristics and size of their markets. What does that mean? Well, it usually translates into sellers becoming product pushers. And when sellers do that, they make it…

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  • The problem of wandering bottlenecks, and how to settle them down

    | Categories: Building Strategy , Business Tips , Finance , Marketing , Operations

    Blog by Fuel Accountants

    Here’s an interesting fact: Every organization has 3 main functions: Sales and Marketing to generate opportunities,and close deals. Operations to produce and deliver the goods/services sold Finance/Administration for accounting, HR, and other admin functions. Knowing this allows us to understand how work flows through the company. In fact, it’s linear. It must pass through all 3 functions in that order to generate money/profit. Are you aware that every business has a bottleneck, or constraint? That is a mathematical certainty. Why? Because if your business does not have a constraint, you’d have infinite profits. And even Apple doesn’t have that (although some think they are close)... Your…

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  • Is Your E-Commerce Business Profitable?

    | Categories: advertising , Business Coaching , Business Tips , Cash Management , E-Commerce , Inventory

    Blog by Fuel Accountants

    Well, is it? If you are struggling a little with that let’s talk about how to turn that around. Online businesses have two main challenges: Inventory Management Promotion/advertising Management Really both of these areas stem from the same core problem. What’s that you say? Allright, I’ll just say it again. In order to have a successful online business, you only need to solve one problem. What is that one problem? Cash Management! So what are you thinking at this point? You probably want to ask, “Ok smarty pants, why do you think that’s the problem?” Fine, I’ll tell you… Inventory Management What is the definition of inventory? Most…

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  • Who is your ideal client/customer?

    | Categories: Customer , Building Strategy , Business Coaching , Business Tips

    Blog by Fuel Accountants

      Have you ever asked yourself this question? There are several reasons this is important: Do you like your customers? Some we really like, some we tolerate, some we dread every time the phone rings. So in other words, some customers suck up energy and some give us energy. Which can you do your very best work with? Duh… The Pie Is Usually Big Enough I love pie, don’t you? Let’s compare your market segment(s) to a pie. Every market pie has a certain size. It’s impossible to serve the entire market (or eat the entire pie). It’s too big, or at least it should…

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  • Does Reviewing Your Financials Sound Really Intimidating?

    | Categories: Building Strategy , Business Coaching , Business Tips , Cash Management , Future Financial Planning , Profit First

    Blog by Fuel Accountants

      It’s ok, you can be totally honest with me. And I will be honest with you, too.  Most business owners hardly ever look at their financials. There are several reasons for that: The financials are not very accurate It’s difficult to read the financials because they are so messy looking It’s difficult to understand how those financial results ended up on the financials The info on the financials is too old to be useful How in the world can you implement our Profit First Cash Management System (PFCMS) without accurate financials? Answer: It’s almost impossible.  Let’s look at your financials one by one. You good with that? Let’s…

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  • How should I store my business documents

    | Categories: Building Strategy , Business Tips , documentation , Operations , Productivity

    Blog by Fuel Accountants

    Cloud storage is now easily available to everyone.  This gives the advantage of knowing that your files are backed up and being able to access them from anywhere.  You shouldn’t be storing important files on your computer alone or on memory sticks.  But just throwing files randomly in a folder isn’t helpful either.  You need to be able to organize them so that each file’s purpose is clear without having to open it and so that you can quickly find files when you need them. To organize files well, you need both an organizing folder structure as well as a file…

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  • I Don’t Get No Respect…

    | Categories: Business Tips , employment , Operations

    Blog by Fuel Accountants

    Do you remember the comedian Rodney Dangerfield? That was his signature line. “I tell you, I don’t get no respect. When I was born, I was so ugly the doctor took one look at me and slapped my mother.” Do your people respect you? Are you getting the results you need from them? Do you sometimes wonder about their commitment? You might ask yourself this question. How do you feel or how do you typically respond when someone tries to exert control over you? I like to watch people walking their dogs. Sounds strange? Maybe it’s because I love dogs. I noticed that…

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  • Try this hat on for size!! (How to increase your company throughput…)

    | Categories: Profit , Business Growth , Business Tips , Cashflow , Operations

    Blog by Fuel Accountants

      Instead of living in the “Cost World” try living in the “Throughput World.” If you are focused on the speed and amount of throughput in your business (while maintaining costs) you are assured of making more money now and in the future. Why is that? It’s because you are looking operationally and systematically at things you can do to improve throughput, which ALWAYS results in making more money. And if you really want to do a deep dive into this area, pick up a book called “The Goal” by Eliyahu Goldratt. It will completely change your perspective about business!!  In our next…

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  • Are cash flow problems draining your business revenue?

    | Categories: Business Tips , Cashflow , Profit First , Revenue

    Blog by Fuel Accountants

      It all depends on which world you’re in…   What’s that you say? That doesn’t make sense to you? Well, it might if you think about it a little. When we experience cash shortages, our behavior changes, and sometimes it’s not always for the better. Let me introduce you to two different worlds: The Cost World The Throughput World In the Cost World, we are very focused on costs. We look at every single expense and try to reduce it. That’s not a bad thing unless it affects the Throughput World. In the Throughput World, we are paying attention to the speed/pace of the business, and amount of…

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  • Why is it so Expensive to grow? (How to use PFCMS as a Strategic Planning Tool)

    | Categories: Business Tips , Cash Management , Future Financial Planning , Profit First

    Blog by Fuel Accountants

    Have you ever thought about this? When your business grows, cash can become strained. Why is that? Great question. That shows your interest is piqued!!   The answer is actually quite simple. When your business grows you need additional working capital. Think about that for a moment. When you hire additional employees, expand your inventory to accommodate more sales, buy additional technology or add licenses. Hey, it all adds up!! So now what do you do? Hmmm… All these things require additional funding. And more revenue doesn’t always provide enough cash flow to fund it when needed.  First and foremost, it’s not like birthday…

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  • Is there a recession coming? Oh, well let's ask our economists!

    | Categories: Business Coaching , Business Tips , Recession , SWOT Analysis

    Blog by Fuel Accountants

      Such a question!! And the answer changes about every 15 minutes. Some economists say yes, some are not so sure. Isn’t it strange that we keep listening to disciplines that never have to be right? Economists and weathermen! People we love to hate!! So what should we do about this? Here are two steps you can take NOW to minimize the impact of a recession on your business. Interested? Yea, I thought you might be…  Step 1: Get out a 4 burner stove and put a pot on each burner. Yes, I’m being serious!! Each pot represents a market segment in your business. You…

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  • Are you ready to SWOT something?

    | Categories: Business Growth , Business Tips , Productivity , SWOT , SWOT Analysis

    Blog by Fuel Accountants

      Sometimes I get a little frustrated and feel stuck. Do you ever feel that way? No? Well, then skip this article. But if you do, and you’re thinking about swatting something (leave that poor puppy dog alone…), let me share something that really helps me work through “stuff” when it starts piling up in my head and feels unmanageable. Here’s the recipe: Step 1: Find a quiet place and get a piece of blank paper Step 2: Draw two lines separating the page into 4 equal quadrants Step 3: Label the top left “Strengths”, the top right “Opportunities”, the bottom left “Weaknesses”, the bottom…

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