December 18th, 2009 by Ben Hwang
In an effort to create more transparent support, and to just make it easier to answer questions about Merchant’s Mirror, we’ve decided to use Get Satisfaction as our support area. Get Satisfaction puts all of your support needs in an area where the power of the community weighs in. And since there are things coming down the pipeline that have to deal with community… (we won’t get into it here today although we can already here the half-hearted and playful boos), we decided that this was a good shift for us.
When you get right down to it, all small business is people powered, community driven, and the web 2.0 era has re-proven that fact. This allows both the corporate side to show that they’re listening, and not have to be repetitive with question answering which helps users find what they need, (maybe throw in some praise), and move on. The worst that can happen is when we hear about how some business shelled out hundreds if not thousands of dollars on accounting software to find that the company behind it never replies to emails or phone calls.
So if you have questions, comments, or whatever, just head over there and find out what you want to know. If you want to keep it private? There’s a place for that too.
August 24th, 2009 by Ben Hwang
If you’re an Internet based business such as our web based accounting, then you might already be leveraging your social media networks.
There are plenty out there from Twitter to Facebook, and all of them have different types of scenarios that you should be paying attention to since the audiences are actually somewhat different. For example, if you are leveraging Facebook, there’s a good chance that you’re trying to sell a product or service to friends and acquaintances that you’ve met along the ways. However, microblogging sites such as Twitter provide a different type of scenario where the audience is not only the people that are looking to follow you, but also the real-time stream of information going across like a river. If it passes at just the right time, when someone is looking, you’ll have gained more eyes on your marketing.
Now, there’s multiple reasons to do social media networks, and it truly depends on whether or not your segmented market audience happens to use these services. For us, many of our clients happen to be freelancers of all types and are very in-tune with social networks in general which makes it a great area to not only market to those individuals, but communicate and provide customer relations through those channels. I do not believe that all small businesses should use this as a shotgun blast type marketing since it’s way too broad and is very much dependent to whom you are catering. But if you do provide products and services to an Internet market? Leverage your social networks like there’s no tomorrow.
August 18th, 2009 by Ben Hwang
One of the ways to alleviate costs in a small business is to leverage open source software. Everyone does to a degree, and some do it better than others. For example, our online accounting business uses open source within the application itself as well as mail servers and operating systems. There are plenty of instances that the open source software results in better features than the paid software applications.
There usually is a caveat though with open source. While they are community driven and supported, you have to be able to man the help station yourself and be proactive in finding the solutions to your particular issues. It also could be that your issue is explained in a very technical fashion and you have to be able to at least learn enough to disseminate that information. This makes certain choices more viable than others depending on the small business owner’s comfort level with technical documentation or sometimes lack thereof.
If you feel comfortable in the technical realm to use certain open source tools, there are many to choose from if you only take a few minutes with your favorite browser and look for the subject + open source. It has definitely helped keep our costs lower which is one of the reasons we can pass along the savings to our clientele.
August 3rd, 2009 by Ben Hwang
Are we really surprised that there has been an increase in self-employment, a percentage that has doubled the numbers from a year prior in the same quarter?
Think about it. With all of the large corporations tightening their belts and getting rid of crucial professionals, there are many more of those that are striking it out on their own their their respective industries as independent firms and consultants than trying to look in the dried up job market. In fact, if you’ve been job hunting for a little bit you would be quick to recognize that there are not as many of the positions there as you’re lead to believe and while those large corporations are actually laying people off, they still have work to do that cannot be done with staff on hand. Thus, consulting and small businesses are still needed by these larger businesses.
If you take that into consideration, then you’ll also realize that while it’s no easy task to go out on your own, it’s also something that is very fulfilling and allows you to learn things about your business that you might not have necessarily knew about before. This gives you insight on how corporate structure works and eventually be able to look at things in a different light. Obviously, going out on your own means that you would need a little business acumen since you’ll be running everything from your own accounting software to marketing and advertising. When you’re self-employed, you will also need to buy what’s right for your company without over-extending your budget. Finding more cost effective solutions such as web based accounting is a definite need in the consultation world. In the end? There will be more people that adapt to owning their own businesses than ever before thanks to how global economics are panning out.
May 12th, 2009 by Ben Hwang
I honestly can’t imagine running my small business without an accounting software package. Without it, I would be lost.
In fact, it wasn’t until I understood the cash-flow report that I was able to grasp the financial fundamentals of my business. Before then, I didn’t know what I was doing or where the business was headed.
My accounting software not only helps me manage and track the different financial transactions, but it also helps me measure the business performance.
Accounting system software provides many benefits to small businesses. Here are some of the key benefits, in my opinion:
- Speed: they are designed to speed up financial procedures.
- Automation: simple accounting software will automate your transactions, which helps eliminate mistakes. And since there’s no paper-intensive workload, it also frees up time to focus on more important activities to grow the business.
- Appraisal: allows you to measure your cash flow / financial performance.
- Forecasting: It provides management with a detailed picture of the company’s financial position for planning and budgeting.
- Convenience: a web-based accounting software allows you to take care of your accounting at the office, at home, or even during vacation, 24-7.
- Email capability: save money on postage! With software for accounting that has e-mail capability you can send invoices by email. No more trips to the post office.
In general, accounting software is essential to track sales, provide estimates, invoice customers, manage projects, and run your business more efficiently.