4 Pillars of A Solid Sales Process
Is your sales process getting off-balance? Sometimes it can be hard to tell. Fluctuations in the economy, changes in customer interest and dips in demand may cause slowdowns that are beyond your control. But if the numbers keep dropping and you’re not sure why, you may need to double-check the structural soundness of how you sell your company’s products or services. Here are four pillars of a solid sales process:
Synergy with Marketing.
The sales staff can’t go it alone. Your marketing department has a responsibility to provide some assistance and direction in generating leads. You may have a long-standing profile of the ideal candidates for your products or services, but is it outdated? Could it use some tweaks? Creating a broader universe of customers who are likely to benefit from your offerings will add focus and opportunity to your salespeople’s efforts.
A sense of urgency is crucial to the sales process. Whether a prospect responded to some form of advertisement or is being targeted for cold calling, making timely and appropriate contact will ease the way for the salesperson to get through to the decision maker. If selling your product or service requires a face-to-face presence, making and keeping of appointments is critical. Gather data on how quickly your salespeople are following up on leads and make improvements as necessary.
There will always be some degree of recordkeeping associated with sales. Your salespeople will interact with many potential customers and must keep track of what was said or promised at each part of the sales cycle. Fortunately, today’s technology (typically in the form of a customer relationship system) can help streamline this activity. Make sure yours is up to date and properly used. Effective performers spend most of their time calling or meeting with customers. They carry out the administrative parts of their jobs either early or late in the day and don’t use paperwork as an excuse to avoid actively selling.
A process is defined as a series of related steps that lead to a specific end. Lagging sales are often the result of deficiencies in steps of the sales process. If your business is struggling to maintain or increase its numbers, it may be time to audit your sales process to identify irregularities. You might also hold a sales staff retreat to get everyone back on the same page. Contact us to discuss these and other ideas on reinforcing your sales process.
Tax Free Fringe Benefits Help Small Businesses and Their Employee
In today’s tightening job market, to attract and retain the best employees, small businesses need to offer not only competitive pay but also appealing fringe benefits. Benefits that are tax-free are especially attractive to employees. Let’s take a quick look at some popular options.
Businesses can provide their employees with various types of insurance on a tax-free basis. Here are some of the most common:
If you maintain a health care plan for employees, coverage under the plan isn’t taxable to them. Employee contributions are excluded from income if pretax coverage is elected under a cafeteria plan. Otherwise, such amounts are included in their wages but may be deductible on a limited basis as an itemized deduction.
Your premium payments aren’t included in employees’ income, nor are your contributions to a trust providing disability benefits. Employees’ premium payments (or other contributions to the plan) generally aren’t deductible by them or excludable from their income. However, they can make pretax contributions to a cafeteria plan for disability benefits, which are excludable from their income.
Long-term Care Insurance.
Your premium payments aren’t taxable to employees. However, long-term care insurance can’t be provided through a cafeteria plan.
Your employees generally can exclude from gross income premiums you pay on up to $50,000 of qualified group term life insurance coverage. Premiums you pay for qualified coverage exceeding $50,000 are taxable to the extent they exceed the employee’s coverage contributions.
Other Types of Tax-Advantaged Benefits
Insurance isn’t the only type of tax-free benefit you can provide — but the tax treatment of certain benefits has changed under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:
Dependent Care Assistance.
You can provide employees with tax-free dependent care assistance up to $5,000 for 2018 though a dependent care Flexible Spending Account (FSA), also known as a Dependent Care Assistance Program (DCAP).
For employees who’re adopting children, you can offer an employee adoption assistance program. Employees can exclude from their taxable income up to $13,810 of adoption benefits in 2018.
You can help employees on a tax-free basis through educational assistance plans (up to $5,250 per year), job-related educational assistance and qualified scholarships.
Moving Expense Reimbursement.
Before the TCJA, if you reimbursed employees for qualifying job-related moving expenses, the reimbursement could be excluded from the employee’s income. The TCJA suspends this break for 2018 through 2025. However, such reimbursements may still be deductible by your business.
Qualified employee transportation fringe benefits, such as parking allowances, mass transit passes and vanpooling, are tax-free to recipient employees. However, the TCJA suspends through 2025 the business deduction for providing such benefits. It also suspends the tax-free benefit of up to $20 a month for bicycle commuting.
Varying Tax Treatment
As you can see, the tax treatment of fringe benefits varies. Contact us for more information.
How to Master Food and Beverage Cost Control
Exceptional food, amiable service, and a great ambiance make the perfect restaurant. But to be successful, it needs to be profitable.
A restaurant business usually spends a lot on food and beverage and labor to fuel up its operations. Furthermore, a restaurant business also incurs unnecessary costs due to mismanagement. Having these expenses in check is necessary to keep extra costs at bay. To achieve this, you need to have control over the costs that make up your business. You should be able to identify possible areas of improvement and provide solutions as a continuing commitment.
Some of the identified unique situations in the food business industry are as follows:
- staff eating unknowingly grab and go food items in the kitchen
- accidentally contaminated stocks
- spilled food due to accident or rejected food from customers
All of which can cut back on your bottom line by a huge amount if left uncorrected.
So here are some strategies you can adopt to improve your bottom line.
Conducting Food Waste Audit
Determining the root cause of the problem is the start of finding solutions to undertake. Business owners should determine what causes food waste and how much it is cutting off from the bottom line. Monitoring the flow of waste is a continuous activity that should be done on a day in which your operations aren’t the busiest. Hiring someone solely for the job is costly so it’s best to request your staffs to cooperate as the most practical approach.
To start off, request your staffs to record where waste is coming from. This activity typically requires mindful observation. A trend of missteps and mismanagement is identified as a result of which will be the focus of improvement.
Use a POS System to Track Inventory and More
Estimating the cost of wasted food would be quite difficult since the food menu consists of small amounts of ingredients such as spices. In order to save time tabulating information on spreadsheets, using a Point of Sale System is recommended. All the information needed to price each menu item is accumulated in this system. From here on it’s much easier to estimate the cost of wastage.
Define an Inventory Intake Procedure
Proper handling of inventory when receiving is necessary to avoid prematurely spoiling raw ingredients and impairing supplies. Staffs must be trained on how to receive and store stocks properly according to your standard set of procedures. The price of your menu items is affected if you have damaged goods due to mishandling. Therefore, make sure that the quantity, quality, and the shelf life of stocks is right to avoid losses.
Proper Pouring Technique and the Right Glassware
There is a right glassware for different kinds of drinks. It is important to serve drinks on the right glass to preserve its quality and maintain its aromas. Proper technique in pouring is necessary to avoid spilling the beverage. Also, it is to ensure that every glass has the consistent amount of beverage. Inconsistent amount leads to underpouring or overpouring the beverage than necessary. Overpouring means that you are selling more than you should, hence you are losing profit. Whereas underpouring means selling less than you should, hence you had been unfair to your customer. Charging your customers too much for what they received puts your business in a bad position.
As a business owner, you are responsible for the cost of doing your business. It is your task to set standards, proper procedures and appropriate prices for your products and services.
If you need help in controlling the costs of your restaurant business, as well as help in getting powerful financial insights, help in achieving diligent tax compliance, and help in achieving a healthy cash flow, contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org or 832-437-0385.
A Strong BYOD Policy Combines Convenience with Security
It’s easy to understand why more and more businesses are taking a “bring your own device” (BYOD) approach to the smartphones, tablets and laptops many employees rely on to do their jobs. BYOD can boost employee efficiency and satisfaction, often while reducing a company’s IT costs. But the approach isn’t without risk for both you and your staff. So, it’s highly advisable to create a strong formal policy that combines convenience with security.
As an employer, your primary concern with BYOD is no doubt the inevitable security risks that arise when your networks are accessible to personal devices that could be stolen, lost or hacked. But you also must think about various legal compliance issues, such as electronic document retention for litigation purposes or liability for overtime pay when nonexempt employees use their devices to work outside of normal hours.
For employees, the main worry comes down to privacy. Will you, their employer, have access to personal information, photos and other non-work-related data on the device? Could an employee lose all of that if you’re forced to “wipe” the device because it’s been lost or stolen, or when the employee leaves your company?
A BYOD policy must address these and other issues. Each company’s individual circumstances will determine the final details, but most employers should, at minimum, require employees to sign an acknowledgment of their obligations to:
- Use strong passwords and automatic lock-outs after periods of inactivity,
- Immediately report lost or stolen devices,
- Install mandated antivirus software and other protective measures,
- Regularly back up their devices,
- Keep apps and operating systems up to date, and
- Encrypt their devices.
The policy also should prohibit the use of public wi-fi networks or require employees to log in through a secure virtual private network when connecting via public wi-fi. You may want to forbid certain apps, too.
In addition, you need to spell out your rights to access, monitor and delete data on employees’ devices — including the types of data you can access and under which conditions. In particular, explain your wiping procedures and the steps employees can take to protect their personal information from permanent erasure.
Nearly everyone who works for your company likely has a smartphone at this point. As such devices integrate themselves ever more deeply into our daily lives, it’s only natural that they’ll affect our jobs. Establishing a BYOD policy now can help prevent costly mistakes and potential litigation down the road. We can provide further information.
Important Financial Terms Entrepreneurs Must Understand
There are tons of jargons and terms filling the business world. As an entrepreneur, you have to know and understand the most important financial terms to better manage your business.
Bank reconciliation is the process of matching the transactions showing on the bank statement as against the transactions showing on the books to ensure the completeness and accuracy of the financial information.
It is a good practice to establish proper segregation of duties, that is separate the person responsible for the recording of transactions from the person preparing the bank reconciliation. This is to ensure that any unreconciled and unmatched items are captured, reported and investigated for appropriate action.
This is considered as one of the internal control procedures that the business owner must establish in their business to safeguard their most prone asset to fraud, that is cash.
Cash Flow Statement
A cash flow statement shows the sources and uses of funds. There are three components of cash flow: operating, investing and financing. The cash flow statement, just like the balance sheet, is more complex compared to the profit & loss statement.
However, it is important for the business owner to understand this so they can take proper action to achieve a healthy cash flow position. One best practice is to establish a weekly or monthly cash flow projection to help business owner foresee the period where they have a shortfall in cash so they can plan and take action appropriately.
Current ratio measures the ability of the company to meet its short-term obligation. It is calculated by dividing the current asset to the current liability. This is one of the financial ratios that Investors and lenders look at when making a loan decision.
These are the costs that are directly associated with producing your products. The more you produce, the more the cost and the less you produce, the less the cost. It is the reason why your current production expense is either greater or lesser than in the previous months.
Having a clear understanding of variable costs is necessary for you to come up with a strategy to gauge the profitability you desire. Since variable cost is dependent upon the planned number of products to be manufactured, decreasing the variable cost may be an option to increase your profit.
The working capital of your business is that part of your capital which you use to fund your day to day operations. The working capital shows how quickly you make profit and use it in addition to your day to day fund.
Selling your products with outright payment increases working capital but selling them on account will lead you into a tight position in which may put pressure on your cash flow.
Assets are the properties you bought and currently own which are intended to support your business operations.
As a business owner, you are to determine what assets to acquire to support your business operations and increase the value of your business.
Liabilities are your legal obligations to another party. These are the claims other parties have against your business as a result of borrowed funds or purchases assets or for business expense. You borrow money from financial institutions when you have insufficient funds to support business operations.
Bottom line is the term used to denote the profitability of a business. It is actually your net profit or loss during your business operations after deducting all of your business expenses. The bottom line of a business is generally used to reflect the effects of strategic plans on its overall profitability.
This is the statement that summarizes the financial aspect of your business operations during a specific period of time. It shows details about how much your customers paid you in total, the worth of the products you sold and how much you gained from selling it. Furthermore, it also exemplifies the specific expenses related to producing your products.
The income statement is generally the basis for formulating new strategies and decision making. You base your decision on the income statement for it shows the effectivity of previous strategies you executed.
Accounts receivable is the amount customers owe to your business. This is the amount your business has the right to collect from customers who already received the goods or services without paying an equivalent amount.
A strategy you can implement to increase your sales is to sell your products on credit than selling on cash basis. Therefore, appropriate policies are recommended to maximize earnings.
Depreciation is the estimate on how much your asset has been worn out over a period of time. It is the proportionate decrease in the value of your assets due to constant use since the first time it is employed in your business operations.
While working capital is for the day to day operations of a business, capital supports a much longer period of business operations. Your capital consists of the initial amount in establishing your business as well as the accumulated profit from business operations over many periods of time.
Your income, as well as additional investment to your business, increase the capital and the amounts you withdraw for personal use and your business expenses decreases it. Since the capital is the aggregate value of your business, improving the capital means improving the overall equity of your business.
Understanding finance terms is beneficial not only for the financial aspect of the business but also in gauging up long-term plans and goals. If there are more terms that sounds estranged to you our firm is more than happy to explain further and share our insights.