15-Year Old Starts Tech Company, He’s Now a Millionaire

Teen entrepreneurs are such an inspiration. Seeing them blazing the trail is always a reminder that there is no age requirement to following your passion.

High on Science & Tech - H.O.S.T

Jaylen Bledsoe is a one-of-kind superstar. The 15-year old sophomore started his own tech company a few years ago, and has found entrepreneurship to be his calling. As a result, he is his own man, and a millionaire because of it.

via 15-Year Old Starts Tech Company, He’s Now a Millionaire.

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How To Pick the Perfect Accounting Tools For Your Small Business

accountingsoftwareThe ever changing landscape of accounting technology runs the gamut. With the number of players in the market increasing by the day, the choices that small business owners can select from more than abound. Now, more than ever, entrepreneurs have a greater selection of accounting tools from which they can choose.  Having a number of  criteria in the purchase process makes the task less daunting. Here are several that can give you a jump start for technology that will make the cut.

  • Simplicity. Let’s face it. No matter how fancy dancy the accounting system is, if it complicates the workflow, no one will ever use it. The  objective of the technology should be to streamline the accounting process not to become burdensome and overloading your current capacity. With every new experience comes a learning curve. One way to shorten it and make things less complicated is by having staff trained in the use of the technology. This way questions are answered and policies for use can be established so that the transition is smooth sailing right from the start.
  • Efficiency. Speaking of smooth sailing… every small business that integrates technology should have a goal prior to purchase of improving the company’s accounting workflow. Technology can help to this end by automating many of the routine bookkeeping tasks that staff handles on a periodic basis. Key activities such as invoicing recurring clients and paying recurring bills are great examples of how accounting technology can help you save both time and money in the accounting process.
  • Productivity. Ever wondered if there was a way to get more done with less effort? The right technology integration in your business will help you do just that. Some programs are better at moving you toward greater levels of output than others. That is because there are resources that boast more advanced features like automated billing, online banking, automated data backup, and the like. So your selection should ultimately depend on the productivity categories your company identifies. There are accounting technology tools on the market that will allow you to start small and then add-on as the need arises. This is especially good to know when you are looking to expand but need to stay within a certain budget to meet the company’s cash flow needs.
  • Profitability. The name of the game in business is profit. I don’t know anyone in business today that invests their hard earned cash to simply break-even, or worse to purposely generate a net loss. With that said, keep in mind that one of the primary reasons to add accounting technology is so that you can increase your company’s profits. One way to do this is by ensuring that the cost of technology is less than what it will help you bring in. This may be seen in how your employees use the program and the type of information it provides. There is a saying in the accounting world, “Garbage in is garbage out.” In other words, make sure that what goes into the system is accurate, reliable, and timely enough to help managers (including you) make the best decisions possible from accounting data.

As you can see some accounting technology will have more bells and whistles than others. It goes without saying that buyer should beware before making the leap into the accounting tech and software world. What criteria do you use when select the right accounting technology for your small business? Leave your comments below. I’d love to hear from you!

Think About Business Taxes Before It’s Tax Time

taxentrepreneurStaying up on tax laws is key to paying the least tax possible when you’re self-employed. Even if you hire someone to complete your return, use these tax strategies to reduce what you owe.

Pay Less Tax By Legally Reducing Taxable Income

Many self-employed persons are surprised to find that they can reduce their taxes by lowering the income they will be taxed on. You can do this by following a tax reduction plan the entire year. One strategy that entrepreneurs often miss is saving for retirement. When you contribute to a retirement account like a Self Employed Pension Plan, for example, you not only pay less tax, but build tax free savings.

Estimate Taxes Ahead of The Deadline

When you work as an independent contractor instead of an employee there is no tax withheld. That does not mean that you are not required to send in what you owe. A top concern for many entrepreneurs is how much taxes they will have to pay. You can figure this out by keeping a good record of sales and then computing your gross income. A handy tool that can help with this is an income tax calculator. When you have the estimated amount, be sure to send them in. Paying on time helps you save money by not having to pay late filing fees.

File the Right Forms

When you file a business tax return you will need to complete the forms. The one that you do will depend on your company’s legal structure. For example, if you are setup as a sole proprietor then you will need to file a Schedule C to report business income. Other forms, including Partnerships, “S” Corporations and “C” Corporations have their own forms, as well.

Being self-employed has many benefits including earning as much as you’d like. What matters overall is not how much sales you bring in but how much you get to keep.

Do you use tax reduction strategies to maximize your profits? Share your time proven tips in the comments below.

25 Financial Management Tips for Entrepreneurs

checksuccessEntrepreneurs are experts in their field but when they first start out many do not expect to be responsible for so many financial decisions. The following list will help you consider what practices you may be overlooking and need to put in place.

  1. Setup procedures to get bookkeeping down to a science.
  2. Use projections to forecast cash flows.
  3. Build relationships with bankers.
  4. Get information on financing.
  5. Build a team of experts.
  6. Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you.
  7. Delegate to people who enjoy doing the tasks you hate.
  8. Get to know the main aspects of money management.
  9. Stay in the know about changes in your market conditions.
  10. Know what goes into a budget.
  11. Watch your costs closely.
  12. Aim to fund the business with adequate cash flow.
  13. Keep your financial ratios in line.
  14. Take a conservative approach to projecting sales.
  15. Remember that revenues and expenses rarely move at the same rate.
  16. Use marketing ratios to expand on what works.
  17. Find out what goes into a request for proposal.
  18. Build a credit profile for your company.
  19. Invest in assets to strategically add value to your business.
  20. Always put the company’s cash to work for you.
  21. Look for investment opportunities to multiply profits.
  22. Be careful when choosing debt over equity to cover the cost of growth.
  23. Make income producing activities a priority in your day.
  24. Understand what you are responsible for in accounting, tax and business law.
  25.  Learn to appreciate the value of numbers.

The use of knowledge is power. As you go forward, which of the tips can you implement now that will be most helpful to your business?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seven Strategies That Enterprising Women Use To Create a Thriving Business

womenentrepreneurIt’s safe to say that no two women-owned businesses are exactly alike. Yet, even in our differences, the way that we run our companies have many things in common. Here are seven secrets to female business success that stands out for me:

  1. The first thing I notice among female entrepreneurs is our goal to consistently reach new markets. We build companies with staying power. That means we are conscious of not putting all of our eggs in one basket. We add diversity in our companies by adding new products, services and market segments. We also consider new ways  to fill a different need by focusing on our core strengths.
  2. Women in business seek better ways to get goods and services to their customers. We run our companies like lean organizations because we want them to be efficient. Keeping our eyes on logistics is key as we look for ideas to streamline our processes. We are careful to control costs while doing our best to meet high standards of quality.
  3. Female CEO’s realize that a successful enterprise is a growing enterprise. Women in business know the difference between being thirsty and being hungry for success. That’s why we set the bar high. For us, the focus is two-fold: Give extremely high value to customers and add extremely high value to the companies we own.
  4. We are also interested in building relationships. In business the adage, “Time is money” is true. That’s why it is key to build strong business relationships.  Industrious women know that the investment of time is the seed that produces long-term growth.
  5. Women business owners build companies with strong teams. No woman is an island. So women achieve their goals in business by delegating where they are weak and building teams to complement their strengths.
  6. We look for ways to reduce costs without sacrificing quality. When it comes to saving money, enterprising women are careful of where and when to cut expenses. We also look at costs as investments when they make our brands and market positions stronger.
  7. Enterprising women are interested in managing money well. This is a strategy that most women business owners do not take lightly. We start with the end in mind picturing where in retirement we want to financially be. Then with the help of financial professionals, we create our companies around our goals.

As an entrepreneur of over a decade I have personally used these in my business but can always improve (especially in number 5 — getting better at delegating roles).

So tell me in the comments below, did any of these tips strike a chord?

Every Entrepreneur Has a Passion and Creative Process

ladygagaopraThere is a ton of advice for entrepreneurs to help hone in on their purpose. A common response is figure out what you enjoy most and build a business around it. Many call this finding your passion but I think of it as finding your spark.   

For this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.…

Not long ago I went on a journey to find the answer for myself. I started by remembering when I was a little girl playing for hours in my mom’s kitchen. I always enjoyed organizing and adding things up. Then I’d switch gears to play school with mountains of stuffed animals while teaching from the assignments I’d write. These memories revealed two things for me: my love for administration and teaching and my creative process.

Today I watched one of the most fascinating episodes of Oprah where she interviewed singer/songwriter Lady Gaga. In the interview Oprah asks about her Born This Way Foundation, career, and creative process. As I listened to Lady Gaga’s response I was inspired by two things.

To be creative, you need to know what frees you up to bring out the creative genius in you.

Lady Gaga mentioned that you need to, “cancel out the noise” so that you can be your creative self. I can relate to this process of pulling away. When I was creating my e-course, “How to Create Good Financial Habits and Position Your Business to Prosper”, unplugging from the busyness of business is what I had to do. So I limited the emails, turned off social media, and went on hiatus from events with family and friends. It is how I allow the creative spirit that comes from God to flow unhindered through me. As a result I not only found the inspiration for big ideas but the message that I was being led to deliver became undoubtedly clear.

Lady Gaga also shared the importance of having role models when developing your boldness. 

I thought it powerful that she once imagined one of her mentors, singer/actress Whitney Houston, singing the lyrics to one of her songs. What an awesome concept! This gives a totally new meaning to having role models in life. The lesson here is not to become less of who you are, but to see, believe and achieve who you want to be. Instead you can piggyback on the traits of women that you would like to emulate. When you imagine that the same phenomenal character that your mentors have is inside of you, it changes your perception of what is possible. That is the part of the creative process when you become a stronger, more confident, and unstoppable version of you.

At the end of the interview, Oprah asks the question, “What do you really want the world to know about you?” To that I imagined giving Oprah my response. Here is what I would say:

“I want the world to know that I care about enterprising women who are looked at as the underdog. My mission, this assignment that I am so passionate about, is to be a mentor and advocate for female entrepreneurs who daily dig in their high heels but still miss out because they do not have adequate finances.

Takeaways from the Lady Gaga interview:

  • Connect to your spark and fan the flames
  • Understand what makes you most creative
  • Find a way to express your gifts to the world

The episode of Oprah interviewing Lady Gaga was excellent! One of the best that I have seen on OWN’s #SuperSoulSunday. I could watch this episode over and over again (and I probably will)!

So let’s hear it…

Have you connected with your passion? How do you express your creativity? I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments below.