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Tips from QuickBooks to Help You Grow Your BusinessImage of QuickBooks Pro Box
Serving a Niche:
There are dozens of businesses that offer identical services or products out there. Make yours stand out by serving a niche market. But how can you decide which products or services to offer? Start by asking yourself the following questions:
  • What niche markets exist in my area of expertise?
    What needs do people have?
  • What type of specialty product or service could fill those needs?
  • Does a specialty product or service like that already exist?
  • If not, can I design one? Improve upon an existing one?
By developing a niche product or service in a market where you have experience, you can better understand your market and provide a service that few, if any, can top.
Outsourcing Your Work Can Save You Time and Money:
Accounting. Office management. Marketing. IT. Operations. Running your own business requires so many hats, and it can be difficult to juggle them all successfully. Even if you can't afford to hire five full-time employees to help you run your business, you can still get help.
Outsourcing the work to contractors or freelancers can be an affordable solution to keeping your business running smoothly. Many freelance websites provide professionals in different fields that can help you on a project or hourly basis.
Increasing Sales the Easy Way:
You know there's no secret to effortless sales — just a lot of hard work and a little luck. But you can get some advice on tried and true tools that can boost your bottom line.
  1. Website. Every business needs a website. It doesn't have to have all the bells and whistles, but it should be well-designed and professional.
  2. Brochure. Many people are visual and like to have an easy-to-digest form to help them make the decision about whether to buy from you. A simple 3-fold brochure can get across the message you're trying to convey, which should be what you offer and what solutions you provide your customers.
  3. Advertising. The world of advertising is ever-expanding. You have so many options: online, print, television, radio...the list goes on. Today, internet advertising is typically the cheapest and most flexible option. You can place ads on websites and blogs that pertain to your company's industry and change them as often as you want.
Where to Get Money:
Banks aren't the only source for business financing these days. Depending on your situation, you have several sources you can look to for funding your business's growth. See which of these is right for your company.
  • Friends and Family: If you have close contacts with cash, consider asking them to invest in your company, either loaning you the money to be repaid, or in exchange for equity in the company.
  • Bank Loans: Probably the most traditional form of commercial finance, a bank loan can provide you the money you need, and you won't have to give up control of your company to get it.
  • Angel Investors: Angel investors, private individuals who provide funding to companies, serve two purposes: they get you the money you need and serve as mentors. They may require equity in your company.
  • Grants: Grants are sums of money awarded to finance a particular activity or facility. Generally, these grant awards do not need to be paid back. Federal agencies and other organizations sponsor grant programs for various reasons, such as the ability to fit your business's proposed activities within the grantmaker's interest areas.
Getting a Grant to Grow:
As a small business owner, you may be eligible for a variety of financing options provided by the Small Business Administration and other organizations. Grants are great because they're free money. Typically grants are designed for business owners in a specific niche, such as technology, veteran-owned, women-owned, and minority-owned.
If you qualify, getting a grant you don't have to pay back affords your business the opportunity to grow. But know that grants can be hard to get. You're often competing with hundreds of other qualified businesses, and one small mistake in the application process can disqualify you.
Also note that the Small Business Administration does not offer grants to start or expand small businesses, though it does offer a wide variety of loan programs. While the SBA does offer some grant programs, these are generally designed to expand and enhance organizations that provide small business management, technical, or financial assistance. These grants generally support non-profit organizations, intermediary lending institutions, and state and local governments.
Do You Accept Credit Cards?
New business owners tense up when they are asked this question. In the early days of setting up shop, creating a business checking account, managing financials and being able to accept credit card payments seems daunting. It doesn't have to be.
The right merchant service solution can process credit cards easily. If you use QuickBooks for your finances, QuickBooks Merchant Service is one option that can integrate with your QuickBooks software.
Involve Your Customers:
Studies show that it's cheaper to create a repeat customer than to bring in a new one. Here are some tips to get your customers begging for more.
  1. Incentives. Offer repeat buyers discounts or free gifts. Everyone likes freebies.
  2. Communication. Keep your customers loyal by sending a monthly email newsletter or direct mail sales flyers.
  3. Customer Service. If you treat customers well, they will come back. Always be courteous, and make an effort to learn your customers' names so that you can use them while interacting!
See how you grow:
While having more sales than you can handle may sound great, if you don't manage it well, your product or service may suffer — and that's when you risk losing important customers. Plan for growth before it happens so that your business doesn't experience a hitch when you skyrocket to success.
  • Is your facility large enough to handle inventory for growing sales? If not, make plans to add space or move to a larger facility.
  • Do you have enough staff to handle busy seasons (before the season hits)? If not, consider hiring temporary help to keep the business running smoothly.
  • Is your operations team equipped to handle growing responsibilities? If not, hire an accountant, a manager or whomever you need to ensure every job gets done properly.
Keep Improving:
Every business can stand to improve. That's what keeps competition alive and kicking! Assess your business's areas of operations regularly (every 6 months or year) to find areas you can make better.
  • Is every customer service call being answered promptly?
  • Do you have a high rate of returned products? 
  •  Is your overhead costing your customers too much?
  •  Do you get complaints about store employees?
  •  Do your accounting procedures need an overhaul?


By asking yourself these types of questions, you can easily see where you can make a few small changes to make a big difference to the company.
Getting a Testimonial:
You already know that a testimonial is worth its weight in gold. Testimonials on your website can assure potential customers that you're great at what you do. Don't be afraid to ask for a testimonial! Here's how.
Choose your best three to five customers. Send them an email asking if they would be comfortable giving you a testimonial and write one for them. Include information relevant to their experience with you. They of course can write their own, but some people would prefer to review what you've written and approve it. Make it easy!
Be the Brand: Marketing Yourself
If you are a small business owner, your business isn't the only thing that needs to be marketed. Because you are the face of your company, you need to promote yourself as a brand so that people know who you are.
The foundation of any business is building and maintaining relationships. Whether you sell something online or have clientele that visit your store or office, you're building something with them. Become more than just a pretty face; engage in conversations, send personalized emails, send handwritten notes. Become the personality behind your brand.
By linking your personality directly to your brand, you'll notice more people will be attracted to your company. People like to be able to relate, and a warm smile beats an impersonal corporation every time.
Using Sales Promotions to Increase Revenue:
Sales promotions are great tools to bring in more sales. Try some of these effective suggestions in your business:
  • Package Deal. If you have a product that isn't selling well, consider tying it to the sale of another product and selling the two items together.
  • Percent Off. Discount coupons of 10 or 20 percent off encourage people to buy more.
  • Free Shipping. If you have an online retail store, free shipping is a great incentive that encourages people to stock up their virtual carts — and depending on volume, you may be able to negotiate discounts with shipping companies to lower your costs.
  • Discount on Next Purchase. When your customers buy from you, stick coupons in their bags that provide discounts on their next visit to your store.
  • Refer-A-Friend Programs. Word of mouth is the cheapest form of advertising — and in today's cluttered marketplace, it can also be the most effective. Offer your customers incentives and rewards to refer business your way. You'll keep your existing customers happy and involved in your business and gain new ones.


 Shortcuts From QuickBooks


Quickly Closing All Open QuickBooks Windows

To close all open QuickBooks Windows quickly, click Window on the menu bar and the Close All.


Using the History Button
The History button shows you all the transactions related to the one you are currently viewing. For example, view any invoice that you know is paid, then click on the History button. Then you’ll see the payment details on your screen instantly.


Keys that help you save lots of time when working with dates

(Just type the key shown in the date field.)

T = today’s date
M = First day of the month you are working in
H = Last day of the month you are working in
Y = First day of the year
R = Last day of the year
+ = Move the date forward by one day
- = Move the date backward by one day


Chart of Accounts Shortcut
CTRL+A brings up the Chart of Accounts right away


Closing QuickBooks Shortcut
ALT+F4 closes QuickBooks software


Calculator Shortcut
When working in a register, you can use the = to bring up the calculator when adding or subtracting from an account


Memorized Transaction Shortcut
CTRL+T will bring up your Memorized Transaction list immediately


Keeping Your 941 Report Accurate

Do not pay your payroll liabilities from the “Write Checks” window. If you use this window, QuickBooks will warn you to use the “Pay Liabilities” window, but will let you write the check. However when you print the 941, it will not reflect any payments that you made using the “Write Checks” window.


Use the “Pay Liabilities” window to create checks for all tax liabilities. Using this window will ensure that the payments are reflected accurately on the 941 report and that your liability accounts are properly reduced.


How to back up your important QuickBooks data

  1. Click on File
  2. Click Back Up
  3. Complete the location where the file will be backed up (i.e. USB key or other disk)
  4. Click the Back Up button


Fast access to company files you have used recently

Use the Open Previous Company option found on the File menu to give you fast access to company files you have used recently.


Deleting invoices off the “Select Invoices to Print” window.

Here’s how you delete some of those old invoices that have been hanging around since 2002. This is a common problem in QuickBooks. Here’s the fix – for each entry that is showing up in your Reminders list under “Invoices to Print”, double- click on it. This action should take you to the invoice itself. Once here, remove the check mark in the box in the lower left hand corner that says “to be printed”, then click “Save and Close”. This invoice should no longer show up in the “Invoices to Print” list.


Filtering a Report – Selecting most of the items from a list

When filtering reports in QuickBooks you may want to select most of the items on a particular list, but not all items to appear on your report. First choose the “selected” option from the list (selected accounts, selected names, etc).


Normally you would check each item that you want to appear on your report. However, if you want to check all the items on the list, click the first item and do not release the mouse button. While holding down the mouse button, slide the mouse pointer down just below the list.


When QuickBooks is done all of the items on the list will be checked. Release the mouse button. Now you can manually click the items to remove the ones that you do not wish to include in your filter.


Password Protecting QuickBooks

To password protect your QuickBooks data file click on Company in the menu bar, then Set Up Users. From here, you can assign a password for the main (Administrator) account in QuickBooks. You can also set up user accounts, passwords, and different levels of access if you have multiple people using your QuickBooks file. Make sure you keep your newly created password in a safe place (just in case you forget it!)