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 Tuesday Tips and Tricks
                           November 19, 2013



Does your organization have too many projects on the go and not enough staff? Has a special, short-term project come up for which you're not able to hire permanent staff?

Today's businesses are recognizing the value and flexibility of working with a professional and highly skilled Virtual Assistant when they need offsite assistance on a contract basis.  
At Off-Site Business Services, we specialize in assisting with projects with specific deadlines on an "as needed" or "per project" basis. An example would be projects that are cluttering someone's desk which regular staff members don't have sufficient time to complete. We believe in providing our clients with the highest quality assistance.  We have a network of resources and expertise available to us.


Today's technology makes working with a Virtual Assistant an ideal solution when you need administrative support on a short-term basis. You won't need extra office space, another computer, or to pay for coffee breaks and employee benefits.


It's a cost saving solution!

                                          NO payroll taxes,

                                          NO employee benefits, and

                                          NO additional office space or equipment

We're available when and if you require our services and you don't need to commit to a long-term contract. Call us at 877-966-4441 or go to 


How is your business doing? Have you conducted a business review lately? As 2013 draws to a close, there is no better time to start planning again - and this invariably means taking stock of the business year, reviewing your market position, and deciding where to take your business next year.

Conducting a holistic year-end review has meaningful benefits for every small business owner - not least of which is planning for and positioning your business for economic recovery in the year ahead. Below are some tried and tested tactics you can employ to review your business performance.


Give Yourself a Pat on the Back - Focus on Your Accomplishments

Where better place to start than focusing in on what your business has done well - a year is a long time in business and while we celebrate the highs, it is often the lows that stay with us. Remind yourself of your successes and consider ways to repeat them. Then take stock of key areas of your business including core activities, sales and marketing, employees, and business finances, here are some things to consider:


1. Assess your Core Activities (i.e. What you Do and Who Your Market Is)

Core activities essentially encompass your business operations - areas to assess include your core products and services as well as your customer base. Ask yourself questions such as:


Which products or services are the most profitable? How can you optimize operations around the success of these?


Are any products that are failing? Are there any changes you can make to enhance their sales or profitability (production, distribution, sales, marketing, price, etc.)?


Are your products or services still aligned with your target market? Has your core customer base changed in the past year, what market forces impact your customer base? If the answer is yes, you may need to go back to the drawing board and assess what your customer needs are. 


What can you do to optimize your cost base? Many businesses have closed their brick and mortar establishments to operate online only. Others have become home-based to save costs. Where can you realize efficiencies?


What do your customers think of you? How "customer-centric" is your approach to business? Successful businesses watch the customer, become the customer, and involve the customer.


2. Conduct a Sales and Marketing Review

In addition to measuring your sales performance and marketing ROI against your objectives and business plan, a full sales and marketing review should also include an analysis of market forces and the benchmarking of your business against the competition - an efficient way to do this is to conduct a SWOT analysis.


3. Evaluate your Employees

Annual performance reviews are traditionally always something that managers and employees alike tend to dislike, if not dread. But a well prepared and honest performance review is an invaluable way to base line employee performance (strengths and weaknesses), recognize achievement, and ensure that individual goals are aligned with overall business goals.


4. Review your Business Finances

Every business is different so it's worth talking to your accountant about your individual circumstances, but as a guide you will need to review:


Budget - Do you have one and are you sticking to it? 

Cash flow - Is it sufficient? Can you forecast cash flow trends so that you can anticipate problems and prepare for them in advance? Do you need and have a contingency plan?

Profit - What is the state of your gross profit margin?

Cost Base and Pricing - Review your cost base (constantly). Do you need to adjust pricing - how will this impact your customer relationships?

Borrowing - Are you staying on top of your business loan or overdraft obligations? Should you options for refinancing?

Taxes - Get a step ahead of tax season pressures now to help maximize your deductions and sail through tax season. 


If you feel you are going to need help in any of these areas in 2014, give Off-Site Business Services a call. We can help you find the resources to make next year your best year yet.


"App"roved for Use


Every month, we will feature an application that we believe works well with QuickBooks and can do likewise for your business.


With the advancement of Smartphone technology, mobile credit card processing has become more and more popular. If you have inconsistent sales or a part time business, then mobile processing might be right for you.


The two best mobile credit card processing apps are Square Up and Phone Swipe. Both offer free card readers, no monthly fees or minimum transactions and no cancellation fees.


Square Up is compatible with both Apple iPhones running iOS 5.0 or higher and Android devices 2.3 or higher. They also have support for cash drawer and receipt printer if you use an iPad. Phone Swipe is also compatible with Apple iPhones running OS 3.0 or later, Android devices 2.1 or later as well as Blackberry phones running OS 4.7 or later.


Pricing between the two are similar. Phone Swipe has the lower swipe fee of 2.69% versus 2.75% with Square Up. If you manually enter transactions, Swipe charges 3.5% plus 15 cents per transaction as opposed to Phone Swipe's 3.49% plus 19 cents per transaction.


For technical support, Phone Swipe is the better choice. They have a 24/7 phone line and online support. Square Up only offers support online. This is probably the most important difference when considering a processor. No one wants to lose a sale because of a technical issue.


Off-Site Business Services, Inc.
Grow A Successful Business!
 Kimberly Shannon


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