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Accounting Apps That Will Rock Your Small Business

Accounting Apps That Will Rock Your Small Business

Initially this post was intended to include apps for small businesses in general. However, as we are continuously asked for app recommendations, we decided to split this up into a series of blog posts with the goal of helping you focus on what you need the most. We intend to continue update these, as we find more fantastic apps for your small business.

While searching for the perfect application to track client’s invoices and payments; and keep our business’ accounting organized; we narrowed it down to our two favorite options.

In order for you to better navigate through this post, we have created a key for clear understanding of where we stand with these.
👍🏼 = currently using and loving it. | ✅ = tried it but not currently using. | 📌 = interested in trying out.

Accounting Apps That Will Rock Your Small Business




Wave 👍🏼

By the end of 2016, we decided that our small business we needed a more robust application to manage or invoices and accounting. Somehow, we got our hands on Wave. Their “get paid faster” phrase kept sticking around and we could not help but give it a try and we have recommended Wave to plenty of business owners ever since. Initially what drove us to Wave was the amount of accounting options it provided; such a complete tool. From customizing templates, to creating vendors, items, estimates and invoices. In addition, it even has complete reporting tab with everything from balance sheets to tax reports, P&L, aging reports, income statements and more. After creating invoices you have the option to schedule payment reminders for clients to be automatically sent out after a certain time period has elapsed.

Wave also has a very complete initial dashboard in which at a glance you are able to see: overdue payments, send reminders, income reports and quick links. Additionally, this app allows for expense tracking and you can also take advantage of this using the Wave Receipts mobile app. Oh, did we mention that all of this is cloud-based and free? There’s never anything to update or install. Seriously, if you are going to only use one of these apps we’re recommending, it’s gotta be Wave.

Wave Apps Dashboard


Visit the Wave website
| Cost: Free
Image from: WaveApps.com

Pancake ✅


As many business owners at the beginning, we started our invoicing with Excel, then moved up to Paypal. After a while, we realized that we needed a system in place, no questions asked. One day we heard about Pancake. The name alone intrigued us, so we immediately went on and researched it. Pancake seemed to have exactly what we wanted, an easy way to send estimates and invoices and keep track of them. Yes! An accounting app to track our business’ income? Downfall? Once you purchase the application, you’ll need your web developer to install it and configure it on your server. One thing we absolutely loved about this app when we used it was the ability to attach a file to an invoice and have it deliver automatically to the client as soon as the payment was received.

Other features include: client area, online invoicing, project management, proposals, time tracking and more.
If you’d like to try it out, you can visit their demo page, login with their provided credentials and take a quick tour.

Visit the Pancake App website | Cost: $149




We’d love to hear about your favorites.
Do you use any of these accounting apps? Which ones do you love and/or hate? Any new ones to recommend? Leave them on the comments section below.



4 Podcasts Every Female Entrepreneur Should Listen To

4 Podcasts Every Female Entrepreneur Should Listen To

In this fast-paced environment that we are all currently living; finding time to watch TV, binge-watch the newest series on Netflix, or just read a book seems like a luxury. Our time is often so limited and compromised. However, we have found a way to maintain ourselves entertained while we work, on car rides or even before going to sleep: podcasts. If you want to feel super inspired, motivated and learn more about other rock-star female entrepreneurs doing fantastic things, you need to start listening to these 4 Podcasts Every Female Entrepreneur Should Listen To that we are about to share. We cannot enjoy these alone and wanted to share them with you.Please take a few minutes from your week to enjoy one or all of these. You’re welcome. 😉

 

All Up In Your Lady Business

This is currently one of our favorite podcasts at the moment and a recent find for us that we cannot get enough of. They share their experiences as business owners and interview other rockstar females who are making it. As they once said on an episode: we’ll listen to “conversations with inspiring ladies who have designed a life they love by doing a like they love.” Their name, slogan, awesome content and bubbly personality episode after episode makes us love this one a lot. You can also join the Facebook Group here.

🎧 Listen to the All Up In Your Lady Business podcast here.
💻Visit their website

 

Being Boss

Being Boss is a podcast by Emily Thompson and Kathleen Shannon. Each episodes speaks about topics we are all, at some point, curious about when having our own businesses. From Leaving the Day Job, to Working from Home, Client Management, and Behaving Like a Boss! I mean, if these titles don’t float your boat I don’t know what will. Emily and Kathleen do a fantastic job sharing tips, advice and interviews that’ll help you be a boss at work and in your life.

🎧 Listen to the Being Boss podcast here.
💻Visit their website

 

She Means Business

She Means Business is a podcast hosted by Carrie Green, founder of The Female Entrepreneur Association and brings us short weekly episodes about turning your ideas into reality by having your own business and how to be successful at it. Some of our favorite episodes are: Building Your Dream Business while Living your Dream Life, From Extreme Burn out to the Business of Your Dreams, and Condition Yourself for Success.

🎧 Listen to the She Means Business podcast here.
💻Visit their website

 

She Did It Her Way

This is another fantastic weekly podcast hosted by Amanda Boleyn, that’ll most definitely inspire you if you are creating or running your own business. This podcast is packed with advice and stories to help you succeed in the business world. If you are considering subscribing to this podcast, check out some of our favorite episodes: Startup to Success, CEO with a Side of Chic, and Bringing Your Vision to Life.

🎧 Listen to the She Did It Her Way podcast here.
💻Visit their website

 

Do you listen to any other great podcast from females who are rocking the business world? Please do share with us in the comments section below. We’d love to enjoy them with you and add them to our list of 4 Podcasts Every Female Entrepreneur Should Listen To. 🎧

 

How Busy Entrepreneurs Get Things Done

How Busy Entrepreneurs Get Things Done

The life of the typical entrepreneur is incredibly hectic. Startup business owners tend to face a rockier road than others due to the tasks associated with launching a brand new enterprise. But the path doesn’t become much smoother from there. In fact, a recent study indicates that an entrepreneur’s average workweek of is 63 percent longer than a common employee who puts in 40 hours per week.  Because of this, many entrepreneurs integrate the following time-saving tips into their lifestyle.

Getting a Head Start on the Day

While the majority of people are still sleeping at 3:45 a.m., Apple CEO Tim Cook is sorting and reading his latest emails. Michelle Obama has already begun her daily workout by 4:30 a.m. and Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo, is always in her office by 7:00 a.m. sharp. As you can see, it pays to get a head start on the day.

Certain individuals are able to rely on a sort of natural alarm clock. By utilizing the body’s inherent circadian rhythm, these people are able to regulate their sleeping habits and wake up without the use of an alarm clock. Although they might not be able to awaken at a specific time each and every morning, their margin of error is usually close enough to work with.

Fortunately for those who do depend on a mechanical or electronic clock, today’s alarms aren’t nearly as obnoxious and annoying as they once were. The traditional sound of a metal hammer striking a bell, while certainly effective, has given way to gradual signals, soothing human voices and environmental sounds from the rainforest.

Establishing a Consistent Schedule

Entrepreneurs are also known for maintaining consistent schedules. Checking emails, cooking breakfast and showering tend to be amongst the first items on most daily agendas. Not only does this let you establish a concrete routine, but it can help eliminate any indecisiveness you have.

Relying on a day-to-day schedule can even affect your productivity. Once you map out your schedule, you’re likely to find gaps ready to be filled with other activities. Try to use this time to your advantage by reading or studying. Those who want to bolster their career even further might spend some of their newfound free time in the office.

Hacking Your Commute

Depending on how far you have to drive, your daily work commute can be a real source of frustration. Since the trip usually takes place early in the day and again at the end of your shift, it’s far too easy to let the inconvenience turn into a serious stressor. However, there are a number of steps you can take to ease some of the tension and trouble over a lengthy commute.

Commuters sometimes find it useful to sing along with their favorite songs while driving. This is a great way to inject some fun into a boring commute. Depending on your skill level, however, this one might be best reserved for solo trips. Other ideas include learning a new language, listening to audiobooks and creating an audio journal.

Sharing your commute with a coworker is another great method to stave off the boredom and monotony of the daily drive. Carpooling can also save you money, increase the longevity of your vehicle and even help protect the environment.

Prioritizing Your Daily Activities

Prioritization goes hand-in-hand with the implementation of a daily schedule. Entrepreneurs who have the luxury of a personal assistant can delegate some of these activities, but many aren’t that lucky. In this case, there’s no other solution but to rank your responsibilities according to their importance and work your way down the list. Unfortunately, this process is rarely that straightforward.

Some prefer to prioritize their daily activities from easiest to most difficult. Finishing up smaller, menial tasks at the beginning of the day will leave you with plenty of time to focus on bigger tasks. Conversely, tackling the large jobs and major responsibilities upfront can eliminate some of the day’s stress right from the start. It’s ultimately up to you to choose the approach that works best.

Seeking out a Consulting Service

Business consulting firms are an excellent go-to for young entrepreneurs and startup brands. Apart from their awareness of current market trends, organizational management and regulatory compliance, consulting services can even help create, develop and refine your initial business model.

Startup enterprises and new business leaders stand to benefit immensely from a consulting service. While generalized firms can help you in a variety of different areas, you can call specialists in to handle specific functions such as finance, human resources or information technology. Other consultancy roles exist for nearly every business operation and activity imaginable.

Taking More Naps

This may sound counterproductive, but research shows that those who take short naps of 20 to 30 minutes throughout the day tend to be more alert and energetic than those who don’t. In fact, it’s rumored that Leonardo da Vinci took a 15-minute nap every four hours, thereby granting him six more hours per day. Thomas Edison was thought to follow similar sleeping patterns.

Despite the effectiveness of regular naps, the majority of traditional employers do not accommodate the practice. While it really isn’t feasible on any kind of large scale, some proactive companies have implemented quiet spaces and nap rooms for their staff. Employers such as Ben & Jerry’s, Zappos, Nike and even NASA all provide their employees with the option of napping throughout the workday.

Making the Most of Your Entrepreneurial Lifestyle

The entrepreneurial lifestyle isn’t for everyone.

Although it can be incredibly rewarding and exciting, it’s a role that demands a strong attention to detail, unwavering dedication to your business and the ability to multitask on a day-to-day basis. Pink Studios offers a range of social media, consulting, web design and other marketing services to help busy entrepreneurs keep up with the daily demand.

For those who are able to handle the fast-paced nature of the entrepreneur, however, success waits just around the corner.


Lexie Lu is a designer and blogger. She actively contributes to the design world and usually has a cup of coffee in close proximity. She writes weekly on Design Roast and can be followed on Twitter @lexieludesigner.

 

If You’re Personal, They Will Come To You: A Look at Personalized Marketing

If You’re Personal, They Will Come To You: A Look at Personalized Marketing


People are bombarded with marketing from the moment they hop in their car for work to the time when they turn off their phone just before bed. All that noise can be off-putting to a potential customer. To stand out from that horde of advertising, harness the power of personalized marketing. This technique comes in many forms, yet they all help attract new customers when done right.

The Value of Personalized Marketing

Here’s why personalized marketing is important:

As the numbers show, personalized marketing can be powerful, but it has much room for improvement. Read on to learn what to do — and what not to do — to boost your marketing efforts.

Personalize the Information

A media company like the New York Times definitely has its core demographics, yet each reader has their own share of interests. Big news outlets publish so much content each day that the articles a reader might truly be interested in get lost in the shuffle.

To help keep its audience as engaged as possible, the New York Times has been investing big in personalization over the past couple years. This goes well beyond the handful of “recommended for you” thumbnails at the end of articles. Instead, this is a fairly sophisticated system that tracks and displays what kind of articles the reader is interested in. Based on those habits, a custom lineup of articles and videos is suggested.

These efforts have helped increased the quality of each visitor’s experience and has lowered bounce rates.

While none of us likely have the deep pockets of the New York Times, we can learn from their efforts for our own websites. If you’re a content-heavy website, ensure certain types of readers are getting the type of information they’re interested in.

Think Twice About Using Names

One of the easiest ways to include a touch of personalization is to include the person’s name when sending out an email. This is a feature for most email campaign platforms, so it’s not hard to be tempted to do this. While it sounds smart — and polite — to include a personal greeting in your next email campaign, you might want to hold off on that.
Research has found that this turns people off because they’re accustomed to a wide range of spam and phishing attempts that include their names in the hopes of building trust in a victim. These days, most people can see right through such a scheme. The last thing you want is for your company to be associated with those unsavory types.

While you should definitely err on the side of caution, there is a time and place for including the recipient’s name in the email. Online learning resources such as Khan Academy and Coursera do well by including the recipient’s name, as it simulates the classroom and adds a welcome personal touch to the curriculum.

If you’re offering lessons of any type, then including the name might be a good idea. Otherwise, seriously consider whether it adds value or not.

Think of the Time Zone

Thanks to the Internet, even the smallest of businesses can go global. The downside to that is it makes marketing efforts all the more challenging when you’re dealing with different time zones. It’s natural to focus on the time zone you’re based on — especially when you’re already super busy. However, it’s important to target your digital communications (e-mails, social media, etc.) to people at the best possible times for each market.

Look at what happened to online clothing retailer BustedTees when they took this strategy to mind. The results were incredible when the company stopped sending one daily email at the same time and instead staggered it based on the time of the intended market. Email revenues were up 8.2 percent, and the click through rate rose to 11 percent. The content of the emails were the same — all that changed was the time they were delivered.

Time zone management is a low cost way to increase business. Do the research and discover the best time to reach your customers.

Perfect the Website

First impressions are important, and that’s why your website needs to immediately entice potential customers appropriately. Everything needs to be pleasingly designed and quick to load, but also clearly information and understated, especially if the topic and your business serves a delicate audience. 12 Keys Rehab takes on this approach and highlights their counseling services based on each client’s needs rather than a generic approach for everyone.

Adding some additional personalization can help turn a good website into a great one. Continental Warranty seemed to reach its peak when it comes to converting online visitors. However, they profiled visitors and sent them to specific landing pages. Doing so increased leads by 90 percent, according to a case study.

Get Personal

There’s a fine line between smart personalization and going so far that it comes across as inauthentic. Experiment regularly and track your results. You’ll soon discover what works best for you — and your audience.


Lexie Lu is a designer and blogger. She actively contributes to the design world and usually has a cup of coffee in close proximity. She writes weekly on Design Roast and can be followed on Twitter @lexieludesigner.

 

5 Simple Tips When Developing Your Brand

5 Simple Tips When Developing Your Brand

These days, the word “branding” gets thrown around a lot. Everyone knows what it is: Branding is what makes Apple “Apple” instead of “shiny gadget producer,” “Starbucks” instead of “premium coffee seller” and “Nike” instead of “sturdy running shoes.” That being the case, how do you make it work for you?

To be specific, how do you make customers say “Oh yeah!” instead of just “Oh…” when they hear about your company? How do you create a brand that’s memorable, sustainable and true to your company’s values in an age where branding is harder than ever? How do you build something so powerful from the ground up when you’re still new to business?

Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to those questions. The best branding strategies depend on a ton of factors: Who your target customers are, what those customers think about you, how comfortable you are with your company’s current image, etc.

Better grasp the answers to those questions when you follow the tips below.
  1. Write Your Brand Mantra: Keep in mind that your brand mantra is different from your mission statement. For example, Nike’s mission statement is “To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete,” while its mantra is “Authentic Athletic Performance.” You can think of a company mantra as a three- to five-word answer to these questions:
    • Why does your company exist?
    • What makes it different from similar companies?
    • How can you make that mantra — and, by extension, your company — memorable?

In Nike’s case, their mission statement answers the first question. However, by adding the word “authentic” to their mantra, they also managed to differentiate from their competitors, which simply offer “athletic performance.” Also, the alliterative “As” make the mantra easy to remember, and a clever allusion to batteries (“AA”) as a source of energy.

  1. Be True to Your Mantra: Your mantra should trickle down to every aspect of your business. For example, if you have a shipping company and your selling point is speed, it should reflect not only in how fast you deliver the goods, but also in the way you handle customer concerns, the way you change according to the needs of your industry, etc.
  1. Have a Logo: Your company may have a mantra, but it’s not going to be the one that’ll stick in your customers’ minds. Rather, it’s the logo — which you’ll need to have STAT.

Why? Because people remember images better than words. If your company’s posts pop up on your target customer’s feeds, your logo/profile picture is going to be the first thing they’ll notice. Similar to your mantra, your logo is a deceptively simple element that should be conceptualized very carefully.

1stWebDesigner has a great post on how to design logos in 2016, but to sum it up:

  • Remember the K.I.S.S. principle (Keep It Simple, Silly). If you can shrink a logo to the size of your fingertip, and people can still recognize it as yours, that’s a good sign.
  • Make it different. Even though your logo should be simple, that doesn’t mean it has to be bland. For example, Coca-Cola has a logo completely made up of letters, yet its unique typography makes it stand out. Try to make your company logo simple enough to remember, but different enough to be unforgettable.
  • Make it versatile. No matter what color scheme you apply to your logo — black, white, black-and-white — it should still look good. This comes in handy when you have to use your logos for championship matches, trade shows and other public events where you’ll have to make do with differently colored backgrounds.
  • Give it a story to tell. Remember the FedEx logo? If you look closely at the space between the “E” and “x,” you’ll see an arrow pointing to the right. The same goes for these 40 companies with hidden messages in their logos, which obviously work as far as their customers are concerned.

Luckily, you don’t have to get a logo perfect the first time. Many large corporations change their logos every few decades or so. What’s important is for it to reflect your company’s values and how those values have changed over the years — hopefully for the better.

  1. Build Your Social Media Presence: Since people spend a great portion of their time on social media, it’s a great place to attract as many eyeballs as possible. Also, setting up a profile on sites like Facebook is incredibly easy and inexpensive, making it an efficient, cost-effective way to get in touch with your target demographic.

The only thing you need to worry about is getting drowned out by the social media noise. To avoid that, do one or more of the following:

  • Make your posts pop with beautiful, relevant images.
  • Cross-post across your social media channels.
  • Repurpose old yet evergreen posts. For example, if you had a “How to Prepare an Awesome Thanksgiving Dinner” last 2015, you can promote it again, and make a few tweaks to keep the post updated.

Keep in mind that social media is a two-way communication tool. Don’t be afraid to engage your customers by responding to comments, sharing their positive posts about your company and promoting posts from related, non-competitor companies. Always add value to any conversation, whether online or offline, and it’ll be easier to attract loyal, paying customers.

  1. Build Your Target Demographic

Before you try to be “all things to everyone,” think about what your ideal buyer is like. Is it a young, hip person who has loads of cash to spare? Or is it a senior citizen who prefers to keep all the dollar bills close to their chest, so to speak?

Focus on grabbing a large chunk of your target buyers’ population first. This way, even if expanding to other markets doesn’t work as well as you want it to, you can count on your core market to keep your profits healthy.

Over to You

These tips may be simple, but it’s important not to skip them. Execute them in the best way you can, and if you ever need help or guidance, remember that Pink Studios is always here to help you with community management, editorial calendars, promoted posts and so much more. Contact us now and let’s elevate your business’ success today!

 


Lexie Lu is a designer and blogger. She actively contributes to the design world and usually has a cup of coffee in close proximity. She writes weekly on Design Roast and can be followed on Twitter @lexieludesigner.

 

A Trio of Tips to Build a Website that will Capture Leads

A Trio of Tips to Build a Website that will Capture Leads

As many small business owners know quite well, a website is an outstanding way to let potential customers know about your company and its products and services. A well-planned website can also be a terrific marketing tool that will help to generate leads. In order to create a website that will increase the chances of getting some new customers, Unbounce notes it’s important to have a landing page that is expressly designed for getting as many qualified leads as possible. For example, the following tips will help you to create a lead-friendly website:

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Make it clear who you are marketing to

While this may seem like an obvious point, there are plenty of websites that don’t let visitors know who the key customer is. In order to make the website as lead-friendly as possible, know who your customer is, and design the content around this person. Even if your small business has a variety of clients, try to design the site to appeal to the one that is a more typical and profitable customer.

One website that does this quite well is QuoteWizard; the large text at the top of the page that says “Auto, Home, Renter and Life Insurance Leads” lets visitors know that the site offers top quality leads to people in the insurance industry, and right below it short descriptions of lead types combined with small but eye-catching photos makes it clear who can benefit from working with the company.

Offer customers something

Just about everybody likes to get something for nothing, whether it’s free shipping, a coupon they can use right away on their order, or a complimentary e-book. Freebies are also a terrific way to get more leads, Jenny Shih notes. If you promise people something tangible in exchange for an email address, they are more likely to provide it. They key is to come up with something that customers will actually want. In general, the offer should be valuable enough that they will click on it, and written in a way that it’s very clear what you are offering.

In addition, the offer should tie into something the customer is already thinking about; for example, Hallmark.com does this not once but twice on its landing page. Customers who are wondering if they can purchase items on the website will see an offer for free in-store pickup on the main page, and those who are hoping to save money on their order will be happy to see a high value coupon that they can use right away.

Have call to actions where people can see them

In order to capture as many leads as possible, you need to place call to actions and other clickable links in prominent places on the website. You could have the best free offer in the industry, but if it’s tucked at the bottom of an ordering page, chances are good many potential customers won’t even see it. An example of a company that has a well-planned website is Starbucks; the site features an appealing call to action that’s placed smack dab in the center of the home page. “My Starbucks Rewards” is advertised in a white font over a black graphic, and then visitors are told that they can sign up for a loyalty program that’s “all about you” just by registering their Starbucks card. Not only is the positioning of the call to action ideal, it’s also a great example of asking customers to do something that will not overwhelm them and will make them feel like they are gaining something really cool by clicking on the link.