Category Archives: financing

Guest Speaker @LeeHower #sbbuzz chat: Summary from March 9, 2010

This week’s SBBuzz chat featured guest speaker Lee Hower, early employee at PayPal, cofounder at Linkedin and now VC.

Our chat next week is on Tuesday March 16th  from 8-9 EST.  Want to join in and get (or give) small biz advice, here’s how it works!

sbbuzz: Welcome to #sbbuzz, a Tweetchat for the next hour of small biz talking technology on Twitter. Join us! http://sbbuzz.biz/instructions
sbbuzz: Rules: 1)NO pitching till end 2)Be nice 3)Stay ON TOPIC! 4)Send ?s for group to me w/o hashtag 5)Use #sbbuzz in all messages 6)Have fun!
sbbuzz: Start off w/an INTRO: 1 message about you and your business and whatever else we need to know. #sbbuzz
decker_chris: I’m an IT professional, web developer and entrepreneur based out of Eastern NC. Excited about my first #sbbuzz! #sbbuzz
DanNieves: Hey everyone! Working with RootOrange, start up trying to grow the business, how can we grow with FB, Twitter, etc? #sbbuzz
TraceyHolinka: I?m a web designr/developr @chaostoclarity. We teach small biz & freelancers how to work better in a digital world. #sbbuzz
ruxtermobi: Hi, I’m Mike from Ruxter. We’re a universal mobile app for small biz & organizations. We combine free mobile websites & low-cost SMS #sbbuzz
lindadessau: Glad to be here! I ghostwrite and edit content for blogs and newsletters – I work with coaches and service providers (intro for #sbbuzz
merritto: I’m a freelance writer and marketing/fundraising consultant to non-profit organizations #sbbuzz
pmohara: Hi all – Pamela here from @batchblue and the hostess of #sbbuzz. Very excited to have @leehower speaking He’s WICKED smart!
stellel: Hi I’m Christelle, I am a customer experience peep at @batchblue. Stopping by to hear the buzz #sbbuzz #sbbuzz
RisingStarIdeas: hello tech gang! I Find cool free online tools to help small business owners save time and money. #sbbuzz
ginabee: Hello All! Gina here from WriteyTidy.com writing/content creation. Looking forward to my Tuesday night education! #sbbuzz
cjservia: I’m a business continuity consultant beginning business here in Eastern North Carolina. #sbbuzz
scoblitz: @sbbuzz Hi everyone – Scott Blitstein from eSeMBe. I’m a blogger, tech-guy, superhero, and music lover. #sbbuzz
familyfoodie: hello all – Family Foodie and I love to cook for my family of 6. #sbbuzz #sbbuzz
ginabee: @scoblitz Superhero, huh? Gonna tell the class about your superpower? #sbbuzz
leehower: hi – I’m Lee, former tech startup entrepreneur turned venture capitalist. I look fwd to participating in #sbbuzz chat on small biz tech.
cjservia: Hi Lee. Can’t wait to hear your story tonigh. @leehower #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: Our guest speaker tonight is @LeeHower, early employee at PayPal, cofounder at LinkedIn & now VC. Welcome, Lee! #sbbuzz
foodiegrl: Hi, I’m Liz – partner marketing manager at Vr4SmallBiz and a raging food geek. #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: We will talking to Lee about early days at successful companies & how we can do the same. Send me any ?s you want included in chat #sbbuzz
wiseleo: Good evening. It’s been a while :) I am Leonid, a world-class computer expert #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: Everyone – feel free to jump in with your own responses & follow-ups, but stay ON TOPIC! #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: @leehower Q1 What are the common characteristics of the successful start-ups you have worked in/with? #sbbuzz
leehower: #sbbuzz Q1: smart, passionate, capable founders / mgmt team – this is true of tech startups (what I focus on) but really all small biz
leehower: #sbbuzz Q1: also a “maniacal” focus on customers… esp when trying to develop a new product or service, cust feedback critical
cjservia: @leehower #sbbuzz How did they demonstrate their passion for the business?
leehower: #sbbuzz be willing to work hard, take personal risk, and just visibly demonstrate an enthusiasm for building their biz
foodiegrl: @leehower, when you’re small and busy, what r your favorite CX feedback tools? #sbbuzz
decker_chris: @leehower Have you ever had to confront a partner that wasn’t demonstrating passion for a startup? If so, how did you handle? #sbbuzz
leehower: #sbbuzz best ways to gather cust feedback depend a little on who your cust are… huge companies, other small biz, consumers, etc
leehower: #sbbuzz but generally I like just talking to cust… also I personally put more weight on what cust do than what they say
ruxtermobi: @sbbuzz @leehower, many ‘overnight’ successes have been in dev for years. What should start-up ‘stars-to-be’ focus on? #sbbuzz
RisingStarIdeas: @leehower how did you convenience people to jump on board with your startups? #sbbuzz
lindadessau: @leehower Yes, people “vote with their feet,” don’t they? #sbbuzz
leehower: #sbbuzz not easy, but as both an entrep & VC I’ve tried to be picky about who I partner with… choose not to work w/ folks not passionate
leehower: #sbbuzz cust vote w/ the dollars as much as their feet :) but totally agree w/ this sentiment
DanNieves: Has your small biz had success utilizing a facebook fan page? if so, how did you drive people to the page? #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: @leehower Q2 from @andrewnim Did you have your entire strategy at start or did you allow it to alter over the first few months? #sbbuzz
leehower: #sbbuzz Q2 always worth planning out your strategy ahead of time, but have to be flexible to alter as mkt needs, financing, etc demands
familyfoodie: What marketing methods do you recommend to small retail bus? Direct mail is so expensive. What is the best way to drive customers? #sbbuzz
leehower: #sbbuzz my old boss (LinkedIn’s CEO Reid Hoffman) used to say starting a company is like jumping off cliff & assembling plane on way down
leehower: #sbbuzz you have to sort of have a clear sense of plan initially, but most startups end up redirecting once or more in big ways
SeeboldMarCom: @leehower ..and I’d say Reid Hoffman built a pretty darn good plane! #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: @leehower Q3 from @foodiegirl as your startup grows, would you invest in tech resources or cx service if had to choose one? #sbbuzz
foodiegrl: @familyfoodie – DMA reports email still has highest ROI: $44 for each $1 spent, but Social is gr8 tool. disclose: I work 4 email co #sbbuzz
leehower: #sbbuzz Q3 depends on nature of biz I suppose – also tech resources and cx service don’t have to be mutually exclusive
leehower: #sbbuzz I’ve seen startups use tech for online cust forums, problem tracking, etc – e.g. cust svc being leveraged w/ tech and “labor”
sbbuzz: @leehower Q4 Is their a cultural difference as the company grows? How do you preserve your culture? #sbbuzz
leehower: #sbbuzz culture undoubtedly evolves as company grows, either in terms of more people or people in different geographic locations
leehower: #sbbuzz no magic bullet for preserving culture, but some elements include: trying to retain good chunk of founders / early employees
leehower: #sbbuzz also establish core values that are as relevant when company is 5 ppl as when its 500 ppl – Netflix has done an awesome job of this
leehower: #sbbuzz Netflix doesn’t track employee vacation time even though it’s huge company today – expectation is ppl work hard but are responsible
sbbuzz: @leehower Q5 What if you don’t want explosive growth? Can you be successful without expanding? #sbbuzz
andreayap: Q4 #sbbuzz culture needs to be genuine + organic, but also disciplined in that you reinforce it everyday #sbbuzz
leehower: #sbbuzz here’s a preez put together by Netflix CEO Reed Hastings on culture/values even as they grew to big company http://bit.ly/czTnBP
TraceyHolinka: Way it should be: RT @leehower: #sbbuzz Netflix doesnt track employee vacation – expectation is ppl work hard but are responsible #sbbuzz
betaspring: Betaspring mentor @leehower is the guest for tonight’s #sbbuzz chat. Small business wisdom from a dude who’s built some big businesses.
leehower: #sbbuzz Q5 absolutely… the definition of “success” as a small business is based upon the founders goals and aspirations
leehower: #sbbuzz my parents were entrepreneurs & owned their own small biz – never grew larger than them + their two kids helping them
leehower: #sbbuzz they (and I) would consider their business absolutely a success, even though it didn’t grow to be huge company
andreayap: @leehower how bout funding via customers vs. VC? Prefer revnues but speed/growth opp tempting me to VC #sbbuzz
leehower: #sbbuzz owning a small biz gave them freedom & independence relative to working for big company, plus time w/ their kids
leehower: #sbbuzz growth is great too, and some businesses only work at large scale – but again success is in eyes of the beholder
leehower: #sbbuzz I prob can’t fit the pros/cons of decision whether or not to pursue VC funding into 140 char, but I’ll take a shot :)
andreayap: Q5 also you can grow margins and cash flows – efficiency not necessarily topline #sbbuzz
leehower: #sbbuzz pros – large amt of up front capital, advice from experienced professional investors + ability to tap their networks for hiring, etc
andreayap: @leehower the vc vs. customer issue being both require fulltime warfare LOL #sbbuzz
leehower: #sbbuzz cons – having a funding partner means just that – take on partner’s opinions, expectations, etc
leehower: #sbbuzz I think pursing VC funding path is a complicated topic – you’ve prob already researched but I’d suggest sites like venturehacks.com
sbbuzz: @leehower Q7 from @ruxtermobi In today’s investment environment, what’s best way for an early-stage company to attract VC support? #sbbuzz
cjservia: I’ve avoided partnerships myself because of “- take on partner’s opinions, expectations, etc “you mention. #sbbuzz
JohnFMoore: Yes, clear VC con is they may push you to grow faster than desired, loss of cntrol #sbbuzz
leehower: #sbbuzz do search of venturehacks.com – some old articles I believe on pros/cons of VC, & lots of info on how to approach it if you puruse
JohnFMoore: Q7. Great management team will attract funding, quality VCs, better than anything else IMO #sbbuzz
laowsmith: @sbbuzz #sbbuzz in current climate is it more important to build out for scale or for profitability?
sbbuzz: And now we near the end of our show. This is what we affectionately call Pitch Time. Please tell us a little about your business. #sbbuzz
leehower: #sbbuzz Q7 as others suggest, outstanding founders/mgmt is 1st thing VCs look for and a dimension VCs won’t compromise on
sbbuzz: A HUGE thank you to @leehower for joining in tonight and sharing so much of your experience. Very instpirational! #sbbuzz
JohnFMoore: No pitch here, just a thanks for an informative discussion #sbbuzz
leehower: #sbbuzz other things we VCs look for – unique prod/tech that creates sustainable competitive advantage, big / rapidly growing mkt
TraceyHolinka: @chaostoclarity helps small biz & freelancers take charge of computers & use social networking/media & the Web to grow their biz #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: And thanks to everyone for all the great discussion! We’ll get the #sbbuzz summary posted on the site soon at http://sbbuzz.biz
scoblitz: @sbbuzz Thanks to @leehower for the chat – very informative. #sbbuzz
lindadessau: Thanks @sbbuzz, thanks @leehower – my pitch: How to write a top 10 article – http://snipr.com/t1pw5 #sbbuzz
stellel: @leehower Thanks for the chat! #sbbuzz
rzazueta: What up #sbbuzz!!! I lurked a little tonight. If you’re going to be at #sxsw, come find us! VerticalResponse at booth 1223!
leehower: #sbbuzz thx @sbbuzz and everyone who participated, I enjoyed it
familyfoodie: Thank you for all the info. As a newbie, I was very impressed. #sbbuzz
TraceyHolinka: Yes was a very interesting and informative discussion. Thxs @sbbuzz & @leehower #sbbuzz
decker_chris: @digitalmints assists small biz owners with web development, digital marketing and social media #sbbuzz
pmohara: Thanks Lee and everyone for awesome chat tonight! Pamela from @batchblue – the company who brings you #sbbuzz
P_Wannemacher: I also want to thank @leehower for the discussion, good stuff! #sbbuzz
scoblitz: @sbbuzz Pitch: eSeMBe helps you choose and implement technology so you can work more efficiently and effectively. #sbbuzz
ginabee: http://www.WriteyTidy.com does the writing so you don’t have to! Thanks for the words of wisdom from my small biz hoping to grow! #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: #sbbuzz is a small business Twitter chat hosted each Tuesday night by the folks from @batchblue Come again soon!
cjservia: #sbbuzz Awesome chat tonight. Great insight.
foodiegrl: I’d pitch, but @rzazueta is doing it for us – thx rob! @VR4SmallBiz #sbbuzz
ruxtermobi: Ruxter is social networking for small businesses who wish to be mobile. Free universal app + low-cost texting to your customers. #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: If you’d like a once-a-week e-mail reminder of #sbbuzz (including the topic) sign up at http://sbbuzz.net #sbbuzz
rzazueta: FYI – #sbbuzz is the thing that showed me the TRUE power of Twitter. Every Tuesday night from 5 – 6 pm PST.
cjservia: We assist all businesses with developing alternative management plans for disaster situations. http://www.lighthousecontinuity.com/ #sbbuzz
ruxtermobi: Thank you @sbbuzz and @leehower for an excellent Tuesday night #sbbuzz chat.

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Filed under business start-up, financing, small business, Uncategorized

Small Business, Finance Tools: Summary from March 2nd, 2010

This week’s @sbbuzz chat focused on money management tools for small businesses.

  • We’re on every Tuesday from 8-9 pm EST.  The next chat will be held on March 9th, 2010.
  • You can read the instructions on how to participate here: http://sbbuzz.biz/instructions
  • Invite others to join in, help them get started.  We started this chat to facilitate conversation between small biz owners.
sbbuzz: Welcome to #sbbuzz, a Tweetchat for the next hour of small biz talking technology on Twitter. Join us! http://sbbuzz.biz/instructions
sbbuzz: Rules: 1)NO pitching till end 2)Be nice 3)Stay ON TOPIC! 4)Send ?s for group to me w/o hashtag 5)Use #sbbuzz in all messages 6)Have fun!
sbbuzz: Start off w/an INTRO: 1 message about you and your business and whatever else we need to know. #sbbuzz
lindadessau: Good evening, all! I help coaches and other small biz owners write content for newsletters and blogs. Great to be here at #sbbuzz
ginabee: Good evening, Friends! Gina w/ WriteyTidy.com writing/content creation here. Looking forward to learning about $ tools w/ you! #sbbuzz
RisingStarIdeas: Find cool free online tools to help you save time & money. I do the work so you don’t have to! free tools, ideas, tips & reviews #sbbuzz
tinafalasca: Hi – I’m from Columbus, OH – doing video & internet marketing for local business owners from content creation to posting it all over #sbbuzz
lindadessau: Last week was such a whirlwind, I still haven’t caught my breath! #sbbuzz
finstoryteller: I’m a financial storyteller amongst other things incl. a CMA, ACMA, Toastmaster… #sbbuzz
bradfordshimp: Hi everyone, Brad here. I focus on helping small businesses with advice and websites designed to work. #sbbuzz
scoblitz: @sbbuzz Hi everyone! Scott Blitstein here – owner of eSeMBe and one of the Customer Experience superheroes at @batchblue. #sbbuzz
pmohara: Hi all – Pamela here from @batchblue and the moderator of #sbbuzz. Nice to be back in the bee seat. :)
bradfordshimp: @finstoryteller I love you already! What a great tagline, “financial storyteller.” #sbbuzz
DianaEnnen: Hi, I do publicity and marketing and have authored books on becoming a virtual assistant #sbbuzz
helpbusinesses: Hi it’s Jacqueline: Business Manager helping to manage, run and grow businesses #sbbuzz
myscreenshare: Hello! Steph here! Looking forward to #sbbuzz
finstoryteller: @bradfordshimp thanks :-) I should also say I’m in Vancouver, BC and I help orgs tell their story with numbers ;-) (sorry 2 msgs) #sbbuzz
MECKids: This is Nikhil Bonthapally, Network Coordinator at MECKids.com (Health and Fitness Program for Tweens). #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: Tonight’s topic is tools for managing your money (invoicing, billing, budgeting). DM me ?s you want discussed with the group #sbbuzz
mriggen: @sbbuzz Hi all. Michelle from @batchblue. We make software for small businesses. #sbbuzz
helpbusinesses: Q1: Quickbooks just love the overall program for financial management of any business #sbbuzz
rongraham1: OK. http://claritystrategic.com/ is my company, helping navigate complexity is my business, and plenty of oxygen reaches my head. :) #sbbuzz
finstoryteller: @sbbuzz Q1. Freshbooks – I met the founder a while back, he was inspirational for small biz #sbbuzz
bradfordshimp: Q1 – I use Freshbooks for my new business. Love it because it is very easy, simple. #sbbuzz
JulieDAloiso: Julie D’Aloiso here from SpiderCat Marketing – I help businesses use Social Media to market themselves – this is my 2nd week here at #sbbuzz
helpbusinesses: Q1: Quickbooks is easy to use and easy to setup I think. #sbbuzz
RisingStarIdeas: I blogged last week about this very topic my fav is fresh books #sbbuzz
bradfordshimp: Q1 – Use Quickbooks online pretty regularly for a client. It is much more robust and good for more established businesses. #sbbuzz
myscreenshare: @bradfordshimp I just heard about Freshbooks for the first time last week! #sbbuzz
lindadessau: Q1 I use Freshbooks for invoicing – likes: online invoicing, easy integration w/ PayPal, I can track my hours & subcontractor hours #sbbuzz
cpcllerret: Hello, its Terrence in the Merchant Services industry helping small businesses get the right merchant account. #sbbuzz
bradfordshimp: @finstoryteller One of the great things about the new web, being able to meet some of these smart business owners. #sbbuzz
myscreenshare: @bradfordshimp What is it that you like about Freshbooks? #sbbuzz
bradfordshimp: @myscreenshare Nice, have you checked it out yet? #sbbuzz
scoblitz: @sbbuzz Q1 I use Cashboard – it works like I do and is priced nicely. #sbbuzz
mriggen: @sbbuzz We use @freshbooks as well. @freshbooks can you hear us? #sbbuzz
bradfordshimp: @myscreenshare Freshbooks gets you right to what matters, the invoice. You can get one out to a new client quickly, via email / mail #sbbuzz
lindadessau: Q1 Freshbook dislikes: No easy way to handle deposits against future billing, also I’ve had some challenges with GST via PayPal #sbbuzz
JoelByronBarker: I used to use #zoho for invoicing, but have recently switched to #freshbooks and really like it #sbbuzz
finstoryteller: @bradfordshimp agreed. One day maybe @mriggen will make it over to the West. Be good to see @batchblue in YVR #sbbuzz
pmohara: Q1 We started with Quickbooks, but found it too confusing. Now use Freshbooks- easy & automated recurring billing. #sbbuzz
bradfordshimp: Freshbooks is just one of those companies that get it, like Mailchimp and our own dear leader’s Batchbook. #sbbuzz
myscreenshare: @bradfordshimp I have not checked it out, you know how it takes 3-4 exposures… LOL #sbbuzz
bradfordshimp: @lindadessau Right, if you want to get into detailed books, I suggest Qbooks. Much more in depth. #sbbuzz
DianaEnnen: I use quickbooks too. For my billing I use cellcharge so I can process credit cards via phone. #sbbuzz
RisingStarIdeas: Q1: I compared Freshbooks to AMX new tool AcceptPay discovered you get more with free Paypal than AcceptPay #sbbuzz
MECKids: After reading about #freshbooks , I think we will give it a try for sure. #sbbuzz
myscreenshare: @DianaEnnen Ooohh, Cellcharge, great tip! #sbbuzz
scoblitz: @sbbuzz Q1 I used to use Freshbooks but it got to be too much deleting clients to fit my plan limits. #sbbuzz
finstoryteller: I would suggest Clarity Accounting instead of quickbooks – I think @dobesv works for them #sbbuzz
bradfordshimp: @myscreenshare It is so true. This chat should count for all of them though. You can set up a few free clients to give it a test run #sbbuzz
myscreenshare: @bradfordshimp Can you explain more about Mailchimp? #sbbuzz
lindadessau: Q1 My bookkeeper keeps my books in QuickBooks. I keep my personal records in http://www.youneedabudget.com from @jessemecham #sbbuzz
RisingStarIdeas: I love free tools and Freshbooks’ free version is not limited in features #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: Q2 What do you use to handle bill paying? Online or offline tools? Why? #sbbuzz
bradfordshimp: @DianaEnnen Do you use that because you are often in different locations when you want to accept payment? #sbbuzz
MECKids: @myscreenshare MailChimp is a email marketing service. I heard really good reviews about it though. #sbbuzz
MECKids: RT @RisingStarIdeas: I love free tools and Freshbooks free version is not limited in features #sbbuzz
bradfordshimp: @scoblitz What did you switch to? #sbbuzz
finstoryteller: @sbbuzz Q2. Every effort made to pay electronically, i.e. paypal. If a big corporate send them a check, buys a couple of days :-) #sbbuzz
myscreenshare: @MECKids Is mailchimp something like constant contacts? #sbbuzz
tinafalasca: RT @RisingStarIdeas: I love free tools and Freshbooks free version is not limited in features #sbbuzz
DianaEnnen: @bradfordshimp I do. I do a lot of speaking too and sell my books while I’m doing it. It allows me to accept credit cards. #sbbuzz
bradfordshimp: @myscreenshare Ha, you are getting me on my soapbox! Mailchimp is the company you must use for your email newsletter. #sbbuzz
marinel: RT @sbbuzz: Q2 What do you use to handle bill paying? Online or offline tools? Why? #sbbuzz
MECKids: @myscreenshare Yes. But with more features. #sbbuzz
bradfordshimp: @lindadessau Do you use Qbooks online? That way you would have easy access to your records if someone else keeps them for you. #sbbuzz
DianaEnnen: @bradfordshimp I use it back at the office too. #sbbuzz
tinafalasca: @bradfordshimp – how is Mailchimp better or different than Aweber? #sbbuzz
BeckyMcCray: @sbbuzz Q2 My local small town banks actually offer great online bill pay. Huge time saver! #sbbuzz
pmohara: Q2 I do all bill paying through our online banking. Have also tried Bill.com and liked it, but haven’t made the full switch, yet. #sbbuzz
scoblitz: @bradfordshimp I use @cashboard now – http://www.getcashboard.com/ #sbbuzz
lindadessau: @bradfordshimp Yes, we have that set up. It’s helpful (though not foolproof – a couple of times I couldn’t get in) #sbbuzz
bradfordshimp: Q2 – I pay online when I can and if it is easy to do so. However, I still like paper bills (so I can remember to pay them). #sbbuzz
RisingStarIdeas: Q2: Paypal cause what good is a digital invoice if the client can pay upon receipt!? Most small biz need to keep the cash flowing #sbbuzz
lindadessau: Q2 Most services I use do recurring billing via credit card or PayPal. Otherwise I pay bills online through my bank. #sbbuzz
marinel: Q2: I’m not a #smallbiz owner, but am planning in the future..somewhere down the line. I am an advocate for online payments. #sbbuzz
DianaEnnen: I pay most of my bills online. Can’t remember the last time I wrote a check. #sbbuzz
bradfordshimp: @DianaEnnen That makes a lot of sense. I bought a book from a speaker and had to write down my info. Not keen on that. #sbbuzz
scoblitz: @sbbuzz My bank offers great online bill pay but most services I use are recurring credit card things. #sbbuzz
pmohara: Q2 Advantage of electronic bill paying is being able to assign categories at time of payment & reconcile budget instantly #sbbuzz
tinafalasca: Q2. Use Paytrust.com for most online billpaying needs. Keeps copies of all my bills for me. #sbbuzz
bradfordshimp: @tinafalasca Well, there is the name, for starters. Haven’t used Aweber, but MailChimp is just plain fun and easy. #sbbuzz
myscreenshare: BIG advocate of online bill pay… can’t imagine life without it! #sbbuzz
bradfordshimp: For those interested in free, Mailchimp has a great free, full-feature package to get you started. One of my favorite vendors. #sbbuzz
scoblitz: @pmohara I get categorization and such through @outright / @expensify #sbbuzz
DianaEnnen: @bradfordshimp Exactly! Also, I get to know if the transaction goes though. It’s amazing how many times it’s denied. #sbbuzz
lindadessau: @pmohara Where are you tracking your categories? #sbbuzz
blueskylocal: Q2, Most of our bills are paid online via reoccuring subscriptions… plan to try out Noca Pay in the future tho to pay team members #sbbuzz
bradfordshimp: @myscreenshare No, I just love talking about my favorite companies. I’m a fan of them like some people are of Lost. #sbbuzz
mriggen: @sbbuzz Q2 (kind of) Anyone tried Square? https://squareup.com/ #sbbuzz
MECKids: Being a network coordinator doesn’t help to talk when finances come in place. #sbbuzz
lindadessau: @bradfordshimp You’re what they call a customer evangelist :) #sbbuzz
DianaEnnen: Plus with online bill pay, it goes through so much quicker for those months you need a little extra time. #sbbuzz
pmohara: @lindadessau it’s part of our bank’s online system. I can create categories with the invoice and it remembers them #sbbuzz
RisingStarIdeas: @mriggen square looks cool but it freaks me out. Still don’t trust people not to store my info for later use #sbbuzz
scoblitz: @mriggen I love the concept but only a small % is from credit cards. #sbbuzz
lindadessau: @pmohara That’s great – I do that with http://www.youneedabudget.com and of course for my biz in Quickbooks. #sbbuzz
blueskylocal: Q2 we also just use standard online bill paying from our bank, really simple, love it #sbbuzz
mriggen: @RisingStarIdeas @scoblitz I think it’s one of those people will be slow to adopt it things. Super userful but scary for folks. #sbbuzz
eastofprov: @mriggen I’ve been trying to get on the beta for use over at @visualpost #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: Q3 What do you use to manage your budget? Why? #sbbuzz
cjservia: I have a hard time using Quickbooks. Maybe I just don’t understand it #sbbuzz
RisingStarIdeas: @lindadessau I was using Qbooks but it was just too much. I will check out http://www.youneedabudget.com do they have a free version #sbbuzz
MECKids: @RisingStarIdeas Free trial for 7 days. #youneedabudget.com #sbbuzz
lindadessau: @RisingStarIdeas YNAB has a lot of free resources but there is a one-time cost for the actual tool. Not very much, though. #sbbuzz
bradfordshimp: @cjservia I had an expert explain a few things to me, and it opened up a lot of Qbooks potential. #sbbuzz
mriggen: @eastofprov Put @tsondermann on the case! That guy has betas for everything. He’s the alpha of betas. #sbbuzz
blueskylocal: Anyone use Mint.com for tracking spending / budgeting in their business?? #sbbuzz
pmohara: @scoblitz Hey – I’ve heard of them. Funny, you forget to look in your own backweb sometimes. #sbbuzz
finstoryteller: @sbbuzz Q3: A lot of the time a spreadsheet is a good tool for budgeting – lots of flexibility, besides budgeting is a behaivour … #sbbuzz
lindadessau: Q3 Whoops, jumped the gun. To manage my budget (personal) I use http://www.youneedabudget.com #sbbuzz
bradfordshimp: Q3 – Right now, my checkbook. At various times I have used spreadsheets and online tools. #sbbuzz
lindadessau: @MECKids Thanks, didn’t remember that! I loved the idea so much when I 1st discovered it, I bought right away! #sbbuzz
sueyoungmedia: I find the best way to run my biz: Do what I enjoy & am good at (not Quickbks!) & delegate the rest. #sbbuzz #GIFB
marinel: @blueskylocal Q3 I tried to use Mint.com personally, but didn’t keep up w/ it..although i did get alerts when funds were low =) #sbbuzz
RisingStarIdeas: @marinel Thanks! They should increase that to at least 30 days. Geez you need time to play around w/things b4 u can tell u like it #sbbuzz
bradfordshimp: @sueyoungmedia Sound advice. #sbbuzz
pmohara: @RisingStarIdeas I agree on Quickbooks. I like handling the ins & outs online, then use a simple spreadsheet to see net results. #sbbuzz
RisingStarIdeas: @sueyoungmedia AGREE but I need to get better at delegating. Sometimes its hard to let go. #sbbuzz
bradfordshimp: Moneytrackin.com. That is one site I have used on and off to stay on top of my budget. Easy to set up and use. #sbbuzz
MECKids: I think Qbooks is complex unless you have more stuff to keep track of. #sbbuzz
philfree: @sbbuzz Q1 http://ofuz.com, because its simple, remind me the past due, online payment (I work for them). It will be open source. #sbbuzz
MHBoys: Q3 we do all our finances, including budgets, with QuickBooks #sbbuzz
lindadessau: Q3 My bookkeeper keeps me in line and informed about my business budget (thank you, Lanel! http://snipr.com/ulu59) #sbbuzz
finstoryteller: Or put another way, budgeting should be used to help drive your business not just track it :-) #sbbuzz
pmohara: Watching the budget is crucial. Whatever makes it easy to quickly see where projections are right/wrong is best. #sbbuzz
bradfordshimp: @MECKids Qbooks is a tool of choice for accountants. Should tell you something. But it really is a good tool. #sbbuzz
sueyoungmedia: @RisingStarIdeas Oh yes. It’s been 10 yrs for me in biz & delegating is a huge step, but also a huge relief! #sbbuzz
blueskylocal: Q3 Intuit supposedly acquired Mint.com for its #smb application. I also tried Mint, didn’t work out tho : ) @marinel #sbbuzz
RisingStarIdeas: Q3: I use a simple spreadsheet. I have two easy to use templates from Google docs an events budget and the other a budget planner #sbbuzz
Timberry: Q3 just because it should be said, whichever bookkeeping software you use, your going to hate it. Everybody always does. #sbbuzz
canarymegan: @sueyoungmedia Agreed. Our cash flow improved immediately once we hired a freelance bookkeeper & accountant. I couldn’t keep up. #sbbuzz
Timberry: Q3 and the one to choose has to be the one that works simplest with the bank that has your checking account. Nothing more important. #sbbuzz
MHBoys: @bradfordshimp let’s be kind to our bean counters… #sbbuzz
foodtree: @finstoryteller That is great ‘connotation’ advice, sir! #sbbuzz
marinel: @RisingStarIdeas Oooh! I’ll have to check out those Google doc templates. thnx #sbbuzz
MHBoys: for a 1-2 person business a spreadsheet is probably good. we like QB cause we can get all of our accounting without an accountant #sbbuzz
CASUDI: @sueyoungmedia I’m mentoring an entrepreneur & delegating IS a major step ~never realized how much ~(it’s easy 4 me) #sbbuzz
lindadessau: @finstoryteller Q3 My budget is also a barometer of what’s important to me, of what I value (or at least it should be). #sbbuzz
finstoryteller: In my experience the biggest challenges with budgeting in business have nothing to do with the tools used or not used #sbbuzz
RisingStarIdeas: budget templates on Google Docs https://docs.google.com/templates?q=budget+planner&sort=hottest&view=public #sbbuzz
bradfordshimp: @MHBoys LOL. Not trying to be mean to accountants. A good accountant can do a whole lot of good for a small business. #sbbuzz
mriggen: @Timberry Ha! Everyone was in love with @mint for a while there :) #sbbuzz
MECKids: I never heard of google docs templates. What are they? #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: Q4 What do you use for tax filings? Do you do it yourself? #sbbuzz
lindadessau: @MHBoys You’re brave. I have QB but still need an accountant AND a bookkeeper! #sbbuzz
Timberry: @bradfordshimp just about every accountant and/or bookkeeper I’ve ever worked with always hate the software. Never good enough. #sbbuzz
blueskylocal: “for a 1-2 person business a spreadsheet is probably good. ” RT @MHBoys – agreed, keep it simple #KISS #sbbuzz
JoelByronBarker: @ofuz My motivation was originally the organization of their free version, but I find it easier to use for me and my clients. #sbbuzz
MHBoys: without some kind of budget how do you know how much you can spend on sales/marketing? #sbbuzz
tinafalasca: @RisingStarIdeas I Love Google Docs – but never saw the templates. Can’t wait to check it out! #sbbuzz
finstoryteller: @lindadessau barometer is cool – but how well does it relate to your long term strategy for your business #sbbuzz
Timberry: Q4 one of the dumbest things I ever did was doing my own taxes, assisted by software, instead of a CPA. Penny wise, pound foolish. #sbbuzz
lindadessau: Q4 My accountant files my taxes online but I don’t know how (there are some things I just don’t want to know too much about) #sbbuzz
CASUDI: @Timberry agree most start-ups try to get way to complex w accounting ~ check book/bank simple =works #sbbuzz
tinafalasca: Q4. Last year did Turbo Tax online – awful! Going back to their out of the box software this year for lack of anything better. #sbbuzz
BeckyMcCray: @sbbuzz Q4 For 1099’s I used FileTaxes.com this year and last year. Quick, easy, useful. For tax returns, I use my tax professional! #sbbuzz
RisingStarIdeas: @myscreenshare Google docs has a ton of cool templates #sbbuzz
bradfordshimp: Q4 – Every year I tell myself I am going to have a professional do my taxes, and then I just end up using TurboTax. #sbbuzz
sueyoungmedia: That silly economic theory of trickle down economics and cash flow –connect that to the budgeting software…#sbbuzz #GIFB
DaleLittle: A marvelous accountant / investment advisor! #sbbuzz
jpwint: Q4 For taxes, I use TurboTax small business. Works fairly well, although I would prefer someone else handle it entirely :) #sbbuzz
lindadessau: @finstoryteller Maybe not always that well! Still going one year at a time right – not yet doing much long-term forecasting. #sbbuzz
finstoryteller: Despite being an accountant (ssshh!) – I use an accountant to file taxes. For the cost, the saving in time and returns are great #sbbuzz
bradfordshimp: @Timberry Yeah, I can see your point. #sbbuzz
RisingStarIdeas: Q4 I use a tax preparer. I can fax or drop my docs then pic them up when they are ready. i’m really good at delegating that task #sbbuzz
tinafalasca: Q4 – Feel like getting the receipts together is the hard part and I have to do that with or w/o an accountant! #sbbuzz
Timberry: Q4 LOL @bradfordshimp that strategy cost me $43K in the 1980s when it was still a lot of money. (altho not Turbo tax, a precursor) #sbbuzz
canarymegan: @finstoryteller Good point. We mapped out our year & what we really need to bring in monthly. Good to know what to shoot for. #sbbuzz
CASUDI: @bradfordshimp U have no idea how much a pro might save you :-) #sbbuzz
smallbiztrends: Q4 I keep my books using QuickBooks. Armed with accurate records I use a CPA to prepare the return. #sbbuzz
finstoryteller: With 1-2 people and business in the house, the tax accountant will gobble up the job and let you stay focused on YOUR business :-) #sbbuzz
lindadessau: @canarymegan Yes, I also make sure I know what I need to bring in – how else can I set my rates and goals? #sbbuzz
blueskylocal: Q4 <3 TurboTax / expedient tax prep software #sbbuzz
RisingStarIdeas: Q4 another trick I use is to pay everything with AMX. They pay me for paying bills plus they create an annual itemized report . EASY #sbbuzz
finstoryteller: In Canada the tax guys tend to be CGAs, mine http://www.sscga.ca have been really good #sbbuzz
CASUDI: @RisingStarIdeas YES Credit Card (if U PAY by month) can be Xcellent way of keeping records #sbbuzz
RisingStarIdeas: @RisingStarIdeas to clarify AMX pays me with points, so I get points for paying bills. Use the points for rewards, gifts, trips, etc #sbbuzz
bradfordshimp: @Timberry Still alot of money? Heck that is still alot today. Ouch! Guess I need to change. #sbbuzz
lindadessau: @CASUDI Debit card will also give you a paper trail. Maybe not as detailed as @RisingStarIdeas itemized report from AMX. #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: Q5 If you accept credit cards, how did you decide who handles merchant services? Did you compare rates? #sbbuzz
Timberry: @bradfordshimp well I’ve never done my own since. Sort of a baby and bathwater problem, though. Too late. #sbbuzz
lindadessau: Q5 I accept payments online through PayPal. I used to have a merchant account but I like this much better – simpler, etc. #sbbuzz
Timberry: Q5 we’ve switched banks handling our credit cards several times. Not just rates, but reporting, policies, etc. #sbbuzz
finstoryteller: @sbbuzz Q5. where it applied I simply used paypal … better the devil you know on this ocassion #sbbuzz
sueyoungmedia: I look at a lot of these “expenses” as investments in my biz & growth, not as “I can’t afford it, draining my budget” mentality. #sbbuzz
lindadessau: Q5 I’ve had a couple of challenges with PayPal, e.g., that pesky GST thing (Canadian tax). #sbbuzz
tinafalasca: Q5 – Paypal for now. #sbbuzz
DianaEnnen: Me too. I use Quickbooks and then use an accountant. He saves me a lot by finding things I can claim that I would have missed. #sbbuzz
RisingStarIdeas: Q5 I use to have a merchant account they want blookd just for the app. I had to pay if I didn’t process payments that month #sbbuzz
JulieDAloiso: Q5 For credit card processing I use EMS – they are local in the area, offer a chamber of commerce discount and good rate! #sbbuzz
myscreenshare: @lindadessau What’s the difference between Online payments through Paypal and a merchant acct? #sbbuzz
BeckyMcCray: @sbbuzz credit cards! grrr! Like @timberry, I’ve switched services. But it’s such a complex mess, that I’m never happy. #sbbuzz
DaleLittle: @marinel You’ve got to compare rates on everything. It constantly changes. If you don’t watch it, no one else will. #sbbuzz
bradfordshimp: Q5 – Not really, on comparing rates. Used the built in system on Quickbooks and Paypal for quick hits (expensive, though). #sbbuzz
Timberry: Q5 as with bookkeeping software, in credit card accounts, compatibility with your systems (e.g. verisign, netsuite) very important. #sbbuzz
lindadessau: @sueyoungmedia Absolutely! Business expenses are our tools that enable us to serve our clients. I like being a customer and a vendor #sbbuzz
RisingStarIdeas: Q5 the merchant account nickeled and dimed to much. Paypal made it easy only pay if you use it. Plus they give you a volume discount #sbbuzz
bradfordshimp: @mriggen This is why we have a big garden. Haven’t had to resort to Ramen or Spam … yet. #sbbuzz
JulieDAloiso: Paypal has higher rates per transaction but no monthly fees #sbbuzz
lindadessau: @myscreenshare With PayPal I don’t pay a monthly fee, they take a percentage of each charge (which the merchant account does too) #sbbuzz
Timberry: Q5 speaking of grrr, there’s that tendency in banks and such to let the loyal longterm merchant clients pay more than newbies. #sbbuzz
bradfordshimp: @Timberry My wife keeps saying. And really, its not that much more expensive to have them done for you. I really must this year. #sbbuzz
CASUDI: @lindadessau Bank Bill Pay can print categories for a year ~ sometimes I use that to track #sbbuzz
lindadessau: @RisingStarIdeas Yes, exactly! @myscreenshare, what SHE said! #sbbuzz
Timberry: Q5 our sales order processing people have lots of problems with paypal. #sbbuzz
bradfordshimp: @DaleLittle Sweet! Keeping busy here, mostly on a marketing push. #sbbuzz
MHBoys: don’t do much CC but need it as a service to customers – we compared rates and minimum monthly costs and we’re never happy with cost #sbbuzz
Timberry: @bradfordshimp seriously your wife is right. You’re worth much more per hour than what you’d pay the CPA. #sbbuzz
lindadessau: @Timberry What are the issues that come up most for you with PayPal? #sbbuzz
DaleLittle: @bradfordshimp Name of the game. #sbbuzz
bradfordshimp: @sueyoungmedia That is a great mindset, viewing them as investments. #sbbuzz
smallbiztrends: For Q5: Here are some tips on comparing rates of accepting credit card payments: http://bit.ly/aD5ZfV #sbbuzz
Timberry: @lindadessau I don’t actually do that job, (and hooray for that, because it’s annoying) so I just hear the grumbling. #sbbuzz
canarymegan: #sbbuzz Curious about this of you who are service businesses. Did accepting credit cards help your cash flow? We still don’t take them.
sbbuzz: And now it is what we affectionately call Pitch Time. Please tell us a little about your business. #sbbuzz
lindadessau: @Timberry LOL, I was just curious. #sbbuzz
Timberry: @lindadessau although I think it has to do with downtime. Often. #sbbuzz
bradfordshimp: @Timberry Yeah, that is a big grrr! Which is why I was surprised when my bank called me to offer lower rates. Go Keybank. #sbbuzz
cjservia: Business continuity management services. You’re great at running your business, let us be great at protecting your business. #sbbuzz
finstoryteller: No pitching from me other than to say check out my new site at http://flavors.me/stewart :-) #sbbuzz
lindadessau: Content Creation Capsule starts this Thursday – sneak peek video and details at http://snipr.com/ccc-enroll (pitch time on #sbbuzz
Timberry: Pitchtime? Several star bloggers are here tonight. I’d love some reviews of my latest book, Sales Forecasting for Entrepreneurs. #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: Thanks all for the great discussion! I think we made a money management discussion fun! #sbbuzz
RisingStarIdeas: I can’t believe the time weny by so fast #sbbuzz
DaleLittle: @sbbuzz I help businesses save money & raise income hence higher profits I don’t believe in big expenditures Free 30 min wrk session #sbbuzz
scoblitz: @sbbuzz Pitch: eSeMBe helps micro business choose & implement tech that allows them to work more efficiently. http://esembe.com #sbbuzz
bradfordshimp: @Timberry If you have any review copies after you send them to the stars, let me know. Maybe a podcast interview as well? #sbbuzz
BeckyMcCray: Hey! @Timberry has a new book out called “Sales Forecasting for Entrepreneurs” – Sounds like something we all need! #sbbuzz
bradfordshimp: @sbbuzz Indeed, that was fun. #sbbuzz
rongraham1: My company will be handling social media for @AkronHomes starting tomorrow and @DevotionalChef in a couple months. Who’s next? LOL #sbbuzz
RisingStarIdeas: Check out 101freetools.com Your Small Business toolbox I do all the work so you don’t have to #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: If you’d like a once-a-week e-mail reminder of #sbbuzz (including the topic) sign up at http://sbbuzz.net #sbbuzz
smallbiztrends: @canarymegan For serv businesses (web designers,etc), invoice with Blinksale; embed “Pay by PayPal” button. Voila – fast payment! #sbbuzz
lindadessau: @Timberry I don’t know if I qualify ;) But I’d love to have a look! #sbbuzz
DaleLittle: Great discussion! Thanks for the invite @bradfordshimp #sbbuzz
canarymegan: #sbbuzz We’re a PR, marketing & design firm-specialize in Drupal Theming for web, focus on arts, culture, nonprofit & mission-driven co’s.
CASUDI: Sorry I missed 1/2 #sbbuzz~ I was Building Bridges Between People ~Designing Success >Nu Start Up.
bradfordshimp: Pitcheroo: I blog business advice http://allbizanswers.com and build websites that work for small biz http://broadrivercreative.com #sbbuzz
myscreenshare: We’re launching soon! Audio/Video Streaming, Desktop Share, Lucrative Affiliate Program, more Spread the Word http://www.myscreenshare.com #sbbuzz
RisingStarIdeas: Also check out my article 3 tools to help your small business get paid faster http://101freetools.com/articles #sbbuzz
BeckyMcCray: Pitch: If you’re coming to SXSW, consider catching @lizstrauss and me: “How did this happen? I’m in business!” http://bit.ly/9LzuK5 #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: For those of you in NYC area (or who want to be), we’ll be having an #sbbuzz tweet-up after @smallbizsummit 3/16/2010
MHBoys: helping businesses move to the cloud to save money on better technology – let me know if you have questions about cloud computing #sbbuzz
bradfordshimp: @rongraham1 Cool on the AkronHomes gig. Real Estate social media sounds so much fun (and I am not joking). #sbbuzz
rongraham1: @Timberry, I really wish I were a star blogger now. <sigh> But I DO blog and have other ways to spread the word… :-) #sbbuzz
smallbiztrends: @Timberry Send us your book, Tim. We’ll gladly review it. Sounds like a worthwhile topic! #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: AND for those heading down to SXSW this year, join our SXSBW party http://thesmallbusinessweb.com/sxsbw/ #sbbuzz
myscreenshare: Thanks for the great tweetchat tonight! #sbbuzz
mriggen: @sbbuzz I’m Michelle with @batchblue & also one of the spiders at thesmallbusinessweb.com http://thesmallbusinessweb.com/sxsbw/ #sbbuzz
DianaEnnen: I offer publicity and marketing / social networking services for small businesses. #sbbuzz
pmohara: Is it too late to pitch? I’m Pamela with @batchblue – the company behind #sbbuzz and small biz party planning machine! #sbbuzz
lindadessau: Fantastic chat everyone, thank you! #sbbuzz
Patrysha: @sbbuzz Patrysha, specializing in small businesses who market to a local community = love cooperative efforts http://bit.ly/3RABwJ #sbbuzz
MECKids: It was good information here. Thanks everyone. #sbbuzz
bradfordshimp: Good night all, except you West Coasters, too early for bed over there. Had a great time talking and meeting some new folks. #sbbuzz
JulieDAloiso: pitch: I teach businesses how to use #twitter #fb #linkedin and especially #blogging – because we were not born knowing this stuff #sbbuzz
MECKids: I sure will be going over the chat history tomorrow. #sbbuzz
finstoryteller: The Small Biz Buzz discussion was fun tonight, tune in every week! #sbbuzz
sueyoungmedia: @bradfordshimp Thanks for your feedback. Nice to chat #sbbuzz #GIFB
rongraham1: There’s a lot of new people here since last I was in. It’s really cool! But <sigh> I miss @DesireeScales. #sbbuzz
JulieDAloiso: @bubbalooch This is small business chat – every Tuesday night they chat about certain small business topics #sbbuzz – put it on your calndr
DianaEnnen: @rongraham1 Thanks! #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: #sbbuzz is a small business Twitter chat hosted each Tuesday night by the folks from @batchblue Come again soon!

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Filed under financing, small business, summary, tools, Uncategorized

Small Companies Thinking Big : Early Stage Ideas for Business Growth

We are thrilled to have good friend Lee Hower (@leehower), principal at Point Judith Capital as the guest speaker on #sbbuzz this week.  Lee is an impressively  successful Silicon Valley entrepreneur.  An early employee at Paypal seeing it through an IPO and acquisition, Lee went on to co-found LinkedIn working as the Director of Business Development through the first VC funding, and is now a successful venture capitalist.  Not to mention he is a brilliant and extremely generous guy.  We will be talking to Lee about the lessons he’s learned working in the early days at several highly successful companies, the criteria he uses to determine if a start-up is poised for rapid growth and what to do if explosive growth is not part of your business plan.

Please join us Tuesday night from 8:00 – 9:00PM EST  to learn more about planning the right growth strategies for your business.

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Filed under business start-up, financing, small business

Networking and Small Biz Cashflow : Summary from June 16th, 2009

Cash flow, bookkeeping and money management are things that all small business owners struggle with in one way or another.  Mike McDerment, CEO of Freshbooks and our guest this week, helped answer some questions regarding invoicing, billing and outsourcing accounting tasks. The questions regarding billing lead to a epiphany by one of our participants about his cash flow issues as a result of how he was billing projects.

If you know someone who’s looking for the answer to questions like these, please take a moment and tell another small business about SBBuzz and our weekly chats.  We’re aiming to answer the questions that will help small businesses succeed.

Want to participate or have a small business question that other small biz owners can answer? Here’s how you can join us next week!

  • Next buzz-up is Tuesday, June 23rd from 8:00 PM – 10:00 PM Eastern Time. Join us – We’re here to facilitate the conversation between small business owners.
  • Know small businesses that need help? Let them know when this chat happens, help them get started on Twitter and let’s talk!
  • Instructions for participating are at http://sbbuzz.biz/instructions
  • Below is a summary of the most recent discussion. To see the full conversation, go to: http://bit.ly/xAPvc

sbbuzz: Welcome to #sbbuzz, a Tweetchat for next 2 hours of small biz talking about technology. Join us! http://sbbuzz.biz/instructions

sbbuzz: Rules: 1)NO pitching till end 2)Be nice 3)Stay ON TOPIC! 4)Send ?s for group to me w/o hashtag 5)Use #sbbuzz in all messages 6)Have fun!

sbbuzz: And to help us make it a good one, Q1 What type of local networking events do you find most valuable and why? #sbbuzz

  • killspamdead: @sbbuzz Ones which serve Pizza, I think this has been well established. #sbbuzz
  • rzazueta: #sbbuzz Q1: Chamber mixers, but only bc I’m a B2B. Everyone’s there to make a sale, so going in to form relationships works best
  • leoraw: Yes, TweetUps are great. I met @rongraham1 at a TweetUp. Did some social media talks at 3 libraries with people via Twitter. #sbbuzz
  • lindadessau: Q1 For local networking I like to 1. Connect with like-minded folks who do biz online or 2. Be inspired by what others are doing #sbbuzz
  • adarowski: @sbbuzz Adam Darowski also here from @batchblue. I hear @saulcolt is here. And when he’s there, it’s a party. #sbbuzz #sbbuzz
  • rzazueta: @killspamdead Free wine or beer does it for me too. Just enough to loosen the ol’ gears. #sbbuzz
  • saulcolt: @sbbuzz tweet ups, social media mixers with a speaker or two like #wiredwedto as well as industry events #sbbuzz
  • adarowski: @sbbuzz Q1 Our local monthly geek get-together was a “meetup” before it was a “tweetup”. Perfect mix of social and techy folks. #sbbuzz
  • pmohara: #sbbuzz Q1 I think less formal the better. Providence Geeks here in RI is my favorite – advice from local geeks, no pitching or salesness
  • rzazueta: #sbbuzz there’s a tech group that does a monthly meetup here, but it costs $20/pop. Thinking about getting a cheaper group together
  • rzazueta: #sbbuzz Actually, anyone know of any good trade orgs for web developers?
  • LogicommInc: Q1 The AM Prov. Entrepreneurs Group is my favourite. VERY informal, lots of great discussions,, constantly going off topic:) #sbbuzz
  • ImagineGraphics: Q1 Most valuable local networking is peer to peer roundtables in a small group w confidentiality. Ideas, support, connection – YES! #sbbuzz

sbbuzz: Q2 Any ideas for adding a virtual component to a Tweet-up? #sbbuzz

  • bradfordshimp: Q2 – Would that defeat the point? #sbbuzz
  • adarowski: @sbbuzz I went to one tweetup where there was a laptop open ustreaming the event to “who the heck knows”. Was weird and awkward. #sbbuzz
  • adarowski: @sbbuzz The most “virtual” a “meetup” should be is maybe a hashtagged backchannel on Twitter of attendees & friends not there. #sbbuzz
  • rzazueta: #sbbuzz Q2: The geek in me thinks laptop + projector. But, I agree with @bradfordshimp – it would probably defeat the purpose.
  • rzazueta: #sbbuzz I mean, isn’t the point of a tweetup to look people in the eye, not at your Blackberry/iPhone/Laptop all night?
  • mriggen: Q2 agree about the “weird and awkward” ustreaming thing. But I think having twitter handles on nametags (or shirts!) helps :) #sbbuzz
  • sbbuzz: @bradfordshimp Maybe. Just looking for ideas. Thought I’d see if anyone has some crazy ones. :) #sbbuzz
  • LogicommInc: Q2 – I’m still trying to master the tweet up, never mind virtual components:) #sbbuzz
  • bradfordshimp: @sbbuzz I think video chatting with other tweetups might be interesting, kind of an around the world tweetup. #sbbuzz
  • bradfordshimp: In a more formal tweetup, where there is a speaker, that could be broadcast. #sbbuzz

sbbuzz: Q3 Are you using Twitter /social media as an HR tool? For recruiting, researching, team building, how? #sbbuzz

  • rzazueta: #sbbuzz Q3: Thinking about it, if I can ever get back into a hiring mode again ;-)
  • lindadessau: Q3 I hired a virtual assistant after following her Tweets for awhile and I liked what I saw. #sbbuzz
  • merylkevans: Q3 just talked to someone who finds future team members by following and watching thoughts. #sbbuzz
  • bradfordshimp: Yes, for Idea Anglers especially. Finding people who have similar interests and who are givers via Twitter. #sbbuzz
  • Peer_Resources: Using it to build community and engagement but majority of tweets are broadcasting. #sbbuzz
  • LogicommInc: Q3 – My partner, who lives 65 miles away and drives a Detroit Chrome Mtn of a vehicle and I use a combo of Skype/LogMeIn and Twitter #sbbuzz
  • mriggen: @sbbuzz Q3 We definitely do! Last three out of four hires have been people we’ve “met” online first. #sbbuzz
  • adarowski: @sbbuzz Q3 I an also envision it going the other way… candidates finding potential co-workers on Twitter and following them. #sbbuzz
  • LogicommInc: Q3 – addendum: we’ve used contractors that we’ve ‘met’ through Twitter. Prov. Entrepreneur Meetups (combo of off/online) as well #sbbuzz
  • leoraw: RT @rongraham1: @sbbuzz Q3: forming a mastermind group for people in brand-new start-ups. It’s advanced networking by affinity. :-) #sbbuzz
  • LogicommInc: Q3 redux – If one evangelizes a medium, one should be using it afterall…#sbbuzz
  • bradfordshimp: Other than perm. hires, Twitter is a good place to find professionals, virtual assistants, and people who can answer questions. #sbbuzz
  • ImagineGraphics: Q3 I want to use it as team building but need to clarify boundaries 1st, esp as to time spent on twitter rather than client work #sbbuzz
  • leoraw: I use Twitter a LOT for technical research. Some very knowledgeable people have answered Qs. #sbbuzz
  • ImagineGraphics: Q3 Same bldg but diff jobs can = disconnection. Following my employees’ tweets is fun & connective. Get 2 know diff side of them. #sbbuzz

(Editor’s note: Some participants were having issues getting their tweets to show up, with the hashtag.)

sbbuzz: Q4 How are you finding new recruits or professionals to hire in social media? Does it make a difference in the work? #sbbuzz

  • LogicommInc: Q4 – As we primarily use consultants, and have used Soc. networking for about a yr, it’s easy to create a list of experts #sbbuzz
  • rzazueta: #sbbuzz Relationships are key. SM is an investment – takes time to get results, but more you put in, more you get out.
  • rzazueta: #sbbuzz The relationship thing is vital whether asking Qs or looking for hires or whatever. Use SM to build trust, then reap the benefits.

sbbuzz: Q6 Balance sheet, cashflow, income statement and more. Where should a new business owner start and when? #sbbuzz

  • MikeMcDerment: Q6 first things first, sort out what kind of business you are running. #sbbuzz
  • MikeMcDerment: Q6 some businesses reply on a lot of capital (machines, bricks and morter) #sbbuzz
  • MikeMcDerment: Q6 but must do not. Most businesses are service based – people who get paid for time and expertise. #sbbuzz
  • MikeMcDerment: Q6 no matter what kind of business you run, cash is king. So getting controls for your cash flow is the place to start. #sbbuzz
  • lindadessau: Q6 My bookkeeper prepares a cash flow report every two weeks via QuickBooks and it’s a great snapshot of what’s going on. #sbbuzz
  • MikeMcDerment: Q6 so i’d start with cash flow statements for sure. #sbbuzz
  • LogicommInc: Q6 – Logicomm is a mostly virtual company. We provide IT Services to micro business (<20), mostly remotely #sbbuzz

sbbuzz: Q7 from @rzazueta How can project-driven service companies keep cash flowing? When should they ask to get paid? #sbbuzz

  • MikeMcDerment: Q7 I used to run a consulting firm. I’d demand 50% to start any project, 40% to deliver it and 10% holdback for housekeeping. #sbbuzz
  • MikeMcDerment: Q7 that way I always figured if the project failed or client disappeared, I’d cover my sunk costs. #sbbuzz
  • lindadessau: @MikeMcDerment Does “delivery” mean complete project or first draft? #sbbuzz
  • sophware: Q7 We’ve had some success with progress billing – payments after major milestones or things that represented being x% done. #sbbuzz
  • MikeMcDerment: Q7 I also found getting paid to start closely aligned the clients with my efforts – often they are the ones slowing things down. #sbbuzz
  • rzazueta: #sbbuzz Wow, 50% up front? Is that common among other folks?
  • MikeMcDerment: @lindadessau in that case it would mean completion. But you can use other milestones. Main point is I liked 50% to start. #sbbuzz
  • rzazueta: @sophware How do you determine what % at what milestone? #sbbuzz
  • leoraw: RT @rongraham1: @sbbuzz, Q6 gotta be a business plan. Even if we don’t need funding, we do need direction, and the plan gives it. #sbbuzz
  • lindadessau: @MikeMcDerment @rzazueta Yes, I also request 50% upfront – it’s the subsequent payment schedule that doesn’t always flow for me #sbbuzz
  • scoblitz: @rzazueta for project based work that is typically what I request #sbbuzz
  • MikeMcDerment: @rzazueta in my experience, yes. Also seen 25%, but mostly 50%. The biggest changes I’ve seen is in the later stage milestones. #sbbuzz
  • pmohara: @rzazueta we see that frequently from our vendors – 1/2 up front. Especially for first time projects. #sbbuzz
  • rzazueta: #sbbuzz I’m running off after this to restructure my contracts. Don’t know why 50% is such a revelation to me.
  • sophware: Q7 @rzazueta decide how much you can lay out there. If it’s $5k and it’s a $20 project, bill every 25%. #sbbuzz
  • scoblitz: @MikeMcDerment @rzazueta I usually do 50 / 50 but for long projects I’ll break out to 50 / 25 / 25 #sbbuzz
  • MikeMcDerment: @rzazueta great to see that kind of epiphany in here – very exciting. And yes, run don’t walk. :) #sbbuzz
  • rzazueta: #sbbuzz Been doing this for 3+ years and always started with 10-20% up front. No wonder my cash flow sucks! ;-)
  • MikeMcDerment: @scoblitz I’ve done that too. I found I was more comfortable making changes on the back end. 50/40/10 was my preference though #sbbuzz

sbbuzz: Q8 How do small businesses find the time to manage their books? Any time-saving tips? #sbbuzz

  • MikeMcDerment: Q8 Start by thinking about the process consciously, most business owners just develop habits and not processes around the books. #sbbuzz
  • MikeMcDerment: Q8 Think about ways to streamline your processes. You want to spend as little time as possible on them. #sbbuzz
  • scoblitz: @MikeMcDerment excellent idea, something to think about for sure. #sbbuzz
  • lindadessau: Q8 I batch my record-keeping tasks. I put things invoices etc. in folders & then go through every 2 weeks on “pay day” #sbbuzz
  • MikeMcDerment: Q8 I also found doing the books as close to the actual work helped. The details are fresh in your mind. #sbbuzz
  • MikeMcDerment: Q8 Especially with invoicing. Not only will it take longer if you put it off, you will loose money by forgetting work you did. #sbbuzz
  • MikeMcDerment: Q8 Also think carefully about what you can automate and/or outsource. You do not need to do it all yourself. #sbbuzz
  • ImagineGraphics: Q8 We hire a free-lance bookkeeper. When we were small she’d come every 2 weeks, now every week for a few hours. It’s great. #sbbuzz
  • wvpmc: keeping on top of process is essential – otherwise you lose track of details – takes much longer to recreate #sbbuzz
  • JoGolden: oopps #sbbuzz neat desk / neat receipts keeps our managing partner happy when it’s time to do the books http://bit.ly/qafud (expand)
  • MikeMcDerment: Q8 Things like Payroll services, recurring billing and online payments can be huge time savers, as well as receipt scanning services #sbbuzz
  • lindadessau: @MikeMcDerment Great point. I’ve also started noting outstanding invoices on my project list so they’re front & center #sbbuzz
  • ImagineGraphics: Q8 Whoever sells the job bills it. Bookkeeper only for paying vendors, payroll, and keeping the books. #sbbuzz
  • MikeMcDerment: Q8 +1 @JoGolden, keeping things tidy is a big time saver. And if not tidy, ordered. I store all receipts in my wallet, then Ziplock #sbbuzz
  • MikeMcDerment: @lindadessau yes, outstanding invoices need to be easy to find and address and their lateness needs to be clear to you can prioritiz #sbbuzz
  • ImagineGraphics: Q8 we staple receipts to back of full size scrap paper so little ones don’t get lost. We write the check number upper right &file.#sbbuzz
  • chelpixie: Q8 I had to begin checking invoices daily, lots of work and I was going over hours in some cases. #sbbuzz

sbbuzz: Q9 What part of bookkeeping should small business owners do themselves vs. outsourcing? #sbbuzz

  • MikeMcDerment: Q9 I think it’s personal choice what books you do versus outsource. Personally I only like to read the reports. #sbbuzz
  • scoblitz: @MikeMcDerment I’m thrilled to hear you make the distinction between habit and process – so often those two get confused. #sbbuzz
  • ImagineGraphics: Q9 Preparing statements can be outsourced. but no one can monitor the numbers for you. Critical to success. Gives so much info. #sbbuzz
  • lindadessau: Q9 I like to be the one to contact my clients about account balances (hours remaining in a retainer payment) or payment owing. #sbbuzz
  • MikeMcDerment: Q9 I think owners should be driving sales, therefore they should know how those numbers are shaping up. That’s paramount. #sbbuzz
  • chelpixie: Q9 I’m hands on everything billing. I know what the hours are and who’s close (now) and how my cash flow is moving. #sbbuzz
  • MikeMcDerment: Q9 Automating as much of collections as you can will help with getting reports in real time on demand. #sbbuzz
  • boghani: @ImagineGraphics Very well said. I totally agree with you on this. I got burnt few times when I outsourced it. #sbbuzz
  • MikeMcDerment: Q9 FWIW, I think outsourcing payroll makes all the sense in the world. You need to manage it, but outsource the core of the process. #sbbuzz
  • rzazueta: Relevant to tonight’s #sbbuzz – RT @CoCoSmallBiz: New blog post: Cash Flow (Intro) http://bit.ly/CpHBH
  • MikeMcDerment: @chelpixie agree, if there is one thing to own outright, it’s the cash coming in. #sbbuzz
  • MikeMcDerment: @boghani @ImagineGraphics Yes, you need to carefully select trustworthy vendors and team members to give these responsibilities to. #sbbuzz

sbbuzz: Q10 How do small businesses keep track of online & offline activities? #sbbuzz

  • MikeMcDerment: @sbbuzz can you clarify? you mean when it comes to bookkeeping I presume? Like making sure both are getting updated? Assuming yes #sbbuzz
  • MikeMcDerment: Q10 The trick to managing online and offline activities is to have a consolidated view somewhere. #sbbuzz
  • sbbuzz: @MikeMcDerment Yes – just getting it all back to one place. (oops – forgot my own #sbbuzz tag)
  • IACEZ: @sbbuzz Or (if they don’t have time) they should at least know HOW to do it so they understand what they are looking at. #sbbuzz
  • lindadessau: @sbbuzz My very low-tech solution is a project list that I print 1x/week & always keep front & center on my desk #sbbuzz
  • boghani: Q10 I use flexwiki. I know some people claim that using flexwiki is like being water boarded. Try pbwiki #sbbuzz#sbbuzz
  • scoblitz: @MikeMcDerment @sbbuzz having your various tools and services work together and share info helps with this a lot as well. #sbbuzz
  • IACEZ: @sbbuzz Which is where easy-to-use accounting apps come in handy! :) #sbbuzz
  • MikeMcDerment: Q10 You need a system that shows both online and offline payments in one place in a sane manner, ideally with payment status. #sbbuzz

sbbuzz: Q11 from @greathomes What is best method/quickest way to get one’s biz out there? #sbbuzz

  • MikeMcDerment: @greathomes you mean to market your business? Really depends on so many things like the nature of the business and how u r different #sbbuzz
  • lindadessau: @sbbuzz Q11 #sbbuzz The best way to get one’s biz out there? Do great work and be nice to work with.
  • MikeMcDerment: Q11 How you get your business “out there” really depends on a million things (industry, budget, your unique approach). #sbbuzz
  • MikeMcDerment: Q11 Sometimes if you know what you want to do, it’s good to find someone who enjoys the “how to promote” question. #sbbuzz
  • IACEZ: Q11 Build relationships with people, and if they want to do business with you prove to them that you will go the extra mile. #sbbuzz
  • chelpixie: Q11 definitely different things. Find what you’re good at, do it well, and let people know. Work hard. #sbbuzz
  • MikeMcDerment: Q11 Most businesses are build through referrals. Starting with your customers is a great place to start “getting the word out”. #sbbuzz
  • boghani: Q11 Networking Networking Networking Networking Networking #sbbuzz
  • lutherlowe: #sbbuzz Q11 For a local SMB: Unlock a free listing at biz.yelp.com; view traffic, send msgs, post coupons/etc. Start a convo re:your biz
  • chelpixie: Q11 I’ve talked to people who think running your own biz is easy. It’s not. You work. A lot. #sbbuzz

sbbuzz: Thanks Mike for the awesome chat tonight. Think we have to end with Q12 – how do you get on the cover of Entrepreneur? ;) #sbbuzz

  • MikeMcDerment: Q12 You string together a long line of tiny successes and hope they lead you somewhere. :D #sbbuzz
  • sbbuzz: Thanks to Mike and everyone for he great discussion! We’ll get the #sbbuzz summary posted on the site soon at http://sbbuzz.biz

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Getting Your Books In Order

Scheduling update: a mix-up in the scheduling postponed Mike’s participation until Tuesday, June 16th – still 8:00 – 10:00 PM Eastern Time. Please join us then!

Dust off those adding machines!  We’ve been talking recently about the challenges of managing your own bookkeeping, keeping an eye on the bottom line and understanding a balance sheet vs. an income statement.

entrepreneur_mikeSo we’ve invited Mike McDerment, the CEO of online billing software Freshbooks.com as our guest on #sbbuzz this week.  Mike not only runs a software company dedicated to making the income side of small business running as painless as possible, he is also a wildly successful entrepreneur himself who generously writes and speaks about the challenges of growing a fun and successful company.  And did we mention he is the sexy, bearded man gracing the latest cover of Entrepreneur magazine? Brilliant indeed.

Please join us this Tuesday, June 9th from 8:00 PM – 10:00 PM EDT for a great discussion.  And please help us spread the word about small businesses talking tech on Twitter!

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Show Me the Money

Whether you need a little angel investment to help you get your new business up and running, you’ve got a business model that is working and are looking for VC help to take it to the next level, or you are going the old fashioned route and boot strapping through to revenue streams that will get you to profitability, what you need to succeed is a plan. And perhaps some good connections.

Our speaker at the this week, Tim Berry (@TimBerry), knows about finding the money. He has been a recipient of VC money, he bootstrapped a company to multi-million-dollar sales without outside funding, he was on the board of one that went public, and is an angel investor as a member of an angel investment group. Oh, and by the way he is the President and founder of Palo Alto Software, the Founder of bplans.com and has written a few books on business planning.

We will talk to him about business funding, developing business plans and business planning, and generally about starting a business. Please join us this Tuesday, April 28, 8:00-10:00 PM EDT at http://twitter.com/sbbuzz.  Please send any topics you would like included as a direct message to @sbbuzz.

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Continuing the Conversation: Business Valuation Tips

timberry1 Guest Post from Tim Berry (@timberry), President Palo Alto Software; entrepreneur, baby boomer, writer, blogger, teacher, father of five, married 39 years. http://timberry.bplans.com

I’ve been working with business planning, venture capital, entrepreneurs, and starting businesses long enough now (more than 30 years) to realize that one of the most important but least understood concepts in valuation, which seems to be right on the front lines of the relationship between entrepreneur and potential investor, but rarely covered well in the business plans, and very often misunderstood. One problem is that “valuation” means something entirely different for the long-term small business, privately owned, not publicly traded, that needs to figure out what it’s worth for the purposes of estate planning, succession planning, gift taxes, divorce, and so on. In the world of entrepreneurs and potential investors, on the other hand, valuation is the opening salvo in a negotiation. How much do you need, and at what valuation, is the shorthand way of asking about pricing.

I’ve come to realize that there is a standard way to figure this out, so, after an interesting encounter at #sbbuzz last night, I decided it might be nice to lay it out on a step by step basis. So that’s why I got into the office this morning and wrote this post:

http://articles.bplans.com/writing-a-business-plan/setting-an-initial-valuation/617

Continuing the Conversation is a new series of articles that will help us continue some of the great discussions that begin at one of our weekly #sbbuzz chats.  While the fast paced weekly Tweetchat is a quick way to share tips and insights, it can also inspire deeper and broader discussions on a particular topic.  We invite participants in the #sbbuzz chats to contact us with a direct message at @sbbuzz if you would like to contribute a guest article to continue an #sbbuzz conversation.


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Filed under continuing the conversation, financing, small business