How to Set Up your Online Storefront in 4 Easy Steps

If you’re a small business owner with physical products for sale, an online storefront is a great, low-cost way to get started. And if you already have a brick-and-mortar store, expanding online might be just what you need to sell more products without the limitation of only reaching customers in your area.

Setting up an online storefront isn’t the major headache it used to be. Long gone are the days of troublesome, technical setups that took tons of time and cash. With so many customizable, easy-to-use solutions, you’re just a few steps away from selling online and growing your business.

Step 1: Consider your needs

Most online shops come equipped with the basics: a way to showcase your products, and easy-to-use showing cart, payment processing, and protection of your customer’s sensitive info. But does your product or shop require something special? Perhaps you want to give customers the option to customize the order or subscribe to your products. Think through those needs before you start exploring shopping platforms so you know the right questions to ask.

Step 2: Select a platform

Now you’ll need to consider whether you want to:
– sell your products through a third-party site like Amazon or eBay
– host a store on your business’s website using an eCommerce provider like Etsy or Shopify
– build out your own custom online shop

Each option comes with its own pros and cons. Selling on Amazon or eBay means you won’t have to set up a payment gateway, but it also means there’s very little room for branding or customization. Ecommerce providers offer greater flexibility but require a monthly subscription fee. Building out your own shop allows you to customize endlessly, but it also means you’ll have to take care of every little detail on your own. Weigh out what’s most important for your shop and think through the best way to reach your customers.

Step 3: Pick a merchant provider

If you’re not selling on a third-party site, you’ll have to separately set up a merchant provider like PayPal. This is what gives your business the ability to actually accept debit and credit cards as payment for your goods. The biggest hurdle at this step is verifying test deposit transactions, but after that — you’re good to go!

Step 4: Settle on your shipping and payment policies

Third-party platforms have policies in place to protect you and your customers. But if you’re using an eCommerce platform or have set up your own custom shop, you’ll need to determine these on your own and make sure they’re listed clearly on your site. Your shop’s policies should include how customers can pay, how quickly they can have their items shipped, and whether or not they can make a return.

By following these four simple steps, you’ll be well on your way to reaching more customers and growing your business. And by connecting your online shop to your accounting and inventory software, you can begin to automate, simplify, and scale!

 

This post is intended to be used for informational purposes only and does not constitute as legal, business, or tax advice. Please consult your attorney, business advisor, or tax advisor with respect to matters referenced in our content. Xendoo assumes no liability for any actions taken in reliance upon the information contained herein.

 

10 Small Business Payroll Trends You Need to Know

If your business employs anyone who receives a regular salary, then you’ve encountered payroll and some of the challenges that come along with it. Fortunately, we’re seeing more and more trends towards making payroll processes smoother and easier to understand for you and your employees.

Here are 10 payroll trends for small business owners that you need to know:

Flexible employment terms

Chances are, not everyone on your staff has the exact same employment arrangement or benefits package. Maybe not everyone who works for you is full-time and salaried — you likely employ part-time, short-term, or contract/freelance staff. Payroll software is increasingly able to handle different terms and packages for different employees.

Leveraging the gig economy

More likely than not, you have, do, or will hire freelance professionals to help grow your business. As more and more people move towards freelancing their careers, you need to be ready to accommodate them in terms of payroll, too. We’re seeing more payroll software and services that can seamlessly add and remove team members as they come and go from your business.

Staying compliant is getting easier

The government places the burden on small businesses to remain compliant with various rules and regulations like the Affordable Care Act. It’s more important than ever to maintain accurate records and file as often as the law requires.  Payroll software combined with access to financial experts is making payroll compliance easier than ever.

Increased automation

You’re always looking for ways to work faster and smarter. As automation increasingly becomes a part of everyday business, easy-to-use software can also help automate your more repetitive payroll tasks.

More outsourcing options

Until recently, if you didn’t want to handle payroll yourself, the only other option was to outsource it to a specialty company that offered payroll services and nothing else (read: expensive). Nowadays, new, easy-to-use software has made it possible for small businesses to affordably bundle payroll into other service offerings. Some of the top choices are paychecks.com, Gusto, and Xero. Xendoo can also help facilitate payroll for small businesses with less than 5 employees.

Data at your fingertips

When you’ve opened up a new position in the past, how did you go about deciding on the salary and benefits package? Perhaps you asked around or tried to calculate the value of the role to your business. Today, payroll and salary data are widely available to help you make the best decision when it comes to new hires.

Integration, integration, integration

Payroll functions used to take place in a silo from the other activities of your business, especially if it was being outsourced. Today, quality accounting software with built-in payroll can connect to your other systems, like human resources, making it more useful and minimizing duplication.

Streamlining expenses

If your staff is given an expense account or permitted to request reimbursements, you know how much a hassle this can be. More and more, we are seeing payroll software that allows your employees to process their own travel, entertainment, and technology expenses — saving on resources and storing that information long-term.

Payroll in the cloud

With accounting software increasingly moving to the cloud, we’re seeing the same with payroll. And that’s good news for you and your staff because it means you’re now able to access payroll data anytime, anywhere, from any device with an internet connection.

Freedom of information

Now more than ever, employees and business owners want 24/7 access to their payroll info. Payroll software is increasingly shifting to give greater flexibility when it comes to requesting leave, checking past wages, and understanding taxes.

Let your dedicated team of financial experts at Xendoo help you navigate the waters of payroll and accounting for your small business.

 

This post is intended to be used for informational purposes only and does not constitute as legal, business, or tax advice. Please consult your attorney, business advisor, or tax advisor with respect to matters referenced in our content. Xendoo assumes no liability for any actions taken in reliance upon the information contained herein.

 

4 Ways a Bookkeeper Can Make Your Life Easier

Whether you’re a lawyer, restaurant owner, or tech founder — as a small business owner, tracking your company’s finances is an important part of your job. Unfortunately, it usually lands at the bottom of the to-do list, far from “revenue-generating” activities like sales and servicing clients.

But the truth is that accurately maintaining your company’s books can help you make more money and grow your business. Without financial records, you’d never be able to do things like invoice clients, calculate profit margin, or avoid overpaying in taxes.

That’s where a bookkeeper comes in handy.

A skilled bookkeeper can help take the overwhelming task of monitoring your business’s financial activities and turn them into meaningful, actionable data that you can use. So, what exactly does a bookkeeper do?

1. They enter (AKA “post”) financial transactions into your software or spreadsheet

Using receipts, invoices, credit card statements, and bank statements, bookkeepers record every single financial transaction of the business. If this is currently in your job description, you know it takes a lot of time, patience, and a well-trained eye. With accurate records as a solid foundation, you can better understand how your business is performing and see where it can improve.

2. Reconcile accounts and note the differences

By regularly reconciling credit card and bank statements, bookkeepers can help uncover areas where you might be overpaying for materials or services, as well as situations where you may not be getting paid what you deserve or agreed on.

3. Receive and record cash and checks

When you have a bookkeeper tracking the money coming into your business, you can rest assured someone is making sure you’re getting paid what you’re supposed to. Bookkeepers become intimately familiar with your accounts receivables, so they’ll know who’s late with their payment or hasn’t paid the total they owe. Without someone regularly looking over this part of your business, you could be losing money without even realizing it.

4. Produce financial reports that help you better understand your business

With accurate, timely records, bookkeepers can run reports like profit and loss statements and balance sheets. These types of reports are critical to helping you make wise decisions and understanding all of the implications of one choice over another.

At Xendoo, we make bookkeeping affordable and personalized for exactly what your business needs. We even reconcile and classify every transaction with a tax savings lens, so you’re set up for success at tax time.

 

This post is intended to be used for informational purposes only and does not constitute as legal, business, or tax advice. Please consult your attorney, business advisor, or tax advisor with respect to matters referenced in our content. Xendoo assumes no liability for any actions taken in reliance upon the information contained herein.

 

Crowdfunding 101: How to Crowdfund Your Next Business Idea

Entrepreneurs looking to start their own businesses now have more options than ever before when it comes to financing their ventures. A traditional loan (from a bank or family and friends) or bootstrapping the business yourself are still viable ways to get started. But there’s also a new kid on the block who goes by the name “crowdfunding.”

What exactly is crowdfunding?

Crowdfunding, or crowdsourcing, is a way of raising money from lots of people at once who learn about your business idea online. People pledge money in support of the company or product with the promise of perks or free stuff in return (like fan merch or the actual product, when it finally hits the market). In some cases, investors receive unlisted company shares for their pledged dollars.

Sounds like a great solution! Are there any downsides?

There are a lot of benefits to crowdfunding your startup. The cost and barrier to entry are relatively low, with crowdfunding websites listing all sorts of weird and wacky projects. When used properly, these sites can offer you high visibility before you even go to the market and give you an opportunity to interact directly with potential customers who have feedback or questions.

But crowdfunding isn’t for everyone, and there are some risks. By going public with your idea before you have any intellectual property protection, someone could potentially steal your concept and go to market faster than you. You also need to be able to effectively manage questions and critiques without them damaging your brand’s reputation.

Crowdfunding comes with a hefty responsibility since you must be able to fulfill the project and satisfy your backers. There are many stories of infant companies who have crowdfunded an idea only to discover that it will take much more time or money to build the product. This could leave you with hundreds of angry pledgers wondering what you’re doing with their hard-earned cash.

I understand the risks and I think crowdfunding is the way to go. How do I get started?

Before you go public on a crowdfunding site, make sure you have a detailed business plan. Not only will this help convince backers you’re serious, but it will also allow you to prepare for the future and understand what kind of investment it will take to go forward. Consider developing branding, sketching out a prototype, or filming a brief video that quickly gets your ideas across.

Once you’re ready to publish a page on a crowdfunding site like Kickstarter, Indiegogo, or GoFundMe, do some homework on which platform is right for you. Each one has its own limitations when it comes to the location of backers and the ability to reach them. Make sure you read the fine print when it comes to the fees, too. Even if your crowdfunding attempt fails, these sites will take a cut of your pledges.

Most importantly, surround yourself with advisors and a team who can walk with you through the entire process. Put your best foot forward and who knows — you might just end up the next big crowdfunding success story!

 

This post is intended to be used for informational purposes only and does not constitute as legal, business, or tax advice. Please consult your attorney, business advisor, or tax advisor with respect to matters referenced in our content. Xendoo assumes no liability for any actions taken in reliance upon the information contained herein.

 

The Small Business Owner’s Guide to Omnichannel Sales: How multiple online storefronts can help you reach more customers

There’s a simple reason why big brands make their products available to customers in several places online: it works. So if people can only buy your products through your website, read on to learn how you might be missing out.

Why it works

There’s no telling when or where a customer will search for a solution your business can provide them. The benefit of multiple online storefronts — also known as omnichannel sales — is that you exponentially increase your chances of being in the right place at the right time. Your customers are using big online marketplaces like Google Shopping, Amazon, and Facebook Shop because they trust the payment gateways, swift delivery, and wide selection. So why aren’t you?

Google Shopping

Google Shopping offers customers the convenience of finding exactly what they’re looking for right from a Google search. When integrated with your existing shop, you won’t even have to make separate updates to Google when offering new products. The Google Merchant Center makes set up simple and gives you access to Google’s powerful ad tools.

Amazon

Did you know that 45% of shoppers start their product search at Amazon? That means if you’re not selling through Amazon, almost half of the online shoppers may never see your product. Since the world’s most powerful marketplace also handles distribution, it can be a little more complicated to get set up initially. Software that integrates all of your online shops makes this a whole lot easier.

Facebook Shop

Chances are you already have a Facebook page to promote your business. So why not make it even easier to turn fans into customers? Facebook makes it extremely simple to add a Shop section to your page so customers never even have to leave the social network to make a purchase.

It’s easier to do than you think!

Many eCommerce business owners have a hard enough time managing their one and only online shop, so it’s understandable why the idea of branching out might have you running for the hills. Fortunately, it’s easier than ever to manage multiple storefronts from one place with software that integrates your eCommerce platforms and accounting. That means just one destination to monitor and manage inventory, add new products, and keep track of customer data.

At Xendoo, we can recommend software and products that can help you branch out without getting burnt out.

 

This post is intended to be used for informational purposes only and does not constitute as legal, business, or tax advice. Please consult your attorney, business advisor, or tax advisor with respect to matters referenced in our content. Xendoo assumes no liability for any actions taken in reliance upon the information contained herein.

 

Transitioning your small business to cloud accounting

What it Means to Work in the Cloud and Why Your Business Can’t Do Without It

When you’re looking for ways to take your small business to the next level, taking a deep dive into the financials is an excellent place to start. Business owners who understand, or have someone who can help them understand, the company’s overall financial health are in a better position to make smart business decisions.

If you currently use a paper or hard-drive-based system — in other words, if your business’s financials exist on just one computer — you could be limiting yourself without even realizing it.

Easy-to-use, cloud-based accounting software can help you work smarter and faster — and ultimately help you grow your business.

So…what’s the cloud again?

In just a few words, “cloud computing” is whenever you store and access files over the Internet instead of your computer’s hard drive. You actually use the cloud all the time without even realizing it. Web-based email, file storage, and online banking are all examples of working in the cloud.

When using cloud-based accounting software, you can access it from any device with an Internet connection. Think of it like logging on to your favorite social network or online banking portal from your computer, tablet, or phone.

Sounds simple enough! So what can cloud accounting software do that my current solution can’t?

Your hard-drive-based accounting software is probably limiting you in more ways than one:

1. Limited access: you can only access your data from the one computer where the software is licensed. Sharing financial information with others on your team requires time-consuming exporting and sending via email or USB, and isn’t secure.

2. Infrequent, costly updates: whenever there’s a bug in your accounting software, you may have to shell out cash to update it. This is time-consuming and frustrating. Your accounting software should be working for you, not the other way around.

3. Hard to back up: If you are backing up the data from your software, you know how challenging and tedious this process can be. And if you aren’t backing it up, we understand why. It might be hard to figure out how to do, or you simply don’t have the time. If something were to happen to the device where your information is stored…well, say goodbye to all of your financial records.

Limited customer support: hard-drive-based accounting software isn’t known for great customer service. And if you’re using a program like Excell for the financials, you are customer support!

Well, I’ve definitely encountered at least one of those challenges. But I hear a lot of about people getting their data stolen online. Having all of my sensitive financial information floating around makes me kind of nervous.

Cloud-based accounting software companies ensure that the security and privacy of their users, and their sensitive data, is always airtight. They use many of the same standards you’re already accustomed to with online banking.

On top of that, cloud software offers the added security of always having your back in the event of a natural disaster, theft, or when the one and only computer where information is stored goes kaput.

Another important benefit is being able to control the level of access granted to anyone you want to share data with. For example, you can allow partners or key stakeholders high-level access while your accounts receivable or payable staff is permitted to only see what’s needed to accomplish their tasks.

Wow, it really does sound like cloud-based accounting is the way to go.

You got it! There are so many ways a simple, secure cloud software can change the way you do business – for the better. It can help you…

  • access a clear overview of the state of your business anytime, anywhere,
  • share the right data with the right people,
  • enjoy the ease of automatic updates so you’re software can grow with your business,
  • relax with the peace of mind that comes from knowing your data is always backed up and secure,
  • and save time and money with no recurring maintenance or admin costs

By partnering with cloud-based accounting software Xero, Xendoo offers small business owners real-time accounting, business tax, payroll services, and more — including a subscription to Xero at no additional cost!

 

This post is intended to be used for informational purposes only and does not constitute as legal, business, or tax advice. Please consult your attorney, business advisor, or tax advisor with respect to matters referenced in our content. Xendoo assumes no liability for any actions taken in reliance upon the information contained herein.