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Practical Process

We offer full framework consultation or you may need assistance with just one area. Please contact us for information on how we may assist you with managing your practical business processes.

 

We offer additional support to help you maintain the processes that you have developed.  Please visit our Support page for more information.

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Modernizing Your Practical Processes

Leijun Campbell - Monday, October 02, 2017

Nostalgia for 80s and 90s culture is all over the internet, especially social media. However, one place this mindset doesn't belong is in your practical processes for your small business or startup.

 


 

Certain technologies and ways of communicating may see completely natural to your organization. You may favor Microsoft Word for document creation, PowerPoint for information decks and slides, Microsoft Excel for spreadsheets and analytics presentation, paper memos for important announcements, rolodexes for customer/client information, phone calls for internal office communication and email or flash drives (hopefully not floppy disks) for large file distribution. Below we'll help you bring these processes into the 2010s.

 

- Documents: Most workers these days have used Microsoft Word as a basis of their office applications, usually learning how to type and compose documents in the software. While this approach may seem logical for one-off information deliveries, you may consider using something like Google Docs as a way to easily distribute the documents and allow for input and changes whenever necessary, especially when the document needs to be checked by multiple people.

 

- Announcements: On a similar note, physical memos distributed for office announcements wastes paper and clutters desks and trashcans. Email is a more cost-effective alternative for alerting your staff of any upcoming events or policy changes. You can even use a tool like Boomerang to help schedule your emails if you have multiple announcements to make throughout the week or month.

 

- Client information: You may have a rolodex or even an email address book to keep up with prospects and leads, but oftentimes, that's far from enough to help organize all of your data. Using a customer relationship management (CRM) system allows you to create various accounts and categories for all of the people and clients you meet. You can even track the sales process from initial meeting to closed deal.

 

- File distribution: Though you can deliver files up to 25 MB in certain email providers, documents and other type of files larger than 25MB would have to be broken up into multiple emails or transferred via a flash drive or external hard drive. By paying a small monthly or annual fee depending on your needs, you can create a Dropbox account. You can decide who has access to your files or just send a link with the ability to download but not edit.

 

- Presentations, data and analytics: Though PowerPoint and Excel can be crucial business tools, the flexibility that online applications provide should not be ignored. Google's Slides and Sheets can make delivery of these presentations and analytics incredibly easy. As mentioned in many of the above sections, collaborative teams and offices benefit from the ability to review and edit in real-time. You can also access PowerPoint and Excel on the internet via Office365.

 

- Office communication: Although email seems like big step away from phone calls towards tech-savvy office management, you can go even further by using messaging systems such as Google Hangouts and Slack, which allow you to monitor who is available on your team to talk at any given time. You can also send files and images for immediate download.

 

For more tips like this, be sure to contact us at leijun@campbellbusinessservices.com!

Creating A Happy and Productive Office

Leijun Campbell - Friday, September 15, 2017


 

Though we know some of you are pounding the digital pavement from your home offices, a lot of you in the small business world work from a traditional office or co-working space. Though you may delegate a few tasks to virtual assistants, your physical location is the destination for your full-time and/or part-time staff.

 

The buzzword "company culture" may elicit some eye rolls; however, making sure your company evokes both happiness and productivity is not an entrepreneurial or corporate pipe dream. Below we list some of the ways for creating the ideal workplace environment

 

1. Minimize meetings - This advice seems much easier said than done as we often feel our meetings can produce monumental innovation and crucial client acquisition. If we are being honest, these "wins" happen less than we think. Out of a out-hour meeting, sometimes only 25% (or less) of the time yields anything productive or pertinent to your company's growth. If you need currently all of your weekly meetings to occur and cannot streamline communication through email or other digital applications, you can at least cut down on the time spent at the conference table. For the next few months, limiting your typical 60-minute weekly meeting to half an hour. You most likely won't even miss that other 30 minutes and will still accomplish what you need to get done.

 

2. Establish clear guidelines for communication - At this time, several generations exist inside a company whether the employees are Baby Boomers, Gen Xers or Millennials. And of course, each generation prefers a specific communication tool. However, instead of trying to analyze everyone's habits, you can try establishing an order of communication lines. For example, if a task or question needs attention but can wait a day or more, email the team or employee. If you need something completed within a few hours, try a companywide, instant message platform such as Slack or Google Hangouts. And if you have a completely unavoidable situation that must be resolved immediately, go for the telephone or face-to-face communication/surprise visit approach. You can implement these rules however you see fit, but be willing to give this strategy a shot and document which guidelines for communication work best.

 

3. Allow for moments of levity throughout the work day - You may read that suggestion and automatically think of Google-esque work environments with scooters, rock walls, dance parties and anything and everything seems completely unrelated to the task at hand. No one is asking for employers to go to that extreme, but implementing a few ways for team members to enjoy their work day is not a detriment to productivity. Some employers may let the workers dress casually, some may allow music to be played at low volumes or in headphones or some may offer free healthy snacks and coffee. You have to analyze the best tactics for YOUR company. Feel free to experiment subtly and see what happens.

 

If you would like some more information on creating a happy and productive office, feel free to email us at leijun@campbellbusinessservices.com!

Clean Your Desk to Boost Your Practical Processes

Leijun Campbell - Wednesday, August 30, 2017

 


As crazy as it sounds, we are about to enter the month of September. School is back in session. The sights and smells of fall are coming. The last third of the year will be here soon enough.

 

Hopefully, you were able to step away from your business a little bit and go on a trip this summer. As you get back into the swing of things at the office, we thought we would discuss a simple, yet vital topic: how the cleanliness and organization of your desk can impact your practical processes.

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  • 1) Go paperless: We all still have a habit of writing things down, especially on Post-Its, during a phone call with a customer or a quick idea that pops in your mind for a project. If you can, try and avoid the temptation to pull out the pen and paper. Instead, use an app on your phone, tablet, laptop or desktop such as Evernote to capture that pertinent. You’ll not only free your desk of the clutter of loose papers, but also you have an easy, more permanent way to organize and store the information.
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  • 2) Keep your computer files neat and organized: Switching gears to the digital sphere, you can easily compromise your paperless system by not storing documents, pictures, spreadsheets and emails in the wrong file folders; you might not even use them right now, which can be a costly mistake. Don’t let your home screen be a cluttered mess. Develop the file system that works best for you and your business, then stick to it.
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  • 3) Curb your hunger and thirst: The temptation to go to the vending machine and grab a sugary soda and junk food continues to be an obstacle for the workers’ health, especially in sedentary office jobs. Keep healthy snacks such as bananas, apples and nuts on your desk or in a drawer. Also, reach for a bottle of water before you chug that soda or coffee. Your mind and body will thank you later.
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  • 4) Make things personal: We spend almost a third of our lives at our jobs (sometimes that doesn’t include travel!), so cultivating a comfortable environment at your desk is not only important, but necessary. This all depends on your company/business policy, but if allowed, try and decorate your desk with interesting items and pictures of family or friends. You never know what decor can spark your creativity on a project or encourage you to finish a task.

 

If we can help you develop and manage your practical processes, be sure to contact us today at leijun@campbellbusinessservices.com!

 

Establish Your Systems to Grow Your Business

Leijun Campbell - Tuesday, August 15, 2017


As much as we businesses owners want to be personally involved every single aspect of our company, there eventually comes a point when the business is growing too much for one or a few people. To make sure each part of the proverbial business “ship” is running smoothly, owners and managers must establish efficient procedures, processes and systems.


Here are a few tips on making that happen.

 

  1. Today is the best day to start - If you are reading this at your desk and have not begun to establish your company’s systems, do not delay anymore. Develop three to four key areas in which you want to root your business philosophy and mission. These can be broad at first and then specified over the next several months. However, the key is to get the ball rolling as quickly as possible.
  2.  
  3. Write it down - Documentation is crucial to your systems. Of course, you can audit and adjust things as necessary, but having the procedures in written and printed form add a sense of stability and efficiency.
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  5. Anticipate possible issues - Sometimes, what seems great on paper may not work out as well in practice. When you establish those three to four key areas of your business, analyze ways the systems can both succeed and possibly fail. Think in terms of productivity as a business owner, manager, employee, vendor and client/customer. Engaging these perspectives can sometimes prevent future issues.
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  7. Give your managers a chance to review the systems before they become official - Similar to the previous tip, a roundtable discussion via email, conference call or physical meeting can provide value feedback from people who will be responsible for implementing and maintaining these systems on a daily basis. Allow yourself to be open to questions and possible critiques. Once you have a mutually approved list of systems, document them and send out. Things may not come easily at first (like all new things), but hopefully your systems will help kick start a business mission that is ever eager to expand and grow.
 
For more tips on developing systems for your business, email leijun@campbellbusinessservices.com!

 

How to Develop Practical Processes As A Small Business

Leijun Campbell - Monday, July 31, 2017

Learning how to balance the operations and sales/marketing of your business with the systems and processes of your business is crucial to establishing a path for future success and growth. Creation, development, auditing, documentation and collaboration represent five steps you can take to make these objectives achievable.

What do you feel are ways that your company has developed practical processes?

 


Management Goals for the Rest of the Summer

Leijun Campbell - Friday, July 21, 2017

We recently celebrated the Fourth of July and have now entered into the summer lull that comes before the start of school, Labor Day and the holiday season. As managers and business owners, you have the perfect opportunity to set a few objectives for both the rest of the summer season and the rest of the calendar year.
 
1) Try and implement a unique sales and marketing technique: When business slows and meetings get less frequent because of vacationing employees and clients, you can always try to bring something new to your usual sales approach. Maybe you finally create an ecommerce site for your small store. Maybe you create a Facebook or Twitter page to start expanding your online presence. Maybe you jump start your email marketing efforts by creating a mid-year newsletter detailing all of your successes for the year so far and what you hope to accomplish by year’s end. Whatever you decide to do, keep track of what works and what will need improvement. If you discover great results through a certain technique,
 
2) Hold a summer review meeting: Gather your team at least once or twice over the next few weeks and check the pulse of your company’s culture and teamwork. Allow team members to ask questions about specific projects and pitch ideas for future endeavors. Provide a mission statement and/or vision for the next half of the year. Though you are the manager, you want your team to maintain a sense of ownership over each of their tasks so they can complete them to the best of their ability.

 

3) Recognize objectives completed and audit strategies for any open tasks: As a manager, you realize that celebrating the success of both the company and team members greatly increases morale for the next round of tasks. Take a look and recognize all of the recently completed objectives for the year and analyze reasons that the success occurred. On the other side of the spectrum, examine each of the tasks that have yet to be completed by your team. Are there any missing parts that could help finish the task? If so, you may want to pivot your strategy so you can easily fix the issue and move on to your company’s next project.
 
For more summertime management strategies, contact us today at leijun@campbellbusinessservices.com

2017 Midyear Financial Management Checklist

Leijun Campbell - Friday, June 23, 2017


 

This past Wednesday, June 21st, marked the first day of summer. Activity in your work or home office may have slowed down for the season, but this slight lull could be the perfect opportunity to review your company's progress for the first half of 2017 as well as refine your plans for the rest of the year.

Your financial management, in particular, should always be checked, measured, analyzed and refined. We will give you a few of the most crucial items to include on your midyear checklist. Keep reading for more information and be sure to let us know what you would add!

 

1. Check your prepared budget against your current spending: "Budget" may be one of the least liked, yet most important words in the business lexicon. Your business cannot survive without the creation of a budget and also the fulfillment of a budget. Bring up the documents you created at the beginning of 2017 or end of 2016 and cross-examine each category and item with what you actually spent on said items. If you're on your way to healthy year-end profit and positive cash flow, celebrate and keep pushing forward. If not, grab all of your head staff and determine what areas of spending can be cut or reduced. You still have a little over six months to turn things around, but no use in waiting.

 

2. Check your balance sheet for any missing or uncollected payments: If you are a solopreneur or small business owner, you are constantly being thrown new information about vendors and clients. Without proper systems in place for payables, receivables, bills and invoices, you can miss crucial payments and deadlines. Take time this last week of June to catch up on your balance sheets and income statements. Don't stop until each document is properly filled and all payments are made and received.

 

3. Make sure your tax documents are correct for all aspects of your business: We're just two months out of the dreaded tax season, but you cannot go wrong by trying to prepare for next year. You want to make sure no stone is left unturned with this side of financial management. Though some of you may hire an outside tax accountant for those first few months of each year, consider bringing one in for this next week just to audit your books and make sure everything is on track. You'll breathe easier knowing you have a rock-solid vision and strategy for the rest of 2017

 

Other important items for your midyear financial management checklist:

 

- Job-cost reports

- Estimates versus actuals details

- Profit/loss actuals

- Sales and marketing goals

- Customer satisfaction ratings

 

For more information on financial management, please email us today at leijun@campbellbusinessservices.com!

Financial Fridays: Positive Cash Flow

Leijun Campbell - Friday, May 19, 2017

 

We want to give you something to look forward to every week, so starting today, we are unleashing our Financial Friday series that will feature a mix of blogs, infographics and more. Keep reading for the first post!
 
The four practical processes we advocate at Campbell Business Services are financial management, operations management, talent management and sales and marketing management. Today, we want to delve a little deeper into that first process with a look at cash flow.

 


 
We'll define cash flow as "the net amount of money that comes and goes out of a business during a particular period." The positive cash flow occurs when a business has more cash at the end of a period than at the beginning. The flip side would be to have less cash at the end of a period, indicating a negative cash flow.
 
Obviously, all of us would love a positive cash at the end of each period. However, with your many responsibilities as a small business owner, you may have a tough time establishing and maintaining a positive cash flow.
 
Here are a few tips for achieving this financial management goal:
 
1. Find ways to cut, or at least reduce, your major expenses: It's hard to maintain this objective in our personal finances, let alone for our businesses. Though this process will always be easier said than done, you must figure out at least a few items to focus on that could greatly impact your cash flow. Budget as much as you can each month (of course, there will be emergencies here and there). If you find a similar vendor who can reliably provide you the same product or supplies at a more affordable, consider that option and weigh out the pros and cons on budget sheet. Results will be small when you first start this process; however, continue to refine your process until you begin seeing the impact on your cash flow that you need.
 
2. Get cash faster from customers, clients and receivables: No business wants to feel like they are a collection agency, but no business wants to be bankrupt either. Before entering agreements with customers and clients, be sure to define your payment requirements and deadlines by sending out invoices as soon as possible. You can even include a percentage discount, or incentive, for clients who pay off their debt early. This process will also keep you and your accountant from sweating at the end of the month because you won't have several unpaid invoices.
 
3. Take loans with manageable payment options: In addition to invoices to clients, your business will receive monthly billing statements if you take out loans. These payments can put a strain on expanding your cash flow because you have to always meet these obligations first to avoid strict penalties. When applying for loans, be sure to only take out the ones with reasonable terms that will give you at least a small cushion for increasing your cash flow. Though a few exceptions exist, most of these loans will come with interest after a specified time period. Paying them off early can save you money that can be put towards your cash flow.
 
We hope these tips help. Feel free to email us at leijun@campbellbusinessservices.com if you'd like more information on establishing positive cash flow. We look forward to hearing from you!

 

Administrative Professionals Day 2017

Leijun Campbell - Wednesday, April 26, 2017


April 26th, 2017 marks the occasion of National Administrative Professionals Day in the US! Administrative professionals include several different positions such as receptionists, secretaries, office managers, administrative assistants, executive assistants and plenty of other administrative support specialists all of which help run the day-to-day operations of a business. Be sure to use this day as a way to thank them for all the things they do for your company!

Three Things to Consider When Hiring A New Accountant

Leijun Campbell - Thursday, April 13, 2017

 


Tax season 2017 is finally coming to an end, and we hope you have been able to get everything correctly filed on deadline. Whether you are a detailed individual versed in important tax policies for your small business or you took the step of hiring an outside accountant, everyone can bring a sigh of relief knowing that another year of filing has passed. If you fell into the latter category and experienced a negative or slightly uncomfortable time with the accountant you hired for this past year, we can give you a few tips to make sure the next selection process is much more pleasant.

 

- Hire someone who communicates with you on a daily or weekly basis and has a quality reputation in your state: Reliability in financial management is crucial for any business, especially when you are running most of the operations by yourself or with a small staff. You want an accountant who you can trust with communicating with the right people, compiling the right documents and filing the right reports. Also be sure to check with your state's accounting board to make sure your new accountant will provide you the best experience.

 

- Hire someone who knows the rules of your industry and stays up-to-date with both the big and small changes: Knowing all of the tax and financial guidelines/rules related to your company makes an accountant a viable asset for your small business, especially if your focus is on a niche product or market. You also need an accountant who will keep a pulse on any changes to procedures that could directly affect your business, so that you can focus on making your company the best it can be.

 

- Hire someone who is willing to explain your financial statements fully and answer any questions you may have: Though you will want to spend most of your energy on your company's daily operations while delegating the important details and financial processes to an expert, make sure you hire an accountant who is willing to keep you informed on a regular basis, especially when a potential problem or issue arises. Make sure your accountant has an open door policy when it comes to questions about your company's financial health. No one enjoys shocking surprises when it comes to money.

 

For more information on how we can help you with your financial management, email us at leijun@campbellbusinessservices.com!

 


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We offer additional support to help you maintain the processes that you have developed. Please visit our Support page for more information.

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