Today’s Mom and Pop Stores

Maybe you do, maybe you don’t remember mom and pop stores. You may have one in business today in your neighborhood.

What I particularly remember about a handful of mom and pop stores that I frequented in my youth were the ambiance of smiling faces behind the service counters. The cleanliness.The trust.

I always chose the mom and pop stores over the chain stores. Why? The personal experience — warmth and comfort.

Many of us operate online businesses. We seem to have steered away from the mom and pop facade, but have we? Not completely, and we don’t have to follow suit.

Do you want to enter the doors of an online store or business and see it as fresh and clean (crisp, modern, easy on the eyes), friendly, honest, and do you want to hand your money and trust over to people that you know will be there for you. Of course you do.

Do you want to give business to people that support other people. People that aren’t clamoring on top of each other to make that extra dollar. Instead, people that are focused on you — the customer — the number one reason they are in business to begin with?

Mom and pop, live on. Be your honest self.

Better yet, don’t worry about being yourself. Forget all of that nonsense. Just be. Honest. Dedicated. Steadfast. Just be.

How to Say I’m Sorry

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Have you ever worked yourself into a corner? The corner of “can I pull up the rug and hide under it”? When you’ve tried to say I’m sorry, and then you ended up saying too much?

Words are stronger than Gorilla glue, once the’re said they live a long life. Perhaps forever.

On a funny note, as I researched how to say I’m sorry, I ran across a quote that tickled my funny bone:

“I was walking in the park and this guy waved at me. Then he said, ‘I’m sorry, I thought you were someone else.’ I said, ‘I am.’ Demetri Martin

How do you tell a client or employer you are sorry when you’ve made a mistake, especially one where you debated about an action to take, and you chose the wrong path after all. The tiny guy on one shoulder said, “You make the best decisions, just listen to yourself, go for it!” The tiny guy on the other shoulder leaned in and whispered into your ear, “Don’t listen to that other guy, if you have doubt, don’t make that choice!” So, you trust yourself, you make the decision, and two days later (or sooner), you find out you’ve made a large poo-pah. Yes, you’ve messed things up and guess what? There’s no excuse. None. Nada.

What do you?

Here’s what I do:

  1. There is no excuse when you go against your own best intuition. So, don’t make an excuse. Say you’re sorry.
  2. Top off the “I’m sorry,” “I used poor judgement,” with, “I’ll take care of this,” “I’ll fix this right now.” (That is, if you can.)
  3. Knock their socks off. Don’t fix whatever you’ve done with 100% of  your energy, enter into 150%. Go above and beyond. Everyone makes mistakes. It’s the effort that you make that really makes a difference. Nobody is going to give you a pacifier, just fix what you can.
  4. Learn from your mistake and focus.

This article from The Muse says it so well:

“In order for an apology to be effective, it needs to be done right. Experts agree that the best ones include acknowledgement and understanding of what happened and the damage done. You should also recognize your role, take responsibility for it, and communicate regret. What you should omit are any justifications and the words “if” or “but.””

No buts, no ifs, but if you have to go beyond the words I’m sorry, you can say, “I learned from this, and will use what I learned ongoing.” Remember, never say never. Never say, “I’ll never do that again.” I do not believe in being jinxed, but we are human, you cannot promise “never.” A promise of never can be broken in a flash of an eye.

How do you apologize? Do you have a system in place for handling mistakes? A system that works from truth?



Bookkeeper vs. Accountant

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The difference between a bookkeeper vs. an accountant can be compared to a technician verses a general manager.

hiring bookkeeper www.relianceoutsourcing.comTechnicians are skilled. They replace parts, perform routine maintenance, and they service pieces of equipment to ensure they operate smooth on a day-to-day basis. The technician may also be certified in the specific role that they hold.

General managers oversee the technicians in the respect that they see the big picture, they set the parameters for change, and they gather the big picture information to ensure the entire company runs like a well-polished machine.

Technicians can recommend change, but they typically are not the decision makers for employers.

A bookkeeper’s role consists of daily functions: accounts receivable, accounts payable, reconciliation of bank statements, reconciliation of month end, receipt of payments, and journal entries to correct and balance the financial books.

An accountant’s role comprises analyzing the resulting financial reports that are compiled from the daily tasks that the bookkeeper completes, and they make financial decisions and/or recommendations. An accountant is also trained to know the tax law. Accountants submit tax returns and forecast future financial and tax needs.

A full-charge bookkeeper will file some tax returns, to a lesser degree, which may include: payroll tax returns, sales tax returns, and unemployment tax returns.

Bookkeeper’s roles vary, and this is where the title “Full-Charge Bookkeeper” comes in. Some may complete:

  • Payroll and Employee Records
  • Collections
  • Manage Employee Insurance
  • Manage Vehicle and other types of Insurance Policies
  • And the list goes on…

How to Hire A Bookkeeper

When hiring a bookkeeper, be very specific in the role that you want the bookkeeper to fill. Do not expect the bookkeeper to be an accountant. A bookkeeper is trained to know basic accounting and financial reporting, in fact, they often supply the financial reports to the accountant, however, a bookkeeper is not trained to fully advise how to set up an accounting system (even though some do, and I have), and they are not fully trained in filing tax returns (such as franchise, year end, and annual types of tax submissions).

I have years of experience as a full-charge bookkeeper, but I do not make recommendations on how to set up a small business. I leave that to the accountants. I also recommend the use of solid bookkeeping software, such as QuickBooks, which can be integrated with banking and daily transactions.

Please contact me if you have further questions. I am here to help.


On the Flip Side: The Mindset of Fake It Until You Make It

fake it until you make it www.relianceoutsourcing.comRecently, a business associate wrote an article (directed towards Virtual Assistants), calling in question the pattern of VA’s that follow the fake it until you make it mindset.

I believe a multitude of unseasoned VA’s believe they can offer services they aren’t familiar with, with the thought that they can learn what they need to learn after they are hired to complete the job. Where does this thought pattern come from? Through social media channels, these “newbies” are told by colleagues that learning particular tasks is easy-peasy. Sadly, this puts a sour taste in the mouth of those that have hired a virtual assistant only to later find out the VA lacks in experience and skills. Honestly is always the best policy…if you have SOME experience, tell your client exactly what you know. Tell your client that you need to do some research, and tell them why. Be transparent. Do this as a service to the entire VA community!

I’ve written about Fake It Until You Make It on several of my blogs, here and here. As a small business advocate, a soldier for entrepreneurs and fresh-out-of-the-starting-gate solopreneurs, my “Fake It Until You Make It” thoughts focus on the mindset of you are what you think. Think it and you will be it. Don’t listen to the doubting lies in your head, or the loving “suggestions” from family members who don’t understand what you do (for a living), instead, focus on the “I am…”. I am capable. I am worthy of change. I am able to start a business. I am succeeding at business. I am learning. I am being the best that I can be. I am loved. I am supported. I am making a difference in the world. I am doing what I was created to do, and I am doing it well.

Remnants of Doubt?

Sit up straight, lift your chin, pay attention to your breathing, release any physical or mental signs of stress, and simply believe. Believe in “I am.” And…until you loosen all doubt from your mind, if any remnants of doubt remain, fake it until you make it – don’t give up. Failure is only for those that quit.

My Final Words…

Honesty is the best policy in business. You, the business owner, are the expert (in what you offer). Never offer what you don’t know. Be who you are. Develop the mindset of “I am,” and yes, if you have any doubts, you can fake it until you make it. You can do whatever you set your mind to. Just don’t offer services that you know nothing about! There’s a thing called learning and professional and personal development…an entirely different topic!


Update Those Social Media Profiles!

How often do you update your social media profiles?

social profiles www.relianceoutsourcing.comFor business owners, profiles are one of the top areas for potential connection. When someone is interested in learning more about us and our businesses, where do they go to find out more? They head straight to the About page of our website, and they head to the profile on social media.

Our social profiles clarify who we are, what our businesses provide, and what problems our services resolve.

LinkedIn seems to be in a class of it’s own for set your profile and never look back.

Here’s what Don Georgevich tells us at Job Interview Tools, “LinkedIn is extremely adamant about the frequency of members checking in at the site which is why they offer so many different company pages, discussion groups, status updates, and much more. Unfortunately, many members treat LinkedIn like a “set-it-and-forget-it” method for establishing an online presence, and,

“In many ways, LinkedIn is similar to a living eco-system and is much more than just a massive collection of biographies and resumes. So just doing the bare minimum in order to maintain an online presence there isn’t going to cut it. It only benefits you when you have a profile that is highly developed and shows your work experience history.”

Social media profiles are a part of SEO? Check out this blog at Hoosuite, “What do you want to be known for? Is it family law? Curtain sales? Whatever your niche is, it’s essential that you make yourself discoverable in that field. When people Google or Facebook search ‘curtain sales’, you want your company logo to pop up.”

Maintenance Tools

If you’re like me, I have to take extra steps to remind myself to update my profiles. I mark my calendar, or I put notes in my planner. We, and our businesses, constantly morph – otherwise we don’t grow. We need to roll out our maintenance tools (that would be us, me & you) regularly to polish our online presence.