Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Office Gadget of the Week

On a weekly basis, I’ll try to feature one gadget that will help you out in your business.
This week, I’m featuring something on my wishlist. For years we’ve been hearing about the “Paperless Office”. Unfortunately, it’s been my experience that computers just found new ways to give us more paper to deal with. One of my big goals this year is to completely digitize my workflow. I work from home, and tend to do this work all over the place. Having all my work scanned and neatly organized in folders on my laptop would save me a huge amount of time and frustration. Unfortunately, my current equipment just takes too long to scan each page, one by one, and then manually organize.
My pick this week is the NeatDesk from The Neat Company.  neatdesk
This is basically your scanner on steroids, without the bad side effects. On top, there’s an automatic feeder that accepts 3 types of documents (up to 50 pages); regular paper, receipts, and business cards. It even scans both sides in a single pass. That alone makes it better than my current all-in-one. After it’s done scanning, the software takes over. All of your documents can be converted to searchable PDF files, and then organized in a digital filing system. Make sure to check out the link to find out all the juicy details.
At $399US, it’s not cheap by any means. However, consider the alternative. With my $200 all-in-one, I have to manually add each page, press Scan, wait, flip the page over, press Scan again. After repeating this step 50 times, I’ve lost a big chunk of my day, and my sanity. With the NeatDesk, I toss 50 pages in the feeder, press a button, and walk away or get back to other work.
If you’re a fan of GTD, I suggest at least placing this on your Someday/Maybe list.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Incorporation: A Good Idea For Your Small Business?

Silver linings can be hard to find sometimes, especially during tax season. One of the big questions you ask yourself when you start your business is, "Should I incorporate?". The government may be giving you one more item to add to the Pro side of your chart. With the economic woes we've all faced, the government is trying to give small business a break.

Starting next January, the corporate tax rate will fall to just 16.5%. Incorporated small businesses qualify for this tax rate, rather than having to be subject to personal tax rates. For all but the very smallest companies, this will result in quite a savings. Check out this story from NEBS for all the details.

It's a tough tax world: Small businesses might benefit from incorporation

Changes to Google's LBC = Great News For Home-Based Businesses

For many of us, our home address and business address are one and the same. As much as we want to promote our products and services everywhere we can, we don't necessarily want our home address showing up in Google Maps when someone tries to enlist us.

Google has recently made some changes to it's LBC (Local Business Center), which gives you the option to hide your address, and instead list your service area. Check out this article on Small Business Trends, which gives you the full rundown.

Google LBC Change Benefits Home-Based Businesses | Small Business Trends

The Beginning

I just wanted to add the obligatory first post, to describe my plans with this blog.
I’m a small business bookkeeper and consultant. I find small business fascinating, and an amazing challenge. Despite the allure of the big box store, or the fast food chain, there’s nothing like finding that little, locally owned store. You know the one, it’s run by people who actually care about the product or service, and want nothing more than to make sure you leave happy.
I’m also a very proud Canadian. I find that too much of the advice I’m getting online is coming from an American perspective. There’s nothing wrong with that, but a lot of the information just doesn’t apply to me. I wanted to start up this blog, with the goal of sharing some of the stories, tips, and other information that I think fellow Canadian entrepreneurs would find helpful.
Thanks for stopping by.