6 Essential Tools For A Successful Small Business

There are several types of software, tools, and apps that simplify tasks and speed up projects for small business owners and their employees. However, the problem of finding the ideal tools can be a bit challenging for even the tech-savviest entrepreneurs. So, in this article, we will take a look at essential tools for a successful small business. I divided it into different categories, but all aimed towards making the business experience less complicated. 

Project Management

Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay

Every new business (particularly one with a remote workforce, or one that requires collaboration across various teams) needs some assistance in keeping track of its several projects and tasks. This is especially true if your business has a remote workforce that needs some means of collaboration across the board. Using traditional email service is not the optimal solution for this, as it is too isolated. Plus, some members can easily be left out of the mailing list and may lose important updates. 

Project management platforms such as https://setapp.com/how-to/apps-to-brainstorm-more-effectively make available several essential project tools that cover coding, writing, drawing, as well as other tools needed for taking on projects successfully. There are also cloud-based tools that give complete and transparent access to projects. They indicate project status, its lifecycle, and also allows every authorized user to trace the progress of such projects from start to completion.

Website performance monitoring

A company’s website is the online soul of the company. Not only should it offer visitors every information they need to know about the company, but it should be used as an advertising platform to attract potential clients and drive sales. No matter how attractive or impressive your website is, you should be able to know how people are using it, not using it, or have the potential to use it. This information will help you create adjustments with the sole purpose of influencing potential clients to make the decisions you want. Website monitoring tools such as Google Analytics helps to track all visitors to your website. It shows you whether they are leaving immediately or staying longer as well as the kind of pages they are visiting on your website. It also offers insight into what kind of data you can use to increase performance, create traffic, and boost sales.

Customer Relationship Management

No matter what kind of business you are engaged in, you cannot ignore the role digital marketing plays in the success or otherwise of a company. And one of the most important tools of digital marketing (and indeed, marketing in general) is customer relationship management (CRM). The days of operating your customer relationships on the fly are no longer here. Most of the time, this system has led to forgotten or lost leads, and in some instances, turned repeat clients into ghosts.

A customer relationship management (CRM) tool offers an opportunity to track almost every aspect of the client relationship you are able to build. It makes it possible to know how often a company follows up with loyal clients. It also gives an indication of which users and how many are visiting the company’s website. Also, a company will be able to track essential information like how many site visitors are filling out online forms but not completing purchases. There are several types of customer relationship management software to choose from. All these are designed to help you keep your company organized internally while ensuring a healthy relationship with your clients.

Social Media Management

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Almost every successful business is aware of the role social media plays in the success of businesses. With the constant rise in the number of social media users worldwide, there is a pool of potential customers in the billions that are waiting to be reached. Popular social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn offer businesses the chance to reach a wider number of audiences within a short period of time. 

One of the best ways a company can maximize the potential that social media offers are by linking the platforms to the company’s website. Doing this will help to direct traffic to the website with the help of effective marketing campaigns. This means that the company has to regularly update all social media platforms with engaging content that will draw comments and interactions. This will give the company the opportunity to respond to questions from both clients and potential customers. Another great thing about social media platforms is the fact that most of them come with optimization tools that allow users to monitor feed, view analysis, and even create and schedule relevant posts.

Accounting Software

Crunching numbers is one thing that most new business owners are not too excited about. In fact, some new business owners feel that the accounting aspect of their businesses is too boring to require proper attention until they start receiving surprise visits from the Internal Revenue Service for audits. Thankfully, you do not need to be an accounting guru to be able to handle the accounts of your new company, expertly.

With the presence of several online accounting software to choose from, you can easily handle the accounting rudiments of your new company. Online accounting software takes on the work of both accounting and bookkeeping. It does so by tracking both profits as well as expenses, creating expense claims, sending invoices, reconciling debts, and handling basically anything else that will keep the Internal Revenue Service off your door. If you are a beginner in this arena, and you’d like to simply keep track of your income and expenses, file and pay your taxes, try Taxumo. Although it’s not an accounting software but a tax service software, it’s something that you can use especially when you are just starting a business.

Email Marketing

One of the most slept-on online tools for new businesses is email marketing. Email marketing offers one of the most effective and popular digital marketing strategies – newsletters. And just like most of the tools already touched on, email marketing tools also come in different types to choose from. Most of the email marketing platforms will help businesses to easily design and send out and review the results of the company’s newsletters. It also helps businesses to respond to questions from customers as well as receive important feedback. Using email marketing will mean that your company will have a mailing list to communicate regularly. Some platforms come with features that allow you to monitor which recipients opened the newsletter, which pages they visited most, and who should receive follow-up emails.

Other Essential Tools For A Successful Small Business

There are other tools that you can use for other things in your business. From SEO to Graphic design — the list can go on and on. There are also a lot of tools online for Search Engine Optimization. When you want to rank on the first few pages of Google, it’s beneficial to do a website audit, see where you stand when it comes to certain keywords, etc. To know more about SEO, we discussed it in an interview with Sean Si, one of the experts here in the Philippines.

For Graphic design, I use Canva. How about you? What other essential tools for a successful small business do you use and you can recommend? Share with us using the comments section below.

How to Submit BIR Attachments During GCQ

To be honest with you, I really don’t want to leave the house. I’ve been rejecting work from potential clients that require me to go to their physical stores. I really want to help though, but I think to keep everyone safe, it’s my personal choice to stay at home. With the BIR deadline coming up, one of the questions people are asking is how to submit BIR attachments during GCQ (General Community Quarantine).

Yesterday, I saw that BIR came out with RMC 49-2020 (Revenue Memorandum Circular 49-2020). This circular is being issued to provide options to taxpayers in the submission of the filed 2019 Income Tax Return and its required attachments.

So option one is to submit them through Revenue Collection Officers (RCOs). And the new option is to submit online using a facility called eAFS.

How to Submit BIR Attachments via Revenue Collection Officers (RCOs) with payments done via online facility of AABs

A taxpayer should bring all the pertinent documents that he/ she has which are the Annual Income Tax Form, the eBIR or eFPS confirmation and the attachments. Examples of the attachments are all 2307 forms, 2316 form, the SAWT validation, and the AFS (if applicable to your business).

Note also that: “The attachments to the income tax returns shall be stamped only on the page of the Balance Sheet, the Income Statement and Audit Certificate, if applicable. The other pages of the financial statements and its attachments need not be stamped “Received”. In case of corporations and other juridical persons, at least 2 extra copies of the Audited Financial Statements for filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) should be stamped “Received” pursuant to Revenue Memorandum Order (RMO) Nos. 6-2010 and 13-2011.” Personally, I just create 4 copies of all sets of documents.

How to Submit BIR Attachments Through eAFS

Any taxpayer, may submit the Filed ITR and its required attachments through the BIR eAFS system. This may be accessed through the BIR website (eAFS icon).

First step is to gather 3 sets of documents and save them as PDF copies. The three sets of documents are: (1) ITR Documents; (2) AFS documents (if applicable; (3) Other documents. I will expound on each below.

ITR Documents

  • For Manually Filed ITRs: lncome Tax Return (BlRForm l7O2 or 77OL)stamped bY AABProof of Payment
  • For Electronically File ITRs: Filing ReferenceNumber/EmailNotification

Note that the file name should be: EAFSXXXXXXXXXITR2019 where: XXXXXXXXX is your 9-digit TIN and 2019 is the taxable year. File size should not exceed 4.8 GB.

AFS Documents (if applicable)

For both Manually and Electronically Filed ITRs, compile these:

  • Certificate of independent CPA duly accredited by the BIR. The CPA certificate is required if the gross annual sales, earnings, receipts or output exceed (3M). 
  • Account information Form (AlF) and/or Financial Statements (FS), including the following schedules prescribed under existing revenue issuances which must form part of the Notes to the audited FS: 
    • Taxes and licenses 
    • Other information prescribed to be disclosed in the notes to FS
  • Statement of Management’s Responsibility (SM R) for Annual income Tax Return

Note that the file name should be: EAFSXXXXXXXXXAFS2019 where: XXXXXXXXX is your 9-digit TIN and 2019 is the taxable year. File size should not exceed 4.8 GB

OTHER ATTACHMENTS

  • Certificate of income Payments not subjected to Withholding Tax (BlR Form No. 2304), if applicable; 
  • Certificate of Creditable Tax Withheld at Source (BlR Form No. 2307) – All 2307s;
  • Duly approved Tax Debit Memo, if applicable; 
  • Withholding Tax Remittance Return on Sale of Real Properties (BlR Form No. 1606) 
  • Proof of prior year’s excess credits, if applicable;
  • Proof of Foreign Tax Credits, if applicable; 
  • For amended return, proof of tax payment and the return previously filed; Report of electronically submitted Summary Alphalist of withholding Agents of income Payments Subjected to withholding Tax at Source (SAWT) thru esubmission@bir.gov.ph, if applicable;
  • Proof of other tax payments/credit, if applicable; 
  • Certificate of Compensation Payment/Tax Withheld (BlR Form No. 2316);
  • Others

Note that the file name should be: EAFSXXXXXXXXXOTH2O19-01 where XXXXXXXXX is your 9-digit TIN and 2019 is the taxable year. “01” will be the first file of other attachments and “02” will be the second file and so on and so forth. File size (per file) should not exceed 4.8 GB.

The eAFS will acknowledge successful submission by issuing a system generated Transaction Reference Number and by sending an email to the system user. This Transaction Reference Number shall serve as the proof of submission by the taxpayer, in lieu of the manual “Received” stamping.

All of us should should keep the original copies of the digitally submitted documents in accordance with Section 203 of the NIRC for the period as prescribed under Revenue Regulations ll-2013. This is just in case the BIR officers need to see it later on, we have a copy.

Here is the link to the RMC 49-2020 on BIR attachments.

https://www.bir.gov.ph/images/bir_files/internal_communications_1/Advisory/posted%20while%20under%20quarantine%20march%202020/RMC%20No.%2049-2020.pdf

Step – by – step guide (Annex to RMC)

P.S. If you are a Taxumo user, like I am, please stay tuned for announcements. 🙂 They will be announcing details about attachments this week.

Hope this helps!

Startups 101: How Digital Marketing can Grow Your Business During the Corona Virus Pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has paralyzed many industries across the globe, rendering millions of people unemployed. As many economies continue to decline (almost hitting recession), businesses are losing billions of dollars in revenues. The pandemic also presents a steep learning curve for many businesses. In particular, the COVID-19 crisis underlines the importance of learning and implementing digital marketing strategies in overcoming marketing uncertainties and dynamics and anticipating customer needs.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Speaking of the advantages and the benefits of digital marketing, here are some ways digital marketing can support the growth of your business during this pandemic.

Relationship building

The success of any business is founded on the relationships with the stakeholders, including customers, employees, and shareholders. Digital marketing platforms, including social media platforms, offer a unique platform for building stronger relationships, particularly with customers. During this pandemic, customer loyalty is especially an invaluable asset that makes the difference between closing down your business and staying afloat. Therefore, it’s important to harness the power of digital marketing channels, including YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, to develop connections tailored for specific market segments and individual customers.

Data analysis

Today’s business landscape is dependent on data. Metadata is increasingly becoming an invaluable asset. Analyzing and interpreting metadata is critical in understanding market trends, customer behaviors, and making projections. A website company is strategically placed to deal with market uncertainties like this coronavirus pandemic. During this crisis, understanding customer buying habits and their geographical locations can help strategic positioning within the market and identifying potential niche markets to explore. Businesses can collect such valuable information from different platforms, including their websites.

Performance measurement

Digital marketing will provide your business with data for performance analysis. Digital tools such as Google Analytics will help your business gauge its performance in different markets. From lead generation on social media platforms to customer reviews and feedback, digital marketing channels offer a unique opportunity to fast-track strategy implementation and organizational performance. During this pandemic, informed re-strategizing is critical to establish a presence in new markets while also cementing your position in current niches. 

Improving market visibility

The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted normal business operations across the globe. Traditional media channels are increasingly curating their content to help in the fight against the highly infectious disease. Digital platforms offer a disruptive and customizable marketing option for greater visibility. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and business websites are great ways to improve your visibility. These innovative digital marketing channels allow your business to create highly customized content to generate traffic.

Cost-effective market reach expansion

One of the advantages of using digital marketing is the freedom to curate messages; high-quality and interesting content that is tailored to specific markets. With digital technologies such as Facebook and YouTube, you get a cost-effective marketing strategy with a global reach. Marketing content and communication can be customized to appeal to specific jurisdictions you plan on establishing your business operations.

Surviving during this coronavirus pandemic requires well thought of business strategies. Settling on a cost-effective marketing strategy and decisiveness are essential entrepreneurship skills needed to navigate these hard times. Digital marketing offers a unique opportunity to expand business operations while creating curated content for communication and marketing purposes.

Hope these help! Share your thoughts using the comment section below.

Autodeal Embraces Changes to Overcome Challenges

While most business are still in the mindset that things well eventually get back to normal, Autodeal embraced the changes and looked for ways to adapt.

AutoDeal.com.ph has been serving as a reliable go-to platform for car buyers in the country for 6 years now. With an average 3 million monthly site visits, over 350 partner local dealerships, and over 2,000 partner sales representatives, it’s the biggest digital platform in the Philippine automotive space. 

The site offers its visitors comprehensive information about vehicles to ease up the journey of researching for the best fitting vehicle for every consumer type. Its content varies from industry news, written and video car reviews, car comparisons, and feature articles, to name a few. AutoDeal website visitors benefit from comparing vehicles by price, specs, security features, and other special attributes.

They don’t need to visit multiple websites to get in touch, send an inquiry, and book a test drive with a local dealership in their area as they can do all these on the AutoDeal platform, therefore minimizing significant amount of research time. 

As advocates of a convenient and transparent car buying experience, AutoDeal founders Daniel Scott and Christopher Franks have been constantly coming up with smart solutions to offer Filipino car buyers.

Site features include the 3 Quote component, which distributes a customer’s inquiry to a maximum of 3 participating AutoDeal partner dealers to help the buyer compare multiple pricing options; the Auto Loan Calculator feature, which presents a calculation of down payment and monthly amortization of a car loan from its partner banks; and the newest feature, the ‘Buy Online’ component, which allows consumers to buy their dream car online, and pay for the reservation fee directly on the AutoDeal website in just a few clicks. 

AutoDeal’s mission is to offer a seamless, fitting, and fully digitized car buying experience to consumers, cover the car ownership cycle, and provide transparency in the whole process. 

AutoDeal’s business model 

Driven by a solid technical arm, AutoDeal provides a highly efficient and convenient process for the users to conduct the majority of their car buying activity. 

“Our business model has always been connecting a car buyer and a dealer together, via lead referral, to create a car sale. Receiving quotations from different car dealers, reviewing them, and accepting the best deal – all done from a screen to eliminate time-consuming trips to various dealerships – is now made possible for consumers via the AutoDeal platform.’, stated Daniel Scott, AutoDeal Co-Founder and CEO. “With an extensive amount of SaaS technology for brands, dealers, and sales agents, we have developed a strong technical backbone, which allows a dealer to track a customer from a lead all the way to a sale.”, added Scott.

Opportunities amid trying times

The automotive industry is being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and with the imposition of an enhanced community quarantine, car dealerships, as a non-essential business, were pressed to temporarily close their showrooms and adapt a work-from-home set-up.

“We have been impacted in some areas of day to day business, but we have also seen many digital opportunities. As our partners think of innovative ways to conduct business moving forward, we are able to accelerate the development of features that perhaps would not have been possible in a regular working climate.”, shared Scott.

Embracing changes to adapt to challenges

Scott and Franks are continuously working on smart digital solutions to fully digitize the consumers’ car buying journey. Disrupting the way Filipinos shop for cars by coming up with more innovative services available at the consumers’ fingertips is the way AutoDeal embraces the changes brought about not just by the pandemic, but by the growing on-demand consumer lifestyle too. 

“As consumers are getting more accustomed to on-demand services with short waiting time, they expect more solutions of this nature from various industries, and automotive is no different.”, stated Christopher Franks, AutoDeal Co-Founder. 

Buying a car online is now made possible through the AutoDeal platform. The tech startup is launching the ‘Buy Online’ feature, which will allow users to choose the car and color they want, select the dealer, and make a reservation payment on the vehicle. AutoDeal is working to bring more of the traditional car buying process online, therefore helping the customers avoid queuing in banks and multiple showroom visits, allowing them to make more efficient use of their time.

“For the last six years, AutoDeal has persevered to deliver on the promise of “Car Buying, Simplified.”. We believe that the new solutions we introduce to the Philippine automotive landscape will contribute to a hassle-free, quick, and a more agreeable car shopping experience.”, added Franks. 

Business lessons from a pandemic

Keeping an optimistic attitude and focusing on the bigger picture helped the two young founders pursue innovation in the middle of a crisis. 

“I think once you have got over the initial shock of a terrible situation like this, you have to start thinking about what are the new problems that will now occur and how do you solve it as a business, or what opportunities may arise and how that steers your product development. You have to look past the difficult situation and imagine what society will be like, what the new norms will be, and prepare for that.”, shared Scott.

For both business partners, protecting their employees is a priority as they believe surviving a crisis like this together will only make them a stronger team than ever. Enduring tough times will only make them see the prosperous times together in the future.

Downy Anti-Bac with the Power of Safeguard Review

I’ve been seeing a lot of working moms and their kids doing house chores together. It’s nice to see that moms are giving it their all in learning how to cook, bake, wash laundry by hand and ironing clothes. One of the things that I have realized during these trying times is that knowing the basics and going back to the basics is something that we should do occasionally.

Normal Scenario in our house!

Speaking of “the basics”, in our household, one of the products that we can’t live without is Downy Anti-bac. I discovered Downy Anti-bac through browsing through Lazada. I was having a hard time keeping our clothes smelling fresh and clean during this enhanced community quarantine. My husband would wear a shirt and would complain about his clothes smelling weird (na amoy kulob).  This smell, people say, is because the clothes didn’t get to dry out properly. It’s so hard living inside a condo unit where I don’t have the necessary space to hang and dry all of our clothes. But I just found out that the main cause really of our clothes stinking is that there are what you can call odor-causing germs. 

I tried Downy Anti-bac for our first huge basked of clothes during quarantine. I wanted to see if this Downy Anti-bac with the power of Safeguard for maximum germ protection could really help us. 

So why this variant? It protects your clothes from germ growth that causes that weird and funky smell. All you need to do is pour Downy during the last rinse water or into the washing machine dispenser. Just use one cap for one full load, so this my bottle of Downy actually goes a long way. One cap is for 52L water level and do not pour downy directly into the clothes. 

I’ve never used a FabCon or a fabric conditioner before Downy. I easily get allergic rhinitis to scents, but for some reason, I don’t have the same experience with this product.

My super active child! haha!

I think Down Anti-bac with the Power of Safeguard for maximum Germ Protection will be a staple at home. Our clothes smell great even after I work out, Zeeka jumps around and EJ sits and works in an un-airconditioned room. We still smell fresh and clean at the end of the day. So what i’ve realized is that it’s not the sweat causing it but the odor-causing germs.

So for moms who are still having doubts if they should buy this FabCon, Downy Anti-bac  with the Power of Safeguard really eliminates these odor-causing germs. It’s worth every centavo since you don’t have to wash clothes again and again. 

Staying safe and protecting everyone in the family should be our main priority! Dapat lamar kayo protektado! Stay safe!

Sincerely,

P.S. Follow Mommy Ginger’s Facebook Page and stay tuned for an exciting giveaway! 🙂