Web based applications have come down in price and become much more user friendly. Three in
particular promise to improve efficiency and customer service for the small business owner.
First, it is simply time to outsource payroll. Business owners often find payroll processing both time-consuming and confusing. Add the potential for large federal and state penalties for any little error and it is easy to see why the business owner just wants to outsource payroll.
- The payroll add-on in QuickBooks. The top option outsources everything to QuickBooks. You enter the time and they cut the checks, make the payroll tax deposits, direct deposit into the employees’ bank accounts, prepare the quarterly tax reports, and do year-end W-2s. The program has good tech support but it still would be a good idea to hire a QuickBooks advisor to help you set it up.
- Just outsource the whole mess to an outside party. My clients have had good luck with ADP and the major banks. I personally think that Wells Fargo is doing a better job than most. You will need to get your accountant to create a memorized journal entry so you can enter summarized data for each pay period into your QuickBooks.
Second, customers expect businesses to accept payments at the time of service. Thankfully you now have many mobile payment options. We use one that imports straight to QuickBooks but there are several options. The attached article by Elizabeth Palermo, a BusinessNewsDaily contributor, lists 27 ways to accept mobile payments (http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/4457-mobile-payment-solutions.html).
Mobile payment systems work great for service providers, retail, or restaurants. Go to an Apple Store and watch how accepting mobile payments allows their staff to serve customers much more efficiently. Now even the smallest retail store can afford to adopt the same technology.
Third, adopt an online loyalty program. If you want to see how one works, sign up for the Starbucks loyalty program. Understand how their reward program increases repeat sales, customer loyalty, and referrals. Most importantly, it provides the business owner with valuable sales data.
Every study shows that loyalty programs pay for themselves many times over. But before now, launching one was time-consuming and expensive. Online applications such as GetOne (http://info.getonerewards.com) have changed that. Heather Clancy, writing for Small Business Matters, lists four other loyalty programs that are tailored for small businesses (http://www.zdnet.com/article/4-loyalty-program-services-tailored-for-small-businesses).