Team Bio Series — Jessica Dinsmore (The Old Woman In The Shoe)

This week, we’re continuing our Merchant Maverick team interview series with Jessica Dinsmore, our favorite customer service rep. Jessica supports our team in virtually every possible way, but she’s so much more than just a de facto office manager and internet troll-slayer. She’s also a bargain shopper who thinks Costco would be a fun destination for a no-holds-barred shopping spree. She’s weird, in fact, which means she fits right in here. Read on for a more in-depth look at what Jessica brings to the table.

Name: Jessica Dinsmore

Title: Girl Friday

Hometown: I spent my younger years in Southern California, but I consider my hometown to be the small farming community of Canby, Oregon.

Current city: Canby, Oregon

Education and background: I studied Real Estate Law at Portland Community College, and worked in residential and commercial real estate for several years, both as a broker and an assistant.  I also spent nearly a decade in healthcare administration and employee staffing.

Merchant Maverick department/specialty: Customer Support, administrative support, and just about anything that isn’t writing reviews. I work behind the scenes doing outreach, blog moderation, responding to reader comments and emails, updating links and lots more.

How did you discover Merchant Maverick?: Craigslist!  Honestly, I thought the opportunity was too good to be true, and therefore a scam.  Shortly after I was hired, I met our managing editor, Julie, for coffee in real life, and she confirmed that the company was, in fact, both legit and amazing.

Proudest professional moment: I think it was probably closing my first real estate deal. Finally getting paid for months of work and out of pocket expenses felt pretty great. However, I now feel more pride working for Merchant Maverick. It is really an incredible company.

Favorite Merchant Maverick post/moment/opportunity: Meeting our team in real life, after months of co-working remotely, and realizing what a genuinely bright and interesting group of people I work with!

What do you do for fun?: I love interior design and bargain shopping! I’m a sucker for a good deal.  If you compliment me on something, I will most likely respond enthusiastically with how little I paid for said item. The better the deal, the more I enjoy it.

What literary character do you identify most with and why? Does the old woman who lived in a shoe count? Just the first two lines, I promise! I’m a tired mama; it’s relatable.

Favorite movie: That’s too hard!  I wouldn’t say I have a favorite, but I did enjoy Amelie, and Fiddler on the roof is a classic.

Favorite ‘90s song: Strangelove by Depeche Mode, though it is technically from the late 80’s, I didn’t hear it until the 90’s, so I’ve decided it qualifies.

What would you eat for your last meal?: Avocado Eggs Benedict and/or all the side dishes from a traditional Thanksgiving feast… plus wine and cookies.

What place have you always wanted to live?: Switzerland seems like a good choice; happiest place to live in the world!

If you could have lunch with any person, past or present, who would it be?: My dad.

Mac or Windows?: Windows

You’re given an unlimited budget at one retail store. Where do you go? What do you buy?: The obvious and practical choice would be Costco. I’d literally buy multiples of everything!

Well, there you have it. Jessica Dinsmore: Craigslist-answerer, avocado lover, bargain shopper-extraordinaire. Despite her claims otherwise, Jessica is neither old nor a shoe-dweller, and our team is so much richer because of her (our comment boards are sure less intimidating).

Interested in reading about other members of the Merchant Maverick staff? Check out our team interview series.

The post Team Bio Series — Jessica Dinsmore (The Old Woman In The Shoe) appeared first on Merchant Maverick.

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Corporate Credit Cards VS Standard Business Credit Cards

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If you’re new to the world of business credit cards, you may be surprised by how dissimilar they are to personal credit cards. But there is even another type of credit card, one that caters to larger corporations. And corporate cards can differ from regular business cards just as much as business cards differ from personal cards.

Is a corporate card right for you, or should you stick with a more traditional business credit card? Read on, and we’ll take an in-depth look at the similarities and differences between types of business credit cards.

Table of Contents

Who Qualifies?

Ultimately, the biggest dividing line between small business credit cards and corporate credit cards is your company’s bottom line. In many cases, your business must make at least $4 million in annual revenue to qualify for a corporate credit card.

By contrast, most small business credit cards don’t have stringent revenue qualifications. You just have to be willing to accept the terms and pay any applicable fees.

Additionally, qualification for a corporate credit card will depend on your company’s credit rating rather than your personal credit rating. Small business credit cards issuers, on the other hand, may opt to check your personal credit history, or look at both your personal and business credit scores. To obtain a corporate credit card, your business will need to have a good, established credit history, existing expense policies, and credit card transactions

Who Is Responsible For The Debt?

One of the biggest differences between small business and corporate credit cards is liability.

In most cases, signing up for a small business credit card means making a personal guarantee. A personal guarantee holds the signatory ultimately responsible for paying the debt. That means that if your company goes out of business, the credit card issuer can come after your personal assets.

It’s different with corporate credit cards. In most cases, your business entity is liable for paying all charges on a corporate credit card. (In some rare agreements, the employee who makes the purchase may be liable for the debt, and may also need to pass a personal credit check. Individual liability is becoming increasingly uncommon for corporate credit cards, however.)

Note that using a corporate credit card is not a viable way to build or repair your personal credit since it won’t be reported to a personal credit bureau.

What Are The Advantages Of A Corporate Card?

As we touched on above, one of the biggest advantages of a corporate business card is reduced liability for individuals. It’s far easier to keep up the corporate/personal partition with a corporate card than with a small business credit card.

Beyond liability, there are a number of perks offered by corporate cards. Dedicated service reps allow corporate cardholders to circumvent the normal customer service lines. Many cards also come with some form of emergency assistance benefits for employees or insurance protection for rentals.

Account management is another advantage. Large organizations create a lot of unnecessary work if they try to reimburse each employee for business expenses. A corporate credit card can provide a way to consolidate all of the organization’s travel expenses under one account.

Corporate accounts may also get to play by a different set of rules. These rules can vary greatly between banks. Payment periods may be considerably longer or shorter than a month. The bank may not charge interest at all (though expect late fees if you miss a payment window). Spending limits may also vary.

Corporate cards have rewards programs, not unlike small business cards, but the cost of maintaining a corporate account makes them less of a selling factor.

What Are The Costs?

Both types of business credit cards come with maintenance fees, but in the case of small business credit cards, those fees are mostly small and annual.

On the other hand, corporate cards come with significant costs. Rather than a membership fee, you’ll often be assessed a charge per authorized cardholder. In a large organization, this can add up pretty quickly. Capital One, for example, charges $19 per cardholder.

As mentioned above, corporate credit cards don’t necessarily charge interest, opting instead for late fees (usually a flat percentage of the amount that’s overdue). Your company may or may not be charged a fee for exceeding your credit limit.

Final Thoughts

As your organization grows, you’ll find that new credit options become available to your business. While these offer some distinct advantages, you’ll still want to weigh the pros and cons with your accounting team to determine whether the benefits outweigh the costs.

If a corporate credit card seems like overkill, or if your business isn’t yet big enough to qualify for one, check out our 2018 business credit card guide to see what your other options are.

Chris Motola

Chris Motola is an independent writer, journalist, programmer, and game designer who has mastered the art of using his laptop in no fewer than 541 positions, most of them unergonomic. When he’s not pushing keys or swiping screens, he’s probably out exploring urban or natural environs, experimenting in the kitchen, or delighting/annoying his friends with his ideas and theories.

Chris Motola

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Business Financing: Should You Take Out A Loan, A Credit Card, Or A Line Of Credit?

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When it comes to business financing, merchants have many options to choose from. Three of the most popular sources of financing are small business loans, business credit cards, and lines of credit. All are useful options, but each carries its own separate advantages and disadvantages.

Which is best for your business financing needs: a business loan, line of credit, or business credit card. Or should you get some kind of combination of the three? Keep reading to learn everything you need to know.

Table of Contents

Loan, Credit Line, & Credit Card Uses

Your ultimate intention for borrowed funds is very important when considering the right type of financial product for your business. While there is a lot of overlap, some financial products are better suited to different situations and uses than others.

Here is a table illustrating what each loan or credit card is typically used for:

Loan & Card Uses
Small Business Loan Line Of Credit Business Credit Card
• Business growth projects
• Asset purchasing
• Bridge loans
• Working capital
• Cash flow needs
• Disaster assistance
• Debt consolidation and refinancing
• Business growth projects
• Bridge loans
• Working capital
• Cash flow needs
• Disaster assistance
• Emergency funds
• Everyday purchasing
• Saving money by earning points or cash back
• Working capital
• Cash flow needs
• Emergency funds

Small business loans are a very popular financing option, and it’s easy to see why — they can be used for many business purposes, such as asset purchasing, business growth projects, and debt consolidation or refinancing. However, there are times when lines of credit or a business credit card are better options for your business.

In particular, lines of credit and credit cards are better for situations where you need money quickly or need only a small sum of money. While you wouldn’t take out a business term loan without a fair amount of planning and a fairly long application process, lines of credit and business credit cards are designed so that you have the cash available when you need it; they are better for cash flow problems, emergency funds, and other situations where you don’t have time to apply for a business term loan.

Credit cards have an additional advantage because you can use them to solve cash flow problems by deferring everyday payments to a later date. And, because credit cards offer rewards programs for using the card, you might be able to save a little money via cash back or points simply by using your card.

Naturally, however, there are many overlaps between potential uses for these three types of financing — all are commonly used for working capital and other cash flow needs. You’ll need to consider the scope of your project, as well as the following advantages and disadvantages of each financial product, to decide which is best for your business.

Small Business Loan Pros & Cons

Small business loans are usually installment loans (also called “term loans”), but might also be short-term loans. Loans are dispersed as one lump sum, and repaid in installment over a set period of time.

Loans usually involve high borrowing amounts and lower rates than other options, but they also have long application processes and you might have to pledge a personal guarantee, lien, or other assets in exchange for funding.

Pros

  • High Borrowing Amounts: If you need a large amount of money, a small business loan is your best bet. At a minimum, small business lenders will offer 15% to 25% of your annual revenue, but many lenders are willing to offer more. The size of your loan will depend on your annual revenue and projected revenue, your intended use of proceeds, the creditworthiness of your business, and other factors.
  • Low Rates: Some business loans, such as those offered by a bank or the SBA, will have lower rates of borrowing than credit cards. For example, while credit cards have APRs from 10% to 25% or higher, interest rates for a 7(a) loan from the SBA currently range from about 6.7% to 9.75%. That said, some online loans will have higher fees; use our Small Business Term Loan Calculator to calculate the APRs (and other borrowing metrics) on your potential business loans.
  • Longer Time To Repay: Business term loans carry longer times to repay than lines of credit and business credit cards. Some loans, such as some SBA loans, carry term lengths up to 25 years. For this reason, small business loans can carry small incremental payments, even if you are borrowing a large sum of money.
  • Unsecured & Secured Options: Businesses with collateral can leverage it to borrow money with very low interest rates. On the other hand, if you don’t have specific collateral, you will still be able to find a business term loan; the fees will be a little higher than they would be with a secured loan, but you will still have the money you need to grow your business.

Cons

  • Long Application Process: Business term loans tend to have a more detailed application process than credit cards. You will need to submit a fair amount of documentation and spend some time talking to an underwriter before you’re approved for a loan. Non-traditional online loans tend to have shorter application processes, but you will have to pay higher rates and fees. The application process can take anywhere from a few days to a few months, depending on the lender you’re working with. As a general rule of thumb, the longer the application process, the better rates and fees you’ll receive.
  • Long-Term Debt: While a small business loan generally entails smaller payments than other options, it also means that you’ll be paying your debt off for a long time. Outstanding debt might make it more difficult to find financing in the future, and you risk not being able to pay it back if something goes wrong with your business.
  • Blanket Liens & Personal Guarantees Required: While you can find loans that don’t require you to put up specific collateral, you’ll likely have to sign a personal guarantee and/or agree to have a blanket lien placed on your business assets.

Head over to our guide to installment loans for more information on small business loans.

Line of Credit Pros & Cons

When you gain access to a credit line, you’ll be able to draw from a sum of money, up to your available limit, at any time — no application required. You only have to pay interest on the amount that you borrow, and once it’s repaid, you’re free to borrow that money again.

Despite the benefits, lines of credit carry some drawbacks: the initial application can be somewhat time-consuming, and if you have variable interest rates they could change over time.

Pros

  • No Application To Borrow: After you gain access to a credit line, you will not have to go through an application process whenever you need funds. Typically, you’ll receive access to requested funds between a few hours and two days, depending on how your lender transfers funds.
  • Low Rate Of Borrowing: Lines of credit have very affordable rates and fees. In general, these will be lower than credit card rates and fees, and might even be lower than those of many small business loans. As you might expect, however, some online lines of credit will carry higher fees than you would be charged by a bank, credit union, or the SBA. To get an idea of what sort of rates you can get from online lines of credit, which have shorter initial application processes but might have higher rates and fees, check out a comparison of our favorite business credit lines.
  • Only Pay Interest On Borrowed Funds: For most lenders, you will only have to pay interest on the money you have withdrawn from your credit line. You will not have to pay interest on the funds you are not using.

Cons

  • Long Initial Application: While you can typically receive requested funds from your credit line within a couple of days, the process to get access to a credit line might not be so easy. Lines of credit can have fairly long application processes, including gathering a lot of financial documents and possibly talking to an underwriter. Some online lenders have shorter application processes (some are even automated and only take a few minutes to complete), but they will have higher rates and smaller credit facilities.
  • Variable Interest Rates: Lines of credit often have variable interest rates, which means that your interest rate will change along with the prime rate or a similar metric. If the prime rate goes up, your interest rate will also increase, and you will have to pay more for borrowing.
  • Potential Revenue Checks Before Borrowing: If you don’t borrow very often, lenders might want to take a look at your finances before letting you draw from your line. This additional check might cause a delay in your funds because you have to gather and send in the documents and await the lender’s decision before you’re allowed to access funds.
  • Blanket Liens & Personal Guarantee Required: To be approved for a credit line, you might have to sign a personal guarantee or agree to a blanket lien placed on your business.

For more information on lines of credit, check out our guide to lines of credit.

Business Credit Card Pros & Cons

Business credit cards are credit cards used for business purposes. You can use these cards to pay for goods and services up to your available credit limit.

Credit cards can offer your business savings in the form of rewards programs, and they can make it easier to keep track of purchases and defer payments to a more convenient time. However, if you don’t pay your card off in a timely manner, interest rates can be quite high.

Pros

  • Rewards Programs: Credit card issuers reward businesses for using their card. Depending on the card you have, you could earn points for travel or other expenses, or earn cash back, simply by using your credit card. In other words, as long as you pay off your debt in a timely manner, using a credit card can save your business a little money.
  • Signup Bonuses: On top of rewards systems, many credit card issuers offer bonuses when you sign up for, including earn points or cash back for putting enough charges on your card within a certain time period, or a 0% APR for a certain amount of time.
  • More Time To Pay: Credit cards are the easiest way to defer payments for everyday purchases to a more convenient date. You can use credit cards to smooth out your cash flow and pay at a time more convenient to your business.
  • Emergency Funds: As long as you don’t make a habit of maxing out your credit card, you’ll always have a little money at your disposal when you happen to need it.

Cons

  • Low Credit Facilities: Credit card issuers don’t typically grant you as large a credit facility as you’d be able to get from a line of credit or business term loan. Additionally, utilizing too much of your credit line can have a negative impact on your credit score, so you will have to consider the consequences of using too much of your available credit line.
  • High Rates: Credit cards tend to have higher interest rates than you might be able to get from a loan or line of credit. Typically, credit card rates range from about 10% to 25%, and rates for credit card advances can be even higher. Additionally, credit card rates are variable, which means that your interest rate will fluctuate along with the prime rate.
  • Fees: Credit cards can carry fees in addition to the interest rate, such as annual fees, late payment fees, balance transfer fees, foreign transaction fees, advance fees, and others. These fees can add up over time, which could impact the amount you actually save by using the credit card.

Final Thoughts

The financing option that’s best for you will depend on the needs and eligibility of the business. Small business loans are most appropriate for business growth projects and other situations in which you need a relatively large sum of money, whereas lines of credit and credit cards work well for situations in which you need a smaller amount of money quickly for business maintenance or growth. You might even find that your business would benefit from a combination of two or even three of these financing options.

Ready to find a loan, credit line, or credit card for your business? Check out these resources:

Bianca Crouse

Bianca is a writer from the Pacific Northwest. As a product of the digital age, she likes absorbing large amounts of information and figures she might as well pass it on. When not staring at a screen, she is probably foraging for food outside, playing board games, or harassing somebody with theories about that movie she just watched.

Bianca Crouse

Bianca Crouse

Bianca Crouse

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Crowdfunding For Startups: 8 Tips For Launching

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startup crowdfunding

For a people who revere startup culture and the idea that one can bootstrap one’s way to business success, we seem to prefer the TV version to the real thing — especially as of late. It turns out that new business creation recently approached its 40-year low. Banks are retaining their Great Recession-era tight-fistedness and the costs of education, housing and healthcare continue daily to expand beyond the ability of most Americans to keep pace. Frankly, our veneration of the entrepreneurial spirit does not appear to extend to supporting policies that would actually increase people’s ability to take the financial risks required to start their own business.

Due to these factors — along with the legalization of equity crowdfunding accomplished via the passage of the JOBS Act in 2012 — crowdfunding has arisen as a means of raising startup funds. You may only be familiar with crowdfunding in the context of all the medical- and disaster-based campaigns that have been making the news lately, but crowdfunding is a viable way to raise money for businesses as well.

The fact is, for the right kind of new enterprise, a crowdfunding campaign can be a great way to raise a much-needed initial infusion of capital. The biggest crowdfunding site for startups, Kickstarter (see our review), has seen over $3.4 billion USD raised by product-oriented business projects. To be fair, this money didn’t just fall into the laps of the startups in question. Crowdfunding takes some work to get right. However, it’s hard to imagine that the campaigners who raised that $3.4 billion could have raised that same sum via conventional means.

Just know that you’ll have a lot of competition for those crowdfunding dollars. You need to go into it with more than just a good story (not to discount the value of a good story!) — you’ll need to tailor your campaign to suit your particular enterprise, and you’ll need to give your potential backers a personal stake in supporting you with the promise of rewards, profit, or both.

Here’s what you should do to prepare before you begin.

Table of Contents

1) Learn Which Type Of Crowdfunding Suits You Best

If you know anything about non-charitable crowdfunding, you’ve likely heard of Kickstarter and its rewards-based crowdfunding model. What you might not be aware of is that Kickstarter is but one method of crowdfunding available to startups.

Rewards Crowdfunding

Rewards crowdfunding is what most people think of when they hear the term “crowdfunding.” Along with Kickstarter, Indiegogo (see our review), Patreon (see our review), and GoFundMe (see our review) are examples of popular platforms offering rewards crowdfunding. I’ll get into the differences between these platforms later on, but suffice it to say, these platforms generally involve raising money from The Crowd in exchange for rewards that are directly related to your startup’s mission. The platform will then take a cut of what you raise (except in the case of GoFundMe).

Equity Crowdfunding

Equity crowdfunding is a different beast entirely. The field of equity crowdfunding is a new one. It was legalized by the JOBS Act, which was signed into law in 2012 and whose provisions have gradually taken effect over the last few years. The JOBS Act was seen as a way to facilitate greater access to capital in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.

Equity crowdfunding differs from traditional rewards crowdfunding in that instead of backing a project in exchange for exclusive illustrations or a gadget or tickets to a performance, backers become investors who receive an ownership stake in the company. Investing is much more heavily regulated than rewards crowdfunding, so it’s a more legally complex way of raising funds than using Kickstarter. What’s more, the JOBS Act provides for two similar yet distinct forms of equity crowdfunding: the type in which you raise money from accredited investors only (which basically means rich people) and the type in which you can raise money from non-accredited investors (everyone else). Most equity crowdfunding platforms, including Crowdfunder (see our review) and Fundable (see our review), offer equity crowdfunding for accredited investors only, while a few upstart companies like Wefunder (see our review) offer equity crowdfunding for all (sometimes referred to as Regulation Crowdfunding).

Debt Crowdfunding

Debt crowdfunding, like equity crowdfunding, involves investing in a security of the company in question. However, with debt crowdfunding, the investor is a lender who gets paid back on a fixed schedule with interest. From the perspective of a startup, getting into debt crowdfunding means you’re borrowing money — not from a bank, but from a crowd of investors. Kiva U.S. (see our review), Lending Club (see our review) and Prosper (see our review) are all prominent debt crowdfunding outfits.

If you’re wondering which of these three types of crowdfunding best fits your startup, here’s a quick rundown for you:

  • Rewards crowdfunding is best suited to startups in the business of producing content for people to consume. Artists, gadget makers, podcasters, filmmakers, and board game producers have all made good use of rewards crowdfunding.
  • Equity crowdfunding makes sense for startups with exponential growth potential that do not produce a singular product or experience to share with a crowd of backers.
  • Debt crowdfunding is for startups that need cash for a defined purpose and that have the ability to pay back the loan.

For more information on the subject, I recently wrote an article comparing and contrasting these three types of crowdfunding. Check it out!

2) Research Different Platforms To Understand Their Differences

Simply knowing the difference between the three varieties of crowdfunding doesn’t provide enough information for you to settle on a platform. For one thing, crowdfunders like Indiegogo and Fundable offer both rewards and equity crowdfunding. For another, the terms, fees, content policies, and even the structure of the crowdfunding campaigns themselves differ from platform to platform.

For instance, you might be trying to raise funds to build your own board game company and have your sights set on Kickstarter. However, Kickstarter is a more exclusive platform than most rewards crowdfunders — it might not accept your campaign proposal. What’s more, you might find Kickstarter’s all-or-nothing funding policy intimidating. With all-or-nothing funding, if you raise less than your stated goal amount during the length of your campaign, you get nothing at all. You might find a platform like Indiegogo more to your liking, as Indiegogo accepts any campaign that doesn’t violate its rules while allowing you to collect whatever you raise with your campaign regardless of whether you’ve hit your goal.

Let’s say you’re an artist collective seeking to put on monthly art exhibitions. The Kickstarter/Indiegogo fundraising-for-a-one-time-event model of crowdfunding may not be for you. You might find Patreon to be a better fit. With Patreon, backers (or “patrons”) sign up to support you on an ongoing basis, either per month or per creation. You won’t have to gin up a new crowdfunding campaign every time you want to start a big project.

Likewise, equity crowdfunders vary greatly in their policies — SeedInvest (see our review), for example, boasts of only accepting 1% of those who apply to crowdfund on its site, whereas EquityNet (see our review) accepts any startup applying to use its services.

3) Check Out Other Crowdfunding Campaigns To See What Works (And What Doesn’t)

When you’re raising money via crowdfunding, you have one big advantage over those trying to raise money via other means. If you’re applying for a bank loan, you don’t get to browse through every loan application ever submitted to the bank or view the result of every application. But with crowdfunding, in most cases, the data is there for everyone to see!

Kickstarter is typical for a crowdfunding site in that every campaign ever posted to its website is left up permanently, regardless of whether the campaign succeeded or not. For the creator whose ridiculous campaign never really got off the ground, this permanent record of failure may not seem like such a boon. However, if you’re a startup looking to identify patterns in past crowdfunding campaigns that correlate with success — as well as patterns that correlate with not-success — this data is quite valuable indeed. I would strongly advise you to make use of it! Don’t be too proud to emulate what has been shown to work.

4) Be An Intensive Self-Promoter

If you’re the modest, retiring sort who spurns self-promotion, get ready to change your approach  — that is, if you want your campaign to succeed. Spend some time promoting your startup’s cause before taking the crowdfunding plunge (Indiegogo recommends at least two months of prep time before launch).

Do the legwork necessary to build up your social media following before starting your crowdfunding campaign, so that when you launch your campaign, you’ll have a built-in audience that is already receptive to your message. Contact journalists who cover your field. Build an email list. Consider buying ads on Facebook or Twitter to promote your campaign. Unfortunately, with crowdfunding as with so much else in our fallen world, you have to spend money to make money.

Remember to tailor your self-promotional efforts to fit your audience. If you’re looking to conduct business with accredited investors, a hard-nosed, data-focused approach may bear more fruit than a flashier look-how-cool-we-are campaign.

5) Create A Professional Video

I suppose I could have included this point in the previous section, but I think it deserves to be emphasized on its own. According to Kickstarter, posting a video to go along with your campaign increases your likelihood of ultimately succeeding from 30% to 50%.

Here’s another example of “spend money to make money” — a professional video with decent production values will make your potential backers more confident in the potential of your enterprise than something produced on the cheap. I’d love to live in a world where one could devote all one’s energies towards their true passions and not have to set aside time and resources for salesmanship, but we don’t live in that world. So, make a video. Keep it to just 2-3 minutes. You can get personal, but make sure to hit all your main points about your startup and its potential. Don’t forget to mention the benefits backers stand to earn!

6) Get Commitments From Backers Before Launching Your Campaign

It might not be fair, but it’s not easy to attract backers when your campaign first launches. An adverse first impression can easily dissuade someone from contributing to your campaign, and seeing “$0 pledged” next to your project can be enough to cause a prospective backer’s wallet to close. That’s why it’s important to line up commitments from backers before your campaign launches.

Time to make your family and friends prove their love to you by securing their backing before your campaign goes live! Gather commitments from your followers as well. Remember how I mentioned that you should build an email list of potential backers? Here’s where you can put that list to good use. Email your followers immediately when your campaign goes live. Get some pledges early and it will be all the easier to get subsequent commitments from backers. Data provided by Kickstarter backs this up — while their overall project success rate is just a hair under 36%, projects that raise over 20% of their goal have a 78% success rate.

7) Don’t Be Afraid To Use Analytics

The use of analytics is the only way you’ll be able to tell just what kind of traffic to your campaign page is converting to pledges. Use whatever analytical tools are available to see where your pledges are coming from and how you can boost them.

For instance, Kickstarter’s Project Dashboard gives you access to a trove of data regarding exactly where your backers are coming from. This data is invaluable when determining where you should focus your marketing.

kickstarter

8) Stay In Touch With Your Backers

Show your backers that you respect them by staying in touch with them. Keep them updated on your progress. After all, these are people who made a financial commitment to you knowing that there’s no guarantee that your plans will come to fruition.

Monitor social media chatter related to your campaign to see if particular concerns pop up repeatedly. If so, do what needs to be done to address these concerns. After all, you’ll want to stay in their good graces if you want to launch another crowdfunding campaign in the future!

Final Thoughts

Crowdfunding doesn’t work out for every startup that tries it. If you do your due diligence, however, you greatly increase the likelihood that your campaign will reach its funding goals. Follow these tips, and you’ll have a fighting chance to get the funding you need so that you can ultimately focus on growing your startup, not on fundraising!

Jason Vissers

Jason Vissers is a writer, cereal chef and Netflix aficionado from San Diego. A native Californian who enjoys the beach, Jason nonetheless prefers to do his surfing on the World Wide Web, the raddest wave of them all. Jason can’t eat raisins.

Jason Vissers

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The Ultimate Guide To Improving Your Business Credit Score

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A good business credit score is important for a multitude of reasons. For one, it’ll help you get a business loan if you need one – and you never know when you might need some help. Additionally, a higher business credit score will result in lower rates on loan interest and insurance, meaning you’ll be paying less money every month. It will also allow you to separate your business and personal credit scores, since many new businesses that don’t have business credit rely on their personal credit to get loans and such. Finally, raising your business credit score will improve your business’s reputation and potentially win you more business; after all, your business credit score is public information that anyone can look up.

Okay, now that you know why you should improve your business credit score, let’s get on with the how. It’s actually easier than you might think!

Table of Contents

Establish Your Business Credit

The first step to improving your business credit score is to simply establish all of your business credit scores – that’s right, you will have multiple business credit scores, and you have to take certain actions in order to establish them. Personal credit scores are calculated by the same criteria and scoring system set forth by FICO, but the three business credit scoring agencies are more disparate in their calculations, and their scores all signify different things. Only once you establish credit with each agency can you work on improving these scores.

The Three Big Credit Agencies

The three major business credit scoring agencies are Dun & Bradstreet, Equifax, and Experian. As you may know, Equifax and Experian also perform personal credit scoring, but your personal credit score with these agencies is different than your business credit score.

Dun & Bradstreet

Dun & Bradstreet assigns something called a PAYDEX score. This score, which ranges from 1 – 100 (100 being perfect), primarily has to do with repayment of creditors and is of particular importance to lenders looking to make decisions about whether to grant your business a loan. To qualify for a D&B credit score, you need to register for a D-U-N-S number and have active trade lines with at least three vendors or suppliers (more on those topics in a bit).

While it’s free to register for a D-U-N-S number, you will have to pay between $61 and $188 to purchase a Dun & Bradstreet business credit report to see your score.

Equifax

Equifax has two different business credit scores: one that predicts how likely you are to skip payments to creditors, and another that predicts how likely your business is to fail. From Equifax’s website:

  • Business Credit Risk Score predicts the likelihood of a business incurring a 90 days severe delinquency or charge-off over the next 12 months. The score ranges from 101 – 992 with a lower score indicating higher risk.

order an Equifax business credit report for your company (or another company) for $99.99 per report. You can also order multiple reports at a discount, or pay a monthly fee to monitor your business credit report on an ongoing basis.

Experian

Experian assigns just one credit score, ranging from 1 – 100, that designates your risk to both vendors and lenders. You want your score to be as close to 100 as possible.

To establish an Experian business credit score, Experian requires at least one trade line and/or one demographic element, such as years on file, business size, and/or Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) code.

You can order a business credit report from Experian’s website for $39.95 or $49.95; Experian also has monthly and yearly subscription packages.

Unlike with Dun & Bradstreet, you don’t need to register for a proprietary number to get an Equifax or Experian credit score. However, in order for them to have enough information to go on, you will need to differentiate your business (as its own entity) from your personal identity with an LLC designation, employer ID number, and accounts in your business’s name. Which brings us to …

Register For Numbers & Titles

So let’s say the credit agencies don’t have enough information on your business to provide an accurate score or complete credit report. No worries. By registering your business for a few important designations, you’ll put your business on the map as far as credit agencies are concerned.

D-U-N-S Number

On the Dun & Bradstreet website, you can set up your D-U-N-S number for free. This is a nine-digit number that identifies your business’s physical location. You’ll need to have one of these in order to obtain a PAYDEX business credit score through D&B.

Many business organizations use D-U-N-S as a form of business identification and to check your business’s credit report.

Employer Identification Number

If you don’t have one already, registering for a federal employer identification number (EIN) through the IRS can help establish your business credit. In addition to identifying your business to creditors, having an EIN also allows you to stop using your personal social security number for official documents, thus separating your personal credit from your business credit.

Use the IRS’s online EIN Assistant Tool to get started with your EIN registration.

Limited Liability Company

Forming your business as a Limited Liability Company instead of a Sole Proprietorship has some important benefits, including establishing your business credit. As with registering for an EIN, restructuring your business as an LLC will help separate your personal and business credit because it differentiates your business as its own separate entity.

Rules on how to start an LLC vary somewhat from state to state, but here’s a useful resource with a few general steps for how to form an LLC.

Incorporating your business is another option.

Open Accounts In Your Business’s Name

Opening accounts in your business’s name will also put your business on credit agencies’ radars. All of these accounts need to be dedicated specifically to business purposes, meaning you can’t use the same account for personal business. Some important accounts to open include:

  • Business bank account
  • Business phone line (listed)
  • Business credit card

Besides helping separate your personal and business finances and establish your business credit, a business credit card will also help build your business’s credit score. Just keep in mind that you’ll need to practice good credit habits — such as keeping your debt-to-credit ratio low and making all payments on time.

Vendors & Your Credit Score

Setting up business trade lines with vendors — i.e., “accounts payable” relationships — helps demonstrate your business’s ability to make payments on time. Even if you don’t strictly need this sort of arrangement for your business, you can still set one up to help boost your credit score – you could, for example, set up a trade line with your office supplies or drinking water distributor. Note that D&B requires businesses to have at least three trade lines with vendors and four payments on file before they will even assign a PAYDEX score.

It’s also important to note that that you need to work with vendors that report your payments to the major credit bureaus for your trade lines to positively impact your credit score.

Repay Your Debts

To get a perfect business credit score, you don’t just need to repay your debts on time; you need to repay them early. This includes payments to suppliers, service providers, and any other entity to which you owe money. If you pay all your vendors on time, you will likely get a PAYDEX score of about 80, but if you pay them early you could get a perfect 100 score.

Remove Negative Marks

I’ve dedicated most of this article to the topic of building business credit by establishing it in the first place, as many small business owners rely on their personal credit for their business. However, it may be the case that you do already have a business credit history, and it’s not a good one. Depending on the nature and severity of the credit infraction, you might be able to remove that blemish from your record.

Check out this resource on how to remove negative marks from your credit report.

Business Loans & Credit Score

Having a small business loan in good standing will help build or improve your business credit. However, if you have no business credit or you have bad credit, it will be difficult to obtain a business loan. In such cases, you may have to take out a loan in your personal name and/or find a lender that does not check your credit in order to get that capital you need.

Business Line Of Credit

While any business loan is good for building up your credit, a business line of credit is an especially easy way to help bolster your business’s credit score. If you have a line of credit, you have access to a sum of money, but you only have to pay interest on the amount you borrow. Lines of credit may also be easier to qualify for than actual term loans, especially if you choose an online line of credit such as Bluevine, Kabbage, and others.

Business Loans For Bad Credit

If you’re reading this post because you need to get a loan for your business ASAP but have poor business and personal credit, you might consider getting a loan with no or low credit score requirements. Just make sure you read the fine print, because you may have to sign a personal guarantee and a UCC blanket lien on your business assets. Here are a few good lenders to consider for businesses with poor credit:

However, be aware that lenders might not report to the credit agencies. If you’re taking out a loan to improve your credit score, ask potential lenders if they report to credit agencies before accepting a loan.

Looking for a lender that doesn’t check your credit at all? Head over to our article on 5 Business Loans With No Credit Check.

Managing Your Credit Profiles

Once you know what your business credit scores are, you can start to work on improving them. But that’s not the only thing you need to do; it is also advisable to monitor your scores on at least a semi-regular basis by checking your reports from time to time – at least once a year. Additionally, you will want to correct any mistakes on your business credit profile that could be negatively affecting your score. All of the credit bureaus provide a process to correct inaccuracies on your report, like an inaccurate SIC code or wrongfully filed UCC lien.

More Tips

Finally, here are a few more things you can do that might boost your business credit score.

  • Fix your personal credit (some lenders check personal as well as business credit)
  • Deal with any judgments, liens, or other black marks on your report
  • Avoid behaviors that hint at risk, such as closing any business-related accounts
  • Keep revolving debt low
  • Stay on the right side of the law in terms of business taxes, business licenses, insurance policies, etc.

Final Thoughts

Building up a strong credit history for your business can help your business in a lot of ways. You’ll be able to increase your borrowing limits, qualify for lower interest rates, limit your personal liability in business dealings, keep your personal credit lapses from hurting your business’s reputation, and more. While most startups rely on personal credit to get things off the ground, once your business is up and running you can establish business credit in just a few easy steps. After your business credit profiles are firmly established, you can build up your scores by simply paying your bills on time (or, ideally, early) and exercising other good credit practices.

Shannon Vissers

Shannon is a freelance writer and editor based in San Diego, CA. Shannon has a three-year-old daughter named Izzy. Shannon likes to unwind by watching trashy reality television and reading literary fiction during the commercial breaks.

Shannon Vissers

Shannon Vissers

“”

Everything You Need To Know About Secured Business Credit Cards

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If you’ve been comparing business credit cards online, there’s a decent chance you’ve come across some secured cards. If you aren’t sure what “secured” means or how to compare secured cards to other business credit cards, we’re here to help.

Read on for everything you need to know about secured business credit cards.

Table of Contents

You Won’t Want A Secured Card Unless You Need One

There may be a few rare cases where this is untrue, but for the most part, a secured credit card is a good option only when unsecured credit cards are unavailable to you.

Secured business credit cards do offer rewards similar to many of their unsecured counterparts. At the same time, your selection of cards will be limited. Not only that, but your interest rates will probably be higher than they would be with a similar unsecured card.

What Makes A Card Secured?

Have you ever lent yourself money? The concept sounds kind of absurd, and in a way it is.

Secured credit cards require you to put down a security deposit when you sign up for them. The bank will then use that security deposit to establish your credit limit. So if you put $200 down, you’ll have a $200 credit limit. If you’re lucky, the bank will apply a small multiplier to your deposit.

Why would you do that? If it helps, you can think of it as a strategic money transfer between your different accounts that maximizes the efficiency of your money.

How Secured Cards Can Help

Secured credit cards are a way for business owners who have recently filed bankruptcies to access revolving lines of credit. Many of these individuals may find it difficult to be approved for an unsecured business credit card.

The security deposit removes the risk from the bank, and the cardholder is able to access rewards and perks similar to those they would get with unsecured business credit cards.

More importantly, a secured business credit card becomes an easy way to repair your credit. Just be aware that banks aren’t always consistent about how they report business credit card activity. Some will report to a consumer credit bureau. Some will report to business credit bureaus. Some will report to both. Some will report to neither. Be sure to find out before you sign up.

How You Should Use A Secured Credit Card

Secured business credit cards usually have very low credit limits, so it’s difficult to get yourself into too much trouble by using them. That said, you should use your secured card judiciously, avoiding spending more in a month than you can pay off that month.

As for what you should spend it on, that depends on the type of card you get. Some cards return a small amount of cashback for every purchase you make. Others use a multi-tiered system that might reward telecommunication expenses at 3 points per dollar and general expenses at 1 point per dollar. You’ll get a better return on your investment if you use the card for purchases that maximize your reward points or cash back.

What Are The Drawbacks?

For starters, secured business credit cards come with all the same risks of unsecured business credit cards. Business credit cards aren’t governed by the same regulations that consumer credit cards are. That means you’ll need to be on guard for surprise rate changes, floating due dates, and fast and loose terms of service.

Secured credit cards come with a few additional risks, however. The big one is higher interest rates. If you pay off your card’s balance every month, you don’t have to give interest rates too much thought (just watch out for that aforementioned floating due date). That said, if you can avoid getting charged usurous fees if you miss a payment, you should. With a little research, you should be able to get a secured credit card with a reasonable APR.

The other things to look out for are miscellaneous fees. It’s not unusual for even unsecured business credit cards to carry annual fees, but secured business cards can come with even more charges, including application fees, maintenance fees, and processing fees. Avoid as many of these as you can.

How Long Should You Have A Secured Business Credit Card?

The answer is, of course, no longer than you need to. You should expect to have to use a secured business credit card for about a year. After that, a bank will usually offer you an unsecured credit card.

In the event that the issuing bank doesn’t offer you a new card, don’t be afraid to ask to be promoted to an unsecured card.

At that point, you should have your security deposit returned to you. Unfortunately, you don’t usually earn interest on your deposit.

Final Thoughts

A secured business credit card should primarily be viewed as a road back to decent credit health. Remember, however, that it isn’t necessarily the best or only path you can take. Some banks also offer high-interest, low-limit unsecured credit cards to customers with poor credit. Avoid offers that pile on the fees, and you should be back to normal unsecured credit card usage in no time.

Looking for a good unsecured card instead? Check out our 2018 business credit card guide.

Chris Motola

Chris Motola is an independent writer, journalist, programmer, and game designer who has mastered the art of using his laptop in no fewer than 541 positions, most of them unergonomic. When he’s not pushing keys or swiping screens, he’s probably out exploring urban or natural environs, experimenting in the kitchen, or delighting/annoying his friends with his ideas and theories.

Chris Motola

“”

How To Create A Journal Entry In QuickBooks Pro

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How To Create A Journal Entry In QuickBooks Pro

Journal entries, as an accounting concept, can take a while to grasp. The good news? QuickBooks creates almost all of your journal entries for you automatically. The other good news? If you do have to create a journal entry, it only takes five steps.

In this post, we’ll explain when you need to create a journal entry in QuickBooks and walk you through the journal entry process.

Table of Contents

When To Create A Journal Entry In QuickBooks Pro

In double-entry accounting, a journal entry is used to log which debit and credit accounts are affected by a given transaction. QuickBooks takes care of all the double-entry accounting behind the scenes.

Whenever you enter a transaction (like an invoice or bill) in QuickBooks, the software automatically creates a journal entry for you. Take this bill for example:

How To Create A Journal Entry In QuickBooks Pro

If we use the command shortcut Ctrl + Y, we can see the journal entry that QuickBooks automatically created for this transaction…

How To Create A Journal Entry In QuickBooks Pro

The entry tells us that Accounts Payable was credited $49.95 and the Other Business Expenses Account was debited $49.95. The debits and credits balance.

Again, QuickBooks creates an automatic journal entry for every transaction entered in QuickBooks. Additionally, the software will adjust the journal entries if you edit or change the transaction. So, most often, you won’t need to worry about it.

However, there are a few cases where you may need to manually create a journal entry. For example, you’ll need to create an entry for depreciation. QuickBooks provides a list of all the instances where you may need a journal entry. In such instances, follow these five steps:

Create A Journal Entry

To begin, go to Company>Make General Journal Entries…

You may see a notification letting you know that QuickBooks automatically numbers journal entries. You can eventually turn off auto-sequencing or change the beginning number, but for now, just click “OK” to get started.

How To Create A Journal Entry In QuickBooks Pro

Step 1: Enter Date

Use the drop-down calendar to enter a date for your journal entry. For our company, we’re going to create a depreciation journal entry for the end of 2017.

How To Create A Journal Entry In QuickBooks Pro

Step 2: Adjust Entry Number (Optional)

At this point, you can adjust the beginning sequencing number of your journal entry. QuickBooks will automatically number your journal entries from here on out.

How To Create A Journal Entry In QuickBooks Pro

Step 3: Add Debited Account

In journal entries, you list the debited accounts first and then the credited accounts. If you need a refresher on debits and credits, read our Quick Guide To Accounting Terms and Concepts.

Select the account being debited. Then enter the amount under “debit.” If desired, you can also add a memo, name, and mark the amount as billable.

How To Create A Journal Entry In QuickBooks Pro

Step 4: Add Credited Account

Select the credited account from the drop-down menu. QuickBooks automatically enters the credited amount under “credit” because the debits and credits must always match. If desired, you can you can also add a memo, a name, and mark the amount as billable.

How To Create A Journal Entry In QuickBooks Pro

Step 5: Save

Check that all of the information looks correct and that the debits and credits match. Then click “Save & Close” or “Save & New” if you’re planning on creating another journal entry.

How To Create A Journal Entry In QuickBooks Pro

For troubleshooting issues, check out the QuickBooks Community or call QuickBooks directly. If you have any further questions, leave a comment below and we’ll do our best to help you.

Chelsea Krause

Chelsea Krause is a writer, avid reader, and researcher. In addition to loving writing, she became interested in accounting software because of her constant desire to learn something new and understand how things work. When she’s not working or daydreaming about her newest story, she can be found drinking obscene amounts of coffee, reading anything written by C.S. Lewis or Ray Bradbury, kayaking and hiking, or watching The X-Files with her husband.

Chelsea Krause

“”

How To Export Files From QuickBooks Pro

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How To Export Files From QuickBooks Pro

After putting so much effort into learning and using QuickBooks, the last thing you want is to lose all of your company data. That’s why exporting data regularly to back up company files is so important.

There are several different ways to export information in QuickBooks. In this post, we’ll cover how to export items, addresses, time entries, reports, invoices, estimates, and sales orders. We’ll also teach you how to create a backup company file of all your QuickBooks information.

Table of Contents

Exports Lists

You can export the information found under the “Lists” tab of QuickBooks into a .IIF file.

To export lists, go to File>Utilities>Export>Export Lists to IIF.

Step 1: Select The Lists You Want To Export

Tell the software which lists you want to export. You can choose from:

  • Chart of accounts
  • Customer list
  • Vendor list
  • Employee list
  • Other names list
  • Customer type list
  • Vendor type list
  • Class list
  • Job type list
  • Item list
  • Payment terms list
  • Payment method list
  • Shipping method list
  • Customer message list
  • Budgets
  • To do notes
  • Sales rep list
  • Price level list
  • Sales tax code list

How To Export Data From QuickBooks Pro

Once you’ve selected the lists you wish to export, click the blue “OK” button in the top right-hand corner.

Step 2: Save The File

Rename your .IIF file and choose where you’d like to save it. Then click “Save.”

How To Export Data From QuickBooks Pro

When your file has successfully been exported, you’ll receive this notification:

How To Export Data From QuickBooks Pro

To view your file, open it in Excel. Your exported lists will look something like this:

How To Export Data From QuickBooks Pro

Export Addresses

QuickBooks also give you the option to export any addresses your company has stored in the software.

Go to File>Utilities>Export>Addresses to Text File.

Step 1: Select The Addresses You Want To Export

Tell the software with addresses you want to export. You can export individual addresses or choose to export:

  • All customer/jobs
  • All vendors
  • All employees
  • All other names

How To Export Data From QuickBooks Pro

You can also click the “include jobs” option to export addresses associated with specific jobs. Once you’ve selected the addresses you wish to export, click the blue “OK” button.

Step 2: Save The File

Rename your .TXT file and choose where you’d like to save it. Then click “Save.”

How To Export Data From QuickBooks Pro

You will receive a warning box like the one below. This warning is just letting you know that if you see a blank field in your text field, it’s because a field was left blank in your customer, vendor, or employee information.

How To Export Data From QuickBooks Pro

When your file has successfully been exported, you’ll receive this notification:

How To Export Data From QuickBooks Pro

To view your file, open it in a program like Notepad or Wordpad. Your exported addresses will look something like this:

Export Time Entries

You can export time entries made by your employees as well.

Go to File>Utilities>Export>Timer Lists.

Step 1: Verify the Time Entry Export

When you click on timer lists, this graph will pop up. Click “OK.”How To Export Data From QuickBooks Pro

Step 2: Save The File

Rename your .IIF file and choose where you’d like to save it. Then click “Save.”

How To Export Data From QuickBooks Pro

When your file has successfully been exported, you’ll receive this notification:

How To Export Data From QuickBooks Pro

To view your file, open it in Excel. Your exported timer lists will look something like this — your time entries will be at the top of the screen, and the rest of your company lists will be at the bottom of the screen:

How To Export Data From QuickBooks Pro

Export Invoices, Estimates, Sales Orders, and Reports

If you go to File>Utilities>Export, you’ll see that we’ve already gone through all of the “export” options in QuickBooks. However, there is a way to still download and save some key transactions like reports, invoices, estimates, and sales orders.

This method can be a bit tedious as you have to save each report, invoice, estimate, and/or sales order individually, but having the option to save this information is a must.

Step 1: Select The File You Want To Export

First, select the file you wish to save. The process is the exact same for reports, invoices, estimates, and sales orders. For this example, we’re going to select the Profit & Loss report from November of 2017.

How To Export Data From QuickBooks Pro

Step 2: Click Print

Go to the top bar and click “Print.” Then select the “Save As PDF” option.

How To Export Data From QuickBooks Pro

Step 3: Save The File

Rename your .PDF file and choose where you’d like to save it. Then click “Save.”

How To Export Data From QuickBooks Pro

To view your file, open it using the internet or a PDF reader. Your report will look something like this:

How To Export Data From QuickBooks Pro

Export All Company Data

Of all exporting options in QuickBooks, this is the one you really need to know.

You can — and should — export a complete company back up file of your QuickBooks Pro software on a regular basis. This can be a huge lifesaver if some unforeseen problem occurs, like a software crash.

To create a company backup file, go to File>Back Up Comany> Create Local Backup.

Step 1: Choose Back Up Location

To start, choose whether you want to store your backup online or on your computer.

If you choose online, extra fees do apply, so be sure to click on the “Try now or learn more” link for pricing details.

How To Export Data From QuickBooks Pro

If you want to edit your backup preferences at this time, click “Options” and proceed to step 2. Otherwise, click “Next” and proceed to step 3.

Step 2: Edit Backup Preferences (Optional)

You can edit backup preferences by clicking the “Options” button. Using these preferences, you can add the date and time to backups, opt for backup reminders, and set a designated backup location.

How To Export Data From QuickBooks Pro

Once you’re finished editing your backup preferences, click the blue “OK” button at the bottom of the screen.

Step 3: Choose When To Save The Backup

QuickBooks gives you a few scheduling choices:

  • Save your backup now
  • Save your backup now and schedule future backups
  • Only schedule future backups

Click which one you want.

How To Export Data From QuickBooks Pro

Step 4: Save The File

Choose where you’d like to store your company file. Then click “Save.”

How To Export Data From QuickBooks Pro

When your company data has successfully been exported, you’ll receive this notification:

How To Export Data From QuickBooks Pro

This file can now be opened by going into your QuickBooks account and clicking File>Open or Restore Company.

For troubleshooting issues, check out the QuickBooks Community or call QuickBooks directly. If you have any further questions, leave a comment below and we’ll do our best to help you.

Chelsea Krause

Chelsea Krause is a writer, avid reader, and researcher. In addition to loving writing, she became interested in accounting software because of her constant desire to learn something new and understand how things work. When she’s not working or daydreaming about her newest story, she can be found drinking obscene amounts of coffee, reading anything written by C.S. Lewis or Ray Bradbury, kayaking and hiking, or watching The X-Files with her husband.

Chelsea Krause

“”

How To Enter A Bill In QuickBooks Pro

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How To Enter A Bill In QuickBooks Pro

In this post, we’ll walk you through nine simple steps to entering a bill into QuickBooks. You’ll have this must-have accounting skill mastered in no time.

Table of Contents

Enter A Bill

To begin, go to Vendor>Enter Bills.

Step 1: Select A Vendor

Select the vendor who sent you the bill from the drop-down menu. If you haven’t added this vendor to QuickBooks yet, click “How To Add Vendors In QuickBooks Pro.

How To Enter A Bill In QuickBooks Pro

If you’ve already inputted the vendor’s address, QuickBooks will automatically add it in. Take a minute to verify the address or enter it in manually if necessary.

How To Enter A Bill In QuickBooks Pro

Step 2: Enter Payment Terms

Select the proper payments terms and add a discount date if applicable. You can choose from:

  • 1% 10 Net 30
  • 2% 10 Net 30
  • Consignment
  • Due on Receipt
  • Net 15
  • Net 30
  • Net 60

How To Enter A Bill In QuickBooks Pro

Step 3: Add Memo (Optional)

Add a memo describing the bill if desired.

How To Enter A Bill In QuickBooks Pro

Step 4: Select Date

Select the date that the bill was issued using the drop-down calendar.

How To Enter A Bill In QuickBooks Pro

Step 5: Add Reference Number (If Applicable)

You can add a reference number at this point if you want.

How To Enter A Bill In QuickBooks Pro

Step 6: Enter Amount

Enter the total amount due on this bill.

How To Enter A Bill In QuickBooks Pro

Step 7: Select Due Date

Select the date that the bill payment is due using the drop-down calendar.

How To Enter A Bill In QuickBooks Pro

Step 8: Enter Expenses Or Bill Items

Under the “Expenses” tab, you can enter the expense amount and select the corresponding account. If you want to enter the specific product or items on your bill, click the “Items” tab and enter them there.

How To Enter A Bill In QuickBooks Pro

Step 9: Save The Bill

Finally, click “Save & Close” or “Save & New” if you’re planning on creating another bill.

How To Enter A Bill In QuickBooks Pro

Now you can view your bills in the Bill Tracker or make payments by clicking “Home” and selecting “Pay Bills.”

For troubleshooting issues, check out the QuickBooks Community or call QuickBooks directly. If you have any further questions, leave a comment below and we’ll do our best to help you.

Chelsea Krause

Chelsea Krause is a writer, avid reader, and researcher. In addition to loving writing, she became interested in accounting software because of her constant desire to learn something new and understand how things work. When she’s not working or daydreaming about her newest story, she can be found drinking obscene amounts of coffee, reading anything written by C.S. Lewis or Ray Bradbury, kayaking and hiking, or watching The X-Files with her husband.

Chelsea Krause

“”

Top 3 Project Management Apps For Large Businesses

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Earlier this year I wrote a blog post describing the top three project management apps for small businesses. In the interest of fairness, I figured I should round things out and post a similar list, this time focusing on apps that can handle the demands of a larger business. I actually thought it might be a simple task, but it wound up being more complicated than I expected. Whereas small businesses might appreciate ease of use and simplicity, these things are potentially less of a priority in a larger company (though I would argue that good design lends itself to ease of use). Instead, comprehensive features that include time tracking, scheduling, and even invoicing are the order of the day here.

With that in mind, my criteria for selecting the following apps were price, breadth of features, and finally, of course, that “X-Factor” that makes these choices stand out from the crowd. I also considered whether or not the program has an open API, allowing you to develop your own apps and fully customize your experience.

Okay, enough of the intro! Let’s dive into our analysis of the top three project management apps for large businesses.

Table of Contents

Smartsheet

Smartsheet review

Smartsheet (read our review) is one of the oldest kids on the project management app block, founded way back in 2006. Affordable and powerful, Smartsheet’s biggest strength is its scalability. It will feel immediately familiar to employees with knowledge of other spreadsheet programs (like Excel) and can be used in many similar situations. It’s not easy to use in a broad sense, but this is not an overly complex program and it has only a relatively small learning curve.

Price

While not the cheapest project management app, Smartsheet is also by no means the most expensive. With an upper limit (for the “business” subscription) of $25/user/person, Smartsheet’s pricing scale ends where other, more expensive apps begin. There is also an option for Enterprise pricing, but you’ll have to contact Smartsheet to hash out the details on that one.

Breadth of Features

Smartsheet is far more than just a spreadsheet program or budgeting tool. Offering portfolio management, scheduling functions, and more, this is an app that covers almost the whole range of standard and advanced project management features. Importantly, Smartsheet also offers an advanced suite of reporting features to analyze every level of your companies inner workings.

“X-Factor”

Smartsheet has two major attractions for me. First, it looks and feels like a spreadsheet. If you have employees trained in Microsoft Excel or its competitors, Smartsheet will not provide a completely alien experience. That right there might be enough to counteract the fact that this is not exactly a gorgeous piece of visual design. The other big draw is the level of automation you can achieve with Smartsheet. Scheduling, task assignment, and more can be handled automatically, which reduces the chances of human error mucking up the works.

Open API

Yes!

Podio

Podio (read our review) is a project management app that, though it could be shoehorned into a mom-and-pop style business, is really intended for use in enterprise-scale environments. At once user-friendly and complex enough to handle more large-scale requirements, Podio is designed to feel like a social media platform that also houses your daily schedule and task list.

Price

Starting with a low-end price of nine dollars/user/month and topping out at $24/user/month (with enterprise pricing available), Podio is unlikely to break the bank relative to the competition, much of which starts in the $30/user/month region. I will say that, whereas with Smartsheet you could probably get away with at least some users subscribing to a lower level of service, with Podio, you may find it valuable for a larger percentage of users to work with the most expensive version. The advanced workflow and interactive dashboards alone would be worth the extra cost.

Breadth of Features

Offering time tracking, scheduling, and reporting features, Podio also pays more attention than most large-business-focused project management apps to communication. Using the aforementioned social media DNA to drive the look and feel of the app, Podio provides dedicated communication services, meaning that if your offices or employees are spread out over large distances, this might be the perfect app for you.

“X-Factor”

For me, the most pleasant surprise in Podio is the level of communication tools available. As I said, it is relatively rare to come across a developer that includes this kind of feature on an enterprise-focused project management app. Podio’s collaborative features are not just limited to in-company chat either; you can bring your clients into the conversation from within Podio itself. Neat!

API

Yes!

Genius Project

Designed originally as a project management option for IBM systems, Genius Project (read our review) is an SaaS app clearly intended for large companies with multi-tiered teams working on several projects in tandem. Some project management apps (including a few on this list) are designed in such a way that pretty much any user can figure out use them, but many of Genius Project’s features are pretty clearly intended for only trained project managers to use.

Price

While somewhat complex, Genius Project’s pricing scheme is intended to help you better tailor your subscription to your specific needs. Most employees accessing the app will need the Timesheet subscription, which currently costs around $20. Some may need the Team Member level, which runs in the $35 range. Finally, a few will need the more pricey, $45-ish subscription. It is worth noting that to acquire more accurate pricing, you will need to contact Genius Project directly.

Breadth of Features

If you can name a project management feature, Genius Project likely has some version of it available. From document management to workflows, from portfolio management to cost and resource tracking, from communication to reporting, Genius Project has covered just about everything. Importantly, though, not all users will have access to these features, so you will need to anticipate what each employee needs when deciding on what exactly to buy.

“X-Factor”

For me, the biggest attraction of Genius Project is that it is basically a one-stop shop for project management. You won’t need time tracking, chat, or even invoicing apps if you buy Genius Project. That might make the slightly higher price tag worth it.

API

Yes!

Final Thoughts

Large businesses have different needs than smaller ones, especially when it comes to project management. The three solutions listed above provide enough scalability, advanced features, and API access to make them invaluable to a large or enterprise level organization.

Looking for something for a smaller team? Check out the Top 3 Project Management Apps For Small Businesses. Have you used and liked any of the solutions mentioned above? Let us know in the comments!

Wesley Kriz is a writer from the misty peaks of the Pacific Northwest, or as he prefers to call it, the Best Coast. He is willing to debate on almost any topic, but he is admittedly very stubborn, so beware. When not writing for Merchant Maverick, Wesley is likely thinking about Star Wars, or reading Lord of the Rings.

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