Let's be honest here - all of us in the private small and start up businesses, NGOs and public enterprises have moments when we seriously question the difference we are really making. Being on the front lines of economic and social justice means that we are constantly bombarded with injustice, challenge and scarcity at a level that few others know.
Of course our passion and love for our busineses and communities ultimately sees us through - but there is no denying that we are prime candidates for this type of despair. I am sure we've all had our share of doubting moments and until one decides that enough is enough - nothing will seem to move forward or change.
So what to do?
I want to share this note that have been shared amongst another one of my networks in hopes that it will also help as you run into those moments.
I know you are feeling doubtful today - so I need you to read this now, and remember just why it is you do what you do for others
If you have changed one life, you have changed the world. I know the world faces massive challenges, and they can seem overwhelming, but the fact is - if you change the path of just one life, you have changed the path of the world. Remember this the next time you think the world is beyond saving.
It is more about consistency than the amount of time. In economic, social and political work, you will often feel like there is not enough time to solve all the world's problems - and there isn't. It is a good thing that consistency is what really matters. So remember, whether you are choosing to spend an hour or 10 hours with a customer, supplier, partner, family you are serving, just be honest about what you can consistently commit to.
Focus on what you are best at. You need to be sure that in every way possible, you are seeking to serve others in your areas of strength. Far too many change people burn out because they try to e all things to all people. Don't do this. Know what you excel at, and serve your people, your community and the world in those areas.
Keep things right with yourself, so that you can be right for others. If you get burnt out by trying to be all things to all people, you will be no things to no people.
Keep it Real. I know at times it may appear that the struggles our families face are too great to be overcome - but this is marathon we are in, not a sprint. Be sure to laugh along the way, to sing, to cry, dance randomly and never take yourself to seriously. The people you serve will love you for this.
I love this note and I have been sharing it ever since.
"If the average citizen of Tonga is guaranteed equal opportunity in the polling place, he must have equal opportunity in the market place...."
Why Markets are Good Opportunities for Minorities
Markets have and always will provide great entrepreneurial business opportunities for minorities because they require low set-up costs, with little risk.
Identify and choose your market and then Choose what to sell is as important as finding the right market. You have to be comfortable at your stall and knowledgeable about your products. If your English is limited, sell something that does not require a lot of explaining. No matter what you decide to sell you must have product knowledge and credibility, a passion for your products and enthusiasm with your customers, capacity and reliable suppliers who can get you what you need.
It is easier to grow your business if you start small.
Keep your expenses and risk low in the beginning. A market business can e started from very little money. Product displays look better and fuller in small spaces. It is also important to be a good listener and observer. Grow your business by learning what people want, you can make little changes every week and watch your business grow.
As you business builds, you can increase your inventory and make changes based upon experience. This is the best way to grow a market business.
Many markets have repeat customers every week - you will get to know these people and establish social relationships. You are developing a business reputation through personal connections. If your customers learn to trust you and you know you have good products, they will tell friends and help you grow.
Start small and grow wisely. To be continued.
The answer is Yes! Back to the future with workforce planning.
HR’s role in the downturn is, if anything, more vital than in normal times: the tasks change but the business impact grows. Yet there is equally more of a risk that HR spends its time firefighting. If the organisation is facing oblivion then
it might be legitimate to prioritise quenching the flames, but HR should also be helping the organisation look to the future and to look at both the external and internal environment. This is the reason for emphasising workforce planning
in a downturn. This should guide the organisation’s understanding of whether its
internal resources will match business demands, not just now but in the
longer term. The greater the uncertainty, the greater the need to think about
the future, not in a linear way but such that the various possible outcomes
can be described. Hence the value of scenario planning.
If old-fashioned manpower planning often suffered from simplistic forecasting, in the hands of some it treated labour supply only in terms of numbers. As has become all too apparent, it is necessary to plan against skill requirements. When downsizing, it is especially important that organisations consider the skills profile needed to get through short-term crisis, but also that will be needed for future growth.
There is also more interest than during the last recession in employee engagement. In the current context this means keeping employees focused on the business imperatives, understanding the requirements of the job and delivering the best possible results. As my survey has shown, keeping staff feeling valued and involved (which may be tough given the degree of business uncertainty), making sure there is good two-way communication, and ensuring fair treatment to those that leave as those that stay,
should help to engender the right sort of positive atmosphere.
Given the continuing interest in employee engagement, I have just completed for few organisations a review of its survey into the subject. It includes practical advice about what works best, and what HR can do to raise engagement levels. In tandem, I have just completed a survey study into the ‘engaging manager’. It looks at the line manager’s crucial role in fostering and nurturing engagement. It identifies ‘engaging’ characteristics that can be built into line manager assessments and training programmes.
For further information please contact me direct: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
The effects of the global financial crisis on organisations have impacted a lot of owners and investors but since then, employees were partly the victims of job lost, scaled down income and still plays a major part of it today in some organisations especially for small medium enterprises thus limiting their chances to develop and grow.
But beyond the evident effects of unemployment on individual workers, what are the consequences of the credit crunch for those still in work and are there any issues that employers need to think about? Some of my findings throw a light on the connections between the economic downturn, employer' struggles and employee performance in the workplace by assessing individual ‘financial well-being’.
I have conducted a survey around the main island, Tongatapu with around 200 employees in the public and private sector, rather than the general public. The research defined ‘financial well-being’ as a mixture of behaviours that showed people were handling their finances effectively, and attitudinal measures about savings, credit and risk. The findings showed a direct connection between financial health and individual performance, in that employees who reported better financial well-being were more likely to report increased productivity.
However, some findings were more disturbing and suggest a need for action. At least a quarter of employees are worried about debt, with one in five reporting they are being kept awake at night by financial worries and over ten per cent saying their health was suffering as a result. This does not bode well for optimal performance at work during the day.
Additionally, over one-third felt they were not in control of their finances and less than a quarter think they will have sufficient savings for retirement either through their own personal savings and the current government retirement scheme. This is unsurprising when we look at some of the evidence on employees’ financial behaviours. Two-thirds of employees were attempting to budget but only half managed to stick to their budgets and budgeters were most likely to be vulnerable to debt.
So can and should employers get involved to help employees manage their personal finances? Employers are increasingly turning towards financial education programmes, run independently by organisations such as the local Training Providers, banks and experts consultants from outside of Tonga. My research showed that employees who participated valued these programmes. But only a minority of staff were attending the workshops, and employees from groups most vulnerable to debt such as those with a serious health condition or disability and those working shorter hours were least likely to attend. My findings suggest that employers may need to market financial education more prominently and ensure they are accessible to employees who might most need advice.
No matter what type of business you’ve built it’s vital you find an accounting system or software that keeps tracks of your business income and expenses.
Ensure your small business is using the latest technology in every way possible. Small businesses are losing out on billion dollars a year around the world (including Tonga) because they do not offer credit card or debit card payment options.
According to a recent study by Barclays; 42% of SMEs in the UK currently offer card payment provisions to their customers. Globally we are increasingly becoming a cashless society and its imperative that small businesses free themselves from old inefficient payment systems that are holding them back.
When I started my own business, I already knew the importance of establishing an accounting system. But I had no clue what kind of bookkeeping software to use. I knew I wanted an online bookkeeping program that allowed me to run my business from anywhere and not be limited by a specific operating system (like Windows or Mac). After testing a few different ones, I came across Freshbooks, which also allowed me to track my time and create invoices to all my clients.
Since I am a Certified Freshbook Accountant, I would like to share with you my honest review of FreshBooks and how I use it to keep my own business finances organised and running smoothly.
What is Freshbooks?
FreshBooks is a cloud-based accounting program that mainly focuses on creating invoices, project management and time tracking. But they also make it easy to organise your client list, manage team members, collect payments, sync reports with your accountant and review bookkeeping stats.
As you can see, it does quite a bit and they are constantly improving how it works. One of the cool things I really like about FreshBooks is that you can send professional looking invoices, with your brand colors and logo, right into your clients inboxes or mailboxes each month.
Getting paid on time is one of the most important parts of being a freelance business owner, and FreshBooks makes that happen - for free.
How I use FreshBooks for my Small Business?
1. Make invoicing simple and effective.
As I mentioned, the foundation of FreshBooks is creating and sending professional looking invoices. When you click the Time Tracking button, you’ll be able to clock the hours you log for a client or project. At the end of the month, all of your time can be exported to an invoice automatically, or you can create an invoice summary manually.
You can see when your invoices are viewed, and if they’ve been paid or not. If you receive checks in the mail, you just log into your FreshBooks account (they also have an iPhone and iPad app so you can track it on your mobile device anywhere), and record the payment.
2. Stop wasting time.
The benefit to being able to track your time so easily, is so you can see where you’re spending your time. If a client or project is sucking up too much time, you might want to think about phasing them out.
3. Save hundreds of dollars in fees.
Before finding FreshBooks I was billing all my clients through Paypal, and paying a ton of fees. Since then I only pay .50 per transaction no matter how large or small the payment is. When I compared this to receiving a payment through Paypal directly, I was paying a lot in fees!
4. Share reports with a bookkeeper or accountant.
This is a new feature that was just rolled out and I’m so excited about it. As an ex-accountant myself, I know the value of creating monthly reports and staying on top of the financial part of the business.
Earlier this year I hired a bookkeeper to help me stay on track, create reports and organize my accounting process. We can both see the invoices, clients, reports and discuss them in our monthly meetings. She gets her own login information, and can only see the info I allow her to see.
Here’s a list of accounting reports FreshBooks supports:
5. Integrates with other accounting programs.
FreshBooks seamlessly integrates with other bookkeeping programs, like Outright, QuickBooks, Xero and more. You can set it up to work with a few different types of tax software or payroll systems. It also syncs with task management systems like Basecamp and client proposal software like Bidsketch. Check out their site, for a complete list of programs and add-ons FreshBooks integrates with.
The options are nearly endless for what you can use FreshBooks with to manage your business finances.
6. Create professional estimates.
I have a friend who recently started managing her husband’s construction business and she needed something he could use to create professional estimates for potential jobs and clients. I told her about FreshBooks and they’ve been using it ever since.
Once you’re logged into your FreshBooks account, you just click on the Estimates tab to create a new estimate. You then choose your client, input the information, track time for the project and send the invoice once they’ve accepted the terms. You can even invoice them for a percentage of the job upfront.
7. Sync your bank accounts and expense transactions.
Each day when I log into my FreshBooks account I can see all my transactions at a glance. I have a business checking account that syncs with FreshBooks so I can bill any client expenses and create monthly accounting reports.
Nothing is more important to a successful business than making sure you’re making enough revenue to cover expenses, and spending your money on the right projects.
And the best part is that you get all this from Freshbooks for free!
FreshBooks Pricing Plans A good FreshBooks review wouldn’t be complete without the pricing plans. Yes, it’s true that you can use FreshBooks online accounting for free, but it’s limited in the features it provides.
If you need a more robust version, check out their tiered pricing plans:
This is the number one bookkeeping software I personally use and recommend to other freelancers and business owners. Try Freshbooks out for free and stop wasting time on getting paid.