Please don't think I am calling you a "moron" to hurt your feelings in any way. I was a moron when I first started setting up my files. I hated accounting in school and am the type that would much rather add 2+2 on a calculator than in my head -- but you have to do it. You have to force yourself to do it NOW -- right at the beginning! Many of a business has collapsed simply because they lacked organization in their basic accounting business practices. Don't be one of them!
As a small mail order business you don't have to really do much in the beginning. Here is how to set up your files from ground zero:
Take out a hanging file folder and a label of any kind. (Hanging folders and labels for them can be purchased at K-Mart, Wal-Mart and any office supply store.)
Type or hand print "Receipts" on the label and place it on the hanging folder.
Now, place 5 MANILA file folders inside the hanging file folder (which you labeled "Receipts") and label each of the manila file folders with the following headings:
You now have one large hanging file folder with 5 separate manila file folders inside it. Carefully place your hanging file folder in your metal file cabinet or cardboard banker's box. (A banker's box can be purchased at any office supply store also and normally cost around $4.)
Now, wasn't that easy? Some of you reading this will think that I am attempting to insult your intelligence. This is NOT my intention. This report is broken down in a simple, step-by-step way so everybody can understand it -- regardless of their previous knowledge and experience. Remember, some people have never worked in an office their entire life. What seems simple and accepted to some of us, may be something another person would never have known.
Okay, let's go back to where we were. You now have one master file completed and we're ready to make another just like it. This time we'll name the hanging file folder "Income" and label 3 manila folders inside it with the following headings:
See how easy? From now on, you simply make another folder as the need arrives and you're files will always be easy to maintain. (Once you get this concept down pat -- you can easily think about getting a computer. A computer organizes its information in the SAME manner. Believe me -- this same system works! You'll be amazed at how many mistakes it will help you prevent.)
Yes -- bookkeeping is a very simple process. All you have to do is keep the system going. For instance, every order that I process, I completely finish before moving on to the next order. Example:
Mail is received and opened. As each piece is opened it is placed into individual piles. Orders with pre-payment are placed in one pile, information and daily correspondence in another, and so forth.
Each order that has been pre-paid for is processed first -- with each one being processed individually to completion. (That means it is in an envelope, a label typed out and the completed order is ready to be mailed at the post office.)
During the process, the "date," "amount of check or payment" and "product ordered" is recorded on the outside of the envelope -- making sure the customer's full name, address and telephone number (if available) is on the envelope too.
Just before closing up the office for the evening, the envelopes are then keyed into the database on our computer (you can substitute a computer for the hanging files in the beginning.) We record all the information that was written on the envelopes during the processing of the order. (Don't think you will remember "what" the order was. That thinking will open you up to make human errors.)
As your business grows, your understanding and abilities will grow also. At that time you can grow into a more sophisticated means of keeping the books.
In the meantime -- keep good records. They are the lifeblood of any business and can eventually make or break you. You'll thank yourself in the long run.
In these days, it's becoming increasingly difficult to make ends meet with just one source of income. Thus, more and more people are investigating the possibilities of starting their own extra-income business.
Once you have formed your own non-profit organization, you merely place in your corporate charter the provision that medical care be paid by the organization of which you are a member.
There isn't a day that goes by that I don't hear another small business owners complaining about some of the customers they have to do business with. And some of them REALLY are legitimate complaints.
This Handbook on the basic regulations and related services administered by the Department of Labor (DOL) is designed primarily for small businesses in general industry. It begins with a general overview of DOL requirements.
Your Guide to Setting Up Your Own Business at Home
Success in business comes as a result of planning. You have to have a detailed, written plan that shows you what the ultimate goal is, the reason for the goal, and each milestone that must be passed in order to reach your goal.
Because tens of thousands of people all across America want to know how they can work at home and earn enough money to run a household, there is a special need for this report. Today the need for women to work out of the home is stronger than ever.
Twenty million home-based businesses will be in operation by 1999, according to Link Resource's 1995 National Work-at Home Survey. All around the country, people who want more control over their lives are starting home businesses
Ask 500 people already in business how they decided upon their business name and you will get 500 different answers. Everyone has a story behind how they chose their own business name.
Prepared by the Office of the General Counsel U.S. Small Business Administration