Are You Doing Business Or Just Being Busy?

Business women generate cash in their business. In fact, to stay in business generating a cash flow is necessary. Sure, it’s necessary to think positive about you and your business and charge the right prices. But the bottom line is that to operate a sustainable business you must know how to earn profit.

If you are not generating cash profits, you are operating a non-profit organization – and that is not what a real business woman wants to do.

As an entrepreneur, you have to know how to conduct a business. It takes time, planning, and knowledge to get the business started in the right direction.

A business woman needs to put certain systems in place along with other required business elements. But once you know these basics, you can develop your business.

So are you developing a real business? Let’s be honest; it’s possible that what you do everyday is not really a business. Maybe you’re great at the technical part of what you know – gardening, designing a website, bookkeeping, etc. – but you find you’re not attracting clients and making money.

You certainly intend to be in business, but the reality is that you might only be doing busy work. That’s why you start and stop new projects every few weeks and see few results.

The truth is, it might not be your fault. Really smart, dedicated people fall into the trap of thinking creating a business and especially creating on online will be a fast easy fix to financial woes. That comes from reading so much of the hype that’s out there about what it takes to do Internet business.  And that hype if simply not true.

Business experts say that one in five businesses will fail within just a few years of starting. The actual numbers are probably quite a lot higher. You don’t want to fail. You want to succeed. When you know the top reasons why entrepreneurs fail, you can better prepare your business for years of success.

I’m going to be sharing some of the top reasons why entrepreneurial ventures fail on a regular basis next time.

Who is Leading Your Work?

“Commit to the Lord whatever you do and your plans will succeed.” Proverbs 16:3

Being a good leader in your business is something every Christian business women should strive to do. I love the topic of leadership. I studied women’s leadership styles when earning my top degrees and continue to work with women in leadership today.

But when it comes to leading your business, many steps can be shared about how to go about this task; what to do first, next and so on. The question a Christian business woman must ask herself however, is who is really leading my business? It is often important to just stop to be sure you are listening to the right leader in your life. Make that leader your Lord.

Leading on your own without spiritual guidance can be a recipe for disaster. I know too many women who get so busy and stressed out they forget to pray even once during any day.  Before soon, they are struggling to keep themselves calm. Some even find themselves in a real fix with workers, bosses or clients. Tempers may flare, bad decisions could be made, anxiety might reach an all time high.

Instead of falling into traps set by the world, schedule prayer into your day. Actually write a time on your daily calendar when you will stop to bow your head in prayer. You might figuratively bow while doing something else. The point is to take concentrated time to talk to your real leader.

I do this in the car on the way to and from work and when I go to between meetings during the day. What a great time to talk to the Lord. When things get rough or a difficult decision needs to be made, I turn to the real boss of my life.

It didn’t come naturally to do this; thinking about prayer first isn’t what’s taught in most business schools. It’s up to you as a woman of God to do the right thing?

And why wouldn’t you? It’s having the privilege to walk right into the top CEO’s presence whenever you want to ask a question, sit to talk or to just express yourself.  The CEO is the one with the answers, He’s the one to let you see the big picture when you get stuck in the small stuff.  You get to rise above the world and see things from a spiritual perspective that sheds light on the material natural world. Why pass up the opportunity to go right to the head person? Yet too many women do so on a daily basis, ending up feeling all alone without a friend, mentor or guidance.

Make prayer a part of your daily tasks. You can just talk about your day, express how things are going, talk as if to your best friend. I challenge you to try this starting today.

Cut Distractions for Better Time Management

If you want to boost your productivity, learn to cut distractions out of your day.  When you do, you will instantly get more focused, be able to get more done in a day and feel less stressed – all at the same time.

Distractions during the workday might not seem harmful.  After all, what’s the big deal behind “just” 10 minutes of Facebook, or a quick chat with your co-worker, or answering that phone call by your significant other?

In reality, though, these distractions can really cut down on your productivity. Here’s why and what to do about it.

1. The True Cost of Distractions

Distractions are deceptively dangerous. Most people fail to see the true cost behind distracting activities. To illustrate the point, let’s look at Facebook.  If you’re doing 10-minute Facebook sessions throughout your day, it doesn’t just cost you 10 minutes of productivity.

For one, you’ll often have to spend quite a bit of time getting back into gear once you stop checking Facebook. It also prevents you from getting in “The Zone.”  You can only have periods of focused work can only happen without distraction.

Let’s say you take five 10-minute Facebook sessions throughout the day. It takes you 10 minutes to get back into work mode after Facebooking.  That’s a whopping 1 hour and 40 minutes out of your day from just Facebook alone.  Once you add in all the different distracting activities in a day, you can see how it quickly adds up. 10-minute distractions might not seem like much, but over the course of a day they make a big difference.

2. Cut Out Facebook, Reddit, Twitter, Email, StumbleUpon, etc

Perhaps the most important types of distractions you could cut out are digital distractions. Sites like Facebook, Reddit, Twitter, StumbleUpon and even email should be off limits during the workday.  Email can be checked at specific times in the day, like in the morning, at noon and at the end of the work day. Incessantly checking email is just distracting, not productive.

3. Interpersonal Distractions

Other common types of distractions include water cooler conversations, phone calls, “just popping in” co-workers and so on. If you run a home business, distractions could include your spouse, the kids or roommates if you live with others.

Set up a system so the people who work or live with you know when you need to get productive work done. It could be something as direct as a sign on the door, or something as indirect as a pair of headphones in your ears. If someone tries to distract you, just politely let them know you’re not available, unless it’s urgent.

Cutting out distracting activities will make a big difference on your concentration and on the amount of productive work you get done in a day. Try it for a week or two to see how it works for you.

Get more time management and productivity tips.  The Productivity audio offers 21 fast tips for increasing your productivity without increasing your stress.  Click HERE to check it out.

What Christian Business Women Need to Know about Payroll Management

If you are a Christian woman in business and have employees in your business (as opposed to independent contractors), knowing about payroll management is one of the most important parts of doing business.  Even though this is a basic components of business accounting,  it can be surprisingly complex.  There are a lot of different parts of the accounting process to keep track of in business.  If you have an accountant or manage your own payroll,  here are seven things you should keep in mind about managing your payroll.

Tracking Hours

If you’re paying your employees by the hour, payroll management begins with having a good system for tracking time worked by each employee.  Have a reliable system to accurately log in hours.  If you are working with a virtual employee, have that person provide you with her hours tracking sheet each month showing what has bene accomplish during the payment time period. This is essential for accurate payroll management

Taxes and Withholding

As an employer,  you are responsible for withholding the appropriate amount of taxes from your employee checks.  That includes but isn’t limited to a 6.2% social security withholding, a 1.45% withholding for Medicare, income tax withholding and more.  You also need to put in your employer tax matches, including the same amount in Medicare and social security, as well as unemployment taxes and know when to submit the paperwork and money to the government.

Benefits and Deductions

Employee benefits like dental plans and health insurance plans often come with a premium payment that the employee needs to pay.  Your company will usually pick up part of the tab and you would have the employee put in a certain amount also.  The necessary premium portion from the employee will need to be deducted from their paycheck in the form of deductions.

Tracking Payment Due Dates

Another somewhat confusing aspect of payroll management is tracking when you need to pay various dues, taxes and fees.  Different government organizations need to be paid at different times.  Furthermore, the date of your company’s fiscal year end can shift these dates around.  You need to develop a system for tracking when you need to pay what if you are doing your own payments.  Record these payment dates on your calendar as being late on paying your fees can result in penalties.

How to Actually Pay Employees

How to get money to your employee is another important payroll management component.  Options for doing this include setting up direct deposits, printing and mailing checks, or even having the employee pick the check up in person.  You also need to print pay stubs which detail your employees’ compensation, withholdings and deductions.  These are important for your employees’ records.  They’re also essential records in case a dispute ever arises.

Tax Forms

You need to make sure you get tax forms from your employees every year. These forms need to be completely filled out by all employees and postmarked by January 31st. These forms include 1099s for contractors and W-2s for employees.

Maintaining Your Accounting Records

The amount of hours worked and the salary pay owed must be balanced against the amount of money actually paid out. Balancing should be done both quarterly and annually. Balancing your books helps avoid accounting mistakes and oversight.

As you can tell, managing employee payroll can be quite a complex endeavor. Having someone experienced in house or having a trustworthy accounting firm work with you can make the whole payroll process much easier. The most complicated part is getting started. Once your payroll systems are in place, keeping things running is relatively simple.  Even if you have an outside professional do your payroll records as a responsible women in business, it is good to have at least a basic understanding of how this process works.

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Traditional Publishing vs. Self-Publishing

Writing and publishing a book is a dream of many Christian business women.  While getting a contract with a traditional publisher is one way to be a published author, so is self-publishing.  Publishing your own book is a very different experience than getting a book deal with a traditional publisher and not something everyone might want to do.  But the advantages to doing it yourself a growing. I’ve been blessed to be published through a traditional publisher and through self-publishing.  I love both ways, but realize the great advantages of going the self-publishing route.

For one thing, doing it yourself lets you get your book to the market place much quicker than if you go through a  traditional publisher.   It takes up to two years to get a traditional book published (at least in the non-fiction arena).  That means your information can start getting out dated before your book hits the shelves.  With self publishing you control how fast the book gets finished and out to the public.  This can happen in a matter of weeks or months.  This keeps your topic much fresher and your name in front of your target market.

Self-publishing is a great way to keep a lot more of the end profits from the book. Instead of getting around $1 per book sold, you can easily earn as much as $4 to $6 or even more depending on the price of the book.

You control the content that goes into your book.  There is no publisher or editor looking over your shoulders every step of the way. You have no limitations on content and you don’t need to write for marketing. You can just write precisely what it is you want to write.  Of course, the downside is that you don’t get the guidance that comes with a traditional publisher.  You don’t have the eyes of someone who’s experienced in the industry helping you along.

Traditional publishers have a large staff of people on hand, ready to do all kinds of different things to help get your book off the ground. When you self-publish, you have to do all of these things on your own or find freelancers to do it for you.

These tasks include:

* Proofreading your book
* Having graphics designed for your front cover
* Provding photographs for your author bio
* Getting the book edited
* Having your book laid out
*and much more.

The options for getting the book printed include many different print on demand and small print run companies to choose from. You can find many of them through a Google search.

The more books you print at a time, the lower your cost per book and the higher your profit per sale. Though you can sell books on a single-printing basis, you’re usually better off buying a couple hundred at a time.

When you self-publish a book, you have to handle all of the marketing yourself. You are responsible for generating the publicity that brings in the sales. You can generate sales through online advertising, through in-person sales, through reputation or through whatever techniques you want to use to generate buzz.

Most large stores like Barnes & Noble tend not to deal with self-published authors. There are exceptions to this rule, especially if you start to create a ton of demand. By and large, however, you can’t rely on traditional forms of distribution to do your marketing for you.

In summary, you can expect to be in control of the whole publishing process when you go it on your own but it also means you don’t have the same level of professional support.  Consider some of these pros and cons as you get started with the publishing process.  The bottom line is, get started writing your book.  You can get it published and become the author you’ve always wanted to be.