One of the most amazing things about doing business in today’s world is the seemingly limitless number of resources available, many of which are free. There are Amazon Seller specific resources, eBay specific resources, and also e-commerce in general resources. I also like the business and personal development resources.
The options can be confusing because there are so many! I thought if I shared a list of resources helpful to me, it might help you wade through the options. Below is a list of resources I suggest you check out to see if one or more might help you manage and grow your business!
Favorite accounting resources:
QuickBooks Online – This is a cloud-based Intuit accounting solution. Because it is cloud-based, more than one person can access the accounting software at one time. This is helpful when outsourcing bookkeeping, using a Virtual Assistant to assist you with your books, or hiring a CPA to prepare your taxes (which I highly recommend.) Simple Start is the option we recommend you begin with and is suitable for most inventory-based businesses.
Dropbox – Dropbox is a cloud-based document storage solution. It is a home for all of your work – accounting and operational documents, spreadsheets, employee manuals, inventory documents; anything you need to save securely can be saved in Dropbox! You can share access with others too!
Hubdoc – We love Hubdoc at Accounting We Will Go! Hubdoc is a financial document fetching service. It automatically pulls bank and credit card statements from your financial institutions and can be synced with cloud storage such as Dropbox, Google Drive, and others. If you prefer, you can save and access your documents in your Hubdoc account. What is nice is you only have to login to Hubdoc’s secure hub and view and manage documents there instead of having to login to multiple banks and websites. We also like that once you add an account to Hubdoc, it not only pulls in the new statements and CSV files, it will often pull and store the historical statements and CSV files, sometimes more than a year’s worth.
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Some great books:
The Accounting Game: Basic Accounting Fresh from the Lemonade Stand - by Darrell Mullis and Judith Orloff
This is a great book for those who want to understand accounting in very simple and easy to understand terms.
The author’s description explains it best: The world of accounting can be intimidating…The Accounting Game presents financial information in a format so simple and so unlike a common accounting textbook, you may forget you're learning key skills that will help you get ahead! Using the world of a child's lemonade stand to teach the basics of managing your finances, this book makes a dry subject fun and understandable. As you run your stand, you'll begin to understand and apply financial terms and concepts like assets, liabilities, earnings, inventory
The Big Leap: Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next Level - by Gay Hendricks
I really cannot say enough good things about this book. With over 100,000 copies sold, New York Times bestselling author Gay Hendricks demonstrates how to go beyond your internal limits, release outdated fears and learn a whole new set of powerful skills and habits to liberate your authentic greatness. Fans of Wayne Dyer, Eckhart Tolle, Marianne Williamson, and Gabrielle Bernstein will discover the way to break down the walls to a better life.
What I liked most about the book is that it challenged my “Upper Limit” thinking so that I am no longer getting in my own way of success. Thinking habits die hard, and once we step back to examine where we might be limiting ourselves, we immediately open up possibilities that didn’t exist. I loved this book
Deep Work - by Cal Newport
This is a very (very!) good book. If you haven’t read it, it’s about focus and structure and avoiding the blur of emails (etc) that distract us all day long. It’s about mastering/cultivating the skill of turning “off” and “on.”
I also like the emphasis the author places on restraints on the amount of time we work. He reminded me that it’s better to work effectively for X hours and then fully relax and disengage than to be in a constant state of work and thinking about work when not working.
I love this quote he shares “We who cut mere stones must always be envisioning cathedrals.”
Tribe of Mentors - by Tim Ferriss
This book is easy to pick up and put down when I only have a few minutes to read. The book is organized into small sections, usually 10 pages each, with advice from the those Tim Ferriss describes as “top performers.” In the book, I was reminded the importance of white space (which sometimes looks like procrastination.) I learned the importance of having a question for everything, and how wellbeing causes performance to increase. My favorite lesson was this, “During difficult times, let kindness be your guide.”
From his website, “Tim Ferriss, the #1 New York Times best-selling author of The 4-Hour Workweek, shares the ultimate choose-your-own-adventure book—a compilation of tools, tactics, and habits from 130+ of the world's top performers. From iconic entrepreneurs to elite athletes, from artists to billionaire investors, their short profiles can help you answer life's most challenging questions, achieve extraordinary results, and transform your life.”
Built to Sell: Creating a Business That Can Thrive Without You - by John Warrillow
I recommend this book even if you have no intention of selling your business. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. The author encourages business owners to examine what they do on a daily basis to see if it is the best use of time. From the author’s website, “In Built to Sell, we discover that…the idea that you have to work your fingers to the bone for years to build a sellable company is flawed. In fact, the opposite is true. If you want to sell your business for the maximum amount of money, it needs to be designed to thrive without you – so the next owner can continue to grow and profit from your hard work when you’re gone.”
Even if you have no plans to sell your e-commerce business, by examining where you are being “busy” instead of “productive” will give you opportunity to grow, improve, have better balance, and become a highly efficient business owner.
E Myth Mastery (and Revisited) - by Michael Gerber
I cannot emphasize enough the importance of this book to anyone who considers themselves an entrepreneur (the “E” in E Myth). The author goes into detail about the importance of working “on” your business instead of “in” your business. There will be a limit to success to entrepreneurs who are unable to rise above the role of technician and instead into the role of entrepreneur.
Forbes Magazine describes the following, “The Entrepreneurial Perspective asks the question: “How must the business work?” This perspective looks at the business as the product, competing for the customer’s attention against a whole shelf of competitors. The Technician’s Perspective asks: “What work has to be done?” In this view the product features, cost, and support are the key to success.”
Zoom – Affordable remote conferencing services. This is great for webinars, conference calls with multiple people, and other meetings with remote participants.
Loom – With Loom, you can capture your screen, record your front-facing camera, and narrate it all at once, then instantly share with a simple link. This is a great tool for recording company processes, explaining reports to others, and other tasks involving screen sharing. Loom makes video easy and fun to use.
Skype – This is a very important (free) tool that we use daily. Skype specializes in providing video chat and voice calls between computers, tablets, mobile devices, the Xbox One console, and smartwatches via the Internet and to regular telephones. Skype additionally provides instant messaging services. We use Skype all day long!
Asana – This is a great online tool used by teams to teams organize, track, and manage their work. At a basic level, the cloud-based software allows colleagues within an organization’s Asana workspace to track and manage the progress of projects. For example, workflows can be set up for HR teams to manage the on-boarding process for new staff.
At a more granular level, “tasks” are created to monitor individual components of a wider project.
Teams of users can add tasks, assign them to team members, set due dates for completion, comment and share relevant documents. Notifications on the status of tasks – and looming deadlines – are sent to a user’s inbox.
You Need a Budget – “YNAB” is a great tool for business and personal budgeting. It is designed to get users out of the living paycheck to paycheck cycle. It is based on the envelope system. The key idea is to store the cash to meet separate categories of household expenses in physically separate envelopes. The YNAB app allows you to use the envelope system in an electronic format.
TED Talks – I love TED Talks. TED stands for “Technology, Entertainment, and Design.” TED Talks are a series of live presentation on a wide variety of business and personal development topics. They are limited to 18 minutes, and the website has transcripts of all TED Talks if you prefer to read instead of listen (my preference!)
The top 25 TED Talks include: “The Puzzle of Motivation.” “Looks aren’t everything; believe me, I’m a model.” “This is what happens when you reply to spam email.” “How to spot a liar.” “What makes a good life? Lessons from the longest study on happiness.”
Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) – This is an invaluable tool for individuals and also for teams. The MBTI is an introspective self-report Questionnaire with the purpose of indicating differing psychological preferences in how people perceive the world around them and make decisions. Once you learn your type by taking the short quiz, have fun reading about what “you people” are like under stress, when making decisions, judging, perceiving, thinking, and feeling. You can find many YouTube videos that explain your type and how you interact with other types. This is a great tool for personal relationship development and in business.
Small Business Development Center (SBDC) - The SBDC provides a vast array of technical assistance to small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs. By supporting business growth, sustainability and enhancing the creation of new businesses entities, SBDCs foster local and regional economic development through job creation and retention. As a result of the no cost, extensive, one-on-one, long-term professional business advising, low-cost training and other specialized services SBDC clients receive, the program remains one of the nation’s largest small business assistance programs in the federal government . The SBDCs are made up of a unique collaboration of SBA federal funds, state and local governments, and private sector resources. There are many low cost, and free programs offered through the SBDC that will tremendously benefit entrepreneurs.
After reading through all of these resources, I am sure there are a few that look interesting or helpful to you. I encourage you to budget in some time to look into the ones that seem appealing to you. I also encourage you to share this list with colleagues, team members, or others in your business circle.
As a reminder, if you need a specific resource to set up your QuickBooks Online account, enter your information below to download our FREE QBO Quickstart Guide, including a video tutorial and custom Chart of Accounts to help get you started.