Even The Richies Are Cutting Back

As a bookkeeper, I see my client’s personal and business bank statements. Many are spending less on personal and cutting business expenses when they can.

clipped from www.nytimes.com
The wealthy don’t generally speak publicly about their finances, in good times or bad. It’s in poor taste, for one, and their employers could fire them for talking even a little. But people who provide services to the wealthy — lawyers, art advisers, personal trainers and hairstylists — say they are getting an earful about their clients’ financial anxieties.

Interviews with the people who actually see the bank statements, like divorce lawyers and lenders, say their clients are definitely living on less than they did a year ago, regardless of how expansive the definition of “less” may be.

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Relax! And Other Tips For Entrepreneurs

Today I’m outside in a backyard in Brooklyn and I am co-working! There are a lot of different ways to work, but make sure take breaks. Click through and read the Aviary’s blog post which has 10 crucial startup tips.

clipped from a.viary.com

Work time should end at a certain point during the day. Period. Just because you are focused and energized by a specific task doesn’t mean that it should be worked on until you conk out on your keyboard at 4 AM.

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To Start A Cupcake Business, You Have To Have The Right Ingredients

bangerang bake shop cupcake

Nicole Mahler, owner of Etsy shop Bangerang Bake Shop was interviewed in Money Magazine about how she got her business started right ingredients legally and financially.

 

clipped from www.pivotalconversations.com

To protect her personal assets, she incorporated and insured the business. She also wanted to safeguard her ideas, so she turned to James Hultquist, a partner in the Chicago office of the law firm Reed Smith. He protects intellectual property for both corporate and small-business clients.

James Hultquist: “When startup companies have new or very unique ideas, protecting their intellectual property should be high on the list. A lot of times, entrepreneurs don’t do that early on, and it costs them money later if someone tries to copy their ideas.”

Hultquist’s first step was to find ways to protect one of Mahler’s ideas: shipping the cupcakes in Mason jars.

Nicole Mahler: “I wanted to mail them without spending an arm and a leg on shipping. I saw some Mason jars and the idea just clicked. No one else is doing it.”

Hultquist also suggested that she conduct a trademark search to protect the brand identity of her company.

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Here are 10 ingredients (other than eggs, flour, sugar, milk) that I think are necessary for a successful cupcake business:

  1. Do some research both online and offline. Check business sites like Inc and All Business for small business advice. Visit cupcake businesses to get a handle of how much rental space you need, how many employees and what kind of equipment.
  2. Create a business plan. This is so intimidating for many but you have create a visual representation of what you want your business to be. Draw a picture of your storefront. Create of wish list of what you want to sell. Then support your dreams with solid numbers like monthly overhead expenses, food costs and marketing.
  3. Money. How are you going to finance this? A lot of women don’t borrow money from banks to fund their businesses, but they should. Many banks can offer small businesses a good line of credit that can help you get things ramped up. Borrowing from family or friends is not the best idea because even if your business does well, family and friends may mistake their loan as an investment which may lead them to meddle in your business.
  4. Come up with a name, but do a trademark search first. Nicole Mahler learned the hard way since she had to change her business to Bangerang Bake Shop after threat of litigation by another company.
  5. Cross all the t’s and dot the i’s! Set up a company structure (LLC, S-Corp). Insure your business. Trademark your name and logo. Have a separate business checking account.
  6. Get the word out about your business cheaply by telling people both offline and online. Blog your business. Twitter your business. Send samples. Offer to sponsor dessert at a local business conference. Get business cards.
  7. Make friends with your local competitors. I truly believe that everything that rises must converge.
  8. Find a few passionate people to work for you.
  9. Build your brand everyday with excellent product and customer service.
  10. Learn to delegate (eventually).

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream at hiPhone bills

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050808, originally uploaded by kate*.

I don’t have an iPhone. I can’t afford it, and I am pretty sure many of you who are thinking about buying one with their stimulus check, can’t afford it either. A cell phone is a utility like electricity or gas. What if your Con Ed bill doubled and not just during the summer with the AC runs all the time? You would curse out the customer service rep and scream bloody murder! However when people buy an iPhone and their wireless bill doubles or triples, then most will grin and bear it because having a iPhone is cool. The coolness factor is trumping common sense for many. Yes, I would love to have one. It almost seems to be worth it with the ease of getting online, answering emails quickly and twittering to your heart’s content. But being bleeding edge can bite you in the ass and in your wallet. Spend your stimulus check elsewhere, but surround yourself with friends who will get an iPhone so that you can look up that new restaurant without dialing 4-1-1 or GOOGL.:)

Someday My Prints Will Come

bakespace flyer

Although most of today’s business marketing material is online with websites, email newsletters and electronic press kits, there is still a need for paper marketing material. These items are important for offline events like conferences, socials and meetups.  These printing materials (business cards, postcard, stickers) are necessary to get your business noticed and remembered.

Vista Print: VistaPrint is not just for cheap business cards any more. The BakeSpace postcard in the picture above was printed using Vistaprint.

Moo Cards: Cute; however the irregular shape make them stand out which can be a good thing or kinda annoying. I use Moo cards myself, and I have regular-size business cards as well. Read Inc.’s blog post about Moo and Zazzle. I suggest springing for a Moo card holder so you don’t lose the itty bitty cards.

PrintMyThing: Good for printing out stickers.

Suggested Bookkeeping entry for this business expense would be classified as either an office expense (business cards) or marketing expense (postcards, stickers, banners).

BFA: Basic Finance For Artists

NOTE: I’m not teaching this class, but it is definitely one I want to teach sometime. 

Artists of all career stages often face the challenge of deciding whether to channel available funds into their next project, current living costs, or their long-term stability. Designed especially for artists, *Basic Finance
for Artists*
is a free, concentrated, six-week series of workshops that will help develop financial awareness and balance through practical training in money management. Experts in the field and guest artists will lead the
workshops and address issues that are relevant to artist-specific needs.
Workshop Topics will include:
– Budgeting
– Accounting & Tax
– Debt Management
– Investment & Market Basics
– Buying vs. Renting
– Long-term Planning

Registration
LMCC is looking for a diverse range of artists who are committed to all six
workshops and will benefit from hands-on training in an open learning
environment. The workshop series is free, but space is limited and registration
is required.

*The deadline to register is Monday, May 19th.*
Dates & Times
Tuesdays, 4–7 PM
June 10 – July 15, 2008
Lower Manhattan Cultural Council
125 Maiden Lane, 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10038
Questions?!
Please email Natasha Chuk, nchuk [at] lmcc.net