Do You Know How to Create a Balance Sheet?

Creating a balance sheet is recommended for both experienced and beginner investors. It is the foundation for any investment account, providing a clear picture of how well any investment portfolio has done over a specific period of time. Your balance will indicate a net worth, and provide insight into how profit has been achieved.

The Benefits of Balance

A balance sheet has one primary purpose: to give you a comprehensive overview of your current financial status. This information can help you to identify strong and weak points in your investment plan, and to make any necessary changes to ensure that your investments – and finances – remain in the black.

Basic Accounting

The primary equation you will need for your balance sheet is this: assets = liabilities + owner’s equity. If you’re good with excel you may wish to create a template that includes this equation, which you will be able to use and re-use at any point in the future. Using excel is recommended, and there are many online tutorials which will help you create an easily understandable, yet comprehensive, balance sheet.

Allocating Value to Assets

Sometimes, allocating value isn’t as straightforward as we would like. Particular assets may have value which is calculated in the long-term, rather than the short. These are referred to as ‘fixed assets’. All fixed assets depreciate, so this is a really important reason for why you should aim to update your balance sheet at least once a month. You may also find that your assets comprise many smaller items or investments which transform on a regular basis. Stock is a good example of this kind of fluid asset. As well as a balance sheet, you should also make sure your fluid assets are catalogued and tracked.

Creating Your Balance Sheet

The basics of creating a balance sheet are fairly simple. To begin, you will need to examine three areas – any assets you own, any liabilities you have, and any funds you draw from. A balance sheet can be used for both individuals and businesses so, for example, when examining funds you might end up looking at either a pay check or the sum of your company’s shareholder funds. Each balance sheet will end up telling a different story, depending on the status of each individual or business. The final figure you arrive at will be your equity. This is the magic number which represents your worth, your success, and what financial possibilities there may be for you in the future.

How to Stand Out at Trade Shows and Exhibitions

Exhibiting at a trade show can be a challenge if you’re new to the game. How do you stop your stall paling into the background whilst your competitors shine?

Understandably, exhibiting requires time and money. It’s a decision that needs a lot of thought and preparation, because if you rock up to a trade show unprepared, you could do your company more damage than good.

Budget

You need to have enough funds to cover travel costs, attendance and an attractive setup. Nobody will pay any attention to the person in a corner with no information readily available to glance at when passing. It is vital that you have a couple of tables with clean, dark colored table cloths. Having a set of detailed roller banner stands with high quality graphics is key to catching the eye of potential customers, as well as for staking your territory…It’s quite amazing how politely neighboring stalls can expand into your space! A few desk lamps are a neat trick, as the twinkly lights can be extremely attention grabbing.

Time

Figure out if you or your staff have the time required to do a trade show, taking into account travel, the day itself, research and follow up. It’s a lot of work, which can almost certainly help your business if it’s done properly and with dedication. After the event it is vital to keep those connections that you made at the show warm by making phone calls and inviting people out for drinks.

Preparation

To really do well at trade shows, you need to make friends. Before the show get in contact with the organisers and find out as much as you can. Promote the whole trade show for brownie points, rather than just your presence there, and get in touch with other companies exhibiting or just attending. Find out who your neighbors will be, and who are the main people you want to attract. It’s even worth scheduling a few meetings throughout the day with those you specifically want to attract, as this will show professionalism. By making connections prior to the show, affirming them at the event, then following them up afterwards, you make warm relationships rather than business card driven contacts.

Presentation

Dressing the part is as important as having a well put together display set. Leave your dinghy shirts at home and make sure you are looking crisp, fresh and professional. Girls go easy on the makeup, and guys go easy on the aftershave, as a smile and a strong handshake will do a lot of the groundwork. it doesn’t have to be a whole three piece suit or a pair of heels as high as the heavens, but smart casual has a habit of slacking, so make sure anything you decide to wear is clean, ironed and simple.

The reality of the trade show is that it can very easily go both ways, but as a rule, if you try to have a bit of fun and make a few friends, you will do just fine.

Beware of Macy’s and Other Store Credit Card Offers

While purchasing a new pair of pants at Macy’s, I stood next to a few teenagers, one of whom was buying a couple of t-shirts and a pair of shorts. The salesperson asked if he wanted to open a Macy’s card. He asked if it was free and she said yes. In fact, she followed up by saying he would save about 15% on the day’s purchase and that she just needed his ID and some basic information. Sounds like a pretty good deal, right? Get 15% off your purchase for free?

Too Good To Be True

Of course, the kid didn’t have all the information. He only had a part of truth, the part the salesperson gave him that would help her close the deal. It was too painful to watch, so I quickly sprung into action, helping this clueless kid avoid unknowingly make a mistake. I clarified with the saleswoman that they’d need to run his credit, and she smiled and agreed. He almost signed up for a credit card without realizing it. It seemed that he thought he was going to sign up for a store discount card, similar to ones offered at supermarkets that give rewards without having to give up anything (besides your buying habits).

He asked me if it was a bad idea to do it, and while I didn’t want to get into a whole discussion about credit and teach him everything, I very briefly explained that there are some good uses for credit, but this likely wasn’t one of them. I let him know that there are some great signup bonuses out there that may be worth hundreds of dollars, but saving 15% on a small purchase (in this case, maybe $9) probably wasn’t worth it.

We Need More Consumer Advocates

I’m not sure if it was my place to prevent the store from opening another credit card from one of their customers, but I like to be a consumer advocate and this kid clearly had no idea what he was doing and the salesperson did nothing to help clarify what was happening. I didn’t push the issue and walked away once I said my piece, but it was nice to hear, as I was walking away, that he was just going to pay for the items and pass on the offer at this time. I cracked a bit of smile when I heard that.

This teenager was lucky that I gave him some advice and not to waste his credit on a very small discount. Others are not as lucky, and the stores clearly aren’t doing enough to educate their customers (in this case, the salesperson only gave the customer part of the full picture). It’s up to us to educate each other so we make the best financial decisions for ourselves instead of doing whatever is presented to us by the stores where we shop.