Ask Hugh
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Ask Hugh's Consulting Topics

The areas that clients' request most, generally involve QuickBooks® help, financial and cash flow planning, budgeting, human resources, refinancing options, expansion/remodel planning, assistance in purchasing or selling an inn, including due diligence.

Ask Hugh is adding Emergency Management, Disaster Preparedness, Emergency Operations Plans, Business Continuity, Hazard Analysis and Training to its practice for both businesses and municipalities. While not outlined in the topics below, please contact us if you are interested in these services.

In setting up a consulting engagement with "Ask Hugh," you will be asked for your "wish list" of areas to work on and the details of the engagement will be worked out specifically for you prior to starting. While a number of potential areas are listed below for both small businesses and small lodging companies, they are not all inclusive. Hugh Daniels and his associates have a broad knowledge on many topics specific to your business and they will customize their time to meet your exact needs. If they don't have the expertise, they will tell you so and find other sources as needed.

Hugh Daniels Speaking

The following list of topics are just to get you thinking about what your business needs are and where we can help. It is not all encompassing, and you do not need to choose areas from this list. The following are all areas that Ask Hugh associates have worked, taught, lectured, researched, written or consulted on.

Financial PlanningFinancial Planning
- Accounting for your Inn or Small Business - help in setting up your accounting system, reviewing and updating your system to meet existing needs, problem solve accounting issues, training in how to use your system.

- Financial Statements - review of operating financial statements with an eye towards improvements and reporting, training in how to read a Balance Sheet and Income Statement, how to review other important financial reports and how often.
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- Quickbooks ® - how to set up and use QuickBooks ® Accounting Software, setting up your business, chart of accounts issues, payroll, taxes, reporting that is available, problem solving, journal entries, getting the most out of the software for your industry.

- Budgeting - how to plan your year, your cash flow and your bottom line, importance of budget and variance review, how to prepare a budget.

- Forecasting - how to set up a forecasting program to project occupancy and income and compare to prior years.

- Financing - what are the options for start-ups, refinancing, expansions and lines of credit. What goes in a loan package and what are lenders looking for.

- Business Plans (and Loan Packages) - what investors and loan officers want to see and what they don't, what is the difference and what goes into them.

General Business Operations & Organization
- Business Legal Organization - deciding on a Sole Proprietorship, Partnership, Limited Liability Company, S-Corporation or C-Corporation, what are the differences, what are the plusses and minuses, how do you get your choice set up, tax consequences and meeting ongoing requirements.

- Setting Policies - what are your options, how do you decide what is right for your business, what are other businesses doing and how not to reinvent the wheel.organize

- Protecting Credit Card Sales - what cards to take, additional "lodging agreements," charge-backs, differences in merchant discount rates and choosing a rep.

- Organizing and Time Management for Small Businesses - review of your practices and then being disciplined, using trust and choice to end up with productive days and extra time for you.

- Internet - you have got to be there and you have got to stay current. What resources are available to you.

- Memberships in the Community Aren't Just Marketing - involvement in the community helps with operations, in establishing contacts, joint buying and provides resources for virtually all aspects of operations.

Human Resources
Help Wanted- Hiring/Firing/and Other Personnel Needs - setting personnel policies. How to interview, review, promote, and terminate. Do you meet required record keeping and forms to meet legal requirements? Personnel manuals.

- Benefits - what is happening with benefits offered in your industry? What are the costs and what can be added to help keep your staff on board?

- Keeping Employees Happy - making your staff a team and keeping it functioning and fun.

- Hand in Hand - Job Descriptions and Evaluations - developing good job descriptions and using them to improve your employee's training and evaluate their performance.

Especially for Inns and Small Lodging Propertiesinns
- Preparing for Emergencies - do you know where the water, gas, sprinkler, electrical shut offs are? Do you have an emergency plan? A back-up plan? How do you deal with the press and guests?

- Setting Inn Policies - options for deposits, cancellations, check-ins, tours, breakfast and more; making choices being reasonable and when to make changes.

- Making Smart Purchases - how to buy smart, how to use wholesaler, joint buying, pricing and negotiating.

- PAII Industry Study & Marketing Study - how to use the statistics to improve your business, make comparisons to similar properties, improve your bottom line through financial comparison.

- Meeting the Codes - do you meet the various governmental codes for your area, such as building, plumbing, electrical, fire, health, ADA, etc. How do you know? Where can you get help? What are economical solutions?

- Rates - being objective, how to research competition, evaluate occupancy and set rates without getting emotionally involved.

Other ServicesExpert Witness
- Expert Witness Testimony - provide expert deposition and/or court testimony on client's case as required in conjunction with the Bed and Breakfast/Country Inn industry. Additional research, evaluation and reporting available.

- Community Services - work has included organization contract negotiations, involvement and buy-in from numerous community organizations, assistance in sales of special properties, business community outreach and special services assistance to municipal departments.

- Feasibility Studies - provide an outline of needed information and research with a comprehensive report of findings as an end result.

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