Thursday, August 27, 2009

Online Bookkeeping Options:

As I mentioned in my previous post, I will continue looking for other good, reliable bookkeeping solutions that look as if they would be good options for any small business owner.

I found one so far that looks like a great option. It is called LessAccounting. Here's the scoop on them in their own words:

"Who is Less Accounting designed for?

We designed the accounting app to meet our needs as small business owners. We tried to develop it flexible enough for personal use, but if you are a big business Less Accounting probably isn't for you."
It appears to be a simple, straightforward interface that is designed to help you keep your finances organized while not consuming all of your time in order to do so. There are several features that I like which include PayPal integration, the ability to import addresses, bank accounts, and they have an iPhone app too (great for double checking your finances while you're on the go).

While some may be uncomfortable keeping their financial information online, their system uses standard secure encryption and they back up their data on a daily basis. One great feature that LessAccounting has built into their online system is the ability for you to give your CPA access to your account. By doing this, it gives you the ability to allow your CPA to view and download information from your account when he/she may need to for tax reports or other necessary business reports.

Quite honestly, that feature alone would be enough to convince me to give their system a try. It can be quite frustrating to print out reports and give them to your accountant only to find that you didn't print out the right report, right date range, or made some other error. By giving your accountant access to all of the data, you eliminate the possibility of making mistakes on your own end!

One other quick item to note. If you have started out with a more complicated system, such as Quickbooks, but have found it to be overwhelming LessAccounting has a method for you to be able to import your Quickbooks information into their system. So, you don't have to start over and rebuild your entire financial portfolio.

I would encourage you to visit their website, take the video tours that they have (I think there are 3) and check out the pricing structure. There is one version that is completely free, and then 3 different month to month plans based on the features you want to use for your business.

I hope this is helpful information for you. I will look into some other accounting systems as I find them. If you know of one that I should review, please feel free to leave a comment and let me know...I'll get to it! Thanks!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


For some folks…this is a terrible topic to bring up. Keeping accurate records is an absolutely necessity. Yes, it takes time…but, in the long run it is well worth the effort. Accurate, up to date books give you the ability to truly know if the products and services you are offering are profitable or not. It will also save you a myriad of headaches at the end of the year when your taxes are due. In the event of an audit…you will be ready.

Daily record keeping is a necessity in order to keep track of your sales and expenses. It will be necessary to keep up with daily sales, sales tax owed, expenses, payroll and payroll taxes.

If you prefer to keep track of your income and expenses manually, you can buy an accounting ledger book at your local office supply store for around $15.00. If you prefer to use an electronic method, there are several great bookkeeping programs out there. QuickBooks is a great, easy to use software program to help with record keeping. Another option is to use a secure online system (there is a version of Quickbooks set up this way). I will be researching a few of the online systems and reporting my finding to you shortly.

Another wise course of action is to talk with your accountant about the best ways to keep your records organized. Your accountant can also give advice on how to best setup your payroll system. He or she should be able to advise you on what deductions you will need to withhold from employee’s paychecks.

Do you already use a particular bookkeeping system? If so, please let us know what you use and how well it works for you. If you have questions about a particular system, please ask them and I will try to get some answers for you. Keeping accurate books is essential to the success of your business. At and, we’re interested in helping you succeed! Thanks!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Great Entry Level Cotton Candy Machine

Since school is getting ready to start and concession stands for school sports teams are getting organized, we thought it would be a great idea to introduce an excellent cotton candy machine for school and sports team concession stands.

The Econo Floss Cotton Candy Machine is a heavy-duty cotton candy maker which has an extra heavy-duty motor, plus solid state cool-running heat control. It contains four carbon brushes which helps to reduce wear and tear on the brass slip rings. This highly efficient candy floss producer will run on minimum available electricity.

This machine will produce up to four servings per minute which makes it more than capable of withstanding occasional use in a sports concession stand. Because it is made of heavy duty plastic, it will also withstand the rigors of being used by multiple people. The plastic surfaces will also make it easy to keep clean.

Learn more about this machine and all of the great supplies offered at today. If you have questions about any machine or product, please feel free to leave a comment here, email us at, or call us at 1-800-871-1491. We would appreciate the opportunity to discuss your concession needs and assist in any way possible.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Ice Temperature Procedures for Cube Ice Machines

For those of you who prefer using cube ice machines for your shaved ice or snow cone business…you’re not off the hook on maintaining the proper temperature for your ice! However, the rules for you are very different from those listed in the last post.

For shaved ice and snow cone machines that use cube ice, tempering is not necessary. We suggest just the opposite—drop the temperature of your ice storage freezer to around 5 to 10 degrees. You can do this by placing the cube ice in an ordinary chest freezer overnight. We have found that the harder the cube ice, the fluffier the snow produced by the ice shaver. This also works with snow cone machines as well.

If the cube ice gets too warm or watery, or as we call it “wet”, the ice shaver will produce very clumpy or crunchy snow. For example, the outdoor ice merchandiser that you see outside of your local convenience store often keep the bags of cube ice around 15 to 20 degrees, just cold enough to keep it from melting. If you take that ice directly from the store merchandiser and shave it you will get a fairly good cup of shaved ice. Instead of taking it directly from the ice merchandiser, drop it in a freezer overnight to allow the cube ice to get colder and harden a bit. Now when you shave the harder, colder ice, the ice will be fluffier than it was if taken directly from the merchandiser. One word of caution, if you get the ice too cold, the ice will be so fluffy that it will melt once syrup is added to it. If you find this is happening, simply increase the temperature in your chest freezer.

Block Ice Temperature -- Understanding the Importance

For quite some time we have discussed the various features of shaved ice and snow cone machines that use block ice. We have also discussed the economical benefits of using your own block ice maker or block ice molds if you have a busy location or multiple locations. If you use or are considering the use of block ice, it’s important to understand how to properly use ice blocks in your machine so that you create optimal products for your customers. The following information is from our “Cold Cash” business manual and discusses the importance of block ice temperature. Please feel free to contact us today for your FREE copyof our 105 page business manual that is full of great, helpful information!

For block shaved ice shavers, the temperature of your block ice can make or break your shaved ice business. Block ice that is too cold when shaved will not stick together. Ice that is too warm will create a clumpy mess. Either way, you will not get ideal results if your ice is not at the proper temperature when you get ready to use it.

To solve this problem you can “temper” or “warm up” your ice blocks in order to get the correct ice consistency. Tempering allows the ice to reach the ideal shaving temperature of 18 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit. To temper your ice, simply remove an ice block from the freezer about 25 to 30 minutes before you need it for shaving. You can place your block ice in 5 gallon buckets or restaurant bus trays during the tempering process. Once the ice block begins to melt on the outside surfaces, simply place the block into chest type ice coolers (48 or 60 quart coolers works best) in order to maintain the temperature. This sweating or melting of the ice blocks will be your signal that that ice has reached the tempered stage. If for some reason your block ice gets too warm either during the tempering process or while in the coolers, the ice will become clumpy and will not hold flavor well. If this were to happen, simply place the ice back into the freezer and let it refreeze.

One tip that will help with tempering is to adjust the temperature of your block ice storage freezer so that it stays within a range of 18 to 20 degrees. Simply place a freezer thermometer inside your freezer to assist you in maintaining the proper temperature setting. Allow 24 hours to pass for each temperature adjustment before taking your readings.

Tempering ice will take some practice to get used to in the beginning. Depending on how busy your stand is, you will need to adjust how many ice blocks are tempered at any given time. You will also need to get a feel for how often you need to replenish your tempered blocks. Remember, if you temper too many blocks at once you can always refreeze them.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

27 Years in the Snow Cone Business...Wow!

"The Snow Cone Lady" as she is affectionately called has been cranking out delicious snow cones for 27 years in Frisco, TX. I recommend that you read the entire article at As usual, there are some great nuggets of information to hold onto and apply in your own business.

One thing that we discuss frequently in our posts here is the need for consistency in everything you do with your business. After 27 years of being in the snow cone business, one thing I can guarantee is that her product is consistent and people like it. Evidence of that fact can be found in the following quote:

"Mathis said she’s seen more customers this opening season than any time in the past. While she always expects a few more people due to increased population and word of mouth — she never advertises — the increase this year was significant.

“I think that the economy probably has something to do with part of that increase because I try to keep my prices reasonable,” she said."

Again, I encourage you to read the entire article. Will you be able to sustain your snow cone or shaved ice business for 27 years? We hope so! By constantly evaluating your business practices, maintaining consistent customer service and offering your customers a quality product at an affordable price, you should be able to look forward to many, many years of success!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Young Entrepreneur in Las Vegas Chooses Shaved Ice Business

I came across this article today about a young man and his shaved ice business in Las Vegas, NV. I thought it was definitely worth sharing with our readers. It's always encouraging to read about young people who have solid goals in place and a strong work ethic to help them attain those goals! It looks like Jeff Brunner is hard at work to achieve his long term goals. I hope you don't quit pursuing your goal Jeff (I'm a pilot and flying airplanes is such a blast!).

As I've mentioned in the past, it's always good to read about other people's experiences in our industry. I think there are several good, key points to remember from this article. One major thing to take away from this article is that it is incredibly important to find out what laws and regulations are in place that will affect your business and your potential location. Do your homework!

I hope you enjoy the article!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Football Season...It's Time for Tailgating

Whether you enjoy the NFL, college football, or you're a serious fan of your local high school team, we know you're excited and pumped up about the beginning of the football season!

While some folks certainly are excited about the games...other people get even more excited about what happens before the game: tailgating! Tailgating has grown increasingly in its popularity over the years and with that, so has the food that's associated with tailgating. It's no longer just hot dogs, burgers, and beer. Many tailgate parties involve all sorts of culinary masterpieces! There are some incredibly creative tailgaters!

If you're one of those folks who enjoys tailgating, then we have a great addition to your tailgating arsenal! We have multiple styles to choose from: 12volt machines that will operate off of a deep cycle marine or rv battery or we even have a gas powered snow cone machine.

We offer six different 12volt shaved ice machines and 3 different 12volt snow cone machines. All of these machines are commercially designed, high volume machines that will easily take care of any tailgating needs for your group. The possibilities are limitless...not only can you serve the kids in your group a tasty, refreshing dessert before the game, but 'adult concoctions' can be created for you to enjoy too!

If you're looking for a machine that will turn heads and attract attention at your tailgate party, then you should consider the gas powered snow cone machine offered at When you fire this machine will draw a crowd!

Order your machine today along with all of the necessary supplies to create great tasting treats for the tailgating season. Order now and save during our summer sale.

Syrup Flavor of the Week: Lemon!

Summer isn't over just yet! Save now by ordering our Ready to Use Syrup Flavor of the Week at! Our award winning Lemon flavor is designed to taste just like the old fashion lemon drops. Tart, sweet, and tangy...this is a great flavor to be enjoyed on a warm summer day! It's perfect for those after school treats.

Order today
and save $3.00!

How to Perform the Proper Pour w/ Flavored Syrups

Once you have perfected the perfect dome (read the article) on your shaved ice or snow cone serving, you now are ready to pour the syrup (see diagram). Take any long neck quart bottle, with pouring spout, filled with your favorite shaved ice syrup and begin to pour the syrup on the ice. Start pouring the syrup at the outside edge of the cup (2) and work around the dome in a circular motion going from the outside edge to the center of the dome. (3) The goal is to let the syrup meet at the top. (4) Pour an extra shot of syrup down the middle of the cup to make certain that the syrup goes toward the bottom.

Using this method will ensure even coverage of the syrup throughout our customer’s snow cone or shaved ice treat. Bite after bite, your customers will be treated to a delicious, refreshing snack!

Be sure that everyone who works at your stand follows the same procedures. Consistency in service is important. You need to make sure that your customers receive the same delicious treat each and every time they visit your stand. This is important in building up a loyal customer base!

Interested in using the BEST flavored syrups around? Check out the award winning flavors offered from!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Back to School! Time to get the Sports Concession Stands Ready to Go!

With schools across the nation preparing for the 09/10 school year to start, many booster clubs, PTA groups and other school organizations are getting geared up for sporting events and other fundraising events.

For those groups who are already well established with equipment, we encourage you to check out the following products:

Cotton Candy Floss Concentrate – available in 8 great tasting flavors
Our Plain Cotton Candy Bags – available by the case
Our Plain Cotton Candy Cones – available by the case

For those groups who operate stands that have snow cone machines or shaved ice machines, please visit our website at to learn about all of the great products we feature at very competitive prices. If you’re looking to feature the best tasting snow cones and shaved ice, we encourage you to check out our award winning syrups! They will definitely please your customers and keep them coming back for more!

Sno-King 1888 Snow Cone Machine

The Sno-King 1888 snow cone machine is one of our most popular entry level models. Its durable construction and safety features make it an excellent choice for concession stands and party rental companies.

Please check out all of the great features of this excellently priced machine highlighted in this video:

Please feel free to call us at 1-800-742-8334 or email us at with any questions you may have about this great snow cone machine.