Recordkeeping Made Easy

Whether you pride yourself on staying organized or you are a self-proclaimed slob, there are few business owners in this world that actually look forward to doing filing, book-keeping, and managing their records. We all know that that we should stay organized, the question is how to do it and not spend any more time and energy than absolutely necessary.  Not everyone is in the position to hire a professional – but it should be a consideration when looking at the value of your time as a business owner.  Regardless, here are a few simple steps that you follow to improve your effectiveness:
  1. Don’t Mix Personal with Business. It’s critical that personal and business finances be kept separate at all times, regardless of a company’s size – even a small start-up must first begin with its own accounts. You must then devise an earnings management strategy dictating how cash is removed from the business to meet personal expenses and savings goals – in essence, how to manage cash flow.
  2. Reconcile Without Fail. Reconciling your business’s books with your business bank statement every month is one of your most fundamental accounting duties – never, ever miss it, and follow up immediately on any errors you discover.
  3. Know the Difference Between Profits and Cash Flow. To have an accurate picture of your company’s true financial condition at all times, work with an accountant to produce regular financial statements. These consist of a balance sheet, income statement, and profit and loss statement, which should be produced at least quarterly.
  4. Keep/Label/File Everything. All receipts, bills, invoices, and timesheets – all of it, no matter how small or insignificant you might feel it is. Organizing your filing system is worth taking an entire day off to do if necessary (that is if you are not outsourcing to begin with) – just know that it will save you COUNTLESS hours down the road.
  5. If You Delegate – Do it Wisely. It is best not to have just one employee handle every aspect of the bookkeeping/recordkeeping system. Or if they do, have them systemize their processes so that it can be easily learned by a new hire, or audited by a professional. Remember that losses from internal fraud could significantly cripple a small business, or even lead to bankruptcy.
  6. Focus Carefully on Employee/Payroll Records. These records are painstaking, gray-hair springing, head-banging chores that are amazingly easy to go cross-eyed over. Mistakes aren’t taken kindly by the IRS, and they LOVE to charge interest on underpayments. And if you overpay – do you think they will tell you? Also make sure your employees are classified correctly in the first place, and that you are withdrawing the right amount of taxes for each individual.
YOUR CHALLENGE:  To review your recordkeeping and implement one improvement to that will make your life even easier.

Going For the Gold

For ten straight days the world stops to watch the athletes from all over the world compete in 26 sporting challenges.  As we sit mesmerized in front of our big screen TV’s watching event after event and listening to those around us recall the individual stories of the athletes, we can learn a lot. Some of the lessons we can learn include: Routine. Athletes put a lot of attention or thought into, their routines.  What routines have you built in your business to keep you on track? Positive Mindset. They must have strong minds as well as strong bodies.  The best athletes believe they can win.  How do you stay positive when faced with challenge? Energy. What they eat, how they train, who they surround themselves with, are all done with the intention to provide them with the energy required to compete.  What are you doing to keep your energy level at its peak? Competition. Olympians do not shy away from competition, nor do they win every competition, but they see it as a necessary to continue to learn and improve.  What did you learn the last time you lost and how did that improve your business for the next time? Sacrifice. Nothing else seems to matter to these athletes.  You will often hear them thank their families for making it possible.  What have you had to sacrifice in order to achieve success and have you thanked those around you who helped make it possible? Commitment. The pledge to work toward a goal is evident by the schedule they keep, and dedication to work day in and day out – no matter what.  What commitments have you made to the success of your business, are they obvious day in and day out? Concentrate. Olympians demonstrate an unwavering focus.  They simply don’t have room for distractions.  How do you reduce the number of distractions that keep you from accomplishing the task at hand? Schedule. They have a plan, they work the plan, and they rely on the plan to remove the guesswork from what they need to do to accomplish their goals.  How current is the plan you are working from?  Are you using it to remove the guesswork? YOUR CHALLENGE:  Challenge yourself to take on the attributes of an Olympian in your business.   Choose one attribute and live it!  

Loyalty Counts

Most of us have heard the statistic that marketing to existing customers is 6-10 times more effective than marketing to new customers.  We have also heard that it is less expensive and less time consuming to keep a customer than it is to find a new customer.  Than why do so many companies spend so little marketing dollars on existing customers? It is your job to make sure that your customers remember you, understand your value, and ultimately refer you.  It is your job to stay top of mind with your current customers! Find meaningful ways to stay in touch with your customers.  Use email newsletters, reward them for loyalty, have customer appreciation events, give them magic moments, let them know that you miss them and send them special offers that give them a reason to come back. Sometimes we get so focused on the hunting of new prospects, opening new markets and lead generation that we need to be reminded of those customers who have been with us over the long haul.  The customers that help us pay the rent and keep the lights on. Smart established businesses have an aggressive plan to make sure that they stay in front of their existing customers, and don’t take their loyalty for granted. YOUR CHALLENGE:  Review how you are caring for and nurturing the relationship you have with your existing customers – and find a meaningful way to reconnect.