We may not be accountants, but we know that business owners need to track their income and expenses as well as keep track of myriad other details that will help make tax filing time much easier. It doesn’t matter if you’re a first time business owner or a long-time entrepreneur, now is the time to make certain your business is in a good place with its record keeping — don’t wait until December 31!
What can you do to stay organized and on track with your business records?
- Set up folders — whether virtual or in a file drawer — label them and take time at the end of every day to put the paperwork into the folders that needs to go there.
- Keep track of your receipts. File your invoices and income. Set up file folders for your clients so you know when they need to be billed and whether they’ve paid.
- Have your contractors and employees complete W9s or W2s at the beginning of the year and file them with your year-end tax information.
- Track the miles that you drive for business. Keep a mileage log in your vehicle and note your beginning and ending miles every time you get into the car to visit a client or attend a meeting. Tally up the miles at the end of the year and share them with your accountant.
- Build your business team. Look for an accountant, a legal advisor, an administrative assistant or a marketing person, etc. determine what roles need to be filled to keep your business viable and for which you don’t have the time or talent to complete.
We can help you with your business systems, business plan and with implementing systems and processes to make your business as successful as it can be.
You cannot do it all. What does this mean to an entrepreneur? It means you need to set boundaries (and likely learn to delegate) but in order to truly get anything done, you need to set boundaries with colleagues and even family in order to get to the tasks at hand.
We know it’s tempting to work all day, every day, especially when you’re in growth or start up mode, but doing that means you leave yourself at risk of illness and honestly the more you work, the less productive you become.
What can you do to set boundaries and remain productive? Here are three suggestions:
- Social media and anything online can take away valuable time from the tasks at hand. Turn off your email and social media notifications and set your mind to a particular task. Once that task is complete, treat yourself to a little online interaction.
- Is there a task you’re procrastinating? Did you know that procrastination takes more mental energy and saps your reserves than simply jumping into a task you’re dreading? It does. Give yourself a time limit — 15- or 30-minutes — and delve into a task you’re dreading. Anyone can work on any objectionable task in small chunks.
- Be deliberate in your plans. If you make a goal concrete rather than vague you are more likely to complete it. For example, saying, “I will make client follow up calls Wednesday” instead of, “On Wednesday from 10 am until noon I will make client follow up calls.” Even better would be to attach a number to that, “I will make 10 client follow up calls between 10 am and noon on Wednesday.” If you don’t set a time frame to it, the day will come and go and that item will remain undone.
Set limits. Write your goals down. Note if your productivity increases.
How productive are you? When is your most productive day of the week and when is your least productive day? The answers might surprise you and you should compare your results to these:
- It’s been shown that Tuesday is the most productive day of the week; Friday is the least.
- The most productive time of the day is 10:26 am and the lest productive is 2:55 pm.
Do you agree with these? While it might be difficult to pinpoint the exact moment when you’re the most, or the least, productive, we’re certain you’ve heard of the “three o’clock slump” so we think that’s where the 2:55 pm comes from.
What does all this mean to the business owner? It means you should take time to determine when you, personally, are most and least productive and then arrange your work tasks around those times. Tackle the hardest tasks when you’re most productive aka attentive and menial tasks during your own slump-time.
Do you know your personal productivity times?
When social media was first “taking off” everyone touted the numbers of followers and likes they had on their Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn pages, but did those numbers matter? Were those people engaged with you and your content? Chances are some were, but there were those that were not.
In everything you do in your business you should be tracking your numbers and your successes as well as your failures. But to make it valid and to make those numbers mean something, you need to track the correct ones.
After you’ve set a goal, here are some numbers you may want to monitor:
- The time frame for your goal, broken down into measurable, actionable items. Track whether those goals are being met.
- What numbers actually mean success? Is it dollars? Numbers of new clients? Additional engaged followers on your social media pages? More clicks on your newsletter? Once you choose the numbers, it’s best to put a dollar value to them. Why? You’re in business to make money, right?
- Compare the goals you’ve set with the goals you’ve met. It doesn’t do any good to set a goal if you’re not checking in to see if you’re achieving the results you’d set for yourself.
What are you measuring? Are you following up to make sure they are numbers that make sense? We work with clients to help them set goals and targets. If you need assistance, contact us.