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.
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.
Before 2015 makes its appearance, it is the ideal time to look at your achievements from the current year and set forth goals for the upcoming year. Do you look at the new year as a clean slate? Do you make it a practice to clear out last year’s goals before year end?
Here are items to reflect upon before the new year arrives. Determine now whether you need to change the way you track and monitor your goals and successes:
- Are your goals clearly defined? You need to set goals that have measurable outcomes trackable performance indicators.
- Are you tracking the correct metrics? Are you using the proper tools to measure goals?
- Do you set aside time, on a regular basis, in your calendar and on your to-do list to check-in with your goals and make certain you’re on track? Taking time to regroup and set a new course early on is the best course of action; you don’t want to get to the end of the year and wonder what went wrong.
Take time now to write your goals down and kick start the new year with a plan of action!
Are there times when you feel you’re spinning your wheels when it comes to your marketing and prospecting efforts? If that’s the case you need to understand that in order to make your marketing effective you need to have a strategy and tactics in place that suit your particular, unique audience.
That being said, there are items that every marketing strategy should have in place:
- Understand what the life cycle of your prospect is, in other words do your sales usually follow a particular path? If so, your strategy must incorporate that unique process.
- How do your prospects want to be contacted? Email? Telephone? Text? Face-to-face meetings?
- Is there a way to automate any of the sales process? Either through mailings or email campaigns or other ways in which you can reach a target group of prospects all at one time?
When you’re looking back at the effectiveness of your 2014 sales and looking forward to 2015 and increased sales, you want to make sure the steps along your sales path are clearly defined.
Why isn’t the phone ringing? You’ve been attending networking events and conference and handing out your business cards so it stands to reason the phone should be difficult to keep up with, right?
Perhaps the reason it’s not ringing is because you don’t have a plan in place to follow up with those individuals you have me and networked with. Here are three steps you can implement that just might have your pool ringing off the hook:
- Make time for follow up phone calls or to send follow up emails. When you’re planning out your work week, you need to plan for prospecting and follow-ups. While it’s nice to believe that your prospects might just call you back, they are likely just as busy as you are and you need to be proactive.
- Write a thank you note. If someone has done something nice for you, send a thank you note. If you meet someone at a networking event, rather than sending an email follow up, break out of that routine (hint, that is what everyone does!) and send a handwritten “great to meet you” note.
- Make certain your prospecting goals are realistic. Don’t jot on your to-do list that you will make 50 follow up calls this week. That number is daunting and likely not realistic. Set a goal of making two or three calls a day or set aside an afternoon and make ten calls. Make sure the goal is attainable or it will become insurmountable.
What plans do you have in place for prospect follow ups?
How robust is your business bio? Do you have a complete profile on LinkedIn or on your other business social media pages? Is your About Page on your website all it can be?
Here are some tips to write a bio that helps you sell yourself:
- Who is your audience? Your bio shouldn’t be a one size fits all, it should fit the medium and the audience you’re reaching.
- Consider what are your most important qualifications, or what words you’d like potential clients to search for you under. Think “Google” search when you’re writing your bio.
- Do you have any qualifications or specialized training of note? If so, note it!
- Make sure your bio has easy to find contact information. If someone searches you out, you want to make it easy for them to find you!
When is the last time you’ve checked your business bios and profiles?
Business owners today need a web presence in order to compete. However, simply building a website doesn’t guarantee that:
- You will be found or
- That your ideal clients will be the ones who visit your site… but
If you’re taking the time and putting in the effort to have a website and a blog constructed you need to know what steps to take to make sure your site is search engine optimized. Here are our best practice tips to make that happen:
- Research your business’s keywords. Take a step back and ask yourself, “if a potential client is looking for me what search terms will he use to find me?” Work those terms into your website and blog posts.
- Make sure you title your blog posts so that your keywords show up in the URL; this helps search engines find you.
- Put time and thought into the crafting of your title and make sure keywords are being added to it.
- You don’t need to go keyword heavy. In fact, don’t use keywords unless they make sense and sound natural in a sentence. The rule of thumb should be no more than three keywords or keyword phrases per post — be aware though that Google changes its algorithms frequently and this is subject to change.
- Add an image to your posts. The image should make sense with the copy you’re writing. You should also include at least one outbound link and include a link that also drives traffic back to information on your site that relates to the post.
How often do you blog and do you find it is helping your website visibility? If you’re stumped, give us a call.
If you’ve spent any time on social media such as Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn you have seen the individuals who only post what we refer to as self-serving, buy-me posts. We call those individuals social media leeches and that is something you don’t want to be.
When it comes to social media you want to be a social media giver. How can you do that? There are at least three ways that we have come up with and they are:
- Share the information of others. Facebook loves it, and you, when you share the links that others have posted on their pages. Also, when you’re sharing that link, you are helping a colleague get his or her name known and they may return the favor.
- Be part of the conversation. Social media should be just that — social. Comment on the posts of others. Yes, it’s easy enough to give a post a “thumbs up” but it’s even better to write a few words on why you’re liking it.
- Your posts should be a ratio of 80% sharing good information that makes you the go-to person for your particular area of expertise to 20% buy-me posts. Yes, you want to let people know that you have goods or services to sell, but they will know that simply by the fact of your being online posting because they will see your name.
What can you do to be a social media giver?
Chances are, when you started your business you formulated a mission and vision statement, right? These two statements helped you to define “who” your business is and
who your ideal clients are and what the services you provide can do to address their pain points.
If you don’t have a mission or vision statement for your business, you can contact us and we can help you work those details out. Not having these items could mean your business is meandering rather than having a direct path to success.
Here are some tips to help you pull together a mission or vision statement:
- Business vision: This is where you define “who” your business is, who you serve and how you measure success.
- Business mission: When answering this question you will determine what your business will accomplish and what services you will offer and why.
- Business purpose: Why does your business exist? What is its purpose? What pain points does it address?
- Business goals: What are they? How will you accomplish them? What steps do you need to take to achieve them and how will you know when you’ve arrived? Writing your goals down will help you focus on them and accomplish them.
- Business success timeline: Adding specific dates for achieving milestones keeps you focused. Having a timeline also includes having a budget for the steps you’re implementing as part of your mission and vision statement.
How well fleshed out is your mission and vision statement? When did you last review them? Are you now thinking, “I need one but need help!?” If so, contact us!
As an entrepreneur it’s go-go-go from morning until night and even when you fall, exhausted, into bed you still have a to-do list that is a mile long, right? As a business owners you’re not punching a time clock and getting paid for simply showing up. As a business owner you reap what you sow — work hard get rewarded, don’t work hard and your bottom line suffers.
If you’re burning the candle at both ends here are three stress-reducing steps you can consider:
- Take care of yourself physically and mentally. Eat a healthy diet. Get up and move around. Get in the habit of standing and walking around when you’re taking a phone call. Start your day with a healthy breakfast. Take a walk. Step away from work and enjoy a healthy lunch. Self-care can help you deal with the stress.
- Attitude matters. If you pop out of bed in the morning thinking, “This is going to be a fantastic day” chances are it will! If you find yourself getting burdened with stressful situations, step away, take a deep breath and start over.
- Take a break. If there are days when it all seems too much you may need to step completely away for an hour or so. Call a friend. Take a walk. Meditate. Pick up a book and read five or ten pages.
What do you when you the stress of running your business gets to be overwhelming?