Are you a small business owner wanting to get ahead in 2018? Do you know your business practices need a little tidying up — and that you need to get more organized? Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed by the possibility of having to overhaul your small business?
If you answered “yes” to these questions, then you are facing a very similar problem that many small business owners face every day. But a new year is a great time to begin new practices — and believe it or not, many of them are surprisingly easy to complete with a big impact for you and your business.
If you’re ready to start the year off on the right side of your small business, then read on to get our six expert tips for organizing your small business in 2017. With a little effort and practice, you’ll be on your way to changing things for the better and improving your bottom line. Here’s how to do it:
Tip #1: Create Different Accounts for Personal and Business Finances
One of the biggest mistakes small business owners make is they pool all of their money for both their personal and business practices into one account. It doesn’t take long for this system to get confusing — and before you know it, all of your expenses are jumbled. Come tax season, it becomes very difficult to determine how money was expensed and disbursed.
Therefore, no matter how small your business may be, make it a point to create two accounts — one for your personal finances and one for your business finances, thus keeping them separate. You’ll be able to clearly differentiate the monies and matters of both — and you’ll save yourself a ton of headache at the end of the year.
One additional bonus tip while you’re at it: Make sure you’re saving between 25 and 30 percent of the money you make via your small business in a savings account. Come tax season, you’ll need to pay taxes on the untaxed money you earned.
Tip #2: Consider Trying Small Business Accounting Software
Small business accounting software is an easy and rather inexpensive way to get organized from top to bottom of your business. Categorize expenses, send invoices for services and products, make to-do lists and goal lists to hit throughout the year, run monthly reports — and more.
A great accounting software system will keep your business digitally organized and will give you numbers at your fingertips so you always know how your business is doing in the day-to-day of work life. Stop looking for missing papers and reports. But away your calculator. Accounting software does all of the filing and all of the calculating — all for you.
Tip #3: Triage Your Email Inbox
With the amount of email one can get in a day, it’s important to stay organized in your inbox. You can do this in two really efficient ways. The first is to create different folders for different categories of emails. It might be by client or industry. Make folders that make sense to you and your workflow.
Then, tame your email by triaging your responses during three key periods of the day. We all know how much time email sucks away from the work day — and when you are interrupted from your current work flow to read an email that comes into your inbox, you become distracted and lose mental energy and time.
So triage your inbox once in the morning, once in the afternoon and once before you leave work. The amount of time you spend responding will vary, but it’s a good rule of thumb to perhaps start with responding for an hour during the morning, 30 minutes in the afternoon and an hour before you leave. This gives you more time to run the daily operations of your small business while still responding to your clients in a timely manner throughout the day.
Tip #4: Go Paperless as Much as Possible
Even when it comes to your taxes, you can send the IRS electronic receipts, so it makes sense to try to de-clutter the paper arm attached to your small business by going paperless. You can get digital versions of every paper you need for your business and store them online or on your computer. Just make sure that you have a good cloud storage system — or a program that operates with the Cloud — so that even if your computer crashes, you’ll have all your documents living on after the death of your current technology!
Tip #5: Organize Your Teams
A new year provides a new opportunity to re-evaluate the structure of your teams and their workflow. Are the right people on the most efficient teams? Does the workflow make sense and lead to maximum output? Are there tweaks you can make to foster better teamwork, relationships and ultimately, products and services of your small business?
Spend some time at the beginning of the year looking at your team structures with fresh eyes. Shaking up teams sometimes is a great boost to your small business because it gets new people working together who have diverse voices and experiences. From there, they are able to form creative approaches to problem solving and take genius risks for your small business that more traditional teams and structures might not have. And that’s always good for energizing business.
Tip #6: Manage Your Inventory
As a small business owner, you want to make sure you are keeping track of your inventory. Major money is lost over that missing t-shirt or mug over time because it’s never just “one.” In the new year, consider investing in a new inventory tracking system — with barcode technology.
You want to be able to easily scan the goods coming into your business and track them as they are going out. This not only keeps you organized from a cost management perspective, but it keeps you organized in the eyes of your prospective and current customers. You don’t want to disappoint a customer who has already paid for an item only to have to send that person an email to say the item is out of stock or is on back order.
Are You Ready to Make a Change for Your Small Business?
If you’re ready to get organized in 2018, there is nothing like today to begin cleaning house at your small business! With these simple and effective expert tips for getting organized, you’ll be on your way to achieving your goals for your small business and saving money along the way.
To help prevent being overwhelmed by the process, remember to take treat these expert tips like steps in a process. Implement one a week until you have completed all six tips. What you’ll find is that you will systematically and strategically create a new environment for your small business to thrive and you’ll begin to develop new organizational habits that will stick.
Theresa Todman, Managing Partner/CEO of B&M Financial Management Services, LLC . Theresa works with small business owners and entrepreneurs to assist them with financial management and creating organized systems and procedures. She specializes in bookkeeping, accounting, QuickBooks solutions, small business tax issues and consulting.
Join BMFMS on Social Media