Not only is it a new year, it’s an entirely new decade. If there was ever a time to take a fresh look at your business this is it. Since you are likely inundated with lots of new year’s resolution obligations - you know, the classic things like “go to the gym more”, “eat healthier”, we’ll keep it simple for you. Here are five items to implement into your new year of business that will yield the best results.
Number One: Leverage the Cloud
It’s 2020. If you are not using cloud based systems that make your life massively easier and your business disaster resistant - do it. Now. Technology has made time consuming and complicated business tasks so much simpler. Even Post-it notes are digital nowadays.
Being cloud based also allows you to function from anywhere, have clutterless desks and is an asset when it comes to business continuity (more on that - here). Online accounting software like Quickbooks not only keeps your books and shares stats with your accountant, but integrates with other helpful programs. Payroll and time tracking software like Gusto, Harvest, or TSheets makes tracking employee time and distributing tax forms a breeze (see how that works, here).
When it comes to corporate documents, SOPs and templates, cloud storage like Google Drive and DropBox are great for centralizing items for employees to access as needed. Having forms that can be signed digitally using programs like PandaDoc, make onboarding new employees and clients quick and painless.
If ever there was a win for any business when it comes to storage space, mobility and automation, cloud based operating is it. Try it, we promise it will change operations immensely.
Number Two: You’re A Business Owner. Act Like One.
Being a professional means adopting habits and making consistent decisions that keep your business running properly - not on a whim. If you haven’t already, develop a cadence for accomplishing certain tasks. It is time to stop waiting for deadlines to ignite your business owner initiative. That’s amateur stuff, which gets you amateur results.
Plan time to work on things. If you are doing your own bookkeeping, set aside a day or chunk of time each week to make entries, upload receipts and categorize transactions. You will find that when you proactively plan out time, the stress level diminishes greatly. If you know taxes are due, get them finished now versus later. Imagine actually having time to make changes or review your work instead of hoping you covered everything.
Think about being able to map out your slow months ahead of time, so you can make cash decisions each month to ensure you have back up in the future (read more on planning for slow season here). This is all very obtainable by managing your time properly. Don’t be a martyr with your time, either. Delegate responsibilities, hire help and automate tasks you do repeatedly. Automate recurring invoices, set reminders for important tasks and keep yourself on track with technology and release the burden of trying to remember all of these things. There is an app or system nowadays to help you manage your tasks and time, guaranteed.
Number Three: Know Your Numbers (aka KPIs)
Pick three key performance indicators (KPI’s) and monitor them on a weekly and monthly basis. Examples are: what it costs to acquire a customer, top line sales and gross profit margin. Get a sense of what drives these numbers too, by paying attention to the details. What are you spending in man hours, equipment, products, inventory? How are these costs being recouped through what you are charging? And does that number truly mean you make money or are you secretly tanking?
The basis of understanding KPIs is having a budget and comparing your actual performance to it. This is in your profit and loss statement. See where there may be swings in certain areas. Are you spending more than you planned? Why is this? This could be a positive thing. Maybe you obtained two new clients and needed to pay overtime to existing employees to get the job done while you acquire new hires. This is something that when you monitor it, you can understand it better. Maybe you actually should hire more people than you originally thought. What is your cost to acquire that new customer? Look at time paid, advertising expense and what you get in return.
Once you find the KPIs you would like to track, set goals to work toward. The information may really surprise you.
Circling back to number one - there are also amazing software programs that help you understand your KPIs in more detail. We use a program called Fathom, which digs down into your numbers and helps display them in a way that makes visual sense. It is an excellent way to see trends and what needs to happen in order to meet your goals. For the ultimate run down on KPIs, check out our guide: What Your Business Numbers Are Saying.
Number Four: Don’t Procrastinate
Number Four in the list goes hand in hand with Number Two. The key takeaway is: be proactive, not reactive. Planning and thinking ahead are necessary in running a functional business. There is no benefit to cramming all of your work into short amounts of time. It typically ends in a shoddy result, because you are working under stress. Now is the time to stop being a victim of your business and be a leader. Big deadlines don’t just include taxes and payroll payments. There are also items you should be assigning time to like making a budget, assessing your financial performance on a regular basis (see number three) and strategic planning. Hold yourself accountable to be a better business owner and manager. Just think of the positive side of putting in the work.
Number Five: Ask For Help
Finally, if it’s overwhelming or out of your league, ask for help. The reason you went into business was not to be a jack of all trades working non-stop to save a buck. That’s called burn out. Contrary to popular belief, outsourcing tasks and hiring help don't equate to less margin for you. In fact, it is quite the opposite. When you can delegate tasks that sap you of your time and creative energy, you can free up your focus for expanding your business. For instance, outsourced accounting means that the scary KPI tracking we mentioned in number three can actually be a monthly phone call with your accounting pro-team at Accountfully. How cool is that? The drill down work done for you and the valuable insight presented to you in an easy to understand fashion.
Hopefully these five new items to incorporate into your business this year will help you see more success and understand your business better. If things are messy and you need help, that’s fine too. Chances are, Accountfully has seen (and helped) something similar. We can help you get back in the game or improve upon a great one. If these tips all sound great, but not within your scope of focus, fill out our get started form. We’d love to talk more and see where we can help you.