And I Repeat…

I don’t blog often ‘cuz rhapsodizing about efficient office systems and how a P&L is a fantastic tool for running your business doesn’t do it for most folks and I have been advised not to bore people with the joy it brings me.

But today is April 14th (Aargh!!) and the first 2018 tax filing is tomorrow, or if you live in Massachusetts or Maine, Wednesday, April 17; and I am thinking about the reason you haven’t filed.

Could be any number of things. Could be you just don’t wanna. Could be you want to take a bit more time to review your information. Could be you need a new accountant.

First, file an extension  and breathe a bit.

Ok. Now let’s take a look at what’s up. Are you not ready because your information hasn’t been completed for 2018? That’s what is often the case with many of the business owner’s and solo entrepreneurs I speak with. It’s not that they don’t want to be ready. Every year they plan on getting everything in place so they can have this task checked off before the deadline, it’s just that they don’t have the time to take care of their day-to-day administrative tasks.

So, I am about to beat that drum again. Acknowledge the need and hire help. I know it doesn’t feel like it but it doesn’t mean that you lose control of your business.

The secret is to hire a person you trust to take care of the day-to-day administrative needs. And by day-to-day, I don’t mean that you need to hire a full-time or even every-week part-time employee. If your business is crazy busy and generates lots of paperwork, or you want to have someone available to answer phones then yes… hire someone for daily assistance. That doesn’t mean they have to be full-time, though.

First, figure out everything you need to be done but can no longer handle yourself during your normal business hours. Part of the consideration for bringing on staff (employee or a freelance worker like me) should be that you will get your evenings and weekends back. That would be lovely, yes?

So, you have the list. No? Can’t think of everything that gets done because it is always on the fly?

Let me get you started. In no particular order…

– Answering voice messages and returning phone calls
– Reviewing and replying to email requests for services
– Reviewing and replying to client emails
– Reviewing email for vendor bills
– Paying bills
– Invoicing clients
– Tracking outstanding monies due to you
– Ordering supplies for your services
– Ordering office supplies
– Reviewing time sheets and handling payroll
– Ordering uniforms
– Marketing
– Filing

That’s quite a list. Did you know you were taking care of all of that… and probably more things unique to your business? Of course you did, because you have been doing it all.

So let’s take a look again. What can you hand off without losing control of your business? How about almost everything.

It’s all about systems, training and hiring the right person.

Sounds like I think it’s easy but I can assure you that I know it is not. And depending on where you are in your business, it can take time to get it right. But you can get it right and once that happens, you can comfortably take your business where you want it to go and, get more of your personal life back.

How do you do it? One step at a time.

I know… How cliché is that? It is, however true. It can take time but each step will get you closer to your goal.

Don’t know where to start? Drop me a note and we can chat. I love helping businesses grow and owner’s keep their joy.

Just a thought.

 

A bit of help

I’ve been contacted by several owners lately who are looking for assistance organizing their businesses. Part of that organizing will include bookkeeping but the real need is to get systems in place that will make it easier to stay on top of the day-to-day, week-to-week business needs.

When money is tight, the temptation is to believe you can do it yourself. And you can, but often at the cost of your business. If you are the face or key employee providing labor or services, it isn’t a good use of your time to take care of the general administrative tasks. And the truth is, if you could, you would already be doing it.

The next time you are working on your budget. (You have an annual budget, right?) Include a line for office assistance. Then imagine what you can do with those extra 4 to 20 hours you get back each month. Grow your business? Spend time with family and friends. A new hobby?

Sounds nice, doesn’t it.

Just a thought

Kim at KC Solutions

Starting your business

I’ve recently began working with a young woman who is starting a practice. During our conversation she told me that her school taught her a few things about marketing but nothing about how to start a business.

I find that fascinating.

I had been thinking that a student attaining a degree in her profession would at least be be given a general course to help understand the processes needed to have a successful start to what will hopefully be the thing that will enrich and support her.

Silly me.

I’m not an expert so I am not going to list what you should do and how you should do it. I am going to share my recommendations based on what I have seen through the years. They are in no particular order.

Earn while you learn – If the opportunity presents itself and you are lucky enough to work for someone who will let you “pick their brains” go for it. It isn’t postponing you starting your business; it ‘s helping you train to run it better.

Write down your vision and reach for the sky – There is nothing wrong with making a big long-term plan. Why not set up a goal? Just don’t set yourself up for failure by making unattainable goals in your first 5 years. That will just bring you down and take your joy.

Make a business plan and ask for advice – Look for a mentor. Take advantage of classes and the assistance offered by the Small Business Association.

Plan on making adjustments to your plan – Things may happen that you have no control over. There will be pain. There will be errors. Try to “plan” them in. Be ready to be flexible.

Find a “Business Buddy” – If you have someone to talk to about your successes, trials & tribulations, it will help keep you sane.

Pay yourself – Even if it is a tiny bit each week. This will help remind you that you have made the decision to make this your job.

Set at least 20% aside for your tax payments – You will need to pay estimated quarterly taxes based on your earnings. If you start with your 1st receivable it will hurt a lot less on the 15th of April, June, September and January,

Outsource the parts you don’t enjoy as soon as you can – This will keep you focused and happy on the the tasks that empower you and that will be good for you and your company.

This process can be frustrating, unnerving and scary.
It can be exciting, exhilarating and fulfilling.

Through it all – Don’t lose your Joy.

Joy

I’ve been thinking a lot about Joy. Not really surprising I guess. ‘Tis the season after all. But what I have been thinking about is the joy I feel when I can help a business owner overcome that “thing” that is bringing them down or holding them back.

Sometimes it is a simple as handling the bookkeeping or acting as their office manager; allowing me to carry part of the burden of managing the business side of their business.

I often think of this as the back-end. Most of my clients have companies where they are the face of their business and this often means a lot of time away from the office. They are frequently in their company’s early stage which also means that a lot of the responsibility for the day-to-day administrative tasks falls on them.

And those tasks are more than sending invoices, phoning in payroll and paying bills. Even when we don’t want to, we generate paperwork. And tax audit support still requires receipts. Paper or electronic, those need to be filed and, hopefully, tagged with the purpose of the purchase. It’s a lot of stuff and when you are starting out it doesn’t always feel important but, as I often tell myself “Start as you will go” so even though it may not feel necessary now, having a system in place as your business grows can make that growth a bit less painful.

Creating these systems also helps you identify the tasks that should be given away as quickly as possible. Every task needed to successfully run a business is important but not every task needs to be performed by the owner (the most highly compensated employee – we hope) or manager. As I noted in my Happiness blog, there are tasks that can be handed off that not only relieve your stress but allow an enterprising somebody to learn and earn.

And now I circle back to Joy. But your joy as a business owner. Is the day-to-day administrative stuff taking that away? Are you beginning to forget why you started your business to begin with? Have you lost the time to do that thing that used to make your long days worth it?

Ask for help.

It’s not a reflection of an owner not being able to manage their business.

It is a reflection of an owner knowing how to manage their business growth.

Just a thought.

 

Notice the forest

Sometimes all we can see are the trees. We get so involved in the details we fail to notice the forest.

Spending all of your time running around taking care of the details –  although they’re necessary –  can oftentimes make you forget why you decided to start your business in the first place.

And your business may suffer because there is no one to see the big picture – the forest – and notice the slow-moving blight that could be causing so much harm.

When you have a good bookkeeper, you have someone else keeping an eye on for your business. They may be able to see patterns before you: price increases from vendors, unusual expense reporting, clients who regularly take forever to pay. Working with someone who keeps on top of your income and expenses and provides you the data you need to support your organization is one less thing on your plate.

This position is a big deal and trust is essential so don’t go lightly into the process of hiring a bookkeeper. Make sure they know your expectations and can follow through and make sure you are available to provide the support needed for them to do their job well.

Take a look at how much time and effort you are spending on your company’s bookkeeping. Now imagine that time being spent with your family & friends or increasing your sales or creating a new product or networking.

Just a little something to think about.

 

StickFigureKim-74x85