Cash Flow Challenge

We all know that in order to grow, you’ve got to spend money. The challenge is, where do you get it from?

If you think you’re ready to grow, think again. The signs may have been positive lately: revenues are up, you’re selling more services, and work in coming in faster than you know what to do with. Maybe it’s time to grow your team with new hires, or even increase your marketing budget. Whatever you decide, you want to make sure the foundations of your business are solid enough for the increase.

Growing isn’t just about increasing revenues but increasing capacity as well, all while maintaining the quality of service your customers expect. Neglecting the fact that you’ll need to know where you stand financially and if you can handle the increase, has previously destroyed countless businesses before. Businesses have overspent on marketing and hiring, without knowing how to boost revenue – soon to run out of money.  Conversely, businesses that take on more business than they can handle often implode.

So, what’s the best plan to grow without access to more capital? Draw up a growth plan and fund it from inside your own business. Whatever you do, don’t max out your credit cards. Start looking for money any place you can.

One way is by factoring. Factoring is when a bank or finance company pays you for the invoices that you’ve already sent out. These invoices should have a return of 60 to 90 days, which at that time this particular factoring company can pay you a decent number of cents on the dollar. To find a company that’s right for you, research institutions that advertise in your industry’s trade magazines, that way you know that they’re familiar with your market.

Another way to get access to cash is to get an asset-based loan using inventory as collateral. A lender may find that your raw materials are more valuable, and lend you money against it. You can use the money to fund the production, using the proceeds from the finished product to pay off the loan. An unsecured loan, such as a Personal Line of Credit is also an option, but make sure you can repay what you’re taking out.

Depending on the type of business you have, you can optimize your liquidity in different ways. Such as persuading retailers to purchase your inventory up front at a discount, instead of paying you when they sell. You could even create an arrangement where a supplier only gets paid once you’ve been paid by your customers or retailers.

A different approach would be to see how your high-quality product can be manufactured at a fraction of the cost – that way it can be sold at a better margin. The relationship you build with your supplier can eventually give you better leverage to negotiate better terms in the long run.

In the end, it’s all about making sure every dollar you spend contributes to you becoming profitable. Nothing is more exhilarating than growing a successful business from scratch – wouldn’t you agree? You have to remember though that growing a successful business can take a lot longer than expected, and cost way more than you plan.

Ready to have a conversation? Email me at judi.otton@growth-cast.com.

Budgeting for SEO – with Guest Blogger Sharon Arena

By Guest Blogger: Sharon Arena of Salty Red Dog Marketing, LLC

Running a small business is not easy.  Most small businesses have limited resources and extremely tight budgets, especially when it comes to sales and marketing.  Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is best defined as the process by which the visibility of your website can be improved within search engines. This means that your website will be more visible on the first few pages on Google or Yahoo, rather than lost in the back.

Some business owners don’t have the budget to spend on web design or an SEO organization, so often they try to do it themselves or.  Expensive SEO does not necessarily mean better, but it should at least indicate a level of care and quality.  Starting off with a small SEO budget could make it more expensive in the long run.  Regardless of the cost of SEO, services for organic searches typically do not yield immediate results.  The time frame for getting results depends on variables such as competition, budget, the demand for product or service and of course the search engines.  Sometimes due to the uncertainty of the outcome, many businesses will try to minimize their risk by allotting small amounts of money from their budget, and not understand the services they are paying for.

Setting up SEO isn’t a one-time event. Search-engine algorithms change constantly to regular research and knowledge is required. As much as we’d like to see instant gratification with our hard work, results often take months to be seen – especially if you’re newer to doing business online. When starting an SEO plan, make sure you have clearly defined goals for your SEO efforts. You’ll need web analytic software in place so you can keep track of what’s working and what’s not. If you decide to pay for an SEO company, make sure you ask a lot of questions. Ask what kind of tactics they use. Ask what are the risks involved?

If you are paying for SEO then the goal should be to see an increase in returns, not just rankings.  Just keep things in perspective – spending a few hundred dollars a month and expecting major results is probably not realistic.  Essentially, when paying for SEO you are paying for time.  SEO can, however, deliver quick results. It can be effective in the short term and help a business who needs immediate results.

It’s important to consider SEO as a marketing campaign.  Sometimes you catch a break in the beginning, but usually, a successful campaign is built over time.  SEO is not so much about the cost, but more as an investment – a crucial piece of your companies marketing plan.  SEO can increase sales without a proportionate increase in marketing costs, which will result in increased profits over time.  Clients are constantly researching online, and are using the internet for comparison with different companies.

SEO plays a vital role in the researching and buying cycle.  Essentially, it’s about being where your potential customers are and guiding them towards what you are offering.  SEO can make your brand stronger, better and well recognized.  As people search for critical and relevant keywords and phrases, they should find you at the top of search results.  SEO has been proven to be one of the most highly cost-effective forms of online marketing, delivering a higher return for every dollar invested.  Having effective SEO can attract thousands, even millions of targeted prospects to your business website.

The residual effect and impact of SEO continue far beyond the time you invest into a campaign because the momentum will sustain for many weeks, often years, making SEO very cost efficient as a marketing choice for your business.

For more information about Sharon Arena or this topic, visit her website at www.saltyreddogmarketing.com.

TEAMS

A team is a way of organizing different people with different goals and plans.  When a team is successful, it funnels the energy of team members for the overall good. Your team is also probably your biggest single expense, so it’s important to get the most out of them!

 

Do You Have The Right People On Your Team?

The goals of a company should be consistent and match what their ultimate vision is. Teamwork is always the most effective when the goal is clear to all employees and spelled out in a way that everyone can understand. Even the most diverse group of people should be able to accomplish their goals in a timely manner if each member of the team understands the point and importance of working together. Successful teams have figured out how to assess themselves and able to check their progress along the way.

 

Having an Employee That Stands Out

In every group and team, strong leadership is important.  This doesn’t mean that a manager needs to bully the team to maintain control, but able to guide the development of the group and potentially educate along the way.  This can be done many different ways, such as by defining specific roles and responsibilities for members of the group, as well as a timeline for the common project so members can understand the place of their role within the timeline.  An effective team leader can recognize how personalities affect team dynamics.  Each person working within a group brings to that group his or her own personality and skill set. Recognizing each person’s style of work, motivation, and level of understanding can help a manager understand how that person fits within the group as a whole. You may have some employees that are better working in a specific group with a specific skill set – and others may be better working independently.

 

Without The Right Team – Your Business Can’t Grow

Unfortunately for all those who contribute positively, there may also be those whose behavior, attitude, or work habits negatively affect the dynamics of the group.   Aggressive personalities that intimidate other group members or those who seem to always be “off-task” are easy to identify.  A manager who recognizes and reacts quickly to these personalities can influence the dynamic of the group in positive ways.  If each member of the group sees his or her contribution as valuable and accountable to the larger group, then less disruption is likely to occur.  Team leaders should work to create an environment that fosters teamwork and collaboration that will empower employees.  Empowered employees will act independently and require minimal direction. They will take responsibility for their actions and be accountable for the results of their work.

 

Make Things Possible!

Training and development are essential for the creation of teams. The right employee training, development, and education can provide dividends for the employer in increased productivity, knowledge, loyalty, and contribution from employees.  Training is the process of teaching and learning specific knowledge or skills to improve performance.  Development focuses on employee growth and future performance.  Training that helps each employee grow their skills and knowledge to better perform their current job is appreciated as a benefit. The opportunity for development increases employee loyalty including retention rate and helps you attract the best possible employees.

Customer Satisfaction

CUSTOMER SATISFACTION

Following up on our last blog about numbers, we will discuss the importance of Customer Satisfaction. A vital part of any business is how your consumers feel about operations.

 

What Are Your Customers Saying About You? 

The most successful companies always include customer feedback into their meetings.  It is no longer an option, but a necessity to review and more importantly understand your customer’s feedback – this will help initiate change and create better customer experiences.  Customer feedback isn’t always specifically about pleasing the customers, but many organizations use it as fuel for new product (or service) development and internal motivation factor as well.  Strong customer satisfaction ratings will usually go to the companies that have well defined and respected internal values. Retention of customers often begins with a high retention rate within the organization.

 

Are They Happy? Or Are There Issues?

When conflicts arise, it’s equally important to limit any damage while mending the relationship with your customer. Employees should demonstrate empathy when handling angry or upset customers, allowing customers to express themselves and respond. By customers demonstrating a clear understanding of their problem, it will help you will resolve as soon as possible. Tracking customer complaints can help prevent future problems as well as identify any issues that may occur within your organization.  Following up is vital to ensure customers received appropriate care and service and a resolution was provided.

 

Are There Other Products & Services to Provide Your Customers?

The internet has created over-educated consumers resulting in fewer impulse buyers than ever before.  The world is now full of consumers who stop and investigate variables they never considered before.  Winning customers over your competition is a delicate balance of your customer knowing they’ve done their due diligence and feeling good about being an educated shopper. However, keep in mind that no matter how intelligent your customers are, or how much expertise you provide them, your business will likely not be remembered for what you said or did, but for how you made customers feel.  Confidence, excitement, trust, reliability; these are all feelings that lead to customer satisfaction.  Even in a successful situation if a completed project fails to elicit a positive emotional response, you’ll almost certainly be an afterthought in that customer’s mind.

 

Are You Getting Referrals?

Earning new customers is important but many businesses often forget about keeping the customers they already have.  Many businesses don’t consider customer service as a cost that requires heavy investment but if you don’t prioritize support and consistently work to deliver excellent service to your customers, then it’s only going to cost money…and eventually customers.  Customers abandon products and services because they get lost, don’t understand something, feel they don’t get value from the product, or simply lose interest.  If your customers stop hearing from you, and you stop helping them get value then you risk losing them in the future.  For most businesses, customers are the largest resource upon which the success of the business depends.

Again, make sure you talk to your customers – or rather, listen!

Numbers

Following up on our last article about having a healthier business, we are going to dive into numbers. Without knowing how a company has performed financially, it’s difficult to predict where it can go. When tracking and understanding your business, it’s important to ask yourself these questions.

Are You Profitable?

If the revenue from your services and products are covering your expenses, then you’re making a profit. Yet, the profit dollar amount won’t tell you why you are being profitable. By calculating and comparing different financial metrics, you can locate the different parts of your business that are working well and those that aren’t.

Learn your Net Profit Margin, or sometimes known as a “profit margin,” is the BIG PICTURE view of your profitability. To calculate – divide the net profit by the total revenue, then minus expenses. It’s important to learn whether this is high or low in your industry, and reassess yearly.

Selling products gives you a Gross Profit Margin, which lets you see your product profitability. It’s basically your profit, after deducting direct materials, direct labor and product overhead.

A Comparative Analysis is a side-by-side percentage comparison of two or more years of data. It’s a good way to see if you need to increase or decrease an expense.

Do You Know Which of Your Clients are More or Less Profitable?

Knowing which clients are profitable are essential to a business’s success. If you are in charge of managing profits and cash flow, you must know your customers.

A few indicators that a client is unprofitable, if they are abusive to your team, general aggravation, requiring more time than the typical customer, and not completing tasks to move along.

Having clients that are profitable could be calculated based on the time that they spend with you, also analyzing the costs associated with them. Focus your marketing on the demographics of the majority of your profitable clients.

What Does Your Cash Flow Look Like?

In order to do business, you need to know if your company is generating a profit while having the cash needed for fixed and variable expenses. If your company isn’t doing a good job of managing the amount of cash entering and exiting, you could be setting yourself up for failure. By understanding the strengths, weaknesses, and applicability of each of method of measuring different types of cash flow, small business owners can avoid becoming just another statistic.

What is your Customer Retention Rate?

Your customer retention rate is an important factor in determining how great your customer service is and how fast you can grow your business. It’s best defined as the proportion of customers that have stayed with you for a while. This could be calculated annually, monthly or weekly.

Did you know that it’s almost 5x more expensive to acquire a new customer than keep an old one? Having a loyal client is worth up to 10x as much as their first purchase.

What Is the Lifetime Value of a Client?

Sometimes business owners think that “breaking even” could be an important metric when measuring success – but having the “lifetime value” of a client is probably the most important. It’s important because it will give you an idea of how much repeat business you can expect from a particular client.

Knowing lifetime values can help avoid any cash flow issues while finding creative ways to drive more volume.

What does it cost to get a new client?

Having an acquisition cost is the cost that’s associated in convincing a customer to purchase a product or service from you. The cost would be incurred by your company, which not only includes the product itself – but also research marketing and accessibility costs.

So, take some time to work these numbers, and see if your current plan supports whatever you come up with. Knowing and understanding these number is an important piece of your business’s overall health.

The next article will talk about the importance of customer satisfaction, and how vital it is to the success of your business.

Four ways to assess your business health

With the start of a new year comes promises to become healthier. There are plenty of ways to assess your physical health (weight, BMI, cholesterol, resting heart rate, blood pressure, etc.)  Why shouldn’t we be looking at our businesses similarly?  When thinking about the health of your business, here are four areas to review when assessing.

Numbers – Of course I have to start here.  Do you know if you are profitable?  Do you know which of your services, products, and clients are more or less profitable?  Do you know what your cash flow need looks like?  Do you know what your customer retention rate is?  And the lifetime value of a customer?  These are all great starting points, and we’ll dive deeper in the coming months.

Customer Satisfaction – Do you know what your customers are thinking and saying about you?  Are they happy?  Thrilled? Or are they liable to jump ship as soon as there’s another alternative?  Are there other products or services that you could be providing them?  Are they referring you to their peers?  Talk to you customers, or rather, listen!

Team – Do you have the right people on your team?  Are they in the right roles?  Do you have a stellar assistant or number two that can take much off your plate? Are your people growing and learning more about your business?  Are you delegating effectively?  Without the right team in place, you can’t grow your business and keep your customers satisfied.  Having the right team makes everything else possible.

Mission/Purpose/Brand – Do you know why you’re in business?  Yes, you’re delivering a specific product or service, but what do you hope to achieve by delivering that product or service?  What’s important to you in achieving that?  I’ve lumped these three different topics into one for a reason – they are what make your company stand out.  If for example – if your mission is to make financial forecasting accessible to any small business owner, you’re going to use basic English in your communications – not a bunch of financial gobbledygook.  You’re also going to offer a reasonably priced product and not something that costs a mint and needs a team of IT specialists to “implement”.  If your mission is to educate the world on the benefits of sustainable farming, you’re going to be investing in programs that further your goals and not just selling the fruits (and vegetables) of your labor.  Keeping your purpose in sight lets you make decisions that are consistent and authentic to who you are.

These are just a few ways to assess the health of your business. Besides numbers, customer satisfaction, team, mission, purpose, and brand – what other areas do you look at when observing your business’s overall health?

As we plan to dive deeper into these topics each week, it’s important to try and answer these questions for the upcoming year.  Making your business strong in all areas will help with the financial and overall success.

How To Price Your Small Business

How To Price Your Small Business

One of the reasons behind small business success, is appropriate pricing. When you price your product accurately, it can really help build the foundation for your business to succeed. The same goes for pricing your product or service incorrectly, your business may face problem that has trouble overcoming.

It’s not an easy task to develop and initiate pricing – in fact, most business owners say it can be one of the toughest tasks to think about. If you’re thinking about revamping your pricing for the new year, here are some tips on getting the price right.

 

  1. Service Costs

Every business has different services costs, and not accounting for them can cause financial issues. It’s important to analyze the cost of each service, to set the maximum profit and reduce any unprofitable services.

One way of pricing your services, are to analyze your total costs. Elements to factor are:

  • Material costs
  • Labor costs
  • Overhead costs

Always be sure to pay attention and never underestimate your labor costs. It happens all the time to small business owners.

 

  1. Competitor Pricing

What are your competitors doing? Sometimes it’s not just about covering your operating costs, but also about where you want to position yourself in the marketplace? Think about where you want your brand – do you want to be a low-end competitor in a high market? Or maybe the high-end competitor? Seeing what your competitors are doing and figure out what will get you the best understanding of the market.

A tip to keep in mind is, don’t try to compete with large store pricing. Most of the time they buy in large volumes so their costs are much less. Try to highlight other values of your company, such as excellent customer service.

 

  1. Understand Conversions

Do you know if you’re actually making a profit on a product or service? For example, if you’re getting only 10% of sales on a product that you’ve introduced – maybe you’re proceed too high. If you consider dropping the price by 15%, you could increase your conversion rate almost by 4.

Basically, never assume things are just ok – always look to see what could be improved and be more profitable.

 

  1. Price Higher Than You Would

Most business owners underprice their services. Not charging enough is a common issue for small businesses because they often don’t have the operational efficiencies of large competitors. The one advantage that a small business has over a larger company, is service – that is more valuable than anything.

Other reasons that can help you justify your higher prices over your competitors are:

  • Satisfaction with Customer Complaints
  • Knowledge of Product or Service
  • Helpful and Friendly Employees
  • Convenient Location
  • Exclusive Products or Services

 

  1. Pricing Below Competition

If you want to stay on the low-end or the competitive pricing, remember that your profit margin will drop – so you will need to think about your costs. To stay low with prices, think about the following:

  • Inexpensive Business Location
  • Inventory Control
  • Limit Product Lines to Fast-Moving Items
  • Design Ads for “Price Specials”
  • Offer Limited Services

This strategy can be successful, but could be difficult to maintain. Remember that your competition can match your lower price.

 

Have questions or need help developing a price plan? Email me at judi.otton@growth-cast.com.

 

 

Understanding Your Balance Sheet

Being able to understand the different types of financial documents and information your business has should help you better understand your financial position. Learning how to decode a balance sheet will help give you the tools you need to make important decisions about your business.

 

A balance sheet, or sometimes called a “statement of financial position” provides a snapshot of your company’s financial position on a given date. This statement gives you details of your assets, liabilities and equity – and is usually prepared at the end of a reporting period, such as a month, quarter or year.

 

The balance sheet is based on the basic accounting equation: Assets (value of everything the business owns) = Liabilities + Owner’s Equity (How the business paid for the assets). Most statements report assets in the left and liabilities and equity detailed on the right. They should both be consistent with the equation – having the same dollar amount for each side.

 

Assets –

Assets are best described as anything your company owns that has some sort of monetary value. Your assets are concrete items, such as cash and inventory – as well as marketable securities. Different types of assets are listed on the balance sheet based on how quickly they can turn into cash if needed.

  • Current Assets – Cash, inventory, accounts receivable, short-term investments and pre-paid expenses.
  • Fixed Assets – Long-term assets such as property and equipment. Cannot be converted into cash for at least one year. Depreciation must be calculated.
  • Other Assets – Intangibles, like patents or trademarks held (only if you know their fair market value).

 

Liabilities –

This is what your business owes, in order of how soon the payment is due. For example, liabilities reflect all the money that your business owes to others – including loans, wages and other debts. Just like assets, liabilities are also categories based on their due date in which you expect to pay them.

  • Current Liabilities – Accounts payable, accrued wages, taxes and interest due within a year.
  • Long-Term Liabilities – Mortgages, bank loans and anything due in more than a year.

 

Owners’ Equity –

Sometimes called net worth or net assets, represents the assets that remain after you deduct what you owe. Valuing a business can be extremely complex – the owners’ equity doesn’t always represent the current market value of your business. Depending on the legal structure of your business, such as if you’re a sole proprietor, in a partnership or have stockholders, can also reflect on your owners’ equity.

  • Owner’s Equity – The money you have left over after selling everything in the company and paying off liabilities.

 

Balancing Act –

Assets and liabilities should “balance” out. Typically, balance sheets include previous data for comparison. Calculating the basic financial ratios can track the performance of your business, identify trends and help implement the strategies of your business.

 

Data from other balance sheets compared with current ones can help guide you to an even more in-depth understanding of your business’ finances. Of course, I am here to help guide you through these complex statements and help manage your business finances for the future.

 

End-of-the-Year Checklist for Small Businesses

I love this time of year!  Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  It’s tempting to focus on holidays, traveling and family visits, but tend to forget about your businesses 4th quarter closing. Now is the time of year where your business needs your attention the most, especially when it comes to your finances. Keeping on top of the details between November 1st and January 1st will not only keep you on top of year-end closings but off to a strong start in the New Year.

 

Here is a checklist of what you need to do for your business before the end of the year.

  • Accounting – Make sure you’re maintaining excellent financial records throughout the year. By December, it will be extremely helpful for you and your accountant.
    • Running Reports – Take a look at where your business stands financially, compared to other years. You’ll want to run a profit and loss statement, a balance sheet and a cash flow statement. By looking at these reports will give you a good indication of where you are financially and where you are headed.
    • Analyze Cash Flow Statements – By looking at your cash flow, you can see how your money was spent throughout the year. There is three specific aspect’s that you’ll want to analyze:
      • Operating activities (revenue and expenses); investing activities (assets purchased and assets sold); financial activities (loans and repayments).
    • Vendor Information – Make sure all your vendor information is corrected in your system. Purge or disregard any inaccurate information or if you don’t need to reconnect with them.
    • Reconcile Accounts Receivable – Make sure you have a list of outstanding invoices or which clients still owe you money. Try to get these settled before the end of the year to give next year a fresh start.
    • Double-Check Payroll – Stay on top of any issues which may need your attention. Don’t forget to check any health and life insurance benefits as well.
    • If you have big purchases your considering and have a profit, this is an excellent time to make those purchases and reduce your tax liability.
    • Make an appointment with your accountant to discuss any other tax saving strategies you can take advantage of before year end.

 

  • Information Technology (IT)
    • Back It Up – Make sure all your account files and client files are backed up and secure. Have an external hard drive available or cloud-based system.
    • Back-Up Contacts – If you do most of your business over the phone or computer, make sure you back them up – even if you have to keep an old address book.
    • Download Files – Dropbox is perfect for keeping documents and reports as a back-up. The Golden Rule for data backup is 2:1 – create 2 separate digital copies in 2 separate places and 1 offline copy.
    • Evaluate Your File System – Creating a file-naming system is especially important in businesses, especially those share servers. Make sure any and all files are uniform to the method you prefer.

 

  • Human Resources
    • Bonuses – Decide if you want to offer a bonus or other end-of-year incentive before the end of the year. Doing it before January will impact your profits report.
    • Staffing Needs – Take an inventory of your current staff and determine if you’ll need to hire more employees for the next year. Make sure you budget these additional expenses in the upcoming year.
    • Collect Accomplishments – What milestones have you and your company accomplished? Acknowledge them and your staff for an outstanding performance.

 

  • General Business
    • Inventory – Make sure you conduct an inventory count before the year’s end and make corrections as needed. This is the time to make sure you are not only keeping accurate records but not experiencing any loss.
    • Make New Goals – Have you accomplished any of your goals this year? What about next year? How will your path be different for the upcoming year? Also – write down your financial goals and talk to a professional (like us!) about how to achieve them.
    • Check Your Website – When was the last time you did a thorough look through your website? Make sure every button works, every phone number is correct ad links are working properly. It’s imperative to make sure everything is in working order.

 

Closing out for the end of the year can seem like an overwhelming task – but staying on top of your business goals and finances will make next year a lot easier.

Still have questions? Email me at judi.otton@growth-cast.com to help plan your own check-list.

15 Financial Management Tips for Beginners

15 Financial Management Tips for Beginners

Separate Business Expenses from Personal – This will help keep your personal spending separate from your business costs. Plus, having a business credit card could come with a higher credit line, for unforeseen expenses. Not separating the two can cause confusion when you’re analyzing your yearly spending. It could even potentially get you in tax or legal trouble.

Get A System That Works – Getting your finances in order is just as important as any commitment you make. Organizing your financial paperwork, such as bank statements, insurance and mortgage payments and financial debts – this will help reduce the confusion. Create a monthly budget and payment system that will allow you to easily obtain the important document for payment, filing, and inquiry.

Don’t Think Too Small – Sure, you may not have many expenses to manage, but that doesn’t mean you should settle for an Excel spreadsheet. During tax season, sending over a spreadsheet, bank statements and loads of receipts is going to make your accountant’s job just that much tougher. Having a software program where you can easily input expenses, will not only keep track of expenses and deductions – but can help make your business more profitable today and forecast your financial future.

Connecting All the Dots – When you connect your bank accounts and credit cards to an accounting software program, you can reconcile and download statements as needed.  Even easier than that Excel spreadsheet!

Save Time (and Money!) – Having your expenses automatically inputted into a program will not you save time on data entry, but you’ll be ready for tax time!

Pay Yourself First. Always – Try putting away a percentage of your earning away in an account and budget a reasonable amount to live on. You should make sure that your business is serving you! Read more about “paying yourself first” in the book, “Profit First” by Mike Michalowicz. http://profitfirstbook.com

Save For a Rainy Day – It’s important to make sure you have an emergency fund for whatever comes your way. Whether you put away $25, $50 or even $100 a month aside, it’s imperative to keep money on-hand for unforeseen expenses – like taxes.

Keep Up with Your Finances – Make sure you set time aside each week to tackle financial tasks. Weekly tasks could include checking your cash position, record transactions or review your projected cash flow, and following up on late payments from clients. Depending on your volume, you may need more or less.

Get Appropriate Help – If you’re (realistically) never going to keep up with QuickBooks, hire a bookkeeper. If you need help on your budgeting, managing your cash flow, or growing your bottom line, feel free to give me a call to see if we’re a fit.

Make Sure Your Profiting – On each sale you make, you should be making a profit.  It may not be huge, but it should be something. Otherwise, you’re working AND losing money – and who wants to do that?!

No Profit? Why Not? – If you’re not making a profit on every sale, this needs addressing.  Ask yourself if it’s due to specific clients, specific products or services that are the most troublesome? Or have there been random things that have gone wrong that have been corrected.  This is not unusual for a new business.  Just make sure you’re not repeating the same mistakes.  You already paid for that lesson!

Have a Plan to Grow! – I’m not talking about a giant binder that sits on a shelf gathering dust.  Have some ideas mapped and start trying them. Make sure you try them one at a time – It’s never going to get easier.

Know Your Financial Responsibilities – Do you know your Sales Tax, Payroll Tax, Quarterly Taxes, State Filing or Specific Licenses in your field? Not knowing is not a valid defense and could be very costly later on.

Checklist! – I’m a big checklist person.  Create a checklist so you know what you should be doing weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annually. Make it a recurring task in your task management system of choice.  If you want mine, click HERE. Try the downloadable app “Wunderlist” on your computer or phone.

Look at The Big Picture – Allocate some time for thinking. Allow yourself to spend some time either weekly, monthly or yearly to reflect on how things are going. Figure out the best time of day that you’re most creative, and generate new ideas and goals.

Enjoyed this blog? Contact me for more information about your business’s financial future at judi.otton@growth-cast.com.