Do you feel it in the air?
Last week was the start of Spring! While it doesn’t feel like it much yet, each morning I can sense it’s coming. Some flowers are starting to pop up from the soil. Many birds are chirping. It’s the season for growth. Days are getting longer and warmer. Let’s take this fresh spirit and carry it forward to our businesses.
Business finances need some TLC too. What’s served you well in the past may not fit your needs now. Check in with where you are now. Here are a few tips on how to freshen up your business and finances.
Accounting & Taxes
Catch up on any bookkeeping! This is the foundation for everything financial!
Update your mileage log. Whether it’s on an app or in a spreadsheet. Do it before you forget when and where you went.
Make an estimated tax payment. The deadline for your first estimated tax payment is April 15th. When you filed your 2018 taxes you should have gotten estimated tax vouchers. If not, use form 1040-ES to calculate it or contact your tax prep professional! 🙋♀️
Digitize financial paperwork. You are required to keep records of all business transactions. Papers pile up and receipts fade. Scan and toss whatever you can. If you want to keep paper copies of anything, organize them in a filing system. My go-to is an expandable file box.
Customers & Sales
Review your Accounts Receivable. Are there any outstanding invoices long overdue? Give your customers a friendly call or email. Start soft by following up on how well product or service is meeting their needs. Restate the value you provided and ask when you can expect to receive payment.
Rate your customers. Not all customers are created equally. You know who you want to serve. If you haven’t already, create a grading rubric and grade your customers. Ideally all customers will be A’s and B’s. For C’s, you may want to see how you can nurture the relationship so they can grow into an A or B. For anyone lower, you may choose to end the relationship. Over time customers can move from one grade to another – because they change or your ideal customer changes. This is a powerful exercise to do regularly.
Review your products and services. Are there any you’d like to offer more or less of? Businesses evolve so don’t be afraid to change your offerings. Brainstorm new opportunities you see your customers needing and you will enjoy providing.
Vendors & Expenses
Review Accounts Payable. Are there any bills you paid but did not record properly? Are there any long outstanding? There may be reasons, such as duplicate bills or your waiting for them to fix something related to their services. Pay whatever is due so you can keep your vendors happy and on good terms.
Evaluate your relationship with each vendor. Are you getting the value you expect? If not, you may choose to have a conversation with them to fix issues or you may choose to change vendors. If you are very happy with the relationship, a little thank you card or email is a nice gesture!
Review subscriptions. Are you using everything your paying for? Are there overlaps in features that mean you could simplify the number of programs you use?
Reset your passwords. Honestly, who does this enough?! 😓
Back up your work files. Whether its on an external hard-drive or a cloud-based program. If your computer suffers a power surge or someone infects your computer with ransomware, you’ll be protected.
Declutter your inbox. Go through your inbox and create rules, file emails in folders, and delete with abandon!
Review your goals. If you have quarterly goals, evaluate how you did. For annual goals, are you on track to meet them? This is such a powerful management tool and I love them!
Delegate tasks outside your zone of genius. If it’s not your strength, it’s probably not where your time is best spent. Hire a virtual assistant, admin, or a specialist to assist you.
Say “no” to projects you are no longer passionate about. Saying no is tough, but projects you don’t care about anymore will drain your energy. You will free up time and energy to say “yes” to the next exciting opportunity.
Take a hard look at your calendar. Are you time blocking for your most important tasks? Do any of them need to be revised? Your priorities are reflected in how you spend your time. Be intentional.
Contracts. Laws change. Your business changes. Look over your standard contracts and adjust as necessary. I highly recommend you consult a lawyer for this.
You can use this list as a guide any time you feel your finances need some freshening up. Most of these tasks should be part of your normal financial management schedule and done at least quarterly. Set aside a few hours to check off each item.
By spring cleaning your business, it will be better set to thrive. Schedule a few hours to go through the list and complete what is most important for your current situation.
Now it’s time to break out some elbow grease!