Here are five ideas to help you heat things up at work and reap the rewards that result:
- Move from reactive to proactive. Work on fine-tuning one small area of your business where you’re constantly experiencing fires. How can you anticipate and prevent these fires? It might be putting some procedures in place, training staff, getting help from a vendor, or perhaps even firing a client that is too demanding. When you take the first step toward prevention, even if it’s a baby one, you’ve made a tremendous amount of progress toward controlling the situation rather than if you just remained in reactive mode. One great step would be to stay on top of your 1099 vendors. Don’t wait until year-end when you’re facing the January 31st deadline. Review your vendor payments now and make sure that you have a tax ID and valid address for each of the vendors who will be receiving a 1099 next January. If you’re still missing any information, you’ll have five months to track it down!
- Systematize something that’s worked in the past and repeat it. No need to reinvent the wheel if you’ve found the magic formula. Do the magic formula over and over again, perhaps more often, and you’ll increase your results. For example, if you’re good at working with people on the phone, then write down the process you’re using so that you’re discovering what you say that customers like. Then do it intentionally 100% of the time as part of your newly systematized process. Do you have a great letter that nudged a client into paying their overdue invoice? Start sending that to every client when their invoice hits the 30-day mark! You’ll be surprised at how easily you can improve your cash flow with just a short note.
- Listen to your clients and roll out a new service offering that they are asking for. A huge part of the battle for getting new clients is getting people to trust you. Why not leverage the people who already trust you – your current clients – and serve them in a new way. Increasing your revenue per client is a great way to help your clients even more and to boost you bottom line at the same time.
- Hone your skill. We spend a lot of time working on our core competency – the service we deliver to clients – and getting better at it. Why not get better at an accounting skill? This could include understanding reports better, learning how to job cost or product cost so that you understand your margins better, learning how to review accounts, and a host of other skills that will help you become more effective at analyzing your business’s financial data. Sometimes we forget accounting is a skill we can learn just like we know our core business – especially those of us who are reluctant about numbers.
- Measure. How do you know something is working unless you measure it? Add procedures to measure the results that are important to you; then you can begin to see where you need improvements. These include numbers such as revenue, expenses, cash flow, and profits down to the unit you want to measure them. When you do this you’ll naturally be able to improve your financial results in your business.
Which one of these projects speaks to you the most? Mark your summer calendar right now to take one step toward working this project into your summer plans so you can heat up your business.
Deb Howard Greenleaf, EA, CEO and Principal, of Greenleaf Accounting Services provides virtual accounting and bookkeeping services and specializes in financial management to consultants, coaches, solo professionals, and other small business owners across the US. Deb is an Enrolled Agent (EA)—an IRS-licensed tax professional—and specializes in small businesses and entrepreneurs filing Schedule C or as an LLC. As an Advanced Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, Deb spends her day in QuickBooks Online and specializes in providing QBO support.