While sitting here preparing my mountain of receipts for tax time, I realized that I was not taking my advice and using a system to streamline this process. I needed to develop a way moving forward that would save me time, and with that it would save me money, not to mention my sanity, when preparing my taxes.
I have systems in place for almost everything in my business which helps me maximize my time and minimize my effort. Systems, I think, at least, are a HUGE must do in businesses of any size but especially for the Entrepreneur. We all have systems we follow on a daily basis in our personal lives. These systems allow us to make the most of our morning and get us to your desk on time. Some of us lay out clothes the night before, set the coffee maker to brew automatically (you know that life blood you can’t go without) or leave at the same time each day to beat the traffic. This system you have created is to make life easier. Why not have systems for your business as well?
Here are a couple of systems you should implement or modify to help you and your business.
- ONLINE CALENDAR
Utilize a reliable online calendar that syncs with your phone, computer, iPad, and whatever other electronic devices you may have. If you have trouble keeping up with your appointments, then schedule everything into your calendar with reminders. Put your to-do list in your calendar and use it to hold you accountable. Remember if you need to leave the office for a meeting be sure to account for your travel time so you are not late. If keeping up with appointments and being where you need to be is a challenge, consider hiring someone to manage your calendar for you.
2. ONLINE STORAGE
Use a program like Box, DropBox or Google Drive to store all your documents so you can access them anywhere. Keep it organized in a manner that works for you. Set up a filing system online so you can quickly find what you need and not waste time searching through folder after folder or worse get somewhere only to realize you left your paper file at the office or home. Keep your system simple. If you will be hiring staff or staff uses your filing system be sure that they know how to keep it organized in a way that works for you. Procedure manuals are great for keeping this information in and all businesses, small or large, should have one (that is a blog post for another day).
3. ACCOUNTING SOFTWARE
Accounting is a huge pain point for a lot of businesses, including my own. Really who likes doing all that nit-picky paperwork every month (unless you are an accountant of course or numbers are your thing). Noooo, thank you. However, it is a necessary evil, or as we all know businesses die, and or the tax man gets very cranky. Utilize an accounting software that streamlines the process for you and keeps it manageable. Work with an accountant that supports the way you do your business and can suggest ways to make it easier to track your income and expenses. Perhaps even outsource your monthly accounting, if your budget allows, so you have only minimal involvement. As Entrepreneurs accounting can eat up a huge chunk of our time, the easier and more intuitive we can make the system the better. When all else fails, outsource to someone who loves accounting and will take great care of your business and you.
While this list is small and obviously not all-encompassing the key to remember is to keep it simple, automate, automate, automate, and delegate where you can. Be sure to document your systems once you find a series of steps that work for you and your business so that others may follow them. Be open to suggestions and try new things. You never know when someone might make a small tweak and all of a sudden bang! All the pieces fall into place, and now you not only have time on your hands but a proven winning system.
If you find yourself in a place where you don’t know where to begin please feel free to contact me for a free 15-minute consultation. Let me help to simplify the process.