If you’re a new small business owner, it’s easy to feel trapped in the day-to-day race to get everything done, file all the paperwork, and stay compliant. When you find yourself in a rut, it might be time to try one of these steps. Help grow your small business into something that allows you to step back and more fully take the reins and embrace business ownership!
1. OUTSOURCE WHERE IT MAKES SENSE
If you’re running a very small business, just yourself and perhaps one or two other people, it’s likely you’re stretched pretty thin. Between talking to customers, making sales, contacting suppliers, and other day-to-day running-the-business types of activities, are you leaving yourself time for Big Picture thinking?
Remember: you’re the one in charge of your business. While you’re teaching yourself how to file your business taxes to save a few bucks on accounting fees, are you letting opportunities to grow and expand your business pass you by because you’re just too busy to notice them? Relinquish the day-to-day duties that you as the business owner don’t need to be bothering yourself with, and give them to someone who can do them more efficiently: taxes, for instance, really should be done by an accountant if you’re not completely sure what you’re doing. These productivity hacks are what keeps a small business like your going!
Yes, you’ll have to pay someone. But for every year you keep muddling through your own tax filings, you could wind up paying more in taxes than you needed to be all along—which can add up to much, much more than simple accountant fees. This is a small price to pay to have your taxes done right—not to mention avoid the hassle of an audit if you mess something up doing it yourself. Now that you’ve outsources whatever you haven’t been doing efficiently, you can spend the time you saved on making money for your business: develop new relationships with vendors, spend some time on product development, or send out an email campaign. It’s better than staring at numbers!
2. ADD A BLOG TO YOUR BUSINESS WEBSITE
You’ve been planning to launch a blog, but you just haven’t gotten around to it yet. This is not an uncommon story—and the cause of the hesitation generally comes down to a feeling of dread about the blog itself. The fact is, you don’t need to be a good writer to be a blogger. If you know your writing needs to be double-checked before publication, find someone to double-check it, or even write up a post in outline form and hand it to a content writer. There: problem eliminated.
And don’t think for a moment that you won’t have anything to talk about. You own your own business! You know the products, the field, the competitors. What sorts of things did you think about over the course of this morning alone? I’m willing to bet there’s a blog post or five just waiting to be uncovered. Think about it: adding a blog to your business website gives you a whole new way to connect with your customers.
Blogging is seriously the easiest way to achieve frequently updated, Google-approved content. Seriously. Just pick a topic, and write about that topic. Easy!
– A blog can be a great platform to show off new products or other company news.
– Customers can enjoy your content without feeling directly marketed to—it’s not on a website sales page—so they can let down their guard a bit and connect.
– Hosting a company blog gives you a reputation in your industry as an expert, a gentleman, and a scholar.
Need I go on?
3. FINISH YOUR BUSINESS PLAN
If you’ve started your business by your own bootstraps, you may not see an immediate need for a business plan—and since it’s an internal document, with no state or federal “filing” deadlines, it’s easy to put it off. If you don’t need one to show investors because you don’t have any investors, then you don’t need one. Right? Wrong. Consider the very reasons investors nearly always want to see a business plan:
– Business plans provide detailed financial information about leases, salaries, and equipment purchases.
– Business plans show several years’ worth of carefully considered market projections and financial milestones.
– Business plans define the business’s purpose, its mission, and its goals.
– Business plans provide a central location for storing all important records and other information about your business, its beginnings, and its future.
I dare any small business owner to tell me that these reasons for putting together a solid business plan are exclusive to investors. This is literally the Big Picture view of your business that you haven’t been making time for. It’s beyond time that you create a business plan—and if you already have one, it’s time to revisit the document to see how reality measures up.