“I need to get to that.” A phrase said countless times by business owners everywhere. Starting and running a business can get overwhelming before you know it. Entrepreneurs wear many hats; sometimes all at once. It is practically impossible to get everything done, not to mention done well.
When it comes time to crunch the numbers and get the books in order, many business owners put it off. They know they should get it figured out and done, but it is so easy to just push it to the back burner. The financial side of business can be unpleasant for some and many people just want to do what they do best and hope the finances work themselves out. This is not a good business model and usually leads to more problems later. So, what’s the answer? You’ve got to do it!
If you are like most business owners, just reading the last paragraph may provoke anxiety. But take a deep breath and let’s start with just a few steps to move you in the right direction.
1. Ask yourself who is going to do it? Don’t take this question lightly. Take some time to really consider whether you want to tackle the finance aspect (bookkeeping, accounting, taxes) on your own or reach out for some help. This is all personal preference. There is no right or wrong answer here. You can choose to do a small part of it or outsource the whole thing.
2. Find a system and good software. If you choose to outsource your business finances, you still need a system. You need to create a way of managing the way you invoice, track sales, or want information. Create clear methodologies and goals so that the person you hire to do your accounting and taxes has all the tools and information they need in a timely manner. If you choose to tackle this yourself, you need to do some research on accounting software and create a rock-solid way of doing things so that the task does not overwhelm you.
3. Block out some time. Whether you outsource your finances, or you do it yourself, there will still be requirements you need to fulfill on a consistent basis. Do yourself a favor and set aside some scheduled time to work on this. It could be weekly, monthly or any other regular time that you can review and assess your progress from a financial standpoint.
4. Ask for help. There will almost always come a time that you will need to seek the help of a professional. It is important to know when you are in over your head or could benefit from the advice of a trusted accountant or tax professional.
Above all else, take time to breathe and reflect. The life of a business owner can get frenzied and you are often pulled in several directions at once. I would suggest just taking one day a month, get away from the office, and really look at where you are at. Not only financially, but in all areas of your business. Consider brainstorming new ideas, methods or ways of measuring the unique way your business works.