Running your own business can be exhausting and exhilarating at the same time. The freedom it brings can seem outweighed by being responsible for everything. And as your business grows, it’s hard to find the time to step back and think about what you can do to benefit you – and your business.
Here are five smart moves.
Hire a bookkeeper
If you’re still tracking your receipts, expenses, and payments yourself, free up that time to spend on more pressing activities. The software available to small businesses has indeed improved, and while it’s relatively easy to plug in the numbers, there’s still a cost to doing it yourself. Every hour you devote to bookkeeping is an hour away from solving problems. As business owners, we don’t often calculate our hourly worth. Figure out what your pay rate would be if you were a freelancer, then estimate how many hours recordkeeping tasks take you away from concentrating on other business activities. Chances are the professional can cover the work in less time than you, reducing the perception of their cost even more. Do the math and explore this option – it’s worth the exercise.
Join an association
Connect with the broader business community in your area by joining an organization where you can network and meet other entrepreneurs. Sometimes these associations can seem rife with politics, pressure to volunteer, and full of people that don’t have a thing to do with your business.
If so, that’s great! Jump in, stand out from the rest, and use the opportunity to listen and find out what others sell and how they do it. You never know when another idea might be precisely the piece of the puzzle you’ve been missing. And eventually, you’ll meet someone who’ll end up being a lifetime contact and valuable ally.
Take a day off
Giving up personal time is often seen as the cost of being self-employed. Not taking time to reenergize and relax is also the cost of physical health issues, relationship problems, stress, and poor decision-making. Make it a goal to devote a slice of time to yourself and your family. Then do it. Figure out how then schedule it in regularly. If you feel guilty, look at it as an exercise in keeping your word. Think of your family as a customer. Then deliver what you promise – Friday night dinner, a two-hour hike on the weekend, family movie night, or a couple of uninterrupted hours with your good friends. Your integrity grows every time you keep a commitment – business and personal.
Rethink your relationship with text messages
Once upon a time, not so long ago, there were no such things as text messages. Businesses still thrived, decisions were made, problems were solved, and life went on. Our current addiction to checking and instantly responding to texts has a more negative impact than we realize. It’s a competition we set up with ourselves. And it’s a shift to normalizing poor communication habits – a move that eventually reflects poorly on you. It’s not okay to mistreat people by sending a text to terminate someone, cancel an appointment when you are already late, or respond to a situation in anger. Your written words are a permanent record. Choosing to text about critical matters can make you appear to be hiding behind technology rather than treating others the way you’d like to be treated – with courtesy and respect.
Change your passwords
Your digital assets are a valuable part of your business. Client lists, policies and procedures, and other intellectual property are targets. Make sure your security software is up-to-date, and passwords and accessibility are refreshed regularly. One often overlooked area is the deletion of password access for anyone who leaves your employment, including company social media accounts. A cyber security audit for your business is well worth the cost of investing in some professional advice.
These suggestions are just a start. When it comes to your business, a smart move is anything that improves workflow, builds relationships, protects your assets, and helps you sleep at night.