Are you giving appropriate attention to your Valentine this month? No, I’m not talking about buying flowers for your significant other who leaves his or her shoes in the middle of the floor. I’m talking about celebrating your other love: your business. We spend so much time working in the business that we rarely come up for air to actually nurture it and show it proper appreciation. This month, in honor of Valentine’s Day, let’s love our small businesses a little bit more. Here are 7 great ideas to get some love going in your business.
- Relieve Your Own Stress
One of the best ways to be a more responsive business owner is to reduce the stress that builds up inside you. It’s hard work running a business, and I know that sometimes you’re tougher on yourself than you need to be. Find ways to come up and take a breath. That might mean going to a yoga class, scheduling walks midday to clear the cobwebs (with the bonus that this could inspire new ideas) or taking off early on Fridays to recharge. Maybe you schedule an 80-minute deep tissue massage to get those shoulder kinks out (that is my personal favorite) or just take a long lavender-scented bath once a week. Whatever stress relief looks like to you, do it. When you’re happier and more productive, your business will thank you.
- Develop Processes
When you do something, do you start from scratch every time, even though you do it frequently? That’s a great argument for building consistent processes. By documenting how to do a particular task not only does it make it easier for you to complete it but when you hire staff, you can delegate and direct them to do those tasks exactly how you want them done with minimal explanation. Being able to just hand new hire instructions because you documented the process will go a long way to help someone get up to speed quickly.
- Hire Help
Speaking of staff, one of the best ways to love your business is to get help! You can only do so much (or do so much well, by yourself). Get extra hands in there, so you can take your business further faster, and focus on what your most highly valued activity is in your business.
Even if you start just by hiring a virtual assistant or part-time employee, you will marvel at how much of a difference it makes when you don’t have to do everything yourself.
- Plan Ahead
“But Melinda, I don’t have time to plan ahead. I’m too busy putting out fires right now!” Believe me, I get it. But if you put just a teeny bit more energy into planning things out now for the future — whether that’s your blog’s content calendar, your travel schedule, or which of your staff will be working when — you will have fewer fires to put out next month and beyond. It will take some getting used to, thinking so far ahead, but doing so will ensure that your business runs smoothly even if the unexpected illness or travel disruptions occur.
- Sit Down with an Accountant
This is an extension of #3. So many small business owners try to do their own bookkeeping and taxes. Unless accounting is your business, you should not be managing your business finances. Accountants and CPA’s are well-versed in tax law and can easily spot what might be a red flag to the IRS, so why wouldn’t you work with one?
Talking with an accounting professional monthly and getting your books reconciled will make this year’s tax filing easier. Waiting until the last minute, however, will create headaches and stress.
- Invest in Your Company
If you have any profits in your business, what do you do with them? Do you reinvest them in your company, or do you put them in your pocket? I probably know the answer to that question.
However, putting money back into your company can help you grow faster and become more efficient. You could, for example, do a refresh on your business website or subscribe to social media management software that reduces how much time you spend on social media marketing, for just $50 a month. Or you could sign up for payroll services so that you don’t have to think about cutting payroll checks or sending off payroll taxes for your staff.
Whatever you invest in, make sure it’s for the betterment of your company.
- Pay Yourself
It’s hard to be motivated to continue running a business if you’re not seeing any financial benefit. It’s important to give yourself a paycheck, otherwise, you might never see any money from your business, especially if your profits are narrow.
Whether you have other staff or not, make sure you’re set up as an employee in your payroll system. One perk is that you’ll pay payroll taxes with your paycheck, so you’ll have less to pay in quarterly taxes since you would have already paid them! Be sure to consult your accountant about how to set up yourself up on payroll. The rules are different for S-Corp’s vs. LLC’s.
By loving your business, the time, energy, and even money you invest in its growth and success will seem so much sweeter. So this Valentine’s Day, rather than wasting money on chocolates and dinner, put your focus on your long-term relationship with your small business.