I have a confession to make: My business finances have been a mess the last few months.
Between making new investments, frequent travel and generally just not having my head in the game, this business and finance blogger has been struggling.
Fortunately, that’s what emergency funds are for so I’m fine. Furthermore, I won’t be traveling as frequently for a while so I can get grounded and improve business finances.
This also isn’t the first time this has happened to me. Every business owner goes through seasons when they need to sit down, face the numbers and take steps to improve business finances. In that sense, it’s really no different than personal finances.
Here are some of the ways I’m going to improve business finances from this point forward.
Put my head down and work.
Sometimes the easiest way to improve business finances is to just put your head down and work. This means taking on extra projects and finding new ways to monetize.
Now that I have the time and space to do both of these, I’ll be focusing a lot of my attention on how to improve business finances by improving the way I work.
Start having regular team meetings again.
One of the ways in which I expect to improve business finances is to start having regular team meetings again.
The reality is I ended up canceling a lot of team meetings due to travel the last few months. Because of this, my communication with my team hasn’t been too great either. This has led to missed payments from clients, stalled projects, and missed invoices.
By conducting regular team meetings again everyone can get on the same page about what needs to be done and when. We can also get the accounting all on the same page.
Additionally, because I am now more focused, I can more clearly figure out goals for specific contractors that I can measure to see if I’m getting the ROI I need.
Find ways to (legally) reduce my tax burden.
It’s no secret that freelancers and small business owners get creamed by taxes. If I live in a state with no state income tax and I’m feeling the squeeze I can only imagine what my colleagues in other states must feel.
Of course, I could just invest more and get deductions that way, but I don’t really want to spend more money – especially if I don’t actually need to.
This led to a conversation with my accountant where he suggested I open up a SEP IRA in addition to my Roth IRA. Unlike a Roth, any contributions I make to a SEP (within limits) can be deducted from my taxes now.
While this doesn’t technically free up more cash in my business, at least I get to actually keep the money for now, save for my future and lessen my tax burden in the present.
(Note: Before making any decisions like this always make sure to discuss it with the appropriate professional. Seriously, don’t just take my word for it.)
Start consulting and coaching again.
I took a break from consulting and coaching in 2016. Now that we’re in 2017, I’m realizing I have a lot of knowledge I can share with people. The people also want this knowledge and I should get paid for it because my brain is expensive.
With that being said, I’ve begun the process of taking on coaching and consulting clients again – especially retainer ones that pay me on a monthly basis.
I already secured a retainer client and a one-time client while I was traveling so much, so now it’s time to actually focus on this part of my business and earn more revenue.
I also realized that not only can I consult small business owners on how to run their businesses, but I can also consult financial companies on how they can run their marketing. I actually secured my first client for the latter recently and the light bulb went off.
By offering these consulting packages – and focusing on retainer packages – I can improve business finances more easily.
Track down who owes me money.
I have a few clients who owe me money right now. This isn’t because they are deadbeats, it’s because I haven’t been on top of my game.
For example, there were two clients I had to send W-9s to but because I was on the road so much I completely forgot.
I’ve spent the last few days getting clear on who these clients are, what happened, and what they actually need from me so I can start getting paid. After all, the best way to improve business finances is to actually get money.
Examine my business expenses.
At the beginning of the year, I started making new investments in my business in an effort to grow it. As I already mentioned, I’m now focused enough where I can better keep track of goals and ROI for these investments.
The reality is that it takes a few months before you know whether or not certain investments are worth it, but you can bet I’m keeping an eye on it now.
Additionally, I’ve reduced expenses where I can. For example, I was paying for more features than I actually needed in my calendar system. I’ve also become more clear on how much I can dedicate to Facebook ads to the right audience.
The first two-quarters were very experiential and required me to put down money in order for me to get the data I needed. Now that I have the data, I can use it to improve my business finances.
Check my mindset.
I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s worth repeating. Sometimes the best way to improve business finances is to improve your mindset.
Just like you take care of your physical hygiene, I believe I need to take care of my emotional, mental and energetic hygiene in order to succeed.
For example, I need to examine if there’s a part of me that is sabotaging myself from improving business finances. Usually, when we start to pay bigger, old fears come up and block us.
For this reason, you can rest assured that I will definitely be checking my mindset in addition to doing everything else on this list. By combining all of them, I should get my business finances back on track in no time.