One of the most important elements of business ownership is something we don’t talk about all the time. In fact, although it’s not in My Small Business Pro’s service description or value proposition, accountability is an intrinsic benefit of involving a professional as an extension of your own commitment to build your business. There are three areas where we see it play out which you may find helpful: planning, process and profitability.
Accountability in Your Planning
Having goals is an important part of owning a business, and people use a lot of different strategies to set goals (e.g. SMART goals). But if you’re not looking at your financials, how will you know if you have achieved those goals? Financial planning is crucial to goal setting and achievement. Review of your prior year expenditures and your profit and loss statement should be the catalyst for evaluating your needs for this year: staffing, cutting extraneous costs, training, software or hardware investments, office space, etc.
Moreover, how are you going to track your progress? Who will help? Many of our clients feel they could probably go it alone but know that realistically they are never going to execute. This is not the time for excuses. This is the time to invest in resources to help get your financial plan in order.
Accountability in Your Process
It’s easy to let the months slip by without ensuring checks and balances are in place to keep you focused on your financial goals. Whatever your sales cycle, your business cycle, your day-in day-out ownership activities, your process needs oversight. Good news: your processes can become more efficient (see our blog last month) and the right guidance can make that happen. To do so, however, you must take it out of the realm of possibility and into reality. NOW is when you develop the timeline, the skills and yes, the accountability to take action.
As the business owner, your behavior directly impacts the bottom line. Have you prioritized your financial processes? Do you sign up for software you don’t use indiscriminately? Do you have an unproductive employee who you know needs to go, but you feel bad? Do you tell yourself that you’re going to hire a bookkeeper, but you never seem to find anyone you like? Or do you not make the calls at all? Are you spending your time on minutiae instead of on bigger projects which feel intimidating? Are you late to or do you cancel financial meetings at the last minute? Do you tend to push off things related to finances or money in general? If you answered yes to any of these questions, it’s a good indicator that it is time to reorient your thinking and hold yourself accountable.
Accountability in Your Profitability
If you are always losing money, it’s hard to work with you or for you. Do you know where you stand each month? Being in business for yourself requires discipline, focus and an ever-watchful eye on the bottom line.
Don’t let the fear of the unknown prevent you from learning exactly where you are at financially and where your company’s financial future is heading. The first step to getting profitable is to know where you stand.
If you are not profitable, analyze which expenditures can be cut that do not have accompanying ROI (return on investment), and identify where you can grow your sales. Is there a service you have always assumed you needed, but taking a closer look reveals that it doesn’t add enough value to justify the cost? Or on the flip side, are you avoiding spending a small amount of money on a service that will save time and free up your resources to focus on the bigger picture? Does your pricing model need to evolve as your business grows? Is paid advertising working, or not working, to increase your sales? Do you need to modify your customer acquisition process?
At My Small Business Pro, it is our philosophy that every single behavior impacts your bottom line. Creating change requires risk and even discomfort. Are you willing to look at your own behavior and understand the correlation with your profitability? Rather than blaming external factors, accountability requires that you look in the mirror and acknowledge your piece. And then, be willing to change.
Business owners who are open to exploring better ways to build and operate their businesses, and who are committed to accountability, reap the results of their choices. Planning, process and profitability are the perfect places to start!
My Small Business Pro creates the window into your finances so you can see what’s happening with your money, evaluate your spending versus your sales and make those tough choices that really DO impact the bottom line.