Everyone is guilty of bad habits. The trouble is, if professionals don’t get theirs in check and improve their financial management practices, they could do serious damage to their company.
Throughout my years of helping small businesses better manage their money, I’ve noticed successful outfits share a few common good behaviors. Incorporate these six good habits and you could realize serious positive impacts to your bottom line.
1: Reconcile Your Accounts
How can you fund your business if you don’t have a handle on where your money is coming from, and going to? Still, too many companies don’t connect their bank balance to bills, invoices, credit statements and other numbers, leaving a big question mark hanging over the operation.
2: Pay Bills on Time
Writing checks (or sending e-payments) can sting, especially when feeling a cash crunch. Still, paying your creditors on time avoids the much-worse pain of poor credit, interest and late fees, and ruined vendor relationships.
3: Follow Up with Accounts
Too many businesses let receivables hang for too long—three months, six months, even a year. Sometimes they—whoops!—forget to send an invoice at all. Maintaining control of invoicing and receivables is probably the most vital component of managing your cash flow.
4: Submit Payroll and Sales Taxes on Time
These aren’t just bills—these are monies withheld on behalf of employees and customers. Failing to submit deposits, sales tax and quarterly payroll tax returns in a timely manner can yield serious consequences, not to mention sock you with steep penalties and interest.
5: Open Your Mail
Who mails things anymore? Government agencies, and people paying you money or asking for funds. Open that small pile of envelopes every day and manage their contents; you’ll be less likely to get buried under an avalanche of paper (and you’ll avoid missing payments or checks from clients).
6: Keep Personal and Business Expenses Separate
Small businesses can find their business dealings butting in on their personal life—the same with the expenses associated with the two. Running personal transactions through your company (say, to reduce their tax liability) can be tempting, but it’s unwise for a number of reasons, and it can lead to big headaches if an IRS auditor comes calling, and other problems.
Building these six habits might seem like a lot of work, but it’s worth it—and not as hard as you think. If you’re just too busy to take on these seemingly menial tasks while you’re focusing on bigger things in your business, it’s well worth it to hire someone and delegate these responsibilities. In my next few blogs, I’ll go into detail on each of these beneficial behaviors and help you incorporate them into your day-to-day dealings.
What other financial challenges are weighing on you? Reach out to me at Daliah@MySmallBusinessPro.com and I’ll be happy to work with you to reach a solution.