Financial Spring Cleaning for Your Business
Spring cleaning isn’t just for your home; it is essential for your business and your future. You made it past tax season. We have endured this extended, cold winter weather long enough. It’s time to “Think Spring!” and get your business ready for a big cleanup. These tips also touch on “Turning Your Business Into a Butterfly” section in my Seven Steps to an Effective Ownership Conversion Plan.
Every business owner has ideas and aspirations that may or may not come to fruition. “Goals are essential to engaging teams in achievement and retaining talent,” according to Inc. “Teams which are engaged in reaching goals see a 28 percent higher same-year operating margin.” Imagine increasing your profits by proactively involving your team in the future state of your organization. Set goals as a business owner and then invite your employees to set their own goals.
Do you know how long to keep documents? Take a look at this handy guide to see how long you need to keep copies of things for your business. Are you holding onto manuals, magazines, newspapers and other paper clutter? It is time to recycle, shred and purge old stacks of paper. You must make room for future clients, projects and customers so don’t hold onto old clutter too long.
Now that you have cleared out some of the clutter, it’s time to re-organize the office and make it more effective. The Small Business section of the Chron states, “Efficiency is perhaps the greatest advantage of organizational skills. An organized professional will spend less time correcting mistakes, searching for information and fixing any clutter. More time saved means more time for doing productive things.” Plus, they note how it improves an employee’s ability to track progress, provides better management skills, instills trust and reduces stress. Ultimately, organization translates to more money and more success for your organization.
SmallBizTrends.com reports, “Before you focus on increasing profits, you have to know where you’re starting from. That means you need to know all of your costs. And don’t just calculate general expenses either. You also need to know how much your regular activities are worth to your business.” The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act allows an individual taxpayer generally may deduct 23 percent of qualified business income from a partnership, S corporation, or sole proprietorship. Keep detailed inventory of purchases, expenses and profits in order to see the full picture of how well your business is doing. In addition, it will keep you on track for next tax season.
Examine Your Cyber Security
The Week reported recently that 61 percent of U.S. small businesses were the target of a cyber attack. The average estimated cost of each breach is $117,000. As a business owner, you must stay vigilant and aggressively protect your data. Keep passwords updated without repeating the same one for multiple sites. Can’t remember multiple passwords? Invest in a password tool to help you manage complex passwords. You need to remember one main password to unlock your chain of passwords. Train employees to refrain from opening attachments from unknown sources. It may sound like common sense, but there are many sophisticated forms of phishing produced all the time. A good information technology leader will keep a careful eye on threats and warn employees of potential dangers.
Create a System
There are many digital applications creating workplace solutions to increase productivity and help employees stay in the loop on company news. Depending on the size of your organization, you could benefit from these online tools. By creating and utilizing a system, it allows employees to quickly schedule tasks, meetings, events, projects and more. USA Today just published an article about keeping employees motivated and happy. They write, “People are motivated and more productive when they feel like they have all the tools they need to do a job.” When you take away the small frustrations of an employee’s day, it allows them to focus on doing their job rather than how hard it is to perform simple tasks.
Review Policies & Coverage
When was the last time you looked at your employee and insurance policies and benefits package? Are you paying for items you no longer have? Your policies should be reviewed and updated regularly to ensure you have full coverage of your existing assets. Additionally, employee policies and procedures should grow with the times and evolve to match the current landscape of the business world. In my book, I talk about how your business is evaluated from all perspectives. You cannot afford to have potential problems just because you neglect crucial areas.
Physically Clean Up Your Workspace
In the financial world, a messy workspace is not only an eyesore, but it is also out of compliance. Due to the sensitive nature of materials, paper files must be locked away when an employee is away from their desk. That rule improves productivity, organization and the appearance of the office. While other industries may not deal with confidential financial records, you can benefit from the principals to keep a physically clean workspace. Office Organizing Expert Kacy Paide shared a great article on LinkedIn to help managers motivate employees to keep their spaces clean and organized. Simple tools and readily available cleaning supplies ensure that employees can keep their respective areas tidy. Regularly reinforce good work habits to stay on track. In the long run, employees will take pride in their spaces, driving morale up and retaining key staff. It’s a win all the way around!