5 Tips to Help Make the Back End of Your Business Less of A Headache!
Hire out help where neededWe’re going to break this down into 2 Tips!
First let’s talk TIME:
Giving your hard earned money to someone else for tasks you know you can do is one of the hardest things to do when running a small business. With that being said it will also be, hands down, one of the biggest things you will wish you would have done sooner. Business isn’t all about money. It’s also about time. In the beginning you may find yourself with more time than money, and that’s when it makes sense to pinch the pennies where you can, invest your time, and begin your business with low startup costs. We all want to run our businesses with as little overhead as possible, seeing where we can save and recoup our costs. But there comes a point in your growing business where the tables turn and you find yourself with more money than time, and you will FIGHT with your lack of time until 1 of 2 things happen- you burn out or you ask for help. The whole point of hiring additional help or outsourcing certain things isn’t to take money away from you- it’s to give you back time, and we’re not talking additional luxurious days off either, we’re talking just getting your life back on track to a normal shift. The perk of this is when you hire someone else who has the appropriate amount of time to take on these tasks, plus is well rested and skilled in that area, yes you gain time, but you also have to look at what this time will now allow you to go and do. If you’re spending 3 hours a day on the phone, sending quotes, and taking care of billing you’re not getting any additional money and that’s not where your unique skill set lies. It’s just part of the job. But what happens when you add up 2 hours / day x 5 days a week. You just got 10 hours back! Now I ask- can you make more than what you just paid out if you replaced those 10 hours of office work with tree work? I think you know the answer is a resounding YES!
Second let’s talk SKILLS:
I know this is going to be hard but you’re going to have to set your ego aside for this one. Be honest- you’re not THE BEST at EVERYTHING. You aren’t. Running a tree service not only includes having mad skills in the trees, it also demands you to be a mechanic, marketer, truck driver, landscaper, secretary, CPA, and more. Doing it all is hard. Doing it all perfectly is unrealistic. You’re not a professional of everything and that’s ok. You’re a professional Arborist. Enhance your business when the funds are available to you by hiring other professionals, or at the very least, people with more skills than you! It’s going to make your life easier and your business as a whole better, which in return keeps everything and everyone going and growing. By dropping your ego and allowing someone else to come in with their skills doesn’t discredit you, it makes your business as a brand and a service better for the client, which results in more referrals and more paychecks! And let’s be real- if there’s a big monster you don’t feel comfortable tackling, it’s even ok to outsource YOUR position every once in a while, hire out a contract climber for the day that you know can handle it and sit back and enjoy the show! No one is judging you. This is still your business. You’re still getting paid. Why make the job harder on you? This isn’t a game of pride. It’s a game of getting jobs, staying safe, and getting paid!
Prepare for tax season and hire a CPA
While we’re on the topic of money and hiring out other professionals let’s talk taxes. Yuck. We know. But. 2 things are certain in life, as they say, and that’s death and taxes, so we might as well talk about one of them!
For taxes the biggest things we can say is prepare, budget, save. Heads up- the days of being an employee, paying into the system throughout the year, and getting money BACK are probably over. Bye Bye. Nope. Because you now own your own business you are responsible for paying into the system yourself, not via a check from your employer where you did no math, no money was exchanged, it’s just gone, and you’re left with the remainder. That hurts too, but it’s a pretty cut and dry process. You work. The government takes their money. You get what’s left. When you run your own business you get paid ALL the money upfront. You feel rich, you’re killing it, you’re finally getting ahead, and then the end of the year comes and you realize you haven’t had ANY money taken out of your checks, and the government STILL wants their money and it’s up to YOU now to make sure they get it. You have to have that cash and you need to figure out how much cash you owe them. Easiest tip- take 30% right off the top of EVERY job you do and put it in a separate bank account. Save it until the end of the year. You’re now financially secure and ready for the worst case scenario. Next- hire a CPA to help you get to the best case scenario. One plus of owning your own business is you have the opportunity to deduct your expenses from your income and a professional will know exactly how to help make sure no expenses available to you go unnoticed. Mileage, bills, interest paid, utilities, cost of doing business, and any other tax cuts they are aware of, they can let you know what is available to you and you can report back with the correct info- every little bit helps!
Please note we are not professionals when it comes to taxes and your own situation is unique to you. These are just tips. Always check with a professional when dealing with claiming things on your taxes.
Stay organized throughout the year
This naturally brings us to our next topic which is to stay organized throughout the year, not only for your tax person, but to also help you be more aware of “where you’re at.” What do we mean by that? It’s never fun to find out 1/2 way through the year that you’ve actually spent WAY more money than you thought and those big bills that all seem to come in at the same time every year might not be able to get paid. You know the ones- truck plates, business insurance, workman’s comp policy. Or, a lucky problem to have, you had a really good year and you should have invested it in retirement or equipment, but you missed the boat on those opportunities. Keep your receipts and once a month sit down and organize them so you understand your spending. Income- track that as it comes in so you don’t accidentally forget to claim a big job and the IRS comes knocking on your door. Then compare the two- don’t lie to yourself either. Being transparent with your income, cost of doing business, and everything in between is what allows you to see where you can make changes, save, do better, outsource, and continue to run a business you fully understand and benefit from.
Make a system that works for you
Above all- find a system that works for you! We at Bartlett and everyone else can suggest how you run your business but there are a lot of different ways, and what’s right and easy for someone may be hard and stressful for someone else. All in all we all have to look at our businesses (and lives really) as a whole and break down what is working great, and what isn’t. The parts that are working great, embrace them, tweak them as you grow, but those systems that you keep in place that you hate merely because you don’t know any other way… break that cycle. Stop and evaluate WHAT the actual problem is and why it’s making your job so hard. What specifically about a certain task or system is making your blood boil and your brain feel broken? Then problem solve. How can you fix the broken system? How can you improve it? Or how can you remove it all together? If you feel lost or assume there’s no other way- remember there’s always a solution, it’s just a matter of how creative are you going to be to find it, how willing are you to ask for help if you can’t see it on your own, and how capable are you of trying new things?