Takin’ Care of Business

Takin’ care of business, it’s all mine. Takin’ care of business and working overtime.

While preparing a presentation for a group of small business owners, I highlighted the challenge of managing your business while you’re also working at your business. For many of us, we spend many hours a week working; i.e., we are making jewelry, consulting, installing kitchen cabinets, and so on. We don’t even have enough time to get all the client work done. Somehow, at the end of the week or month, we get invoices out to customers, and we pay our bills. If we get to anything else, it’s gravy.

However, there is management work to do. We know we need to make time to take care of our accounting and reconcile the bank account. We should be looking at if we are charging our clients enough (costs have gone up tremendously!). Is our business growing and do we need to think about adding staff or moving to new space? Perhaps it’s time to review our insurance or banking needs. Those tasks are important to running our businesses but we are exhausted after a week of work and tell ourselves that we will get to them next week. However, because those tasks aren’t urgent, we keep kicking that can down the road.

So, how do we make sure we spend time taking care of business? There is no one correct answer for everyone. Here are steps we can take, however:

  • Pick one important management task that you have been putting off doing. For example, let’s say you want to add an employee retirement benefit for you and your employees.
  • Set a deadline for getting this work done. Make this reasonable, knowing the task will take some time. Pick a date between 3 and 10 weeks from today.
  • We are going to give ourselves 4 hours to do this task and we will split it up into 4 one-hour sessions. (You might be thinking that this task will take much longer than that, but we are dedicating a set amount of time to it.)
  • Look at your calendar and block off 4 one-hour blocks between now and your deadline. Here is how we will spend those 4 hours:
  • 1st block: Talk to your tax accountant or banker about possible options. For many small businesses, a SIMPLE IRA is a good option, with low administrative fees and predictable costs to your business. Spend that first one-hour session with your accountant or banker and get recommendations for a company to handle your retirement plan.
  • 2nd block: Decide how much you want to spend on this benefit. Select the company you want to handle your retirement plan, contact them, and get the paperwork.
  • 3rd block: Complete the paperwork and submit it.
  • 4th block: Discuss with your payroll provider (so they can take care of payroll deductions) and pick the start date.

And, you’re done. Try this with one of those management tasks you’ve been putting off: pick a reasonable deadline, break the task into smaller steps, schedule several small blocks of time to tackle them, and you’ve completed the task!

People seeing you having fun, just a-lying in the sun, tell them that you like it this way.