What Are You Doing that Is Costing Your Small Business Money?

By deejay@aberleenterprises.com (John R. Aberle) | How to Make a Profit

Apr 30

Managing your own business is one of the most rewarding things you can ever do. On the other hand, it can be one of the most challenging things you can ever do, in part because understanding how to make a profit is a never ending task. There’s always something more to learn. It’s even more challenging if you are trying to do everything yourself, which brings me to the question, “What are you doing that is costing your small business money?” Follow that with, “What are you not doing that is costing you money?

National Small Business Week Day 1

Image by ShashiBellamkonda via Flickr - There is a lot of help for small businesses, like from the SBA, but you still have to help yourself.

 

The key here is to ask yourself what is the value of your time? As a small business owner, the responsibility ultimately for all decisions is yours. This means that there are things only you can do, especially decisions only you can make. As everybody has the same number of hours in the day, if you are doing things someone else could be doing for you, it means you have that much less time to do what only you can do so your business can suffer and even lose money because of what you don’t get a vital task done.

The first step to getting more control is to create a list of your tasks:

  • List your tasks that you are doing regularly.
  • Mark down whether you do it daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, annually, or occasionally.
  • Code each for how important it is that you personally do it.

Here’s one possible way to code your list:

  1. Vital tasks – this is something you must do; it cannot be delegated. Some of the tasks in this area for a small business owner tend to be managing from the overview of the whole business and planning for the future. This includes watching your key indicators. (See “How Will I Benefit from Having a KPI Report?”)
  2. Important – it can be delegated provided you are available for advise and that you monitor status periodically.
  3. Routine – these tasks can be delegated with minimal need for supervision beyond getting a report at the end.

While you are at it, I also suggest you look at two things:

  • What you like to do most.
  • Delegate the rest as soon as your budget can handle it– assuming none of it comes under the Vital category.

Once you have that done, you need to decide to whom you want to assign each task. You have a variety of options available to you:

  • Employees – they can be existing employees or new hires.
  • QuickBooks Pro Advisors – find these certified people on the QuickBooks website. You don’t need this skill level for day-to-day operations, but you will want someone with more than clerical expertise to help you set up your chart of accounts and other files. Remember, their expertise is generally only QuickBooks set up and administration. For your biggest gain in designing systems and eliminating waste, I recommend consultants.
  • Virtual assistants – these are people you can find who, thanks to the Internet and email, work from their homes. They are independent contractors.
  • Accountants – your present accountant probably knows QuickBooks or at least enough about it to help you with your taxes using the data from your QuickBooks database. While some are also good small business consultants, most I’ve heard about or have met specialize in taxes. See my article “What is the difference between business finance and tax accounting?” http://www.howtomakeaprofit.net/how-to-make-a-profit/what-is-the-difference-between-business-finance-and-tax-accounting for more on the business finance.
  • Consultants – to get your books set up to maximum advantage, I recommend small business consultants like my friends Robert, George, and Dave at Pathfinders Profit Consultants. They have the expertise to get you set up correctly and to train you how to use the information so you can manage to make a pre-planned profit. They can also train your staff in how to use the systems you have them develop for you.
  • Mentors and coaches – Note: This last category expects you to do the work. You don’t delegate to them. They are ideal for the follow on work to guide you and answer your questions.

Again, what are you doing that is costing your small business money? If you are micromanaging or doing tasks that you could assign to others, you are probably wasting money because that means you are not doing those things to promote, manage, plan and otherwise grow your business, which only you can. Determine where the most valuable use of your time is. Identify what is vital or critical that you need to personally do. Then delegate and be there to support and guide your staff. You have a variety of options available for help. Best of all, you will start to enjoy your business more; and, if done right, so will your staff, who have more responsibility and thus more satisfaction.

If you are starting to consider getting professionals to help you improve your knowledge and systems, I want to offer you ebook bonus “How to Succeed with a Consultant.”  I will send the link as a thank you for your opt in to my community (mailing list). I want to share additional tips and training as well as referrals to people and products related to small business management. Should this no longer serve your needs, you may opt out from receiving these emails.

Helping heart centered businesses be profitable,

John

John R. Aberle, Aberle Enterprises

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