17 Oct Keep Your Small Business Running Smoothly: 3 Back Office Musts!
At Two Roads, we have the privilege of doing bookkeeping for hundreds of small businesses who are crushing it in their industry. Many small businesses get to the place where their product is honed, their food is on point or their brand is recognized throughout their marketplace.
More times than not, small businesses come to us with the POTENTIAL to take their awesome product to the next level but a several nagging tasks are holding them back. Sometimes there are front of the house systems that can use fine tuning but this is your area of expertise and most likely, you have labored through several iterations to carry out your business vision.
Usually, the hold up lies in the back office. We often describe the back office like this: all those necessary tasks that keep your business going but are the frenzied paddling duck feet beneath your beautiful product gliding along the top of the water. It is easy to get so caught up in the frenzied paddling that stopping to re-think your strategy to work on “paddling” more efficiently may not even cross your mind.
Let’s take 5 minutes together today to think through strategies in your back office that will keep your business running smoothly and help you grow your business to the next level without ease!
3 BACK OFFICE MUSTS:
Let It Go!
In other words, outsource. There are lots of jobs that fall in the category of back office that you shouldn’t be doing unless you can afford to hire a full-time employee who specializes in these areas. Common areas can be payroll, bookkeeping and phone answering service. Personalize this list for your unique business but the point is this. The quality of outsourced, virtual, expert assistance has skyrocketed with the tech boom. It is much more cost effective and time efficient to fill those spaces with someone who is focused fully on that one task for much less than a full-time salaried office worker. Check out this recent blog post on outsourcing confidently.
You might think you are saving money by handling these tasks yourself but you have to remember the value of your own time. No one can do what you do. Outsourcing is a MUST that creates TIME for you to zero in on the guts and vision of your small business. It reduces the margin for error and gives your confidence in the accuracy of the business end of your office.
One Is the Loneliest Number…
In order to see your business take it to the next level, you MUST start looking at your financials dynamically. Most small business owners take the financial strategy of looking at their sales (not cash or profit!) each week or maybe each month and judge how their business is doing from there. They pay expenses when there is money in the bank and make investments back into the business when the sales are a little up and cash flow isn’t as tight. STOP!
You need to see ALL of your numbers — profit and loss numbers that tell you how much you are making and spending AND balance sheet numbers that help you see your debt ratios and know your company’s overall health. More importantly, if you want to pave the way to success for your company, you need to see these numbers on a consistent basis over a good stretch of time. This gives your insight to budget, leverage to plan and the ability to make smart changes that can propel you into growth.
Whether it is outsourced or in house, part of your back office efficiency MUST be first obtaining, then reviewing and planning based on a wholistic financial picture of your business.
Let’s Get Digital, Digital
You’re doing this, right? In 2018, there just really isn’t much need for paper. At all. But you’d be surprised how many modern businesses are still being weighed down by the headache-inducing stacks. Cut the cost in toners and papers, the time in running to the office supply store and the frustration in digging through stacks! Utilize your phone and cloud-based bookkeeping software to quickly capture images of receipts, classify them and then TRASH them. Utilize the numerous excellent options for paperless invoicing, payment receipt and bill paying.
There is a key here. Be selective and efficient! We help all of the businesses we work with set up a streamlined back office system. There are a lot of new apps always claiming to be the next best time-saver. If you pile up apps like you pile up paper, you’ll exchange one headache for another. Think about the main needs of your back-office. Try to capture these tasks with as few apps as possible. Thinking about changing from one app to another? Give it three months to see if that new fandangled app is really all it’s cracked up to be.
Schedule a half day to assess where your back office stands in regards to paper and digital tools. Sign yourself up for paperless billing with each of your vendors, credit cards and merchants. Make sure these are all getting emailed to ONE virtual bill-paying center to be processed. (Getting them lost in your inbox doesn’t help anyone either!) Set up virtual payments and electronic invoicing for your own office and take stock of the apps you use.
It may seem like a waste of time to stop and work on mundane items but it is a MUST to creating efficiency. This will free your mind from clutter to focus on developing your business.
Each small business is unique in the marketplace. Sure, there may be another marketing firm or tech company out there. But no one has your team, your strategy and your MIND! Free yourself to focus on those three things by making sure you get these three things in your back office sorted. Think of the places your can lead your company with that kind of freedom!