Posts

Spring Cleaning Checklist for Your Small Business

Spring is a time of year when many people prioritize tasks to improve the comfort and quality of their homes and offices. Do you love the feeling of opening the windows and pulling the junk out of the back corner of the closets? It is common for stuff to collect throughout the year, resulting in the need to declutter and make space. Letting go of the clutter is an effective way to decrease your stress levels. This year, look for ways that you can think outside the box when you are putting together your spring cleaning checklist.

As a small business owner or entrepreneur, there are often items that fall to the backburner. You are juggling many priorities throughout the year, and many people feel like their schedules are so full… making it impossible to keep up with other tasks that need to be addressed. If you can’t keep up with everything throughout the year, then it might be time to set aside a few weeks to clean up your systems and practices in your business. Spring cleaning is a great way to create a fresh start and improve the results that you can achieve through the rest of the year.

Here are a few business spring cleaning tasks that should be added to your to-do list:

Drawers, Cabinets, and Office Clutter

How often do you shove papers in the back of the filing cabinet or push old office supplies into a storage closet? Even though your office looks good when people come in to see your desk, it can be stressful and burdensome to know that there are loads of things that need to be fixed in your closet, drawers, and other storage spaces.

If you have a personal office, then it is time to sort through the shelves and see what items are no longer used. It is common for small businesses to get rid of many office supplies when they make a transition to digital accounting. For example, you might be able to get rid of the bulky filing cabinet and folders if you are keeping all of the documents online.

Throw away expired cleaning supplies, outdated training materials, or anything else that is sitting in the closet unused. Even though it might seem like a good idea to hold onto things in case you need them in the future, you are making a mistake by hanging onto every item. Consider the mental burden that it causes when you know that things are piled up. Plus, you also need to think about the increased costs that you are spending on storage space or a larger office so that you have enough room for all of the stuff.

Digital File Cleanup

Not only do you need to get rid of the physical clutter, but it is also important to sort through the digital clutter as well. Going digital is a great way to reduce the clutter in your office, but it is common for the computer files to build up with nonsense as well. Just because things are stored digitally, doesn’t mean that you need to hold onto everything forever.

Put together an effective filing system so that you know when old folders and files need to be deleted. When you have a good archive system, you can move old invoices and receipts out of the way so that you don’t have to sift through those folders every time you are looking for a current document.

If you are always searching for the files that you need right now, then you could be wasting hours of your workweek on the cluttered storage drive. Instead of letting yourself get caught up in the distraction, set a goal to clear these files right now so that you can open up space and simplify daily processes.

Another thing to consider with digital storage is the amount of storage space that is available. If you are storing Word documents and .pdf files, then it isn’t likely that you will run out of space in the future. But, photos and video files can take up a lot of room on your storage drive. As a result, you could be facing the problem of a lack of space, causing increased costs for more room on your storage drive.

Backing Up Digital Storage

Any time the information is stored digitally; you need to be sure that you are using a solution that implements backup systems. If the storage service fails, will you lose all of your customer information and financial records? These details are important to keep on file for several years. For example, you will need to refer to the paperwork if you are ever audited by the IRS. So, make sure that you have a good backup system in place.

It is better to store your files on a secured cloud-storage service instead of keeping everything on your computer. If the computer hard-drive fails, then you will lose all of the information. There are options to back up your computer with services such as Carbonite. Pay the money for the peace of mind to know that you won’t lose your information if something goes wrong with your computer.

Most cloud storage solutions make it easy to access your files from any computer. You can work on the computer as normal, with access to all of the important information that you need. If the computer is damaged, you can access your files using another computer as necessary. Plus, you have access to this information through a smartphone app as well.

Another benefit of a cloud-based system is that you can share file information and access with your accounting team. Hiring outsourced accounting specialists is a great way to free up your time and improve your financial strategy. There’s no reason to have an accountant in your office when all of the information can be shared through digital files and software solutions.

Inventory Assessment

Inventory is another topic that should be addressed with your business spring cleaning checklist. Are there any old products in your inventory that aren’t selling very well? Consider running a flash sale to clear the inventory so that you can make space for new products that are coming later this year.

You also need to think about the trends that are happening in the industry. Evaluating your inventory can help you identify the popular products. Then, you can make adjustments to your sales strategy to offer the products and services that your customers want to buy. A few small adjustments can go a long way to ensure the long-term success of your business.

As you evaluate your inventory, you can see if there is anything that needs to be reordered. Keeping the popular products in-stock ensures that you have the option to sell these items when customers are ready to buy. It is common for business owners to need to plan several months in advance to maintain inventory.

For example, you need to consider upcoming sales and demand during different times of the year. Then, the products need to be ordered with plenty of lead-time for the manufacturing to be completed before the busy season. Missing the order date by a month or two could leave you in a situation where you don’t have products to sell when the customers are ready to buy. Then, you could be stuck with too much inventory because you missed the peak time to sell those products. Strategy matters, which is why you need to think ahead regarding the times and quantities that you order for your stock.

Systems, Contractors, and Employees

The final to-do item on your spring cleaning checklist is the effectiveness of your current systems. Do you have the right software programs and systems to optimize your results and minimize busywork? Are your employees meeting the requirements that are needed to help customers and keep up with daily tasks? It might be time to make a few changes in the way things are done, to ensure optimal performance of your team.

It is easy to get stuck in a rut and continue using systems that have always been implemented. Just because something seems to be working fine, doesn’t mean that there isn’t a better way to improve efficiency. Look to industry experts for insights about the ways that you can improve your internal systems.

When you are having a hard time keeping up with the workflow, then it might seem obvious that you need to hire another employee or two. But, consider the advantage of bringing in an outsourced contractor instead. You can tap into the skillset that is needed without carrying the burden of insurance and overhead costs for employee management. Outsourced accounting and other services can save you thousands of dollars a year while improving your business systems at the same time.

At Easier Accounting, we are here to help with your small business spring cleaning goals. Contact us to see how we can help with your financial tracking and accounting services. We know the best ways to implement effective accounting systems for small businesses and entrepreneurs: (888) 620-0770

Holiday Marking Tips and Other Year-End Suggestions

Regardless of your industry, many customers are in the spirit to spend money as they are buying gifts for the season. Some small business owners assume that only retail companies will benefit from holiday sales. But, there are many ways that other industries can tap into the gift-giving season. If you want to maximize your sales before the year is over, then you need to think about marketing options that are available to boost your revenue.

Why Should You Think About Holiday Sales?

As a business owner, you need to look for opportunities to boost your bottom line and maximize sales as much as possible. A few more sales can improve your revenue for the year, which means that you are increasing the profitability of the company.

When you look at the numbers, do you see that you are bringing in more than you are spending? Some start-up companies have a hard time staying in the black in the first few years. But, leveraging trends in the industry can help you reach profitability faster.

The best thing that you can do is work with an experienced accounting team and an expert marketing team to implement the right strategies for your company. These services will allow you to explore options that you might not have considered, giving you the flexibility to improve your business and increase sales as much as possible.

Customers are in the Mood to Shop

During the holiday season, many customers are in the mood to go shopping. They want to spend money to buy gifts for friends and family members. Additionally, they are more willing to pull out their credit card if they see something that looks like a good deal.

Even if they weren’t thinking about your product or service as a Christmas present, customers might be willing to spend money because of the one-time sale. You can send out a message to your list or share the details on social media. Then, you will be able to offer a discount, helping to boost your sales for the month. Customers love to find a good deal and you can improve your relationship with these people, plus you have the option to up-sell to additional products or services in the future.

Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday

Even though people shop throughout the season, there are three main days when the sales are going on:

  • Black Friday: This day is the most widely-known day for retail companies and other businesses to have a sale. Black Friday is known as the day after Thanksgiving. Customers often head to the stores in the early morning hours to hit the doorbuster sales. In recent years, some stores have been offering pre-Black Friday prices on Thanksgiving Day, capturing the shoppers who are ready to go out after enjoying their turkey dinner.
  • Small Business Saturday: After Black Friday became so popular with the big retail companies, consumers started looking for ways to support smaller companies. Small Business Saturday was created as a way to showcase the smaller companies in the community, helping to strengthen the profits of the local shops. If you own a small business, then you might consider the option to market a sale for this day.
  • Cyber Monday: While Black Friday is often in-store shopping, Cyber Monday is a chance for people to find good deals online. Some customers don’t want to leave the comfort of their homes. If you have an online marketplace or a website where people can buy your products, consider sharing a coupon code that provides a discount on Cyber Monday.

If you want to boost your sales, then you can offer sales or bonuses on one or more of these big holiday events. Small business owners often see a spike in sales on these days, followed by higher shopping activities throughout the rest of the season.

Marketing In-Store and Online

There are several ways that you can make your marketing efforts more festive, helping people feel the excitement of the season when they are ready to buy. For example, you might setup holiday décor in the store to create a fun environment when they walk in. Or, add a few holiday graphics or pictures on your website or social media accounts. Consider all of the holidays that your customers might be celebrating, including Hanukah, Christmas, New Years and more.

In-store promotions can be offered to customers who visit in person. You also might send out notifications using marketing channels that you have built. For example, if you are going to be offering a seasonal sale, then leverage your email list and social media accounts to notify people of the opportunity.

A marketing team can help you learn about the best techniques for your industry. Most business owners find that a little bit of marketing can go a long way to increase the sales for the month.

Provide Customers with Easy Gift Ideas

As you are putting together a marketing campaign for your company, consider the easy gift ideas that will encourage people to spend money. People don’t want to stress over the ideas and products that are offered. So, you might share a gift-giving guide in your newsletter or on social media accounts.

Put together a list of products that are great for “Him” or “Her,” as well as items that children love. You might even set up special categories on the website to show gift-giving ideas that are available for the season. Also, think about gift suggestions for business associates, friends, family, and more. When people have an easy answer for something to buy, then they won’t hesitate to make the purchase right away.

If you are going to make these suggestions for gift-giving, then it is important to ensure that you have the inventory stock to support a surge in sales. So, take an assessment of inventory before you post a sale, to avoid the problem of not being able to deliver the product before the holiday.

Time Sensitive Sales

Instead of offering an open-ended sale for the entire holiday season, consider the benefit of using a time-sensitive sale to motivate people to take action. Customers might have a fear of missing out, which will motivate them to take action right away instead of procrastinating the purchase.

When you are sharing information about holiday sales, don’t forget to include details about the length of the sale and the anticipated delivery date. Shipping deadlines can be a good way to motivate people to take action. For example, clearly state the necessary shipping date to help people know when they need to buy if they want to receive the gift before the holiday.

Cater to Last-Minute Shoppers

The time-sensitive sales mentioned above will be motivating for many people. But, there will still be some consumers who procrastinate their shopping until the last minute. In this situation, encourage people to visit your store for on-the-spot purchases. Newsletters and social media can be used to remind customers about options that are available in the store. Set up displays in the store showcasing some of the gift-giving suggestions that were made online.

You can also build in options for impulse buys, such as stocking-stuffers at the registers or gift card options. Help customers see how the item might go well with the gift that they are buying. Then, people will be interested in pairing the choices for the gifts.

Another method that can be used for people who need to find gifts on December 23rd or 24th is to offer digital gift cards or downloadable gift certificates. These gifts can be purchased from any location, and customers will love the option to finish their shopping without leaving the house.

Wrapping Up the Finances for the Year

As you are focusing on the holiday sales, don’t overlook the importance of maintaining good financial records for the rest of the year. It is a good time for you to assess your spending and income so that you can look at the profitability for 2017.

Before the year ends, make sure to talk to your accounting team to see if anything needs to be addressed before the end of the month. For example, you might consider big purchases or office equipment that can be used to manage tax burden for the year. These expenses can be based on the anticipated tax load and the expenses that you will need in the future. The best solution is to talk to a financial expert for custom advice that will support the needs of your company.

At Easier Accounting, we know that November and December can often be the busiest months of the year. Our team will work hard behind the scenes to ensure that you have a successful year-end experience. We are here to assist with your financial tracking, bookkeeping, and invoices. If you need financial advice, then we are always available to offer the assistance that will support your business success. Feel free to call us for more information about the ways our services can support your year-end efforts: (888) 620-0770