Month: February 2017

February 22, 2017

It Takes a Village to Run a Business

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I need to get this blog post out.  I need to finish an accounting project, schedule two phone calls, send out a quote for new services, and create a new graphic for a web page idea that’s been floating around in my noggin for months.

My kids are on Midwinter Break.  In between journal entries, I’m making sandwiches, starting movies, kissing ouchies and moderating arguments.

How in the world do I juggle all of this?  How do I take care of my kids, my house, my clients AND attempt to grow my business?  Where do I find the time to stay on top of business trends, new apps, changes to the tax code and changes to my kids’ shoe size?  Does this sound familiar to anyone else?

I don’t pretend to have the answers to the age old question of making work and life balance.  I don’t believe anyone does, truly.  I remember searching for clues at the beginning of this journey.  At a conference held by my local tribe of accounting warriors called The QuickSource, a very successful business owner (cough…Matt Rissell of T-Sheets) said (paraphrased), “you have to know when to fire yourself.  It’s important to recognize those tasks you aren’t good at, those things that you don’t have time for, and those things you wish you could hand off to someone else.  That’s when you fire yourself from those duties and hire someone who IS good at the tasks you aren’t, who DOES have the time you don’t and finds joy in the tasks that you would love to give away.”

A lightbulb appeared in the darkness and it occurred to me I wasn’t following this advice.  Could I manage my website?  Sure, but it would take me 5 hours where it would take a webmaster or tech company 30 minutes.  What could I be doing in that 5 hours?

I could finish this blog post, the accounting project and send out that quote.

Could I turn this chicken-scratch drawing of mine into a responsive graphic that would look great on said web page?  Not a chance.  Is it worth it to see my idea become a functioning reality by hiring a graphic artist?  Someone with the talent, passion and know how?  You bet.

Could I find someone to schedule those phone calls, respond to emails, and help me get more organized so I could find my files?  Absolutely.

Managing our businesses by doing what we do best (and outsourcing the rest) should be viewed as an investment in the growth of our companies.  With the time saved by handing off the tasks that I don’t love or am not great at, I can focus more energy on the parts I love and the reason I went into business. I’m thankful every day to my village who provide me with the time and space to make my dream a reality.

And cuddle my kids.

February 15, 2017

The Benefits of Cleaning Up Your Books

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In continuing with our Clean Up theme, we’ve interviewed a client who made the right decision to clean up his books.  See his Q & A below:

Q: How did you calculate income or make financial decisions before you cleaned up your books?

A: On the fly.  The scariest part was that I never knew if I had enough money to pay myself or HOW to pay myself.  The whole setting aside money for taxes was nothing more than a crapshoot.  Almost every financial decision I made was made on a hope and a prayer.  

I never knew what I could really afford, never knew if I could invest in projects for the business.  Every decision became a life and death struggle.  It always came down to asking myself if I actually did this business thing, this thing I knew I needed to do, would that leave me without enough money to pay my mortgage?

Q: What made you decide to clean up?  What was the straw that broke the camel’s back?

A: That uncertain feeling.  After two years in business, I screwed up my face and got enough courage to reach out and ask for help.  Up to that point, I had a mixture of homemade invoices and though I started using QBO last year, I didn’t know the power.  Frankly, I was afraid of the power.  

I finally decided that was just too much.  It was time to start acting like a real business, to put on my big boy pants and be “real”.  Besides, how could I even attempt to grow my business if I was always running in fear of a house payment?  I simply had to know how much money I was making, and how much money I could reinvest in the company.  

Q: During the process -what was it like? Easy? Difficult?  Pain in the butt?

A: The process was simple.  I turned everything over and gave access to my bank accounts.  Giving “everything over” was simple.  I sat back and let the expert do her job.  I am good at what I do, but I am not good at what she does.  

I did get this email the first month that scared me a little…”ASK THE OWNER”.  That was the hardest part.  I had to answer my bookkeeper’s questions about what certain charges were for, were business or personal?  That first month, I felt like I had to explain every receipt.  Once she got the initial set of responses, I was told I could chill out, relax, and wait for the next list.  I was waiting for the big judgmental call, where I was called and asked to JUSTIFY my expenses.  That call never came.  Now I know what info to give when I make a charge, and honestly, LIKE MAGIC, she knows the answer most of the time before I say anything.  I keep forgetting that she knows more than me and that I am paying her to do a service.  And for her experience.  

Q: What insights were you able to make afterward?

A: Actual business decisions. The biggest and most important decision was “could I actually hire this person to help me grow”?  How much was MY time was really worth and how much I needed to buckle down.

Q: How is your financial management different now that you have accurate finances?

A: I have a hands off approach.  I let the professionals do their thing.  I do go over the reports I am given and I ask questions when I need to.  For most things, I send an email with either my request or question.  I now KNOW that things are being handled better than if I handled them myself.  MY CPA is so happy.  I am also saving a lot of money because I am not spending so much time making sure that I have enough money to pay my bills.  I am also proud to say that my business has grown wildly this last year, and I feel good about the decision to spend the money to do so.

Are you still doubting how treating your business like a real business and cleaning up your books is going to help you grow and make business decisions?  Contact Dynamic Bookkeeping today to discuss your unique needs and how we can help.

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