20 Feb Shared Fears of Small Business Owners
I have been hearing rumblings of discomfort lately from fellow business owners. I don’t know if it is the time of year but in the past month, I have heard the following fears pronounced with more frequency:
- Scared and overwhelmed about getting corporate taxes out the door-am I really actually earning any money after it is all calculated and completed?
- My most popular blog has been one about business being down and how to handle downtrends in your business finances!
- New networking groups popping up because folks are scared they won’t be able to hit their 2018 sales goals
- Overwhelm-voicemails too full to leave messages, apologies for emails never replied, that deep, deep sigh you hear when you do catch someone live to follow up on an open issue…
- Stock market woes as the volatility of the index goes wild lately
- Cash flow timing woes as business owners struggle to pay their credit cards AND pay themselves concurrently
My message is to share some hope and even some LOVE in this month of love, February 2018. After all, the two biggest motivating factors in life have been said to be love and fear. I hope that by giving ourselves some love, we can overcome some of the financial fears that we all experience!
I think the biggest thing we can do to eliminate some of the fear that surrounds us, such as the feeling of being overwhelmed, cash flow issues, and financial volatility, is to put yourself in a position of control. As bookkeepers, our everyday lives are surrounded by understanding the numbers. From there, we can make calculated risks and decide which factors we are willing to invest in. Business owners often struggle with devoting their time and energy to the newest, shiniest object, and of course having clean, reconciled books is not very shiney or exciting. In fact, it can be mundane. What is not mundane is the information that can be gained and the opportunity that can be found by reviewing a clean set of books. Your profit and loss and balance sheet reports have many exciting stories to tell. However, one must develop the fundamentals in efforts to let their financials tell them exciting things about their business!
I suggest diving in with organization first. Set up your digital structure to match your paper filing structure. Create folders for all your bank and credit card statements by account-last 4 digits, then by year, then by month. Make sure your accounts are reconciled-this impacts your both your balance sheet and your cash balance (hello-cash is an ASSET so take care of your assets). When you have unaccounted for transactions, missing transactions or duplicates, you are not only messing with how much is owed in taxes, you are ultimately messing with your profitability and your ability to make healthy financial decisions. The reconciliation process ensures that you don’t have these problems.
Make sure your transactions are properly categorized to where they should go. I often see simple recurring charges that go into different buckets-a monthly membership fee gets booked toward Dues and Subscriptions one month, Office Expenses the next month and Advertising and Marketing on the third month. You can’t take stock of what you have and don’t have until everything is in one place. Setting up an organizational structure is not time consuming but going back through months and years of data is time-consuming. Break these tasks into smaller pieces, based on the time you have until deadline. If you can spend 15 minutes-30 minutes per day, you will be able to build your base very quickly.
Whew! Hopefully, it is all starting to feel more controllable and less fear-driven. This is such an opportunity to show yourself some love. By sticking to a 15-minute task per day, you are starting down the road to building a stronger understanding of your financials and more strategy-based decisions. In the end, what you will gain out of all this is the ability to be able to put your own goals first in your business. Of course, being a certified Profit First Professional, I think this is your very own Profit First solution. After all, it is your business, you should love it, be proud of it and have the opportunity to put yourself first in what you have endeavored to create! Roseanne Cash said that the key to change is to let go of fear. I think the key to overcoming fear is to give ourselves and our business some well-deserved love. With love, the door to opportunity opens.