Spring cleaning is all about finding ways to shape things up—and your business can benefit just as much as your home. Consider using this change of seasons to begin doing the things your small business has on its “to-do...when I have the time” list. These are the top 5 changes that every small business owner should consider making.
1. Talk to an Accountant
Some business owners think having an accountant is only necessary for tax season, or just assume that accountants are prohibitively expensive. But having an accountant can actually save your business money, not to mention time. (And time is money!)
Even the most informed business owners make errors on tax forms, which can lead to missed deadlines and big fines. Even if you already know a lot about finance, a broader consultation with an accountant—perhaps regarding your business’s structure, budget, revenue, or taxes—may prove enlightening,
In addition to the time and money you save, a professional opinion can guide you toward the right financial decisions, as well as the right managerial ones, from the very beginning. A few wrong moves at the start can be more costly than most small business owners realize. If you do not yet have an accountant, consider starting your search today.
2. Utilize Mobile Apps to Increase Productivity
Mobile technology can assist businesses with a wide-range of tasks from the mundane to the complex, leading to increased productivity and profitability. Apps can be used to connect via social media with vendors, customers, and investors, seamlessly stay organized, accept various forms of payment, allow employees to collaborate remotely on a wide range of projects, and even cover all your human resources needs. These applications are an affordable (and often free) way to save time, energy, and money, freeing you and your employees to focus resources on what truly matters.
3. Hire a Lawyer
Consulting with legal counsel while things are running smoothly can alleviate stress and worry if something serious happens—and can also prevent a variety of issues in the first place. In fact, your lawyer will not only prevent potential legal mistakes but can also recommend and help implement practices that will benefit your business today—and keep you out of legal trouble going forward.
Talking with your lawyer can help you decide which issues are critical and must be dealt with immediately and which issues are likely to be less problematic. This kind of advance planning can help avoid costly issues and prepare you for serious problems that can’t be avoided.
And it’s now easier than ever before to find an excellent, affordable lawyer to help your business grow.
If legally forming your company is still on your “to-do” list, be sure to put a check mark next to it very soon. Determining what form your business will take directly impacts your tax requirements and treatment by the IRS. It can also help minimize your liability and insulate your personal assets from business creditors. With a number business forms (e.g. sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, LLP S-corporation, C-Corporation, B-Corporation ), it is important to consult a lawyer to help determine what form is best for your business.
5. Build Your Online Presence
The internet is your resume. This is why it’s startling how many businesses harm themselves by settling for an amateur website or an unmonitored social media presence.The first thing an interested customer or client does is google your brand. If they are unimpressed by your online presence, they might not research your company any further. Think of the components of your online presence as follows:
Ratings or reviews of your service. In our increasingly social world, reviews posted to Yelp, TripAdvisor and other sites can have a dramatic impact on your business. Use Google Alerts or Hootsuite to monitor customer reviews. This will enable you to quickly join the conversation and respond appropriately. When dealing with a negative review it is critical to avoid being argumentative. Instead, offer a public apology that explains how you will take steps to make sure the situation does not occur again. In addition, you can take a further step by sending the aggrieved customer offering a remedy, such as a future discount.
Your own website. A business with a streamlined, user-friendly, and mobile-friendly site is immediately going to come off as more professional. As you’re weighing how much to invest in making your site mobile friendly, set up your Google analytics to see what percentage of your traffic comes from mobile.
Social media and other content creation. Take opportunities to make yourself a “thought leader” and expert in your space—write on your blog, guest post on someone else’s, respond to questions on Quora, etc. And consumers respond well to personal interaction over social media. When someone tweets at your brand, they should receive a response. When spam gets posted to your company’s Facebook page, it should be promptly deleted.
So, this month, as you’re cleaning your house, also consider these 5 ways you can make your business more productive this spring.