By Evan Singer, General Manager for SmartBiz
It’s that time of year again, and even though the word “business” may not come to mind when talk about spring cleaning — it should. There are a lot of great ways SMBs can benefit from a small organizational facelift.
1. File your taxes on time.
Don’t miss tax deadlines. Remember, if you owe taxes this year, the payment was due to the IRS by April 15th, regardless of whether or not you have filed your actual tax return. Missing your payments can result in stiff penalties and interest charges. Even if you can only send in a partial payment, that will help reduce the amount of penalties and interest you owe.
If you’re looking to get a loan, being able to show a bank a tax return from the previous year can be a tremendous asset. Typically, cash flow based on your last tax return is the most important to a lender. At SmartBiz Loans, we offer 6%-8% SBA loans online with funding as fast as 7 days. Demonstrating cash flow based on last year’s taxes is a key component to qualifying.
2. Use cloud accounting software.
Cloud accounting software will provide basic applications and there are packages designed for small business owners. These programs simplify the process and provide essentials that include a general ledger, the capability to create detailed invoices or view business inventory and purchase history. However, keep in mind that small business owners don’t need to purchase expensive business accounting software programs or spend hours on complicated reports.
Not using a cloud accounting software like Xero or QuickBooks online yet? Take an online tour or try a free trial. It’s easier for you and your accountant to manage your business finances.
3. Get your vision down on paper.
Spring is a great time to get your small business vision down on paper. Many small business owners are so busy focusing on the day-to-day that they don’t have a clear vision for the future. Look at long and short-term goals first. Then, devise strategies that can help get you into a position to grow your business, both plans for immediate growth and for the future. Dream big but make your vision as real and concrete as possible. Focus on a few key strategies to deliver your vision over the next year. It’s better to do a few critical things well then choose ten strategies and fail to execute any of them.
4. Step up your online presence and social media.
The world is changing. Having a positive presence online is key to any business.
If you need a website refresh, there are inexpensive services that can help you upgrade like GoDaddy or WordPress. Investigate your online customer ratings and comments on sites like Yelp and Angie’s List. Be responsive and address issues and concerns online quickly. This helps put a human face on your business and can boost word-of-mouth referrals. If Facebook and Twitter are a good fit for your business, you don’t have to go it alone. There are targeted and cost effective advertising programs that are easy to put in place and can be less expensive than other traditional marketing initiatives.
5. Have fun with your business.
You’re part of the American Dream –not everyone gets to run a small business! Continue to pour your heart and soul into your business. The economy is picking up speed, business is improving, and small business owners are in a great position to succeed. Spring is a great time to inject fun back into your company’s culture.
As the company leader, get excited about the opportunity to have fun while you work. A positive attitude can be contagious. Ideas can be as simple as holding a meeting in a park or hosting a picnic lunch outside. You have a great resource for adding fun to the workplace – your employees. Ask them for ideas that they think are fun. Something as simple as an office makeover can be fun for your team – invest in fresh paint, colorful decor, green plants and healthy snacks. Don’t forget to celebrate work anniversaries and birthdays. A card or a cake takes little effort but can pay off big for employees who feel underappreciated or burned out. Finally, look outside of your business for opportunities to give back. Volunteer for a local charity or donated needed items. Get your team involved and build up good karma.
Evan Singer leads the operational, tactical and strategic activities associated with SmartBiz, the company’s small business loan product. He is responsible for the overall profitability, growth and success of SmartBiz.