It’s December, and while technically there are still the same number of seconds, minutes and hours in a day, there seems to be a black hole that eats them up. In these last remaining days of chaos (aka holiday celebrations), I find myself wanting to streamline my processes and reduce unnecessary work. I know I’m not alone.
As your business grows you might find that tasks or processes that once worked have become cumbersome and time consuming. That the Excel spreadsheet just isn’t cutting it, or the group emails are clogging up your inbox. Your team is growing, your business is growing, and the way you manage your business needs to grow with them.
While there might be a million ways to improve the productivity of your small business, I thought I’d share some thought starters on where to begin. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it should get you thinking about where inefficiencies might exist and a means to begin solving them.
Duplicated data entry – Entering information into Word or Excel and then transposing it into your accounting software is a huge time waster. Consider how you can leverage your accounting software to manage this information. Many reports in QuickBooks Online can be customized, saved, emailed and shared. If you own a retail shop, are you manually entering sales into QuickBooks, or is there a tool that can help you automate this process? Ask yourself “is there a way we can automate this process”?
Time tracking – do you have employees keeping track of hours worked? They may be part time employees in a retail shop, or project managers logging time to be billed back to clients. Paper time sheets and/or spreadsheets are easy to use, but capturing the data electronically will reduce the time you spend transposing it into your invoicing or payroll system. Consider using an app that be accessed on your phone or desktop and enter hours there, instead of on paper or in a spreadsheet. While there are many options, I have a preference to Tsheets, which will integrate with QuickBooks (and other accounting software) and depending on how you set it up, it might not cost anything (win-win!).
Communication – I love keeping my inbox organized, but when online projects involve several people and many communications, project management tools like Asana or Basecamp are a life saver. By managing all communications in one place and assigning tasks, everyone is held accountable and there is no need to check up on progress – because status updates are all right there. If you need a way to communicate financial status and information to clients, consider an app like Dubsado, where clients can log into a portal and see a statement of account.
While apps and tools can be amazing and make your life waaaay easier, my word of caution is that sometimes they can make things more complicated and less efficient. Before implementing a change, be sure it’s right for your business - make sure that what the app is doing and/or capturing is accurate and not opening you up to risk or error.
Not sure where to start? Your bookkeeper can be a great resource …wink wink.