Always On The Go? 5 Tips For Managing A Small Business On The Road
Running a small business usually requires a lot of actual running for the owner. Running to meetings, running around town and running equipment can leave precious little time for tasks like bookkeeping, organizing, documentation or tracking. How can an owner or manager who is constantly on the go make it easier to care for his business? Here are a few simple tips.
Office in a Box
No matter how technologically savvy you are—or aren't—creating an office in a box will help you stay organized and reduce your workload. Start with a hard-sided container with a handle that fits easily in your car and is light enough to carry comfortably. Insert folders customized to organize whatever paperwork your travel often calls for: receipts, invoices, payments, parts lists, business cards, quotes or permits. Be sure to include space for a few small office supplies you use regularly.
Track Time and Trips in Apps
Make use of apps and simple tablet- or phone-based options for tracking your travel and time spent working on jobs. Many of these apps are inexpensive or free and provide cloud-based storage that can be set to automatically protect your data. This enables you to easily track billable hours and potential tax deductions for travel.
Rather than buying accounting or business management software and installing it on an office computer, consider cloud-based versions instead. The portability and increased access can help you keep track of your business from remote locations, share tasks and make decisions while on the road. Try to choose software that allows access for your accountant to further reduce redundant work. For more information about accounting services, contact J H Williams And Co LLP.
Outsource Some Things
Even on a small budget, it pays to hire professionals for some aspects of your accounting. Just as you can't expect to run all the other aspects of your work without sometimes getting outside help, don't expect yourself to be able to handle all bookkeeping or financial tasks. Payroll may be a good area for which to hire a service, saving your time and ensuring that you follow the many rules and regulations involved with labor laws.
Another area to work with a qualified accountant is taxes. Even if you can only afford to pay for his or her services once or twice a year, it can save hundreds or thousands of dollars - not to mention stress - to get professional advice about deductions, reporting, depreciation and tax planning.
Digitize, Digitize, Digitize
The last thing that busy, mobile business owners want to do is save receipts and write down notes in notebooks. But that tends to mean the knowledge or record is lost and does your business no good. Modern technology can help you keep records while eliminating piles of small papers, notes, mail and hurried reminders. Buy a small, portable scanner that works with laptops or tablets and keep it with you to scan documents whenever and wherever they come. Organize yourself with the use of electronic note-taking apps and reminders, which are more reliable and harder to lose than their paper counterparts.
Even if you can only start by implementing one or two of these ideas, it's still worth the effort to begin today. Pick one method that will most likely make the most difference for your personal situation and don't be afraid to customize it as needed. Once you begin to see improvements in your business workload, it will become easier and easier to find more ways to streamline, save time and lighten your load.