financial

One reason your business is cash poor could be that you’re not managing the elements of working capital.  Listen to find out more..

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Show Notes

In this episode we will talk about the concept of working capital.  We’ll help you understand what makes up working capital and why you need to pay attention to it.  We’ll also give you tips on how to manage it better so that you are maintaining healthy levels for your business.

Key Points

*Working capital is a key element of liquidity that businesses need to fund operations and maintain momentum as it grows.

*Working Capital is current assets less current liabilities.  An asset or liability is current if is due within one year.

*Failing to watch and manage working capital can lead to potential problems of not paying its bills or meeting its obligations.

*While growing businesses are increasing sales, they are usually increasing spending which increases the pressure on working capital to stay ahead.

*Being profitable doesn’t necessarily mean that your business is free from potential working capital issues.

*We look at who in the company needs to be responsible to watch working capital.

*Lisa discusses the key positions in most businesses that have a role in impacting the elements of working capital.

*Entrepreneurs can help educate their team on working capital and how their decisions impact the company and its liquidity.

*Lisa gets into particular tips in managing and improving working capital on both the asset and liability side of the equation.

*One way to measure how you are doing in this area is to compute the working capital ratio.  Lisa describes how to calculate it and use it to monitor your business.

Resources and Links

Note: Links in this post may be affiliate links.  Lisa Roberts is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

If you would like to contact Lisa for advice about working capital in your own business follow this link to request a Quick Care session.

To learn more about managing one of the elements of working capital be sure to check out this episode on Cash Flow Forecasting.

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Get all the updates and information Lisa shares from Business Rx and the Healthy Business Healthy Profits show! You’ll get information, tips and strategies on growing a healthy successful business. Don’t worry, I won’t bombard you with emails.  At most, you’ll get something from me every few weeks. You can sign up  Here

Lisa Roberts is a business operations consultant who advises growth company entrepreneurs in successfully managing growth and the challenges they face along the way. She has over 25 years of experience in operations, finance and administration and spent several years in executive roles at a high growth company. She recognizes that there is a fine line between success and failure in a growing business and that entrepreneurs need to focus on managing finances, creating a sound operation and employ good business practices to stay on track.   You can find out more about her here

In this epsiode of the podcast we cover mistakes business owners make in the financial management side of running their business.

To listen to the episode hit the play button.

To download the episode, right click on this link  and choose Save Target As.  Go to the folder where you want to save the recording on your device and click Save or Enter.

Make it easier to get upcoming episodes by subscribing to the show on iTunes . Subscribing to the show will automatically download the episodes on your preferred listening device so you can listen to them when and where you want. And hey, if you like what you hear, please leave the show a great rating and review while you are there on iTunes.

Show Notes

It’s easy for entrepreneurs to get caught up in the day to day and lose sight sometimes of the big picture. One aspect of that big picture is managing your company’s finances. In today’s episode we cover some of the mistakes business owners make in managing their business’ finances.

Key Points

*Too often, entrepreneurs focus on sales and not enough on the overall results and financial position.

*Your overall financial results provide opportunities to see potential problems early so that you can act to deal with them.

*Not managing cash flow and overspending is another mistake entrepreneurs make in financial management.

*Using credit and debt and relying too much on credit to run the business can also create problems for a business owner.

*Poor management of receivables and poor credit policies is another area where mistakes are made in businesses.

*Failing to use budgets and other measures to track performance is an area that entrepreneurs make mistakes and lose the ability to manage and monitor their business more effectively.

*Make financial, budget and key performance indicators part of your Monthly Financial Management Review.

*Managing cash flow involves using a cash flow forecast, effectively managing receivables and payables as well as monitoring inventory and spending.

*Lisa talks about the different costs in your business and how they impact the cash and cash flow.

*Using credit is acceptable but too much reliance on it could be masking bigger problems in your business.

*Lisa discusses some best practices related to accounts receivable to manage and monitor collections and cash flow.

*DSO’s or Days Sales Outstanding is discussed and how you can use a metric like it to measure your collection performance.

Resources and Links

Note: Links in this post may be affiliate links.  Lisa Roberts is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

Tip Sheet – Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make When Managing Finances – Subscribe to my list to get your free copy here

If you making some of these mistakes in your business you can set up a consultation session with Lisa Roberts to get her advice on how you can avoid these mistakes going forward.  Follow this link to set up a session with her.

Books mentioned in this epsiode:

Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, by Charles Duhigg-  follow this link http://amzn.to/2lk2Grm

Lean Start-Up, by Eric Reis follow this link http://amzn.to/2lg2BJp

Other podcast epsiodes you may want to check out:

Cash Flow Forecast episode https://www.bizrx-advisors.com/managing-cash-flow-forecast/

To learn more about budgets as mentioned on the show check out the episode  Growth and Spending What Your Need to Know https://www.bizrx-advisors.com/growth-spending-budgets/

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Get all the updates and information Lisa shares from Business Rx and the Healthy Business Healthy Profits show! You’ll get information, tips and strategies on growing a healthy successful business. Don’t worry, I won’t bombard you with emails.  At most, you’ll get something from me every few weeks. You can sign up  Here

Lisa Roberts is a business operations consultant who advises growth company entrepreneurs in successfully managing growth and the challenges they face along the way. She has over 25 years of experience in operations, finance and administration and spent several years in executive roles at a high growth company. She recognizes that there is a fine line between success and failure in a growing business and that entrepreneurs need to focus on managing finances, creating a sound operation and employ good business practices to stay on track.   You can find out more about her here

Key performance indicators are a great way to focus in on important areas of your business to gauge results, set goals and target improvement areas.

To listen to the episode hit the play button.

To download the episode, right click on this link  and choose Save Target As.  Go to the folder where you want to save the recording on your device and click Save or Enter.

Make it easier to listen to upcoming episodes by subscribing to the show on iTunes . Subscribing to the show will automatically download the episodes on your preferred listening device so you can listen to them when and where you want. And hey, if you like what you hear, please leave the show a great rating and review while you are there on iTunes.

Show Notes

Owners of growing businesses are so crazy busy that they rely on their gut too much and struggle with where to focus their valuable time. Determining where the business is doing well or doing poorly takes more focus and less gut. Entrepreneurs need a way to get information on business performance and get it quickly.  One way to get that information is using Key Performance Indicators or KPI’s. In today’s show we are going to focus on what KPI’s are and how you should use them in your business to help you set and measure performance goals as well as manage your business.

Key Points

*Key Performance Indicators or KPI’s can help you get a snapshot of how your business is performing in particular areas whether financially or operationally.

*KPI’s can help not only manage your business but also target areas of improvements you want to make in your business and gauge their success.

*It’s important to use KPI’s to understand your business against your industry peers and to pick the right metrics that, for your industry, defines success.

*Measures that may be important for one industry may not be as important or even irrelevant for another indusrty.

*Key factors to consider when choosing KPI’s for your business should be that they are relevant, meaningful and be able to lead to decisions and ultimately action.

*A good set of KPI’s can be used to set goals and objectives for your business to drive improvements both at the overall company level as well as the management team’s department level.

*Goals and strategies related to improvement initiatives can trickle down and create engagement for your staff.

*We discuss how the entrepreneur begins the process of identifying her own Key Performance Indicators and if she needs help doing it, the type of people and skills that can help her.

Resources and Links

Note: Links in this post may be affiliate links.  Lisa Roberts is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

The True Measures of Success by Michael J. Mauboussin in the Harvard Business Review. Find that here

Key Performance Indicators – Information and Tip Sheet – sign up to get the tip sheet here

To contact Lisa Roberts to set up a Quick Care session to review your business and get started with your own KPI’s follow this link

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Get all the updates and information Lisa shares from Business Rx and the Healthy Business Healthy Profits show! You’ll get information, tips and strategies on growing a healthy successful business. Don’t worry, I won’t bombard you with emails.  At most, you’ll get something from me every few weeks. You can sign up  Here

Lisa Roberts is a business operations consultant who advises growth company entrepreneurs in successfully managing growth and the challenges they face along the way. She has over 25 years of experience in operations, finance and administration and spent several years in executive roles at a high growth company. She recognizes that there is a fine line between success and failure in a growing business and that entrepreneurs need to focus on managing finances, creating a sound operation and employ good business practices to stay on track.   You can find out more about her here

One pain point for business owners is keeping and maintaining good business records.  Too often businesses fall behind in their recordkeeping, which will, more than likely, get them into even deeper problems.

To listen to the episode hit the play button.

To download the episode, right click on this link  and choose Save Target As.  Go to the folder where you want to save the recording on your device and click Save or Enter.

Make it easier to get upcoming episodes by subscribing to the show on iTunes . Subscribing to the show will automatically download the episodes on your preferred listening device so you can listen to them when and where you want. And hey, if you like what you hear, please leave the show a great rating and review while you are there on iTunes.

Show Notes

One pain point for business owners is keeping and maintaining good business records.  Too often businesses fall behind in their recordkeeping, which will, more than likely, get them into even deeper problems. Not keeping timely records will almost always cause additional problems for a business both financially and legally. In this episode we will look at the symptoms of bad recordkeeping, what problems it can cause and what you need to do about it.

Key Points

*Recordkeeping for your business includes both financial and legal records. Not maintaining good records in your business creates many risks that can cause several problems for you and your business.

*Bad recordkeeping can cause problems with your business relationships with customers, vendors and employees due to errors, oversight and lost or missing records.

*Your records need to be maintained and safeguarded to avoid problems with security and privacy as well.

*Bad recordkeeping can result in costly error-ridden catch-up exercises, late payments with taxing authorities and other costly financial problems.

*Requirements of tax authorities and other governmental regulations place importance on having good accurate records for compliance.  Bad recordkeeping places your company at a big disadvantage if there is ever an audit or review by a regulatory authority.

*Clear responsibility for records and records management need to be defined in a company.

*Systems and procedures need to ensure that there is an audit trail in place for your financial records.

*Your business needs to research what requirements you have for recordkeeping based on your type of business and the industry in which you operate.

*Tips on making sure transactions are captured and recorded and up to date are also shared in the episode.

*Due to the importance of the accounting and financial role in recordkeeping, we highlight the differences between a bookkeeper and an accountant in the episode.

*For Human Resource records and legal records need to be managed as well as we highlight some of the important types of records and how to get some guidance about those records.

*We provide you with some tips on where you can get help if you need advice in this area.

Resources and Links to Learn More

Here are some links to sites that can give you guidance on the types of records and how they should be maintained and for how long. The information here is for the United States only.

Disclaimer:  These sites may change the information in these links or move the location of the information contained in the links.  It is highly recommended that you consult with your legal and accounting advisors as well.

Internal Revenue Service Small Business Record keeping information

Internal Revenue Service Tax Topics Recordkeeping

Department of Labor – OSHA recordkeeping information

U.S. Department of Labor Fact Sheet #21: Recordkeeping Requirements under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

Lisa Roberts is a business operations specialist who advises growth company entrepreneurs in successfully managing growth and the challenges they face along the way. She has over 25 years of experience in operations, finance and administration and spent several years in executive roles at a high growth company. She recognizes that there is a fine line between success and failure in a growing business and that entrepreneurs need to focus on managing finances, creating a sound operation and employ good business practices to stay on track.   You can find out more about her here .

Sign Up to Get Updates

Get all the updates and information Lisa shares from Business Rx and the Healthy Business Healthy Profits show! You’ll get information, tips and strategies on growing a healthy successful business. Don’t worry, I won’t bombard you with emails.  At most, you’ll get something from me every few weeks. You can sign up  Here

Do You Have a Healthy Business? – Pilot Episode

Find out what we mean by a healthy business and learn some of the traps entrepreneurs fall into growing their business.

You can listen to the episode by hitting the play button.

To download this episode, right click on the this link and choose Save Target As. Go to the folder where you want to save the recording and click Save or Enter.

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SHOW NOTES

What makes a business, a healthy business? In this episode we talk about what it means to have a healthy business, the traps that entrepreneurs fall into as they try to grow a healthy business and the ways you can get out of or avoid those traps.

Key Points

A healthy business fulfills its purpose, provides value for stakeholders and also creates business value. It also is a place where employees can develop and have meaningful work and run by an entrepreneur who is focused on creating sustainable growth.

Some things that keep entrepreneurs from creating a healthy business are the lack of experience with change and change management skills, lack of financial experience to manage expenses, skills needed at start-up vs. growth, the struggle to make the transition from doing and managing to leading and not building a foundation for growth.

Traps entrepreneurs fall into as a business grows are the money rollercoaster, relying on your gut for too long, not letting go and leading, not investing in creating a foundation to grow your business and falling in love with their own business.

Avoiding these traps requires entrepreneurs to have key areas covered and those areas are the 5 P’s – Planning, Practices, Process, People and Profits.

Terms Used in this episode

Planning
Practices
Process
People
Profit

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Lisa Roberts is a business operations specialist who advises growth company entrepreneurs in successfully managing growth and the challenges they face along the way. She has over 25 years of experience in operations, finance and administration and spent several years in executive roles at a high growth company. She recognizes that there is a fine line between success and failure in a growing business and that entrepreneurs need to focus on managing finances, creating a sound operation and employ good business practices to stay on track.   You can find out more about her here

So it’s almost tax day.

For those of you who managed to get through it relatively unscathed, congratulations!

For those of you who did not, my condolences!

Many people dread this time of year. In fact, a Pew Research study from 2015 showed the 56% of people surveyed had a negative view about doing their taxes.  People have may have many reasons for disliking the process. The amount of time and paperwork can create problems and if you are disorganized it only gets worse.

tax
image courtesy of Pixabay

Years ago, I prepared tax returns for the firm where I worked. It was always interesting how clients approached the process. We had one client who would show up at our office modestly dressed with a brown paper bag in tow containing all his information and receipts.  As it turned out he was a very wealthy man who ran a highly profitable seed company.  He probably paid more for his tax prep because his information wasn’t organized and his return took longer to prepare as a result.

Tax time is a good time to step back to review what went well and what didn’t in the process of getting your tax information together.  While it’s fresh your mind, think about the pain and the struggle that you faced and have a strategy to make it easier on yourself next year.


Here are some tips to help you avoid the pain and frustration of tax time next year.

Lessons from this year

Think about what you struggled with when getting your tax information together this year. What things did your tax accountant come back to ask about or to get clarification?  Were there things that you had to dig up and research?  Did you find things were misplaced? Were there things that took too much of your time?

Maybe there is a better way to account for those things throughout the year, so that the information is easily available when you need it for next tax year. It could be keeping records more organized, setting up schedules of certain expenses to provide a better record for your accountant, or maybe even starting the process earlier so that you and your accountant are rushing to meet the deadline.

Lesson 1 – Learn from this past tax year to see what you can change now to make it better next year.

Review Your Tax Return

Take time to understand the basics of your return. It will help if you have a working understanding of your tax return and how the inputs show up on the return itself. Now, do not hear me say that you need to understand how to prepare your return; leave that to the financial experts. However, you should have an understanding of where the numbers that you give your accountant show up, so that you can better organize your records.

For example, if you are like me and file as a sole proprietor. Schedule C is the main form that includes all of your income and expenses for your business; use it to make sure that you keep track of the expense categories you need. In addition, certain expenses are treated differently for tax purposes.  A common example is meals and entertainment, which are currently only deductible at 50% of the expense.  Therefore, you want to make sure that when you account for those expenses, only those true business meals and entertainment expenses are included. If you include other expenses by mistake, you will shortchange yourself since the deduction is limited to 50%.

Lesson 2 – Understanding the expenses you can deduct and where they will go on your return can help you keep track of those items better throughout the year.

Organize and Organize Some More!

Depending on your business, you keep some sort of records for your income and expenses. Whether you have a complex financial management package, a simple QuickBooks program or a set of spreadsheets, keep them up to date and organized throughout the year to avoid the tax time onslaught.

Keep in mind what we said before; make sure you organize your income and expense information so that it’s traceable for your accountant to easily prepare your return. You’ll save time and money if your tax accountant doesn’t have to sift through receipt after receipt trying to figure out what kind of expense each one is.

Accounting packages can easily help you, but if you have a small micro-business, a well-organized set a spreadsheets can work too. In addition, having a good filing system will help you keep all your supporting documents and receipts straight.  You’ll need to retain those for several years in case you are audited, so it’s best to have good records and a good filing system to keep track of it all.

Keep your personal records organized as well. You can create a system to organize those records too.  I keep a file folder that has all my information for the tax year.  When I make a charitable contribution for example, a spreadsheet is updated and the receipt placed in my file folder.  Same with taxes paid and any other types of expenses that I track. By the end of the year, it’s basically done and ready for my accountant.

Lesson 3 – Maintaining good records throughout the year will help avoid a lot of the pain at tax time.

Major Change Log

Certain major changes in your business operations can have tax implications.  It’s a good idea to keep a log or list that you can run by your accountant at tax time.  Some of the major changes in your operation that you will want to be mindful of are:  a change in ownership of your business; the purchase of major assets; leasing equipment; acquiring another business; selling all or a part of your business; getting into a new product line that is different from your current business, etc.

Lesson 4 – Keep track of major changes in your business that could affect your return this year.

Consult with Your Accountant More Frequently

Your tax accountant should be someone that you consult with throughout the year rather than just at tax time. It is a good idea to consult with your accountant about major operational changes you’ve made but a better idea is to consult with them at the time you are ready to make that change.  Sometimes certain major events can be handled in a way that will minimize your tax impact so consult with your tax expert first. Their advice can help you structure a business transaction in a way that benefits you from a tax perspective and keeps more money in your pocket.

Lesson 5 – Consult your tax accountant about business transactions that could affect your taxes.

Take some of the stress out of tax time. Learn from the pain of the past, understand your return, stay organized, consider the tax impact of major changes in your business and know when to consult with your tax expert so that you are ready when next year rolls around.

With the holiday season upon us, everyone is running full speed checking off their gift lists. If you own your own business, you have other management lists that you need to check off so that you can end the year and start the next off strong.

We hear 12 days of Christmas this time of year, well here are 12 Steps of Year End to help get you started. Some of these will need to get done by or at year end, but most can be done after.

So off you go.

1) Complete Your Books and Records -make sure all your transactions are captured and recorded properly before you close the year. Don’t forget to make sure your business expenses are kept separate from your personal expenses.

2) Physical Inventory – if your business has inventory, do a physical inventory count at the end of the year and reconcile the counts with your computerized records.

3) Tax Statements – get your 1099’s and your W-2’s completed and sent out by their deadline – January 31st.

4) Employee Reviews -take time to sit down with your staff and perform reviews so they know how they’re performing and how they can improve. It’s also a good time to thank them for their hard work this past year!

5) Reconcile Accounts – once the year is completed, reconcile your bank accounts and your credit cards to make sure they are in balance with your books. (For good financial management, this is something you need to do every month, not just at year end.)

6) Auto Mileage – If you record your auto business usage using the standard mileage rate, make sure that you are using the correct rate. And while you’re at it you can set up your systems for the upcoming year. Check the rates here at IRS.gov site http://www.irs.gov/Tax-Professionals/Standard-Mileage-Rates

7) Financial Reports and Results – once your year is done, your expenses recorded in the proper year and your business and personal expense separated, print out your financial statements to review your results. Also, look at your key business ratios to see how your business is performing and what areas you need to focus on for next year.

8) Budgets and Goals – finalize your budget, goals and objectives for next year so that you can start the year strong and focused.

9) Call the Accountant – get in touch with your accountant to see what they need from you to prepare information for your tax filing.

10) Prepare for Your Advisor Meetings – make a list of questions for your accountant or other advisors about regulations and new laws that may affect you in the year going forward so you can plan for the upcoming year.

11) Annual Reports and Fees – make sure you file your annual report, if required by your state by the deadline. Here in New Jersey, they’re due on the last day of the month of the anniversary of the company’s formation.

12) Reflect on the Year – take some time to clear your head and review how things went for your business. Pat yourself on the back for those things that went well! Learn from those things that didn’t go so well. Don’t dwell, learn!

Good luck checking off your business management list so you can close out your year successfully. And best wishes for a great holiday season to you and your family.

What if growth came in a nice even pattern? No, that would be too easy! Instead, it’s often uneven, stressful, and even sometimes unexpected.  Managing increases in demand for products or services is another problem that growth companies face. Managing it successfully can be part science, part art and maybe even a little luck.

Risky Growth

There are cases of companies that grew too fast only to later tumble because they didn’t anticipate or plan well; they weren’t ready to grow at such a quick pace.  Toyota®’s quality problems in 2010 were attributed by their CEO to growing too fast.  Pets.com®’s failure was attributed to aggressive expansion, running up huge costs for advertising (remember the sock puppet) and investing in warehouses that didn’t support their sales or even their market potential.   A recent example is the company, Groupon®, as analysts are speculating that some of their woes are due to extremely fast growth. Let’s face it expanding the workforce from 40 employees to 10,000 in 2 years will upset the apple cart!

Some entrepreneurs feel that growing fast is a quick way to success but others try to keep growth at a manageable pace by taking it on in smaller chunks.

Creating manageable chunks of growth will take work, planning and a very good understanding your own operations.   You may also have to learn how to say “no” to that next big order or job if you’re not in a position to deliver quality products and services on time.

Let’s look at some ways to help you manage increased demand in your business.

Hiring

We explored in recent posts that having the right people but in times of fast growth, many businesses try hire too quickly thinking they “just need more people”.  While that may be true, you also need a good hiring plan.  You avoid a lot of pain and cost by making sure that you’re hiring qualified people and ensuring that they fit in with your company’s culture, personality and work ethic.  Take it a step further with a process to integrate new people into your company so they hit the ground running.

Know Your Numbers

A clear financial picture allows you to plan changes to your operations more effectively.  Your success will be tied to making the right investments in resources, equipment and other areas when and where they are needed.   You’ll be hard pressed to know how those costs will affect your business in the future without a clear picture of where you stand now.  A few key tools that will help you make those decisions:

  1. Financial – This is the starting point for knowing where you are at; have up to date books and financial statements.
  2. Forecasts – Sales expected to be added during your anticipated growth – do you have hard orders, promised orders, potential orders or is it pure speculation?
  3. Budgets – help you paint a picture of the impact of decisions about investments on your business and profitability – here you can measure what if scenarios like the cost of adding 10 more employees, how buying that $10,000 piece of equipment will affect output etc.

Understand Your Operations

In a recent post, “When Your Gut Won’t Gut It”, we looked at how systems can help you manage growth.  In the Toyota® example, it was their quality system that took a hit when they grew too fast.  Your systems should allow you to know what you are capable of delivering in the same good quality that got you the order in the first place.  Knowing this can also help you manage expectations with customers and avoid straining the good relationships, brand and reputation that you’ve already worked hard to develop.

A company that has the capacity to turn out 100 widgets a day will have a tough time taking a big order that requires them to turn out 1,000 a day.  Like your financial numbers, you need to know your operational numbers too.  This can be as simple as the widget example but make sure you know what your own operational numbers.

Caught Up in Your Success

Toyota® was caught up in a growth cycle that ended up costing them in litigation losses and damage to their reputation.  Pets.com® failed to plan their growth causing it to only be in existence for 2 years and for Groupon®, the story is still being written.  It’s easy to get swept up in the excitement of increased demand and growth. However, understanding your numbers, operations and ensuring you bring in the right resources help avoid some of the missteps these companies made.

Well, here we go again. Each of us is dashing around planning for the holidays while also trying to plan for the next year in our businesses. I think this is the time of the year that I have the most “to do” lists going at once. As I whittle down my gift list, I, like many of you, are working through the year- end business list of things to do.

How does yours compare to mine?

Financials

To wrap up the year, I am in the process of getting my books in order so that I can prepare my year end reports to track sales, profitability and expenses. I have already had a call with my tax accountant to go over year-end tax planning but we also discussed what may happen in next year given the state of affairs in Washington DC. Yikes, what a mess they are making with our business planning this year!

Action Plans

I am also putting my plans together for marketing, operations and sales. The marketing plan includes things I plan to do in next year for promotion, advertising, marketing content and even in networking activities. While I do not plan on doing any hiring, your company may be considering whether adding staff could propel your business further. Operationally, you may be considering investments in capital and equipment that you may need to enhance your business or you may be reviewing your expenses to see if there are changes you can make to save costs.

Goals

While I am organizing my financials and action plans, I find that I begin to think about next year and what I want to do for my business. This is when the goals for next year start to take shape. I like to think about these as long term aims that drive focus and give me something clear to strive for. They might be related to growth, profit or even service. Make sure your goals are clear though. It shouldn’t be that you are going to make more sales; it should be we are going to increase sales by 10%. If you have staff, involve them in the process so they have an increased sense of ownership and understanding in the direction the company going forward. They may also have some great ideas of their own.

Budgets

Now that you have your current financials just about complete, your action plans in place and goals for next year, you can summarize the affects in your budget. Your budget can help you manage your business by prioritizing the spending for next year and it can also help you to prioritize the Action Plans and Goals that you have set for your business.

Muddy Waters from Washington

Taxes, the Affordable Care Act and the regulatory climate can all have a greater impact on your business in the coming year. Here are a few things you should be considering during your planning for the end of year.

Taxes

Our lawmakers continue to bicker about what is right for the country when it comes to debts, deficits and taxes. Since many small businesses file their tax returns as individuals, tax decisions by lawmakers may have an effect on taxes for some employers. You’ll need to plan and budget for these any tax changes in the coming year. It is a good time to consult your tax accountant to see how new tax law changes could affect you in the coming year.

Health Care Costs

The Affordable Care Act contains about 2400 pages and the regulations that go with it will ultimately take up several more thousands of pages. Changes and delays in certain requirements have also made this law more confusing for businesses and individuals alike. Business owners should work with their advisors and insurance providers to understand how this will impact them operationally and financially in the coming years so they can plan what is right for their own business and financial situation.

Regulations

The government imposes regulations that impact business in several ways including economic, environmental, OSHA and tax compliance and these can be costly to small businesses. In fact a study done by Lafayette College for the Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy back in 2008 revealed some of these costs.

As of 2008, small businesses (defined as fewer than 20 employees) showed that these firms bore the largest cost of regulations per employee at $10,585 or 36% higher than larger firms. For medium sized firms, defined as 20-499 employees, that cost was reduced somewhat to $7,454 per employee. With so many regulations, it is very difficult for business owners to keep up with them all. The Small Business Administration has a site that can help you get started http://www.sba.gov/category/navigation-structure/starting-managing-business/starting-business/understand-business-law-r . Because regulations can be complex, it is also a good idea to consult your business lawyer or other advisors if you have questions.

Best of luck getting through your own to do list this year and happy planning!

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