You might not think of it this way, but as a freelancer, you’re running a small business. You might also have dreams of expanding those freelance services into a more traditional business too, outsourcing work to employees or expanding the menu of services.
While starting your business, it’s easy to get caught up in the day to day chaos and lose track of essential aspects of the company operations. Take a breath and try using these tips for getting a handle on your business.
Create a Written Business Plan
The idea of written business plans sounds intimidating for anyone without an MBA, but don’t panic. It doesn’t have to be a formal business plan. The more details you can write down, the better, though.
Describe your products and services. Articulate what makes your business idea different from competitors. Write down price points, including cost breakdowns and profit analyses.
Include a plan for helping the business grow too. Detail how you’ll market the company, including social media, content marketing, or other strategies. Add a list of strategies to use for finding new revenue when business is slow.
Have Standardized Documents in Place
Some company owners don’t think through their basic business documents until they need them. They spend all their time courting new clients, for example, but when one reaches that buying stage, they have to pause and start working with their attorney to develop a contract. It’s easy for clients to lose momentum or drop out of the pipeline during those long pauses.
Instead, draw up your key documents now, before they’re necessary. This includes client contracts, employee contracts, contractor agreements, non-disclosure agreements, and anything else that may be needed. When new clients come along or you need to hire new employees or contractors, you can hop on the opportunity without losing momentum.
Track Every Expense
Most of us have had times when we checked our bank balance and said, “Where did all my money go?” Money has a way of leaking out through small purchases when you don’t watch it carefully, whether we’re talking about personal funds or company funds.
To prevent those mini panic attacks, start tracking every expense. Set clear budgets and track where you are within those budgets. After each month, evaluate your expenses to see what you could’ve done without or where you could save money moving forward.
The best way to get future clients is to serve current clients well so they’ll come back for more and send future clients your way too. To impress them all, do fantastic work but don’t forget about customer service.
Being easy for clients to reach at all times is a key part of customer service. Give clients multiple ways to reach you, like online chats, emails, phone numbers, and so on. Respond to clients as quickly as possible but take the initiative to reach out to them often too with updates or check-ins so they know you’re actively engaged. This makes clients feel more attended-to so they’ll help you build a successful business.
Plan Each Day Wisely
Time is money when you’re running a business. Every minute, you could be finding ways to build the business and boost revenue. That means wasting your time figuring out what to do next is costly.
That’s why every day should begin with a plan. Don’t just schedule your planned meetings. Schedule time each day for various work activities. Allot certain time to specific production work like clients’ projects. Set aside other time blocks for business development.
This way, you’re never sitting there wondering what to do next. Plus, planning your schedule in advance makes it easier to make sure no tasks get left behind or lost in the fray.
Consult with Select Professionals
Small business owners often take the DIY approach often, doing their own bookkeeping, tax management, client management, and so on. While this can save money, there are limits.
For financial and legal matters, in particular, hire a professional for a consultation. For example, while starting the business, bring in a CPA. They can advise you on setting up various company accounts, what types of business insurance are necessary, what types of taxes to collect or reserve, and more.
Attorneys work well for this too. They can advise you about legal liabilities to prevent, whether your business is a mobile app or freelance design work. Consulting someone about matters like these can help you catch potential problems or risks early before they become long term, expensive issues.
Set Aside Time for Reviewing Financials
Business owners are busy with day-to-day business activity and operational tasks, so it’s easy to make guesses about the company’s performance without taking a clear look. For future success, though, it’s critical to stay on top of the financials.
Every month, quarter, and year set aside time for preparing and review each essential financial report. This includes an income statement, cash flow report, balance sheet, profit and loss statement, sales report, and so on.
By reviewing these metrics often, you’ll have a better understanding of the business’s strengths and weaknesses. You’ll be able to catch downturns early and find ways of turning them around. After all, you can’t fix problems you don’t know about.
Managing Your Business Strategically
Operating a small business isn’t easy by any stretch of the imagination, but with a well-planned system in place, it can be smoother, more successful, and infinitely more rewarding. Start with the tips above and find your path.