Unexpected income issues can stop a growing business in its tracks. It’s hard to keep track of paying all the right kinds of taxes, keeping up with your credit card purchases, and making sure your invoices are paid on-time. The key to saving money and staying on track is to implement a few strategic habits.
- Get Paid Fast
Some clients prefer to send a check in the mail–and there’s definitely something satisfying about holding the money in your hands before you drop it off at the bank. But checks can be lost in the mail–or, in some cases, “lost”–and that can really hurt your business. Instead, investigate other invoicing platforms. Some popular and fast platforms include Square, PayPal, or Stripe. They will charge a small percentage for their services, but they will also make payments more convenient for your consumers. Their fees tend to be under 3% for domestic sales in the U.S., but always check the provider’s websites for the most up-to-date information.
- Find a Reliable Bookkeeping Method
Your bookkeeper has a lot of power in running a successful business, so make sure you’re picking someone who’s going to give you good quality work, do it on-time, and be easy to reach when you need them. Choosing a family member, doing it yourself, or hiring a professional all have their pros and cons. Family members will have your best interests at heart, but sometimes don’t have the time to balance the books when you need them to. Doing it yourself gives you the control to get it done when you need it, but also takes your time away from networking or producing the service you offer. Hiring a professional with a good reputation will give you peace of mind while also giving you the services you need.
- Keep Up With Your Bookkeeping Method
It’s easy to let other things get in the way of tracking your mileage, or receipts from lunch with clients, but it’s crucial to do it. Work with your bookkeeper–whoever you choose–to have a system so that you can keep on top of everything together. If you’re doing your own bookkeeping, find any tips and tricks you can. Instead of “guesstimating” your mileage, map out your routes and keep record of your schedule to reconcile it. Block out time in your calendar to work on specific bookkeeping tasks, such as following up on invoices, and nothing else. Your future self will thank you!
- Review. Review. Repeat.
No matter who’s doing your bookkeeping, you need to check in with them regularly. You may trust your bookkeeper, but they can’t be the only one with a finger on the pulse of your finances. You have to know what money is going out and coming in, too. If your internet bill doesn’t get paid one month, that’s a forgivable offense for most internet providers. But if it doesn’t get paid for months, you’ll lose your internet–probably at a really crucial time–and have late fees on top of everything else. Instead, make regular appointments to review the books at least once a month. It’s an invaluable way to prevent huge messes down the line. These meetings should almost be sacred, despite your full schedule. Go over everything with a fine-toothed comb so that you know what’s going where, why, and how.