Business Administration Tips for Start-ups
Whether your business start-up is mobile, or stationary, whether you are sole-proprietor or medium-sized, administration becomes part of everyday life when you are a business owner.
For a start-up business, navigating your way through administration can be a trial and error process in the beginning, but the goal is always to make it efficient. No one wants to spend more time crunching numbers and reconciling bank accounts than they have to. The best place to start?
First, identify your needs. For example, do you need track mileage? Are your invoices numerous enough to warrant software?
Second, what is your budget? How much can your business spend on monthly app fees and software purchases?
Small business owners have endless options of apps and software for administrative help, many of which have overlap in function—for example, Gusto allows you to time track as you calculate payroll and perform other HR functions, such as benefits administration.
Where to start? Start your business admin research here:
Forget taking the call! The list of online booking apps available to small businesses and entrepreneurs is not a short one. They offer all different kinds of service and costs range from $0 to $200 in annual fees.
Timely, Agile CRM, and 10to8 are only three of many options. Timely allows clients to search available time slots and book or cancel appointments easily. Agile allows entrepreneurs and business owners to sync an appointment calendar with other calendars, and also embed email marketing campaigns with calendar links, as a call to action. 10to8 is a third option that allows clients to book appointments 24/7, and sends out text reminders to reduce no-show percentages.
Some Software Options
Whether you are keeping track of hours in a spreadsheet and filling in an invoice template or using software, tracking expenses, invoicing and paying bills at the end of every month can be a very time-consuming exercise if it is not managed well.
Zoho has a software package great for freelancers and sole proprietors and offer starter packages, which normally include invoicing, expense tracking and reporting functions.
For a medium-sized business, FreshBooks is also considered reliable and user friendly. Their Sage 50cloud program offers both desktop and cloud capability and is available on a monthly plan. Zoho operates in several languages, including English, German, Spanish, Portuguese, and Japanese, great if your business is operating in different countries. Quickbooks is known for its efficient navigation, among many things, and is a reliable accounting system for medium-size business, with functions you may not need today, but that your business many grow into.
Whether you are a sole proprietor or have employed staff, everyone needs to get paid. Gusto ranks as one of the top payroll softwares available, allowing business owners to integrate multiple financial aspects, including payroll, benefits, and calculation and payment of taxes. Most accounting software also includes a payroll option. Zoho, Freshbooks and Quickbooks also all provide payroll capabilities.
Telecommuting is becoming a more accepted way of working, and clients often prefer it because it reduces meeting time. According to Global Workplace Analytics,“among non-self-employed workers, the share of workers who telecommute rose 103% between 2005 and 2014.” If you are traveling for business, there are multiple ways to keep track of mileage. While some business owners do it manually, there are a selection of mobile phone apps that are also useful, include MileIQ,TripLog,Hurdlr, and QuickBooks, which has a built in GPS system to track where you go.
Some things, such as separating your business and personal finances from day one, are a smart move.
The saying, “It’s not personal, it’s just business” rings true, especially when it comes to banking. For simplicity’s sake, when it comes to paying for business expenses, taxes and reconciling the bank, your business and personal bank accounts should be separate, including credit cards.
Like anything, time spent on administrative tasks can be kept to a minimum if all pieces of the puzzle are at your fingertips. For example, ensuring all expense receipts are kept in one place is helpful. When you order and pay for services online (for example, DropBox, or your website host) print off and label receipts, or store them in an accessible folder when they appear in your email so you don’t have to go searching to account for business expenses.
Instead of waiting to a specified date to send out invoices, some business owners send them out right away after a project is finished, or service has been rendered. Also, if cash flow allows, it is good practice to pay invoices right away, also.
This might be one place your business and personal expenses come together—Insurance. Often times companies will give you a better rate if your commercial/business insurance and personal insurance is with the same provider. Not only that, it may eliminate some of the correspondence and paper coming your way if you can get your insurance provider to align payment plans.
Website management is also a service that can include multiple services, eliminating multiple service providers. Seek out a management company that has the capability to post/update your blog, optimize your SEO, and change up the design to update your look, for example.
Cloud storage is another big and necessary service. Set up everything you can electronically, and switch to an automatic payment schedule, including for utility bills and membership fees.
Manage your inbox from the beginning
According to NFIB, a non-profit, advocate for small business in the United States, people spent an average of 3.2 hours per day on work emails in 2015 (and another 3.1 on personal). It’s been said before, but one way to avoid this administrative nightmare is to set specific times of day to answer and send emails. NFIB also suggests dividing the emails into daily and weekly email folders.
It may feel like you just filed GST, completed payroll, or sent out your invoices for the month, and it is time to do it again, but it doesn’t have to feel like a mountain to climb every time. Luckily, new technologies mean there are endless options and choices for small business owners and freelancers to organize their administrative efforts and finances.