March 5, 2020
Is spring showing up in your neighborhood? I'm still seeing lots of snow out my window in Colorado - but those beautiful days are giving hope for tree buds soon. As a business owner, this time of year gives me lots of energy to start on new projects and clean up stuff that has stagnated. Let's grab some neat ideas from others to give our businesses a bit of Spring Cleaning!
To your success,
Holly Bailey, PE
3 Steps for Spring Cleaning Your Business
It never hurts to do some actual CLEANING and bring in some fresh air! In business, that may mean tossing some old stuff that isn't getting used or is obsolete and bringing in some fresh ideas. So here we go with some ideas to do just that.
1. Physically CLEAN out your office.
- Toss equipment that isn't doing anything good for you
- Toss 'stuff' that is just being stored or taking up space
- Those things you were saving for a 'special project' - make a list of the projects (if you still think they would be REALLY beneficial to your business) and put the resources in a well-labeled box with a ribbon on it! (These are GIFTS for your business in the future)
2. Start GROWING something
- Bring Spring into your space with a plant
- Add fresh growth to your attitude with a new quote or motto on your wall
- Add fresh growth to your business by trying something NEW - a new product or service - or new outreach to clients
3. Add FRESH AIR
- Start FRESH with something that has been bringing you down - if you can't get rid of it, revamp it so it works in a whole new way
- For so many of us small biz owners - TAXES are a stumbling block to our creative juices this time of year. So let's make them BETTER and our way of handling them FRESH.
We know we need to have our receipts in order to support our expenses - so let's get some fresh air stirring up how we deal with them. Keep it simple - but GREAT!
Get an app for your phone and track receipts immediately! Mark them with what they are for right on the face so you can easily categorize them
- Most small biz bookkeeping software has a receipt app with it, but if yours doesn't, use this website to select the best Receipt Scanner/Tracker for your software and hardware. CAUTION! Do not get sidetracked with other frivolous things to buy at that site or you’ll need to track more receipts!
- Use a FREE version that is user-friendly and will export to spreadsheets or software. Sometimes you have to pay for a version that does all that but for a small enough price tag, it's worth it when you get to tax time.
Track your mileage! Most expense trackers can also do that – some even with GPS! Others require you to input the miles and reason for the trip. So, as a friend of mine would say, “HEY, there is an APP for that!” Enjoy the ease of being organized and on top of things - like a breath of fresh air.
Be sure you are doing your estimated taxes all year. Quarterly is usually when you need to pay estimated Self-Employment taxes. Learn how to estimate your taxes in IRS Publication 505.
Calendar all your required tax payments and filings NOW! (go through April next year). Add reminders a week ahead, so you can get them in on TIME (sometimes you have to file a few days early to have payments go through on time.) While you are at it:
- add a date with your CPA to your calendar for May 1 (they will be done with their collapse after tax season filings) to make sure you are totally up to date with all filings and any changes you need to make for the new tax laws for the year.
- add an early Sept. end-of-year check to be sure you are on track for the GREAT year you are having and any liabilities that go with it. You don’t want surprises at the end of an otherwise totally AWESOME year!
For your PERSONAL taxes (if you are SELF EMPLOYED), Kiplinger info is super helpful. Here's a valuable article "2020 Tax Calendar: Important IRS Tax Due Dates and Deadlines" you'll want to bookmark.
If your business is incorporated, an LLC or Partnership – check out these articles for calendars and additional info that is helpful to know what applies to YOUR business.
Be sure to check your STATE’s requirements too! Besides Sales Tax, you are responsible for property tax and other filings – you want them ALL on your calendar! Check out this blog post from Dave Ramsey and Nolo's guide to state business income tax for help finding resources for your state.
CONGRATULATIONS! Your Business Spring Cleaning is complete and you are set up for being totally on top of all your tax prep for 2020!!
Do a little celebrating ... Check out this Spotify Playlist for some great Celebration tunes!
Got some new business building projects you want to get started?
Spring is a perfect time! Review that list you made while cleaning the office (or maybe you FOUND on your desk) and pick ONE to focus on. Got too many to choose from? Use this Business Building Project Prioritization Worksheet to figure it out. Pick one project and give it your all for the next three months or until it is complete!
NEW CEU COURSE
After achieving licensure many engineers choose to open their own business. Usually these businesses start out as sole proprietorships, but some engineers envision a firm of many engineers and maybe other professionals to allow them to be THE FIRM in their region or specialty. So how do you get from your Sole Proprietor starting point to THE FIRM? This online course is designed to help you consider and take action on aspects of the process that move you down that path. The path for engineers is different from other businesses because of laws, regulations and licensing requirements and restrictions, so this course cuts through some of the 'normal' business recommendations that can get us in trouble and sticks to things that fully apply to engineering businesses.
The course covers the following areas:
- Lesson #1 - Getting Clients
- Lesson #2 - Bookkeeping / Business Dealings
- Lesson #3 - Paychecks
- Lesson #4 - Vacations
- Lesson #5 - Employees
- Lesson #6 - Projects / Quantity of Work
Learn more and register HERE.
Holly Bailey is a Small Engineering Business Owner / Engineer who works with other small professional services Business Owners, who have struggled to grow their firms while maintaining their high-quality reputation and quality services. She helps them break barriers to move their business to the next level with excellence and control.
Holly believes small professional services firms can provide the best value and customized services to their clients when they are not struggling with the growth and administration issues that secure the future of their business.
©2020 Holly Bailey & Bailey Engineering
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