The new year is a busy time for many small businesses because while most folks will be preparing to greet the new year, small businesses are getting ready for year-end madness, with tax time looming like a heavy fog bank on the horizon. While it’s easy to become overwhelmed with your lengthy tax time to-do list, small businesses operators, like people, should also pause and reflect on the past year and make a few promises for the year to come. Yes…small businesses and freelancers can benefit from a few New Year’s resolutions, too.
Okay, you are busy. We understand that, but let’s make it easy for you. Here are three 2016 New Year’s resolutions that most small business owners and freelancers can easily keep without “taxing” their schedules (sorry…couldn’t help it). Moving toward your goals in baby steps like these is the way to small business success.
Flareapps.com small business tip #001Thank Your Customers Personally Before the Year Ends
While sending a holiday greeting by email is more efficient, it’s also impersonal and pretty much ignored. Small businesses, micro-businesses and freelancers often have an advantage over large businesses when it comes to being able to provide very personal service. If you have less than 20 customers, call each of them and wish them a Happy New Year.
Keep it light and brief. “Hey, Melanie…won’t take much of your time, but I just wanted to call and give a quick ‘Thanks for everything’. I hope you all have a great holiday and New Year.”
There are so many good reasons to add that personal touch and nurture the client relationships you have. It differentiates you from others; it’s good word of mouth marketing; and, it’s cheaper to keep existing clients than acquire new ones. You can read more in Ross Beard’s article Why Customer Satisfaction is Important over at the Client Heartbeat blog.
Flareapps.com small business tip #002Take One Step Toward that Paperless Office You’ve Always Wanted
Still using a shoebox for managing invoices and expenses? Maybe you are still using invoice templates from your favorite desktop word processor. While they might make fairly professional looking invoices – that’s basically all they do. With each new sale, you start anew, and, you still have to track that income and expenses somewhere.
Try online invoicing and expense tracking software. Not only can you create invoices and estimates in just a minute, but at the same time they will be tracked. At tax time, you’ll know exactly what you’ve earned, what you’ve spent, and you’ll have it all in one place for your accountant or bookkeeper. While there are lots of bookkeeping software choices out there, we’d like you to have a sneak peek at Flare cloud accounting, which is soon to be released. We think Flare is better accounting software, because it does more than just bookkeeping – it saves time, makes you more efficient, and provides you the financial metrics you need to increase profits. Check out our demo video and sign up for Flare’s beta release notification. You could win a 1-year subscription.
Flareapps.com small business tip #003Take One Step Toward Becoming More Efficient
You may have heard freelancers or small business owners quip “Working for yourself is awesome…you get to choose which 18 hours you work in a day”.
Managing time is often the toughest thing about owning a small business. As a resolution, pick one way you can save time. A good place to start is a to-do list management app. Check out the article Five Best To-Do List Managers and find out which apps readers chose in a Lifehacker poll.