End of Year Checklist for Small Business

year-1010217_640

Here are some things every small business should look at as the year-end approaches. With so many things on your plate, it’s a good idea to create a checklist for your end-of-year activities.

1. Get your books in order. Whether you are a solopreneur with a box full of receipts that haven’t yet been entered or a small business owner who has a bookkeeper on your payroll, you have to get this step done before you can do anything else.

2. Review all your systems from top to bottom. A system review can be an eye-opening experience for business owners. Carefully examine what is working and what isn’t. Don’t assume that just because you have had a certain system in place from day one that it is adding value to your business or your customers.

3. Review your expenses and vendor contracts. Run an expense report and see where you are spending your money. Is it money well spent? Are you getting a good ROI from all of your memberships? Are you really reading all those magazines that come each month? Take a look at how much business you are doing with each vendor. Are you getting optimum pricing based on how much you are working together?

4. Touch base with your best customers. Be sure to tell them you appreciate their business and ask if there is anything you can improve on or do differently to help them grow their business. Send them a Christmas card or gift or plan to send them a card at the beginning of the New Year.

5. Take a good look at your website and social media platforms. You need to make changes to your website to keep people coming back and take advantage of SEO. Is the content on your website and business social media profiles up to date? Dedicate some time for touching up, revamping or overhauling your digital presence.

6. Revisit your pricing. Once you understand your business’ financial picture, it’s time to get honest about how things are going. Many freelancers and small business owners make the mistake of under-charging their clients: is your pricing adequately compensating you for your time, experience, and costs (which include taxes, retirement plans, health insurance, and more)?  The start of the New Year is a natural time to bump up your rates.

7. Goals. Pull out your business plan and any other planning documents and review this past year’s goals. Did your business accomplish what you set out to do? Why or why not? Set Goals for next year. Be specific, give them a timeline, and make sure they are measurable and written down.

8. Revisit Your Business Plan. If it has been a while since you examined this critical document, now’s the time to get to it. Review it to ensure it’s still aligned with your company goals. Change what needs changing. And if you never had one, this is the time to make one.

9. Meet with your accountant. The end of the year is the perfect time to meet with your accountant to plan your taxes. Discuss with them what you should do with excess cash and take a look at anything you can write off.

10. Get Organized. If you’re like a lot of business owners, your desk is cluttered, and so is your desktop. Spend a few hours throwing away and shredding things you don’t need and organizing your computer files. I guarantee you’ll feel more together come January.

headshot2About the Author: Sheri Miller is the Owner of Another You, LLC, a Personal/Virtual Assistant service based out of the Dayton, Ohio area. Sheri helps small business owners save time and money by taking care of their day-to-day administrative tasks. Think of her as your right hand while your left hand is growing your business.

 www.anotheryouerrands.com                                                                 937-416-2207

AU Logo_v2

3 Ways to Save Time and Handle Interruptions

globe-489519_640

I read a recent article that stated “running a small business isn’t a job; it’s twelve jobs!” Most small business owners wear many hats.  They are the CEO, the marketer, the sales person, the bookkeeper, the social media strategist, the facilities manager and the list goes on and on.  All these things take up time.

I work with multiple small business owners and no matter what tasks I begin helping my clients with, the majority end up having me manage their e-mail because it takes so much time during their day.  A case study conducted by the Danwood Group found it takes 1.5 minutes on average to read and recover from each e-mail. Try these 3 simple tips to lessen the amount of time and interruptions throughout your day:

1. E-Mail can be a To Do List that others can write on.  If we are not careful, we will allow others to dictate our To Do List and how we will spend a big part of our day. Try this:

SCAN your inbox for urgent and important items when you first open your e-mail. Take care of anything urgent.
CLOSE your e-mail.
BLOCK 30-60 minutes on your calendar once or twice later in the day to process your e-mail…when YOU have the time.

2. Turn off your E-mail Notifications.  Turn them off on your phone, tablet and computer. Allowing every e-mail that arrives in your inbox to interrupt your day destroys your productivity. Remember you have set aside some time each day to read and process those e-mails.

3. Use Templates.  Ever find yourself typing the same sentences over and over when writing or responding to e-mails? If so, you should be using templates. Read through your sent mail and see what types of messages you are regularly sending, then put them in e-mail templates.

Time.  You can’t recover it, make up for it or reverse it.  There are 24 hours in a day and 168 in a week and those numbers aren’t changing. What you can change is using your hours more efficiently and wisely by decreasing the amount of time you spend on unimportant interruptions.

headshot2About the Author: Sheri Miller is the Owner of Another You, LLC, a Business Concierge/Personal Assistant service in the Dayton, Ohio area. Sheri helps small business owners save time and money by taking care of their day-to-day administrative tasks. Think of her as your right hand while your left hand is growing your business. http://www.anotheryouerrands.com 937-416-2207

 AU Logo_v2

What to Wear?

sw_Jeans_sa208224

Networking outside the office is your best chance to meet new people who can help promote you, your passion and your business.  It’s also a no-man’s land when it comes to the dress code.

Early in the year, I met a woman slipping and sliding in a parking lot walking into a networking event…it was winter in Ohio! We struck up a conversation about the icy sidewalk and when we finally got into the building she confided in me that this was her first networking event.  I showed her to the meeting room and told her that she was welcome to sit with me if that would make her feel more comfortable.

After our official introductions, she told me that she had intended to be at this same event last month, but when she saw what everyone had on, she turned around and went back home. She said she was a “jeans” type of person and not comfortable dressing up.  The first thing that I did was applaud her for actually making it to the meeting that morning; she wore jeans but did not turn away and go back home.  The second thing I did was point out to her that there were others in the room that had jeans on.

What should we wear to networking events? At most networking events that I attend, I see people wear what they would wear in the course of their normal working day, which means that there are a range of outfits from suits, to business casual, to jeans, uniforms and even exercise apparel.  I guess you could ask yourself, what is the norm of my industry, profession or company?

Another thing to consider is what type of event will you be attending?

Where and when is it?

What is on the agenda?

Many small business owners think about what they wear as part of their personal branding – for some that might mean wearing uniforms or polo shirts with their company logo, but for others it might just be a certain style or color.

I tend to dress as if I were going to see a client; although I do dress differently depending on the industry of the client that I am meeting. It is ALWAYS important to be well groomed. Depending on your profession, I think it helps to wear what you feel comfortable in, that way you will feel relaxed, can be yourself, and can enjoy the occasion.

First impressions do matter. What also matters is that you attend the event! I am proud that his strong lady was able to walk into the event, even though she was concerned about what she had on! She made a good, first (and icy) step toward growing her business. Luckily, she works in a “themed” industry so it will be easy and appropriate for her to wear jeans with her casual themed shirts and jackets.

How do you decide what to wear for networking events?

headshot2About the Author: Sheri Miller is the Owner of Another You, LLC, a Business Concierge/Personal Assistant service in the Dayton, Ohio area. Sheri helps small business owners save time and money by taking care of their day-to-day administrative tasks. Think of her as your right hand while your left hand is growing your business.   http://www.anotheryouerrands.com      937-416-2207

The Right Time…For Who?

Timing really is everything.  You cannot sell something to people when they don’t want it; rather your product or service must fulfill an unconscious longing within them.  Not everyone is looking for or needs your services.   Something has to make them want your product.

Like timingmany things in life, obtaining a new business client can be a matter of timing.  When they finally figure out that they need your service and have time to process that they need your service, the timing will be right…for the both of you.

Unfortunately, our timing is not always the same as our client’s timing.  I met a lady at a networking event the fall of one year and she did not contact me until the following summer.  She had been to a seminar where the speaker discussed how much help it was to her business to hire a Personal Assistant.  My future client emailed me right then and there during the seminar.  The time was finally right… for her.

Last January, I made an appointment with the leasing manager of a local prominent apartment complex.  It was bitterly cold and icy on the day of the appointment and I slipped all the way from the parking lot to the leasing office.   I remember wondering if it was worth my time and trouble.  The leasing manager agreed to place my business cards in the lobby and to include them in the New Tenant Packages.  Nine months later, I received a call from one of the tenants.  He has a small Property Management company and  is overwhelmed with trying to run the company and hold down his full-time job.  After a short telephone call, we scheduled a time to meet to discuss how I could help him.   He told me that he saw my card months ago and hung onto it.  The timing was finally right…for him.

We work hard to build our business.  We market, network, build relationships; we spend a lot of time working on  our business and building our brand.  As small business owners, especially newer small business owners, it’s easy to become disheartened if it seems that our hard work is not paying off.   When this happens to you, remember that your timing is not always the same as your client’s timing.  Continue to work hard and they will come to you…when the time is right for them.

headshot2About the Author: Sheri Miller is the Owner of Another You, LLC, a Business Concierge service in the Dayton, Ohio area. Sheri helps small business owners save time and money by taking care of their day-to-day administrative tasks. Think of her as your right hand while your left hand is growing your business.

http://www.anotheryouerrands.com

937-416-2207

Happy Anniversary

hapann

I could not have imaged how wonderful and transformational this past year would have been.  Everything about my life and my family’s life has changed.  It has been one fabulous year!

Time has flown!  I started my Personal Assistant, Errand and Concierge business one year ago this month.  I have changed, I have learned and I have grown.  My company, Another You, has certainly changed and grown.   When I first thought of starting my own small business, I thought that I would be helping the busy individual, the working mom, the single dad, the 2-career family.   Little did I know that so many soloprenuers and small business owners would need and seek my help.  My business has changed from a Personal Service into a Small Business Service.    THIS is where I was supposed to be all along!

Having managed healthcare practices for 32 years, I gained a lot of administrative and organizational skills.  These are the skills that I now use to partner with other small business owners to save them time, lessen their frustration and help grow and sustain their businesses.

Starting and running a business is not easy.  I spent the first 5 months of the start-up networking, getting my name out there and building relationships.  Then finally I began to build a client base.

I certainly did not do this on my own.  I owe a huge debt of gratitude to God for everything good in my life, my husband for his hard-work and total support during this past year and to my son for always being there to lift me up when I doubted myself.  I am blessed to have an extended family and great friends that have been with me cheering me on each step of the way.   I have met so many wonderful people in Networking Groups such as WiBN and TBN and have been supported by the directors and members of the Franklin Area and Springboro Chamber of Commerce.   I am blessed to work with and assist  dedicated and  hard-working small business owners.

It has been one FABULOUS year!  Happy Anniversary Another You!!!      hann

About the Author: Sheri Miller is the Owner of Another You, LLC, a Personal and Business Concierge service in the Dayton, Ohio area.   Sheri helps busy people with a focus on the small business owner.     Think of her as your right hand while your left hand is growing your business.        937-416-2207