Abraham Lincoln said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” Lincoln’s productivity secret was good preparation and using an effective tool for the task. It’s the same for entrepreneurs, adequate preparation and effective tools are key to business success.
CEO of SMEasy and established entrepreneur, Darlene Menzies, gives a few tips to help you become a more efficient and productive entrepreneur.
Be well prepared at the start of the week: A very helpful tip for entrepreneurs is to set aside your Sunday afternoon to prepare for the coming week. Attend to the emails you haven’t answered, write checklists and prioritise them – including setting time aside to communicate with clients or staff who need your attention or instructions. Doing your Sunday prep will clear your mind for the coming work week and will ensure that nothing slips through the cracks if the week becomes chaotic. “The only way to be proactive is to prepare” says Menzies. “Positive ordinary preparation precedes extraordinary accomplishment.”
Check your bank statements every morning: Cash flow is the life of any business and without sound money management things will unravel quickly. Keep an eye on what payments have been paid, what payments are outstanding and determine how much cash you still need to bring in for the month to meet your commitments. Staying on top of the business’ financial status will ensure that you can easily detect anomalies and take the necessary steps to correct them immediately and also give you the necessary time to arrange finance to bridge any cash shortfalls you may have.
Your mobile phone is key: Mobile phones are important business tools for every entrepreneur, ensuring you can get hold of clients and they can get hold of you is paramount. Your mobile phone is crucial to maintaining good relationships and eliminating delays in communication when it comes to urgent issues. A flat battery during your business day can be very costly. A helpful tip is to buy a spare battery for your phone and to carry it with you at all times, that way you are never unreachable when your clients need you. Sending your email to your mobile phone is another helpful way to make sure you are kept updated at all times and can be in constant contact with your staff and clients.
Raising finance: When trying to raise finance for your business, potential lenders want to look at both your business finances and your personal finance to gauge your eligibility for the loan. As such, it is important to ensure that your salary payments from the business are paid consistently each month into your personal bank account. If your salary is not reflected each month then it is likely that your business loan will be rejected. A tip if you have a month when the business can’t afford to meet all it’s month end expenses is if it pays you your salary is to make sure your salary payment is done first before all the other business expenses are paid. Then once it is reflecting in your personal bank account you can then loan it back to the business so it can cover the other expenses. By doing this you are providing proof that your monthly salary is guaranteed which will assure lenders that you are low risk. In so doing, securing finance will become much easier.
Offer early payment discounts to clients: Most clients make payments 30 to 90 days after receiving your invoice. That’s not a problem if your company has a large cash reserve to cover expenses, however, if you don’t have a cash reserve, you could run out of money. This is a common situation for many businesses and affects small and large companies alike. There is a simple solution to this problem: offer your clients an incentive to pay quickly. Offering a discount to clients for making immediate payments can improve your cash flow, often in a short period of time. It’s simple to implement and very effective. While you may receive less money, you will have the available cash needed to cover month end commitments. It can prove cheaper than paying interest on bridging finance.
If you are running a small business, then becoming a better entrepreneur should be your goal. Make sure you prepare well for each new week, keep on top of your finances and your email admin and look out for effective tools and smarter ways to grow your business.
For more business advice and to find out how SMEasy can greatly assist in your business visit www.smeasy.co.za and get your free 30 day trial.