Throughout this past year, Intuit has shared a wealth of small business tips to keep you moving forward. In the spirit of the New Year and resolutions, it’s time to look back briefly at those tips and help you create a manageable list of items to start, stop, or keep doing when it comes to the goals you have for your business.
Things to Start Doing
The list of things you should start doing for your company is usually the longest, as you probably envision your business really going places. But, this “start doing” list is also the most quickly abandoned. You can’t attain lofty goals without putting in place all the necessary steps to get to the end goal – but that’s very possible. Break down your goals into more attainable mini-goals, stick by your plan, and celebrate your milestones as you reach them.
- Start giving your employees with seniority more opportunities to take the lead. Sometimes, all it takes is a bit of responsibility placed squarely on an employee’s shoulders for them to soldier up, boosting the morale of employees around them – especially if they’re a natural when it comes to leadership. For example, allow a senior employee to lead a project, to hire the next new employee, or to mentor current employees regarding more active leadership roles. If your employees see that you are willing to give them responsibility, they know that you trust them, and trust is a key factor in maintaining a productive office.
- Start thinking outside the box. Does that sound like a cliché? Something that a lot of the world’s biggest companies have in common is the fact that their employees don’t feel like they’re going to work. Instead, they feel like they’re going to a giant laboratory where they can experiment until they find new methods of making things work, new ways to approach an age-old problem, or completely unique solutions to problems no one knew existed. One way you can foster this creativity is by loosening the reins on the firmly held notion of 9-to-5 work days. You may find your employees are not only more productive, but they actually enjoy being at your company and treat it as if it was their own.
- Start allowing flexible work hours. While some employees find daily routines monotonous and even burdensome, you can change things up by introducing the option of flexible work hours. Employees can only handle certain responsibilities, such as taking a child to a doctor’s appointment, during the hours they’re supposed to be at work. If you allow flex time, your employees don’t feel so constrained for time, and they don’t feel as if they’re burdening other employees with their absence.
Things to Stop Doing
Making changes to how you run your business, especially if it means stopping something you’ve grown accustomed to, can be difficult. But if you really examine how you’ve been doing things, you’re sure to come up with a thing or two you can do without.
- Stop accepting improper grammar and spelling. Any written documents, such as reports, spreadsheets, and presentations, should have to go through at least a couple of rounds of spellchecking. Especially when the subject matter is of a technical nature, it reflects directly on the company’s professionalism. For instance, if you allow bad grammar and misspelled words in your own documents, are companies likely to hire you to create things such as marketing campaigns for their companies?
- Stop giving inaccurate estimates to clients in an effort to pacify them. If you don’t have the requisite amount of information to prepare a realistic estimate for a client, ask for the information you need. You can only prepare a valid estimate of cost and time for a project when what you know is more than 90% of what you don’t know. Your clients are likely to be much happier knowing you’re willing to take the time needed to give a proper estimate than rushing things just to make your fee.
- Stop accepting eleventh hour requests. Just as you shouldn’t take advantage of your clients by preparing bad estimates, you also shouldn’t allow them to take advantage of your kind nature by sending you rush jobs at the last minute. Of course, you can’t always say no. Try preparing a response that lets them know their business is important to you, and that as soon as you’re able to give them a time frame for their deliverables, you intend to get on it..
Things to Keep Doing
Don’t fix what isn’t broken, right? Many things you do in your day-to-day business routine are working great and should be continued.
- Keep enforcing disciplinary actions for lack of quality work. There aren’t many good excuses for an employee not doing their job, but at the same time, it’s important to have a finger on the pulse of employee morale. If work is suffering all of sudden, or if you notice a downward trend in productivity, look for reasons. If you can find the source of the issue, more than likely it’s something you can address. It’s much better to get to the root of a bad workplace attitude than not to, or worse – not even realize that problems are festering.
- Keep providing your employees with the tools they need to do their jobs. Want to know how to really boost office morale? Get all of your office personnel new computers, and maybe even standing desks. Not only do these items provide a more functional means to perform their jobs, but it will feel like Christmas for them – they have shiny new toys to use to accomplish their tasks.
- Keep treating your employees well. Everyone has a bad day sometimes. For some employees, those days can drag on into weeks. It’s important for your employees to know that you know they’re more than just the work they do. Get to know as many of your employees as you can, professionally and personally. Know what makes them tick and what makes them happy. Encouraging mental health is just as important as encouraging productivity – in fact, the two go hand in hand.
With this bucket list of things to start, stop, or keep doing in 2019, you have a starting point for creating your own. What should you start, stop, or keep doing this year? QuickBooks Self-Employed app helps freelancers, contractors, and sole proprietors track and manage your business on the go. Download the app.