Up until recently, I was managing the finances for my business, Street Style Surgery, using spreadsheets, which meant spending a lot of time on admin – I wasn’t even using formulas so every time I wanted to pull out data such as a Profit & Loss report, I had to go through and add up every single month manually. I recently switched to QuickBooks to save time and take this stress away from me.
Time and space to grow
Street Style Surgery is about helping young people to find their special hidden talent through workshops in schools and youth organisations. After starting out alone in 2007, I now employ over 28 creative practitioners on a freelance basis in order to offer even more workshops across the UK.
I am proud of our achievements in engaging young people. Many who attend our workshops have fallen out of the education system but have gone on to go to college and university to study subjects such as fashion design. The focus of my business is now marketing, to try and reach as many young people as possible.
We are getting enquiries every week for workshops in London and around the UK, and freeing up time on managing the business finances means I can go out out to meet potential clients and promote my business a lot better.
I recently travelled out to Oman, for example, to deliver fashion workshops at the Muscat Youth Summit. This is the first international outing for the company – it’s a great accolade and hopefully a sign of things to come.
Spreadsheet breaking point
There’s no way I could have carried on relying on spreadsheets because my customers are getting bigger, and they sometimes don’t pay on time, which meant I had to search through my files to find email addresses to chase up the payments. With QuickBooks, I can see straight away which payments I haven’t received and just press a button to chase the payment up with the debtor.
I also now use QuickBooks to generate my invoices – before I was using spreadsheets and document templates that weren’t connected to my accounts so everything was separate. It was very time-consuming.
Learning from mistakes
I was a typical person who would collect receipts and then panic. Using the word processing and spreadsheet packages I was familiar with rather than getting a proper system in place from the start was a mistake; I should have found something that was easier to use sooner but now QuickBooks saves me a significant amount of time and stress.
I’d really urge other businesses to get a good financial management system in place from the start.
Also, don’t try and do everything yourself. I am only now getting people to help with certain tasks, such as SEO, for example. I tried to do that all myself and it was ridiculous. Delegating allows me to focus more.
Have you had any ‘lightbulb moments’ like this in your business?