Systems, Services and Tools
6th February 2020
Things every business needs to know
You’ve just started out in business. It’s just you (or maybe you and a business partner). There isn’t much going on. Everything is in your head and it all gets done.
But what about when it gets busy. Then you’ll need to have help to get everything done. Except that everything will still be in your head – and no one else will be able to do things as you like them to be done. Unless you take action now to set up your business ready for it to grow.
Services, systems and tools are essential things that every business owner needs to consider and implement. It’s surprising though how many overlook getting this sorted right out the gate.
Perhaps you don’t know where to start? So, let’s take a look at the most important ones.
Where will you work?
Every business needs a base. Even if you work from home, it’s important to create yourself a dedicated ‘workspace’.
You need a space that’s solely for your business so that when you’re in it you know it’s time to focus. Equally when you leave this space at the end of each day, you know it’s time to ‘switch off’ and go back to your life.
This dedicated space also allows you to take care of protecting any data you hold on your customers (and for your own business) in a secure place.
When you work from home the boundaries of work and family can sometimes be a challenge. With a dedicated workspace, everyone is clear when you’re in it you’re busy, but your family can still go about their business in the rest of the house.
Take time to set yourself up properly with everything you’ll need. You’ll be spending a lot of time in this space, so the ergonomics need to be right and it needs to feel like a space you want to spend time in.
Do you have a business bank account?
Even as a sole trader it’s better to run your businesses finances via a separate account. Most banks won’t actually let you use your personal account for business. They could even close your account if they catch you running a business through it – not what you need!
The benefits of a business account are that some come with a business advisor and extra support, which is always handy.
When choosing your account, look out for:
- Fees – many are fee free for 12-18 months
- Limits – some only allow a certain amount of cash transactions for example
- International and multiple currency trading – what are the currency exchange charges and how are these handled
- Branches – do you want or need a physical branch or are you happy with everything being solely online?
Do you have insurance in place?
I can’t stress enough how vital this is for every business!
You need to ensure you’re protected if you are unfortunate enough to experience fire, flood, theft, you get sick and can’t work, or anyone you employ gets sick or leaves.
There’s a wealth of different insurances, so your best bet is to speak with an expert for what’s best for your particular business. The bottom line though is, protect yourself!
Finally make sure you regularly backup your data and computer and store this information offsite.
Do you have systems to support you as you grow?
If your ultimate plan is to grow your business, eventually you’ll need more people.
To ensure that each new person you bring into your team implements things the way you want from the get-go, you’ll need to document how you do things.
The five vital areas to document clearly are:
- Marketing – how do you find your leads?
- Sales – how do you convert leads to customers?
- Delivery – how do you delight your customers?
- Finance – how do you get paid by customers and pay your suppliers?
- People – how do you recruit, train and retain?
Once you have these five areas clearly documented, share it with everyone who works with you – this is how it’s done here too.
What tools do you have for managing your finances?
There’s now a range of great online accounting tools out there that make managing your finances a far easier and more streamlined process – think Quickbooks or Xero.
These tools connect directly to your bank accounts and then there are a number of apps that connect with that too:
- PayPal and Stripe – for e-commerce
- GoCardless – allows invoices to be paid by direct debit. All you need to do is raise the invoice in your accounting software and then GoCardless takes the money on the day it’s due – simple!
- Receipt Bank and Basecone – for scanning and capturing all your receipts
- Worldpay – for taking care of your online card payments
Taking a small amount of time to get these simple but important services, systems and tools in place from the start, really will save you time and hassle in the long run.
If you’re unsure about anything discussed and would like some support, get in touch and ask our team for advice – we’re here to help!