Now that we seem like we’re on the road to getting back to business ‘normal’ to herald in the start of 2022, whatever that is these days, we thought it might be time to look at some costly mistakes business owners might be making without realising it. Below are six mistakes you might be making along with suggestions for solutions. 

Valuing money over your time

Aiming to improve revenue is absolutely a commendable thing. But without a doubt, your most valuable asset is your time. You can always find a way (or two or ten) to make more money, but you can never make more time. Plus, as a business owner, your time is probably stretched thinner than most. If you want to make the most of your time in 2022, you’ll need to find a way to wrangle all those small, but often necessary items on your to-do list into some kind of submission.

Suggested fix: Time mapping and blocking – This is a two-part fix. First, you need to understand where your time is currently being used. So map all the time you spend on everything – a week in 15 min increments will do. A friend learned this method from Laura Vanderkam, who writes about freeing up time (and has a downloadable time mapping sheet) available on her website. Then look at how to time block to batch items together. Email is a great example – only done 2-3 times a day, or returning necessary phone calls, doing paperwork, or bookwork. Assign certain times of day or days per week to chunk through things. Vanderkam doesn’t just look at time mapping for work/business, she measures everything. You might be surprised how much time you can find that you didn’t know you had.

Not doing new business development consistently

It doesn’t matter whether you’re just starting out or you’re decades in, you will still need to keep your new business pipeline regularly topped up. Many a small business owner will hit a quiet spell, which then results in a massive (sometimes desperate) new business drive – all of which can lead to some patchy cashflow. Far better to have a consistent drip-feed of new business coming in that you can plan around, staff up for, etc. 

Suggested fix: Spend time every day or several times a week planning your sales outreach You might consider joining networking groups, LinkedIn, asking old customers, cold calling, social media, DMs, etc. The key here is to do it without fail. Consistency trumps massive infrequent effort every time.

Not building your personal brand

Often when you’re in the throes of building a business you’re so busy doing your do on a daily basis that you might forget people buy from people they know, like, and trust. That’s where your personal brand comes in. Building your personal brand allows you to establish a level of credibility in your customers’ and other influencer/gatekeepers’ eyes. 

Suggested fix: Find a platform where you can contribution AND have your contribution seen. It might be LinkedIn, Medium if you like writing/story telling, the social media platforms where your customers hang out, the local chamber of commerce, local media or even being a speaker for various lunch and learns/schools/teams, etc. 

Meetings and calls because that’s how it’s always been done

Sure, spending time with your team and your customers is important, but as part of your time mapping from point one, think about how much of the time you spend on those activities might have been better spent as a phone call instead of a physical/zoom meeting or an email instead of a call. Covid changed  the landscape in terms of how many of us do business, so let’s just say everything moving forward is up for review. 

Suggested fix: If it’s really important, schedule it in – Parkinson’s Law where work expands to fill the time allotted, would suggest that by keeping a tighter schedule on calls/meetings means you’ll end up with less time being spent. So schedule all your new business customer calls for Wednesday mid morning and follow ups with existing customers for Tuesday afternoon. Schedule everything for 40 mins instead of an hour or 20 mins instead of a half hour. Let people know that they can’t just call you out of the blue (unless it’s really an emergency). If someone does get through, tell them you’ve got a scheduled call in x minutes and stick to it. You’ll be surprised at how quickly something can be resolved when time is constrained.

Moving your business into the digital age

The last two years have propelled many businesses forward 5-10 years in terms of getting them online and having them invest in software that can free them up to focus more on what matters most to them and to scale at speed. 

Suggested fix: if you’ve not done it already, spend some time investigating new ways of working. Think about staff no longer need to be location centric, being able to sell products/services online, book-keeping not needing to be done on spreadsheets, having paper invoices (hint: you get paid quicker too) or keeping paper receipts. 

Hoarding cash

A lot of business owners think a fat bank account is a happy business (or worse that what’s in the bank account belongs to them – hint: it doesn’t). Businesses thrive because their assets are used well – not saved for a rainy day. With inflation on the rise, money held in cash loses value every day it’s not used. So whilst you might want to have a little cash in reserve for a project you’ve got in planning, holding cash, is likely to be a losing game. 

Suggested fix: Talk to your investment advisor or accountant how best to utilise cash reserves. You might consider increasing your business’ assets, purchasing another business to build out skillsets or locations, looking at other investment instruments, hiring more staff or giving them (or yourself) a pay rise in order to ward off The Resignation. 

And that’s where we can help. If you’re looking for a trusted advisor to help bring your business into the digital era via online bookkeeping, invoicing and receipt management or looking at tax effective ways to make the most of cash reserves, we’d love to talk. You can call us on 02 6023 1700. 

Malcare WordPress Security