When you run your own business, it can be easy to get mired down in the little details, like color choices or which products to stock. All of those things are important to your business, but it’s also essential to periodically take a step back and look at the big picture. While you’re doing that, it is a good idea to ensure you’re not making any fundamental financial errors in your operations.
Pay your bills
This tip might seem trivial or obvious, but if you’re not paying your business bills on time you could be doing some serious damage. Alyssa Gregory of The Balance Small Business warns that late fees on your business credit card or loans are pretty hefty, but even the smaller ones on utilities can add up and put a dent in your finances. If you have a problem remembering these due dates, Nellie Heaton of Elite Personal Finance, writer for BusinessTown, says that you should try to set up automated payments and take the task off your plate completely.
It’s so easy to shove off tasks you don’t want to do to the future. LessAccounting founder Allan Branch told Entrepreneur that the issue with that way of thinking is putting small tasks off until later usually makes them a bigger problem to deal with. For example, if you need to send out invoices every week but procrastinate and do them every two weeks, the pile of paperwork to go through gets larger and more unwieldy. If a task is large and intimidating, Branch recommends splitting it up into smaller parts that are easier to accomplish.
Look for discounts
This tip might sound easy on the surface, but it could involve some serious conversations with vendors or suppliers. When you’re considering who to work with, it’s worth looking around online to see if you can find any established discounts, especially if you’re buying in bulk. However, if you want more help, Brach suggests talking to your point of contact and asking for a special discount. Even if you can’t get a percentage off of what you buy, Gregory adds that you might get other perks, like an extra grace period to pay your bills, which can help you stretch out your business funds.
Keep business and personal separate
One of the first things you should have learned as a business owner is to keep your personal and company funds separate. If you haven’t gotten around to separating them yet, you should do it sooner rather than later. While you might be tempted to add some of your personal money to the business in tight times, Gregory cautions that you’re not doing your bookkeepers or accountants any favors. At the bare minimum, you need to have a personal budget and a business budget that are separate at all times to make sure that you aren’t spending business funds on personal expenses.
If you’re not adhering to these basic finance tips, it might be time to seek help from a professional. It’s always better to deal with things now instead of waiting for them to blow up in your face later.