Ever find yourself awake in the middle of the night worrying about all of the fiddly admin jobs you need to complete?
If so, you are not alone. Filing, invoicing, keeping on top of your customer database, completing your tax return all of these jobs take up a significant amount of time. Time that takes you away from the reason you started your business in the first place.
That said, these jobs all need to be completed for your small business to function.
Recent research produced by Starling Bank showed that UK micro-businesses spend ten weeks of the year working on financial admin.
And that’s without factoring in all of the other admin tasks that crop up on a regular basis.
Small Business Geek’s Liz Smith said: “There are many reasons people decide to start their own small business, but it’s fair to say the vast majority don’t relish all of the day-to-day admin that comes with the territory.
The first step in feeling on top of things is to work out what is truly necessary and whether there is a way you could do things differently to save time and make your work-life easier.
When it comes to admin there are a number of fundamentals you just cannot ignore. Here are our top five:
If you are still keeping all of your receipts and important documents in a carrier bag then you really should start to think about moving to an online option. As well as being better for the environment, storing your documents on a Cloud-based system means your important information is safe and secure and you can access it wherever you go.
Google Drive is a simple option which can be set up quickly with folders created for different types of documents. So, for example, if you are out and about during the course of your working day, you can simply take a photo of any receipts you receive and load them directly onto the drive using an app downloaded onto your smartphone. No more worry about losing the receipt or having to wade through tons of paper when it comes time to fill out your Tax Return.
Although it’s a pretty dull job, invoicing is also essential, so taking time to make the process as straightforward as possible is the key to keeping organised.
Create yourself an invoice template to save on time, and make sure every invoice you issue has its own unique reference number so you can easily track each one.
Use a spreadsheet to record each invoice you issue, its number, who it’s issued to and the amount owing. Ensure you note down the date the invoice is issued, the date it should be paid by and importantly when it has been paid.
This again will help when it comes to your Tax Return, but also if you need to chase up any late payers.
Fundamental to any business, no matter what size is the need to make sure you stay solvent.
Even if you employ an accountant to look after your finances, it’s vital you still have a handle on your overall income and outgoings to avoid potential disaster.
No one understands your business as well as you do, so although you may ask someone else to produce a set of accounts, you also need to have a good handle on how much money you are spending, how much you are bringing in and any potential changes on the horizon.
This is such a simple task but one so many micro businesses skimp on and later regret. Having a clear understanding of specifically what stock you currently have, and what you will potentially need over the coming months could be the difference between success and failure.
Keeping track of your stock doesn’t need to be a complicated process. A simple spreadsheet or table listing each item and how many you currently have in stock will go a long way to keeping you organised… so long as you update it each time you make a sale!
This is particularly important if you sell on several different online platforms for example. The last thing you want to do is disappoint a customer by selling an item you no longer have in stock.
There are two clear reasons why you need to be on top of your admin when it comes to personal data about your customers.
Firstly you have a duty to look after that information and only use it where permitted. Businesses which hold customer information should be registered with the Information Commissioners Office (ICO), confirming they understand how to keep that data safe.
Secondly, by keeping an up-to-date log of your existing customers, you have a very powerful marketing resource at your fingertips as it is much easier to sell to someone who has already bought from you. As long as your customers have confirmed they are happy to receive your marketing information you have an instant ‘in’ when it comes to promoting follow-up purchases.
Know your strengths
As Apple co-founder Steve Jobs once said: Deciding what NOT to do is as important as deciding what TO do.
SBG’s Liz Smith couldn’t agree more. We regularly come into contact with small and micro businesses who are struggling to keep on top of their admin. Either they are just too busy delivering their goods and service or it’s not their area of expertise. The worry this can cause small business owners is immense. That’s why we established our business support service, as we know that sometimes the best course of action is to outsource the tasks which are stressing you out. It’s truly rewarding to see the relief we can bring, whether it’s coming up with easy solutions that help people keep on top of their own admin or taking the task off their hands completely.