Half the year is already over so now is a great time to take another look at those New Year's resolutions that may have fallen by the wayside. Midpoints are a great time to regroup, take a breath, and push toward the end of the year with new goals in mind.
As you look forward to 2019, there are a few easy financial habits that can make your business run efficiently and, hopefully, lead to more profit. Whether it's time to embrace a business credit card or the world of social media, here are my five habits that every small business owner should add to their routine.
1. Set daily goals for yourself and your business.
Setting business goals can be a daunting task, but one that is key to achieving measurable growth. And though you might know the benefits of setting long-term goals, focusing on smaller financial objectives that you can achieve day-to-day can help you work more productively and measure your progress on the way to those bigger goals.
Start small. Perhaps you set a long-term goal of decreasing your total spending by 2019. Choose one thing a day to cut out of your spending habits. It doesn't have to be anything big--just enough to start a routine. Or, perhaps there's a large business-related purchase you want to make down the road. Start by putting aside a small amount each day (even as small as $5).
Long-term goals are important, and looking at the big picture of your business's future is crucial, but I've found that allowing myself to focus-in on easy-to-achieve targets keeps me motivated.
2. Pay yourself a separate salary.
Keeping separate personal expenses can make bookkeeping less of a hassle, ensure cleaner finances, and protect you from legal liability.
This doesn't necessarily mean cutting yourself a paycheck every week, especially if your company's capital doesn't have much wiggle room. Try something as simple as setting aside a portion of your income for your personal expenses, then committing the rest to business costs.
The reality is most business owners don't pay themselves. Last year, my company, Fundera, surveyed entrepreneurs across the country and asked them how they handled their personal income. It's probably no surprise to you that most small business owners do what they do because it's their passion, not because they want to get rich.
And yet despite this, I think it's important for small business owners to pay themselves. If this isn't the year to set aside a steady salary, consider a separate bank account for your personal needs.
3. Embrace a business credit card.
Similar to paying yourself a salary, business credit cards will help you separate yourself from your company and help establish a credit score for your company.
There are lots of options, each with different perks. Perhaps you want a low APR (the annual percentage rate you'll pay on the amount you charge to your card). Or, maybe your company requires you to travel and rewards would help with costs. Chances are, there's a card that benefits your business.
The American Express Blue Business Plus currently has one of the longest 0 percent intro APR for new customers (APR kicks in after 15 months). Meanwhile, the Chase Ink Business Preferred is a great option for those looking for travel perks and offers a hefty bonus offer. If you only use your personal credit card, it's time to embrace the business card.
4. Utilize tax deductibles.
As the year nears its end, tax season will come quickly. Once you separate your personal and business expenses, working through your business's finances might open the door to a world of new credits and deductibles.
Educating yourself on deductions for your business now instead of waiting until tax season will help you be more thorough when it's tim to file your return. Consult a tax specialist to make sure you track the right things and you'll be well-prepared come spring.
5. Network, network, network (from your own home).
Social media has made it easier than ever to connect with other business owners. We all know how to use these platforms for ourselves, but they can also act as a powerful business tool.
Facebook groups like Savvy Business Owners and Entrepreneur Hustle allow entrepreneurs to connect and discuss financial ideas and advice. These people are in your same shoes. Who better to learn from?
Here at my company Fundera, many of our small business owners tell me they spend their downtime engaging with other entrepreneurs on social media and have learned many tricks of the trade from their peers. It's a great way to gain expertise and tips from people who are going through a similar experience.
As your market evolves, sticking to small, achievable goals can make a lofty goal seem more attainable. Your New Year's resolutions may have already fallen to the wayside, but now is the perfect time to press the reset button and make the most of 2018.