You started a business to build a path to freedom. Why does it feel like the exact opposite is the case?
Every single business owner on the planet agrees; scaling and managing a business is a ton of work. That does not mean all of it is necessary.
Truly successful business owners, those that have built sustainable businesses that can operate without their presence, are particularly adept on just two things: maximizing net income, and reducing the amount of personal time required.
There are four things you can do right away to make your build sustainable businesses.
Take control of the books
It starts with organization of your business expenses. It can certainly feel difficult to balance this with competing priorities, but it is important to manage your business expenses completely separate from your personal finances. This helps you get a picture of the true cash inflows and outflows of a business, but it also helps put more money in your pocket at the end of the year.
Tax deductions can be the difference between taking money home at the end of the day. One powerful example? The IRS Standard Mileage Rate for personal car use is 57.5 cents per mile for business use, meaning that every 1,000 business miles you expense is $575 in direct deductions. But you have to be able to provide a mileage log showing the trips in the event of an IRS audit.
Deductions can apply for tons of other business expenses, and you can likely audit your expenses to understand where the business isn’t seeing the proper ROI. But you are likely to miss out on these efficiencies without the proper organization and expense tracking system in place.
Luckily for business owners, we live in the internet era. Many of the arduous tasks like maintaining mileage logs or tracking expenses are now managed by applications. Cloud tools like Quickbooks help easily manage all expenses, and apps like Everlance record your trips for automatic logging.
Grow revenue and save time by focusing on your strengths
No one is the best at everything, and Marshall Goldsmith’s book “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There” is the perfect reminder of that. Even if your venture has seen success, you may be seeking growth, more free time, or both.
Getting to the next level may require honing in to focus on what you’re best at. Whether it’s sales, building a product, or simply networking with clients, focus on it. It doesn’t have to be all at once, and when you step into a more focused role you’re taking a step to increase the overall autonomy of the business.
Know when to outsource
Then comes the question of whether to outsource part of the day-to-day activities. Start with the task you spend the most time on. Ask yourself “could someone else do this just as effectively?”, and if so, consider your options for outsourcing. There are numerous opportunities for automation and outsourcing like freelance platforms, virtual assistants, and intuitive tools that may eliminate the need altogether. It just takes a quick Google Search.
By doing this, you’re increasing your potential on the business, while reducing the amount of time you have to spend.
Remember the reason you started
Lastly, take care of yourself. Running a business or solo venture can be taxing on your personal well-being. When you weigh the benefits of it vs. just being employed, you have to take everything into account and make sure that you’re fairly compensating yourself and preparing for your future.
Don’t let your business run your life. Start from step one and take control by leveraging the tools and resources that are available today to build sustainable businesses.