Financial basics of starting and running a small business

Kicking off a business from the ground up is never easy (you’ve most likely figured that out by now).

It’s a constant battle of dealing with the trials and tribulations as an owner, but with the added complication of constantly learning how to be a business owner – and it never ends.

You need to be aware of the financial basics and have the ability to come up with fast and effective solutions to problems, frequently. And that’s just so you can easily track the business operations and keep everything on an even keel.

So here are some of the financial basics that most small business entrepreneurs should be familiar with, plus an efficient management solution that can help you use this to drive growth in the business.

  • Keep track of expenses and profits

All money-related transactions must be conscientiously documented, from where an expense has been generated to the resulting profit of the transaction. Everything must be accounted for. If a small business has lousy accounting, there is no way to know if you are making money or losing it.

  • Create an effective cashflow statement

In order for a company to have sufficient money for dealing with various expenses it should have an accounting document which is reserved only for keeping track of company cashflow. The cashflow statement indicates the inflow and outflow of profits and expenses gathered during the course of a particular period. This can be monthly or quarterly.

  • Jot down accounts receivable/payable

Remember to not only keep data of your client’s debts, but your own as well. Document all the data that you possibly can – from amounts, dates, terms, balances, dates of invoices, paid or due amounts as well as client data.

  • Keep records of all available inventory

Keeping inventory records not only allows businesses to keep track of damaged and misplaced merchandise, it also helps companies get ready for the approaching year by following what’s in and out every season.

  • Prepare for taxes

Getting to know and mastering management of all financial basics mentioned above prepares you well enough for dealing with taxes.

  • File employee forms and take care of payroll tax obligations

Keep in mind that even if you are a startup business, and only have one employee to depend on, it is still your responsibility to file employee forms and deal with taxes relating to payroll.

  • Invest in a good small business CRM system for sales and customer service

CRMs (customer relationship management) systems are a recent innovation which has immensely improved business operations and is now even more accessible to small businesses. New and existing customers/clients are the lifeblood of every business, so in order to keep things running smoothly on both ends, the features of an effective CRM system will assist you in documenting customer interactions, sales stages and other important facets of the business part that generates the income.

Advantages of CRM Systems for Small Businesses

Business/sales/office managers, network marketers, estate agents, brokers, insurance agents and just about any professional required to obtain and keep more than a handful of contacts will benefit from CRM set-ups. All that data can be a headache to manage at some point for entrepreneurs. The features of these systems will make routine business tasks much easier to handle.

Additional benefits of a CRM system:

  • Allow companies to accommodate customers manually or through automation

Customer service can be delivered through manual ways or in an automated fashion. Manual means that it is the actual employees that accommodate clients, while automated ones mean the CRM system will be left to manage standard customer service tasks from handling queries to issuing the availability of orders. This is a feature that will greatly benefit solopreneurs.

  • Gathers valuable customer information and sales funnels

This is one of the best features of a CRM system – the capability to gather essential customer data like ordering habits, customer preferences, the type of products customers buy and their current position in the sales cycle. If this data is evaluated correctly, it can lead to much more effective forecasting of sales and revenue streams by management and sales teams.

  • Makes the collected data shareable among employees

If you have several employees, sharing stored data for specific staff members is made much easier by a CRM. It facilitates better organisation and usually has access controls to restrict essential information in a much more efficient way. With such a smooth set-up, there is the added bonus of an increase in work productivity as well, resulting in even more efficiencies.

  • Integration with financial systems

Some CRMs will also integrate with cloud-based financial software. Systems such as Sage, Quickbooks and Xero are great for managing the finances, but they just deal with the finances. By combining these with a CRM you get a complete picture of the business, but with the ability to take decisive actions based on the data of how your customers are buying so are able to drive more sales and growth.

  • Makes clients/customers happy

Excellent CRM set-ups, if carried out correctly, lead to happier and more satisfied customers. You don’t need to tackle mundane tasks like evaluating customer data and shopping carts manually, since a CRM system can manage most of this. If you don’t have the budget for an extra member of staff, CRMs are the key to growth in a much more flexible way.

There are a number of CRM options available now, some are user-friendly (many are not), and others with flexible features at prices that you can afford, such as Reldesk, a small business CRM, being one of the sounder choices that is easier to use than most.

You also have the option of training which can be done in person, through webinars, online documentation or even live online tutorials. It serves as a great way to manage your customer data with the ability to grow the business through sales prospecting and management.