Business owners often think that once their company has been successfully incorporated and their business is operating as intended, that everything will continue to run smoothly – this is not the case as business owners have many things that they need to consider everyday.
To help make sure that nothing surprises you, the FastLane Group has compiled a monthly checklist that all small business owners should consider to ensure that their company is operating smoothly without concern.
1. Perform a Financial Review
Your business won’t survive unless you have a comprehensive understanding of your company’s finances. Therefore, you should make sure to perform a financial review of the following items at the end of each month:
- Expenses and Bills: Pay quickly to ensure goodwill
- Invoices: Chase all late payers to ensure your company’s cash flow is healthy
- Payroll: Ensure that all your employees have been paid and that their employment information is up to date
- Compliance: Your company will have to juggle multiple compliance obligations ranging from audit, profits tax filing, filing of annual returns etc. Make sure that you’re aware of all deadlines at your month end so you have adequate time to prepare
If you’re not sure how to approach reviewing your finances, then we suggest engaging a professional accounting firm to perform the financial review for you! Engaging a professional accounting firm will not only help obtain access to the extensive professional knowledge offered by a team of qualified experts, but smaller firms can enjoy this resource without having to invest in their own accounting team.
2. Review Your Account Statements From Your Suppliers
Just because you have established a solid relationship with your current supplier doesn’t mean that there aren’t better alternatives out there.
Take time to make sure your suppliers are charging you a price that’s fair and that you’re getting good value for your money by comparing your account statements with that of other potential suppliers.
3. Review Your Sales
At the end of every month, you should take time to review your year-on-year sales and compare your performance with that of the previous year.
There are several things you’ll want to look for, such as if your costs and profit levels are where they should be – if not, it’s best to refer to your business plan and make changes as necessary.
4. Keep Track of Your Inventory
If your company manages inventory as part of its ordinary course of business, then ensuring your inventory is stocked should be one of your primary concerns. You should do the following every month:
- Carefully match stock levels to sales forecasts
- Make special provisions for perishable goods (if applicable)
- Ensure storage is safe and secure
- Work with your accountant or bookkeeper to identify the optimum inventory levels to maintain
5. Keep Engaging Your Customers
Competition among businesses is only ever growing. While increased competition is good for consumers as it incentivizes businesses to constantly improve their services, customers are likely to forget their experiences with you unless you keep them engaged.
To help maintain ongoing dialogue with your clients, we recommend using a customer relationship management (“CRM”) tool like HubSpot. These platforms are designed to help businesses manage and analyze their interactions with existing, past and potential customers. The best CRM tools also offer communication and marketing features that will help keep your customers and business partners up to date with the latest news of your business.
For those unsure of the benefits that cloud-based solutions provide, we recommend you to reach out to a qualified service provider who can not only help implement various solutions, but can also advise you on which solution is best fit for you.
6. Utilize Social Media
Building off the earlier point, social media can be a very effective tool to enhance your company’s marketing activities. If used regularly and properly, social media can connect businesses with their target audience to not only build their brand image, but can help increase sales and drive website traffic!
In order for your marketing activities to be effective, it’s best to frequently compliment your social media posts with relevant and current content. By always updating your website with new content, your social media posts will be more relevant to target audiences.
7. Review Your Website Traffic
Having a well-designed website that clearly outlines your business’ service offerings and other relevant information is one of the most effective ways to capture new leads. Therefore, careful attention should be given to make sure you are maximizing the use of your website.
Analyzing your website with various business tools will make it easier to understand how customers are interacting with your company. For instance, tools like Google Analytics will help identify pages that are performing poorly and will also pinpoint pages that are doing well.
8. Stay Informed with Industry News
Set aside time each month to keep yourself informed with industry news as there are many external factors that may impact your business without you knowing, such as new industry regulations or trends.
Making sure that you’re not caught by surprise will help your company stay compliant with their obligations, and minimize the risk of any hurdles negatively impacting your business.
9. Look for Ways to Upgrade Your Business
You should always keep an eye out on new technologies that your company can adopt – for instance, cloud-based platforms are an effective way to not only minimize the monthly costs of your business, but they can also help improve efficiency.
For example, manual data entry is notorious for being a time-consuming endeavor for businesses. However, a cloud-based platform like Xero has various automation features that offer businesses the luxury of focusing their time and resources to more revenue driving activities.
10. Maintain Communication with Your Service Providers
Arrange meetings with your accountant or bookkeeper, board of directors and investors. Meet them at the office or a cafe for a half-hour chat over coffee. Review business performance for the last 30 days and last quarter to check you’re on track.
How Can FastLane Help
As a Hong Kong Corporate Service Provider and being a licensed Hong Kong CPA firm, we understand what it takes for a business to be successful.
Whether you need help analyzing your business’ financial health, or are seeking assistance in making your business more efficient through the use of cloud-based solutions, the FastLane Group is happy to help you in any way we can.