Start the new year with the resources you need. By Sandi Smith, CPA Accountant’s Accelerator Could you use a bit of extra cash each month? I think most people would say yes.Here are several tips to start your new year with a little more green in your pocket.
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- If you bill your time by the hour and sometimes forget to write your time down (I know I’m guilty), put in some extra procedures to capture that time. That’s a big cash drain in your business that needs plugging in 2013.
- Check all of your insurance policies to see if you can raise the deductible. Check both your auto insurance as well as your health care, and for that matter, any other policies with deductibles. I bet you’ll find at least $50 in savings. Also, check with your agent to see if you qualify for any other discounted savings, such as low driving miles, good driver discount, customer loyalty programs, and more. I just picked up a cool $300 with one phone call.
- Look for unused gift cards that might be lying around in a kitchen or desk drawer and cash them in for things you need.
- Take a good look at all the memberships you belong to. List ALL of the benefits of each one. Are there some free benefits you could use to save time or money? For example, my National Association of Women Business Owners memberships allow me to send in a press release about my business. Taking advantage of that could likely bring me more exposure and more clients. One of my memberships offers discounts at the office supply store, and another allows me to bring a friend for free. All of these benefits will save me money.
- Using your QuickBooks profit and loss report, scan your expenses for 2012. Is there anything you can do without (that didn’t pay back)? If so, take steps to cancel or not spend that money in 2013. If you don’t have the information to make the right decisions, take steps to better classify your expenses for 2013 so you can see where the money is going.
- Get to know the programs that your friends and family are associated with, and see if you can help them for mutual benefit. For example, if your cousin’s work has an employee referral bonus of $4,000 and you have a friend who would be perfect for the job, make the connection. If you have a friend at HP who can get you a computer at a discounted rate (legally and morally), then go for it. Use social media to look for new connections where you both can profit.
- Do you have thousands of unused air and hotel miles? Sell them or start using them on trips you have planned.
- Does anyone owe you money from 2012? Give them a call and collect those old receivables.
- Make a list of restaurants where kids eat free on certain days, and visit them on those days. You can do the same for 2 for 1 or BOGO meals. Eat at the “nicer” fast food restaurants instead of the more expensive sit down restaurants. We like places such as Baja Fresh and Chipotle for great values and healthy food.
- Plan to bill faster for 2013 so you can get paid even faster. Better yet, offer prepay discounts and reward those who pay early with “fast-action scholarships” as they’re called in the internet marketing world.
- If your grocery bill is getting a bit high, make some simple swaps. Choose frozen over fresh and regular over organic to save a few dollars every week.
- Create a new program, product or service that brings in a whole new revenue stream for 2013. I created four new revenue streams in 2010: one-on-one private coaching via phone, four new information products, the Mind Body Style event, and my brand new program Accountant’s Accelerator.
- Cancel memberships, newspapers, and magazines that you are not reading or no longer need.
- Shop around for new vendors that you might not be getting the best service from. I continually get new web design clients who have had lousy service from their old web design company.
- Make part of your business green. Allow employees to stay home one day per week to save gas, adjust the thermostat to save heating or air conditioning, or go paperless.
- Look in your closet, car, garage, storage, or around your home to see if there is anything you can use, repurpose or sell for cash.
- What do you need to finish that would bring in some cash if you just got around to finishing it?
- Enter contests that will bring you good public relations exposure. One example is the Silicon Valley Business Journal’s Women of Influence awards.
- Find events that are free in your area and that will teach you some new skills and sign up. You can find them through government agencies, the Small Business Administration, coaches and consultants, via social media Facebook and LinkedIn events sections.
How much did you save so far?
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Sandi Smith, CPA, a Bay Street Group LLC affiliate, provides marketing coaching to small firms, solo practitioners, enrolled agents and QuickBooks Advisors here.