Launch A New Business in 2024: Ultimate Startup Checklist

Launching a new business venture in 2024? Congratulations on taking the plunge into entrepreneurship! To ensure a smooth takeoff, here’s a comprehensive checklist that will guide you through the crucial steps of launching your dream business.

1. Craft a Solid Business Plan: A roadmap is essential. Outline your business idea, target market, competition analysis, and financial projections. A well-thought-out business plan is your compass through the unpredictable terrain of entrepreneurship.

2. Legal Foundations: Register your business, obtain the necessary licenses, and explore any industry-specific regulations. This not only legitimizes your operations but also protects your venture in the long run.

3. Financial Setup: Establish a robust financial framework. Open a business bank account, set up accounting systems, and secure initial funding. Whether it’s through personal savings, loans, or investors, a healthy financial foundation is critical.

4. Build Your Brand: Craft a compelling brand identity. This includes a memorable logo, a professional website, and an engaging social media presence. In the digital age, your online presence is often the first interaction potential customers have with your brand.

5. Target Market Research: Know your audience inside out. Conduct thorough market research to understand your potential customers, their needs, and your competitors. This insight will inform your marketing strategies and help you tailor your offerings to meet market demands.

6. Create a Marketing Plan: Develop a comprehensive marketing strategy. Utilize both online and offline channels to reach your target audience. From social media campaigns to traditional advertising, a well-executed marketing plan will generate engagement around your brand.

7. Secure Your Digital Presence: In an era dominated by technology, cybersecurity is non-negotiable. Protect your business and customer data by implementing robust cybersecurity measures. From firewalls to secure payment gateways, invest in airtight digital security.

8. Operational Infrastructure: Establish operational processes and workflows. From supply chain management to customer service protocols, having a solid infrastructure in place ensures efficiency and scalability as your business grows.

Our goal is to make all of our clients’ lives easier while also helping them build successful businesses. If you’re ready to take action and feel empowered by your finances, we look forward to connecting with you and helping you take control of your finances.

Elevate Your Business with SMART Goals

In the ever-evolving environment of business, setting strategic goals is a key driver for success. As a business owner, it’s essential to navigate the path to growth with precision. One effective method for goal-setting is the SMART criteria: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Here’s how you can harness the power of SMART goals to move your business forward.

1. Specific: Define Your Destination

Start by pinpointing your objectives. Ask yourself: What exactly do you want to achieve? Whether it’s increasing revenue, expanding your customer base, or enhancing brand visibility, be clear and concise.

2. Measurable: Quantify Your Progress

Establish key performance indicators (KPIs) that allow you to track and measure your progress. Whether it’s sales figures, website traffic, or social media engagement, make sure you have a numerical benchmark to gauge success.

3. Achievable: Set Realistic Expectations

Evaluate your resources, team capabilities, and market conditions realistically. Ensure that your goals stretch your limits without breaking them, creating a sense of achievement rather than overwhelm.

4. Relevant: Align with Your Business Vision

Every goal you set should contribute meaningfully to your overarching business strategy. Consider how each goal aligns with your long-term vision and mission. This ensures that your efforts are focused on outcomes that truly matter for the growth and sustainability of your business.

5. Time-bound: Add a Sense of Urgency

Setting a deadline creates a sense of urgency and accountability for your goals. Establish clear timelines for achieving each objective. Whether it’s a monthly, quarterly, or annual target, having a defined endpoint fosters commitment and helps you stay on track.

As you gear up for 2024, make SMART goal-setting a cornerstone of your business strategy. By being Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound, you’ll not only define the path to success but also navigate it with purpose. Here’s to a year of strategic growth, achievement, and unparalleled success in your business endeavors!

Month-End Bookkeeping Tips for Small Businesses

As we approach the end of another month, it’s time to ensure your books are in tip-top shape. Here are some valuable month-end bookkeeping tips to keep everything in order.

1. Reconcile Bank Statements.

Start by reconciling your bank statements. Ensure all transactions match between your records and your bank statement. This will help identify any discrepancies or errors.

2. Review Outstanding Invoices.

Go through your accounts receivable and follow up on any outstanding invoices. This is crucial for maintaining cash flow and reducing bad debts.

3. Record Accruals and Prepayments.

Ensure you record any accruals or prepayments for expenses or income. This will provide a more accurate picture of your financial health.

4. Double-Check Tax Obligations.

Verify that you’re up-to-date with tax payments and obligations. Late fees and penalties can add up, so it’s best to stay on top of them.

5. Create Financial Reports.

Generate key financial reports, like your profit and loss statement and balance sheet. These reports offer insights into your business’s financial performance.

6. Plan for Next Month.

Use the end of the month to set financial goals for the upcoming month. This will help you stay proactive in managing your business finances.

Remember, good bookkeeping is not just about compliance; it’s also a powerful tool for decision-making and growth. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you need any assistance with managing your business finances.

End of Summer Bookkeeping Tips

It’s that time of year again, almost the end of summer, where school is about to start up and suddenly everyone’s schedules have changed and everything seems to be moving a million miles a minute. Now’s the time to get back into the swing of things!

Here are several tips (both personal and business) on how to keep from falling out of line this fall:

  • Put money aside in an emergency fund or savings account. This can come in handy for unexpected or unaccounted for expenses that could come up in the rush of things.
  • Organize your papers and receipts. This will help you in the future when it’s closer to tax season as well.
  • Try tracking your budget. Find out where all of your extra cash is going!
  • Communicate with your employees. Are their schedules or needs changing at this time of year at all? The new season is also a good time to go over employee reviews, gain feedback, introduce any changes, talk about policies, etc.
  • Continue networking. Attend networking events. Build relationships with neighboring businesses.
  • Check your finances. See if you need all of the subscriptions that you’re a part of, and double check your taxes and deductions, etc.

Looking for help with your business bookkeeping? We’ve been working with small business owners to free up more time, get more bookkeeping clarity, and create more cash flow in their businesses. Ready to learn more? Book a call to get started!

Are You Ready for Fourth Quarter?

Can you believe it? 2023 is speeding by, and we’re fast approaching the fourth quarter. Are you ready for a strong finish? Could it make or break your business? We’ll explore some effective strategies you can put in place to achieve your annual goals and start the new year strong.

1. Evaluate your financial health. Start by evaluating your current cash flow. Small businesses should aim for at least 3 months worth of cash reserves to cover their expenses. That said, even through periods of uncertainty, businesses shouldn’t sit on large reserves of cash. If your liquidity is strong and you’ve got enough to cover you for the next 90 days, then invest in growth. In keeping with cash flow, it’s also a good idea to review your clients and highlight any late payers.

2. Invest in talent. With salaries and contractor costs accounting for up to 60% of your total expenses, your people are your biggest asset. Therefore, to help set you up for a strong fourth quarter, consider investing in your team. As the saying goes, “people buy from people”, and so by investing in your team members, your clients will enjoy working with a motivated, efficient, and highly skilled team, which will drive strong results for the end of the year.

3. Set up simple structures. If you want a strong finish to the fourth quarter, consider setting up simple structures to improve efficiency. By streamlining internal processes, you’ll make your workflows more efficient, which means a more productive team, which also will give you the competitive advantage to finish the year strong. Consider investing in software that automates time tracking and project management to help set up simple structures and operations in your business.

4. Design a three-month game plan. As we approach the fourth quarter, it’s time to sit down and devise a sales strategy and marketing plan to finish the year strong. To help you do this, you should first assess your current year-to-date performance. How was the last quarter? How are you tracking year-to-date? Aside from the goal-setting and sales plan, you should also design an aggressive marketing strategy to set up strong pipelines for the new year.

With year-end fast approaching, now’s the time for professional services firms to devise a plan to get ready and finish strong. You should also use the next three months to assess your financial health, invest in your team, and set up simple structures to ensure a strong start to the new fiscal year. Schedule a call to learn more about how we can help with your business’s financial health.

Tax Tips and Strategies for a Summer of Savings

As the summer season approaches, it’s important for business owners to consider tax planning strategies that can lead to significant savings. By taking advantage of available deductions, credits, and smart financial practices, you can optimize your tax situation and make the most of the sunny season.

Here are some essential tax tips and strategies to keep in mind:

  1. Deduct Summer Business Travel: If you are a business owner or self-employed, summer business travel can be deductible. Keep accurate records of all business-related expenses, including transportation, lodging, meals, and conference fees.
  2. Take Advantage of the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit: For parents with children attending summer camps or daycare, the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit can provide valuable savings. This credit can be claimed for a percentage of qualifying expenses, allowing parents to work or look for employment while their children are in care.
  3. Consider Home Office Deductions: If you work from home, you may be eligible for home office deductions. Ensure that your workspace meets the IRS criteria for a home office and keep detailed records of expenses related to your workspace, such as utilities, internet, and office supplies.
  4. Track Summer Charitable Donations: Summer is a time when many people engage in philanthropic activities and donate to charitable organizations. Keep track of all donations made during the summer months, including cash, goods, or volunteer-related expenses, as they may be tax-deductible.

By implementing these tax tips and strategies, you can make the most of the summer season while minimizing your tax burden. Remember to consult with a tax professional for personalized advice based on your unique circumstances and business. Stay proactive, organized, and informed to maximize your tax savings and enjoy a stress-free summer of financial well-being.

How to Make the Most of the Next 6 Months of 2023 For Your Business

The last six months are a great opportunity to reflect on achievements, reassess goals, and lay the groundwork for a successful year-end. To make the most of this time, it is essential to identify key focus areas that can help move your business forward. Here are 4 crucial aspects that businesses should prioritize during the last six months of the year.

Goal Review and Adjustment

Begin by evaluating the goals you set at the beginning of the year. Determine what progress has been made and identify any adjustments needed to align with current market conditions and evolving business dynamics. This assessment will provide a clear roadmap for the next six months.

Client Engagement and Retention

Focus on nurturing existing customer relationships. Implement targeted marketing campaigns and personalized communication to engage customers, and encourage repeat business. Leverage customer feedback to identify areas for improvement and enhance the overall customer experience.

Operational Efficiency

Streamline internal processes and optimize efficiency across departments. Evaluate workflows, identify bottlenecks, and implement automation or technology solutions to enhance productivity. Focus on cost management and identify areas for potential savings without compromising quality.

Financial Management

Pay close attention to financial performance and cash flow management. Review budgets, track expenses, and ensure proper accounting practices. Prepare for tax season in advance, engage with your bookkeepers or accountant, and explore opportunities to optimize revenue generation.

The last six months of the year are a valuable opportunity to drive growth and position your business for success. By focusing on key areas such as goal review, customer engagement, operational efficiency, and financial management, you can set the stage for a strong finish to the current year and a promising start to the next. To learn more about how we can help manage and keep your finances organized through the rest of the year, schedule a call with us today.

How To Conduct A Mid-Year Budget Review

With the midyear of 2022 quickly approaching, it’s a great time to perform a budget checkup to help evaluate how your business is performing and determine whether any adjustments should be made to ensure a successful year-end. Consider these key areas of your budget when conducting a midyear review:

  1. How are your year-to-date expenses and revenue aligning with your initial projections? Are you meeting your sales goals? If not, how will you address the situation? Add new products? Eliminate unprofitable products that may be zapping your time? Are you pricing your product correctly? Is your marketing/sales plan being followed? What is the potential revenue from the changes you are making?
  2. What is your cash flow situation? Many businesses have been experiencing significant cash flow shortages due to cost fluctuations in supplies and, in some cases, slow-paying customers. Consider performing a cash flow analysis to help detect if there are any collection issues or whether you should revisit some of your vendor relations. Once you’ve reviewed key areas such as the actual costs of your inventory or supplies, vendor payments and collections from customers, it will help you make the appropriate adjustments.
  3. Are there any adjustments you should consider from a tax perspective? A few areas to evaluate from a tax perspective include whether there have been any recent changes in tax laws, plans for capital expenditures, and tracking your quarterly tax payments to see if any adjustments should be made. With economic conditions changing so drastically right now, it’s a great time to review these payments rather than wait until the year-end, when you usually do.
  4. If you hire new personnel, there are more things to consider as well. Will additional phones be needed, cell phone or land line? How much training time is needed? What will the training cost? Are more supplies needed? Is there enough office space?

Have questions or need assistance with your budget review, contact us today.

How to Build a Business Emergency Fund in 8 Steps

An emergency fund is an essential part of a solid financial plan. It can help you pay unexpected expenses and avoid taking on more debt from high-interest credit cards or loans. You can build up your business cash reserve account in several ways:

  1. Determine Your Needs. The first step is to determine how much you need in an emergency. Your needs will be unique, depending on your business. A rule of thumb, 10% of your annual revenue might be a good benchmark.
  2. Set Reasonable Emergency Savings Goals. Start small so you can meet your monthly savings goal than struggling to hit a bigger number. Set small, achievable targets for your monthly savings, and increase the amounts when you’re comfortable that you can handle them without hurting your business.
  3. Save Consistently to Build Your Cash Reserve Fund. As with any savings program, you need to put together a plan and follow it consistently. Commit to putting a certain amount of money aside each month. One of the easiest ways to do this is to save a percentage of your monthly revenue.
  4. Automate Business Emergency Fund Savings. An effective way to build a financial cushion for your company is to open a separate account and set up a monthly deposit from your business account. Then savings can happen without requiring you to manually move the money each month.
  5. When Business Is Good, Build Up Your Financial Cushion. When you have a good month financially and a better net profit, put a little extra into your emergency business funding until you reach your goal.
  6. Check for Nonessential Expenses. Certain expenses are unavoidable. If you have a mortgage on your property, you need to make the monthly payment. You’ll need to pay utilities and employees if you want to stay in business. However, other items aren’t essential.
  7. Protect Your Business Emergency Fund. It can be tempting to dip into your emergency fund for things that aren’t emergencies. Avoid the temptation to do that if at all possible.
  8. Don’t Stop Building Your Cash Reserve Fund. When you reach your goal, take a breath and congratulate yourself. It’s a big step. Consider continuing to save and building your cash reserve fund to create an even bigger financial cushion.

Setting up a business cash reserve fund also provides peace of mind. You’ll sleep better knowing you have some money set aside to handle emergencies. If you’d like to learn more about how we can take managing your business finances off your plate and help you grow your business, schedule a call with us today!

Finish Strong: Small Business Tips to End the Year Strong, Despite the Pandemic

Are you looking forward to the end of 2020?

Due to the pandemic, the last year was filled with challenges. Yes, there were some bright spots in the year, but for the most part, we don’t think anyone is going to be missing 2020!

That said, the year isn’t over yet. There are still a few months to go until we ring in 2021, and as a small business owner, you need to make the most of them. Sure this year has been tough so far, but there’s absolutely no reason why you can’t finish it strong!

Start Getting Your Books in Order

The government delayed tax assessments this year due to COVID-19, but chances are they won’t be doing that in 2021. Unless you want to get hit with a wave of stress at the beginning of the new year, it can pay to start your tax preparation right now.

We aren’t suggesting entirely finishing off your taxes, of course. There’s still lots of financial information that’s yet to come. But organizing receipts, invoices, write-offs, and other vital documents by date will ensure that everything is precisely where you need it when tax time comes.

If you want to avoid that stress altogether, you could send those well-organized financial documents to us, and we’ll handle your taxes for you! Things will likely be very tricky this year due to CERB and other federal and provincial financial assistance programs. There will be write-offs and credits that you might not know about yet, and the only way you can be sure you’ll get them is by hiring the pros to handle your taxes for you!

Reach Out to Your Clients

There has been a real lack of human connection this year, for obvious reasons. While social bubbling during the summer helped, we’re all still feeling the need for genuine connection with other people.

The holiday season could be the perfect time for you to reach out to your clients. We aren’t just talking about holiday cards here, but actual calls on the phone or personalized emails. Reaching out to see how everyone is doing could pay real dividends, especially around the holidays. The calls and emails don’t need to be super lengthy, but you should personalize them and aim to express genuine sentiments. A little authenticity can go a long way!

Get Your Holiday Sales Ready

No one knows what’s going to happen with holiday sales this year. Obviously, in-store purchases are going to be down, while online sales will be way up. This could mean that you need to take some extra steps to ensure that your clients’ holiday shopping experience with you goes as smoothly as possible.

The increase in online sales will likely lead to an overload in package deliveries, leading to possible backups and delivery delays. You should encourage your customers to order your products or services as soon as possible to avoid the holiday shipping rush. For those customers who might end up ordering a bit too late, you could consider including a “Pick Up at Store” option on your online store.

You also need to make sure that you’re fully stocked for the holidays. It could be difficult to predict how much stock you’ll need, as demand is likely to be very different than it was in previous years. We’ve written more about this here if you’d like to learn more.

Prep for 2021

While we all hope the pandemic will be over early in 2021, there is no guarantee that will happen. With that in mind, we recommend that you hope for the best, plan for the worst. Who knows what could happen? Another lockdown? An economic recession? You must prepare for all eventualities.

To prep for 2021, the first thing we would suggest is to boost your online presence. An ever-increasing amount of business is online-based, so you need to put your best foot forward online. Revamp all of your social media accounts, redesign your website, and do some reputation management by monitoring your online reviews. Start to think of your online presence as your main “storefront” and treat it with the same level of care as you would your brick-and-mortar location.

You should also be putting together as big an emergency fund as possible right now. This is an area where we can help. We can go through your books to find areas where you can cut back and streamline your business’ expenses. This could free up some funds that might become critical if things get bad again next year.

2020 is on the way out, and 2021 is looming on the horizon. By hitting the gas now, you could get a big boost of business heading into January. If there’s anywhere in your business you think The Number Works could help, please feel free to contact us today. As a small business ourselves, we personally know how stressful 2020 has been and will do whatever we can to help you come out on the other side as financially strong as possible!