How to Set Business Goals to Finish 2020 Strong

Here we are – the last quarter of the year! 2020 has been strange and challenging for many of us, but it is definitely not cancelled. Many small business owners have been hit hard financially this year. That means the need to pay attention to business finances is greater than ever. Below, I have some ideas for goals to set to finish out the year strong.

What Do You Need to Succeed?

When setting any goals for your business, it’s important to consider what you need to succeed. If you’re at a point where you’re unsure about that, I suggest doing a business check-in first. If you feel like you’ve got a good picture of your business’s current strengths and needs, you can go ahead with the goal-setting.

When setting a goal concerning your business financials, here are a couple tips. First, set one goal, not a dozen. This will make it easier to manage and complete the goal. Second, identify the thing to do in your business finances that would make everything else easier or irrelevant. This advice is from the book, The One Thing – you can read my book review here. In a small business context, this could look like setting up a money system, finding a good bookkeeper to work with on a regular basis, or building a money team. We’ll talk more about potential goals below, but the important thing is to set your sights on the thing that would make the biggest difference to your business.

Create Good Habits

One potentially life-changing goal you could set for your business in 2020 is to finish out the year with good money habits. When I say “money habits,” I mean checking in with your business finances on a weekly basis. The more aware you are of where you stand financially, the better. I’ve written about the stressful weight that feeling vague about numbers can create for business owners. If you look at your records every week, this won’t be an issue for you! In fact, you’ll be better able to make financial decisions in your business, because you’ll be more aware of the information you need. If you need more ideas about what to look for during your weekly check-in, read my articles on knowing what your numbers are telling you and creating more revenue.

Make a Plan

If your business is feeling the effects of the pandemic, perhaps your goal to finish out the year can be to create a financial resilience plan. The most important thing to do when creating a resilience plan is to first take stock of where you are. I recommend reading my article on finding financial clarity if you want some guidance here. Perhaps your resilience plan will include seeking small-business relief opportunities, or adapting your offerings to our continually changing conditions. For ideas on what to include in your plan, I’d recommend checking out the SBA’s resources on preparing your business for emergencies, and my free guide, Cash Flow Flow Reboot Guide: A Guide to Thriving in Uncertain Times.

Stay On Top of Your Books

If you received money from Paycheck Protection Program or other forms of small business support, it’s very important to stay on top of your record keeping this year. Especially if you’re applying for loan forgiveness, it’s important to keep your financials tidy. The SBA has specific stipulations about what they money can be spent on in order to qualify for forgiveness. Keeping your books in order will help you stay on top of where that money goes so you can qualify. I recommend consulting with a bookkeeper for assistance.

I hope these ideas have given you some thoughts on what the best goal to finish 2020 strong is for you and your business. In my private work with clients, we do a lot to make sure they meet their goals. If this sounds like it might be helpful for you, reach out and schedule a free discovery call.

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Angela

How To Plan for Surprise Expenses

Did you have a nasty surprise yesterday with the estimated federal tax payments deadline? Or perhaps in your business you deal with other surprise expenses – things that add up. Worker’s compensation, insurance payments, replacing equipment, etc. can surprise business owners and knock you out of a financial groove very easily. Whether these things are a big issue in your business or not, I’m a huge proponent of planning to address them, just in case. How do we do that? Well, let’s talk ideas: 

Have an Emergency Fund

Having an emergency fund saved for your business can be extremely helpful. Whether a surprise expense comes up, or some other disaster strikes, having between three and twelve month’s worth of expenses set aside is great in a pinch. This strategy can be particularly helpful in emergency situations, but for taxes and other types of expenses that are somewhat predictable, try some of the other strategies below.

Set Up a Money System

If you’re a regular reader, you know how much I love money-mapping. Setting up any kind of money system can help you think more broadly about how much you need to put aside for operating expenses and taxes, well before it’s time to actually pay for those things. Checking out my articles on money-mapping is a good intro to money systems if that’s what you need to get started. If you’re a seasoned veteran with money systems, or have at least tried them before, maybe it’s time to do a business check-in and see where your business is at financially. Assess the situation and make a resiliency plan.

Check In With Your Finances Regularly

Ideally, you have a bookkeeping pro doing this, someone who can regularly look at your numbers and pull out important insights. Or, if you’re doing it on your own, you have someone that you consult with on a semi-regular basis to review your books. Even when you’re not working with a professional, regularly looking at your finances is the way to go if you want to be prepared for surprise expenses. The more aware you are of where your business is financially, the more prepared you will be to deal with an issue when one comes up. I recommend finding a way to make regular intentional time looking at your finances fun, like finding a money buddy or setting money dates.

Note Potential Future Expenses

Take time to think about what potential expenses may arise in the future. Perhaps you use a lot of special equipment in your business, and some of it is getting into disrepair. Maybe you simply have a hard time remembering when insurance or tax payments are due. Take note of all of these things and factor them into your money system or savings plan. Write important due dates on the calendar well ahead of time so you’re aware of them. Have an equipment replacement fund set aside for when your laptop or pottery wheel or farm vehicle finally busts or needs repair. The more you can anticipate these things and incorporate some wiggle room into your money system, the less you’ll be knocked sideways financially when they do come up.

I hope this list has given you some good ideas for dealing with surprise expenses. If you need more ideas about developing financial resilience in your business, check out my free e-book, Cash Flow Reboot Guide: A Guide to Thriving in Uncertain Times.

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Angela