A great big high-five to my fellow accounting-related field folks. Woot! We made it! My team got some rest and are back at it again - right after they all turned in their vacation plans for this Summer, of course!
It does seem that right after the busiest part of any business cycle, folks start to think about vacation. For us, it’s good timing because that usually means a good two months before folks start disappearing (and we’ve been encouraging folks to disconnect as much as possible when they are on vacation so they really disappear). During that time, they start to think about stuff that needs to happen when they are gone and make sure they have full coverage.
One of the big things we did around here is we always make sure that at least two other people have access to our email. So, when I go on vacation, I have it set up to delegate to two team members. It really does make it easier to not constantly check your email while on vacation. The last vacation I took, I literally turned the sync off on my business email and didn’t look at it for two solid weeks.
Sounds scary, but man… it was nice. So, start thinking about what you’re going to do this Summer and how you can truly disconnect from work for a bit. Sometimes it’s hard to come to the realization that maybe you aren’t really needed after all! ;)
If you're a small business owner or "run the shop" at work, you understand the pros and cons of being your own boss. Sure, you can generally make your own schedule, but along with that freedom is the reality of being an entrepreneur: the responsibility, the accountability, and the long hours that can lead to burnout very quickly.
With all that falls squarely on your shoulders, you may feel uneasy about taking a vacation. Don't stress. Here are tips and to-dos to help the worrisome entrepreneur take a much-needed and rejuvenating vacation.
More bosses are breaking away
According to a 2012 survey by Robert Half Management Resources - a Menlo Park, California-based senior level accounting, finance and business recruiting firm - 51 percent of chief financial officers (CFOs) said they didn't or don't plan to check in with the office at all while on vacation. That number is nearly double the percentage from a similar poll in 2010 (26 percent), and up significantly from a 2005 study (21 percent).
Why business owners stress
In 2007, an OPEN from American Express Small Business Monitor survey titled, "Employers Skimping on Vacations" asked business owners what concerns them most about being away from the office. The top concerns included:
The fear that an important client or customer will receive inadequate service
Missing an important new business opportunity
Staff will make a poor judgment call
Not knowing who will manage the business in their absence
While these concerns are valid, it's important to your physical and mental health to take a break and re-energize yourself - you'll return with renewed creativity, energy, and enthusiasm that should translate into more sales and greater enjoyment of your work.
So, start planning your vacation keeping these tips in mind:
Notify clients in advance and be sure that they have your contact information if they need to reach you. Be sure to ask if there's anything you can handle before you leave.
Ask a trusted colleague to be in charge while you're away.
Prepare your employees by discussing potential scenarios that may arise and how they should handle them. Clarify with your staff and colleagues what situations require your immediate attention, and what can be handled by the team at the office. If you expect to be notified of emergencies, provide a way for people to reach you quickly, such as your cell phone number.
If you're not planning on working on your vacation, don't send mixed signals by checking in and returning phone calls and emails. Unless it's an emergency, relax!
When you return from vacation, take time to acknowledge the good work of the team, especially those who helped the office run smoothly in your absence. Make note of their efforts in their next performance review.
Take advantage of out-of-town business trips by adding a few days for some relaxing time.
5/2/2016 1st Quarter Payroll Tax Returns Due
5/2/2016 Deposit FUTA Tax if more than $500 was paid through March 31st
5/16/2016 Employers Make Monthly Payroll tax deposit on the 15th of each month
6/15/2016 Individuals, Farmers & Fishermen Pay 2nd Quarter Estimated Tax Payment
6/15/2016 Corporations - 2nd Quarter Estimate Tax payment Due
6/15/2016 Estates & Trusts 2nd Estimated Tax Payment
6/15/2016 Employers Make Monthly Payroll tax deposit on the 15th of each month
6/15/2016 US Taxpayers Overseas Individual Personal Returns due
6/15/2016 US Taxpayers Overseas Claim Foreign Earned Income
6/15/2016 US Individuals Overseas Personal Return Extensions due
6/30/2016 File FinCen Form 114 (Formerly TD F 90-22.1) - Report of Foreign Banks with $10,000 anytime during year (2015)
If you’re doing projects for specific companies or specific projects for a company it can be helpful to track your income and expenses by that specific company or project. This will allow you to see your profit for individual projects and/or companies.
If you want to track specific projects for customers, you will need to set-up jobs for the customer. To do that you will need to create a “sub-customer” for each customer. I recommend naming the “sub-customer” the name of each project.
Once you have your projects and/or customers set-up you will need to enter the Customer:Job on every expense that is related to that job. This sounds like a lot of work but it’s pretty simple. There is, obviously, a little more tracking required, your employees will need to track their time by customer/job so you can apply their expenses.
To view your profit reports by job select Reports: Profit & Loss by Job. When you have the report open got to “Customize Report”, change the date to “all” (be sure you do this in the customize report screen or you’ll be waiting a while for the report to refresh with information from the beginning of your file). Then select the “filters” tab and under name select the customer or job that you want to review.
This is a really great way to track your business to see your profitability for individual jobs. It may surprise you what companies/jobs are making great profits and which might not be bringing in the net that you thought they were.
A Surefire Internet Marketing Solution
Big businesses and small businesses alike are looking for an internet marketing solution to bring them the best targeted traffic that can be most easily converted into sales. With all of the options out there for marketing your business, it’s hard sometimes to see the best methods for getting traffic and enticing that traffic to buy your product or service.
The best internet marketing solution for almost every type of business is to start at least one opt-in mailing list. Have you ever heard the phrase “Your money is in your list?” If you had a list of people who were already interested in your product or service and all of those people said it was perfectly okay to send them emails that advertise your company, wouldn’t that be an internet marketing solution that would get you those targeted leads?
If you set up your own email list that people have to agree to join, then you have that targeted list of people who have given you permission to contact them. You can email them as rarely or as often as you want (you don’t want to hound people, but you don’t want them to forget you, either). And you can advertise whatever you want in these emails, without worry of being tagged for spamming people, since they all agreed to get emails from you when they signed up for the mailing list.
An opt-in mailing list is an internet marketing solution that prevents you from having to do the scattershot mailing list marketing of the pre-Internet marketing era. The trick is to get people to sign up for your list. Unless they’ve already purchased from you and are considering purchasing from you again, you’re not likely to attract many people by asking them to join a list so you can send them ads.
Offer your visitors something for signing up for your list. It can be a discount on something you offer, or better yet, give them good information, the kind they were looking for when they searched and found your site. The age-old lure of the freebie is the internet marketing solution for building a mailing list.
There is a new social media tool available and it seems to garner a larger reach than other 3rd party scheduling apps when posting to Facebook.
Users, whether representing a businesses or a brand, can create their own custom content. This content created can then be saved to the user’s personal profile for their own use, or saved publicly for other users to utilize and share.
A unique feature that TinyTorch offers is for MLM businesses. The user can "follow" the main organization and share business specific content without having to recreate or upload their own content. This saves you a tone of time.
My favorite feature is that you can set up a template for events. If you regularly do Facebook parties you can create a template that you can use for each party, making just a few tweaks so that it seems like new content. Another awesome time saver!
They do offer a free account or you can choose one of the paid options. There are certain limitations in them number of daily posts you can schedule, but this also keeps you from being considered as spam and helps to increase your reach. Give this one a try by signing up at http://www.tinytorch.com/.
The OffAssist newsletter is made possible by the the coding talents of Next Level Digital Solutions.
Much of the advice in this newsletter is based upon the research, professional and personal experiences of the authors. If the reader has any questions concerning any material or procedure mentioned, the publisher and authors strongly suggest seeking the advice of a qualified CPA or other professional.