Starting, or already have, your own business?

My guess is you’ve invested a ton of time getting your business up and running by selecting a business structure, obtaining an EIN, and filing the required state forms. In the midst of all of this, you are also busy creating your product or service, marketing it, and selling it. But if it seems like things are messy, take a moment to think about getting organized.

Getting organized is probably one of the toughest things to do when you are busy building your business. From a financial planning perspective, being organized will help your advisor with understanding your business operations, which is a critical step from my point of view. Your business is inextricably woven into who you are as an individual and what you hope to accomplish now and in the future.

The only question is, How?

Let’s begin with the following four steps:

1. Open a checking account for your business. Why? For Clarity. It’s the most basic tool for keeping your money organized.  If, as a start, your business income and expenses flow through this one account, you are on your way to step #2.

2. Keep track of your business expenses and deductions. Why? For Completeness. Where is your money going? What expenses are tax deductions? Start with technology, office supplies and equipment. These are typically big ticket items to get your business going. Are you paying for your own health insurance or educational courses? Keep track of those too.

3. Understand the tax forms you need to file. Why? Because the IRS says so. If you are sole proprietor, and followed #1 and #2 above, you are well on your way to file the Schedule C required of you. You will also want to know your quarterly tax payments. Because you are self-employed and your income is not subject to withholding, the government asks that you pay throughout the year on your own.

4. Set up tools that will actually help you. Why? For productivity and efficiency. I love this one because if you are more productive and efficient in your operations, you will have more time be creative and be great at your core work. That’s the goal, right? Find what works for you. There are wonderful tools out there to help you – from accounting systems to databases to online media platforms. My advice would be to pick a few and do a free trial. Ask your friends, other local business, or Google, and find what works for you.

I want everyone to succeed in their small business. By achieving clarity and completeness, and increasing productivity and efficiency, the creative freedom can flow and you can grow your business. Let’s Get Organized!