Everyone wants to find the best way to manage their business. But it isn’t always obvious what tools and techniques, services and support they really need… and what they don’t.
So here’s some reassurance. If you can follow these three simple management tips and avoid getting bogged down in ongoing admin, you’ll be absolutely fine.
Plan and track your finances
If you haven’t done it already, write down a simple financial plan and budget for your business. It will save you time in the long run!
- Decide how much money you need to make and how much work you need to make it.
- Establish any one-off items – computer equipment, office furniture, etc. – that you need to purchase, and decide when you’ll need to buy them.
- Calculate your ongoing outgoings. These could include equipment or office leasing, subscriptions, advertising, petrol and more. Try and be thorough, and consider setting aside a contingency budget, just in case anything costs more than you expected.
- Track all of this as you go! Dedicate time each month to go through your spending and check that it’s in line with what you were hoping for.
- Some outgoings will be tax-deductible. These ‘allowable expenses’ can be subtracted from your turnover when working out the tax you owe, so make sure you know what’s allowable.
Decide whether you need a business bank account
Unless you’re setting up as a limited company, you aren’t legally required to open a business bank account. Business accounts cost money (£5-10 per month, usually), so think carefully about whether you need a separate account to manage your finances.
For example, if you’re a plumber attending 30+ jobs per week, making multiple trips to B&Q for spare parts every day, a business account might make it easier to track the progress of your business and how it’s performing – saving you time and hassle.
But, if you’re a desk-based professional providing a service to a small number of clients, and you don’t have many day-to-day expenses, opening an extra bank account will cost you money and might end up adding to your admin.
Choose only the technology you need
From financial planning and HR tools to accountancy and project workflow software, there’s a lot of technology out there to help businesses better manage their day-to-day work.
However, the easiest way to save time and money on business management is to avoid using services you don’t need. For example, maybe you don’t need to pay for an advanced word processing program or email client because a free office suite will give you everything you need.
And if you do think you need extra software – to track your invoices, manage your client details, or plan your work schedule – then make sure you choose technology built specifically with self-employed business owners in mind. Like our business management app, for example!
Finally, if you’re earning more than £85,000 per year (the VAT registration threshold), then you’ll have to use some sort of accountancy software to comply with the UK Government’s ‘Making Tax Digital’ scheme. Don’t worry though – the list of Government-approved suppliers is vast and includes plenty of free or low-cost tools.