Snow is melting and birds are singing – spring is on its way! Now is the perfect time to take a close look at a few important areas that can help take your small business to the next level.
1) File your taxes on time
Don’t miss the IRS April deadline! If you owe taxes this year, the payment is due by April 15th, regardless of whether or not you have filed your actual tax return. Missing payments can result in stiff penalties and interest charges. Sending in just a partial payment can help reduce the amount of penalties and interest you owe.
If you want to secure a small business loan in 2016, being able to show lenders a 2015 tax return can be an asset. Typically, cash flow based on your last tax return is a key component to qualifying for a loan.
2) Use cloud accounting software
Small business owners don’t need to spend hours on complicated reports or expensive software. Affordable cloud accounting software will provide basic applications with packages designed for small business owners. Cloud programs simplify the accounting process and provide essentials that include a general ledger, the capability to create detailed invoices and the ability to view business inventory and purchase history. If you’re not using cloud accounting, take an online tour of a well-respected brand or try a free trial before you purchase.
3) Get your vision down on paper
Many small business owners are so busy focusing on the day-to-day that they don’t have a clear vision for the future. Spring is a great time to get your small business vision down on paper. Look at long and short-term goals first. Next, determine where your business is now and where you want it to be in the future. Finally, dream big! Focus on a few key strategies to deliver your vision over the next year.
4) Step up your online presence and social media
A positive presence online is key to almost all businesses. Does your small business have a website? If so, it might be time for a refresh. There are inexpensive services that can help you upgrade your site like GoDaddy or WordPress. Consult with a professional to make sure your Search Engine Optimization is on target. What are consumers saying about your business online? Investigate your customer ratings and comments on sites like Yelp and Angie’s List. Being responsive and addressing issues online helps put a human face on your business. If Facebook and Twitter are a good fit for your business, you don’t have to go it alone. There are targeted and cost effective advertising programs that are easy to put in place and can be less expensive than other traditional marketing initiatives.
5) Have fun with your business
Not everyone gets to run a small business – you’re part of the American Dream! Continue to put your heart and soul into your business. The economy is picking up speed and small business owners are in a great position to succeed. Spring is a great time to inject some fun back into your company’s culture. As the company leader, get excited about the opportunity to have fun while you work. A positive attitude can be contagious. Ideas can be as simple as holding a meeting in a park or hosting a picnic lunch outside. You have a great resource for adding fun to the workplace – your employees. Ask them for ideas. Something as simple as an office makeover can make a difference for your team – invest in fresh paint, colorful decor, green plants and healthy snacks. Don’t forget to celebrate work anniversaries and birthdays. A card or a cake takes little effort but can pay off big for employees who feel underappreciated or burned out. Finally, look outside of your business for opportunities to give back. Volunteer for a local charity or donated needed items. Get your team involved and build up good karma.
6) Seek Funding
Extra working capital can help you grow your business this year. Look into a Small Business Administration loan first. SBA loans have some of the lowest rates and longest terms in the marketplace. You can use the proceeds from an SBA loan for a variety of purposes like purchasing new equipment, hiring employees or increasing marketing efforts. A popular use of SBA loans is consolidating existing high-interest debt. Paying off debt can dramatically decrease your monthly obligations, increasing valuable cash flow.
SmartBiz (www.smartbizloans.com) is the #1 online marketplace for SBA loans. Our advanced software streamlines the SBA loan application and origination process. Small businesses can now apply online and get funds in as fast as 7 days. Small business owners can find out in about 5 minutes if they qualify for a low-interest SmartBiz SBA loan here. We believe small businesses grow and flourish with transparent, affordable and fast funding.