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Small Business Development Center

Do you have team meetings at your business?

company meeting

Pro tip:

The next meeting you lead, try a quick, round-robin check-in about what’s on each individual’s mind. Ask your colleagues to share something good (Strike!!!) and/or not-so-good (Gutter L) about what’s going on for them. It can be completely unrelated to work.

The intention is to let everyone settle, become present and recognize how people are feeling or what might be coming in with them. As a facilitator or participant, check-ins help “take the temperature of the room.”

bowling pins

Acknowledging what’s going on allows us to diffuse distractions and focus on the topics at hand. It also allows others to have insight on the best ways to engage with us. Bonus points: check-in practices communicate that everyone is seen and valued, leading to greater employee morale and office culture. 


happy team

Post date: 201809
This is Part II in a three part series on the basics of managing a business. Part I looked at how to Understand the Mechanics of your business. In Part II, we’ll look at cashflow. As the saying goes, Cash is King! Without cash, your business is like a boat in water with no motor, oars or paddle.  Without cash, there’s no electricity to fuel the operation of your business. In case it isn’t clear yet, cashflow management is one of the most important things a business manager will do!
Every business needs to assess cashflow. Here’s how: 
1. Map out an average month’s payment schedule listing dates when payments are due and average amounts of cash inflows (sales) & outflows (expenses). The more specific you can be the better. There may be fluctuations with expenses & income so estimates may be necessary. Use the best average you can. 
2. Once the monthly cashflow is done, take a look at whether or not you can you meet your expense payments on time with the business’s current income. What if someone pays late? Can you still meet your business’s bills? If not, how much of a buffer do you need to cover expenses? Do you have enough working capital to cover the shortfall? The old saying ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’ is especially true for tracking how cash does or doesn’t flow through a business.
3. At a minimum, put together a one-year month-by-month budget using the average month’s cashflow as a starting point. Here’s an article from INC with suggestions on how to build a one year budget.
a. If you feel like getting a gold star, aim for 3 years of projections. Don’t sweat having every single expense down to the cent in the three years of projections, but do think about big purchases like equipment that might be needed, labor you’re thinking of adding or phasing out, if you’ll need more space, and any likely operational changes or expansions. 
b. Think about tax and professional service payments and seasonal fluctuations in sales and expenses as you go through the year month-by-month. One of the most frequent surprises here is the dollar amount the business will need to pay monthly or quarterly for taxes. Washington State’s Business Hub website provides a great overview of Federal and State Business Taxes and payroll taxes (scroll down to #4 on the state’s website to view payroll tax info). 
c. If you’re already operating, generate financial reports from your business’s books, including a cashflow statement, and look closely at what’s going on. Are you easily able to meet your expense obligations on time? Can you pay your bills every month? 
If you want help making sense of financial reports and your cashflow statement, troubleshooting cashflow issues, or would like hands-on guidance putting together a cashflow projection, come talk to a SBDC Business Advisor! Understanding how cash does or doesn’t flow through your business is essential. It is the power that keeps the business running!
Post date: 201809

"Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day
You fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way
~Time, Pink Floyd

Today I want to share a little time management system with you that may just bring a new level of sanity to your day.


Because the whole "work-life balance" thing can prove to be an elusive beast.

One of my clients recently came in with this pain point:

"The business it taking up so much of my time there are not enough hours in my day!"

Maybe you can relate to that feeling...

Most entrepreneurs don't mind slogging through the long hours in the start-up phase of a new business adventure because it's fun! (at first)

But nobody starts with a business plan that calls for indefinite long hours for little to no pay for the owner.

It's been said many times before that the great equalizer for us humans is time.

Like it or not, we are all blessed with the same 24 hours in a day.

It's what we DO with that time that seems to make all the difference.

One 'trick' to knowing how to set and achieve goals, be they personal or business, is to first figure out what you actually want.

If one of your goals is to get some of that work-life mojo, and recapture some of the time that is getting frittered away in your business days, try this...

Instead of letting your employees interrupt your day with little 'got a minute?' meetings (they never just take a minute) what you do is create a calendar system where you block out certain times in your day/week where your staff can sign up for time with you.

You can make the sessions as long or as short as you want but I suggest starting with 15-minute blocks of time and maybe a maximum meeting time of 5 minutes. So in 15 minutes you could entertain 3 employees and their burning issues.

Here is what my client shared with me after she implemented this little system in her business:

"I have implemented the got a minute meeting and LOVE it!!! All staff was fully on board and I think the biggest switch was me not feeling like I am 'on call' 24/7."

No matter where you are in the entrepreneurial adventure you can hit the 'pause' button and use some critical thinking to examine what you're shooting for and what attaining it will mean to you.

And I'll let you in on another little secret, we all need someone to share our hopes, dreams, fears and challenges with.

For some, that's a spouse or life partner - and if you've got one in your corner, congratulations!

For others, it often means going to see an outside advisor who can look at your situation through an unbiased lens and give your business situation an honest appraisal... 

...and help uncover truths in such a way that your best buddies, or lover, may not be able to.

Here at the SBDC you've got a safe place where you can bounce your ideas off some grizzled veterans in business, who can help you implement new strategies and tactics to grow your business, and give you an occasional check-up from the neck-up to get your sanity, and your mojo, back. 

Gotta minute? Let's chat...

Post date: 201809