small business tools

You may think of business check ins as something you do annually. Or if you’re really on top of it, quarterly. Those check ins are great, and you should do them at those times. But once a month give your business a quick look over and ask yourself if you’re on track to creating the business you want to own.

Shorter, regular check ins will help keep the money coming in, as well as help you direct your business. You’ll be able to clearly see what’s good for you, what’s bad for you, and what you plain don’t care about.

What Was The Biggest Challenge This Month?

There’s always a challenge. What was it, and how can we eliminate it for next month? This is an important question to ask yourself so that you can identify and plug the holes in your business. If a hole is coming from your end of things- like you delivered inventory late, or your invoicing system isn’t running properly, take the time to come up with solutions. Do you need to hire help for your deliveries? Do you need a new invoicing system?

If the challenge is coming from outside your control- like client’s pay late or a supplier runs out of product, ask yourself if and how you can work with that existing system. If you absolutely can’t work with it, it’s time to find a new system that works better. There’s no shame in letting something that doesn’t serve you go.

What Was My Biggest Income Stream?

You’ve got to have cash coming in to make the business work. So where is your biggest source of cash? A monthly check in will keep you aware of reliable streams of income, as well as any new sources that pop up over the course of a month.

Say you offer social media management for your clients, and in April you started offering a bonus coaching call for $50. If you notice that 10 people took you up on the call within the first month of offering it, that’s an important note. You should probably lean into that and work to get more coaching clients!

Similarly, if you notice each month that there’s an income stream that isn’t serving you well, maybe it’s time to find a replacement. Don’t waste big amounts of time and energy on something that has a very small return.

What Did I Enjoy The Most?

When it comes down to it, you’ll spend at least 40 hours a week on your work. You probably spend at least another 10 thinking or talking about it. So there should be LOTS of joy in your work. We only live one life, and we should have a lot of happiness in that life if we can get it.

Lean into the work that brings you joy. Outsource the tasks that don’t if you can afford it. Try and stay centered in the reason you started your own business in the first place. What are you trying to create? What brings you happiness? If you like interfacing with clients, try and do more client work. If you hate tracking down payments, find a software that does it for you.

Asking these three business check in questions each month will help you create a work style that you enjoy and that is profitable.

 

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Kara Perez is the founder of Bravely, a company that connects women and money. She freelances in the areas of personal finance and travel, and she eats peanut butter straight out of the jar.

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