Getting Back to the Grindstone: Taking Inventory

One of the things you have to be constantly thinking about when running your business or firm is what’s ahead. You want to be proactive not reactive. So before things get super busy, whether for year-end or tax season, take inventory of what you’ve got and what you need.

There are several areas where you might want to do an overview of what you have, what can be cut and what needs improvement.

  • Client list – It can be tough to say “no” to a client, but sometimes it’s the right thing to do. Do you have clients who are costing you more in time and money than you’re getting in return? Are they making requests that take you away from your core business? In cases like these, you might have to actually turn down business to keep getting stronger in the areas where your expertise lies.
  • Employees – Are you short staffed? What would it cost to bring in someone full or part time? How much would that help boost the productivity of your business? Sit down and do some serious calculations. Many businesses are reluctant to hire right now given the economy, but be weary of dismissing the idea out of hand until you’ve crunched some numbers. What could you get done with one more skilled person on hand?
  • Technology – Update your systems and learn how to use them now, before you’re in a busy time. You don’t want technology that’s too slow, or worse, insecure, to compromise your operations.

Take stock of what your business’ needs now. If you wait until you’re in a jam, it may be too late to change course.

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Michael Alter, payroll expert with an MBA from Harvard Business School, is a nationally recognized spokesperson providing thought-leadership and sensible advice to help accounting and payroll professionals build deeper more profitable relationships with clients. Alter, President of SurePayroll, writes the Trade Secrets column on INC.com and is frequently published in Bloomberg TV, the Wall Street Journal, and Entrepreneur Magazine.

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