When running a small business, there never is enough time to get everything done. Unfortunately, February 29 only comes once every four years and 2011 wasn't one of them. It would be great for our small businesses if we had an extra day every year to focus on things we never get to do the other 365 days? Instead of using that extra time to start yet another business, here are seven actions you should take:
1. Call your current clients just to thank them for their business. Unfortunately, we never think about thanking our loyal customers until they are in danger of leaving us. Action: Call or e-mail five significant customers that have been with your business for several years. There should be no agenda for the call except to thank them for being a customer. When this is done, continue to No. 2.
2. Provide a special reward for your employees. The only reason you make a profit from your company is because of the financial leverage your employees provide. Action: Deliver a special treat directly to each employee today. Good choices include candy, a special beverage, or two movie tickets. This is a good way for each employee to know that you appreciate what they do everyday for the company.
3. Call your vendors and tell them what a good job they do for you. One of the most overlooked competitive advantages in business is great vendors. Many times, the companies that supply or service your business are the biggest stumbling blocks to your success. Action: Shock them by sending a small Amazon gift card. Since no one ever does this, they will never forget you.
4. Say thanks to your spouse and family for all their support. There would be no business if not for the support of those around you. Being the spouse or a family member of a small business owner is a thankless and terrifying job. Action: Stop reading this right now, and pick up the phone to thank you significant other, family, or a close friend for their support. Really, go do it now!
5. Review your financial statements in more depth. They don’t always teach reading financial statements in college. One of the biggest mistakes small business owners make is “outsourcing” the tracking of financial information in their businesses. Without first-hand knowledge, you will be lost. Action: Run three reports today: year-to-date profit and loss, balance sheet, and cash flow statement. Understand what every number means on these statements. E-mail me if you need help!
6. Volunteer your time. Running your own business can feel like volunteering because the pay is so low. For your own perspective, it is important to find another cause you can be passionate about. Every non-profit could use some help from a small business owner. So lend your energy, passion and, yes, money. Action: Call or e-mail a non-profit that you support and give a half day of your time helping within your area of expertise.
7. Read a fiction book. Business owners are voracious readers so they can learn all that they can. Action: Take a break and read a fiction book that has nothing to do with your business. You will be surprised the ideas it generates for your company.
What would you do with an extra 24 hours?