The Marie Kondo method is taking Canadian households by storm. Kondo’s unique approach challenges participants to take stock of all of their possessions and keep only those that ‘spark joy’. The appeal behind her approach is that simplifying your belongings and streamlining the process of organization will bring more calm to your life.
The same approach to housekeeping can hold true for businesses. Owning a business can quickly get very complicated. So finding opportunities to achieve simplicity, efficiency and focus is essential in starting and building a successful business.
Successful businesses are those that put their efforts into keeping things simple every step along the way. But what does simplicity actually mean? It means identifying the few administrative priorities that are essential to your business and finding the right tools and processes to help you get it done more efficiently. In doing so, you’ll be able to focus more of your time on the things that matter most to you as a passionate entrepreneur: getting customers and growing your business.
Many business owners admit that administrative work is a challenge. A recent RBC small business survey found that as many as 30 per cent of entrepreneurs say that understanding the fundamentals of business administration is a major concern.
So what can a business owner do to achieve calm within the clutter of managing their operations? There are some important principles to consider and plenty of services available beyond traditional banking that can relieve the administrative hassles.
Principles to start a business by
Big picture, we can turn to Marie Kondo’s wisdom. She references a few basic principles that can easily be applied to running a business:
- Tackle categories: Owning a business can feel cumbersome. Given the number of responsibilities on any given day ranging from payroll and bill payments to connecting with customers and managing staff, it can be challenging for an owner to stay on top of everything. Tackling specific categories of tasks, rather than trying to prioritize a long, scrambled list of everything at once can make things more manageable.
Alsofind digital tools and resources to streamline tasks and alleviate the administrative stress.
- Make sure everything has a place: An important step to starting a business is to separate your personal and professional finances. Everything has a place, your finances included. Regardless of how much your business is earning today, it’s important to maintain distinct lines between personal and business income for accounting and tax purposes. This will give you a clear picture of your cash flow and performance. It also eliminates the potential hassle of having to untangle your finances down the road.
- Ask yourself if it sparks joy: In business, sparking joy equates to adding value. Take a deep dive into your business operations and finances, looking at everything from processes to the tools and services you use. Ask yourself if they are adding maximum value to you, your business and your customers.
Putting principles to the test
Making the jump to entrepreneurship can be one of the most empowering things you do, whether it’s a side gig, freelance venture or a full-time business. When starting a business however, owners can quickly become overwhelmed by the amount of time and resources needed to get it up and running. When that happens, it’s all too easy to skip over the basics like business registration or staying on top of day-to-day financial administration in the hopes of dealing with the minutia at a later date.
But laying those foundations from the outset is critical as it will save you the complication and potential costs of having to retrace your steps and overhaul your processes at a later date. This is where services that go beyond traditional banking can help.
Step one is registering or incorporating your business to legitimize it – professionally and legally. You can use simple and affordable online tools like RBC’s Ownr.co to register or incorporate your business in just a few minutes. The next step is setting up a business account. RBC’s Online Business Deposit Account is a quick and easy way to get the job done.
Explore invoicing tools such as those offered by Wave and Intuit QuickBooks to automate accounts receivables and payables and manage your cash flow planning. This will become increasingly important as your business grows and these functions become harder to manage manually on your own.
Another good practice for keeping things simple and manageable is separating your personal and professional work space. Shared workspaces and meeting rooms such as WeWork are a great way to keep costs down and network with other businesses.
Keep the momentum going & grow your business
Once the groundwork is in place, keep in mind that good planning and “house cleaning” needs to carry on beyond the early stages of your business. Turn intentions into regular habits by continuously looking for ways to optimize your resources and time across all aspects of your business.
Look internally for ways to improve efficiency, margins and processes to support your business growth plans. Areas to look for improvement include: using new technologies and integrated online tools and software, staff training, reducing waste, and tracking customer flow, products and sales.
Many of these can be managed through inexpensive tools and services such as:
- ADP and League to attract talent, manage teams more effectively and build employee loyalty
- Promote by Acquisio to attract customers and grow your online presence
Whether starting or growing your business, it’s essential that you leverage the right tools to reduce the complexities of running your day to day operations. Drawing on Marie Kondo’s take on life, maintaining a streamlined and uncluttered operation right from the onset will play a big part in bringing calm, focus and sparking joy along your long-term entrepreneurship journey.
For more information on how RBC can help you achieve this, visit www.RBC.com/beyondbanking.