Six Ways to be Responsible to Your Business
By June Campbell
This week someone asked me to identify how I was being irresponsible to my
business. My first reaction was denial. I am not irresponsible. I work long
hours. My middle name could be "Responsible", for goodness sake.
Then I thought of something. I have no backup person to look after my
business should I become sick or otherwise unable to keep up business
activities for a time. That's irresponsible. Sure, I have excuses. I don't
have a business partner nor do I want one. My nearest and dearest lack the
computer know-how to run my business for me. And on and on. Nevertheless,
until I find a solution, I am putting my business at risk and that's
irresponsible. My resolution this year is to find a way to meet this challenge.
What about you? Are you doing (or not doing) something that puts your
business at risk? The following list is not inclusive, but these
six actions will increase your responsibiity.
- File Backup.
Are you backing up your computer files on a regular basis? As
my computer consultant reminds me, hard drives crash. It's not "if." It's
If your computer crashes, do you have the email addresses of those
10,000 people who subscribe to your ezine? Do you have copies of your
business contacts, your customers and their contact information? What about
your accounting documents, your business plan, your marketing budget? Can
you afford to lose all of this?
True, a data recovery specialist might be
able to restore your data -- but it won't be quick and it wont be cheap. If
you do have a backup, is it stored beside your computer? If it is, in the
event of fire or theft, your backup will disappear along with your computer.
- Virus Protection
Are you running updated virus protection software on your computer? If
not, a virus can wipe out the contents of your hard drive and do numerous
acts of mischief to your system. IF you have a recent backup, you will only
lose a few days time getting everything up and running again. Without a
backup -- well, you get the picture.
- Business Planning
Do you have a business plan and do you update your financials on a yearly
basis? Do you develop an annual Cash Flow sheet? An annual sales forecast
and an annual Income Summary sheet? These management tools make the
difference between having a well-planned business and flying by the seat of
your pants. If you dont know how to do these tasks, any book on business
planning will show you what you need to know.
Are you keeping your accounting books up to date and accurate? Are you
reconciling your business bank account every month? Do you have your
receipts safely filed away in case of a tax audit? If you don't know how to
do accounting, consider hiring an accountant to set up your books and show
you how to enter your data. The accounting fee you'll pay is money well spent.
- Business Communications
Do you have a communications system in place that works effectively? Do
you have a system of voice messaging and email forwarding that assures that
business related messages will reach the correct person? Or will they be
lost by someone accidentally pushing the Delete key on an answering machine?
Do all members of your business know how to operate your communications system?
- Skill Development
Are you taking the time to update your skills and remain current in your
field? If attending workshops and courses is too time consuming, consider
alternative methods such as Internet training, correspondence courses,
telephone training conferences, or Distance Learning.
Now add your own items to this list. What can you resolve to do differently?
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