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Practical Process

We offer full framework consultation or you may need assistance with just one area. Please contact us for information on how we may assist you with managing your practical business processes.

 

We offer additional support to help you maintain the processes that you have developed.  Please visit our Support page for more information.

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Three Types of Team Checklists in A Small Business

Leijun Campbell - Friday, March 30, 2018


 

"Micromanaging" has become a four-letter word in most corporate and business circles these days, and while you never want to reach that level in your company, you also want to make sure that objectives are met and tasks are completed in an efficient manner. As a small business owner, you can still provide trust and autonomy for your team members while allowing giving them a flexible guidebook in the form of monthly task lists.
 
Below we will discuss three different types of team checklists for a small business:
 
Basic: This task list is self-explanatory and focuses on the absolute essentials of the team member's responsibilities as outlined in their initial job description. Make sure you have everything listed that they need to accomplish each month, both big and small. With this first list, you create that foundational accountability within the team that you can build on with the next two levels of task lists.
 
Intermediate: When each team member finishes their "basic" tasks for the month, allow them time and opportunities to pursue either pet projects that could benefit their team and the overall company vision. Such projects can include looking for a new CRM or accounting programs. Through these experiences, the team members receive confidence and a sense of autonomy that can help feel even better about their day-to-day role in the business.
 
Advanced: The final level of checklists should deal with professional development opportunities that allow team members to build on their skills for both the short and long-term. Whether that scheduled time is spent reading a certain number of industry articles or books per month or attending a one-day conference every quarter, they will gain invaluable knowledge, and in turn, become a invaluable resource for your company.
 
If you have any further questions on this topic, feel free to email us at leijun@campbellbusinessservices.com!

The Understated Value of Hiring A Bookkeeper

Leijun Campbell - Wednesday, February 28, 2018

 
Small business owners and solopreneurs continue to make up a growing percentage of the American workforce starting companies that create innovate products and services or maintaining the quality goods they have sold to their customers for the past several decades.

 

If you fall into this category of business owners, you know how hard you have to work to juggle variety of tasks that sometimes may completely be out of your wheelhouse. Finding a local or remote expert such as a bookkeeper, especially in such a frenetic like the middle of tax season (occurring right now if you haven't noticed), can truly help relieve difficult financial management situations. This extra addition to your team can add a third-party, objective perspective that provides incredible value in the end.

 

Bringing in a bookkeeper has several advantages:

 

1) Full focus on your business and day-to-day operations: Often when you are the sole owner or even a co-owner, you can get bogged down in every task imaginable such as administrative work, running out to the post office, cleaning the shop if you have a storefront and more. Plus you want to make sure your customers get the bulk of your attention. By the time you reach the end of the day where you begin looking at those financial documents, you want to throw your hands in the air. Learning to delegate your bookkeeping to a trained professional will alleviate this stress and the person you hire will actually save you money.
 
2) Bookkeepers focus on specific industries: Whether you are a real estate or insurance agency or own a restaurant or retail space, you can find a bookkeeper who specializes in that industry (even though most have a general understanding of most businesses). Since most bookkeepers juggle multiple clients and keep track of the latest trends and updated rules and regulations that you and they need to know to help your business succeed.
 
3) You have the flexibility to hire a bookkeeper on a contract or full-time basis: Before you begin your search for a bookkeeper, you obviously will look at your overall budget to see what you can afford. However, even you cannot hire someone full-time, do not let your trepidation prevent you from hiring a bookkeeper on a contract basis. These contractors bring in crucial knowledge and analysis for cash balances and expenditures every week or month, allowing you to build a relationship and trust that you may not have even expected. From there, you will gain a wealth of knowledge of your company's financial health that can help you start planning for even further down the road.

 

If you have questions about bookkeeping, contact us at leijun@campbellbusinessservices.com!


 

How to Avoid The Tax Season Panic!

Leijun Campbell - Thursday, January 18, 2018

 


 

Along with New Year's resolutions comes the beginning of tax season! As you begin to gather the necessary documents for your employees, vendors, contractors and more, consider the fact that consulting with a professional accountant should also be on your to-do list. Even if you have a strong business background or have a finance or business degree, accounting and tax laws can be difficult to navigate from year to year.

 

Begin by asking yourself these questions:

 

1. Do you plan to start a new business?

 

You may need help finding and selecting the proper financial software for your business. Each industry's financial standards differ greatly from each other in some areas, and you want to make sure you do not misrepresent your financial information in any capacity. An outside accountant can also make sure you set up the software correctly and help you find the right support for future issues.

 

2. Are you a small business owner or solopreneur?

 

An outside accountant will be able to help you with your current financial programs as well as work with you through any updates in those programs. For future fiscal years, you can also use your outside accountant to help you track crucial financial data so you will not feel like scrambling each time tax season comes around.

 

If you have questions about using an outside service for your accounting needs, contact us at leijun@campbellbusinessservices.com!

 

Productivity at the End of the Workday

Leijun Campbell - Wednesday, December 20, 2017



You reach your desk at 4:00 on a Wednesday afternoon and place your tablet and your third cup of coffee by your computer. You are undoubtedly exhausted from the string of meetings, conference calls and interactions that have occurred even before you took your first steps into the office. You open your internet browser and briefly agonize over the decision as to whether you should check your email or your social media notifications.
 
Instead of providing other people in your life to dictate what you do for the next hour or so of your work day, take the time to focus on your own set of tasks that will help make things easier tomorrow.

 

1. Create tomorrow or next week's to-do list: Depending on how much time you have or the amount of ambition you possess, go ahead and write/type out the tasks you know you have to complete and save yourself ten or twenty minutes in the morning. Your preferences can vary from notepads and sticky notes to digital applications such as Word or Evernote. Highlight and prioritize which tasks need to be completed first.
 
2. Knock out a simple task before you leave the office or workspace: Once again, the level of effort or ambition is completely up to you. Go ahead and make copies for that 9:30 a.m. presentation with the marketing team, take out the trash from the break room, or transfer files to your company's Google Drive. Leaving your desk with that one to two tasks accomplished gives you a boost of energy as you head out the door.
 
3. Read industry news: "Leaders are readers" has been a popular saying around the web and other avenues for the last few decades now, and for good reason. While reading a book every now and then is ideal, you can also subscribe to email newsletters from niche websites and industry leaders related to your small business or company. These newsletters even give you exclusive content like videos and other tips/trends not found on their original websites.
 
For more information on how you can be more productive during the end of your work day, email leijun@campbellbusinessservices.com!

 

Auditing and Refining Your Financial Management Processes

Leijun Campbell - Tuesday, November 28, 2017

 


As we approach the end of 2017, small business owners are looking back on the previous year and preparing for the next. In both situations, auditing your financial practices should be a vital addition to your task list. Knowing the financial health of your company influences the key decisions that you and your team will make in the coming months. This practical process also helps identify financial management practices that seem ineffective or even obsolete.
 
Let's discuss a few ways to efficiently audit your small business practices.

 

- Designate and delegate: Knowing what your team members and company use for various processes and transactions helps keep everyone accountable. Designate items such as a company credit card, a company bank account, a specific financial record-keeping software (Quickbooks, Freshbooks) and a designated financial "point person" (don't hesitate to add this person to your staff if need be).

 

- Plan, budget and execute: Your business accrues a lot of unexpected expenses some years, but for the most part, your team can figure out the common items for which you need to designate funds as well as sections of the budget that can be eliminated or cut back. Seek out expert information on vendors and item costs before making any decisions that could waste money for more important endeavors.

 

- Provide financial management updates through weekly or monthly meetings: Obviously, your time as a small business owner should not be bogged down with all-day meetings, but a weekly or monthly financial management meeting is a crucial investment for your company. Choose the specific members for the meetings and optimize your time by keeping things short and having a designated agenda to review and push forward. Look at key metrics such as profit and loss statement reviews and balance report analysis.

 

- Set measurable goals and review progress: Objectives, goals, targets. Whatever your company's lexicon, what you plan for is something you need to be sure you can measure. Sales and marketing departments will most likely make up this responsibility, but be sure to keep everyone else in the company aware of what you want the company to accomplish and the progress that your team makes. For sales processes, pipelines and guidelines, be sure to have ample documentation that can be access at all times.

 

In need of some further tips or advice? Email leijun@campbellbusinessservices.com

 

Modernizing Your Practical Processes

Leijun Campbell - Monday, October 02, 2017

Nostalgia for 80s and 90s culture is all over the internet, especially social media. However, one place this mindset doesn't belong is in your practical processes for your small business or startup.

 


 

Certain technologies and ways of communicating may see completely natural to your organization. You may favor Microsoft Word for document creation, PowerPoint for information decks and slides, Microsoft Excel for spreadsheets and analytics presentation, paper memos for important announcements, rolodexes for customer/client information, phone calls for internal office communication and email or flash drives (hopefully not floppy disks) for large file distribution. Below we'll help you bring these processes into the 2010s.

 

- Documents: Most workers these days have used Microsoft Word as a basis of their office applications, usually learning how to type and compose documents in the software. While this approach may seem logical for one-off information deliveries, you may consider using something like Google Docs as a way to easily distribute the documents and allow for input and changes whenever necessary, especially when the document needs to be checked by multiple people.

 

- Announcements: On a similar note, physical memos distributed for office announcements wastes paper and clutters desks and trashcans. Email is a more cost-effective alternative for alerting your staff of any upcoming events or policy changes. You can even use a tool like Boomerang to help schedule your emails if you have multiple announcements to make throughout the week or month.

 

- Client information: You may have a rolodex or even an email address book to keep up with prospects and leads, but oftentimes, that's far from enough to help organize all of your data. Using a customer relationship management (CRM) system allows you to create various accounts and categories for all of the people and clients you meet. You can even track the sales process from initial meeting to closed deal.

 

- File distribution: Though you can deliver files up to 25 MB in certain email providers, documents and other type of files larger than 25MB would have to be broken up into multiple emails or transferred via a flash drive or external hard drive. By paying a small monthly or annual fee depending on your needs, you can create a Dropbox account. You can decide who has access to your files or just send a link with the ability to download but not edit.

 

- Presentations, data and analytics: Though PowerPoint and Excel can be crucial business tools, the flexibility that online applications provide should not be ignored. Google's Slides and Sheets can make delivery of these presentations and analytics incredibly easy. As mentioned in many of the above sections, collaborative teams and offices benefit from the ability to review and edit in real-time. You can also access PowerPoint and Excel on the internet via Office365.

 

- Office communication: Although email seems like big step away from phone calls towards tech-savvy office management, you can go even further by using messaging systems such as Google Hangouts and Slack, which allow you to monitor who is available on your team to talk at any given time. You can also send files and images for immediate download.

 

For more tips like this, be sure to contact us at leijun@campbellbusinessservices.com!

Creating A Happy and Productive Office

Leijun Campbell - Friday, September 15, 2017


 

Though we know some of you are pounding the digital pavement from your home offices, a lot of you in the small business world work from a traditional office or co-working space. Though you may delegate a few tasks to virtual assistants, your physical location is the destination for your full-time and/or part-time staff.

 

The buzzword "company culture" may elicit some eye rolls; however, making sure your company evokes both happiness and productivity is not an entrepreneurial or corporate pipe dream. Below we list some of the ways for creating the ideal workplace environment

 

1. Minimize meetings - This advice seems much easier said than done as we often feel our meetings can produce monumental innovation and crucial client acquisition. If we are being honest, these "wins" happen less than we think. Out of a out-hour meeting, sometimes only 25% (or less) of the time yields anything productive or pertinent to your company's growth. If you need currently all of your weekly meetings to occur and cannot streamline communication through email or other digital applications, you can at least cut down on the time spent at the conference table. For the next few months, limiting your typical 60-minute weekly meeting to half an hour. You most likely won't even miss that other 30 minutes and will still accomplish what you need to get done.

 

2. Establish clear guidelines for communication - At this time, several generations exist inside a company whether the employees are Baby Boomers, Gen Xers or Millennials. And of course, each generation prefers a specific communication tool. However, instead of trying to analyze everyone's habits, you can try establishing an order of communication lines. For example, if a task or question needs attention but can wait a day or more, email the team or employee. If you need something completed within a few hours, try a companywide, instant message platform such as Slack or Google Hangouts. And if you have a completely unavoidable situation that must be resolved immediately, go for the telephone or face-to-face communication/surprise visit approach. You can implement these rules however you see fit, but be willing to give this strategy a shot and document which guidelines for communication work best.

 

3. Allow for moments of levity throughout the work day - You may read that suggestion and automatically think of Google-esque work environments with scooters, rock walls, dance parties and anything and everything seems completely unrelated to the task at hand. No one is asking for employers to go to that extreme, but implementing a few ways for team members to enjoy their work day is not a detriment to productivity. Some employers may let the workers dress casually, some may allow music to be played at low volumes or in headphones or some may offer free healthy snacks and coffee. You have to analyze the best tactics for YOUR company. Feel free to experiment subtly and see what happens.

 

If you would like some more information on creating a happy and productive office, feel free to email us at leijun@campbellbusinessservices.com!

Clean Your Desk to Boost Your Practical Processes

Leijun Campbell - Wednesday, August 30, 2017

 


As crazy as it sounds, we are about to enter the month of September. School is back in session. The sights and smells of fall are coming. The last third of the year will be here soon enough.

 

Hopefully, you were able to step away from your business a little bit and go on a trip this summer. As you get back into the swing of things at the office, we thought we would discuss a simple, yet vital topic: how the cleanliness and organization of your desk can impact your practical processes.

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  • 1) Go paperless: We all still have a habit of writing things down, especially on Post-Its, during a phone call with a customer or a quick idea that pops in your mind for a project. If you can, try and avoid the temptation to pull out the pen and paper. Instead, use an app on your phone, tablet, laptop or desktop such as Evernote to capture that pertinent. You’ll not only free your desk of the clutter of loose papers, but also you have an easy, more permanent way to organize and store the information.
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  • 2) Keep your computer files neat and organized: Switching gears to the digital sphere, you can easily compromise your paperless system by not storing documents, pictures, spreadsheets and emails in the wrong file folders; you might not even use them right now, which can be a costly mistake. Don’t let your home screen be a cluttered mess. Develop the file system that works best for you and your business, then stick to it.
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  • 3) Curb your hunger and thirst: The temptation to go to the vending machine and grab a sugary soda and junk food continues to be an obstacle for the workers’ health, especially in sedentary office jobs. Keep healthy snacks such as bananas, apples and nuts on your desk or in a drawer. Also, reach for a bottle of water before you chug that soda or coffee. Your mind and body will thank you later.
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  • 4) Make things personal: We spend almost a third of our lives at our jobs (sometimes that doesn’t include travel!), so cultivating a comfortable environment at your desk is not only important, but necessary. This all depends on your company/business policy, but if allowed, try and decorate your desk with interesting items and pictures of family or friends. You never know what decor can spark your creativity on a project or encourage you to finish a task.

 

If we can help you develop and manage your practical processes, be sure to contact us today at leijun@campbellbusinessservices.com!

 

Establish Your Systems to Grow Your Business

Leijun Campbell - Tuesday, August 15, 2017


As much as we businesses owners want to be personally involved every single aspect of our company, there eventually comes a point when the business is growing too much for one or a few people. To make sure each part of the proverbial business “ship” is running smoothly, owners and managers must establish efficient procedures, processes and systems.


Here are a few tips on making that happen.

 

  1. Today is the best day to start - If you are reading this at your desk and have not begun to establish your company’s systems, do not delay anymore. Develop three to four key areas in which you want to root your business philosophy and mission. These can be broad at first and then specified over the next several months. However, the key is to get the ball rolling as quickly as possible.
  2.  
  3. Write it down - Documentation is crucial to your systems. Of course, you can audit and adjust things as necessary, but having the procedures in written and printed form add a sense of stability and efficiency.
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  5. Anticipate possible issues - Sometimes, what seems great on paper may not work out as well in practice. When you establish those three to four key areas of your business, analyze ways the systems can both succeed and possibly fail. Think in terms of productivity as a business owner, manager, employee, vendor and client/customer. Engaging these perspectives can sometimes prevent future issues.
  6.  
  7. Give your managers a chance to review the systems before they become official - Similar to the previous tip, a roundtable discussion via email, conference call or physical meeting can provide value feedback from people who will be responsible for implementing and maintaining these systems on a daily basis. Allow yourself to be open to questions and possible critiques. Once you have a mutually approved list of systems, document them and send out. Things may not come easily at first (like all new things), but hopefully your systems will help kick start a business mission that is ever eager to expand and grow.
 
For more tips on developing systems for your business, email leijun@campbellbusinessservices.com!

 

How to Develop Practical Processes As A Small Business

Leijun Campbell - Monday, July 31, 2017

Learning how to balance the operations and sales/marketing of your business with the systems and processes of your business is crucial to establishing a path for future success and growth. Creation, development, auditing, documentation and collaboration represent five steps you can take to make these objectives achievable.

What do you feel are ways that your company has developed practical processes?

 



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