What’s the one thing you need to do on a regular basis to keep your car running? It needs fuel or else it stops running. Every car needs refills — just like every business needs clients to bring in income.
However, a car runs better and more efficiently when you maintain it regularly. It’s the same with your business –business needs similar care and attention to keep running as smoothly as possible.
Like changing the oil in your car, a business needs regular maintenance. That comes in the form of administrative tasks, which include paying quarterly taxes, creating monthly invoices and reviewing bank accounts. Some people have time tracking processes in place to see where they spend their time and use that data to improve their work.
How does this apply to a web worker, especially a solo one? For example, I’m a freelancer who works with a diversity of clients. My core process is producing content. I still have to do maintenance otherwise I don’t get paid and the Internal Revenue Service will come after me for not paying taxes. Failing to handle this will crash my business. I also need to market my business so my gas tank remains full, which I do primarily with social media.
We never know when a flat tire might happen; I had one a few weeks ago. Tires also need topping up with air, but you never know when. A headlight could go out leading to a costly fine unless you fix it before the cops catch it.
No matter how proactive you may be with your business, unexpected things happen forcing you to react. Unscheduled maintenance for a business could be an an illness, computer problems, a changed deadline, a client complaint, a late delivery or missing parts. Some things you can prepare for and some you can’t. Car accidents and other unexpected things happen and you can’t have a solution for them of them in advance. Not that you’ll wreck your car, but you can prepare by buying a car with safety features, wearing a seatbelt, carrying your insurance card and having a cell phone handy. For your business, this means creating processes to minimize damage while keeping everything else running smoothly.
Staying Clean and Shiny
Everyone has different rules for how often their cars receive a cleaning and polishing. Keeping your car clean doesn’t just temporarily improve its appearance, it also protects the paintwork.
For your business, you can help to keep it similarly clean and shiny by reviewing goals on an annual basis, and always doing continuous process improvement. In other words, step back to look at your current processes and projects to see if they’re on track, or if they could use some improvement and streamlining. Dawn recently shared her task management secrets and how she made changes to her processes to better manage her work.
Things change, so continually reviewing your processes is a must. For instance, we recently redesigned this site to improve the integration of social media and showcase our content. The new design didn’t just come about because the old one was tired. When the original design went up, social media wasn’t yet as integrated in web sites as it is today. Goals change. Technology changes. New tools come out. If we didn’t update our technologies and tools, we wouldn’t have the new safety features in cars, and we’d be stuck in Windows 3.1 without the many elements that make our computing easier.
How are you taking care of your business to keep it running smoothly?