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When you’ve been in business for a while, you get used to doing things a certain way. You send packages one way and no other way. You perform activities in the order you’ve always performed them and won’t change for anything. If it ain’t broke, why fix it?

Once in a while, though, it’s healthy to look around and wonder if you’re doing things in the most efficient, cost-effective and productive way possible. It’s not a sign your business is doomed, not by any means; it just means you think something might be improved upon. It’s actually a sign of growth and that you’re willing to do what it takes to keep your business going forever.

To get you started, try looking at the following examples and see if they sound like you. If so, it may be time to learn some new business tricks.

How to Know When It’s Time to Learn New Tricks

You own the business, so in the end it’s up to you to decide when it’s time to upgrade your business processes, but there are a few warning indicators that it’s time to look around for a change:

  1. You don’t feel like you’re getting enough done in a day.
  2. You are paying a lot of money for business services that you don’t understand or rarely use.
  3. Your work quality is suffering.
  4. Your bottom line is heading rapidly toward the red.

Sounds bleak, right? But here are just a few examples of “new tricks” you can use to automate some of those tasks and get back to doing what you do best – running your business.

Task Lists

When you first started out, doing daily tasks wasn’t that big of a deal. You memorized everything or jotted it down on a Post-It note and headed out the door or hit your computer. Once in a while something got switched around accidentally, but for the most part everything was fine.

Over the years, though, that’s changed. You have multiple clients, a few contractors and a growing mountain of things to do. You’ve gone from messing up a task once a month to goofing up several things a week. On top of that, you now have two employees who are sometimes left with nothing to do because you won’t delegate.

Instead of using slips of paper, try using a project management app like BaseCamp or Insightly, which lets you schedule your day, week, month or even year out to as much detail as you want. You can also send assignments to your employees so they’ll always have work to do.

Managing Your Finances

Potentially one of the most aggravating things about being a business owner or freelancer is figuring out your own money situation. Tracking every invoice and expense gets really old after a while, but it’s just something you have to do.

So every week you sit down with a heavy sigh and start to figure out your books. Of course there’s always something you missed so you thumb through all your receipts to find the offending slip of paper. Wouldn’t it be nice to try something better?

Cloud accounting software like Outright can help you achieve the lofty goal of automating your finances. Every cent that goes in and out of your business is tracked automatically, giving you free rein to actually run your business. Plus, you can look at how you’re spending your money in-depth to better your company.

What other new tricks have you recently learned that have helped you to run your business better? Have you found a great proposal writing service? A business mileage tracker? Something else? Let us know in the comments!

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