For some solo business owners, this time of year is super profitable, with money streaming in from Black Friday sales, Cyber Monday sales, and all other holiday sales. For others, it's a slow period that can cause quite a bit of worry and stress.
Maybe it's a slow time in your small business. You've completed your client work and shipped your products but the money has temporarily stopped rolling in and you're not feeling particularly comfortable with the amount of money in your bank account.
Redeem your credit card points: If you're not collecting points on all of your credit card purchases, sign up for your card's program ASAP. If you're already racking up the points, take a few minutes to redeem them- again, choose something practical that you can use for yourself, your contractors, or your clients, like $5 Starbucks gift cards.
Sign up for frequent flyer programs: Do you do a fair amount of personal and business travel throughout the year? Sign up for the frequent flyer program of every single airline you use then be sure to register your miles if you book your flight through a third party, like Expedia. We're embarrassed to admit how many miles we've let go to waste over the years because of our laziness!
Cut or renegotiate monthly costs: Print out your recent bank statements and take a highlighter to recurring charges. Do you find that your internet bill seems to be increasing every month or you no longer need such an extensive insurance policy? Cancel your service or call and ask for a price adjustment (hint: threatening to cancel your service and go with a competitor can be really effective if done wisely. Ask for the customer retention department if they're not budging on the price).
Donate to Goodwill: Your old printer, your clothes that no longer fit, and your Mary Kate and Ashley VHS movies? Take them to Goodwill, ask for a receipt, and file it away for tax time.
Sell your clothing: Want a more immediate addition to your bank account? Stores like Plato's Closet and Uptown Cheapskate, which buy your clothes on the spot, are popping up around the country. Find one, drag in your old clothing items, and relish the
Return items: Raise your hand if you have a bag from Marshall's or TJ Maxx sitting in your trunk- we do! Take a few minutes to return it and savor the sweet feeling of a $20 gift card burning a hole in your wallet.
Deposit a check or transfer your money from PayPal to your bank account: Okay, technically, this money is already yours. But give yourself a little boost in morale by visualizing all of your money in one place.
Follow up on an invoice: Again, you've earned this money, but it only counts if it's in your bank account. The longer you wait to collect on unpaid invoices, the harder it becomes, so spend a few minutes sending personalized follow up emails or making phone calls today. P.S. Clients not paying up? It may be time to dump them!
Turn your coins into gift cards: Have a huge coin jar tucked away? Take it to a nearby Coinstar machine and turn it into something practical (like an Amazon gift card) or a special little treat (like an iTunes gift card). Credit unions and some banks usually offer free access to coins-to-cash machines, so check in with yours!