How a barber (or any service provider) can avoid the boring parts of running a business

A while ago I discovered a great barber shop in my neighborhood (shout out to Dave’s Barber Shop!). As I got my hair cut I would chat with Dave, the owner, about his business. He had just graduated from barber school and started his shop from scratch. I love talking about startups!

He told me that he, and many barbers, go into the profession because they want to work for themselves. They dream of opening their own shops, figuring out how to get people in the door, and meeting lots of interesting people once they get in the door. They want to fill the chairs and keep adding more chairs and more barbers.

However, they don’t want to handle all of the boring details that go into running a business. They don’t want to manage bank accounts and merchant processors and bookkeeping and tax filings.

I think this is true for most service providers, such as freelancers, medical professionals, real estate agents, etc.

Except accountants or other strange people like that.

I’m an accountant, and I love the boring stuff! Well, it’s not that I like doing boring stuff. But I do like taking something boring and figuring out how to simplify and automate it. Automation can be done with technology or by creating a simple process and hiring someone to follow the process.

As a result, I don’t have to do the boring stuff, but I set up the process and monitor to make sure it operates smoothly.

As I explained that to Dave the Barber, the wheels started turning. He wanted to get rid of the boring stuff, and I thought it would be a fun project to figure out how to automate it for him.

After taking a few hours to set up the processes, I completely took the boring stuff off his plate. And making sure the processes run smoothly only takes a small amount my time.

Here’s what I did:

  • Set up a Quickbooks Online Essentials (QBO) account so he would know how he was doing throughout the year and wouldn’t have to give his tax accountant bank statements and a box of receipts after the end of the year.
  • Connected his Square register account to QBO so daily sales automatically get downloaded into QBO.
  • Connected his bank account to QBO so all transactions are downloaded daily. Square transactions are automatically matched, and all other transactions can quickly be categorized and added (mostly automatic based on how each vendor was categorized last time).
  • Set up a spreadsheet that quickly calculates weekly revenue sharing with the independent barbers that work in his shop.
  • Figured out a month end process for updating transactions, reconciling the bank account, and running financial statements.
  • Documented the weekly and monthly processes so one of my bookkeepers can perform the work

Simple as that. Now the only boring thing Dave has to do with is look at the financial statements each month to watch his sales keep going up (which really isn’t boring!).

Think about the boring stuff you need to automate or delegate in your business.

You may be able to bite the bullet and figure it out yourself. You may not find it as fun as I do, but it’s worth the small investment of time now to save time (and enjoy your work more) in the future.

If you can’t or don’t want to do it yourself, hire someone you trust to do it for you. It will cost a little money, but you’ll get it back in spades as you free up time to focus on building your business!

Question: What boring stuff in your business do you not like dealing with?

Read this on my Venture CFO blog

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