BY CAROLINA ALBAN-STOUGHTON
CARLSBAD CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
Every year the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce honors businesses that stand out for their hard work and excellence in two award ceremonies: the Annual Business Awards and Board Installation Dinner held in March and the Small Business Awards Luncheon, taking place in October. Last year, one company received the highest honors during both ceremonies. Led by Rachel Ivanovich, Easy Life Management, Inc. (ELM) earned the Health and Wellness Award back in March.
“I was ecstatic! Health and wellness has been a passion of mine for my whole life, so I guess I’m doing a few things right! I wanted to pass on this enthusiasm of mine for not only physical health, but also emotional, mental and spiritual health to my team and clients,” said Ivanovich. Most recently, Ivanovich’s company won the Excellence in Professional Services Awards as a small business, which Rachel believes is a confirmation that the company is on the right track. “We were, and are, deeply honored to have won this award. It is a culmination of many years of a steadfast commitment to our clients and consistent dedication, and so many hours of hard work.”
Energized by these two distinctions, Ivanovich shows no signs of slowing down in these areas this year. “We meet weekly as a team and set goals together. We will continue this practice into 2019. One of the things that I believe makes us different as a team is that we have made a commitment to supporting each other’s personal as well as professional goals. We put our personal commitments in the calendar first. It is my belief, as a leader, that if each of my team members feels happy and valued, that they will perform at their highest level at work. We set goals in five areas – spiritual, family, business, financial, personal, every ten days, and then we support and hold each other accountable for these goals.” With the same commitment, Ivanovich has set out goals to continue delivering excellence through her company. “ELM’s mission is to support and grow local small businesses with a focus on families and work/life balance. Our main goal for 2019 is to roll out a series of workshops and other educational programs which will align with this mission. Our secondary goal is to invest in new technology to assist our clients set and reach their business goals. We believe that as times change, so should we.”
Ivanovich says a new year provides a unique opportunity for companies to start fresh. “It is a time to mentally look forward to new beginnings and to set goals for a happy and positive year. It is a time of reflection as well and a time to make a list of what one is grateful for.”
Through her business, Ivanovich has gained incredible knowledge, which she has been sharing with Chamber members in several workshops she’s hosted. These are some of the main things businesses should keep in mind for the new year:
How should small businesses approach 2019?
- They should adapt. The world we live in is moving at a breakneck speed. Technology is constantly changing, therefore the way we do business is changing as well. Those that don’t change with the times, will be left behind. It is important to keep learning and refining your processes and systems. What worked yesterday may not work tomorrow. What works for one customer may not work for others. The younger generations have different expectations and needs than older generations. It is imperative for businesses to acknowledge and recognize this. Defining your target market is one way to handle this.
- Recognize that due to technology, there are new risks as well. Become informed about cyber risks. Update your software and secure your networks. Talk with your insurance agent to be sure you have the right coverage for your industry.
- There are also some major regulatory trends that could have a big impact in 2019. Be sure that you are consulting with your business attorney on a regular basis.
Top 5 pieces of advice for businesses to start the new year:
- Reaffirm your mission statement and set business goals for 2019 – If you don’t know what you are aiming for, how are you going to get there?
- Create a budget which aligns with the businesses goals – in order to reach your goals, you need a plan in place to get there. It takes money to make money. Create a financial spending plan ahead of time to reach your goals, and then be sure to do monthly check ups to be sure you are on track.
- Make a commitment to keep your finances up to date so you can manage and get ahead of taxes –Waiting until the end of the year, quarter or even month is too long to find out that the business needs to make changes. Mark your calendar with important tax deadlines. If you have employees or independent contractors they will need either a W2 or 1099 from you and the deadline to send these out is January 31. Organize your business related expenses and receipts so you can maximize your write-offs. Be sure you discuss estimated payments with your tax advisor.
- Finalize your staffing plan — One of the biggest business decisions you’ll have to make is whether or not to hire employees in the coming year. Consider your new goals, expectations for customer demand, and current staff level to project your 2019 staffing needs. Be sure to adjust your budget accordingly.
- Implement a system for managing tasks – Life gets crazy, so in order to maintain work/life balance, be sure to block out your calendar ahead of time. Put your personal commitments in the calendar first so that you can be true to your personal and family core values. Make a list of the top three priorities for the day and do those first. It is easy to walk into the office and get overwhelmed with email, the daily minutiae or other “emergencies” which crop up. When you have a system for handling tasks, being efficient and effective is much easier!
Main changes happening in the financial/tax arena for small businesses that need to be paid attention to:
- The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was enacted in 2017 and will impact the tax filings this spring and going forward through 2025 unless Congress makes the changes permanent. It is imperative that small business owners speak with their tax advisors to discuss how the changes will affect them. This tax reform act contains the most changes since 1986. There are many benefits for small businesses so be sure to plan ahead so that you can take advantage of the changes which apply to you.
- The California Supreme Court issued a monumental ruling in early 2017 regarding the test used in determining whether a worker can be classified as an independent contractor. Small business owners need to check in with their business attorney and tax advisors to be sure that they are classifying their workers correctly.