It’s always a good idea to be looking forward in business. The New Year is upon us and is a perfect excuse for reflection on what’s working, what’s not, and what needs to change. Get your small business, and your life, on track with these resolutions for the coming year.
1. Cut the clutter.
This is a popular topic among lifestyle bloggers, but it holds true for businesses, as well. Get rid of anything that isn’t adding to your business. This could mean paperwork, but it’s also about those dusty ideas that you brought with you in the beginning that just haven’t taken off. It can be hard to let go of your first big idea, but sometimes it’s necessary so that you can move on -- in the right direction.
The stock market is volatile these days, but there are plenty of other ways for you to invest in both your business and yourself. Try skimming a small amount of money from your profits each month and putting them in a sub account for your business. In no time at all, you’ll be able to make some major improvements. Shake up your company with new furniture, business cards, freelance help, product development, better marketing/PR − the possibilities are nearly endless!
3. Spend less.
Don’t cut corners, but look for one new way to cut your costs at the beginning of the year. Try brainstorming with your team to come up with creative solutions to old problems. Something as simple as changing the brand of silverware stocked in your break room or moving your conference line to a free service can pay off big time over the course of a year. This allows you more profits, and more cash flow to invest back into your business.
4. Take a break.
It’s something many entrepreneurs neglect, but try adding a vacation day to your calendar. If business is going well, you’ve earned a few days off, and if it isn’t, it might do you some good to step away for a day and come back with fresh ideas.
With the New Year comes tax season. This is sometimes brutal for small business owners, who often can’t afford an on-staff CPA. They sometimes neglect their books for the more flashy parts of business. As you prepare your paperwork for taxes, take a little extra time to put your financial records in order. Implement a few simple processes, so that next year will be less stressful.
6. Spread the word.
Set specific goals for the number of new clients you will get this year. Change up your advertising and PR tactics, make new contacts and seek out different markets. Even if you feel your business is running at capacity, new inquiries won’t hurt and being sought after will only make your more attractive to your current customers.
7. Give back.
One charitable action can pay off in huge ways for business owners. Helping out in your community is a chance for you to see the impact that being an entrepreneur can have. It’s also a great way to gain, and build, a lot of “good will capital” among potential consumers. Try sponsoring a little league team, earmarking funds for a good cause, providing free services or products to other charity events, or doing pro-bono work.
If you’re a new startup and don’t have the cash flow to give to charity this year, get creative. Clean up litter at a park or on the highway with your employees, reshelf books at the local library, volunteer at a church or school event. Your local newspaper may be interested in hearing from you about the cause you support.
8. Find the positive.
Most entrepreneurs go into business for the joy of it. Whether it’s the end of your first year or your 15th, you might feel exhausted or defeated. In the coming year, try to focus on the things you love about your business. Working for yourself, setting your own hours and pursuing your passion might be just a few of the reasons you invested in a startup. Get back to those basics and enjoy your work!