The New Year is a time for people to make changes in their life, usually for their betterment. It’s also an opportunity for many small businesses to step up their game and take a larger chunk of the proverbial pie from their competition.
In order to be more successful, though, a small business needs to take an honest assessment (or stock) of their situation. This means there will need to be some changes. Below are some of the top New Year’s resolutions small business owners and managers might consider to help them boost sales, revenue, and drive more success.
1. Learn to control cash flow more effectively.
Perhaps you just squeezed through that needle’s eye this holiday shopping season. You made just enough sales to pay the bills and keep your business running for the next few months. This year, resolve to do a better job managing your cash flow.
“Despite the fact that cash is the lifeblood of a business — the fuel that keeps the engine running — most business owners don’t truly have a handle on their cash flow,” said Philip Campbell. “Poor cash-flow management is causing more business failures today than ever before (inc.com).”
It might mean tightening the belt a bit, but you need to have a better handle on your working cash flow as you move through this new year.
2. Boost your digital presence this year.
How long has it been since your website was last redone? Years? You don’t recall? It isn’t that important to you?
It better be.
If your website is outdated, slow, old, and simply ineffective, you could be losing customers (or potential customers) to your competitors day after day after day. It’s not just about the content, but design, connecting to social media, and so much more.
Are you on the fence about other digital options like VoIP? With more features to better serve your customers like call queues, advanced call routing and voicemail to text transcription, plus the cost savings, you might want to make this the year to make the switch.
This year, resolve to boost your digital presence and keep customers raving while adding more to your bottom line.
3. Finally decide to charge what your true value is.
Perhaps one of the most frustrating aspects of running a small business, especially when you feel as though you’re just scraping by to snag a few clients, is charging your true worth.
You feel as though you have to undercut your value to bring in more customers. You’re shortchanging yourself. And hurting your business.
If some customers run for the hills because of your increased rates (fair rates), then are they truly worth it? No. People do judge certain businesses by what they charge. If you’re undercutting your prices, you’re undervaluing yourself. If you’re undervaluing yourself, then guess what? Why should any clients or prospects value you, either?
4. Learn to delegate more responsibility to staff.
You have employees. Some of them are great. Some are so-so. You know what? You have what’s called a team. However, if you’re taking the brunt of the heavy lifting onto your shoulders, you no longer have a team structure, and that’s where you lose more than you win.
This year, resolve to delegate more responsibilities to those employees who not only possess the skills to do well, but whom you trust, too. It will leave you with more energy to focus on the details most pertinent to your short and long-term success.
Sometimes it’s difficult to ‘let go’ and delegate, but when you do it, you’ll see the rewards and boost in overall productivity before long.
5. Analyze what’s been working so far (and drop what’s not).
No matter whether you’re moving into the busy time of the year for you (ie. HVAC specialists), or the slow down (ie. retailers), now is a great time to step up and analyze how things have been working so far.
There are likely numerous components of your business that tend to just go along without a second thought. Some of those components (if not most) may not be as efficient or effective as you’d like to believe.
This year, resolve to analyze everything more closely and when you find something not working, drop it, no matter how much you would have liked it to work out.
6. Invest more (time and money) in marketing.
To gain more business, you must advertise. You need to market. While there are more ways to market today, and even though some of the archaic methods (such as running ads in local papers and other publications) are still effective to some degree, online marketing, including social media marketing, is king.
92% of marketers noted that social media was of growing importance to their business endeavors (Social Media Examiner).
No matter how much you’ve marketed online this past year, if your business can handle more growth, resolve to step up and make a more concerted effort to do so.
7. Devote more time to meetings where you can better strategize goals and deadlines.
Some people honestly believe that meetings are a waste of time. You gather a bunch of your team members together, pay them to sit around waiting for the meeting to start, and then wait 10 or 15 minutes for the usual chit-chat to end before getting started.
Then you have one or two people talking about bullet points that could have been addressed just as effectively through email. Everybody heads back to their offices or cubicles after an hour or so, and you begin to wonder what the point was.
Poorly organized and run meetings are a waste of time. However, quality meetings focusing on short and long-term goal strategizing is powerful.
You could develop new ideas for the future, gain insights your employees have while being ‘on the ground’ and ‘in the trenches’ of the operations daily. You may also discover there might be more cost-effective solutions for some processes you hadn’t thought about yet.
Resolve to hold a meeting of this nature at least a couple of times this year.
When you make changes, one of two things usually happen: they work or they don’t work. If your business has room to grow, if you’re tired of scraping just to survive, then at least some of these resolutions could be a great way to kick of 2018!