Just as in every aspect of your life, you want your business to get off to the best start possible in the New Year. Most of the people who make personal New Year’s resolutions let them go within the first couple of weeks. In fact, most ‘resolutions’ don’t survive past New Year’s Day.
However, this is about your business, your livelihood and while things may have been going along okay for a while, you believe they could be so much better. That’s why you entered this year with a great deal of hope and aspiration.
If you want to truly take full advantage of what this year has to offer, then here are 10 ways you can get your business off on the right foot, firing on all cylinders, and hitting the ground running. Sure, these may be clichés, but they serve a point: helping you realize that now is the best time to get moving!
1. Review your vision statement.
What? You don’t have one? What are you waiting for?
A vision statement is the framework for all your strategic planning. It’s a general idea about where your business is going. A lot changes in the course of a year. No matter whether your business is brand new (only a few months old) or has been around for years, things can change.
They usually do.
That’s why now is the perfect time to sit down and evaluate your vision statement. Read it through. Have all your employees do the same thing. Is there anything in that statement needing revision? Has your business shifted slightly? Has its overall direction made a move to some other goal?
It may need to be completely rewritten, and that’s fine. If it only needs a slight tweaking, okay. If it’s still solid and needs no changes, not a problem. In any case, now is the time to revisit it.
2. Write your goals down.
Goals are crucial to short and long-term business success. Unfortunately, fewer than 10 percent of people (including business owners) actually write down their goals.
If you don’t have written goals, it’s going to be difficult to measure success. It’s also going to make it that much harder to break them down into smaller chunks (see next point).
Take the time to figure out what your business goals are this year, for the next couple of years, and perhaps for a longer range than that.
3. Break down your goals (create a roadmap).
Once you’ve established goals and written them down, go back and begin ‘chunking’ them out. The goal (pardon the pun here) is to get them down to daily micro-goals that will ultimately lead you to accomplishing everything you set forth initially.
If you have a 5-year goal, for example, break that down into yearly goals. Then, take this year’s goals and break them into months, then weeks, then daily.
Yes, this can take some time, but it’s well worth the effort to do now.
4. Review goals daily.
Once you have your daily goals, you need to be sure to review them every single day. Did you hit your targets? Did you achieve what you needed to?
If not, that’s okay every once in a while, but if you’re consistently missing your targets, it could mean you were overambitious in setting them, don’t have enough time, or need to start delegating other responsibilities (see point 10 below).
When you notice you’re hitting your mark each day, it’s a great feeling and you’ll be more inspired each day that follows.
5. Determine what news skills/employees you may need this year.
Regardless of the level of success you’ve found to date with your business, you can undoubtedly stand to gain new skills, learn new things, or add some new positions.
You may need to consider replacing ineffective or inefficient employees with people more suited to your long-range goals. That’s okay.
Now is the time to evaluate these needs and once more establish goals for when you’ll add these things.
6. Determine if you’re stuck in a rut.
Success can feel great, especially when it comes early in a business’s life. However, it can lead to complacency or feeling as though you’re stuck in a rut.
If you are, it’s not easy to break out of it.
Take full advantage of this new year and figure out what caused the rut and how to break from it. It may require a new web design, new marketing strategy, new vision statement, new employees, or something else.
A rut can be fatal to a business, so even though you’re generating sales and doing well financially, if you’re stuck in a rut, it’s time to accept that and take steps to get out.
No one survives on their own. We excel by building networks. If you don’t network, now is the time to do that.
Consider joining your local Chamber of Commerce, getting involved in other business groups, or connecting with a local college or university as an instructor or coach.
Every connection begets others and it is one of the most potent ways businesses can grow over time. The new year is a great time to build a network or expand your current one.
8. Get control of your cash flow.
Few small businesses actually have a good handle on their cash flow. When things are going well, it’s no problem, but during the offseason or downturns it could mean tapping into your personal savings, or worse.
This year, manage your cash flow as though it means your very life. For businesses, it does.
9. Plan ahead for the slow sales times of the year.
There are usually slow times of the year for most businesses. If you’re not planning for them, you’re basically struggling to survive them.
Don’t let that happen again this year. Instead, take charge and have a good idea when your downturn will begin, manage your cash flow better, and when it hits, you’ll be in position to weather the storm.
10. Delegate more.
If you have any employees, you should be delegating more responsibilities to them. It’s tough for a micromanager to let go and delegate, but it’s essential to small and mid-size business success.
If there are any employees whom you don’t trust with greater responsibility, it may be time to evaluate their place within your organization. You need to surround yourself with people you can trust.
The New Year is here. Get off to the best possible start with these ideas.