The start of a new year is the perfect time to reassess your goals, not just as an individual, but as a small business owner. Your dedication and vision have taken your business far, but there is always room for improvement. Here are 10 New Year’s resolutions every small business owner should make.
1. Show your customers some love. You would be nowhere without your customers, so make sure they know that you appreciate them. Freebies, loyalty reward programs and even thank you notes all show appreciation to your customers.
2. Get secure. Data such as payroll records and customer information are now hotter targets for thieves than your merchandise. Perform a security audit to make sure your data is protected and make any needed improvements.
3. Trim the family tree. Small businesses have fewer employees, so employees often feel more like family than subordinates. But if someone on your team is underachieving, it’s time to fix the situation or send them on their way.
4. Attend at least one major industry event each year. These events are a great place to network and learn about new developments in your industry. They are time consuming and sometimes expensive, but resolve to attend one a year so you stay current and connected.
5. Take your vacation days – and not just as sick time. Small business owners wear many hats and often struggle to get away as a result. But vacations are important for both your physical and emotional health. Promise yourself a little time away and keep that promise.
6. Make a commitment to your financial statements. Monthly financial statements aren’t the most exciting read and can be difficult to understand. Spend some quality time with your accountant this year and learn what these documents are really telling you about the health of your business. A better understanding of the finances leads to better and more profitable business decisions.
7. Check your cash flow. Once you understand your financial statements a bit better, use them to help analyze your cash flow. The adage that you must spend money to make money is true, so be sure you have adequate liquid assets to achieve your goals for the new year. Calculate your AFN (additional funds needed) so you can secure the right amount of financing to achieve your plans.
8. Pull others into your decisions. The business is yours, but your employees are stakeholders, as well, and some of them may be full of excellent ideas. The final decisions will always be yours, but new perspectives are never a bad thing. Getting employees more involved also helps them feel a part of any changes you make, leading to more cooperation and less resistance.
9. Dive more deeply into social media. Yes, you need to read up on how to use this tool properly and marketing mistakes have been made in this realm. But social marketing is a powerful tool, and you’re missing out if you’re not utilizing it.
10. Update your website. Many small businesses build a website and then forget about it aside from updating any pricing information. This is a mistake, since 81 percent of consumers claim they check out a company’s website before making a major purchase from them. Renew your website content to keep it fresh, relevant and current.
On this New Year’s Eve, give your goals some thought, pop open the champagne and make a toast to a more productive, profitable year.