It's January! Time to make resolutions about your health, eating habits, happiness; set goals and make plans for the new year. If you're a small business owner, you might consider doing the same.
Whether you scoff at resolutions, or try to start each year anew, taking stock of your business at the new year and defining clear goals for growth is never a bad idea. Step back, take a look at where you stand--your financial health, your employees, your marketing plans, your new product/service plans--and forge resolutions to make your business increasingly profitable.
Here are 5 business resolutions to put at the top of your list:
Set the month aside for invoicing
If you are owed money, it's time to collect. Maybe you've been patient, busy, flexible. But you are in business to make money. You have a right to be paid for services you've delivered. Finish the month strong on your invoicing efforts. It's time to collect past due bills and move forward.
Hold your employees accountable
Your employees represent you. Rather than carry the weight of poor performance or poor attitude, pledge to surround yourself with people who share your enthusiasm, are loyal to your business goals, and who bring value, knowledge, and skill to your operations. Simply, a business is not obligated to employ people who are not committed to its success.
Tie up loose ends
Sometimes leads go cold because of circumstance, or someone was too busy. Maybe it was uncomfortable to handle a disgruntled customer, or approach a business relationship that has faded. Now is the time to re-engage with customers, assign leads to your staff, examine the reasons a business relationship might have failed, and plan to establish new contacts with old contacts.
Better manage your time through automation
If 2015 was the year of social media, 2016 may be the year that goes anti-social media. For all the status updates and hashtags that might or might not have heightened your brand appeal, likely a lot of time went into the effort. In 2016, decide on a reasonable amount of time to dedicate to social media, set limits on platforms that aren't delivering, and make use of apps and software to automate the simpler tasks.
Network to your advantage
The calendar year lies before you. Now is a great time to look ahead at the various conferences, workshops, local Chamber of Commerce events, and other opportunities to either network or present. If your biggest opportunity involves travel and overnight expenses, put that into your budget now, or research ways to finance future plans. Prioritize and plan for the year to ensure you attend the events that will do the most for your business.
Go ahead and fire up the treadmill, toss out the cookies, and vow to adopt healthier rituals; just don't leave out healthy habits for your business' bottom line. What resolutions have you made for your small business in 2016?