It’s the beginning of a New Year and most small business owners are making their New Year’s Resolutions about their businesses. Here are some of the best plans you can make for you and your business in order to achieve a better 2013.
When most people think of success, they immediately assume they must work harder to achieve it. But today’s technology allows us to obtain the same results by working smarter, not harder. For example, you can improve productivity with Microsoft SharePoint, a solution that allows your entire office to collaborate and complete projects from a single platform. Or you can save time with an Enterprise Search system, which can help you quickly and easily find people, files, websites, expertise, and content in business applications.
Prepare a Business Budget and Stick to It.
The budget for your company is your plan of action. Determine what you want your planning period to be and determine what your budget should be for that period. Your first step should be to put together a budget worksheet with entries for both the income you expect to receive and the expenses you expect to incur during the budgetary period.
It is always a good idea to establish your budget worksheet upfront and, even if your firm does not receive income from every source or have every type of possible expense each planning period, have a line item for it just in case. Any deviations that you have to make from your worksheet should be reflected in your next budget planning period.
Keep Up With the Latest Trends
This year, resolve to not let your business fall into obsolescence. Stay relevant and competitive in your field by keeping up with the latest business and marketing trends. Of course you’ll want to focus on those that are proven to be effective for your industry, but you can start by making your website mobile-friendly, launching a social media marketing campaign, or implementing the latest and greatest software to boost your business.
Analyze Financial Statements each Accounting Period to More Accurately Forecast the Future for your Business.
The only way you know how your company is doing is to analyze the financial statements you develop at the end of each accounting period. You need to use financial analysis to look at trends in your company and to compare your company with other companies in the same industry. This is called comparative financial analysis. You can then make adjustments to get your firm back on the right track if you find any problems.
Based on your sales forecast, historical financial data, and economic data, you can then forecast what you think your firm’s position will be out into the future. Of course, events will happen to change that forecast, but it will at least give you a general road-map for planning.
Refresh your website.
In the race to master new social media tools, don’t overlook your own website. After all, social media efforts like Twitter campaigns end up driving traffic somewhere, right? It doesn’t make any sense to build a beautiful and savvy Facebook presence that funnels people to a boring, inaccurate, and out-of-date website. Keep it current and engaging!
Social network in the real world
Whether the plumber recommends a carpenter or the web designer recommends a copywriter, business is driven by referrals and connections. In 2013, learn to step out into the real world, and actually network face-to-face with real people! Put some effort into networking by signing up for an industry conference or seeking out a local meet up group. These are invaluable ways to develop relationships and share advice with fellow entrepreneurs and small business owners.
Improve Customer Relations
The best customer is a happy customer. But most businesses wait until an issue arises before they actually worry about whether their customers are happy or not. This year, resolve to take a proactive approach to customer satisfaction. You can get pretty creative with this, but a couple ideas include interacting with your customers on social media or implementing an email marketing integration system that automatically sends welcome emails and happy birthday messages.
Learn how to delegate and do more of it.
When you’re just starting out and times are tough, it’s natural to tighten the purse strings. However, consider what you could gain by handing over certain tasks to contractors, virtual assistants or full-time employees. By relinquishing control of administrative tasks or company blog updates, you’ll free up time for what’s ultimately going to keep you in business: bringing in revenue.
Put time for you on the calendar.
As an entrepreneur, remember that you’re solely responsible for your own motivation, productivity and well-being. There’s no boss to pat you on the back or give you a raise. It’s up to you to keep yourself motivated and inspired. In 2013 be sure to reward yourself for specific milestones like a big client win, meeting a tough deadline, or working “overtime” for multiple nights on end.