When the New Year comes we all make simple or complex resolutions for ourselves personally, but what about our businesses? Shouldn’t our businesses also have resolutions for a healthy and prosperous New Year? We sure think so and suggest these 10 resolutions for a healthier business in 2016:
Take a step back to evaluate your business from the concluding year. Are there any changes that can be made to make you more effective and efficient next year, and beyond? Reevaluate every aspect of your company and dig deep to find areas for improvement, then make the changes that will yield the best improvements first. For example, if you’re stretched too thin and are doing work that should be delegated so that you can better lead the company, then you need to hire additional help in 2016.
Make a list of what you would like to accomplish in 2016 and what you need to do to get there. For example, if you want to increase revenue by $120,000 then what do you need to do every month, week, and day to make that happen? Put this list some place where it can be seen by you everyday so that it will be a constant reminder of what your goals are and an inspiration on reaching them. Be as specific as possible with your goals and measure your progress at least monthly. Celebrate the milestones reached along the way with your team!
Not sure where to start or how to achieve your goals? Find a business advisor or coach, or join a mastermind group. They can be a vital tool to help you discover your goals, build a game plan on how to reach those goals and hold you accountable. Also, consult with your team of professional advisors – your business attorney, insurance agent and CPA – about your goals to make sure you have the contracts, coverage and financial considerations under control as you move forward with your plan. They will likely raise some issues you had not considered which are best to know in advance!
Now that you have a solid plan, get organized. This may be both literal or metaphorical. If your office is a mess and you can’t work in chaos, block off time to get it under control or hire a professional organizer. Maybe it’s just a matter of getting your thoughts out and organized. Get a journal. Journaling is a great way to get your thoughts out or keep a “to do” list. You can even keep track of the milestones you have surpassed on the way to your master goal. Productivity can increase greatly with just a little bit of organization.
Remember that look back to 2015? You have to make sure your marketing efforts yielded results and if they did not, it is time to change things up. How you deploy dollars and time to marketing should closely align with your go-forward plan. For example, if your new revenue will come from launching a new product, then you have to get the word out about your new product. If you need 10 more clients per month, then decide how to attract those ideal clients then execute your plan. Then evaluate the success of each marketing spend so you don’t waste those precious dollars. Repeat until you have nailed the formula for maximum returns on your marketing dollars.
Record keeping is incredibly important, especially financial records. By keeping accurate records, you are able to evaluate how to minimize costs and how to be more profitable for the future. Not a month should go by without close examination of your profit and loss statement, balance sheet, expenses and other financial measurements. If this is not your area of expertise, hire a savvy bookkeeper and meet quarterly with your CPA, while learning to understand the numbers that matter to your company.
Whether friend or foe, it is important to keep an eye on competing businesses. What are they doing that you might not be? Is your pricing as competitive as theirs? Is your website looking dated and tired when compared to your competitor? Could you acquire them as a means of capturing more market share and obtaining well-trained talent?
You don’t always have to go it alone. Maybe someone in a non-competing business has connections with people who may be perfect prospective clients for you. Meet in a friendly setting, over a cup of coffee, and see if there are opportunities that are a win-win. Ask first what you can do to help the other person reach his or her goals, then consider and tell how they can help you reach yours.
Every company has assets, including good will, trade names, contracts and receivables. Have you done all you can to protect those assets? Do you have a registered trademark to protect your company’s name? Have you applied for a patent for your unique product? Have your employees signed confidentiality and noncompete agreements? Do your contracts with clients enable you to recover attorneys’ fees and costs if you have to file suit to collect payment? Do you have a business succession plan in place, such as in the event of your death or disability? Identify your vulnerabilities then speak with a business attorney to better protect your assets.
Staying focused on your goals is a vital ingredient to your success. In this fast-paced world of nonstop demands it is very easy to get side tracked and veer off the original path. If this starts to happen, take a moment and look back at your list of goals and priorities. Think about whether or not those goals and priorities are still as important to you or if you should make some modifications to make room for new opportunities. If your original goals are still what matter most for your company’s success in 2016, then examine why you got side tracked and recommit to focused execution of your plan.
If you would like to discuss your resolutions for a healthier business in 2016 with Hunter Business Law, please don’t hesitate to contact us. You may also follow Hunter Business Law on Twitter, @hunterblaw and on Facebook!