Another year is almost through, and just like most of us make resolutions for our personal lives, it is also a smart idea to make some for your business as well. So before your pop open that champagne and watch the ball drop in Times Square, consider making a few changes to boost your business in 2015.
- Improve your time management. Take an inventory of what your typical day looks like. What areas lack efficiency? What duties can be multitasked to save time? Perhaps your daily to-do list is too long. Prioritize aggressively to get a handle on how much can actually be accomplished in any given day.
- Give back to your community. Remember that your business is part of a community. Giving back has an endless list of mutual benefits for everyone involved. Make a point to find one or two local organizations with which to involve yourself this year. You can find some good ideas here.
- Learn something new. Even if you’ve been in business for decades, there are always new, exciting, affordable, and convenient opportunities to further your business education. Consider taking a mini-course at the local community college or participating in a webinar hosted by others in your industry.
- Get organized. Whether you’re dealing with actual papers in a filing cabinet or electronic files on your hard drive, organization is essential to productivity. Now is a good time to set aside any documents you might need for tax purposes, as April 15 will sneak up on you in no time. Maybe your customer records need updating, your finance software is inefficient, or your desk is buried in paperwork. Focus on one aspect and bring order to it so you can start fresh in the New Year.
- Predict your financial future. The end of the calendar year is an opportune time to look back on your overhead and sales volume. Using this information, plan ahead for the coming months so you don’t spend money needlessly and you do make the most out of your current investments.
- Set realistic goals. A goal that is realistic is one that is both specific and attainable. It’s okay to think big and challenge yourself, but create benchmarks so you have a path to get there. For example, if you want to increase profits by 50% next year, what has to be done each week and each month to make that happen? Answers to those questions will guide you in setting your objectives.
- Update your website. Do some exploratory surgery on your website, searching for things like broken or outdated links, unnecessary flash content, and information about discontinued products. Even a cosmetic reboot may be just what your business needs to start anew in making the best use of your website. While you’re at it, consider creating or updating your social media presence such as networking sites and blogs.
- Back up your files. In addition to manually backing up files onto a CD/DVD or flash drive, most internet service providers and antivirus software companies offer free or inexpensive online storage services. Take advantage of these because all it takes is one accident to erase years of data and hard work. It’s simply not worth the risk.
- Ramp up your customer service. In what areas is your customer care lacking? Do you procrastinate in making courtesy or follow-up calls? How long does the average customer usually have to wait before they get a return call or email after making an inquiry? Make customer service a frequent flier on that to-do list of yours.
- Celebrate your accomplishments. Every once in awhile, it’s important to evaluate what you have done well and give yourself a pat on the back. As a business owner, you are ultimately the one responsible for every outcome, good and bad. When you reach a goal or solve a problem, reward yourself by going out to your favorite restaurant or simply taking a much-needed day off. You will feel re-energized and motivated to forge ahead and tackle the next project or obstacle.
What resolutions have you made for your business? Please leave a comment below and have a happy, prosperous New Year!