New Year’s resolutions aren’t just for personal goals. For the small business owner, the chance to start with a clean slate is a great way to review the previous year’s performance and find ways to improve.
While it’s very easy to forget about your resolutions within a few weeks, make sure you take the time to figure out your goals for your business and then write them out. Keep them posted in a place you can refer to often throughout the year so you’ll be more inclined to follow through.
Here are some goals that are sure to help boost your business’ performance in 2017.
Review Your Financial Statements Each Month
Commit to checking your financial statements each month no matter how busy you are. This is imperative to your success. You need to understand your profit and loss, balance sheet and cash flow statements so you know exactly how your business is doing, and can spot trends and any changes. You should also keep a close eye on your receivables and inventory. Even if you have a bookkeeper or other help in this area, you need to be fully informed about all aspects of your business to identify problems before they become serious issues.
Review Your Client List
It’s good to do an annual review of who your best clients are so you can do target marketing and other efforts to get more like them. Be as specific as possible in your definition of your best customers so you can identify similar trends among this group.
Additionally, you should also define your worst customers, as they can take up more time and cost you profitability. If you can't serve problem clients profitably, your best course of action could be to “fire” them by referring them to another business that may be better suited to their needs. When having this discussion, make sure you keep it positive, but get your point across. Follow up in a couple of months to see how the reference worked out since you never know when the situation could change.
Feed Your Mind
You should never stop learning in either in your personal life or business. Today’s business world is changing rapidly and you could be losing out in a number of areas if you keep doing things the way you always have. It’s tough enough competing with big businesses, so you need to keep on top of the trends and the best solutions. Make sure you read both industry and general news publications so you are aware of the important developments in your sector. You should also consider taking courses in areas like public speaking and financial topics to improve your executive skills.
Venture Out to Business Networking Events
Admit it, few people really enjoy networking events, but meeting new people in your industry helps your personal brand and your business gain visibility. Hearing what your industry peers are experiencing in terms of trends and problems is a great way to keep on top of what’s s going on. If you know what’s going to be hot in your market for the next holiday season, you can plan accordingly. You can also learn how others in your industry are dealing with similar types of problems that you may have and use the information to improve your response.
Review Your Social Media Presence
Maintaining a strong social media presence is essential to reaching customers and staying competitive. With the frequent massive changes in this area, you should review your efforts at least twice a year to make sure its effective. That also means you should review your website and be honest about whether it looks cutting edge or is a little faded and needs a revamp.
You should also review your business’ efforts on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and other outlets. Make sure you are up to date on the latest tools for businesses and also any policy or formatting changes for photos so that your small business can maximize the benefits.