This time every year, people draw up lists of New Year’s resolutions:
Lose weight, start exercising or quit smoking. The New Year offers a sort of renewal, time to take a pause, and hopefully perform better going forward – both personally and in business. Commit to New Year’s resolutions – here are some to help get you started in 2009.
Make more money. Business is more enjoyable if you are making money. You can expand, hire more employees, and get relief from financial stress. Take time to evaluate which activities are most profitable. Focus your energy on these. It almost certainly means you will need to increase the percentage of time devoted to making sales. It might also mean finding an additional sales channel, or strengthening your advertising campaigns.
Reduce debt. This can be difficult, especially for a growing business. Negotiate better terms with your suppliers. Switch from high interest-rate credit cards to a line of credit at a bank. Follow-up slow paying customers.
Watch your cash flow. Tidy up contracts, agreements, and prepare a will. Many small business owners operate their companies on handshakes and verbal understandings. Often written agreements are put off until a later date. But what if something happens? What if you have amajor falling out with a partner, a disagreement with a customer or supplier? What if you want to sell your business? How will your business continue to run if something happens to you physically? Written agreements are like insurance, best implemented before you need them.
Be a better boss. Being a good boss brings you many benefits. Employees are more productive, the workplace is a more enjoyable place to go to, and you get the satisfaction of knowing that you have created good jobs for your community. Be sure to thank your employees and acknowledge good work. Give employees the authority to use their minds and judgment, and the opportunity to keep learning.
Increase your presence on the web. If you do not have a website, get one. If you already have a website, learn how to increase the number of visitors to your site through the effective use of search engines. Many consumers expect to be able to find and buy what they need online. Treat your website as an integral part of your business strategy.
Attend or exhibit at a trade show. Trade shows present an efficient way to reach large numbers of motivated and qualified prospects in one location at a time. Investigate which trade shows might be useful to you for increasing sales, learning about your competition, and making industry contacts.
Do something for the environment. Carpool, take public transport, or cycle to work. You will save money as well as benefit the environment.