It’s a new year, which means it’s time for new resolutions. If you’re a small-business owner, start the year off right by implementing the following ten resolutions.
1. Set Goals
As a small-business owner, you should never venture into uncharted territory without a plan. This year, make goals for yourself, your business, and your employees. By setting goals, you’ll actually improve your focus on your desired outcomes. Don’t forget to set a benchmark for each goal, too, and monitor your progress.
2. Expand Your Knowledge
To continue growing and maintaining your market share, deepen your knowledge about your industry, customers, and business strategies. Attend conferences and local networking events, and subscribe to publications pertinent to your brand. The more you know, the better you can innovate going forward.
3. Better Your Workforce
Dead weight in your company is a huge drain on resources, costing an average of $50,000 per subpar employee. Plus, one bad employee can become a liability for your staff’s and customers’ overall morale and happiness.
Instead of going on a pink slip spree, instate regular performance reviews early in 2018 so your staff is aware of where they stand. If someone doesn’t perform accordingly for long enough, you’ll have legal grounds to let them go. These reviews will also give employees more incentive to work hard for you and help you grow your business.
4. Budget Better
If you don’t already have one, establish a small-business emergency fund. This account should hold six months’ to a year’s worth of hard costs, like rent, salaries, utilities, etc. Should something unexpected happen, you’ll still be able to keep the lights on.
Also, go through your expenses from last year and see what you can cut back on. Maybe it’s business trips—telecommute and video conference instead. Perhaps it’s a store that isn’t pulling in enough revenue, and it might be time to close it. Cut excess to put more back into your business and grow.
5. Upgrade Your Security
According to an IDC survey, 38% of small businesses plan to invest in better security in 2018. That’s probably because between June 2016 and 2017, half of all small businesses were hacked. You can either purchase a cybersecurity service or train yourself to learn more about best practices. The smarter you are online and with your company’s sensitive data, the safer your bottom line and your customer’s information will be.
6. Cut Down on Meetings
Meetings waste a lot of time. Studies have found that managers spend 35% of their time in meetings, and higher-level leaders spend up to 50% in work gatherings. Save time by ensuring all meetings are relevant and condensing them to one day a week. That way, you can decrease interruptions—which take roughly twenty-three minutes to regain focus from—and leave your schedule open on other days.
7. Charge Market Prices
While you may have advertised cheaper prices and specials during your first few months, now it’s time to charge what you’re worth. The beginning of the year is a great time to adjust prices, because most paychecks and bills change at this time due to inflation.
If you think it’s necessary, tell your customers about the change so they won’t be surprised. Don’t worry about losing customers, either. As long as you’re charging the going rate or close to it, outstanding service can keep money in your pocket.
8. Delegate Your Workload
This year, make a resolution to divide and conquer your business needs instead of running yourself ragged. If you have the funds, hire a responsible manager to take on some of your workload, or train someone in your company to do what you do. Multitasking kills productivity, creativity, and success, and delegating your workload can help you avoid this issue. Trust your employees, have check-ins with them, and set expectations and goals so they can take the reins and help you move on to more important tasks.
9. Invest in Better Marketing
Digital and content marketing are critical to small-business success. Starting or improving a marketing program can raise awareness of your business, get customers to engage with your brand and build a relationship, establish your business as trustworthy and credible, and keep you competitive with other businesses.
Whether you enhance your own content, post regularly on social media, or hire an external agency to promote your products and services, the investment can only help you in your marketing endeavors.
10. Don’t Skimp on Business Internet
As a small-business owner, it’s smart to save money where you can. However, your internet speed isn’t an area you should compromise on.
Slow internet speed in your office will bottleneck your team’s productivity and your customers’ needs. According to an IDC survey, 36.9% of small businesses plan to invest in faster internet bandwidth in 2018. Don’t be left in the dust as your competition improves and you continue to slug along.
Practice these top ten resolutions for small businesses this year, and by 2019, you’ll be glad you did.