Happy New Year!

How does time fly by so quickly? It seems like it was just yesterday that many of us sat down to list all the things we wanted to accomplish and/or change in 2015, and here we’re already at year’s end.

Whether or not you find them helpful, goals and resolutions can be very useful in the realm of small business because they can help us plan and focus on what has to be accomplished in the coming year. Cougarmtn.com has the following suggestions to help a small business improve and grow in 2016:

  • Set small and big goals to reach your ultimate goal. If the ultimate goal is to increase sales what can you do today that will take the business one step closer to that result?
  • Publish and reward results. Look for top performers. Track their performance, make a list, and post it where everyone can see and compare results. Keep the list updated and reward those who perform well to encourage others to follow their example. The incentive doesn’t have to be a monetary bonus. Ask employees what kind of rewards they prefer. It could be as simple as priority for vacation time or shift selection, extra time off, or a gift card to a favorite store or restaurant.
  • Create detailed financial statements on a regular basis. Commit to reviewing your business’s balance sheet, and profit and loss statement, on at least a quarterly basis. If sales are up but profits are down, you don’t want to wait six to 12 months to find out where the problem lies. The fresher the data, the more accurately you can use it to track trends, make sound predictions, and keep your business in good financial shape.
  • Compare your company’s financial performance with similar businesses. Every industry has a baseline for profitability, margins, and expenses. These numbers are compiled using data from many different businesses within that industry and published in industry reports. Is your business above or below average in certain categories? What effect are discrepancies having on your bottom line and how can you improve? Good sources to get these numbers include your local library, Chamber of Commerce, or the Small Business Administration (SBA).

Quickbooks.intuit.com offers the following, more common New Year’s resolutions for small businesses:

  • Resolve to re-evaluate your mission statement and overall goals.
  • Resolve to ask for and listen to feedback.
  • Resolve to refresh your social media and marketing strategies.
  • Resolve to enhance your technology footprint.
  • Resolve to plan ahead.
  • Resolve to take a breath and nourish your mind and body.
  • Resolve to learn one new thing.
  • Resolve to achieve a bit of balance.

Several business friends and I talked about what our goals and resolutions will look like for the coming year and we all agreed that we need to concentrate on creating a better work/life balance.

A life coach friend suggests that we should think about the three best reasons for making changes to help with motivation. Making changes can be both rewarding and challenging, and the New Year is a great time to start.

I wish everyone a very happy and prosperous new year!

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