New Year’s Resolutions for Business:
The quieter time during the festive break offers a perfect opportunity to take stock of your business. New Year is synonymous with resolutions, usually involving some sort of exercise, healthy eating or lifestyle improvements. But why not apply some of the same fervour to your business? And as profits improve, you may even be able to maintain your promises longer than you can enjoy salad and jogging in January!
Here are a few ideas:
Dust off your business plan
Business planning lets you take stock of what worked and what didn’t work, and helps you set new directions or adjust old goals. The most successful business plans are written down and shared with everyone involved, not filed away in a cupboard or just existing in your head. If you’ve never had one, why not seek advice from a professional consultant to guide you through the process for the first time. Not only will this help you avoid costly mistakes, but you will stay on track and feel more focussed and relaxed in the year ahead.
Join a business or networking group.
Owners of small businesses can often feel like they’re on their own. There’s nothing like talking to other business people for sparking new ideas, making contacts and raising awareness of your business. Whether it’s a group designed for local networking with all types of other businesses, or it’s specific to your industry, being part of a group will revitalise you and your business.
Learn how to delegate
There are so many things to do when you’re running your own business that a common failing is to delude ourselves that we need to do all of them. Then we can’t understand why we’re tired, tetchy and have no time for anything else. If this sounds like you, it’s time to let someone else do some of the tasks for a change.
Delegation is the key to a healthy work-life balance. If you really can’t see the wood for the trees, or find it impossible to let go, you would benefit from the insight of an external consultant who can look at your business objectively and with your interests at heart. A free consultation with a business expert could be the saviour of your business, your health and your personal life. Make 2011 the year you started to put yourself first!
Promote your business consistently
Times are hard, and during these economic dark days spending on marketing can seem like a luxury expense. But there are lots of low cost ways to promote your business creatively that can reap great returns. Think about what advertising, direct post or email, or promotions have caught your eye, and what made them successful. Look at your competitors, and what works for them. Build marketing into your business plan on a regular basis to keep the momentum going through the whole year.
Take a look at your website
Most businesses set up a website in the early days, but then it gets ignored as the daily demands of the business take up your time. Is it time it needs an overhaul? Just writing some new words for the main pages and updating the News section can give it a lift in the Google rankings. Installing free Google analytics can give you an insight into who is visiting your site, and what they are looking at. By understanding your customers you can tailor your website to meet their needs, while also optimising it for the search engines. If you need help in achieving the original objectives you had for your website, contact us. A free website review could give you some ideas for improvement in 2011.
Know when to cut your losses.
Not all products are going to be best sellers, all sales methods aren’t going to work for everyone, and all suppliers and contractors aren’t going to be ideal for your business. If a product, process or business relationship isn’t working for you, stop wasting your energy on it and move on. Don’t invest a lot of time trying to make the unworkable work. Cut your losses – something better will turn up.
Learn something new.
Most of my clients are busy people, dealing with a whole raft of different issues and challenges. However you need time to consider the bigger picture, and develop yourself as an individual. Personal development increases satisfaction and motivation, as well as having a positive impact on business. Remove yourself from the everyday ‘fire fighting’ to assess your future strategy. This could be taking up the offers of training (for example, Businesslink provide an excellent range of free one day courses) going to a trade show and actually sitting in on the seminars held by the industry experts, or simply buying a business book and reading it.
There are huge numbers of business books that could broaden your knowledge in a particular aspect of business, as well as biographies of successful entrepreneurs that can be inspiring and motivating. A wander round your local bookshop can be a joy during the holidays, and a refuge from the department store sales. Take your time to browse for a book that lifts your spirits and opens your mind to new ideas.
One thing I find common to all of my clients who have their own businesses is their perceived lack of time. Most of you are covering a huge breadth of tasks in your business, but the incessant focus on day to day issues means that you spend little time reflecting on the bigger picture. The New Year period affords you the perfect opportunity to make some changes to ensure that hum-drum management issues do not distract you from your wider business objectives.
If you would like any help in business planning, marketing or website improvements, training or personal development, Blue Box Management Consultants will be happy to help you. Why not book a free appointment to talk through your business ideas for 2011.
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