With a new year comes new hopes, new beginnings and the inevitable: New Year’s and New Year’s resolutions. At this time of year, we all look forward to a new year, filled with resolutions of improved workout regimes, better diets, and budgets that we’re going to stick to all year to finally pay off that debt, all of which are designed to make us better people. However, making New Year’s resolutions is not just for individuals. Small business owners can also find immense value in creating business-geared New’s Years resolutions. Here are 5 New Year’s resolutions that can help your small business succeed in the new year.
Improve your small business’s digital presence.
According to Ted Rubin, acting CMO of Brand Innovators, the first step a small business owner can take to improve digital presence is to listen to your customers. Find out if they are online, and if so, determine where are they looking online. Next, Mr. Rubin recommends actively participating in the online community by creating an account on the platforms, such as Facebook or Twitter, your customers are using, observing how those social platforms are used efficiently, and then actually using the platform. Finally, Mr. Rubin suggests creating evergreen content for those platforms so the content can be used more than once. With an improved digital presence, you have a greater chance at keeping your customers interested in your small business and attracting new customers in the new year.
Understand your cash flow and profits
First of all, make sure you know the difference between cash flow and profits. Investopedia defines cash flow as the inflow and outflow of money from a business, whereas profit is the surplus after all expenses are deducted from revenue. Small business owners need to keep track of both cash flow and profits, and determine which activities result in cash flow and which activities result in profits. It’s important to have both cash flow and profits, according to Rosemary Peavler, writer for thebalance.com, because even if a business is profitable, insufficient cash flow can lead to bankruptcy. If your small business has a lot of cash flow but isn’t profitable, it will not be able to operate long term. Making an effort to clearly understand your cash flow and profits will help your business throughout the year.
Less distraction, more production
We are truly a distracted society. The average person can spend up to two hours (or more) on social media sites a day. Sarah Perez notes, in 2017 the average person spent up to 5 hours on a mobile device per day. While some of this may be a productive use of time, some of this time on mobile devices may also go towards scrolling through an endless Pinterest feed after searching for a fingerless gloves knitting pattern. Whatever the case, a couple simple steps will help you to stay more focused, and as a result, more productive. First, limit the time you spend on social media and your mobile device for fun. There are apps that can help you with this, such as Moment or Onward, or you can set up a timer and allocate your use to a timeframe that makes sense for you. Or, be like Aziz Ansari and delete social media apps and the internet off your mobile device altogether. In addition to limiting or removing distractions such as social media, David Rock, author of Your Brain at Work, suggests being mindful about where and when you devote your attention. His advice is to start with hard tasks and leave easier or more interesting tasks for later in the day when you may be tired. Resolving to take these steps will help you boost your productivity and as a result the productivity of your small business in the coming year.
Automate, so you can scale
You’ve probably heard it before. Automate, automate, automate. From automating your employee time tracking with a mobile time clock app to sending invoice reminders to your customers, automation is essential. Lilach Bullock, an internationally recognized expert in social media, suggests that automating marketing, social media, and accounting will help your business scale, as well as help grow your small business. Marketing tools help you get better results, and automating both social media and marketing will save you time. Accounting automation, such as accounting software, can easily automate invoices, taxes, and bills. Besides utilizing these automation tools, Ms. Bullock recommends researching the value of virtual assistants, cloud storage, task management tools, and communication tools, such as Slack or Stride. If you haven’t already taken steps to fully automate your small business, now is the time to automate your small business so it can scale and thrive in the new year.
Create a small business side hustle
As the gig economy grows, individuals have more opportunity than ever to make part-time income in addition to a full-time job. However, a side hustle doesn’t just have to be for individuals. Take a look at your small business and see if there is any opportunity to create a side hustle using your small business’s goodwill and the expertise you already have in creating the small business in the first place. A side hustle could generate extra income, either active income, or even better, passive income and expand your customer base. For instance, if you run a catering business that mainly caters big events on the weekends, consider creating fresh or frozen meal kits for customers that can fill in any gaps during the week. Or, consider creating an online course on preparation of a specific dish, and post it on an online course website such as Udemy or Teachable. While this might require some up front investment, it could lead to passive income later in the year and help out with any unforeseen cash flow issues.
Small business owners need direction and goals to be successful, and creating New Year’s resolutions to establish a direction to help achieve goals is a great way to set up a roadmap for success for the new year. As a small business owner, making and sticking to these New Year’s resolutions can help you have your best year yet.
Author: Theresa Sonnleitner
Theresa is a tax creative writer and editor with over 200 tax-related posts. She also enjoys writing about travel, fitness, food, and lifestyle.