As 2017 ends, it will also be the start of many New Year’s resolutions. It’s important to set goals – we have a few of our own at here at Reliant which fuel our ambition and give us inspiration – while keeping us accountable. We want to share some useful resolutions that will help move your business forward in the new year.
Resolve to Review the Overall Budget Now
The biggest and most important element to consider in the new year is your business budget. If you haven’t started yet, now is the time to review every aspect of your revenues, costs, and expenses. Look at what happened last year in simple terms: income and expenditure. Once you do this, you can adjust for the new year to improve profitability. Consider what worked and what didn’t and then analyze the variations. Doing this will help you to set future budgets more accurately, measure your business performance, and allow you to act where needed. Here are some basic questions and considerations:
Am I meeting my sales goals? If not, how do I address the situation?
- Should you add new products?
- Can you eliminate unprofitable products that may be zapping your time?
- Are you pricing your product correctly?
- Is your marketing/sales plan being followed?
- What is the potential revenue from any changes you may make?
What personnel growth is needed? What is the actual cost?
- Will it be part-time, full time, or both?
- Are benefits involved?
- Is an outside payroll and/or company needed?
Is your rent or utilities scheduled for an increase?
- When? How much?
- If you pay for utilities, have you factored in any rate increases?
- Can your utilities be put on a budget with the electric or gas company? If so, are you on it?
This is also the best time to schedule a meeting with your tax advisor or CPA to get your tax return and deductions ready. Make a list of questions you want to ask and send them ahead of time and gather all the right documents beforehand. This is especially important If you plan to in invest or borrow money this calendar year as there are tax incentives involved.
Resolve to Prepare for Seasonal Changes
We advise many small business owners every day about how they can leverage our funding in the best way possible. Many businesses that we work with deal with seasonal challenges that they struggle to work through. They may need funds to float receivables or to perform upgrades. Some may choose to invest in renovations and remodeling over the winter months when they are a bit slower to prepare ahead of time to get their businesses ready for the busy spring and summer months.
It is critical for a business owner to be aware of their peak and slow seasons. Anticipating the year ahead will leave you with less uncertainty, especially if you have a plan in place. Here are some things you can do:
- Create a seasonal demand calendar. It will help you to maximize the peak season so a seasonal budget can be created to account for the slow times.
- During the slow season, allocate funds for planning and marketing so you are prepared to promote your business for the peak season.
- Keep a reserve fund as insurance against cash flow emergencies. The recommendation is to have at least three to six months of operating expenses in a reserve account. If that is unrealistic, budget at least 10% of sales to build of the reserve over time.
- Take a closer look at your nonessential expenses during slow season as another way to save money.
Resolve to Step Up Your Marketing
We know marketing can feel like a mystery to the small business owner. It often lands last on a long list of things you must accomplish. If you’ve left your own marketing on the back burner, vow to step it up this year. Not sure where to start? We’ve got you covered. We asked the experts in this post about Delivering a Return on Your Small Business Marketing Investment. Also, check out these tips on how to promote your business for free.
Resolve to Keep Work-Life Balance in Check
We probably don’t need to tell you how important it is to unplug from the daily grind as a small business owner. There is always pressure to be everything to everyone for the sake of the business, often times juggling more than one job at a once. Keeping that work/life balance is certainly tricky as an entrepreneur. We loved these tips to help you balance it out from the Small Business Association:
- Set aside time each day, week, or month, and protect it! Use that time for tasks that take concentration, calculation, analysis or just tend to fall by the wayside when you get busy.
- Set communication guidelines so you can switch off after your workday
- Start delegating and training staff to empower them to take ownership of their roles
- Host regular office hours to address questions/issues from employees or vendors
We want to wish you much success and happiness as we usher in a New Year. As always, we are always here to help with your small business funding needs.