It’s the start of the New Year and everyone has resolutions on their mind, trying to figure out what changes can be made to better themselves. For many women, improving their health, losing weight, spending more time with their family and managing work life balance are normally at the top of the list. Like many women, who’ve made these resolutions in the past, I have done the same.
However, the entire process of assessing what is the right resolution for the New Year is a very helpful endeavor that can be very useful from a business perspective. The beginning of the year offers a good time to reflect on your prior year’s performance to plan how you want your business to develop and grow in the future. Below, I share seven New Year’s resolution ideas to help you, the entrepreneur, with ways to look at the New Year to make changes in your business.
- Perform an internal assessment of your business: The New Year is a great time to assess how well your business is performing, by highlighting your strengths and weaknesses, you can better gauge your opportunities and threats to better plan for the year. For the areas that are performing well, you are one step ahead of the game; and for those areas that require improvements, determine a strategy, solution and other necessary action steps that you need to implement to improve upon. I find that including team members at the management and staff level in a meeting or brainstorming session or possibly conducting a survey (i.e. customized versions sent to employees, vendors and customers) can provide useful information in performing an assessment.
- Delegate: For every manager or leader, delegating is one of the most critical skills to develop. Experts say that it is one of the most underutilized and underdeveloped management capacities. Most entrepreneurs, including myself, will tell you that they are too busy to delegate, but this is an excuse and definitely not the most efficient strategy. Delegating effectively can be a useful tool to manage your business and a great way to free up the time of the owner to focus on more high level thinking matters.
- Learn or do something new: Strive to learn or do something new, either a new skill, join a new group, expand on an idea, learn a new language or perhaps attend a conference or workshop. Branching out into the world to learn something new or do something different is an opportunity to gain interesting information in this fast changing world; your new idea can be the next big thing. The most innovative ideas often come from crossing boundaries or pivoting into a new direction.
- Promote, promote, and promote: The days that you can build and grow a business successfully through referrals alone is in the past. In this modern age of technology, promoting your business can take on many different forms; however, many traditional outlets may still be useful in your business and industry. Looking at multiple channels such as social media, radio/television, print media, blogging, newspaper and magazine write ups, advertising, courtesy calls, certifications and proposal writing are great ways to get the word out about your product or service this year.
- Managing with the numbers: Financial data is not the only indicator to determine if your business is operating efficiently and effectively, however, looking at a combination of metrics is a great way to manage your business strategy. Numbers and metrics can provide good insight on the business and also a road map for the future; some examples include customer retention, customer acquisition cost, customer surveys, employee retention, productivity ratios, utilization rate, effectiveness of compliance, efficiency rate, gross margin, net profit, operating cash flow, return on equity, receivable turnover and inventory turnover. One thing to remember is that you cannot manage with numbers if you do not collect data to measure in order to calculate metrics. How you measure is just as important as what you measure. This New Year’s resolution may require making some changes and implementing processes to collect data so that information is available to help you manage with the numbers.
- Take time out for yourself: The best advice I ever received was that “charity begins at home”. In order to be an effective leader and to manage your business, you have to take time away from your business in order to be the best that you can be and for your well-being. Take your vacation time and make it a priority this New Year. Think of your paid time off the same way your employees do, a necessary break away from work to rejuvenate and regenerate.
- Give back to the community: I have been volunteering and giving back to my community since my high school days, by filling out tax returns through the Internal Revenue Service VITA program and now as a businesswoman, I still believe in service. Make a New Year’s resolution to find a cause that you are passionate about or an organization that is making a difference in your community and give what you can. Giving back can take on many forms, you can volunteer by joining a board, serving on a committee, helping with fundraisers or making a donation. A more give than take approach, can help make you and your business better.
Creating New Year’s resolutions for your business is a great way to plan for the future by putting your entrepreneurial goals for the year into perspective. Be mindful that many do not stick with their New Year’s resolutions, so it is important to make sure that they are practical enough to become achievable goals.
I started thinking about many ideas and strategies for our clients for this New Year and wanted to share some of those ideas. I think they’re applicable to all entrepreneurs. Please do not think of these as goals, but more like resolutions to make you a better entrepreneur. Using this New Year to create a path and plan for your business desires and goals makes dollars and sense; savings can be achieved not just through the bottom line, but sometimes through peace of mind. Happy New Year!
Gerri Lazarre, CPA, MsTax is a certified public accountant and principal with TriMergeCPA and TriMergeTax in Miami, Florida. Lazarre specializes in providing professional advisory services in the areas of accounting, audit and tax planning to individuals, businesses and nonprofit organizations for more than 13 years. For more information, please visit www.TriMergeTax.com and www.TriMergeCPA.com. Connect with Gerri on social media at Twitter.com/TriMergeCPA, Twitter.com/TriMergeTax or https://twitter.com/GerriLazarreCPA