6 New Year’s resolutions for business owners

new years resolutions for business

Lose weight, exercise more, and spend less.  January is certainly the time for ambitious New Year’s resolutions!  But what about your business?  As you enter 2018, take some time to reflect on your business’s progress and set some resolutions for the year ahead.  Just like your personal resolutions, committing to small tweaks in your business habits can deliver amazing results.  Here are six business resolutions that could set you on course for your most successful year yet…


1. Master delegation and do more of it


Like most business owners, your to-do list probably doesn’t fit on one page.  As a result, you’re probably exhausted, stressed and don’t have much time outside of your business.  Mastering delegation is the key to a healthier work-life balance in 2018.  It may take upfront effort and require giving up some control.  How do you hand over tasks, while still ensuring they’re done correctly?  Communication and training.  Ensure your employees have the necessary skills, and then clearly communicate the objectives and deadlines.

Make this year the year you focus on doing the things you enjoy and that come naturally to you, then delegate or outsource the rest.  While on paper your costs may increase, you won’t feel as overwhelmed, and it will free up your time to focus on higher-level tasks like financial management and long-term planning.


2. Manage cash flow more effectively


January can leave many businesses suffering from a new year’s hangover due to the slide into silly season, office shut downs and staff leave.  If your business has drastic ebbs and flows in cash flow, concentrating on this resolution is a priority.

Cash flow is the lifeblood of any business. Even businesses with healthy growth and strong sales run the risk of owing more than they can pay in any given month.  The key to successful cash management is to monitor all the elements of the working capital cycle.  The faster the cycle turns, the faster your trading activity converts into available cash.  Introducing relatively small changes to your financial management practices can result in significant improvements to cash flow and reduced reliance on banks and suppliers.  You can learn more about what drives your business’s cash flow here.


3. Promote your business regularly and consistently


Business owners wear many hats and you might not have “marketing” at the top of your to-do list.  Whether you’re just starting out, or have been in business for years, attracting new customers (and reaching out to your existing ones) needs to be a priority.

If you have time, you can create your own marketing plan using this free template.  Or, if your funds allow it, hire a marketing expert to help manage a strategy for you.

To get you started, read our article on 20 low-cost ways to market your business here.


4. Make business planning and strategy a priority


Running a business can be chaotic and it’s easy to be trapped into focusing only on the day-to-day operations.  If you want to grow or future-proof your business, planning is vital.  When was the last time you took a step back and considered your original vision or updated your business plan?

Strategic Planning allows you to take a step back and think about which parts of your business are working and which aren’t.  Making strategy a priority in 2018 will help you stay on track by giving you actionable goals and objectives for the year.  Once you have a plan, commit to reviewing it monthly or quarterly.  Not only will this help you avoid costly mistakes and stay purposeful, but you’ll also feel more focused and relaxed by knowing you’re in control.


5. Get control of your debtors


Does your business routinely wait on late payments?  Good debtor management is critical to ensuring your business has sufficient working capital to meet expenditure requirements, reinvest and grow.  Essentially, if your business isn’t collecting cash quickly, then you are funding the customer’s business as well as your own.

This year, consider making changes to your debtor management process to reduce the likelihood of dealing with late payers.  Keep the cash flowing through your business by setting aside time each week to follow up any money that you’re owed.  While most cloud based accounting systems can send out automatic reminders for you, setting aside time each week for follow up phone calls will yield better results.

Consistency is the key when chasing up debts.  If your customers know you won’t follow up early, or won’t follow up consistently, they may take advantage of your inaction.  Read more about getting control of your debtors here.


And finally, while not strictly a business issue…


6. Update your wills and estate plan


Wills and estate planning discussions are something that tend to be put off until tomorrow, next week or next year.  However, when you don’t have a current will or estate plan, the decisions about who gets your assets will be made by someone else (often government legislation).

When was the last time you reviewed your wills and estate plan?

We generally recommend that you review your estate plan once every 5 years or when major financial / personal changes occur in your life (restructuring of business entities, marriage, divorce, etc).  Make 2018 the year you take control and ensure your wills are reviewed and updated.


Here’s to a great 2018!

Achieving a healthy business is like maintaining a good relationship – you have to keep working on it.  January is the perfect time to re-evaluate your business priorities and start fresh.  Even if you only make good on a few of these resolutions, you’ll be ahead of the game and be making positive change in your business.

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