2009 New Year’s Resolutions to Improve your Business
Posted by Betsy Brottlund on January 7, 2009 in Business Start Up Advice [ 0 Comments ]
It’s that time again…time for New Year’s resolutions. Every year seems to go by faster and faster, there seems to be no time to make plans for your business and take the time to improve your business. But, there is. There has to be. It’s too important to bypass. To celebrate 2009, the following is a list of 9 valuable New Year’s resolutions to help you grow or start a business.
1. Save money. Now, more than ever, it is important to manage your company’s finances. Find innovative ways to cut costs, but be careful not to cut out critical activities such as marketing and networking that keeps your business top-of-mind with customers. With today’s online communities, there are many ways to market effectively without spending too much money.
2. Embrace change. Face it – change has already begun. The economy is changing, we have a new President, and laws and regulations for small businesses are about to change. Do your research and understand these new laws and how it will affect your business to make the necessary changes you need in order to keep a positive cash flow.
3. Grow. Frankly, this should always be a resolution for business owners. If your business is in a struggling industry, figure out creative ways to introduce new opportunities. Whether it be launching a sub-division that performs well, or starting another company to supplement your current company, be open to ideas. During a recession can be the best time to start a new business because suppliers such as web design and credit card processing services might have cheaper rates. Take advantage of these opportunities and you can survive and grow during the tough year, while competitors fail.
4. Seek financial advice. Getting a line of credit or increasing your credit limit may be difficult this year so it is important to meet with a banker, CPA, accountant, or other financial advisors to discuss alternative options to help manage cash flow. Factoring and merchant cash advance are two alternative resources for companies that have been in business for a few years.
5. Listen to your partners, customers and employees. Listening. It’s what our grandparents taught us when we were young and we slowly forgot. However, when you listen – truly listen – to your partners’ and customers’ needs, your company can address any issues and work together to make a profit during economic slowdown. Your employees are actually smarter than you think and if you can listen to their ideas before you provide a response, you might land the next profitable product.
6. Build relationships before you need them. I can’t stress this one more. Our economy goes in cycles and will pick up so take this time, especially if it is slower for your business, and re-connect with professional social groups. Get online and not only join network sites such as LinkedIn, but participate. There are also many specific professional networking sites you can join for your industry. For example, legal professionals can join EsqChat and JDSupra and woman business owners can become a member of Ladies Who Launch. Just ensure you use these social networking sites effectively, not just as a way to plan happy hour.
7. Be brave – take risks. There is no question that 2009 is going to be a challenging year. It’s going to take courage to get through the year and it’s going to take risks. You must be able to evaluate risks and be brave enough to take them when necessary. Often times, risks turn out to be the best business growth facilitators.
8. Improve your technological skills. I know, I know, it’s tough to learn that stuff and it’s tough to change. But, too bad, you have to. From simple everyday tasks to entire corporations going paperless, technology is taking over. You must jump on the bandwagon if you want your business to improve. Learn software programs, PDA functions, video applications and more. Use online assistants and conferencing. By expanding your skill-set, or knowing the right places to look, you’ll save money and optimize time.
9. Get organized. Whether it takes remodeling your office, buying file cabinets, investing in management software, buying a PDA or smart phone, or something else, you should do what it takes to become organized. The most successful CEOs got there because of time management skills. If you don’t know how to answer the phone and type email at the same time, you’ll never manage 20,000 employees. When you are organized, you not only remember to attend meetings, but you’ll have the time to create an agenda so the meeting accomplishes your objectives and is on-time.
For more advice, or a customized road map to help start or grow your business, visit our StartMe Up program where we provide tips, guides and everything you need to grow your business in 2009.