It’s the beginning of a new year and, as millions of people make resolutions to improve different areas of their lives, what better opportunity to invest this desire for change into your business is there?
Take a look at our New Year’s resolution checklist below, and see if your SME is on track for making 2016 the year of business success.
The first step towards achieving business growth in 2016 is to draw up a business plan. If you have one already, it may be worth having another look at it to see if it’s still in keeping with the changes you hope to make in the coming months. Do you need to take on more workers? Or is it time to trim your budget? Nothing helps you understand your business’ priorities more clearly than a goal-orientated plan. You’ll be able to more easily identify current or future obstacles so you can better anticipate and avoid potential risks.
Need help writing up a business plan? We help you to break it down here.
Another important area to prepare is the cash flow projection for your business. Create a 12-month plan that you can continually refer to, and constantly look for ways to reduce expenses and increase revenues. Keeping up to date with your company’s financial health is essential to the success of any serious-minded SME.
It’s okay if your business doesn’t have a huge marketing budget to promote your brand with, as many of the social media channels that are increasingly used to develop customer relationships are free.
If you have social media accounts but rarely use them, 2016 may be the year to change this. Getting active on multiple social media channels at once can be overwhelming, so start by focusing your attention on one network and build from there. Over time, you can work on increasing your social media contacts at a regular pace, creating more content through a blog or business website and using campaign feedback to strengthen your online activity and productivity. If you need some ideas for getting your small-business started on social media, why not take a look at our handy guide.
Tame your business books
Although managing your books can be an arduous and time-consuming task, it is one of the most important ongoing actions you can take in maintaining a healthy and stable business.
Through making book-keeping an integral part of your working-week, you’ll have a much better understanding of your finances – how much you’re making and how much tax you need to pay. A more informed understanding of your
With the January 31st Self-Assessment deadline looming, don’t be one of those business owners who waits until the last minute to file with the HMRC, as this could potentially lead to you making mistakes and cause you a huge amount of stress in the process. You can find out more about self-assessment tax returns, here: https://www.gov.uk/self-assessment-tax-returns/deadlines
Review your customer and supplier lists
Having a New Year evaluation of your customer and supplier lists will help you to identify those who are problematic, and those you really enjoy working with. Not all customers are good customers, and while it may be beneficial to reward those who give you continued loyalty, it might also help to direct those who don’t to another supplier. Late payments, unreasonable requests and antagonistic behaviour can damage a small business’s reputation as well as its finances.
Similarly, do any of your suppliers regularly make mistakes? Do they frequently let you down? It may be that there is someone else who can supply you with the same, or better, quality goods or services, but who are closer, cheaper and more efficient.
Remember, don’t automatically go with the cheapest supplier. You don’t want to risk damaging your own reputation by using inferior quality suppliers.
Help a charity or a non-profit
Starting off the new year by committing to giving back to your community can be an incredibly positive and rewarding decision to make. Is there a way you could offer your business’s services or products for a beneficial cause?
Aside from making you feel good about yourself and your business, providing time and resources to a worthwhile cause is also a great way to network, exposing your SME to new audiences, and enabling you to connect to others with a similar objective.
For ideas for fundraising in the office, here’s a useful infographic.