Astute SME business operators harness the newfound excitement and momentum that comes with a new year to define and refine their New Year’s resolutions and business goals. Here, MYOB offers some New Year’s resolution pointers for SMEs for 2014.
“January is the ideal time to reflect and to give new strategies and goals the green light, instead of taking a ‘business as usual’ approach,” MYOB CEO Tim Reed said. “Operators who commit to clarifying their priorities early in the piece will likely reap the rewards. It can mean the difference between flourishing and floundering. When setting New Year’s resolutions, big or small, the first step is to plan.”
#1 Learn from last year’s hits and misses: Place the previous 12 months’ trading under the microscope. Analyse the strategies that worked, those that didn’t, and work out the ‘whys’. Why did some products or services succeed when others flopped? What changes could you make in 2014 to ensure mistakes aren’t repeated, and opportunities aren’t missed? Get the ball rolling with a SWOT analysis – a useful technique for understanding your business strengths and weaknesses and for identifying the opportunities open to you and the threats your business may face.
#2 Stay on the business track: A solid business plan will help you make better business decisions about the strategies you need to continue to operate and grow. If you’re looking for annual growth of 100 per cent, you will need a different strategy to one that shoots for 10 per cent growth. Then, to ensure you tick off your to-do list in 2014, make strategic planning a weekly or fortnightly task. Ongoing strategic thinking is great for defining goals and objectives within a timeframe, helping to ensure you and your team have a consensus about where the business is going and how to stay on track.
#3 Don’t try to be all things to all people: Are you the director, IT person, admin manager and salesperson in your business? Wearing multiple hats can be exhausting. Avoid micromanaging if you are lucky enough to have employees. Delegate intelligently. It can be challenging letting go, but if you don’t delegate, growing your business could become a pipe dream. Why not outsource tasks you loathe, so you can spend more time on growing the business?
#4 Grow to love your numbers: Many business owners consider themselves too busy to check or understand their financial statements. Learn about profit and loss statements, balance sheets and cash flow statements and don’t shy away from the numbers. Making time to understand your financial documents will give you greater control and a clearer picture of your business and its performance. It can help you make smarter decisions and improve your ability to communicate productively with your accountant and other advisers.
#5 Don’t be afraid to embrace technology: Cloud-based accounting software, convenient mobile apps, online business management tools…today’s business technologies can save you time and drive significant efficiencies.
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