A new year is the perfect opportunity to take stock of where we are now, and work out what we need to change to get to where we’d like to be.
1) Buy new technology or office equipment
Many businesses make the mistake of thinking that holding onto old technology or equipment will save them money. But often it’s a false economy.
Old workplace furniture, for example, can lead to lower productivity and even time off work if it causes back and other pain from bad posture.
And a printer that constantly needs fixing, or requires expensive ink will cost your business time and money. Don’t forget software too – can your business work smarter and save money with new or updated software solutions?
So resolve to start 2018 with a clean slate at work, and do a quick audit on your technology and equipment. And if you need to invest in new products to work smarter, do.
2) Focus on new target audiences
Your business has (hopefully) been ticking along quite nicely with your current target audience. But could there be an opportunity to grow beyond this in 2018?
If you feel you have carved out a comfortable and secure niche with your current target audience, who could you expand it to include? Are there any other groups of people or business who need what you offer? Who may benefit from your products or services?
Without neglecting your current customers, consider whether there are opportunities to appeal to new ones and grow your business organically in the year ahead.
3) Hire top talent
Do you already hire employees in your business? Or are you reaching that point yet? If so, make sure that you only hire the best talent in 2018.
Here are a few tips to find employees to help you achieve your 2018 goals:
- If you already have staff, ask them if they know anyone with the skills you need.
- Expand your potential talent pool by offering flexible roles.
- Consider the job interview questions you plan to ask carefully.
- Use social media, including LinkedIn, as a recruiting tool.
4) Write a five-year business plan
As mammoth a task as this may appear at first, there’s immense value in writing a five-year plan for your business. With a long term goal to aim for, it’s much easier to work out your plans for 2018.
How? Easy, by chunking back from your five-year goal you can work out what you need to do each year to get there. You can then look at each year (in this case 2018) in isolation and work out monthly goals to move your forward.
This can help inform other strategies, like marketing, social media, PR and recruitment. And help you devise a year-long plan that will genuinely grow your business in the right direction.
5) Improve your business finances
It’s all too easy to ignore the money side of the business – as long as there’s enough in the bank to keep going, we can stick our head in the sand and not worry about it.
But that’s a short sighted and expensive strategy.
With a clear overview of your finances (done regularly) you’ll know exactly what money is coming in, and from where, and if and where you’re leaking profit. You’ll be able to review your expenses and eliminate or reduce any that you need to.
You’ll also be able to see how much you can pay yourself.
Here is a quick list of steps to help you keep a keen eye on your finances:
- Start tracking all your business expenses.
- Keep your business and personal bank accounts separate.
- Review your expenses over the last three months and establish a budget.
- Compare your budget to your actual expenses.
- Make sure you put enough by for tax.
6) Get a coach
If there’s one thing that’s made the biggest difference to our own business, it’s coaching.
Having someone outside your business to guide you through a roadmap, hold you accountable, give you a subjective opinion, and validate your strategy and pricing is invaluable.
Without a coach it’s easy to meander. To waste time pursuing activities you enjoy, but don’t necessarily grow your business. To work in your business rather than on it. And to avoid the painful tasks that you really hate, but are essential to move forward.
With a coach there’s nowhere to hide. You HAVE to face up to all areas of your business, and work on it holistically. And, with a great coach behind you, you will make faster progress.
So if you don’t have a coach or mentor yet, make 2018 the year you get one.
7) Get investment
Sometimes there’s one thing that you need to move your business up a level: money. And if you don’t have the funds in your business to pay, then it’s worth looking into investment.
There are other financing and investment options too. But whatever choice you make, do ensure you investigate it carefully before committing.
8) Look after YOU
There’s one business asset pretty much every entrepreneur overlooks: themselves! Your business cannot run without you, so you need to ensure you are well maintained and working at maximum efficiency.
This means taking care of your own mental and physical wellbeing, including:
- Eating well.
- Getting a good night’s sleep.
- Keeping active.
- Having friends and interests outside your business.
- Banishing guilt.
- Having heathy boundaries in place.
You also need to nurture your entrepreneurial mindset, and eliminate any bad habits that may be holding your business back.
So when you’re making your business plans for 2018, add yourself to the list, and make sure you’re fit and ready to lead your business to success over the year ahead.
Culled from The Talented Ladies Club