Another New Year's, another time for resolutions? It's a practice so often honored in the breach that people go into making changes with the suspicion that they probably won't.
Not surprising. When you do the same thing year in and out with the expectation of failure, you develop habitual resignation. Instead, turn things upside down and inside out. Rather than focus on yourself, look to your business and consider what changes might spruce it up.
We live in a time of great turmoil: political, environmental, financial, spiritual, artistic. If things can start blowing up, you can pretty much bet that they will. Such periods are disquieting, but they can also be liberating and present opportunities because they are conducive to change that you've been putting off. Here are some ideas of areas where you might consider doing something new.
I know, who thinks of accounting as exciting? Other than an accountant. But it's the basis of controlling and understanding your business and maybe the first thing to consider.
I've seen plenty of business owners who want to push all the numbers off to someone else. And I can appreciate the desire. There's enough to do.
But you have questions that need answers. What product or service moves best? Who are your most profitable customers? How long are you waiting to get paid on a per-customer basis? Use a bookkeeper if you want, but have analytic tools that you can use to see what is happening. What products o you know, the smarter decisions you can make.
There come times that businesses reach a plateau. You want to move ahead but get stuck. Often the reason is that you need additional help. It's understandable that you hold off. Who wants to get stuck with more overhead if things don't go as planned?
Putting off hiring works for a while, but it eventually leaves your company stuck. There is the chance that it all blows up, but that's part of business. You don't expand and improve without taking any chances. That's true even if you choose not to have employees because of the nature of your business. Risk management is not the same as avoidance.
And so, consider if maybe it's finally time to bring on help and free yourself up for the many other things you should be doing.
You use tech, but how effectively? I'm not suggesting that you take out a loan and hit the Apple store. But consider where a smart addition of technology might help things.
For example, have you shifted to cloud delivery of key applications so you won't have to provide maintenance? Or, on the other hand, maybe you tried cloud systems and found that you couldn't depend on the Internet access necessary for them or, instead, you've gotten tired of the number of updates that require you to rethink how to use it.
Depending on your business, maybe the technology would be a good digital camera (not just a phone) with a tripod and lighting. Or sensors on production systems to better monitor and control them centrally.
If your operations are significant enough, you might bring in a consultant to do an audit and make suggestions.
Too much marketing is done in a haphazard, got-a-gut-feeling-about-it way. Campaigns that don't make sense are put on. Goals don't get defined, let alone matched to results.
If there is any part of your business that could do with more attention, it's likely your marketing. Do an audit of how last year went and then build a plan for this year. Consider what you can do and how much growth or new customers or additional sales or whatever metric is important to you that you want to aim for. Use scenario planning to consider pessimistic, realistic, and optimistic outcomes.
Also consider some new types of marketing channels for an experiment. Maybe it's doing some online ads or something in a print publication or some PR or a trade show. But whatever you choose, make sure it's different. You want to find tactics and strategies that will bring you more business. Not all that you try will work, but some might.