Archive for December 1st, 2010

10 Important Small Biz New Year’s Resolutions

December 1st, 2010

The approaching new year provides small business owners with an opportunity to reflect back on the previous year and make an objective evaluation of the state of their business. Everyone should conduct this exercise, but however it turns out, what’s done is done, and the only thing to do is to move forward and onto greater success and/or to make the appropriate course corrections to improve their operations and change their fortunes. Here are ten improvement projects every entrepreneur should undertake.

1. Develop a Strategic Plan
An extension of your original new company business plan, the strategic plan is it’s annual revision based on the realities and discoveries that have occurred over the past year. You won’t be able to get where you want to go unless you know where you want to be. Be sure to let your employees know as well.

2. Constantly Promote Your Business
You can’t execute just one marketing effort each year and expect your business to grow. Plan marketing efforts quarterly or even monthly and plan time for follow through and tracking of results. 

3. Survey Your Employees
Sometimes the biggest employee dissatisfactions are the easiest things to fix. Know what changes your employees would like to make in their work lives, and do your best to improve the quality of their work life, as this will usually have a positive impact their productivity as well.

4. Create action plans for each person in your organization
Make sure every employee knows how his or her job relates to the company’s overall vision, and that each has individual objectives and goals with measurable standards and timetables.

5. Survey your customers and your suppliers
Maybe the way you are doing business is costing you relationships with suppliers and customers. Know what will make it easier for them to do business with your company.

6. Produce only the key indicator reports from your business performance measurements that you need to run your business
Don’t waste your time and staff time compiling reports you never use. Know what you need to know to run a successful business, study those reports every month, and use them to take action.

7. Determine your level of compliance to all applicable human resource laws
Unless you have an HR department, you are likely unaware of all of the compliance laws regarding employees that can put you in serious legal trouble. Have an audit done by an outside professional and prevent problems that could result in million dollar lawsuits by unhappy ex-employees.

8. Know your top 10 customers well
List your top ten customers by sales and let everyone in your organization know who they are. Are they in a particular geographic region, of a particular type, and what is similar about them? What more can you do for them? Where can you find more just like them? Do everything you can to build on those relationships.

9. Get a coach or mentor, or join a business support group
Build accountability into your own personal planning by asking others to help you turn your dreams into reality. Enlist people who you can trust to give you objective feedback and create deadlines for your planned successes.

10. Make a list of the year’s accomplishments and celebrate your successes with your employees
Don’t forget to acknowledge and celebrate each of your milestones as they are achieved throughout the year. The best part of creating a plan is to know when you’ve reach your goals, allowing some time to pause and appreciate the accomplishment, and begin to create your next set of goals.