As the year comes to an end, many people begin looking forward. What do you want to accomplish in the next 12 months?
As a business owner, you may have plenty of ideas for what you want to achieve in the year ahead. Maybe you want to invest in a new project. Maybe you want to increase sales.
About 60 percent of people make New Year’s resolutions, but very few of those goals are ever met. If you’ve decided on growth for your small business, don’t let your resolution become part of those statistics.
Instead, use these seven small business tips to work smarter and set the stage for success.
1. Focus on Cash Flow for Your Business
There are plenty of business owner tips that focus on finances. You’ve probably heard tips on keeping your overhead low. You’ve likely been told to separate your personal finances from the business.
These tips aren’t wrong. Focusing on your finances is important if you want to grow. One of the things you should be paying attention to is cash flow.
Cash flow is responsible for the majority of business failures. Look to how you handle your funds to improve your chances of success.
Managing the finances can be difficult, especially when you have so many other tasks on your plate. As a small business owner, though, you may not feel you can hire someone else to keep tabs on the money.
You do have options. This nonprofit accounting firm shows that managing the finances doesn’t need to take up most of your budget. You may be able to find other low-cost resources to help you keep your cash flowing.
2. Keep Tabs on Compliance
Large corporations often find they have a difficult time keeping up with compliance. What chance do small business owners have?
It’s important to keep tabs on your compliance though. The changing legal framework around your business could end up costing you. A lawsuit or a penalty can hurt a small business beyond recovery.
Monitoring compliance is also a good way to look for new opportunities. There may be funding available to help you with compliance projects. Maintaining compliance may be a competitive advantage you can advertise.
3. Invest in Training and Development
Next up on our list of tips for small business is making an investment in you and your team. You should most certainly be thinking about training and development.
Business owners should never stop learning. You should encourage your employees to keep adding to their education as well. Whether it’s an online course or a workshop, take the time to upgrade your skills.
You never know what you could learn. You may be able to improve efficiency in the business or add a new line of services.
4. Small Business Tips for Managing Email
Achieving inbox zero is more a dream than a goal for most people. This is especially true for business owners like yourself.
Instead of aiming for inbox zero, think about managing your email more effectively. Limit the amount of time you spend in your inbox. Dedicate time to answer messages.
Some people recommend answering email later in the day. That way, you can spend the first part of your day, when your mind is clearest, on the tasks that need most attention.
Email can be distracting, especially if you need to deal with an upset customer or schedule an unexpected meeting. Managing email more effectively will help you be more efficient.
5. Upgrade Your Technology
If you’re running a small business, you’re familiar with tight budgets. You may not have upgraded your technology in a few years, because it’s working just fine.
Or is it? Outdated technology costs businesses billions every year. You might be losing productivity because your team is waiting on old technology.
You may not be able to use the latest versions of programs and tools. You may even want to consider tools that allow for automation or better data collection.
In short, new technology could help you work both faster and smarter.
You don’t need to spend much to upgrade either. Instead, think about adopting a new tool or upgrading your existing hardware. With the right technology, you can bring your business up to speed.
6. Create and Maintain Focus
Every small business owner knows about multi-tasking. They also know about the dangers of getting distracted. With so much to do, though, it can be easy to find yourself off course.
The best thing to do is stop multi-tasking. Instead, see if you can delegate tasks.
Then, make sure you prioritize. What needs to be done right now? What can wait for later?
By focusing on a single task at a time, you can often speed up the process and work faster. A task that might have taken you hours as you were interrupted and distracted now takes just an hour.
You’ll find your desk clearer and your list of accomplishments growing.
7. Build a Network
The final tip on our list is to grow your network.
First, there’s no telling who you might meet. Even if they don’t seem important today, they may become a key player in a partnership or new business idea.
Next, it’s important to surround yourself with a support network. Look to connect with people who are encountering many of the same problems you have right now. You may also want to look for mentors or more experienced peers who can share their wisdom.
A good support network may be key to inspiring new ideas and emotional health as a small business owner.
Set Your Sights on Success
With these small business tips in hand, you’ll have a better chance of finding success in the new year. No matter what your goals are, you can work smarter, not harder.
If you’re looking for more great business advice, you’re in the right place. Check out our other insightful articles. We have more on everything from trends in business technology to more great tips for growing your business.