New Year Resolutions or just Good Business Sense ?
If you’re running a small business then you should recognise the need to take a step back once in a while and review your priorities. The start of a new year can be a good ‘line in the sand’ moment – hopefully after a bit of a break, with some time to think and recharge your batteries.
The last two years have been especially difficult for most businesses, but many owners will be looking ahead with more optimism now, in the hope of better days to come.
Whether you want to call them your Business New Year Resolutions, a review of your business plan, or just a new to-do list, now is as good a time as any.
But how can you turn that enthusiasm into something meaningful that will generate action and, ultimately, success ?
Set yourself SMART Objectives
You probably know this method already, but there’s no harm in a reminder of the 5 steps to setting SMART objectives. You should make sure they are :
- Specific –each target should be clear, understandable and linked to your overall goals
- Measurable – eg. rather than ‘reduce staff sickness’, set a target % or number of days reduction. Otherwise, how do you or your team know when you’ve reached your goal ?
- Achievable – set goals which are challenging, but not beyond your reach. If you’re a small business, 2022 probably isn’t the year of your IPO, but you can still be ambitious.
- Realistic – focus on things you can influence or control. Getting recognized in the next New Year Honours List would certainly be good PR, but it’s not really something you can control
- Time-based – consider breaking longer-term goals into shorter-term targets, eg weekly or monthly improvements to reach the overall goal for the next year.
Focus on things which will make a positive impact
Setting sales and profit targets is pretty obvious, but there are so many aspects of running a business which help you achieve this. You’ll have your own ideas, but we’ve come up with 8 ways to have a positive impact on your business in 2022.
1. Write a Business Plan (or review the one you have)
This should be something you did before you started your business, but it’s not a one-off exercise. The world changes constantly and we have to keep up with it.
Whether just to revisit your goals or to help support an application for funding, your business plan will help you focus on the steps to success. If you’re not sure where to start, we’ve found some useful tips from the team at smallbusiness.co.uk.
2. Improve Your Network
Online or in person, growing your network is a great way to get your business known, find new leads and increase your industry knowledge. It’s also an opportunity to help others. What goes around comes around !
Look for networking opportunities in your area or industry. Make this an objective rather than an afterthought and you’ll soon see the benefits.
3. Understand your obligations
Running a business involves plenty of admin you’d rather not have to do. However, understanding your legal obligations and dealing with them properly can prevent significant costs of non-compliance. It will also let you focus on the rest of your business with a clear mind.
As a minimum, think about your insurances, business licenses, health & safety, tax/accounting, HR and your terms of business.
4. Get your accounts in order
The previous point covers the legal requirements related to tax and filing of accounts. However, you’ll only ever really know how profitable your business is by keeping your finances up to date and understanding your numbers.
If not doing so already, consider engaging the services of a bookkeeper or accountant to take away the compliance worry. Just as importantly, they should help you understand your costs better, identify risks or opportunities and improve your cashflow.
5. Automate your processes
There is so much software available now to improve business processes so you and your team can work smarter. The list is almost endless, but the main areas include marketing, accounting, communication, project management, HR, inventory and POS/payments.
Look at processes which take you the most time, cause the most problems or are simply non-existent. You’ll almost certainly find a technology solution to solve the problem.
6. Embrace Workplace Wellness
Burnout is commonplace with small business owners and this can extend to your employees too. According to the latest HSE statistics, 451,000 workers in the UK suffered from a new case of work-related stress, depression or anxiety in 2020/21.
Build a positive workplace culture and see the benefits in productivity, staff retention and cost reduction. There are lots of ways to do this, but this guide from Indeed.com gives you plenty of ideas.
7. Improve Your Online Presence
Even if you don’t sell products or services online, having a web presence is essential to attract customers and reach wider market.
Look at your marketing activities and assess your website, social media channels, online or email advertising to identify and plan areas for improvement. Click here for more detail from the marketing experts at Hubspot.
8. Update your Workplace Risk Assessment
We had to include this on the list, didn’t we ?
If you’re a UK business with 5 or more employees, by law you’re required to have written evidence of your risk assessments. Even if you’re a smaller business, it just makes good business sense.
This may just seem like another admin burden, but connects the points above regarding compliance, process automation and workplace wellness.
CHEQS will help you understand and address your obligations, promoting a culture in your business to improve safety, morale and productivity.
Here’s to a Safe and Succesful 2022 !