New Year Resolutions are all the rage in our personal lives but with the start of a new year comes the chance to also reflect, evaluate and plan for your business. 2020 has been a year of the unexpected with many businesses having to adapt and pivot quickly. Are there any lessons in there you could use to improve your business? Were there any gaping holes that you found needed to be plugged that you wouldn’t want to re-appear?
Here are my top five resolutions that I believe every small business should make heading into 2021.
1. Get familiar with your finances
Every business owner should have an understanding of the key financial information about their business, including:
- Your monthly and year-to-date profit.
- Your breakeven point, i.e. what is the minimum I need to make to cover the bills?
- Financial trends – have sales, expenses, profits gone up or down – and why?!
Evaluate how you have performed this financial year so far (acknowledge that COVID would have played a part) and make sure you are able to continue once the Government support ends in March.
2. Delegate where you can
Most small-business owners are involved in every facet of their business, which can be draining and time consuming. Look at all areas of your business and see where you can delegate – either to staff or outside help. Free up your time and your mental load to concentrate on your business – or, more importantly, life!
3. Systems and processes
If you are lucky enough to have quiet time over the festive season use it as an opportunity to document your systems and processes. Most small business owners carry all the IP for their business in their heads – which doesn’t make it easy to delegate to others. It takes time to document everything – but once you do, not only can you evaluate and find efficiencies you can pull in help from other people easily by handing them the manual.
4. Software and technology
Look at what you are using and see if it is working for you? Can you automate your invoicing? Are you using a software package to track your financials so you can easily find the information in Step 1? If not, now is a great time to investigate options and implement new systems. The key is to find ways in 2021 to make business easier for you – and implementing technology is a great way to do that.
5. Re-evaluate your business goals
Most of us start off in business with a goal in mind, but then get so caught up in the running of the business we don’t take time to look at it. Set yourself some short- and long-term business goals. Tie them into your personal life for motivation – big family holiday, more cashflow, spending time with the kids, having a business you can pass on – whatever your reasons for starting a business – see if you are still aligned with that. If not set some goals that will make the stress of running a business worthwhile and use 2021 as the year you achieve them!
Michelle Maynard, Chartered Accountant and Partner, Carbon Group