5 New (Fiscal) Year’s Resolutions
How are you making out with your New Year's resolutions? Are you exercising more, losing weight or enjoying each day to the fullest? If you're like many of us, your personal resolutions may have turned into illusions or, better put, well-intentioned plans that got moved to the backburner after a few weeks. Research shows that while 41% make traditional New Year's resolutions, just over 9% are successful at keeping them.
But what about all those good intentions for your business? While thinking about your personal resolutions, it’s possible to overlook the positive things that you can do professionally. Whatever the case, whether you’re on a calendar year or have a different end to your fiscal year, writing down specific business goals is critical. Just like you needed a solid business plan before you launched, you need to set identifiable targets along the way.
Here are five new fiscal year resolutions to consider:
- Review your business plan.
When was the last time you re-read it to see how your lofty ideas have stacked up against real-world experience? The beginning of a new fiscal year is a good time to reevaluate your original goals. Are you accomplishing what you set out to do? Are you meeting your targets? If not, why not? If you haven't taken all the steps required to help your business grow and prosper, now is the time to do it.
- Keep your records up to date.
If you are using a desk drawer instead of a bookkeeper, resolve to get organized. Keeping track of income and expenses is essential and you can only do that by keeping proper records. You don't necessarily need a bookkeeper, even if you have staff to pay. Consider a software application like QuickBooks, which you can use for everything from invoicing, paying vendors, keeping track of payments and payroll. If you are using a mobile point-of-sale solution (POS), you can access an online dashboard to generate reports. View analytics and see how you did last year and whether there were any trends.
- Be technologically savvy.
No matter what your line of business, being ready to accept a customer's preferred method of payment is essential. Interac Debit cards are now the most commonly used payment option in Canada. If you don't already have one, resolve in the year ahead to get a POS system that will ensure you make the sale every single time.
- Step up your social media.
There was a time when telephone companies promoted themselves by telling us to "Reach out and touch someone." The technology has changed but the message is even more important now than it was in the days before the Internet. Nevertheless, not all small and medium-sized businesses have fully embraced social media. Why not resolve in the year ahead to proactively engage with your customers? If you’re not sure where to start, think about how you and your friends use social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to stay connected – then start treating your business as if it were just as eager to share. This will help you keep in touch with existing customers while attracting new ones, share your stories and put your best foot forward. Be sure to use photos and video if you can too – it is by far the most effective social media tool.
- Expand your market reach.
Increasingly, entrepreneurs are expanding beyond the traditional storefront. Instead of simply waiting for customers to come to them, they go out and find them online and in targeted locations, like specialty markets and fairs, trade shows, festivals and pop-up markets. With a mobile POS system, you can process payments anywhere too.
By following these five tips, you’ll be even better positioned for business success in the months and year ahead. Being organized and focusing on strategies for growth may also help you achieve a better work-life balance. Just think, instead of sorting through paper receipts in a drawer, you could learn a new skill, give back to your community or join a networking group – all of which will be personally fulfilling and increase your entrepreneurial edge.