Early January is a time of great promise and excitement for many business operators as they picture what could be a year of big achievements.
Astute operators harness this momentum to define and refine their New Year’s resolutions and business goals.
With this in mind, New Zealand accounting software provider, MYOB, shares its top tips to help SMEs devise New Year’s resolutions that will direct them towards business success.
“January is the ideal time to reflect and to give new strategies and goals the green light, instead of taking a ‘business as usual’ approach," says Tim Reed, CEO, MYOB.
"Operators who commit to clarifying their priorities early in the piece will likely reap the rewards. It can mean the difference between flourishing and floundering.
“When setting New Year’s resolutions, big or small, the first step is to plan. Set some specific and inspiring goals around key areas of your business that you wish to develop. Begin by asking yourself what you will stop doing as well as start doing in 2014.
“Whatever your business goals, such as driving efficiencies, harnessing the power of cloud technology, or finessing your finances, establishing your New Year’s resolutions can help you approach the year with renewed vigour.”
MYOB’s suggested New Year’s resolutions for SMEs:
1. Learn from last year’s hits and misses
Place the previous 12 months’ trading under the microscope. Analyse the strategies that worked, those that didn’t, and work out the ‘whys’. Why did some products or services succeed when others flopped? What changes could you make in 2014 to ensure mistakes aren’t repeated, and opportunities aren’t missed?
Get the ball rolling with a SWOT analysis – a useful technique for understanding your business strengths and weaknesses and for identifying the opportunities open to you and the threats your business may face.
2. Stay on the business track
A solid business plan will help you make better business decisions about the strategies you need to continue to operate and grow. If you’re looking for annual growth of 100%, you will need a different strategy to one that shoots for 10% growth.
Then, to ensure you tick off your to-do list in 2014, make strategic planning a weekly or fortnightly task. Ongoing strategic thinking is great for defining goals and objectives within a timeframe, helping to ensure you and your team have a consensus about where the business is going and how to stay on track.
3. Don’t try to be all things to all people
Are you the director, IT person, admin manager and salesperson in your business? Wearing multiple hats can be exhausting. Avoid micromanaging if you are lucky enough to have employees. Delegate intelligently.
It can be challenging letting go, but if you don’t delegate, growing your business could become a pipe dream. Why not outsource tasks you loathe, so you can spend more time on growing the business?
4. Grow to love your numbers
Many business owners consider themselves too busy to check or understand their financial statements. Learn about profit and loss statements, balance sheets and cash flow statements and don’t shy away from the numbers.
Making time to understand your financial documents will give you greater control and a clearer picture of your business and its performance. It can help you make smarter decisions and improve your ability to communicate productively with your accountant and other advisers.
With cash flow ranking in the top three pressure points for SMEs in the latest MYOB Business Monitor report, it’s time to add cash flow expertise to your toolbox. Ask your trusted accountant or bookkeeper to guide you.
5. Don’t be afraid to embrace technology
Cloud-based accounting software, convenient mobile apps, online business management tools… today’s business technologies can save you time and drive significant efficiencies.
Establishing a good mix of clearly defined goals and strategic activities before the pace of business picks up can help put you on a pathway towards 2014 success.