Whether 2012 was the first or fortieth year for your business, its likely that as we rang in 2013, you were making resolutions for yourself and for the company. Over the years I’ve watched many of my clients (and even myself) make lofty goals for how each new year was going to be THE ONE where things got organized, got efficient, and got to making more money than ever before.
And, just as the gym empties as January turns to February, I have watched even the best intentioned clients (and myself!) begin to slip back into bad habits and easy shortcuts for business matters as each new year continues.
So what can you do to make 2013 the real deal? The year that everything really changes? For one you can make realistic goals, and make just a few of them. If you’re not a morning person, don’t try to turn yourself into one, but maybe set a goal to hit the snooze button only once. Likewise, don’t try to reinvent the wheel with your business this year, but maybe plan to tackle at least one of the following MUST-DOs:
1. Get your organization documents in order – If you don’t have an entity (corporation, limited liability company, etc.), or don’t know what type of entity you have, talk to your tax preparer and legal advisor and figure out what makes sense for you. If you do have an entity in place, locate and update your articles, bylaws, agreements among owners, etc. Record any large decisions that you made last year in written minutes/records of action.
2. Understand your finances – Unless your business has to do with finance, chances are you don’t know enough about the money going in and out of your business. That’s okay, but it’s not okay to just leave it that way. Talk to your tax preparer when you go in to do this year’s taxes, ask them to help you understand your financial statements. If they don’t want to, find someone who will. Knowing that there is money in the bank right now is not enough, understanding the ins and outs of your business finances is key to taking things to the next level.
3. Have a plan for new business – Many businesses rely on advertising, word of mouth or some combination of the two to get new customers. But how do you know if what you’re doing is right, or if there’s a better option. Take some time to understand why you’re doing what you’re doing and if it’s working. Find a company or person whose marketing you feel works and talk to them or their advisors. Make a plan and stick with it for a bit, and if something isn’t working let it go. Consumer tastes change quickly. If you’re still doing things the same way you did 1 or 5 years ago, chances are you’re missing something.