Learn from last year’s success and failures
In order to be able to improve, it helps to reflect back on your successes and failures of 2015 to carry on taking the business forward. Take time to look back at the last 12 months. What strategies worked particularly well, which didn’t and why? Why did some of your products or services do better than others? What changes could you make to your company in 2016 to ensure you don’t make the same mistakes again and that you’re ready to exploit opportunities that can arise at any time?
Set new realistic goals
Reflect back on the year and conduct a SWOT analysis to really understand your own company in and industry in detail. This should put you in a good position to plan for the year ahead. You should know what your strengths and weaknesses are and how much time, resources and capital you have to spread across activities. It may help to know the opportunities and threats of the external environment to plan your aims and goals for the next year. To achieve goals and objectives within a certain time period, it helps to keep referring back to a plan to make sure you and you team are on track with where the company is going.
Embrace or revitalise technology
With online sales accounting for almost one quarter of the Christmas spending for 2014, this shows how big of a part the internet and technology plays in buying products and services. This is why no matter what stage your business is at, you need to start embracing technology to make your business more efficient and raise awareness of your products and services. Cloud-based software is becoming very popular along with online business management tools; not only this but revitalising your online marketing strategy. Although the beginning of the year is quieter, it helps for customers to be constantly aware of you and have you at the front of their minds for when they’re ready to purchase.
Create, build and maintain business networks and partnerships
The New Year is a great time and opportunity for you to refresh your company and establish new and beneficial partnerships as well as maintaining current business relationships. Building relationships with the right individuals and businesses is key to the success of any company, due to the long-lasting and powerful effects a favourable relationship can bring. In order to make a partnership successful, establish a win-win situation where both sides are benefitting. If it isn’t a partnership, even taking the time to network with like-minded entrepreneurs or business owners provides the opportunity to build a strong support network for future opportunities.
Understand your numbers to manage your cash flow
With accounts to file at the end of the year, it’s a good time to familiarise yourself with the finances of your business. For many, you may have accountants who do this or a finance department where you really only see the end figures or the numbers you’re most interested about; however this shouldn’t be the case. Make time to learn about your profit and loss statements, balance sheets and cash flow statements. This will give you greater control and a clearer picture of your business and its performance helping you make smarter decisions. With cash flow being one of the biggest problems for SMEs and the life line of any company, managing this aspect well will give you more flexibility to address late payments of unexpected dilemmas. Keeping an eye on the outgoings and in goings of your company may also help you see where you can make cut backs in the long run to make your processes more efficient.