Make 2015 the best business year yet

Happy New Year! As 2015 rolls in, it is time to reflect on the year that has been and consider how best to tackle the coming twelve months. Here are some tips to get you started.

Revisit your strategic plan and adjust if necessary

You should use the start of the New Year as a time to reflect on the lessons you learned from your business throughout the year and identify opportunities and challenges for the year ahead. What went well, and what did not? What are your priorities for 2015? If necessary, you should adjust your strategic plan. In the startup world this is called a “pivot”, and if you’re thinking you need a change, see this excellent piece on what to consider before you pivot by Micha Rosenbloom.

Perform a financial health check of your business and review your budget

The New Year is a good time to check the financial health of your business. Your business health check should identify the areas most in need of improvement in the New Year. View reports from your accounting software or meet with your accountant to analyse last year’s numbers and find opportunities for improvement. Review actual versus budgeted figures to ensure that your strategic objectives are being met. This review also gives you the opportunity to adjust your budget as necessary.

Consider entering new markets — including online

Entering new markets could help you grow your business. Set aside some time to research on potential new markets and what it would take to enter those markets. Consider how ready your business is to enter those markets. Given the growth in online sales and that many Australian small businesses do not sell online, this year could be the best time to consider how to create or adapt your web presence to make online sales.

Review or write up your policy manual

A well thought out policy manual will assist you in running your business and can add value to your business should you wish to sell. Thinking through and writing down standard procedures can help clarify any inconsistencies in your business. It will also ensure that your employees are following protocol and aid in training any new employees.

Consider using social media in your business

Given the increasing importance of social media in the lives of customers and the relatively low usage of social media by Australian small businesses, starting the New Year with a social media strategy is excellent time to reflect on how best to use it to benefit your business. So, if you’re thinking about jumping in the social playground, 5 reasons your company needs a social media policy could really come in handy. Equally, if you’ve got a few social strategies already underway, make sure you’re you’re not making any of the classic social media mistakes.

Thank your staff, key suppliers and customers

Take time to thank your staff, key suppliers and customers for their help over the past year. Make sure that the way you thank your staff, suppliers and customers is genuine. A sincere thank you note can go a long way towards building good will.

Have fun!

The start of a New Year may be your slow period or your busiest period — either way, it is important to have fun. If it is your slow period, consider closing your business and taking some time off. You may be surprised what good ideas you can generate after a break.

We all like to start a New Year afresh, so hopefully some of these tips will get you in the mood. Good luck!