Last year was a tumultuous time for business owners in WA.
LAST year was a tumultuous time for business owners in Western Australia and some pessimism remains, with many not expecting revenue to increase during 2013.
This is not the ideal way for business owners to begin the new year; it should be about a fresh start and renewed optimism. It is critical, then, that local business owners don’t let last year’s performance carry over into 2013 and affect their success – but action is needed now.
The focus of the new year should be on working smarter, not harder, and to do this I have prepared a list of 10 resolutions for every business owner.
1. Leverage your time. Business owners need to prioritise their time to work on their business, rather than in it, to focus on achieving their big-picture goals. This includes delegating tasks, steering clear of less important jobs, giving more responsibility to employees, and implementing efficient systems.
2. Look after your lifetime customers. Your most loyal customers are your most profitable; they spend more each time and they purchase more regularly. Do whatever you can to create and maintain these long-term relationships. The value they will offer in return is worth the effort.
3. Make marketing a priority. Marketing to customers is the best way to boost your revenue and the only way to let them know that you exist. Creative, cost-effective ways of marketing are becoming increasingly accessible; take the time to research them, or hire a marketing expert to help.
4. Take advantage of social media. Using social media such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and blogs can be a virtually free way of positioning yourself as the expert, creating meaningful networks and collecting valuable feedback.
5. Manage your cash flow. Ninety-two per cent of business owners frequently stress about cash flow, but this doesn’t have to be the case. There are countless methods of ensuring that you are never short of cash, and your business needs to implement effective cash-flow management policies and practices.
6. Spend time on your self-education. The business environment is evolving so rapidly that it’s hard to be an expert in every area of business. Read, attend seminars and workshops, and follow the market to sharpen your skills and keep your business moving.
7. Empower your team. Business owners are responsible for creating a company culture where employees are encouraged to go above and beyond their duties to create a fantastic customer experience. Allowing them to use their initiative increases employee satisfaction at work, and so is beneficial for your customers, your staff, and your business all-round.
8. Ask for help. It often takes an outsider to see your business objectively and know what needs to be done. Seeking the help of a business coach or mentor can help you identify and achieve your goals, and build your accountability. Hiring professionals to help you in the areas of your business that you struggle with will also be beneficial.
9. Cut your losses. It is important to test and measure the effectiveness of certain management policies, marketing strategies, and working styles. If something you’ve always done isn’t working, drop it; the sooner you do, the sooner you can move onto something bigger and better.
10. Make time for yourself. In line with the recent debate surrounding the work-life balance, the key to achieving this resolution is to make it measurable and specific. Aim to spend 10 nights a month with your family, or five hours a week on a hobby.
Working on your mindset is an incredibly important but often overlooked factor in achieving business success, so setting and working towards these resolutions is a great way to kick-start the year.