The beginning of a new year provides that opportune moment to take stock and reflect on how far your business has come and to plan for what you want to achieve over the coming year. Do you want your business to be more successful this year? Are you looking to expand overseas? Or are you focussed on improving your productivity. Whatever, you want your business to do this year, one thing is certain, you need to work at making changes if you are to succeed.
Pulse Cashflow have created a checklist designed to help you think about how you can develop your business in 2019.
1. Map out your year – make that plan!
Planning is vital if you want a healthy, growing business. Business planning lets you take stock of what worked and what didn't work, and helps you set new directions or adjust old goals. It may be to grow your turnover; be more profitable; introduce new products or services; target new customers or expand overseas. When you’ve decided the what, document it. When you commit something to paper it makes you more determined to do it.
2. Set Realistic Goals
Setting objectives helps focus your efforts on the things you have established as important to achieve in the coming year. However, it is equally important that your objectives are realistic and achievable if they are to motivate you and your team to press on with them rather than create a sense of frustration.
3. Empower your team to contribute to developing the business
There are so many things to do when you're running a business, and many business owners fall into the trap of thinking they need to do it all themselves. This results in many tasks being left undone. Involving your team in the planning process can deliver real results. Decide who in your team will be best placed to tackle certain projects, delegate remembering to brief them on what the objective is, why you are doing it and empower them to get on with it. Not only will more things get done but you’ll find yourself with more time to focus on planning what next.
4. Monitor progress regularly
Making sure you are on track and making progress is a great motivator. Set aside time each week with your team to review progress, make any adjustments required and set the next review date. Not only will this help you to ensure your plan stays on track, but it will increase your sense of being in control.
5. Make tough decisions
Business is tough and that’s why at times you need to be decisive and make tough decisions. It may mean culling an underperforming product line; changing internal processes which may impact on your team; change a business relationship with a client or a supplier that isn’t working any more. The message is if it isn’t working then stop doing it. Make the decision and make the change happen. You will feel better for doing it.
6. Stay on top of cash flow
Ensuring your business has a continuous and sufficient flow of cashflow is vitally important to the health of your business. Many good businesses fail as a result of not having sufficient funds available to cover expenses. Keeping an eye on your finances means you will spot any
potential cash flow issues before they occur giving you the opportunity to take action. Make sure your payment terms are clearly stated on your invoices and ensure your processes for ensuring you are paid on time are in place. You may want to consider exercising late payment fees for customers who pay late.
Review your existing funding arrangements to ensure they are sufficient to support your business plan. There are many alternative sources of finance available which can help your business maximise its cashflow position. Invoice finance provides funding against your outstanding invoices ensuring your business has a source of funding which keeps pace with your business growth.
7. Don’t be shy – promote your business
At times, businesses can find themselves too busy to market themselves to existing or prospective customers. However, if you don’t let them know who you are, what you do and how you can benefit their businesses then they may not think of you when they are looking for the products or services you supply. Raising marketing to high up on your business agenda is important to ensure your business is in the best position it can be to succeed.
8. Consider outsourcing tasks
Many firms handle all aspects of their businesses internally but more and more businesses are opting to outsource particular aspects in order to free up their time so they can focus on growing and developing your business. Bookkeeping, payroll, and marketing are popular areas for outsourcing. However, responsibility cannot be outsourced and along with clear objectives, you should monitor progress carefully.
9. Update your equipment
Equipment can be a substantial outlay for a business and the thought of updating it for a more modern version can get put on the backburner. However, technology is moving at such a pace that you may find that by updating your equipment can bring you greater efficiencies in terms of time, process and cost.
10. Network with other business owners
Spending time with other business people talking about business and the challenges faced can be really beneficial. From generating new ideas to changing how you do things, making contacts can be really valuable to you and your business. Make sure you plan what you want to achieve from the meeting, so it is time well spent.