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The Top 5 New Year Tips For Business Owners

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1.Set a theme for the year, not a goal

It is tempting to create a goal for the year and redefine business processes – or even break unwritten rules –to achieve these goals. For a food manufacturing company, this could be to win contracts with two of the large supermarkets. For a cloud computing company, it could be to acquire 1,200 new customers by the end of the year. While both may be easily achievable goals,, defining a theme to help achieve these goals can be the key to success. For the food manufacturer, rather than pursuing a hard sell to the supermarkets, working throughout the year to create a product which stands apart from closest competitors with a strong and identifiable brand image is likely to result in more success than continually attending supermarket trade shows; inhibiting time for innovation. For the cloud computing company, an ongoing programme to understand changing customer needs and providing a product or service to meet them is likely to create more customer wins than taking out adverts over the course of a year.

2. Create short term mini-goals to achieve a long term plan

Winning 1,200 new customers over the course of a year might be the major goal, but set “mini goals” throughout the year which can provide an interim boost to staff. This might be to acquire 60 new customers in January based purely from referrals from other satisfied customers, or renegotiating  supplier contracts to a more acceptable price at the end of the first quarter.

3. Ensure staff are empowered to deliver your strategy

Take time to review your team and make sure you have the best people in the right positions to deliver your goals. Do your staff have the right resources to deliver? Do they have the relevant expertise, or is additional training required? Perhaps new talent is needed in specific areas, or can existing staff be moved or reskilled to newer, fast growth areas? Regardless of alignment, ensure staff feel they have a tangible part in delivering business goals. Assigning staff to help deliver the “mini goals”  is a good way to help people feel involved.

4. Be transparent

The sooner everyone knows about business plans, the better. This doesn’t just mean keeping staff up to date, but also advisors: telling recruiters, for example, that you are looking to expand within certain areas over the course of the year means they could give you an early “heads up” if they become aware of new talent. Your accountant meanwhile may be able to advise on how you can organise your finances to take advantages of tax credits or business grants. Some may even be able to offer advice on how to tweak a strategy to make it even more successful.

5. Be prepared to win

A new strategy is designed to succeed so - if all the correct planning is in place -  don’t be surprised if it does! Make sure you have the relevant infrastructure in place to cope when the additional orders come in, or have a PR team in place for when your product starts flying off the supermarket shelves. Your plans may even deliver sooner than intended or our business might grow faster than anticipated. It could even be that “now” suddenly becomes the right time to sell your business. Being able to manage this success and having plans in place to  grow off the back of it is crucial.

Posted Jan 2017
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