There is something uniquely liberating about the new year. For many, business owners and employees alike, the first quarter is a time of renewed motivation and plans for improvement. It’s also the perfect time to set goals that can guide your business towards another successful trip around the sun.
Though there are many ways you can improve your business in the new year, these goals can help you improve numerous aspects of your business, keeping employees happy and productive and your bottom line healthy and growing.
1. Revisit Old Processes & Policies (and potentially create some new ones)
Few phrases are as detrimental to business growth and development as “we’ve always done it that way,” and “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.” It’s certainly possible that some of your processes and policies work just fine, but as a company matures, its needs transform.
A growing staff; new departments, products or services; changing employment laws, etc. can all result in new needs and ineffective or non-compliant policies and processes. The new year is the perfect time to evaluate your operational needs and make any necessary changes to ensure growth, compliance, and a positive workplace culture.
2. Improve Company Culture
Speaking of “culture,” improving and strengthening your company culture is another excellent goal, one that can help you improve your reputation, retention rate, and productivity while attracting top talent throughout the year.
Company culture is a fairly vague concept, and efforts to improve it can very from business to business. However, many companies that have a strong culture practice concepts like establishing core values, maintaining an open line of communication and feedback, focused employee development, incentives and perks, and a comfortable and welcoming workspace.
3. Appreciate Your Employees
Though employee appreciation is, in many ways, an aspect of company culture, it’s still worth mentioning as a singular goal. The best bosses and top performing companies notably appreciate their employees. Unfortunately, a full seventy-nine percent of people quit their job because they don’t feel appreciated.
Small gathering or parties, even in the break room; social media call outs to high performing employees; extra time off; etc. can all be used to show appreciation to a single employee, a specific team or department, or the entire company. Regardless of how you choose to show appreciate, most experts agree that it must be meaningful and consistent (e.g., don’t let your efforts fizzle a few months in). It also needs to be manageable and fit into your budget.
4. Organize Your Finances
If you’re already in control of your business finances, then kudos to you – skip ahead. If you aren’t, then there is no better time than the present to set and start working towards this goal.
Do you have a working budget? Do you know how much you’re spending? Are there ways you can thin expenses and increase the financial health of your business? Do you have a reliable accounting process that allows you to regularly run and review reports?
Each of those questions and activities is important to growing your business, and though they may not be the most enjoyable part of running a business, but they will pay off in the long run.
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5. Stick to a Schedule
Managing your finances is far easier when you maintain a consistent schedule to do so. The same is true for most business activities, including marketing, human resource obligations, and inventory. When you run a business, be it a large corporation or a small sole-proprietorship, having a schedule can make it far easier maintain accountability and organization across the board.
It’s easy to get lost in the minutia of a day, but doing so can put important tasks on the back burner, and when too many of those tasks end up pushed aside. Maintaining a schedule help you and your employees avoid that crisis.
7. Expand Your Market
As businesses mature, the potential for stagnation increases. And, while you may have a captivated audience of loyal buyers, in order to grow, you may need to determine ways to expand your market, opening it up to new customers.
One way to do this is to revisit how you package, market, and sell your product or service. Are there other potential markets that can benefit from the solution(s) your business provides? Or, is there a product or service that you can add to expand your reach and your revenue?
Tackling this goal often requires the collaboration of numerous departments and decisions makers, and it may take a bit of time to reach your end goal, but it can certainly can be worth it in the end, both in revenue and employee relations.
8. Improve Your Online Presence
Another way to expand your market is by paying more attention to your online presence, though that’s certainly not the only benefit. In most industries, having a solid web presence is less of a recommendation and more of a prerequisite for success.
Evaluate your current online marketing efforts including how you rank in popular search engines, a practice commonly referred to as search engine optimization (SEO); how you’re leveraging your social media accounts; and how you create and use content.
A website provides the opportunity for customers and clients to find you, but are you actively finding and engaging them? Networking can be an excellent way to gain brand awareness and make valuable connections, including with vendors, suppliers, and industry experts.
Additionally, networking also offers an intrinsic value, as those who network become more knowledge and confidence in their field while increasing the amount of time they spend learning and working with like-minded individuals, which can result in increased business and personal growth.
10. Take a Break
Today’s employees are working longer hours and often taking their work home with them. Smartphones, remote work allowances, and the seemingly never-ending business cycle – thanks to a truly global market – means many workers are dealing with work-related matters during hours traditionally spent off the job.
There’s a host of reasons as to why that could be problematic, including employee burnout and increased stress, both of which are unhealthy for the individual as well as the business. Conversely, according to Steve Farber, business author, keynote speaker, and founder of The Extreme Leadership Institute, “better and happier [employees lead] to a more productive, less stressed workforce. And that leads directly to success and fulfillment, both on a corporate and an individual level.”
In 2019, as you compile all your business-centric goals, perhaps one of the most important ones you can set takes work off the table, even if it’s only after dinner, on the weekends, or for the occasional multi-day get away. Want to keep your employees happy, healthy, and productive? Consider urging them to do the same, when possible.
The new year can be an exciting time for employers and employees a lot. It’s a time to start fresh, regain motivation and momentum, and set goals that will take your business through the next year. Setting these goals and working together with your employees to meet them can increase everything from happiness and productivity to revenue and market share.
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