Cometh the New Year, cometh the tips for a healthier life, business, relationships and garden. And a few more too.
The old adage has it that most resolutions will be abandoned by February 1, but for business owners that might not be the case. There is a real value in taking a new look at your business practices and introducing improvements – and these are often valuable and lasting.
Whether you enjoyed a booming 2022 or just about scraped through with enough cash flow to keep going, now is as good a time as any to have a review. With so many lists out there, we’ve picked a few top tips from around the web – plus one of our own.
We’ve kept the list short though: if you introduce one positive change well, you could reap the rewards for years to come.
1. Double Down on Your Positioning
Business Expert Tara McMullin defines positioning on here blog as “where your business sits in the market”.
“It’s the stories that your customers tell about your business. It’s the message that you put out. It’s how you do what you do differently. It’s the price you set, it’s the packages or offers that you make, it’s how you show up in the market, and all those things come together to give you your positioning,” she says. “In other words, where you sit in the market.”
She suggests that any business owner contemplating expansion into new products or areas should take a step back and ask themselves the following questions: “Does what you’re creating reinforce your brand? The story it tells about your customers, the value you have to offer, or does it dilute your focus?”
2. Develop a Company Culture
‘Company culture’ is something that large corporates have. Long established business with a history to tell and a need to link together far found departments and thousands of staff. But it has to be developed at some point.
Growth Hacker and Marketer Syed Balki, writing in Entrepreneur, says: “A strong company culture is what will keep your small-business team together during times of exponential growth.
“When employees feel connected to your company, they’ll be more likely to stick it out through uncertain times. Plus, a strong company culture can actually attract new customers to your business, so be consistent with it and splash it everywhere, including your website, social-media platforms, marketing materials, etc. When your target audience can see the values behind your company, they can connect with your business on a deeper level.”
3. Look After Yourself
Experienced entrepreneur Mike Kappel, the founder and CEO of Patriot Software, says:
“Without your health, you’re not going to get anything done for your business. You might think it’s smart to put your business first, but that can actually harm your long-term bottom line in business.”
Kappel points out that maintaining a healthy lifestyle is directly related to productivity. One study found that workers who eat a healthful diet are 25% more likely to be more productive than workers who don’t.
Staying healthy isn’t just about exercise: 23.2% of adults over age 20 reported they had trouble concentrating because of sleep deprivation. Of course, the two can be related. Looking after yourself a bit better could give your business a new lease of life.
4. Look After Your Cash Flow
Just as looking after yourself and getting enough sleep is critical, so is cash flow to your business. It is the lifeblood of an SME, and small businesses literally live and die by it.
If you are not already monitoring this important metric, you should be: if it your cash flow situation is poor, your business is in danger. If the cash flow situation is good, you are likely missing out on opportunities to grow and/or reduce the cost of your business funding.
For advanced cash flow planning, you will want to consider invoice finance or debtor finance as its sometimes called, which gives you full control of your cash flow and allows you to use all the money you are owed by your customers, upfront, instead of waiting 30, 60 or even 90 days to receive payment, to fund your growth plans.