New Year’s Resolutions for the Small Business Owner

“This year I’ll lose weight, start exercising and enjoy life more!” Sound familiar? Yep, it’s New Year’s resolutions time! This year, look beyond the personal and make business resolutions that can strengthen your bottom line.

Here are several resolutions tailor-made for entrepreneurs. Pick a few, write them down, post in a prominent place and start making those positive changes.

Elevate Awareness

Pledge to increase consumer awareness of your brand in 2018. Great customers might be out there but unaware of what you offer. One way to increase your brand’s profile is through Public Relations opportunities. Has your company been covered in the local media? From local radio shows to regional publications, reporters are hungry for content and small businesses get covered frequently. If this isn’t the area of expertise for you or members of your team, consider hiring an outside PR professional. A publicist or agency can help craft your story and pitch it to media outlets that are a fit.

Collaborate with Other Small Businesses

Small business owners that only focus on competition could be missing opportunities to build new business. Working together with other companies can help you save on shared expenses like marketing or advertising. Check out this comprehensive blog post for collaboration ideas: Ways Your Small Business Can Support Other Small Businesses.

In addition to teaming up with others, go out of your way to support other small businesses – shop small!

Clear Out the Clutter

Dedicate a day – or more – to simply get organized. Turn on your paper shredder, call a local donation agency and clear out the clutter. In addition to organizing your physical space, look for ways you can streamline digital activities. From work flow apps to cloud computing, there are a host of strategies to help you declutter across your entire organization.

Explore Your Work/Life Balance

It’s no secret – running a business can be stressful. Entrepreneurs are often on call 24/7 making it very difficult to take time off or relax. If you manage to craft a good work-life balance, your business can run more smoothly and effectively. Our blog post, 4 Essential Tips for Avoiding Burnout as a Small Business Owner, has easy tips you can implement.

Build Savings

Many small businesses aren’t proactively saving for unforeseen expenses. A recent survey found more than half (53 percent) of small business owners don’t have a business savings account – with many opting to keep all their cash in their checking account or a personal savings account. Savings can act as a safety net or help you invest in business building opportunities that come up suddenly. Start building your savings by cutting expenses and funneling the extra cash into a dedicated account. Entrepreneur outlines 50 penny pinching ways to save money. The money you save can be earmarked for savings: 50 Ways to Save Money in Your Business.

Review Your Company Culture

Whatever the size of your business, company culture is one factor that can make or break its success. A high-performing company culture leads to happy employees, an engaging environment, productivity and positive communication. If your culture needs an overhaul or you need to establish one from scratch, Quickbooks has a great guide: 6 Ways To Build a Great Corporate Culture for Your Small Business.

Address Bad Business Debt

There’s good business debt and bad business debt. Good debt has low rates, long terms and manageable payments. Bad debt, like credit cards or lines of credit, has high rates, short terms and payments that cut into cash flow. If your business is weighed down under bad debt, consider strategies to reduce that debt and strengthen your bottom line. Our blog has steps you can take now to cut down on debt and strengthen your cash flow: How to Reduce Bad Business Debt

Improve Your Credit Rating

Good credit is key for small business owners. Strong credit scores help you to grow, expand and strengthen your business. There are a host of reasons to manage your credit and keep scores high. Fundera outlines the top reasons you should strive to improve your credit rating. 5 Reasons You Need Good Business Credit.

Consider an SBA Loan

If you’ve been in business for 2+ years and have a strong credit profile, take a look at your business plan. Could additional low-cost funds help you grow and meet business goals? With proceeds from an SBA loan, you can pay off high interest debt, increase marketing, hire new employees, purchase commercial real estate and more.

Not sure if you qualify for an SBA loan? Try the new SmartBiz Advisor online, educational tool to learn about how you can get your business SBA or bank loan ready – no cost involved.  You can assess key criteria banks consider and where your business stands on each. Learn more about SmartBiz Advisor here.