It’s that time again — time to take a hard look at your small business and figure out what you can do better next year. Instead of concentrating on only the usual issues, such as improving your cash flow and reducing expenses, why not think a bit outside the box? Consider these five New Year’s resolutions for 2012.
- Step into your customer’s shoes. Sometimes you become so accustomed to doing business the same way, you forget to look at things from your customers’ perspective. Why not take a radical approach in the new year and step all the way into customers’ shoes? Take every conceivable action that a customer would and then evaluate each process, looking for areas in which your business can improve.
- Plan and strategize more often. It’s important to plan and strategize, and who says you should only do so once a year — or even once a quarter? In 2012, make a point of starting each week by creating a business plan for the next seven days. Think about what did and didn’t work the week before, and then shift your goals and priorities for the upcoming one. By reviewing, adjusting, and looking forward each week, you’ll stay in tune with the rhythms of your business.
- Out with the old. Dead weight can come in many forms — products that don’t sell, employees who don’t work, suppliers that aren’t consistent, or even clients who end up costing you too much time and money. If your business relationships and product offerings aren’t positively affecting your business, it’s time to cut ties.
- Spend the day as an employee. Happy employees are an important aspect of a successful business, but sometimes there can be a disconnect between upper management and other staff members. Prevent this by spending the day as an employee in each of your key areas. You’ll likely walk away with ideas about how to improve employee satisfaction — and your company’s bottom line.
- Take a vacation. Fewer than half of small-business owners planned to take a vacation in 2011. But all work and no play make Jack a burned-out business owner. Commit to a vacation in 2012, and then immediately start working to achieve it.