How fantastic as small business owners we get to celebrate two New Year’s every year! End of Financial Year is one of my favourite times of the year not only because it’s my business birthday – yes I started my business on the 1st of July 1999 (just in time for the millennium bug!) but also because it’s a great time to celebrate another year of just being in business! You get to say goodbye to the past year if it wasn’t such a good one for you and start afresh. There is an energy about the end and start that can be harnessed for good business outcomes. So give yourself the opportunity to draw a line in the sand, release the year that’s been and set yourself up for a great financial year ahead. Like the start of the calendar year, why not set yourself some New Year’s Resolutions for your next business year?

1.Try one new thing

This might be a new form of marketing, collaborating with another business, saying no to a customer  or maybe trialling a new supplier. It’s easy to get stuck in the way we’ve always done things because they work however you may be missing out on a great opportunity to do things even better.

  1. Undertake some training/professional development

To improve your business you often need to improve yourself first.  Investing in learning a new skill can pay great dividends to your business. This year consider attending a training course, workshop, seminar of do an online course to skill you up in technology, business management, marketing or how to manage your cashflow. Attending or listening to an industry seminar to keep your professional skills sharp can provide a motivational boost to help you through the year.

  1. Implement one piece of technology that will help your business

There are lots of apps and software for businesses that can improve your productivity, customer service, financial management or record keeping. Here’s a challenge for you this financial year how about you implement just one? It might be as simple as updating  your much loved flip phone to the latest smart phone to putting your business 100% on the cloud. It could be recommitting to some software that you are not using to its fullest capacity.  Just keep it simple and achievable and make sure that it’s not just technology for technology sake, rather it will benefit your business.

  1. Update your website/Get a website

This often sits in the ‘gunna’ category for many businesses. We all know that you need to you’re your website updated it’s getting around to it that’s hard. Make this year is the year to do something about it. Your website is your number one marketing asset it’s time to take care of it. If you haven’t got a … just get one.

  1. Measure your marketing activities

This resolution can sometimes feel like the ‘drink less wine, eat more healthy food and exercise more’ resolution and I can hear you saying to yourself “Do I have to?”. The answer is yes. Many businesses spend money on marketing but don’t measure the results to know what marketing is working for them. This year monitor and measure your marketing even starting with recording the answers to ‘How did you hear about us’ is a good start.

Marketing Tip:  If you can’t measure it don’t do it.

  1. Book a holiday

Too often as business owners we feel as though we can’t take time off. If you don’t schedule it in then it definitely won’t happen.  Running a business is stressful and everyone needs some time to recharge. Start with booking a long weekend and then work up to a three to four week holiday. You might be flat out before your holiday and when you return but it is well worth it because it means you can hang in there longer to receive the rewards of running a business.

  1. Develop one new system or procedure that saves time

Is there something that you do over and over again that could either be automated or made more efficient? This might be the year to tackle this. It might be the way you organise your work day only checking emails twice a day or limiting your social media time or you might outsource your bookkeeping. First identify where you spend most of your time and then brainstorm ways you could be more efficient.

  1. Write down three business goals you want to achieve in the year

If you’ve been in business for a while you know where you are heading. It is important to articulate exactly what you want to achieve otherwise it’s easy to drift and take longer reaching our goals. End of financial year is a great time to revisit your sales goals, marketing goals and overall business financial goals. What are three things you’d like to achieve in the next 12 months? Now write them down and look at them regularly that way they are more likely to eventuate. If possible make the goals SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time specific. When you reach those goals this time next year – there will be plenty to celebrate.

  1. Clear out your emails and get it back to zero each week

Do you waste a lot of time trawling through emails or worse still do you lose business because you lose emails in your overcrowded inbox? An overflowing inbox can add to the everyday stress of running a business becoming a constant reminder of all the things that have to be done and ever increasing to do list. It can be like weeds in garden if you don’t get on top of them they can take over! How about his year you choose to keep on top of your emails and enjoy greater peace of mind, feel in control and energised. Clear out the emails in one crack then allocate time each week to bring that inbox back to zero.

  1. Organise a celebration for your business birthday

Every year you survive or thrive in business is a success and definitely worth a celebration. Even if it’s sharing drinks or a cake with your staff on your official business birthday noting the milestone is important. Naturally if you are celebrating a milestone like 10, 15, 20 years or more consider going to town with a year-long celebration including customer specials, a birthday party or releasing a special anniversary product, service or promotional product.

  1. Attend a business networking event

If you’ve never attended a business networking event before then 2017/18 is the year to do it. Networking is one of the most powerful ways for small business to attract new business. Even if you already attend networking events maybe this year you could attend a new event or go to one outside of your area?

  1. Get good or get off social media

Businesses are spending more and more time either on social media or worrying about what they should be doing on social media. Only about half of Australian businesses have a social media strategy which means many are doing random acts of social media that may not be achieving results for their business. If that’s you then maybe this year your New Year Resolution could be to tame the beast, wrangle your social media, learn to do it better or just give yourself permission to get off.

Originally published in Winter 2017 Inside Small Business