Posted Monday, October 4, 2004
We have all been told year-in-year about making New Year’s Resolutions. Giving up smoking, loosing weight, going to the gym … all good stuff! But what about making some New Year’s Resolutions for your business!
Resolutions, if thought about and properly planned, can be a powerful tool to boost your business in 2004. Let’s have a look at just a few resolutions you can make you get your business off to a flying start next year.
Get new customers!
Sometimes we can spend too much time looking after our existing customers and forget that there may be new ones desperate for our products! Take a fresh look at your advertising material. Does it look dated? Is it designed to attract new business? Do you do enough advertising?
Could you improve your networking skills? Find out if there is a business club near you … and join! If there is no club, resolve to form one of your own. Get your business colleagues to a local meeting place and ask that they bring along one other business person.
Ask your customers for referrals. If they are satisfied with your service then they should be more than happy to provide you with some introductions.
To give you direction, set a clear, achievable goal on how many new customers you are going to get each month.
Keep your existing ones!
In your quest to get more customers, don’t forget your existing ones! Resolve to call all your key customers at least once a quarter. You don’t have to try to get an order, just show that you have not forgotten them.
If you have recently launched a new product or service have you told your existing customers? Are they totally up to date with your product range?
Think about introducing a loyalty bonus or gift. Reward those customers who have been with you for many years or have placed significant orders over the last year.
Look at your expenses
When did you last review your monthly expenses? Set a resolution to look at your overheads every month. Can you reduce your electricity bill or phone by either being more efficient or changing suppliers?
If you have a range of suppliers, have you recently re-negotiated terms? Are you still getting a good deal or could you do better?
Resolve to look at your Bank charges at least once a year. Does your Bank offer you a competitive deal? What are their competitors offering? Also, check whether you are getting the best deal on all your insurance requirements. Go and see a broker or spent some time on the Net getting some quotes to compare.
Keep an eye on the cash
Next year, resolve to watch your cash flow! Remember, its cash, not just profit that keeps your business going. Are you making full use of credit terms offered by your suppliers? Could you negotiate even more favourable terms? Make sure you get your invoices out on time and that overdue payments are promptly chased.
Have a radical re-think?
Are you putting up with something in business in the hope it will improve next year? It usually doesn’t! Do you have suppliers who are constantly delivering late or have quality problems with their goods? Resolve to search for new suppliers!
Do you have slow-moving products, which you are “positively sure” will take-off next year (for the third year running)? Accept the fact that without a radical re-think it’s not going to happen … dump it and move on.
This year have you been spending a lot of time chasing a potential new customer? You’ve paid for the lunches, paid for a night to the theatre, even nominated him to join your favourite club, but still no business! Is next year the time to accept that they may not do business just yet? Resolve not to waste your precious time and effort chasing no-hopers.
Commit to a plan
If you have decided to take on one (I hope more!) of these New Years resolutions, to give you focus and something to aim for, write them down. Prepare a plan listing all your resolutions and detailing the actions you have to take to achieve them all. Then, resolve to review your plan at least once a month.
Follow these ideas and you’ll definitely be giving your business a boost in 2004!
© Small Business Success 2003
About the Author