As the year winds down and the holidays come upon us, it’s easy to fall into a comfortable routine of Christmas parties, slower days, and finishing out your year end goals. While we don’t want to keep you from the positives of the end of year, remember that this is also a perfect time to get your business in top shape for the next year. Below are six ways to help you achieve this in the next few months and be ready to start the 2018 year strong.
- Get on time
One of the easiest habits to slip into in life or in business is being late. Not just late getting to work or to a party, but late in your bills and other really important things in life. Just like how missing a credit card payment can put a wrench in your credit or at the very least, result in a nasty overdue fee, falling behind on payments in your business will make it harder to pull out of financial strain, even if you’re behind on the payments because of the same strain. It can also affect your ability to get a good interest rate on future loans if you’re looking to grow.
If you’re a small business, you’re probably overwhelmed with the work and keeping track of everything as it is. The best way to keep you on track is to set up a strict budget that automatically sets money aside for the bills, and goes straight to a billpay option when it’s due. Make sure you communicate immediately with those you owe, if you’re going to be late or miss a payment. Most of the time, you can ask for some late/missed payment forgiveness if you already have a good track record with them.
- Consolidate loans
Money will always be the top of the agenda, right? How do we pay the bills, can we afford higher salaries, and what are the options for growth, are all really common questions among growing businesses. Your business loans are incredibly important to the growth of your business, so make them as simple as possible to pay down as a company.
You can do this by consolidating your loans. Work with your current loan agency to see what they offer or who they work with, and make sure you reach out to other lenders to compare as well.
- Get your safety in order
Workplace safety is one of those things you don’t think about until there’s a really big issue and it’s too late. The straight truth is, you’ll actually end up saving money if you put health and safety at the top of your priority list. In NZ, health and safety consultants can be hired to come in and assess your business for risks. They can also work with you to mitigate the risks and put action plans in place to avoid potential pitfalls.
The cost of a workplace injury to your business can be huge. Besides that, you’re risking a loss of trust from your staff and/or vendors, which can hurt your future business. Taking an active interest in your staff’s workplace safety will show them it’s valued and is important as a company. You’ll improve productivity in your staff, and promote a culture of mutual respect.
- Get development on the docket
A common theme among businesses is the value of cross training and internal development. If you’ve had to hire someone on, or regularly are hiring, you know the costs and the time involved of recruitment, advertising, selection, and onboarding. Obviously it can’t be helped at times, and you need to add employees to manage the growth, but often hiring can be a bit redundant and less necessary than it needs to be.
To avoid common redundancies in hiring, make sure that you’re fully developing the staff that you already have and utilising them to their full potential. Promote things like management leadership training to scout out future leaders. Have you and your staff attend NZ business advice conferences and talks and meet afterwards to share information and ideas that come out of it. Once again this is a super easy way to show employees you care about their development, as well as getting something out of it as a business as well.
- Clean up
Regardless if you’re a retail or services business, it can probably use a bit of an upgrade for 2018, both tangible and intangible ones. Think about changing your office design with one of these Auckland office design services. Do a thorough assessment of the work people do, and consider consolidating desks of people doing like work to encourage sharing of ideas and better communication.
If it’s not in your budget to hire those Auckland office designers to revamp your environment, at the very least make sure you have a staff clean up day to physically spruce up the office. Include in that day a clean up of other things like any shared drive files, old emails, and other documents that you’ve saved over the years that are no longer valid. Make it fun by adding music, pizza, or prizes for the best organised desk.
As a business, you’ll never get better if you don’t look at what you did wrong. Use the down time near the holidays going into 2018 to reflect on items like your budget, expenses, and marketing goals. Hold meetings with your teams to consider your business plan for the next year, using data from the previous year. Set things like SMART goals, by using SWAT analysis and benchmarking your progress with other companies.
Even if you don’t complete everything on this list, the point has been purely to get you motivated to whip up your business into top shape. Hopefully this has sparked some motivation in you, and you’ll be ready to tackle the next year and be open to growth, development, and organisation.