10 New Year's Business Resolutions To Consider

Run the numbers on your company’s fiscal health and make few changes to ensure higher profits in 2022.

10 New Year's Business Resolutions To Consider

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It’s another year. What New Year’s resolutions have you made to improve the money management of your business? If you have a hard time thinking of any, these tips should help.

1. Get to know your numbers. How closely do you really follow the metrics of your business — sales, expenses, profit? You’d be surprised how many business owners don’t know or just have a vague idea. But even if you have an outside accountant (see resolution No. 2), you shouldn’t simply rely on that professional to keep an eye on how your business is doing. It’s important to be knowledgeable about those details yourself.

2. Get professional help. So you’re already intimately acquainted with every up and down of your monthly cash flow and balance sheet? Good for you. That doesn’t mean you can do it all by yourself, however. An outside public accountant will still bring a deeper understanding of what the numbers mean, what they might foreshadow down the road and which ones are most important for you to pay attention to.

Moreover, the professional accountant brings something else to the table: a necessary detachment. If you’re like most business owners, you’re passionate about what you’re doing, and that’s a good thing. But as you pour so much of yourself into the operation, you can’t help but get too close to it. That’s where a trusted adviser provides a necessary counterweight and the cool objectivity that will help you make the best decisions for the long term.

3. Save for a rainy day. Carve out something from your monthly profits to put into a reserve fund you can build up over time to help cover lean periods. And leave that money alone until you face a real emergency.

4. Watch your waste. One benefit of paying attention to the financial details is helping you spot where you are spending money needlessly. Do you keep too big an inventory of some supplies? That means you spent more than you needed to stock up at some point. Are you getting the best deal on insurance, or on finance charges for your business loans, or even on various commodities you require? Is your mobile phone plan giving you the best return for what you’re paying? The list of ways you can shave expenses is virtually endless.

5. But don’t go overboard. When cutting expenses, you need to exercise judgment. I hope you’re not driving all over town just to see which service station has the cheapest gas. But there are other ways in which we hurt ourselves with thoughtless “savings.” Skimping on routine machinery maintenance is penny-wise and pound-foolish and likely to cost you more in the long run when equipment breaks down.

6. Ban “It’s deductible!” from your speech. I’m not saying don’t take every tax deduction to which your business is entitled. But never let tax deductibility be the primary justification for any expense. If you spend money, do it because the service or product will help your business make more money more efficiently or otherwise serve the long-term interests of you and your employees. Spend it on things that would benefit your operation even if it weren’t tax-deductible.

7. Think twice about overtime. Many employers these days have difficulty finding more workers with the skills they need. Others aren’t sure if a spike in business will last, and so they don’t want to hire new workers only to lay them off if a hot streak suddenly goes cold. Those are real issues that can help drive up overtime expenses unavoidably.

But at some point the cost of working people too many hours will overtake the savings of not hiring. Not just in having to pay time-and-a-half when hours go above 40 a week, but in wearing out your workforce and depriving them of time for family life, non-work pursuits and leisure time. If it gets out of control, you may face a lot more new-hiring costs than you thought.

8. Get smart about marketing. Promoting your business has two sides to it: helping people find their way to you for the first time and keeping them coming back. And neither of those is entirely free.

To recruit customers, pay attention to which advertising channels work for you and invest in those that are the most productive. To keep them, provide great service. That means paying your employees competitively and investing in their continuing training and development. You may also need to provide incentives that help customers recognize the value you provide. Customer loyalty discounts, preventive maintenance services and other kinds of customer perks all help.

9. Pace yourself. One thing I’ve heard a lot in the last year – from consultants and business owners alike – is the error of growing too fast. When business is booming, it can be easy to think that more of it will mean still bigger returns. But the stories of companies large and small that flame out like that are legion. So if things are going well, count your blessings and make sure you can take care of your existing customer base before you go crazy expanding it beyond what you can sustain.

10. Plan ahead. How soon should you think about retirement? How about, from the day you first go to work? And if that’s already well behind you, then, right now. Put funds into a long-term retirement account so you don’t have to sell the business when you turn 65 just to keep you going financially. (While you’re at it, see how you might be able to offer employees some kind of retirement benefits, too.)

And don’t just think about your own fiscal future. For business owners, retirement planning includes looking out for the future of the business through succession planning so you can groom future leadership and lay the groundwork for the firm to change hands in an orderly fashion.


Get Down to It

So there you are: 10 ready-made New Year’s resolutions that can help you make 2022 more productive, more profitable and in all likelihood more fulfilling for you and the business you’ve worked so hard to build.

Happy New Year.


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