Executive Summary – It is time to get back to work after the New Year celebrations. Small business owners should strive to make 2015 a fruitful year. Some of the steps that can be taken include reflecting on last year's performance, cash flow improvement, setting up realistic targets, review financial statements, communicate effectively and to be organized.
Look back at last year – You should review last year from a business perspective and evaluate what went off well and what did not. Review mistakes and reflect on what you could have done to avoid it. How did you correct them? Is there a better way to rectify the mistakes? Take a look at actions that were good for the business and ensure they are repeated. Take your learnings from last year and implement them this year.
Take care of CashFlow – Small businesses need to have cash. They generally give longer credit cycle periods to clients to get more business. At the same time, they might have got loans at more stringent conditions compared to big companies. So you should make an effort to recover all accounts receivables. Send reminders to customers to pay their dues. If they have been stalling payment for long, you should give them some discount to get whatever is possible. Give them options of instalment payments if they cannot give the entire amount.
Set up a proper sales, revenue and profitability target and outline a plan to achieve these targets – Think in an objective manner as to what you want to achieve by the end of this year. Ensure that you have a sales target, revenue target and profit target. Ensure that at least your core team knows these numbers so that they can work towards them with you. You should have a plan in place to achieve these targets. Set up review meetings for the year so that you regularly track where the numbers are.
Improve Communication – Most of your communication with vendors and customers might be over the phone and email. Make it a point to meet up with them face-to-face once a while. It will help strengthen business relationships. Take out time and talk to your employees and listen to them. It builds loyalty and can give you new perspectives. Ensure that you attend industry events, seminars etc. This will help you network, build knowledge and meet potential clients.
Be Organized – There is generally a lot of documentation – hard copies as well as soft copies in business. You should organize invoices, receipts, agreements, contracts etc.using proper names and index so that you can access them easily whenever required. Set up meetings with clients, suppliers in advance so that there are no cancellations and no time lost. You should have all contact names and addresses in place so you can look them up whenever you want to use them. Organizing little things helps you save a lot of time that can be used for more specialized tasks that can help business.