New Year business resolutionsHappy New Year! So now that Christmas feels like a lifetime ago and those vague memories of an extra glass of wine, another mince pie and lots of chatting, laughter and merriment have come to an end, have you made your New Year Resolutions?

I don’t mean your personal ones, although getting fit, losing weight and making a 6 figure salary is certainly topping mine right now! No, I mean your Business New Year Resolutions.

Small business expert Bill McBean and author of the book “Facts of Business Life: What Every Successful Business Owner Knows That You Don’t”  knows what it’s like to be bogged down in the day-to-day pressures of running a company. He recommends taking a step back and looking at the bigger picture so you know you’re still on the right track, and what better time to do so than at the beginning of a New Year.

So here are some tips to make sure your business is where you want it to be in 2013:

1. Reflect on the past year.
Look back at your business in 2012 and think about what you accomplished. Did your business attract new clients? Did you retain old ones? Did you lose clients? If so, what were the reasons? By reflecting and being completely honest about what those successes and perhaps failures were in 2012, will help take those learning’s through into 2013.

2. Stay on top of the game.
If you’re offering more niche skills and services are you staying on top of the latest training and advancements? Have you got the latest technology or software to do the job well for your clients? By going through your service offering and deciding if there are is anything you can do to improve it, will give you the knowledge and therefore confidence that you’re providing a top class service for your clients.

3. Get reviews.
A great way to find out what your clients think about you and your service is simple – just ask them! Use this time to send out a service or business review to all your clients which will give you direct feedback on any areas of your business that could be improved from an outsiders point-of-view. It only needs to be a few short questions such as:

  • What made you decide to work with [me/us/business name]?
  • Have you been pleased with the level of support you’ve received to date?
  • What is the greatest benefit of working with [me/us]? / What are the 3 greatest benefits of working with [me/us]?
  • Are there any areas you think [I/we] could make improvements to assist your business better?
  • Would you recommend [me/us] to other businesses?
  • Is there anything else you’d like to add?

4. Plan ahead.
Once you’ve reflected on the past year and received reviews from your existing clients, you’ll be in a good place to write a plan for the year ahead. This doesn’t have to be too big or daunting, but just to lay down some concrete plans for what you as a business want to achieve in 2013. Then stick to it, or at least adapt as you go – no point writing it and then popping it in a drawer somewhere to get buried by February!

5. Take time to celebrate your successes.
You’re probably thinking there are a lot of other things that should be in place of point 5, but I think it’s important to celebrate your successes. It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day stuff and not congratulate yourself on the new client, new project or reaching a financial goal. But do. It’ll re-energise you and help you focus on the next goal.