If you’re like most people, on January 1st you came up with a list of New Year’s resolutions to accomplish in 2021. My personal top five, which are also some of the most common, are:
- Lose weight
- Get in shape
- Learn a new task or skill
- Spend more quality time with my family
- Save more money
For each of my resolutions I came up with a plan to accomplish them. What steps would I need to take to get there? For example, to save money I need to start by reviewing my income and expenses, then come up with a budget. As I was developing a plan to accomplish each of my New Year’s resolutions, I realized they could all be applied in a business environment. Stay with me – I’ll explain.
You’re probably thinking ‘how can my business lose weight’? With this resolution, it’s really the plan that is applicable to businesses. To lose weight you must reduce caloric intake and eat healthier food. It’s that simple. Applying that to a business would be to cut frivolous expenses.
Look at income statement line items and see what each account contains. Are you paying for dues or subscriptions that you no longer need or use? Are you overspending on office supplies? It’s also a good idea to review your staffing needs. Are there opportunities for cross training abilities where you can fill open positions with current employees?
Coming up with a goal will help you be accountable. It could be something like cutting expenses by 10% by a certain time period (3 months, 6 months, etc.) or $200 per month over the next 6 months. Whatever goal you come up with, make sure you check in and weigh things out periodically to keep you on track.
Get in Shape
Getting in shape can be challenging because it requires us to leave our comfort zone. It takes effort and motivation to change habits and do more than what we’re used to. Getting your business in shape is similar. Business owners are typically more involved in the overall operation of the business than the books. It can often be overwhelming to review your financial statements and decipher what it all means. But, getting your books in shape will help you with business decisions.
Imagine that your books were not up to date or accurate and you use this data to consider opening another location. If you make the decision to expand based on inaccurate information, you may end up in a dire situation.
The first step here is to make sure you have a good bookkeeper who is regularly updating and reconciling your accounts. Take control over your business by regularly reviewing and understanding your financial statements. Numberwise offers a financial fitness assessment service to gauge if a company’s books are in shape and provide feedback and advice to improve bookkeeping (even if they want to keep it in-house or with their current accountant). Contact us if you’re interested in an assessment of your books.
Learn a New Task or Skill
If there is one thing that 2020 taught us, it’s that we need to be adaptable in the face of change. Take for instance the breweries and distilleries that, upon shutdown, began producing hand sanitizer. Another great example is fitness businesses that shifted to Zoom classes to keep clients active after they were forced to close their physical location. Is your business prepared to pivot and leverage your resources in a new way when uncertainties arise? If the answer is no, perhaps now is the time to evaluate your business for potential new services.
Another thing to consider is that what we considered normal pre-pandemic will not be the norm going forward. Let’s consider fitness studios once again. What if they are able to reopen but only for outdoor operations? Will fitness studio owners be able to quickly shift to adapt? Other ideas to pivot or expand services include bootcamps, fitness competitions, nutrition counseling, or in-home personal training.
Spend More Quality Time with Family
Like most Americans, my family has been at home way more than normal over the past several months and spending ample time together. However, my resolution is focused on spending more quality time with my family. I don’t want us to simply hang out or be in the same room together watching different screens. I want to have fun and intentional time together. My plan to achieve this is to have regular game nights, movie nights, and go on daily walks as a family.
As a business owner, you can delegate some of your responsibilities to allow you to spend more time with your family. Start by making a list of the daily/weekly tasks that you have to do. Then, review the list to see if any of these tasks can be delegated to your employees. Naturally, moving some responsibilities off of your plate will give you more free time. You’ll likely find you’re more productive when you have a better work/life balance.
Save, Save, Save!
Another thing we’ve learned during 2020 is that nothing is certain. With businesses being shut down, the number of unemployed people skyrocketed. So many people were left with no job and no income (other than unemployment). Having a safety net for uncertain times is a necessity for both individuals and businesses.
The thought of building savings for your business may seem daunting at the moment, especially if you’ve been substantially affected by the pandemic. But you have to start somewhere, even if it’s a small amount each week or month. Perhaps some of the savings can come from “losing weight” mentioned previously. Or, it could be a result of creating a new budget to include a portion for savings.
New Year’s resolutions are not just for individuals. You can start now on positive changes for your business in 2021. Like all resolutions, accountability is key. Tell your employees what the New Year’s resolutions are so they can help achieve them. Write down your business goals and post them where you’ll see them. Add the New Year’s resolutions to your regular staff meeting agendas to ensure you’re devoting attention to them frequently. Regular check-ins to stay on track are important. For more information on setting goals for your business, check out our blog post on setting SMART goals.