<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=290086984736480&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">
Search
word-map-thumb

The Alternative Board Blog

10 To Do's for the New Year: A Checklist for Small Businesses

Jan. 23, 2015 | Posted by The Alternative Board
20141111205513-3-lists-every-entrepreneur-must-make

The beginning of the year is a great time to step back from the day-to-day operations of your business and make time to cross a few items off your to do list. Here are 10 tasks that will help you begin 2015 on a great note!

Strategic Planning

Review the strategic objectives you set for your business last year. Did you meet your business goals? If not, why not? What can you do differently this year to make sure you achieve your strategic goals? What new objectives do you want to add to your plan? Don’t forget to ask your TAB coach for help!

Personal Planning

A lot of people make New Year’s resolutions. The beginning of the year can be fruitful for “soul searching” – especially when it comes to reviewing your work/life balance. Take some time to think beyond your business goals – about whether your business is giving you what you want out of life. If not, how can you change that? This is an area where your TAB board members may have advice.

Want additional insight? Read 4 Step Guide to Strategic Planning now to learn more

DOWNLOAD

Revenues

If your business picks up during this time of year, stop reading and bookmark this post for later! Everyone else, don’t relax and put up your feet just yet. There are many ways you may be able to maximize revenue this year. First, put yourself in your customers' place and think about what is important to them. Are they worried about this year’s budget (and could be sold on the money-saving offers you can make)? What's on their to do list that you can help with?

Budgeting

Speaking of budgets, if you haven't completed yours for 2051, don't delay any longer. (For a good primer on small business budgeting, see 6 Steps to a Better Business Budget.)

It’s also important to understand how your competition is budgeting, especially in the areas of marketing, sales and staff. For example, recent surveys show that many small businesses plan to increase their marketing budget in 2015, and to spend more than in the past on email, websites and social media marketing. If your biggest competitor is upgrading their website or making the move onto Twitter, you may have to follow and budget accordingly.

Looking to raise money? Best Ways to Secure Capital for Your Business now to learn more

DOWNLOAD

Customers

The beginning of the year is the perfect chance to say thanks to your customers! A lot of businesses send holiday cards, but when was the last time you got a New Year's card from a business you patronize? It’s a sure way to stand out from the crowd, and of course, show appreciation to your clients. Another idea is hosting a survey to find out how you can help them better in the new year (try to discover their issues, as opposed to a “how are we doing?” questionnaire).

Here’s some advice from TAB member Tracy Fisher on understanding customer needs: "Every time you talk to a Customer you should inquire whether there any unfulfilled needs of the Customer. This simple step will educate your company on what additional products or services to provide in addition to your current mix."

Operations

The new year is a great time to clean house, or in the case of your business, apply the principles of 5S. This simple technique originated in Japan but has become popular around the world, because it offers a way to organize your operations for efficiency – and keep them that way.

The five S’s stand for: Sort, Straighten, Shine, Standardize and Sustain.

By applying each step in order to your work areas, you end up with streamlined spaces that contain everything employees need to do their jobs efficiently. Although 5S was originally designed for manufacturing environments, it works for any work area that could use a little decluttering. You can find many 5S articles and primers online, or visit Amazon.com for a list of how to manuals.

Employees

business goals

Is it time to make any key employee changes? Do you have the right team going into the New Year? Employees are your number one asset. You already know if anyone on your team  is not helping you meet your business goals. The timing is always delicate with staff changes but in the interest of your business and your other employees, be sure you have the right people on the team.

Do your employees enjoy work? Download Easy Ways to Improve Your Company Culture

DOWNLOAD

Projects

Now is the time to review your other “to do” lists, and ask your managers to do the same. Are there items on your list you never get to? Any unfinished projects? Assign a deadline to finish these tasks by year's end or agree to take them off your list. Of course, this may not be possible in all cases, but you might be surprised at how many items fall off the list simply because they’re no longer important – not to mention how many get done because they have a looming due date!

Human Resources

Many businesses do year-end reviews with employees, so this may already be on your radar. If not, remember that the biggest complaint many employees have is that they don’t know what their managers expect from them. Even if you’ve already completed a formal review at the end of 2014, the new year is a good time to sit down with your employees and revisit their goals.

Here’s a performance review idea from TAB member, Richard Duggan: "When scheduling an employee performance review, I always ask the employee for their feedback on my performance as well. Not only does it validate their experience and company involvement, it also generates some great ideas for me, too."

Celebrate!

Whether it's an office gathering or just a way to remind your employees that they are appreciated, take advantage of the new year and hold a special event for employees. It doesn't have to be expensive, just something out of the ordinary that brings people together, and reminds everyone that there’s more to their relationships than “work."

Read our 19 Reasons You Need a Business Owner Advisory Board

DOWNLOAD

Written by The Alternative Board

Related posts

9 Tips to Help Create a Living Company Culture in a Virtual Workplace
Jun. 26, 2020 | Posted by The Alternative Board
As businesses around the world have gone virtual, digital tools have helped keep most aspects of our work life functioning. Many businesses are reporting increases in productivity, with activities...
How to Improve Diversity in the Workplace
Jun. 9, 2020 | Posted by The Alternative Board
The U.S. is going through some challenging times right now, but a growing awareness of the value of diversity in business may prove to be of long-lasting value for us all. Though the future is...
Time for a Closer Look – Assess Your Business Practices For The New Normal
Jun. 3, 2020 | Posted by Phil Spensieri
For most, if not all, business owners COVID-19 has proven to be their biggest challenge yet. During the last couple of months, I’ve witnessed, firsthand, the resilience of many business owners...
Help Customers Stay Connected and Loyal to Your Business
May. 20, 2020 | Posted by The Alternative Board
Small businesses have always been challenged to attract and retain a loyal customer base. This challenge has been intensified a thousand times over because of the Coronavirus outbreak. Whatever their...
Ready To Reopen Your Business? Here Are 3 Questions to Consider
May. 5, 2020 | Posted by Phil Spensieri
As business owners, we’ve been waiting to receive the much anticipated “green light” to go back to work. As this day inches closer, you’ll need to devise a plan that addresses how your business will...
How to Reinvent Your Business from the Inside-Out
Apr. 30, 2020 | Posted by The Alternative Board
In so-called ordinary times, many businesses experience the need to reinvent themselves to meet changing customer demands. Today, months into the COVID-19 outbreak, the “reinvention challenge” is...
A Balanced Mindset for Weathering the Pandemic
Apr. 28, 2020 | Posted by Dave Scarola
Never has the entire global economy come to a screeching halt. In past recessions or natural disasters, we have always been able to look to previous and similar events. Even if the latest recession...
The Best Business Practices: What You Need To Know
Feb. 27, 2020 | Posted by The Alternative Board
As business scales, circumstances change, and every company must adapt to new situations. Some businesses decide to experiment with different solutions to find out which suits their needs best. While...
Boost Retention by Building a Great Workplace Community
Jan. 30, 2020 | Posted by The Alternative Board
The term “company culture” gets tossed around a lot lately, and it’s true that a strong corporate culture can make a big difference in boosting employee recruitment and retention. But, increasingly,...
What's the Difference Between Business Development and Sales?
Jul. 18, 2019 | Posted by The Alternative Board
At first glance, there doesn’t appear to be much distinction between business development and sales. Aren’t both activities geared towards generating more profit for the organization? Isn’t a sales...