Succeeding in small business requires constant attention to detail and a willingness to adapt along the way. With a new year upon us, what better time to aspire to make your small business more profitable than ever before?
How can you get there? Here are six steps to put you on the right path.
- Evaluate your processes and systems and identify which are providing efficiency and which are holding back your productivity.
Specifically consider replacing manual processes that consume a lot of time with solutions that can automate them and that integrate with the systems your business uses. Accounting, sales, marketing, etc…where can you find efficiencies?
- Take a close look at your expenses.
Go line by line on your expense report and ask yourself what’s necessary and what is not. What’s driving up your business costs but not giving you a return on your dollars? Be honest, and consider kicking “nice to have” but unnecessary expenses to the curb in the New Year.
- Assess your pricing.
If you’ve grandfathered clients into rates from years gone by, it may be time for an increase. If you decide to raise your rates, make sure you’re providing enough advance notice to your clients (review the contracts you have in place!) and provide an explanation as to why you’re increasing pricing. And of course, thank them for their understanding and for the continued opportunity to work with them.
- Remain objective.
As the year begins and moves forward, question yourself and those you work with (employees, vendors, project partners, etc.) when things aren’t progressing as you had hoped. Are your expectations too high? Do team members have too much on their plates? Are those involved not pulling their own weight? Do your products and services need improvement? These are tough questions that need to be asked and answered honestly for you to gain an understanding of what you can do better to improve your business results.
- Take action
After figuring out what changes could benefit your business’s bottom line, you’ll need to make a plan and follow through on executing it. Write it down, breaking it down into clear, actionable steps and tasks. Then, share those action items with those you’ll depend on to help you succeed.
- Take responsibility.
As the owner of your business, change starts with you. Take responsibility and set a positive example for others to follow. By demonstrating enthusiasm and dependability, you’ll facilitate a company atmosphere that has a firm foundation of cooperation and accountability.
If you need guidance in making 2016 the best year yet for your small business, contact us at Portland Maine SCORE. Our certified mentors are knowledgeable about all aspects involved in starting and running a business.