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Blog: Ten new year’s resolutions that will revolutionise your small business

Although January 1st of every year is no different than any other day, it’s become the poster child for starting afresh. New year, new you etc.

While we don’t completely subscribe to the concept of ‘new years resolutions’ (there are 364 other days in the year that are just as good to start from) we do appreciate a reset.

If January 1st is when you choose to reset – good for you. Here are ten things you can do now, at the start of 2023, that will – hopefully – pay dividends for the rest of the year.

1. Reset your headspace

One of the most achievable yet hardest ideas on this list, resetting your headspace in order to move forwards is essential.

Take stock of the wins and file those in your mental trophy cabinet to make way for new ones; lay last year’s grudges to rest and be open to starting fresh; put aside perceptions that may be impacting relationships; and do a bit of reflection to see if your mental health is where you want it to be.

2. Encourage your people to do the same

Teams become ineffective when personalities clash and fear of conflict sets in, when trust and commitment wanes, and when skills are either lacking or oversubscribed, creating competitive environments or a lack of ownership.

Helping your teams reflect and move forwards is really difficult but offering that option will quickly show you what can be overcome easily and what needs radical change. What this looks like is up to you, but aim for everyone to turn a new leaf for the new year.

3. Set boundaries

If your mental health or work-life balance isn’t where you’d like it to be, consider whether setting boundaries will help.

We know it’s hard to do this when you’re leading an SME, are passionate about your job, and even working from home but more hours doesn’t necessarily mean more results. Rebalance your time and priorities, too.

4. Refresh your plans

January is a good time to check back in on strategies and plans that, for some, could have been made up to a year ago.

A break can provide some much-needed clarity, but at the very least it’s a good idea to remind your brain what it needs to focus on now it’s back to work.

5. Prioritise something you’ve been putting off

This can be anything you like but should ideally be something that contributes to the efficiency or profitability of your business, its people or its products/services.

If you’ve got a project or development that’s been languishing, lost between business case and approval – set yourself a strict deadline to either push it through and complete it, or withdraw it.

Even if you know you’ll need to do it in the future, having tasks roll on from one month to the next has a negative effect on our sense of productivity and achievement, so take it out of the equation until you really can see it through to conclusion.

6. Take a look at your brand presence

Is your website as good as it can be? Are your social accounts active and achieving specific goals? Does your branding still hold up against current design preferences and your competitors?

7. Refresh your employee benefit options

If you’re planning on recruiting at any point over the next year – and even if you’re not – take a look at the benefits you offer as an employer now. It’s a candidates market right now and competition for talent skills in many sectors is vicious. Make sure you have a compelling offer for the people you want to attract.

Remember that benefits don’t all have to be monetary. Simply ensuring you have a modern flexible working policy, interesting social calendar and clear career pathways mapped out are all low cost but beneficial to employer branding.

8. Check-in on the customer experience

Surveys are one way to measure customer satisfaction, as are reviews, project close-out meetings, and anecdotal feedback from account managers and customer service teams. Whatever you do this year, make sure you understand how customers feel about working with you.

Here at MPA we conduct these reviews regularly and there are always nuggets of gold that we use for development and improvement.

Everyone’s world has changed; assuming your customers feel the same about you now as they did even a year ago is dangerous.

9. Plan for having less

It’s really tempting to just focus on growth, but, do you know what you’d do if you had to survive without growth – or even in contraction?

We’ve been advising business owners to conduct reviews and plan for all scenarios for ages, but the number who have actually learned from the last few years is relatively low. Life has been busy since then. But those who thrived during the pandemic had three things in common: resilience, flexibility, and speed. Does your business have those three things?

Plan for growth – it’s what everyone wants – but have a little contingency plan you can turn to if results aren’t there or any of your key variables change unexpectedly.

10. Outsource

It’s really hard to know when the right time is to outsource something. Especially if you’re used to doing things with limited resource (or, on your own!), it can feel almost painful to hand things over. But, the time will probably come when you have to admit defeat and get some help.

Outsourcing even simple tasks can make a huge difference to time, and morale.

Unless you have to do it, unless you want to do it, unless you can’t afford for someone else to do it – delegate!

Many of our clients outsource payroll, bookkeeping, management accounts, self-assessment – all manner of business administration and financial compliance tasks – to us, because they know it will help.

There are contractors and service companies to support on most tasks these days, so there’s no excuse to just let some things go.

Help is available

We love speaking to busy owners who need a helping hand.

Whether it’s strategic advice, goal-setting support, reviews and forecasting help or an outsourcing partnership, get in touch and let us know what you need.