In the blink of an eye, 2013 has drawn to a close. Here are 10 top tips for making a good start to 2014.
Take some time off
If the holiday period is quiet for your business, take advantage of the downtime and shut up shop for a few weeks; let customers know in advance and encourage staff to take the time off too. Switching off entirely for a bit can help you recharge and re-energise batteries in preparation for 2014.
Review your outgoings
Go over your business expenses. Are there opportunities to minimise expenses? Perhaps you could combine some bills – for example, through consolidating your insurance policies – or renegotiate some accounts such as your utilities. Maybe you could even eliminate some expenses altogether – something once seen as essential may no longer provide real benefit to the business and the money could be better spent elsewhere.
Look to the year ahead
Review and update your budget forecast through to June 30, 2014, taking into account the current, up-to-date knowledge you have gleaned about your chosen market.
It’s also a good idea to brainstorm opportunities that can be exploited in the New Year.
Go through your marketing materials and other documentation to identify what needs to be updated. For example, ©2013 on the bottom of your website.
Give the office a really good spring clean
Go through your technology and equipment to identify obsolete items that can be trashed, donated to charity or sold. Can the old business server be sold on eBay to pay for the Christmas party?
Old paperwork can be shredded, or sent to a service like ShoeBoxed to be scanned using optical character recognition technology and stored in the cloud, or downloaded and stored on your own technology.
Moving to a paperless office frees up storage space, saves money on stationary, and helps the environment!
Check your off-site back-up systems
Check that off-site back-up systems are in place, and are accessible if necessary. If back-up systems are time-consuming or inadequate (like they are in many small businesses) look at an online back-up solution like Carbonite. They back up data into the clouds in real time.
Just say your building burns down, and all your computers are destroyed. With an online back-up solution, accessing your data is as simple as entering a password. When disaster strikes, this can mean the difference between staying in business, and closing up.
Re-connect with client
Review and curate your client list. Take the opportunity presented by the upcoming festive period to reconnect with valuable clients by sending them an informative and useful festive greeting. Remind clients about what your business has to offer, and include a call to action, like a discount voucher they can use in 2014.
Re-evaluate your accounting processes
Are your accounting processes cumbersome, or consuming considerable amounts of administrative time? Have you updated your systems to the latest online accounting solutions that include bank feeds and automated processes?
During the quieter period leading to the holiday break, you have the opportunity to look at and detox a few areas of your business. Taking the time to rejuvenate your business will ensure it starts 2014, in the best possible shape.
Heather has operated a consultancy business in Brisbane for the last decade and offers Xero training, set-up and support to clients in Brisbane and beyond. She works with micro and small business owners to assist them in implementing business management solutions that will allow them to generate timely and accurate financial reports.