Written by Simon Morgan, HR Dept South East London and North Kent.
New year, new you, new business success – the New Year’s Resolutions that work for your business as well as your home life
The end of the year is a great time to take stock of what you’ve achieved over the past year and to set goals for the next 12 months. If you’re a small business owner, this is true not only in your personal life, but also in relation to work, particularly for those who often struggle to separate the two. But don’t worry, identifying resolutions for both doesn’t mean double the work – many of the most popular resolutions apply to home and business alike.
- Lose weight (through delegation)
Undoubtedly the most common resolution across the western world, losing weight doesn’t only have to be about dropping a few pounds, but can also be to do with relieving you of some of your burdens and responsibilities at work. Yes, you’re a small business owner, but no, that shouldn’t mean that you have to do each and every task that arises. If you’ve got a good team around you, you should look to delegate more. It may mean that you need to invest in some training, but this is a short-term pain for a long-term gain. Not only will it free you up to concentrate on those tasks that really do need your attention, but your employees will be grateful for the opportunities that additional responsibilities bring. As a business owner, your responsibility isn’t just to your clients, but also to supporting your employees’ careers, and delegation is a great way to do this.
- Exercise more (get out from behind your desk and start networking)
Linked to number one, the more weight you lose (or tasks you delegate) the more time you’ll have to get out and start networking. Whether you want to obtain more clients and contacts or just learn from others in a similar situation to your own, business networking is a great way to do it. Getting out from behind the desk and meeting new people can help spark new ideas, refine existing ones, and make valuable new contacts. And remember, networking isn’t just something that you can benefit from, get your employees involved too – it’s a great development opportunity for them, and an efficient way of ensuring that your business is represented at more networking organisations than you might feasibly be able to get to yourself.
- Be more organised (planning should be a regular undertaking)
When you’re a small business owner, it can be difficult to see the wood for the trees. You’re so busy dealing with the daily deluge of tasks and responsibilities, it can be hard to make time to step back and see the bigger picture. Yet so often we only make time for business planning once a year. This year, try to make it a weekly event. More regular, shorter business planning sessions can really help to ensure that your business is developing in the way that you want it to, giving you time to set new directions or tweak existing goals. Don’t forget that you’re not the only person with a vision for your business – involve your colleagues in your planning; their feedback and ideas will be invaluable.
- Learn a new language (the language of digital)
Wherever your customers are in the world, you’ll find that they are all increasingly speaking the ‘language’ of digital marketing. Developing a website and establishing a presence on a social media platform is something that many SMEs do when setting up, only to let it languish when you get busy with your ‘day job’. Yet for so many of your customers – both existing and potential – your digital presence will be one of the primary ways with which they keep in touch with your business. In 2019, make sure that you make time to regularly review and update your website. Review different social media platforms and see which one has the potential to work best for your company. Get your employees involved in this too – nowadays, most people have some social media presence, talk to them to find out how they interact with different companies, and what they think might work for your business.
Of course, digital isn’t just about communicating with your clients – are you taking advantage of the opportunities to communicate with and train your staff online? Learning and development can increasingly be delivered efficiently across a range of different mobile platforms; make sure your business and your staff aren’t getting left behind.
- Earn more money (charge – and pay – what you’re worth)
When you’ve got a small and loyal client base, you may be in two minds about putting up your rates. But keeping prices the same year on year not only affects your profits, but it can also negatively impact on your motivation as you start feeling underpaid and undervalued. Charging the right amount will help you market to the right audience.
And of course charging what you’re worth will also help you to ensure that your employees are properly remunerated. Whether you review your own rates or not, it’s important to carry out a proper review of staff compensation. Don’t only base salary increases on the levels that you’re paying now, look at the market as a whole and be prepared to make revisions to ensure that you’re paying competitively so that you can attract the best candidates and retain your best employees.
For more help and advice on ‘getting your HR house in order’ in 2019, contact Simon Morgan at The HR Dept South East London and North Kent.