5 Profit-Driving Business Resolutions for 2019
Ring In the New Year with This Simple Business To-Do List
Every year, we—as individuals, as business owners—try to trick ourselves into achieving ambitious goals. To will our wants into realities, we use a stronger, more determined word: resolution.
After all, a resolution is a decision. A goal could end in failure.
Whether you call it a business goal, strategic objective, or New Year’s resolution, the formula for business success remains the same: a detailed, task-driven plan with deadlines to keep you and your team members engaged and accountable.
Without defining success or the directions to get there, you’ll dead end.
Here’s a list of simple, profit-driving business resolutions (and the tasks to go with) your business should tackle in 2019:
1. Company Calendars
Yearly goals require quarterly objectives, weekly checklist, and daily tasks.
To properly schedule your time, start with what you know. For instance, you know how many weeks are in a year, days are in a week. Will your business be open all 365 days? If not, be sure to add all approved holidays and office closures to your calendar.
Depending on the size of your business, it’s often helpful to create separate, categorized calendars to stay organized. Even if you’re a new entrepreneur wearing multiple hats, separating your personal calendars by department is a smart idea. Some days you’re the marketing manager, other times you’re the bookkeeper. Either way, you have the correct agenda for the role.
Here are a few calendar categories to jump-start your 2019 company calendar:
- Ad Campaigns
- Quarterly Tax Due Dates
- Social Posts
- Employee Schedules
- Contract Expirations
2. Take Inventory
Look around. No seriously, this one’s simple. What are you running low on? What needs restocking? January is a great time to step back, take a deep breath, and budget. That budget can (and should) stem from a simple list of needs.
If you’re a retail store, how are you doing on merchandise? Before you panic and reorder, consider last year’s margins on the product. How much revenue did it generate? How popular was it? What percent of your revenue came from its sales? Can you find the same or similar product for less?
Rank your inventory (supplies and merchandise) from most important to least important. Now give yourself time to shop around. Can ordering most-needed items in bulk help you bring down the price? Can you contact the sellers to negotiate new terms? Does it ever hurt to ask?
Conduct a cost analysis and pay attention to customer demand (last year’s numbers and this year’s forecasts). If the numbers tell you to increase your order sizes but you’re lacking the cash flow, consider applying for an Inventory Loan or rotating Line of Credit. Both options will help you capitalize on wholesale supplier rates while giving you enough wiggle room to take care of other business needs.
If you don’t have a good bank lender or want to explore your options, we have great relationship managers worth considering. Any of our experienced relationship managers will help you secure the best combination for service, terms, and rates for your ongoing business expenses. What’s more, they’ll provide business insight and advice.
3. Evaluate Equipment
The need for updated equipment rings especially true in Houston. According to the Houston Business Journal, Houston was third in the nation for manufacturing job growth in U.S. metro areas last year, adding thousands of manufacturing jobs in 2018. Consequently, efficient, up-to-date equipment is becoming more and more critical to manufacturing, tech, construction, and other core industries.
So what do you do when your expensive business equipment starts breaking down? Discuss possible loan options with your bank lender. Equipment Loans are tailored specifically to these situations. However, a good SBA Loan from a top SBA bank may be an even better fit. In 2017, manufacturing accounted for $56 million dollars in total SBA loans through the Houston District Office alone.
4. Manage Vendors and Negotiate Terms
Chances are not all of your vendors exceeded expectations last year. Many probably went the other way—failing to deliver on that spectacular service they kept preaching to you about.
Think about your relationships with the following business vendors:
- Marketing agencies
- Power suppliers
- Security companies
- Internet providers
- Managed service companies (IT service)
- Software subscriptions
- Hardware suppliers
- Landlord or property managers (if renting)
- Insurance providers
- 401(k) plans …
… The list goes on.
Now may be the best time to set things straight. Go through your list of vendors and—more specifically—the contract length and terms. Add expiring contract dates to your newly created 2019 calendar. Be sure to set reminders to renegotiate months in advance, so they don’t sneak up on you.
After homing in on what’s possible—what contracts you can change—it’s time to renegotiate. If the vendor in question has more than proven their worth, perhaps there’s an opportunity to save by locking in a longer-term contract. If you’re not over-the-moon about a vendor, shop around. Look at competitors with comparable services and see if the ones you like most will give you a better deal. The less desperate you are, the more willing they’ll be to work with you on pricing. In other words, it pays not to procrastinate contract renewals.
5. Staffing and Employee Satisfaction
Gauging employee satisfaction can start with the ol’ eyeball test. Are people happy to be at work? How many people came to the company Christmas party last year? How’s turnover these days?
As a business owner or manager, you know your people best. Therefore, only you know how these answers may reflect general interest, and your general concern.
What you may not know is that happy employees are “up to 20 percent more productive than unhappy employees,” according to Forbes. But wait, there’s more. That number nearly doubles for salespeople. In other words, happy employees can boost your sales by 37 percent.
External sales and marketing are a must. Every year, you’ll come up with a new number you want to hit. Every year, your marketing team will come up with new campaigns—new incentives for customers to choose you over your competitors.
But because not all business leaders see the connection between their employees’ well-being and their business’s well-being, internal campaigns—employee incentive programs—can fall through the cracks.
Make it a point to meet with your HR and marketing teams early this year to discuss internal marketing strategies and incentive programs. You’ll be surprised how much of a difference this can make to your 2019 bottom line.