Before you lose that fresh start mentality that we all have with the new year, here’s a few relatively simple things every business owner in El Paso should do to start the year out right.
Set some goals.
While we encourage thoughtful business and strategic plans, if the idea of strategic planning is overwhelming — so much that you don’t do it — try this: Carve out one hour with no distractions so you can write down at least three goals you have for your business this year. Then write down three things you need to do to achieve each of those goals.
If you have a team, communicate these goals and tactics, and adjust based on their feedback.
Next, set an appointment with yourself and/or team at the end of each quarter to check your progress. Without even knowing it, you have just completed a basic strategic plan. After you do it once, it gets easier and easier.
Tip: Identify a reward for meeting the goals, even if it is something as small as a team lunch at the end of the year. Remember, they are goals to strive for; you may not meet them all, but you will be in a better place for having considered them.
- Don’t keep it in your head! Get your processes down in writing.
This is true for every business, but especially for small businesses. Think about what would happen if you could not come in the office for the next three months. Would anyone know how to keep your business running smoothly, or even at all?
Make a list of the key functions of your business and document how and when they are to be done. If you have never done this, it is helpful to take a month to make sure you cover most responsibilities. Jot them down as they come up, so you don’t forget to include them. Remember to also include those things that only come up quarterly or yearly.
This is critical to do if you are a sole proprietor, but you must remember to share the information with someone. If you have a team, make sure everyone is involved to some degree. Remind them about the importance of having someone else who knows the basics of their job as well as the importance of cross-training.
- Evaluate your technology.
Do your contracts (IT, phone, internet, software licenses, etc.) need to be revisited? Are you paying for things you do not need or use? What technology could you use to free up some time or enhance efficiencies?
Make use of your calendar.
How many times do you plan to review something “in a few weeks” and it never happens? Mark your calendar to review key processes, people, and contracts to ensure you are maximizing results for your business.
If you need help with any of these, contact the BBB El Paso so we can connect you with a mentor to guide you along the way.
Marybeth Stevens is CEO of the Better Business Bureau of El Paso. You can reach her at [email protected]