10 New Year Business Goals & Resolutions
You’ve just come through the end-of-year tax gyrations with your tax advisors and accountants, but after the holiday celebrations are over, there’s more to do. It has to do with marketing, income, expenses, and taxes. They are all parts or products of the operation of your business, so starting the year with a look at your processes and goals is smart.
Sometimes the goals at the beginning of the year are simply to schedule progress checks during the coming year. How well the business does this year will prompt changes in goals to adapt to growth, negative or positive. Semi-annual or quarterly progress checks can give you an edge for growth by giving you time to react to market influences. These are some of the areas in which you may want to set goals or resolutions for the coming year:
- Maximize advertising tracking mechanisms’ effectiveness – Some marketing is “image” related and not really measurable as to actual business generated. However, a great deal of advertising is focused on bringing in business. How well are you measuring the results of print, web, and other marketing campaigns? If you aren’t at all, or if your campaigns need improvement in results tracking, resolve to improve results measurement.
- Do a competitive market analysis – How well is your marketing and advertising doing when compared to that of competitors? You cannot see their results tracking, but you can check out things like their search position on the web for key phrases that bring in business. If yours is a local brick and mortar business, you may be able to see the traffic results from their coupon or sale campaigns. When you are impressed by advertising of a competitor in a positive way, you may want to do some of the same.
- Set a marketing analysis checkpoint – Decide when you want to go through your marketing tracking results later in the year for possible changes.
- Analyze your pricing in your competitive market – Are you competitively priced? This does not necessarily mean being cheaper than the competition, as that could be suppressing your profits unnecessarily. If your pricing is on the high end, is your quality of product or service justifying it? Can your business model support pricing like volume discounts and still maintain desired profit margins?
- Check billing methods for possible improvement – If you invoice customers/clients, do your billing systems promote prompt payment in full? If payments are slower than you would like, will your pricing support prompt payment discounting? A small price increase with the introduction of prompt payment discounting that offsets it could prompt slow payers to get better while having no impact on those paying promptly.
- Set a quarterly or mid-year re-evaluation – Check to see if changes you may have made are having the desired effect. Are changes in order due to poor results?
- With income results above, check expense creep – You are checking income as above, but if expenses have been creeping up, you may need to take action to adjust prices or cut expenses to maintain your margins. Of course, this is an ongoing activity, but it generally is focused on individual expense items as costs rise. Do an overall examination of all costs of doing business to see where you stand and how it relates to last year’s profits.
- Do it again at least at mid-year – In inflationary cycles, you can get into a profitability trap quite quickly if you are not keeping up with all costs. This means not just production or service delivery costs, but admin and overhead costs as well. Insurance premiums is one area to watch.
- Check your quarterly estimated payments against taxable income – Your quarterly estimated payments are based on the previous year’s taxable income. If your income is trending higher this year, be sure to maintain a savings balance to pay the extra taxes at tax time. If your income is lower, can you cut your estimated payment amount(s) and by how much to avoid penalties?
- Meet with your tax professional(s) – This is a given, as they are keeping up with tax news, can advise you of coming changes, and can help you with decisions during the year that will have a significant impact on your taxes in the current or future years. An example would be a major equipment or facility purchase and a discussion of depreciation options.
Depending on your business type, there could be other important aspects that require planning for the coming year and adjustment during the year. Prior planning helps in avoiding negative business results.