Each New Year ushers in the perfect time to reflect on the changes we want or need to make in business.
It’s been said, “If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail (Harvey MacKay).”Sponsored: This post is brought to you by Visa Business. Visit http://facebook.com/visasmallbiz to take a look at their reinvented Facebook Page: Well Sourced by Visa Business. The Page serves as a space where small business owners can access educational resources, read success stories from other business owners, engage with peers, and find tips to help businesses run more efficiently. Every month, Visa will introduce a new theme that will focus on a topic important to a small business owner’s success. For additional tips and advice, and information about Visa’s small business solutions, follow @VisaSmallBiz and visit http://visa.com/business.
Instead, I want to help you plan for success next year by sharing coveted success tips and fresh business insight to help you build a smart, sustainable and profitable company.
So I’ve curated a coast to coast line-up of industry leaders and we’re excited to reveal the top 15 ways – including 6 bonus tips – you can plan for success in 2013.
Erica Nicole, CEO and Founder of YFS Magazine (Tweet this!)
1. Get results with 30-day tactical plans.
Do you have new business ideas? Great! Let’s make your goals tangible realities. Prioritize and convert your strategies to tactics at an operational level. Create 30-day tactical plans designed to achieve the greatest immediate value. Evaluate each effort and ensure that your tasks fuel the overall value of your “big idea.” This simple planning step can turn lofty goals into achievable, impactful and accountable results.
2. Simplify and get back to basics.
As your small business grows it’s easy to be encumbered by complexities that were meant to improve operations, but actually made things harder. Regain business clarity by eliminating excess and focusing on your core – the heart and soul of your company; why you exist. It’s easy to get lost in perpetual habits that don’t truly add value. Instead, recommit your company to simplicity. Cultivate your business ‘green thumb.’ Prune what’s unfruitful to leave room for strong ideas and programs to flourish.
3. Tune up and prevent future problems.
Tune up your business for optimal performance. Take a look back at this year and commit to a thoughtful approach of assessing what you did well and what went wrong. Clearly identify lessons learned. Don’t be afraid to honestly evaluate shortcomings and wins. Consider it “regular maintenance.” The justification is simple: business “tune ups” can prevent major problems from occurring down the road.
Bill Clark, President and Founder of MicroVenture Marketplace, Inc. (Tweet this!)
4. Make your business fundable.
More often than not you must raise capital from outside investors to take your operation to the next level. Before you ask people to invest, make sure your business is fundable and sustainable. Investors are always looking for something that lines up with their risk and return profiles in the near and long term. Make sure your business is geared appropriately with respect to both.
5. Manage your cash flow.
Your bottom line is extremely important and overspending could make the difference in whether you are able to grow and be profitable or not. Review your budget quarterly, at a minimum, and look for ways to cut your costs and operate more efficiently without cannibalizing the customer experience.
For example, before launching a product, run a small-scale market test to determine the potential revenue and margin contribution. If the numbers make sense, move to the full-scale launch and track customer feedback. A significant number of small businesses fail because they don’t listen to their customers and adapt their business models. The result is a crippling cash crunch.
6. Find great advisors and mentors.
Every entrepreneur wears multiple hats and has limited time to think of everything. A solid network of advisors and mentors, which provides perspectives and advice, is of the utmost importance. Reach out to your network. Find out who has experience in areas where you are weak. You will be surprised to find out how many people are willing to help you out and may also want to invest in your business.