With each new year comes a new set of goals. As humans, we’re constantly aspiring to improve ourselves, whether it’s wanting to lose weight, exercise more, get organized, spend less money, etc.
In light of this yearly tradition of creating lists, here are five attainable new year business goals for the small business owner:
1. Delegate More
When you’re just starting out with your business, money is usually tight and it’s natural to want to tighten your purse strings.
However, small business owners are also notorious for having trouble handing over the reigns. Trying to take care of everything yourself can be harmful to both your well being and your business. With only one person in charge of the whole show, there’s only so far you can scale.
This year, consider tasks that you can delegate down, such as the countless tasks that are easy to do and don’t require specific expertise. If you’re worried about costs, just remember how much of your valuable, revenue-generating time you’ll be freeing up. Your business can’t grow when you’re focused on busy work.
In addition to delegating down, think about areas of your business that you should delegate up. These are the tasks that require special knowledge and skills and ones not related to the core wheelhouse of your business.
While DIY may seem easier on the wallet in the short term, it’s typically better in the long run to hire a specialist to handle complex issues, such as an accountant for bookkeeping or taxes or an expert for handling your legal paperwork like incorporation.
2. Get Your Books Ready for Tax Time Early This Year
Are you guilty of waiting until the last minute to organize and file your taxes? Do you find yourself wading through emails, drawers, and your car to find any stray business receipts you can expense? Do you need to try to remember a full year’s mileage expenses on April 13th?
Don’t wait until April to start on your tax forms this year. Start fresh by organizing your books from day one of the new year and start gathering what you need for your prior year’s taxes now (even if that means outsourcing your accounting or signing up for a new cloud-based application).
3. Protect Your Assets with an LLC or Corporation
While legal fine print isn’t the most exciting part of running a business, forming an LLC or Corporation can be critical to your business and personal financial health. These business structures protect your personal assets from any liabilities of the company.
This means that if your business can’t pay its debts or happens to be sued, your own personal property may be shielded from any judgment. In addition, these formal business structures can improve your tax situation and carry other benefits that you may want to discuss with your CPA or tax advisor.
If you’re not quite ready to take the plunge to incorporate, you should at least register your business name with the state. This simple step is known as filing a DBA (Doing Business As or Fictitious Business Name) and it does two things:
- It makes sure that you’re legally able to use a business name.
- Ensures that no one else can use your business name in your state.
4. Put Your Customer First
As a small business owner, you know you wouldn’t be anywhere if not for your customers. As you move into the new year, put your customers first in all that you do. A small business can stand out in a crowded market by offering impeccable, personal, and customer-centric service.
Treat your customers as people, not numbers or sales figures. Listen to your customer’s needs and bend over backwards to make them happy.
5. Set Aside Time for Yourself
As an entrepreneur, you probably suffer from little separation between your personal and work life. This year, make a point to set aside time for yourself each and every day. Go to the gym, do something you enjoy or just turn off your phone and other devices for a half hour each day.
It’s important to recharge your batteries in order to stay focused and motivated throughout the year. A change of scenery can stoke your creativity. Who knows what brilliant plan you’ll dream up when you step outside your daily grind.
Sticking to a goal is tough for anyone. The most important thing is to create realistic ones that make sense for you and your business. What are the goals you’ve set for your business in the new year?
Goals Photo via Shutterstock