New Year Goals for Small Business Owners

new year business goalsWith 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

16 Comments ▼

Nellie Akalp


Nellie Akalp Nellie Akalp is CEO of CorpNet, her second incorporation filing service based on her strong passion to assist small business owners and entrepreneurs in starting their business. Free guides, advice and videos on small business legal topics are available at her Small Biz Corner.

16 Reactions

  1. Tax time…don’t remind me. While I hate the idea of getting a tax return (I don’t like the government holding my money interest free) that doesn’t mean I like having to send the government a check every April 15th.

  2. Great post, Nellie. I especially liked what you said about getting your tax books early. I plan to do just that so I’m not hustling and bustling around the beginning of next year to get it all together. Thanks for the reminder.

    Ti

  3. Great post Nellie. And I need to take a lot of that on board in 2013 – especially making time for myself. It’s so important. And thanks for the mention about getting the accounts sorted early – that is a huge relief to accountants believe me. :)

  4. Susan Payton

    It may have taken me years, but I can proudly say I’ve done some of those and am working on others! Nellie helped me file as an S Corp at the end of the year, so that’s a big one for me!

  5. Hi Nellie,
    Gosh, this seems like stuff we should be doing every year, doesn’t it? Oh well, 2013 is another opportunity. Thanks so much for sharing these very important tips with the BizSugar community!

  6. Martin Lindeskog

    Nellie: I love #5. Set Aside Time for Yourself! I have booked “me time” in my 2013 calendar.

    Btw: Nice S.M.A.R.T goal setting illustration! For inspiration, I read to and listen to the works by Dr. Edwin A. Locke, the pioneer of goal setting.

  7. Great post Nellie! Thanks for reminding me about #3, I really need to get that done this year. For me #5, definitely needs serious attention. ;-)

    • Nellie Akalp

      Jody, thanks for reading the post. Let me know if I can assist you with registering your business name. this is critical as you’ll not only get legal permission to use it, but will start acquiring rights to it as well. I know about #5, I share your pain with you as I am in the same boat with my business, record keeping is not one of my favorite tasks, but we have to do it.
      Best of luck and reach out with any questions or if I can assist in any way.

  8. Good goals Nellie!

    If I may add one more to the very important “Get Your Books Ready for Tax Time Early This Year”, while reviewing your books and preparing them you can also create your business budget for the year, it helps when you see the numbers in front of you :-)

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