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2024 new years resolutions small business

2024 New Year’s Resolutions for Small Business Owners

New year, new beginnings. 2024, like the start of every year, is viewed as a chance for people to become their best selves. That manifests itself as New Year’s resolutions — vows to go to the gym more, be smarter about finances or work toward a new career.

But it’s not just individuals who can benefit. Small business owners can use New Year’s resolutions as an opportunity to take their companies to the next level.

What makes a good New Year’s resolution? Ultimately, you want to pledge to do something that’s both achievable and measurable. But resolutions don’t always have to include a hyper-specific target — as long as there’s some way to measure progress, you have something you can both work toward.

The following are 10 great examples of resolutions that will either benefit you as a small business owner, or your entire small business.

New Year’s Resolutions for Small Business Owners in 2024

#1: Check Up on Your Business Plan

We’re assuming when you started your small business, you also wrote a business plan.

A business plan outlines all of your company’s goals, as well as how you plan on achieving them. And while it’s helpful for giving your business direction, it also has other important purposes. Per the Small Business Administration:

“Business plans can help you get funding or bring on new business partners. Investors want to feel confident they’ll see a return on their investment. Your business plan is the tool you’ll use to convince people that working with you — or investing in your company — is a smart choice.”

But a business plan is not etched in stone.

If your business has changed in the past few years, give your business plan a fresh look with fresh eyes. Make updates where necessary, whether that’s to your goals, your competition, your operations, your financials, or other aspects of your business.

#2: Organize

Disorganization can be kryptonite to small businesses and small business owners alike. It doesn’t matter how good your product or service is — if your computer is a mess, you’ll be less productive; if your org chart is confusing, employees will wonder where they stand; if your financial records are in disarray, you’ll be likelier to find yourself face to face with the IRS one day.

Review all of your systems and processes and determine which areas need a tidying up. Then determine a realistic timeline. If you can set aside a day or two for a full, clean sweep, do it. But if you can’t, don’t force it. Just make sure that if you can only get organized over time, you’re being methodical about it. Set aside the same amount of time at the same time each day/week until everything is in order.

#3: Build (or Focus) Your Brand

We wish business was as simple as “make a great product or services and the customers will follow.” Sadly, that’s just not how it works. You have to make people aware of your product or service, and you have to build a trustworthy brand that appeals to would-be customers.

Some of this is really straightforward. Whether you do it in-house or have someone else do it for you, you’ll need a logo, company colors and general branding for your communications. But long-term brand building also involves things such as demonstrating that you’re an expert in your industry (through content such as white papers and blogs) and providing excellent customer service.

If you’re just starting out as a business, make building your brand one of your 2024 New Year’s resolutions. If you already have basics, such as visual branding and voice, work on more difficult goals like proving yourself as a subject-matter expert and gathering satisfaction data from your customers.

#4: Size Up Your Competition

Business owners occasionally try to operate their companies in a bubble. If a customer isn’t happy about their offerings, they work on an update or an improvement to a product or service. If margins are lacking, they look for better prices from other vendors. They find solutions as it pertains directly to how their business operates.

But they ignore what competitors are doing, and eventually, that can leave them completely behind the 8-ball.

Make 2024 the year you do a little competitive analysis. Determine some of the companies you’re fighting for market share, and study what it is that makes consumers choose them over you. Are they undercutting you on price, do they offer better-quality wares, or are they just beating you on the marketing front? Answers to questions like these can help hone your business strategy and edge out your competitors.

#5: Take Note of Recession Predictions, But Don’t Let Them Hamstring You

Economic experts spent the second half of 2022 predicting that 2023 would usher in a recession — a recession that never came. Nonetheless, a lot of business owners, big and small, held back on expansion plans out of an overabundance of caution — and they’re doomed to do the same if they listen to yet another round of calls for a financial downturn in 2024.

Could a recession finally strike? It’s certainly possible. But building a small business involves taking on some risks. The key is taking calculated risks — being cognizant of potential dangers but not letting them paralyze you.

#6: Get Better About Cash Flow

Perhaps no other financial metric is as important to a small business as cash flow. You can start the year projecting a healthy full-year profit, but if you don’t have the actual cash to pay your actual bills each and every month, those projections are meaningless.

Most small business owners should make learning cash flow management a 2024 New Year’s resolution. That means learning how to properly monitor your cash, and developing business practices that best ensure your cash is coming in as predictably and reliably as possible.

#7: Motivate Your Staff

Workforce shortages in 2021 and 2022 proved to businesses of all sizes the importance of being properly staffed up. That doesn’t just mean having enough people to keep the company running — it’s also having high-quality and motivated employees who can truly make your business stand out.

In 2024, make it a goal to keep your staff motivated. That naturally means paying them well, especially after pay standards rocketed higher in 2021 and 2022. But small businesses shouldn’t ignore other benefits that keep workers’ heads in the game.

#8: Get More Social

No, this is not (necessarily) a call to get more active on social media – unless, of course, we’re talking about LinkedIn.

In 2024, resolve to be more conscious about networking. For many individuals, networking is a great tool to help secure employment in the future, but for small business owners, networking is a way to find new vendors, partners and clients.

Don’t make a vague resolution, either. Like with a budget, keep it specific — challenge yourself to make at least two new meaningful professional connections every month.

#9: Set Limits for Yourself

You show up to an investor pitch on just one hour of sleep. You’re about to present your newest product to a 500-location chain, but you forgot to eat anything today.

How well do you think these crucial meetings will go?

Small business owners have a reputation for being martyrs, sacrificing their health and happiness in the short run so they have a chance at success in the long run. But there’s only so much you can sacrifice before you start to hurt yourself — and your business.

If you’re going to make a New Year’s resolution for 2024, make it setting limits for yourself. Keep yourself to a certain number of work hours each day. Take care of yourself … and take a paycheck.

If you don’t take care of yourself, you’re not giving your small business the best chance to succeed.

#10: Resolve to Accept Help

Small business owners also have a reputation for taking on many challenges alone. While that’s admirable, it’s not always the best decision — especially as it pertains to business needs where professional experience and insights can make a world of difference.

Need accounting help? Want to make sure your small business’s tax filings are stress free and flawless? Want to gobble up the competition? McManamon & Co. has decades of collective experience helping small and midsize businesses tackle these issues — and so much more.

Make a resolution to get in touch during the new year. You can call us at 440.892.8900 or contact us online.

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