Make 2021 a happy new year for your business

  • December 21st, 2020 at 12:40 pm

They won’t help you give up drinking or lose some kilos but by making some new year’s resolutions for your SME, you can give yourself and your team a challenge to focus on, and setting effective resolutions ensures business success in 2021.

Work on the business

‘I’m too busy to plan’ is a common catch cry across all business sectors. The trouble is for many business owners, it’s easy to ignore planning altogether and focus on activity. Therefore, if you don’t have a business plan, then make it a resolution for 2021 to get one.

While many consider the planning process a chore, it makes owners consider the direction the business is taking and provides an opportunity to review financials and performance. You may even uncover some unexpected gems by just doing this analysis before you even write a plan. At the same time, a couple of pages rather than a heavy 50-page document is the way to go. If you’re writing a War & Peace style document, you’re spending too much time on the plan and not enough time thinking about whether it’s achievable.

As part of your renewed commitment in 2021 to working on the business, schedule regular business planning sessions in your diary, to review and readjust your goals, to help keep the business on track.

Review your marketing

As a business owner, you can’t avoid self-promotion as it’s a central to generating inbound leads.

Your personal brand matters, so review your SME’s website and make sure your LinkedIn and other social media profiles are up-to-date and complete.

As a small business owner, you are likely to be an expert in your field whether it’s landscaping, hospitality, architecture or technology. As part of your marketing output in 2021, share your thought leadership by starting a blog and ‘gulp’ even consider pitching yourself for industry panels and guest speaking gigs. If you make this resolution, be sure to consider doing some public speaking training or better still, join Toastmasters International to help brush up on your presentation skills.

At the end of the day, don’t expect these lead-generation strategies to land immediate sales. Instead, the aim of a lead-generation activity, such as writing a consistent customer-focused blog or public speaking opportunities, is to build a pipeline of sales for the future.

Make a regular time to manage the business pipeline

When you’re up to your elbows in client work or an all-consuming project, it’s easy to get distracted and forget about “what’s next?” But having nothing in the pipeline can lead to difficult cash flow lumps and bumps.

Therefore, resolve in 2021 to set some time each day, or week, for prospecting. This prospecting might include cold calling/emailing desirable businesses or chasing up any existing leads or past clients.

If you meet a prospect on Friday who expressed interest in your services, be sure to follow them up on Monday, while the lead is warm.

Set aside money for tax

Without an employer taking some money out of your salary for tax, some small business owners have fallen into the trap of viewing any incoming cash that hits their account as spending money. When tax time arrives, this spending can leave a business in a precarious financial position or worse.

In 2021, therefore resolve to put aside money for tax regularly, so you’re not caught short. Keeping in touch with your accountant can also help keep you up to date with your tax liabilities.

While on the issue of cash flow, the new year is a time to resolve to implement annual price increase to keep up with inflation. Planning a date and informing customers in advance can make the increases more palatable, especially if you prefer to avoid asking clients to pay a bit more.

Review your accounting software

Once you’ve committed to an accounting software package, finding the time to evaluate whether it’s working well for your business can be challenging. Therefore, the upcoming summer holidays could be a good time to consider whether it’s working for you. Better still, to make the evaluation process either for you, most software packages have free trials so you can see whether the product is right for you and your business.

Moreover, if you’re still using traditional desktop accounting software or Excel spreadsheets, consider shifting to online accounting with the likes of Xero, MYOB or Reckon. Online accounting makes it easy to access your business accounts from anywhere, at any time, using a laptop, tablet or smartphone.

Invest in your professional development

Amid the administration maelstrom that comes with owning a small business, it can be easy to forget about professional development. But it does pay to invest in yourself.

Stay on top of developments by signing up to industry newsletters, being active on digital forums and groups and attending workshops and courses throughout the year. If you’re looking for regular content about small business news and views, we provide a monthly newsletter, which you can sign up to for free here.

Commit to upskill and build your knowledge in 2021, then set a goal for the number of events/ training courses you’ll attend each quarter.

Invest in new equipment

If a certain piece of equipment continually breaks down, is it time to invest in something new? By doing this, you can also take advantage of the Federal Government’s $150,000 instant asset write-off plan. 

Troublingly, while half of SMEs that know about the $150,000 instant asset write-off plan to leverage it, yet a staggering one-third of small businesses don’t know about this $150,000 tax break.

Recent research by OnDeck Australia[i] has confirmed that over one-third of the SMEs could be missing out on the tax savings of the newly enlarged instant asset write-off – simply because they are unaware of it.

In March 2020, the Morrison Government raised the limit of the instant asset write-off from $30,000 to $150,000 and expanded eligibility to include businesses with annual turnover below $500 million, up from $50 million previously. Originally, the scheme was set to end on 31 December 2020 but has since been extended to 30 June 2021[ii]

This is not an exhaustive list of hacks you can make in 2021 to improve your small business. But if you apply some of these resolutions, you’ll challenge yourself and your team to strive for more success next year.