The start of a new year is a great time to stop, reflect on the year gone by and work out how you can do better in the year ahead. Whether it’s improving personal health or making the effort to learn new skills, there may be things you’d like to do differently.
But if you’re in business, there’s always room for improvement. Why? Because it’s a game of trial and error and one of the most important qualities for any entrepreneur is to be able to recognise where mistakes were made so they can be avoided next time. Often, you don’t get a second chance. So here’s a few of the most common areas where business owners make mistakes to help you take stock at the beginning of 2018.
Do you have a clear picture of your finances?
Often small businesses lose money without those in charge even realising because they’ve never taken the time to consider their expenses. And the start of a new year is the best time to make a thorough assessment of where you’re at.
For example, when was the last time you thought about the interest rates your bank is charging and compared them to the market? Have you thought about your hours of operation? If you’re operating long days and opening on a weekend, it’s worth considering the return you’re actually getting for doing so. No one wants to work at a loss. What about your business’ premises? Do you need to be right in the heart of the CBD paying the rent to match? You get the gist.
What about your social media strategy?
There’s plenty to consider here. Perhaps you’ve never attached any importance to social media and are missing out on potential customers, or perhaps you’re even one of the over-enthusiastic ones who’ve been going full throttle on every social platform without ever stopping to consider where your clients and customers really are. Either way, you’re either losing out, or making a loss.
Let’s face it, no entrepreneur will drive a successful business, tired, over-worked and burnt out. And there’s a common misconception here; the hours you spend gazing into your screen don’t actually translate into results. Far from it. They key here is efficiency. By making sure you’re taking plenty of time away and maintaining a healthy mind, you’ll be more efficient and productive during the (fewer) hours you are in the office.
It’s true, your business is a reflection of you but it can only ever be as good as the team you lead. Perhaps you need to seek some feedback from those around you to identify areas of improvement in your leadership style. Why? Because it takes solid leadership to keep staff motivated and nurture a workplace culture conducive to efficiency and productivity.
Are you making positive steps towards a solid support network?
Networking comes in a number of guises. It could be an explicit “networking” event, or, it could be the result of your efforts to build strong relationships with customers, suppliers and partners. It’s important to ensure that you’re continually working to build those connections and strengthen the relationships you have with others, because you never know when you might need help.
Have you been a good listener?
When you’re engrossed in a new business idea and full of passion it can be hard to maintain perspective. How well have you been listening to your customers? Do you even have the appropriate channels to enable them to reach out? Either way, it’s important to know exactly what you’re customers are thinking and read between the lines at all times to make sure you’re not unwittingly cruising off track.