Psychologists are divided as to whether New Year’s Resolutions to exercise more or stop smoking are helpful or not, but most of us keep right on making them. The new year is a great time to stop and think about changes we’d like to make. While it’s fun and possibly helpful for individuals to do this, it’s essential for businesses owners to do so. A lot of businesses make the same mistakes over and over again. These mistakes cost money and put the business at risk. If you’re looking for a way to improve your company’s financial health in 2017, I suggest making these five resolutions.
1. Lose the Old Weight
Having clients with past due accounts is like carrying around extra weight, it might not kill you right away, but it won’t make you feel great, and eventually can cause real problems. Once an unpaid account is 90 days overdue, there’s already a 26% chance that it will never get paid. At 7 months overdue, there’s only a 50% chance that you will be paid. In 2017 resolve to stop holding on to overdue accounts and instead seek out help from a reputable collection agency.
2. Make New Friends
Back when you worked for other people you probably spent a lot of time networking for new job opportunities or investors for your business. Business owners often forget how important it is to continue networking, and due to time constraints, often have a hard time figuring out how to do so. Networking can provide both emotional and professional support. In 2017 resolve to join your local Chamber of Commerce, go to a local SBA event, or even join a book club or bowling league, anything that puts you in front of like minded people and gets you out of your office.
Are your internal collection, hiring, and sales policies and procedures working? Can you make changes to improve efficiency and effectiveness? Are you making phone calls when you should be writing emails to get answers in writing? Are you writing emails when you should be making phone calls? Is there anything you could automate that would make life easier for your Accounts Receivable or Sales departments? Don’t forget that streamlining also applies to you, the business owner. If there are tasks that you personally are doing, that could better be done by someone else, or if the need for you to approve items is creating a logjam, turn those tasks over. In 2017, resolve to improve efficiency throughout your company.
4. Be Nice to Others
Strangely enough, many businesses, especially smaller ones, often make it difficult for clients to pay them. In order to avoid transaction fees for credit card or PayPal payments businesses often request payment by check or cash. But with services such as PayPal and Square it’s become more time efficient, and less expensive for all sorts of businesses to receive credit card payments. Doing so will save you time, reduce unpaid or late invoices, and possibly increase your customer base. In 2017 resolve to make it easier for your clients to pay you in whatever manner works best for them.
5. Watch Your Reputation
Safeguarding your company’s online reputation has become incredibly important. Depending on your company’s size and type, it may be time to invest in a reputation management firm. But don’t forget that your reputation in the real world matters, too. Employees, lawyers, collection agencies, accountants and others all interact with the public on your behalf and can affect your reputation. In 2017, resolve to research any company representing you by checking Better Business Bureau ratings, membership organizations, and online reviews.
New Year’s resolutions don’t always go as planned. Once the hustle and bustle of a new year gets started it’s easy to forget our best intentions, but making the efficiency and effectiveness of your business a top priority is a great way to make sure your business stays healthy in 2017 and beyond.