If you knew there was something you could do to guarantee the growth of your small business, would you do it? New Year's Resolutions can have that kind of impact.
Statistics show that adults who make resolutions are ten times more likely to reach their goals, possibly because it's like making a promise to yourself. Forget the naysayers who are sure resolutions are a waste of time. If scaling up your business is part of your 2015 plan, making -- and keeping -- New Year's Resolutions will give you cause to celebrate a year from now.
1. Decide how to grow. Figuring out a business growth strategy is a personal decision. It can be achieved organically, or you can employ a totally new strategy such as diversifying your product line or services, targeting new markets, acquiring or merging with another company or expanding your digital marketing footprint. Know which opportunities are rightfor your type of business and how much money, time and resources you're willing to invest.
2. Get small business certified. If you're a woman, minority or veteran who owns and operates 51 percent or more of your company and meets other requirements, you may be eligible for certification (these are three examples of the many certifications available). Certified businesses can take advantage of lucrative opportunities with corporations and government agencies which allot a percentage of contracts to small businesses. Work with local Small Business Administration offices, Small Business Development Centers or Procurement Technical Assistance Centers to help you identify which certification is right for your business, then leverage your credential to go after contracts.
3. Make sure your company is loan-ready. To grow, you'll likely need financing. While banks typically offer the lowest interest rates, they're often hesitant to lend to small businesses. If you've depleted personal savings and the charitable nature of family and friends, consider alternative financing from a community-based organization to hold you over until you can qualify for a bank loan. In the meantime, develop a relationship with a banker, improve your credit score, update your business plan, and have a firm handle on your financial situation.
4. Update your technology. Employing the right technology will help you increase business efficiency and give you a competitive edge. Common areas of improvement are accounting and financing, order-taking, database management, communications and human resources management. Make your decision based on need and goals, not desire, and be sure to get the right support and training. Developing a solid IT infrastructure capable of growing with you is essential and a cost savings in the end.
5. Have an exit strategy. Deciding now how you will exit the business will put you in the driver's seat so you can get the greatest return on value. Whether you want to pass the business along to the next generation or sell it at a profit, establish benchmarks and define your timeline to determine the best course of action.
The New Year is a chance to start fresh and make changes to better your personal and professional life. Start working on your business resolutions right now, adjust them as needed in the New Year, and watch them become a reality in 2015!