With the arrival of the New Year, many small businesses are considering making certain changes and resolving to do things differently in the New Year to increase their businesses' chance of survival.
Last year, we offered you some great business new year's resolutions.
This year, we got some input from entrepreneur Mike McDerment on a few good small business New Year's Resolutions for 2009.
Mike is a small business expert and he is also CEO of FreshBooks, an online invoicing service that allows small businesses to get paid faster and look more professional.
Here are Mike's five suggestions for small business owner resolutions for the coming year.
Place more focus on existing customers
Focus on generating more revenue out of existing customers and clientele, rather than emphasizing new customer acquisition or new lines of business. With new businesses opportunities becoming scarcer in this tough economy, a heightened focus on existing customers will establish a solid foundation that you can build on when the economy begins to make a turn for the better. By focusing on retaining existing customers and expanding your share of wallet in your current customer base, you will avoid any revenue attrition that might threaten your company.
Adopt new technologies to better your business
There are some phenomenal technology offerings for small business out there that can save you time and money. Shed any reluctances and stigmas that you harbored in 2009 towards new business technologies and adopt new tools that fit your business. Do your homework first and choose something that makes sense for your business. Whether it's a means of improving communications with customers, processing payroll online, or procuring invoicing software like FreshBooks, you will be surprised at the effectiveness and ease of use of some of the latest new technology offerings for small business owners.
Establish a small business network
If you haven't tapped into the power of small business networking, this should be a top priority for 2009. For example, you might explore the idea of connecting with local businesses that would be open to bundling your products and services. You can explore bartering or co-marketing opportunities. You can set up a referral network with other non-competitive small businesses to share leads. There are a ton of ways to benefit from your network – it all starts with an active effort to expand and activate your network.
Use employee training to retain top talent
A business slowdown can provide an opportunity to devote time to retraining staff and correcting bad habits. Schedule weekly seminars to teach your employees every asset of the business and strengthen necessary skills. By improving skills now, you'll be better prepared to handle things when the economy turns around.
Re-evaluate all suppliers in search for the best prices and service
You can probably find a better deal on many of the things you are purchasing from your vendors. Make it a point to find the best possible prices without sacrificing quality. Try to find ways to save money anywhere you can and remember to not let your feelings get involved when making the decision to switch. It's a business decision. You may be surprised at how easy it is to save money. In some cases, if you simply ask a vendor for a better price, they will give it to you.