Ringing in the new year with a few resolutions? As you make plans to eat more healthfully and finally run that 5K, it might also be a good time to set some business goals. While the best resolutions will vary from business to business, here are three key promises most companies should keep.
1. Tune into 2011.
Don't just close your books and kiss 2011 goodbye. If you hit speed bumps or found new opportunities over the last 12 months, that may be an indication of where your company should turn its attention now, says Michael Carney, founder of MWC Accounting in Chicago. Did you struggle with cash flow management? Find a new area for growth? Study the actions that led to such occurrences and see if you can avoid or duplicate them to make your business stronger.
2. Look for savings.
Sticking with the status quo can cost you: January is the best time to trim budgetary fat, says Richard Stone, a principal in the Valhalla, N.Y., office of national accounting firm MBAF-ERE CPAs. Find better rates on insurance, telephone service, supplies and other business expenses. Cancel unused service contracts or subscriptions. It's a tough market out there for refinancing, but interest rates are low, Carney adds. Investigate refinancing real estate or other loans.
3. Find your replacement.
Succession planning is an area that is "widely overlooked by small-business owners," Stone says. The new year provides a great opportunity to address the next generation of your business, regardless of when you plan to retire officially. Once you identify a successor, Stone says, you can craft a plan to transfer business ownership incrementally. That way, you afford yourself the greatest flexibility and tax advantages.