The year ahead: 3 essential goals for your business

Before the holiday season rush, take some time to consider your business goals for the coming year. 

Before the holiday season rush, take some time to consider your business goals for the coming year. Focusing on just three simple objectives – improving profitability, embracing technology and hiring help – can do wonders for boosting your financial and personal well-being.

1. Create a strategy to grow profits

Before setting financial targets for the coming year, take time to review your expenses. Cut costs where you can by renegotiating service contracts, buying supplies wholesale or going paperless. At the same time think about how you can be more efficient. Offer low-cost incentives to staff who find ways to work smarter and improve productivity – maybe a free meal or a day off.

The other side of improving profitability is finding new ways to bring in more business. Search your network for profitable partnership opportunities. Approach a colleague who owns a complementary business to see if you can team up to market your services together. For example, a website developer can team up with a freelance writer to cross promote services.

2. Use technology to your advantage

If you are among the estimated two-thirds of Canadian business owners who haven’t adopted cloud-based computing, plan to get your feet wet in 2016. Recycle or donate costly-to-maintain hardware and retire software that requires constant updates. You’ll save money by switching to budget-friendly cloud storage solutions and increase productivity with small business software applications.

Rely more on technology to help cut down on business meetings that require travel, too. Set a goal to cut your business travel by half. Imagine the time you’ll save meeting remotely via Google hangouts or Skype – and consider how you can reinvest cost savings back into your business.

Also consider using technology to help you earn more money with a passive income stream. If your customers are hungry for knowledge, a website or digital magazine available to paying members only is an option to bring in extra monthly revenue.

3. Get help to keep growing

Many small businesses stay small by continuing to run as a solo operation. If you want to grow, you may need to invest in human resources. You may be surprised how worthwhile – and affordable – an extra set of hands can be.

If your HR budget is small, look into opportunities to hire an intern from a local college. Someone who can take care of time-consuming administrative and marketing tasks will free you up to close more sales. Alternatively, working with a temp agency offers the added bonus of screening staff, matching the right person with the skills for the job. Another cost-friendly hiring solution is to hire contractors or freelancers who can get the job done: these days, a business can outsource pretty much any function.

Hiring help – as employees or suppliers – can do more for you than reduce your work load. You’ll have someone trained to step in when you need to take time off so you can rejuvenate and continue to grow a successful business.

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