Small and medium entreprises (SMEs) owners have been urged to take time to reflect on what worked well last year and plan for 2014.
This will help to see what needs to be improved or changed for the year ahead, a South African expert said this week, adding that proactive planning, with clear timelines, will positively benefit the long-term development of a business.
“Business owners who avoid planning ahead may increase their exposure to risks during the upcoming year,” Business Partners executive director Gerrie van Biljon said.
Implementing changes early in the year will ensure that the business is prepared for the period ahead, he insisted. This, he added, will assist in evaluating whether it is effectively prepared for upcoming opportunities or possible challenges within the landscape that it operates in.
Van Biljon’s suggested five New Year’s resolutions for small business owners are:
Managing cash flow as effectively as possible
Cash flow is the life blood of any business. Effectively managing it will allow more flexibility in addressing urgent needs such as late payment, purchase of additional stock to satisfy client demand.
Create and maintain valuable partnerships
A new year is a time for establishing new and beneficial partnerships, and cementing any present valued partnerships.
Building relationships with the right individuals and businesses is key to the success of any business, due to the long lasting and powerful effect a favourable relationship.
But it has to be a win-win one and fair to both parties.
Attending networking events
It takes lot of time and drive to build a successful business, so it is advisable for business owners to surround themselves with individuals who share a similar ambition.
As an entrepreneur, networking is crucial as it provides the opportunity to build those much-needed business contacts and relationships.
Continuously seek mentorship
Seeking regular advice and guidance from a mentor can prove invaluable for business growth, as well as personal development. It is simply impossible to know everything about running a business as everyone has their individual strengths.
A fresh pair of eyes can therefore identify possible gaps in business practices, and assist with strategies which the business has not yet considered. A mentor enable not only a business to effectively focus on its objectives, but also boost morale.
However, select a mentor who has experience in the skills you may lack and ensure the terms of the mentorship.
Establish a successful online presence
Having a successful online presence and strategy is becoming increasingly important for SMEs due to the growing number of consumers making use of online tools to find suppliers and solutions for their needs.
The increasing number of online users and growing popularity of online mediums such as a company’s website, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn have created many opportunities for SMEs to directly interact with both their current and potential customers.
It is therefore key that SMEs utilise these platforms effectively in order to maximise the exposure and awareness for their business.
(Issued by Business Partners Limited, final editing by Issa Sikiti da Silva)
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