New Year’s resolutions that every small business owner should make for 2023

Sometimes we are very serious and sometimes a bit cynical about New Year’s resolutions. And yet, at the beginning of every year many of us still make them. It is when we decide to start doing something better, smarter or healthier.

We sure feel very proud when we have actually delivered on the promises we made to ourselves. And it hurts when we haven’t. So “how will I be able to deliver on this?” is a question we ask as soon as we have made such commitments. The most prudent among us would actually ask this question before making any resolutions and would avoid making commitments they are not sure they can deliver on.

Read further to find the most important tips for making New Year’s resolutions as an entrepreneur and learn how you can be confident about following through.

Whether you are confident, controlling or optimistic as a small business owner, there is most likely something to do with being a more successful business on your resolutions list. These are the two that should be on the top to be a better business owner:

  1. Always be reliable: my company will make all payments to our staff and suppliers on time.
  2. Grow efficiency: I will spend a lot less time doing time-consuming manual and  repetitive tasks.

How to achieve these goals?

1. The key to becoming reliable is proactive planning. This will help you make sure to always pay your staff and suppliers on time.

Any entrepreneur knows how important it is to be considered reliable. Reliable companies win the best deals, attract the best talent, have the lowest costs of borrowing and enjoy many other benefits.

Paying your bills on time is one of the most important aspects of reliability and yet it is not easy at all to ensure. This is because not everything is in your control and you depend on others (in most cases your clients).

Make cash flow forecasting a habit

So, as far as New Year’s resolutions go, making cash flow forecasting a habit is worth putting down on your list of goals.

Very likely you have experienced that every now and then things don’t go as expected and cash shortages occur. If you find out about them a couple of days in advance, there is often little you can do at such a short notice. This is where a habit of proactive planning comes in. When you actively follow your expected cash flow, you can see your outlook several months ahead. Like this you’ll be able to spot potential problems much earlier.

So if there is a risk of running out of cash, you will see it several weeks or even months in advance which gives more time to prevent that. And since you see every transaction, all dependencies as well as hints for potential actions are always visible.

A real life example of when cash flow can get you in trouble.

You might be expecting a large payment from client A in January. But their project is rescheduled, which makes the payment 20 days late. When you keep an eye on your cash flow, you might see this results in a cash shortage for February payroll day. When forecasting ahead, you can figure out an alternative scenario. Maybe you can complete work for client B a lot faster than planned and agree to invoice them earlier than planned.

2. Growing efficiency means making smart choices with the supporting tools and processes you use.

When operating a small company most of the processes are fairly straight forward. So we tend to focus less on automation. And often think that it is even normal to do everything ourselves, manually. But when you think about it – why would you do the same repetitive task twice when you could do it just once? There are so many processes we could solve smarter in our business – whether it is setting an automatic email signature, choosing a tool that helps to post on social media efficiently on each platform or choosing a cash flow planning tool that automatically updates whenever a planned transaction happens. 

Time is a valuable resource that can only be won with smart choices.

Manual repetitive processes often lack cohesiveness and steal valuable time that you could use for more important tasks. But they also produce out-dated situations. For example, if you’re used to updating a cash flow forecast manually, forgetting to add or change one transaction can mess with the whole forecast.

From the example above about growing your reliability, we know that unexpected situations can happen easily.

So when it comes to your business’ cash flow, it is smart to choose an easy and automated system for keeping track of your expected incoming and outgoing transactions. Excel and Google Sheets are great for many tasks and can get the job done. But they won’t pull or update your forecast automatically once a transaction happens. This is a lost opportunity in automating your processes and saving time. To paraphrase a Chinese expression “an interactive and automated forecast is worth a thousand spreadsheets”.

7 key things to consider when choosing smart tools for your small business.

  1. Features – does the tool include all features you need?
  2. Time – does the tool save you time or make the task more complicated?
  3. Simplicity – is the tool simple to use?
  4. User experience (UX) – what does the tool do for me in terms of visualization, ease of data entry, dashboards and other usability?
  5. Automation – how complicated is it to set up automated processes?
  6. Price – can I afford it?
  7. Support – will I get support setting up if I need it?

Hopefully these ideas will help you set your goals for 2023!