As you celebrate the holidays and ring in the new year, you'll hear a lot about diets, calorie counting and new year's resolutions. How about resolving to help your business grow, while trimming the fat?
Here are five pragmatic steps businesses can take as they head into 2013 looking to succeed.
1. Right size your business
One of the biggest costs for small businesses is their office space. With more professionals working remotely, traditional, long-term leases are underutilized and expensive. The capital invested in property would be better directed at growing your company. Businesses looking ahead to 2013 should consider where they need to be and for how long. Does your business need a permanent office? Are you scalable? If your employees are not all in the office at the same time, would flexible arrangements like drop-in lounges make sense? Ask yourself these questions before you commit to something that won’t work in six months time.
2. Get flexible so your business can react to change
Give workers the option to work from home occasionally or from a business center closer to home. With the ongoing struggle to improve work-life balance, giving employees more control over their work day will help retain your best talent.
3. Reach out for new customers
You don’t have to be the victim of a sluggish economy. This could be the perfect time to take assess and go for new opportunities in new markets. Businesses that have an address in the same city as their customers and prospects have an advantage over out-of-town competitors. Use a virtual office (prestigious address and select office support). One challenge of expansion is securing a large enough client base to justify an additional office. With no upfront capital required and minimal risk, a virtual office solves that problem.
4. Leverage Technology in lieu of Business Travel
There’s a range of mobile technology that can help you cut down on your business travel costs. Videconferencing, Skype and online meetings can keep you in touch with colleagues and clients without the hassle of traveling.
5. Learn from your mistakes
Symbolically, the New Year represents a clean slate your business. Make the time to evaluate what worked and where there is room for improvement heading into 2013. Did you do enough research about your customers? Did you spend enough time analyzing your data? Did your analysis confirm your assumptions? Every business will make a mistake. It’s what you do with the knowledge you now have that will make the difference.