The new year provides an opportunity for a fresh start. It’s a fantastic clean slate for small business owners who are looking to grow or stabilize their companies in 2023. Of course, change doesn’t happen overnight. Building healthy habits is key to ensuring business success both right away and in the long term.
When January 1 rolls around, consider building these five new-year business habits into your routine.
1. Set business goals—and follow up on them
No business can grow without setting goals. But it’s not enough to simply write them down. You need to check in on your progress and reevaluate your goals to achieve real success. Making a habit out of goal setting and evaluating can help you stay on the right path.
At the start of the new year, make a list of goals you want your business to reach in 2023 such as being the franchise with the highest Q1 sales growth or reducing small business debt by “X” percent. Then, set up monthly or quarterly check-ins where you can determine whether you’re on track.
2. Grow savings for future investment
One important savings habit small business owners should adopt is setting money aside for future investment. Businesses need cash to grow—especially if you plan to expand your inventory, hire more employees or open a new location. Saving ahead of time gives you the cushion you’ll need when you’re presented with an opportunity to expand. Rather than scrounging for funds that aren’t there, you’ll have a pre-planned fund to use immediately or pair with a loan.
The new year is a great time to launch this new saving habit. It’s easy to work savings into your budget right away and calculate how much you’ll have by the end of the year. Pick a reasonable amount to save each month and make a habit of setting that money aside in another account.
3. Put cash in an emergency fund
Another important savings habit all small business owners should use is building a cash reserve, or an emergency fund. Cash reserves can be used to cover operating expenses during economic hardship, in the event of cash flow bottlenecks or if you’re faced with unforeseen circumstances. You don’t want to be caught out without some rainy day funding!
Similar to the future investment savings fund, you should determine an appropriate amount to save each month and put that money in a separate account.
4. Stay on top of invoicing and payment reminders
During the everyday hustle and bustle of business ownership, it’s easy to let invoicing and payment follow-up fall to the side. However, letting invoices go unpaid can cause severe cash flow problems for your business. If you’ve been lax about invoicing, make a point to build weekly and monthly checks that ensure invoices and reminders are sent out in a timely manner.
If your business uses accounting software, set up your invoicing and reminder processes first thing in the new year. Then, evaluate your invoices and cash flow throughout the year and modify your process and terms as necessary.
5. Engage in regular professional development
Ongoing education is a priority for many of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs. There is so much for small business owners to learn, and you never know what you can apply your business. Professional development allows you to stay up to speed on evolutions in your industry and the marketplace. If you’re operating a franchise business, joining an organization such as International Franchise Association (IFA) is a great first step to staying in the know about the industry and even participating in webinars, convention and more as offered by the organization.
In 2023, make a habit to engage in professional development. That might include taking online classes, going to workshops hosted by local business organizations, attending conferences, getting certifications and exploring new tools or software. Set up a schedule that works for you—whether that’s one session a month or one a quarter. At Tenet Financial Group, we offer financial products that help entrepreneurs launch and grow their small businesses. If your business is in need of funding for expansion, contact us today to learn more