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7 tips to make your 2017 business plan stick

by Susan Edevane

3 min read

It’s easy to make New Year’s resolutions for your business – but much harder to keep them. So after resolving to get your business shipshape for 2017, or to grow your profits by a certain percentage, how can you ensure you stick with the plan beyond January?

A new year is a great opportunity to reassess your business. Australia’s financial year starts on 1 July, so January is a useful halfway point to review things and adjust your future strategy. With the holiday season providing some much-needed breathing space, you can sit down and determine exactly what you want to achieve.

Here are seven tips to help you stick to your resolutions and turn over that new business leaf.

1. Set realistic goals

Many New Year’s resolutions fail because they’re unrealistic. Doubling or tripling your profits, for instance, is likely too ambitious. Review your past progress and base your goal off that. Accounting software can instantly generate reports to give you a snapshot of past performance and track progress.

2. Get organised

Moving from paper and manual methods to digitised, automated processes should be a resolution for every small business. Human errors can be costly and derail your progress. Lost receipts can be a big problem when it comes to your tax return. You could also overspend if you’ve underestimated expenses and end up in bad debt. Being organised is the bedrock of all resolutions.

3. Establish a routine

Sticking to resolutions is less about what they are than how you approach them. If your primary resolution is to set a better routine, everything else will get easier to follow. Start scheduling so that routine tasks such as sending and following up invoices are automated. Cloud-based accounting software such as QuickBooks Online can help with this.

4. Use apps for growth

You don’t have to do all the heavy lifting anymore – there’s an app for that. As your business grows, so will the amount of admin required. So let technology do it for you. Whether it’s scanning receipts, invoicing on the go or managing your entire account, apps offer complete mobility. According to research, two out of three businesses are using apps, and many report significant productivity gains, with hours of admin cut per week.

5. Challenge yourself

Don’t make things too easy. Tough goals and even shrewd risk can propel business growth. Taking on risk compels you to see a plan through. You’ll also feel a bigger sense of achievement if you strive for a harder goal and reach it. To make things less daunting, divide up big goals into smaller steps. For example, if your overall goal is better social marketing, add extra blog posts, daily Twitter activity and a specific number of new social media contacts per week to your list. Smaller, individual tasks are easier to attain.

6. Track your progress

Monitoring your journey towards different goals will help you stick to them. It’s also motivating to see the progress you’re making. With small business accounting software, you can see your profit and loss, balance sheet and dozens of other reports in one click.

7. Enjoy rewards

Humans are motivated by reward, so celebrate key milestones and encourage your team to reach new ones. Studies show that even small rewards can push people to go the extra mile. Even acknowledging progress through praise can help them see that their efforts are valuable and their output meaningful.

Your top New Year’s resolution can simply be to make running your business easier. With the right accounting software, you can cut down on admin, improve productivity and avoid wasted hours. It allows you to focus more on your core business, which is the reason you do what you do. No one starts a business to do admin, so let technology do that for you, and set your sights on what you want to achieve.

To read more articles related to starting a new business, visit here.

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