Small Business Owners Must Look Ahead

By Lindsey Adkison
The Brunswick News, Ga.

For most people, a new year brings new goals and plans for improvement. A little self evaluation often goes a long way toward making positive changes in one’s life.

And, as it turns out, it’s not just something that individuals should be doing at the start of 2016 — small businesses owners should do the same for their companies.

While many might be busily trying to close out the year, David Lewis certainly encourages entrepreneurs to take time to evaluate and plan ahead. The area director of the University of Georgia Small Business Development Center in Brunswick focuses on helping local entrepreneurs meet their goals and, for many, that begins at the start of a new year. “The beginning of a year corresponds with a time where individuals assess and adjust personal financial goals and how they are spending their time. If you own a business, these adjustments will have an effect on what you do with your business,” he said.

The first thing that Lewis suggests is taking a look at a business’ financial data. Tax documents paint a clear picture on where the business is at and where positive changes can be made.

“It is the end of a tax year so businesses generally have access to financial data. Compare yourself to previous years, your budget if you have one, and to a peer group of some sort,” he said.

Reviewing challenges that presented themselves over the last year is another smart way to plan. Lewis says that previous hurdles can often give hints as to what may be on the horizon.

“Review challenges faced by and opportunities presented to the business over the past year … review current trends, technology and regulations that might have impact on the operations of the business moving forward,” he said.

Once this overview has been completed, it’s time to look at ways to start off on the right foot. Among other things, reevaluating budgets as well as a business’ advertising and marketing campaign can always prove helpful. Joining the local chamber of commerce if one isn’t a already a member is another smart move. Employee reviews area other ways business owners can take charge of their companies for the new year.

And, Lewis says, checking in periodically throughout the year is another wise move.

“Always look for ways to improve your business and its processes even if it seems like things are going well,” Lewis said.

“The concept of continuous improvement is very healthy for a business. Take time to work on your business in addition to working in your business.”

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