It’s been a long winter (even in Southern California) but thankfully spring is finally here. Being a native New Yorker, I’ve always considered spring—not the dreary days of January—the beginning of the New Year. The economy seems to be mimicking the seasons. The dark days of economic winter are gone, and the economy, like the spring flowers, is showing signs of life. In that spirit, this is a good time to do some spring cleaning and ensure your business is ready to bloom.
1. Update your business plan. Your business plan doesn’t have to be a formal document, unless you’re planning to seek financing or sell your business in the near future—in which case you’ll need a well-written plan. For the rest of us, having some type of plan on paper and revisiting it at least once a quarter keeps your business on track. With so many opportunities out there, it’s easy to get distracted from your final destination if you don’t refer to your road map every now and then.
2. Decide what you want—and need. What are your current business goals, and what will it take to reach them? Perhaps you’ll need more capital, new equipment, a bigger location or a strategic partner. Go deep—figure out specifically what you want, and the steps you need to take to get there.
3. Think positive. Thankfully, small business owners are natural optimists—it’s what got us through the Great Recession. With the economy in rebound, you need to power up your positivity even more. Get ready for growth, even if you’re not totally certain it’s coming. The business owners who will benefit from the recovery are those who have faith—and a plan.
4. Act now. You know that new idea you’ve been mulling over for months (or maybe years)? Time to pull the trigger. I’m not saying you shouldn’t do your due diligence and weigh the risks and rewards, but once you’ve done that, don’t dither—get going. In today’s business world, you’ve got to move fast.
5. Reward your team. Your employees have hung with you through some tough times—and you wouldn’t be here without them. Show them you appreciate them in any way you can: with profit sharing, other financial rewards or with nonmonetary perks like flex time and remote work if possible. Either way, make sure you let your staff know on a personal level how much you value their hard work.
6. Work the Web. I hope you have a website (too many small businesses don’t). Now you have to work it and start truly taking advantage of the social Web’s power. Learn all you can about social media, local search sites, geolocation marketing, ratings and review sites and more. (OPEN Forum is a great place to start.)
7. Get ready to work harder than ever. Yes, it’s been a tough few years—but now isn’t the time to kick back. In fact, it’s time to power up. To take advantage of the recovery, you’ll need to be at the top of your game. Work hard—but also smart. Do what it takes to get energized: eat right, get enough sleep and grab some time (however short) for yourself each day. You can’t run a marathon if your battery’s drained.
Image credit: Photos.com