The beginning of the new year is a time to reflect on the past and make decisions to shape the future. Though a lot of people stick to personal goals, it’s equally important to review and set new goals for your business to ensure your future success.

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Taking the time to analyse your business and setting these goals is a critical part of keeping control of your business’ development. Not only will it give you and your employees goals to strive for, it can also help to define your overall purpose and expose unnecessary projects that aren’t in line with your resolutions. Let’s take a look at a few resolutions that can help you get your operation on track in 2017.

Clean up your budget

Getting your finances in order is the business equivalent of the stereotypical personal fitness resolution; everybody wants to do it, but nearly everyone also lacks the follow-through to make it work. To make sure that your business isn’t one of the many that ends up putting it off and eventually giving up on it, it’s a good idea to sit down early in the new year and build a comprehensive plan of attack.

Analyse your existing budget and determine what kind of revenue you’ll need to cover your costs. After that, call your financial institution, and determine what kinds of financing support you can get access to, to make up any projected shortfalls or to deal with unforeseen cash flow interruptions. Depending on your needs that could mean negotiating a standby finance facility, exploring invoice financing, or any of a variety of other great flexible options.

Build a comprehensive growth strategy

Businesses don’t grow and become successful on their own. This year it’s time to push the envelope and take control of your business’ future. Develop a detailed growth plan on how to improve and develop every aspect of your business.

Sales figures

No business can grow without customers. Explore marketing options for your business, and capture the leads you need to grow your business in 2017. For example, that could mean building or improving on an integrated on and offline marketing strategy, hiring new sales reps, and improving customer service to increase client retention.

Operational capacity

Figure out how to improve the efficiency of your infrastructure and determine what additional equipment, labour, and space you might need. It’s premature to acquire this additional infrastructure before you enter your growth phase, but you’ll need a plan in place to rapidly acquire and implement it when the time comes.

Improve your task management skills

Business owners wear many different hats. It’s very easy to get overwhelmed with different tasks to the point where it can interfere with your operations. Prioritise tasks and learn which can be delegated to reduce your burden and to ensure that you don’t become a bottleneck that holds your business back.

Besides keeping things running, managing your schedule aggressively is a critical part of maintaining your mental health, and building a sustainable work-life balance. It’ll reduce your stress level, and allow you to devote more time and focus to the tasks that absolutely require your attention. Stressed business owners make mistakes, and those mistakes often have much more significant impacts than those of stressed employees.

Cut meaningless projects

Entrepreneurs are always looking for the next best thing. They’re more excited by the idea of trying out new ideas and building new things than they are by optimising and fully developing an older idea. If you’re an entrepreneur at heart, 2017 is the year to make a few changes for the benefit of your business.

Diversifying your services, designing a new program, starting a side-business, and building a bigger and better research and development team can all be worthy goals, but they deserve close scrutiny. How do these projects fit in with your core business? Will they realistically provide enough return on investment to justify their existence? Are they draining resources that could be better used in another way?

Running a business competitively requires strategic long-term thinking. Every aspect of your business needs work together in an integrated self-reinforcing way to maximise efficiency and stimulate growth. That means you’ll need to determine which projects are standing in the way, and get rid of them to free up the resources they’re consuming for more relevant efforts.

Making resolutions isn’t enough, of course. Real change always hinges on follow-through. It’s important to combine the act of making resolutions with setting down a detailed action plan on when you’ll take the time and energy to execute them. Fortunately, the first time is always the hardest. If you sit down and get organised this year, next year will be that much easier.