Businesses have had a tough time over recent years with one challenge after another thrown at them. Many will have taken a “batten down the hatches and ride out the storm” approach whilst others will have “stood firm and fought” to keep their businesses alive.
Choosing to accept that the last few years have been a “no or low growth” environment is understandable – it’s been an extremely challenging time. But business owners will be torn as they know that they should be seeking growth and considering investing in their businesses to take it to the next level.
A new year always provides a great opportunity to reflect on the previous year and to set out your stall for the year ahead. Pulse Cashflow believes that 2024 could be a year for turning the corner and time for business owners to get their firms back on track. Inflation is back down to near normal levels; fuel prices are following a downward trend whilst there is speculation that Q2 could see interest rates begin to fall. There are still challenges but they are not going to disappear overnight so we have to make the most of the environment we are faced with.
Pulse Cashflow have compiled a list of key areas that we encourage business owners to focus on to help their business not just survive but to prosper in 2024.
Set Stretching Objectives
Resetting your business can often create a lot of positivity. By setting objectives not only will it give you and your team direction and a goal to aim for, but it can also create a team spirit to achieve it. Make sure your objectives are realistic but stretching and are easily understood by your team so that they can buy into them.
Focus your time productively.
You may have heard the saying “Are you working in or on your business?” If business owners spend most of their time working in the business, then they will be getting bogged down with day-to-day problems and trapped in the admin quagmire. Whilst you are doing this who is driving the business forward? You need to focus on more strategic areas that will make a difference to the success of your business. Start by reviewing your product range – do you need to adapt or innovate to maximise market opportunities? Explore new markets that could offer you valuable customers but to date have not been on your radar?
Delegate and empower your team.
Having an effective team behind you will enable you to focus on the strategically important areas of your business. You may be fortunate enough to have a senior member of the team that you can rely on to keep ‘business as usual” running, including dealing with any issues which will allow you to focus your time on things that can make a difference. Adopt and promote a culture of empowering staff – ensuring they know what their responsibilities are and trusting them to make it happen will pay dividends to the business not only in terms of performance but also it will help you motivate and retain your team. Always ensure you remain supportive should they require it and consider additional skills training if required.
Communicate and incentivise.
Involve your team with what you are trying to achieve. Share your business objectives and explain how they are central to you achieving those objectives. Consider how you can give individual team members objectives and incentivise achievement. Consider tailoring those incentives to your team member – they may be motivated by cash incentives or time off. Foster a culture of rewarding success by spotlighting Team members who have done something special in that month, and remember to communicate how you are doing against your targets regularly throughout the year.
Invest in marketing.
Many businesses underestimate the value of investing in a marketing strategy. Determine who you are trying to target, what you want to say and then determine the best way to deliver those messages. Ensure you have a functioning and up to date website along with relevant social media channels – LinkedIn, X, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok etc. Develop relevant, engaging, and useful content to distribute across your channels to enhance your business profile. Are there industry exhibitions where you can increase your profile and connect with customers or suppliers?
Get your finances straight.
Ensuring that you understand your businesses financial position is critical. Develop a financial projection for the year and consider developing a cashflow forecast so that you know you have the funds available that you need to invest in your plan. Explore what financial solutions may work for your business giving you the cashflow you need to support your growth plans.
Improve business processes.
Whilst trying to grow your business you should also consider ways of improving how your business operates to ensure it is as efficient as possible. Can you make greater use of technology to manage customer orders, processing or deliveries to speed up processes and make them more cost effective?
Give your business the best chance in 2024, by taking the time to reset and look forward.