We’re sick of New Year’s resolutions, too, don’t worry. But January is as good a time as any to take a step back and review your approach to growing your business in the coming year. That empty calendar is just waiting for you to turn it into a roadmap to where you want to be at years’ end. Here are nine things to keep in mind along the way.
Establish concrete goals.
“If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you.” Growth strategies become much more productive with concrete directions and road map. Say you want to grow your revenue from your Farmers’ Market sales. By how much? Does that mean getting a spot at a busier market twice a week? Or selling more produce at the markets you already go to? Once you’ve got concrete end-points established, project what you need to accomplish them, and by when.
Make success possible.
Chunk it down: set goals you can achieve, and celebrate each one when you get there. For example, in order to grow sales by 50%, you might need to apply to more farmers’ markets or create a crop plan to increase production. Setting smaller, achievable milestones within your timeframe clarifies how realistic your plans are, and helps you realize what you need to do to get there.
Get those financials in order.
Do yourself a favor: give yourself a clear picture of where you’ve been and where you are right now, so that you can make realistic plans for the future. It all starts with the numbers.
“It takes money to make money.” Most small business owners instinctively don’t like to borrow money. However, to take a bigger step in growth, outside financing can support wherever you’re going, whether it’s developing your current offerings or expanding to new ones. Let’s say, for example, purchasing a blast-freezer for $10,000 will allow you to sell an additional $50,000 worth of products. It’s probably worth securing financing to make that leap.
Ask yourself: “Is there new equipment I could purchase that would allow me to increase revenue or decrease expenses? Is it worth making that investment?”
We’ve got a slew of handy resources here for you, if you’re interested in finding out about financing options. Although it can be a challenge to identify and secure the right financing match, lots of different types of resources are available, from one-time loans to invest in something specific, to longer-term lending partnerships.
Be open to creativity and innovation.
You’ve gotten this far — but it might take something different and unexpected to get you on your way to the next step. It can be intimidating to consider departing from what you know to have worked so far, but taking the plunge into new possibilities might be just what the doctor ordered.
For example, if your restaurant only has 25 seats, your revenue is capped by how many bodies you can serve at a time. You’d need to figure out a way to increase revenue beyond the basic scope of business in order to realize your dream. Maybe that’s off-premise catering, opening for afternoon tea before regular dinner service, or selling your signature sauce — anything that lets you go beyond the limitations that have held you back so far.
Forgive the truism, but nothing is so certain as change. An unexpected loss could be a blessing in disguise; find those silver linings and consider rolling with the punches when something surprising comes along. Adaptability is being able to acknowledge and grow with changes, even if it’s not exactly the direction you intended. If customers go for your burgers and fries more than anything else, maybe that’s a road waiting to be taken — and perhaps it’s worth rethinking your commitment to being a fine dining establishment.
This one might be a little counter-intuitive, but growth isn’t always about doing more. Just because you’re increasing the top line revenue doesn’t mean you’re seeing the incremental increase in net income. I just realized this in my own analysis of cookbook sales. When I broke down the numbers, I was initially pleased to see a big jump in my book sales at farmers’ markets and other book-signings around the region. But after I paid for the cost of printing, food for samples, recipe cards, etc, I had only net about $100, or about $1/hour. I’m constantly in the process of refining my marketing strategy, towards using my efforts as efficiently as I can.
If you can figure out what to stop doing, you’ll be able to redirect that energy, time and effort to things that actually work. If a product, service, location or partnership is dragging the rest of your operations down, maybe it’s time to think about moving on, redirecting, and prioritizing your prospects.
What do you regret from the past year? What were your most embarrassing failures? Once you stop cringing, think about what you’d do differently next time. Assess your failures and setbacks, learn from them, and fail better next time.
Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for help. We’re here to help you grow and succeed. If you answer yes to these types of questions, we can help.
- Do you need to review your financials from last year to evaluate what changes to make in the coming year?
- Do you want to evaluate a new venture to see if the financials make sense?
- Do you need help getting your bookkeeping systems set up so you can better measure and track progress?
- Do you need to brainstorm innovative ideas to help your business grow? We recently completed an intensive two-week course in innovation and can lead you and your team through the innovation (brainstorming) process.
We’re excited to see where you take your potential this year. It seems like every year, December finds us in a completely different place than we expected in January — and we can’t wait to find out what milestones you’ll achieve, what new innovations you discover, and what success you find along the way.
Thinking about reassessing your growth strategy, looking for alternative sources of funding, or in need of getting your financial affairs in order? Feel free to call or email – we’ll look forward to working with you!