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Posted on January 15, 2019

15 Steps Entrepreneurs Need To Take To Start 2019 Off On The Right Financial Foot

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The holidays are fast becoming a distant memory — short, glorious and now gone. In the post-holiday glow, small business owners need to remember to keep their strategies aligned as the new year gets underway. After all, it’s said that you should start as you mean to go on.

With that in mind, small business owners should take a few steps — even small ones — in order to ensure a future year of financial growth. To that end, 15 members of Forbes Finance Council each share one step that small business owners can take to start 2019 off on the right financial foot. Here’s what they had to say:

1. Budget And Plan For The New Year

Small business owners need to establish a budget and plan. While the plan and budget can be modified, they serve as a starting point for what you hope to achieve and how you aim to accomplish your goals. Be sure to account for growth in your budget, and brainstorm ways to increase customer engagement and sales. Having a plan in place will help set your business up for success in the new year. – Ben Gold,QuickBridge Funding

2. Set Priorities And Follow Up

Set key priorities for the year, but don’t let them just sit in a book and collect dust. The priorities should have action items associated with each and be reviewed weekly with managers. The action items should be measurable and dated to ensure they are getting done. An owner needs to be assigned to each priority and action item, as well, to have accountability for the success of the items. – David Gass, Anderson Business Advisors, LLC

3. Cut Your Expenses

Warren Buffett recently said that the best way to increase your business’s profit margin is to cut your expenses. This is a new way of saying “a penny saved is a penny earned.” So, this year, I want to scrutinize all my expenses constantly to see where I can cut and where I can grow my profit margin. – Tyler Gallagher, Regal Assets

4. Shamelessly Promote Your Company

There is an 80/20 rule that says you should spend 20% of your time creating content and 80% of your time promoting it. Yet so many business owners let this one fall by the wayside. You have to be putting your brand out there consistently if you want to grow, so do whatever is necessary to market regularly. – Danielle Kunkle Roberts, Boomer Benefits

5. Keep Investing In Your Business

In order for your business to continue to be profitable, you need to keep investing back into it. If you have an employee who’s done a phenomenal job for you, you need to find a way to reward him/her and not demote them with salary cuts to pocket extra income for yourself. – David GokhshteinDavid Gokhshtein Inc

6. Audit The Past And Grow Moving Forward

Almost always, business owners and CEOs are too busy to remember every single line item that was a waste of money or one that produced a healthy ROI. As the holidays come and go and a new year is on the horizon, I believe it is extremely important to perform an end-of-year audit on the entire year’s financials in order to identify areas of success and areas of waste that should be minimized. – Jared Weitz,United Capital Source Inc.

7. Pay Off Some Of Your Own Debts

I shake my head when I see new or young business owners decide to reward themselves for a little bit of success by buying fancy office furniture or hiring a new executive assistant. The most dangerous time is after that first flush of success. Stick to the thriftiness that got you where you are, and use what you have coming in to strengthen your position for later. – Howard Dvorkin, Debt.com

8. Target New Global Markets

Many are predicting a bumpy year ahead for the U.S. economy in 2019. For digital businesses looking to grow, taking the step to reach a more global market can help minimize the risk of a downturn and scale growth up dramatically. Doing business overseas, even in a foreign language, no longer presents the obstacles it once did. Take full advantage of the global marketplace. – Ismael Wrixen, FE International

9. Understand The Competitive Landscape

Check out your competition. Who revised their storefront? Are they carrying new products or providing new services? If so, can you match them? When you Google your service, who comes up in the search: you or your competition? Is there anyone new in the market? If so, what are they doing that’s different, especially if you think the market is already tight? Has pricing changed up or down? – Chris Tierney,Moore Colson CPAs and Advisors

10. Have A Strategic And Operating Plan

Every business should have at least a one-year (preferably three-year or longer) strategic and operational business plan. It’s very hard to achieve something without a clearly defined goal and plan for achieving that goal. To learn more about how to effectively create a strategic and operational plan, one group I would recommend is Grow With the Elite. – Shane Hurley, RedFynn Technologies

11. Keep Accurate Accounting Records

Small business owners are notoriously bookkeeping-challenged. This is not a bad thing; it means they’re focused on business growth. But keeping an accurate, up-to-date set of books allows business owners to see if they are operating profitably and how they are benchmarking against competitors. It also allows them to make informed decisions based on current performance rather than flying blind. – Tyler McBroomMeasured Results, CPAs

12. Have A Quarterly Project Lineup

Small business owners should have projects lined up to kick off in Quarter 1 as well as good part of Quarter 2. Additionally, it is important that you have a growth plan ready to bring recurring revenue and balance it throughout the year so the cash flow is constant. – Breana Patel, Bonova Advisory Inc

Forbes Finance Council is an invitation-only organization for executives in successful accounting, financial planning and wealth management firms. Do I qualify?

13. Fly Straight While Avoiding Distractions

It is all too common for business owners to get distracted from their goals by constantly following “shiny objects.” While these opportunities might yield short-term profit, allocating time, resources and personnel to anything other than the firm’s central mission oftentimes leaves teams overworked and confused. Draft a game plan. Communicate it loudly. Execute it efficiently. – Damian Lo BassoCompass CFO Solutions

14. Be Honest About Last Year

Look back at the year that was and understand your strengths and weaknesses. Use tools like SWOT analyses and evaluate KPIs to help identify these areas. Focus on building the strengths while mitigating weaknesses in the new year. With this analysis, it will be easier to justify your decisions for growth and motivate employees to take the steps necessary to plan for a year of financial success. – Atish Davda,EquityZen

15. Commit To A Bigger Future

I often say that serendipity is one of the most powerful forces in the universe. Challenge yourself to think bigger, write down your goal, publish it for your team and the world to see and then commit to it. Once you put it out there, the universe has an interesting way of directing opportunities to you. – Erik ChristmanOxford Financial Partners

Read the Article in Forbes

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