New Year's resolutions--can we keep these?

Author:Bissonette, Laurie
Position:Business Sense

It's that time of year again when many people reflect on their lives and make resolutions to change something, do something, or not do something. It probably is a bit less common for business owners to make resolutions regarding their businesses. So I thought we would have a bit of fun (well, accountant fun) and translate 10 common resolutions into business ones.

Lose fat: Become more efficient. Take a look at systems and processes and see what can be streamlined and if duplication can be eliminated. Become a "lean" organization --make one activity work; avoid duplication.

Gain muscle: My personal favourite. Be more proactive at revenue generation: become laser focused on your current customers, determine who you want to be your future customers and devise a strategy to target and wow them. Everyone likes to be appreciated--think of ways to constantly show your customers and future customers you appreciate their business and see increased returns in result.

Quit smoking: Become more environmentally conscious. Develop a social responsibility strategy, recycle, encourage employees to make suggestions as to where waste can be reduced. And quit smoking.

Volunteer to help others: This one actually translates pretty well to the business context. Businesses that give back to their communities through employee volunteerism can reap rewards in terms of higher profile and revenues. We find it also builds a team spirit.

Save money: We'll call this one "Reduce taxes." Taxes can erode a significant portion of a business' profits. Business owners should be proactive at understanding the various tax systems that impact them. If a business owner isn't consulting a tax expert regularly, chances are they are paying too much.

Be better organized: Take stock of where the business is and where you want it to be. Consider whether you should restructure the ownership of the company to take advantage of tax planning for the owners. Consider whether or not you should be extracting value from an operating company to protect that value from unforeseen creditors.

Make new Mends: Leverage social media to gain new clients and increase revenue. There are a number of social...

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