Have you created your new year’s resolutions or your business goals yet? If not, make sure you do as having plans in place for what you’re going to improve on as well as the goals you want to achieve can make all the difference in 2018.
What sort of business challenges will you face over the next 12 months? Sylvia Schwartz wrote about four big challenges she believes firms will face in 2018, covering sustained growth, entering new markets, dealing with increased costs and working towards regulation changes.
How many of these will you face and how will you tackle them?
A couple of our Sage Business Experts have thought about the challenges they’ll face and are putting goals in place to set them up for the year.
Steve Johnson from Graphite Web Solutions has a big target for the coming year. He says: “My biggest business goal for 2018 is to double my income by focusing on developing website and marketing strategies for accountancy businesses – focusing on a niche makes marketing laser focused.”
Meanwhile, Jeremy Corner from Blue Eyed Sun says his business goal for 2018 is “to survive and thrive through Brexit by creating gorgeous greeting cards that help people feel closer to one another”.
To get you through the next 12 months and inspire you for your 2018 business goals, plans and new year’s resolutions, here are some things worth considering.
1. Get ready for GDPR
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into play on 25 May 2018 and will shake up how personal data about individuals can be stored.
But is your business prepared for GDPR? According to research we undertook, 57% of UK businesses lack awareness of it.
If you’re not sure how it works or what the implications will be on your business, Keir Thomas-Bryant has written a blog post highlighting some frequently asked questions on GDPR.
2. Tackle late payments
Cash is king, so the saying goes. But if you’re not being paid on time, then a lack of cash will hold you back.
Chasing late payments is one of the big challenges that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) face. It’s an admin headache that takes time away from the time spent producing goods and delivering services.
And it can be frustrating to have to create invoices, then chase payments after delivering on your end of the deal on time.
In fact, 17% of all payments to SMEs in the UK are late, according to research we carried out, which also revealed 15 days a year are taken by those companies to chase payments.
But it shouldn’t have to be that way. Our Sage Business Experts have offered some great tips to help you combat late payments.
Paul Green from NN Connect says: “Chase the invoice before it is due to make sure there are no errors that will be disputed.” Meanwhile, Mark Breen from Safe Events says: “Don’t avoid the money talk. Discuss it early and clearly.”
So put a plan in place to get paid on time and save yourself an ongoing admin headache in 2018.
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3. Consider an exporting strategy
If growing your business is one of your business goals for 2018, it’s worth thinking about exporting. It’s a great way to open up your products and services to new markets, and a useful option if you’re looking for another way to build your revenue streams.
Not only will it help you to take advantage of your position in the market, trading internationally could also lead to an increase in productivity for your business.
But before you jump into it, you need to put an exporting strategy into place. Not sure how to go about it? Chloe Brown has written a blog post on exporting and highlights the things you need to consider.
4. Turn to alternative finance
If 2017 left you struggling to find the finance you needed to keep your business moving, perhaps it’s worth looking at some alternative finance options in 2018.
You no longer need to rely on your local bank for funding. Instead, have you thought about Venture Capital Trusts (VCTs)? Sabuhi Gard has written an article on what VCTs are and how they can benefit your business.
There are other alternative finance options worth considering too, such as crowdfunding, angel investment, grants and start-up loans. And don’t forget trying friends and family – they might be more than happy to invest in you and your business.
5. Be inspired by other business owners
Being a business owner can be a lonely affair. With so many challenges to deal with, from finding new clients and customers, to marketing, dealing with cash flow and sorting payroll, it can be easy to believe that others aren’t facing the same issues – be they positive or negative.
In an article, Beatrice Whelan shared some home truths about running her business and what she learned. Meanwhile, David Lockie revealed why he went from freelancing to taking on his first employee.
Despite Beatrice’s business adventure coming to an end and David seeing his continue to grow, both stories have plenty to offer you. They provide an insight into the highs and lows you’ll face as a business owner and hopefully show that they are a natural part of running your own firm.
And with that, as the ebbs and flows of 2018 become apparent, you’ll realise you’re not in it by yourself. A great way to share that burden is by joining an entrepreneur network – use the time not only to find new business opportunities but to share your business journey with your peers.
What other ideas and business goals do you think are worth considering for 2018? Share your ideas in the comments below. And all the best for a prosperous 12 months ahead.
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