The importance of January to a small business

Simon Dalley looks at what can you be doing in January to ensure business success in 2017.

With 2017 quickly approaching, in offices up and down the UK you can already hear the resolutions starting to be made, and the cliché of new year, new you starting to take shape. These New Year resolutions seem to start well and with good intentions but almost inevitably fade away come February. But when it comes to your business, January is an important time to refocus, to look back on the previous year’s successes and to renew your efforts on growing your company.

So what can you be doing in January to ensure business success in 2017?

Take time to reflect

In business it’s easy to focus all your efforts on the future. Always planning ahead, exploring opportunities and thinking of how to bring in new business. But it’s important to look back now and again, to see what went well, what didn’t go so well and to take an objective look at how the business is currently performing.

January is the perfect time to do this as it allows you to set realistic goals for the year ahead, to transition your plans from one year to the next and to communicate the successes of last year with your staff, which is a great way to start the year off in a positive way.

Get everything in order

Business success is built on solid planning and it’s something that should already be in your mind. Once you have reflected on the year that was, January is the time to finalise your plans and get everything in place to give you the best possible chance of a successful 2017.

Improving your systems

Small business owners are busy. But are you finding that you are busy doing the wrong things? Instead of bringing in new business or looking after your existing customers, you are tied up doing admin. It’s not what what you started your business for.

January is the perfect time to look at the systems you have in place and see if they can be improved. Take for example holiday requests. Our recent research at BrightHR has shown that the majority of holiday requests happen in the first week back after the new year, and with many businesses still using a paper based or spreadsheet systems, this can mean business owners will be spending far more effort on time consuming admin.

With the paperwork, problematic spreadsheets, troublesome holiday calendars and potential holiday conflicts, January can quickly become stressful. Automated systems such as BrightHR reduce the manual process, eliminating errors and freeing up your time to focus on the more important things.

Team motivation

They say that a business is only as good as it’s employees and January is the time to really get your employees motivated for the year ahead. Make sure you share the success of last year, get them to focus on their personal work achievements, and encourage them to set news plans and targets for what they want to achieve this year.

Crucially, share your 2017 vision for the company and lead by example. If you’re excited and enthusiastic about the new year ahead then your staff are more likely to be as well.

Start with a bang

Achieving business success is of course a long term thing, but it’s also important to set short term goals. When doing this you may want to set ambitious short term goals towards the start of the year. That way if they are hit it sets the tone for the rest of the year. Your employees will be motivated as they can celebrate success early on and it will encourage them to really push for the same success throughout the year.

Simon Dalley is brand manager at BrightHR

Further reading on business goals

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel was the editor of from 2010 to 2018. He specialises in writing for start-up and scale-up companies in the areas of finance, marketing and HR.

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