New year resolutions should be high on the agenda for SMEs

So, with the first official working week of the year for many now over, it can almost feel like we never had a break! With the over-indulgence now hopefully behind us (perhaps except for the odd stray mince pie, some leftover toffee pennies and a glut or two of Baileys) and the working routine established, have all the resolutions for 2015 remained forefront of mind?

Did you have the best of intentions to make the most of a fresh new year, but let a bit of January blues get in the way? The best way to blow off the post-seasonal cobwebs is to get motivated by the prospect of a whole new year ahead, and the possibilities it may bring.

Focus on some key growth areas of the business; whether it’s investment into promotional resources such as website or a commitment to social media, if you haven’t as yet made one. Many scrambled to get an online presence as having a company website became the norm, but is it something you have thought to revisit, to ensure the design and messages still reflect your offering and goals? According to a recent AXA survey, 34 per cent of UK SMEs plan to invest in a company website upgrade or build this year, so it’s clearly high on the agenda for many businesses.

For those in manufacturing or making goods and products of any kind, the purchase of new equipment or tools might be needed to help achieve growth. Whilst the issue of raising finance for such expenditure might be a barrier, looking into some alternative options to bank lending could be the key, such as remortgage of company premises, for instance.

Hiring could be part of the big plan too. This usually presents challenges and recruitment costs in themselves can be a real drain, let alone the training involved with new staff – but it can reap rewards as the business won’t flourish without a good employee base. Be sure to thoroughly research the issues around employment and seek professional advice if the world of employing staff is new to you.

And as competition heightens in many sectors, as more start-ups emerge into the marketplace, staying true to brand values and maintaining customer service and focus is key to keeping a stronghold on your customer base; whilst differentiating your offering from the main competition will ensure you can build on the customer base and attract more business.

So, a new year is often a great catalyst for growth and can provide just the motivation a business owner needs to take the business to the next level. It’s an opportunity we should certainly embrace. We wish you all a very prosperous 2015.