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How will you finish 2014? Track your business goals.

Guest blogger: Brian Moran / @brianmoran  

As I write this blog post, the summer is quickly coming to an end and Labor Day is right around the corner. From a business perspective, it means that two-thirds of the calendar year is over and 67% of our annual goals should be met by now. Where does your business stand? Are you ahead of goal, on track to meet it, or do you not really have any goals for your business?

If the last of the three options reflects your business, then you should take time to figure out where your business is now and where you want it to be at the end of the year. If you are someone who has business goals, the next two weeks are a great time to review them to see what you can do in the final third of the year in order to exceed your 2014 objectives. The next four months should provide ample opportunity for you to increase business from existing accounts, find new business, and look at different ways you can save money through increased efficiency.

Growing Existing Business – If your business has a client list, what have you done this year to increase revenue from your existing client base? This is often the easiest way to build your business—by selling new products or services to existing clients.

Finding New Business – Does your company offer incentives for existing clients to refer new customers to your business? If I find a plumber, lawyer or other service professional that I think is first-rate, I will tell everyone I know about their business. For example, after years of looking for a trustworthy mechanic, I finally found Dave Borzilleri at Lincoln Auto Repair through a Google search (his business had fantastic customer reviews). He has done such a great job for me, that I’ve told anyone listening to bring their cars to him. My incentive is that Dave will continue to do great work for me.

Tighten Up Expenses – The key to running a successful business is that you play good offense AND defense. If business was a basketball game and you score 100 points but give up 101 points, you still lose! If your business generates $500k in revenue, but your expenses total $550k, you did not have a banner year. Pay particular attention to your variable expenses and compare them to your budget. Are you actual variable expenses more, the same or less than your budgeted variable expenses?  More importantly, what can you do in the final four months to keep a lid on variable expenses that aren’t directly tied to generating revenue?

Running a More Efficient Business – Technology has proven to be one of the great equalizers in business. For smaller companies, it has leveled the playing field against larger, more established competitors. Are you using technology to run a more efficient business? In many cases, small businesses use less than 30% of their existing technology’s capabilities. If you don’t have someone currently on staff who runs IT for your company, think about bringing in a consultant with the goal of making your existing technology help you run a better, more efficient business. But, before you hire a nephew or family friend, make sure the person or company you bring in has the expertise to evaluate your business and won’t charge you an arm and a leg to do so. Get referrals from other business owners and do an online search to if their business has positive or negative reviews.

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