The new year has just begun. But, have you fully prepared for 2016? This article lists several different ways to help prepare and adapt to the new changes that a new year can bring to a business – All in a few easy steps.

goals of 2016

2016 is here, and many entrepreneurs are now wondering how successful the rest of the year is going to be for the small business owner. That’s why having a concrete working plan on how to face 2016, is just absolutely good business sense for the new year. 2016 allows for a new outlook on your business needs, and a new focus on your business objectives. Every year can also bring in a new chain of social trends, economic business boons or hardships, and unpredictable changes in consumer spending habits. All of which, if not planned for, can take a business by surprise. Below are five easy ways to prepare your business for the best or worst that 2016 has to offer.

#1. – Set Reachable Goals.

It’s very important to establish what your business goals are, especially when it comes to what your business can achieve in order to reach those goals. This is why a detailed plan must be drawn up into a cohesive list. Think of everything that needs to happen in order for your business to have its best year yet, and then list them, and strive to attain them. The list you make must encompass goals that are clear, tangible, and most importantly, reachable.

Business productivity is based on setting goals. The business owner decides what direction the business is going, and then focuses the employees on what a business needs to accomplish for a successful year. Setting timetables for reaching these business goals is also an essential tool that helps in fulfilling them. Goals will need to be specific, optimistic, attainable, and include both short term and long term goals. Short term goals can be anywhere from a few weeks, to up to a year. Long term goals are five years minimum or a ten or twenty-year plan.

Many important things need to be considered in setting good business goals. Finances will, of course, be a big part of setting goals. Find out how much income the business will need in order for a banner year, and then aim a little over it as both a personal and business challenge. Set goals for when at work, and then set separate goals for when at home. Make sure that neither one infringes on the other. Use confidence when setting your goals, but also, make sure that the human ego doesn’t get in the way of doing good business.

#2.Review your Marketing Plan

With a new year comes a review of your marketing plan for 2016. This is one of those situations where if it doesn’t seem broken, then don’t try to fix it. But even if your marketing campaigns are successful, that doesn’t mean you can’t take a fresh look at it; you just might find something you need to perfect in your existing advertising plan. Once again, marketing goals need to be realistic and clear set goals. Another important issue that needs to be addressed is this year’s marketing budget. This a subject that needs to be allocated to a responsible party in the firm that will be in charge of setting and meeting marketing budget limits.

This is also a time of year to assess what your brand’s past threats and weaknesses were, also where all of the past year’s opportunities were, utilized or otherwise, and analyze them. Don’t forget to take credit for your businesses past year’s strengths too, and make sure to incorporate that knowledge and experience into 2016’s new marketing plan. Remember the old S.W.O.T. Analysis – Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. The new year always brings in a new cycle of SWOT’s; it’s best to be amply prepared for them ahead of time.

#3. – Prepare for the Uncertain

The best way to shield your business from the uncertainty of 2016 is to get one’s balance sheets in order, in the case of an unexpected business downturn; especially with the recent Stock market crashes, this year already, and also with last year’s stock crashes still fresh in people’s minds. Things are going to naturally be uncertain while the nation is recovering from the Great Recession. The best way to fend off business uncertainty is for the business to not be too financially overextended. One needs to have a healthy emergency fund in place for any unexpected business expenses, or shortfalls, which may happen throughout the rest of the year.

4 quick tips!

1.     Keep adequate cash reserves saved.

2.     Pay off any outstanding debts A.S.A.P.

3.     Watch your spending and keep within your limits.

4.     Keep constant track of all business inventories and receivables.

#4. – Reinforce 2016s Business IT.

These days, computers are at the heart of most modern businesses. Without computers, the business world screeches to a halt. This is why it is so important to properly keep up the integrity of a business’ vital Information Technology system. A business’ IT system should be secured with the latest virus protections. Networks are not just connecting to the mainframe server anymore. Cell phone connections, cloud servers, and a slew of received junk mail can all be full of potential computer viruses.

A virus or a computer crash means devastating downtime, and also lost business revenue. Evaluate your IT provider, and if they are not making the grade, find an IT outfit that will better suit your business needs. Hackers and computer criminals are constantly getting better at their work. This is why a business IT system should keep up with them by being prepared for a potential cyber-attack. It is better to upgrade an obsolete computer application today than to risk crashing everything your business depends on later.

#5 – Reinvest in your Human Resources.

Good employees are at the heart of any successful business. Make sure to search out the best candidates for the new year. An investment in hiring is an investment for the business’s future. Search out the best employees 2016 has to offer. One good employee is worth far more than even two mediocre ones. Sometimes small businesses struggle to find decent help, especially in a competitive market. One way to find new employees is to offer incentive plans to your current employees who refer successful candidates for employment. Reach out and engage new talent where they hang out the most, like college campuses, and city hotspots. The new year always brings new business changes. Don’t be afraid to change or improve upon your human resources. A successful business depends on good, loyal, hardworking employees.

Every new year brings new challenges to a small business. Perseverance, hardworking ethics, and a strong and stable financial network are always going to be a business’s best friend. The new year also renews one’s responsibilities in a business – Responsibility to one’s clients, employees, and creditors, all of whom also depend on the continued success of the business. Taking some simple steps every year in order to ensure a future successful year, is a common precaution for a business to take. Following the top, five simple steps listed above will help your business’ future, along with allowing the small business owner some extra piece of mind through the rest of 2016.