Four tips to improve your business

1. Drop some unprofitable products or services

Drop some unprofitable sales channels. Entrepreneurs too often want to do more. But, time is limited. No matter how good you are, you can’t do it all! Especially for smaller companies, consider if your business engages in areas not justified by the financial or personal reward.

2. Add new products or services

Even the smallest companies need to grow and change. Will your company add any new products or services in 2015? How will you decide which new avenues to pursue?

3. Groom an employee for a higher role within your organisation

For most companies to grow, you’ll need to have good employees. Finding them from within and moving them up to higher levels of responsibility is often a good plan. Evaluate how you promote. Evaluate how you evaluate your employees. Who are your biggest stars and why?

4. Decrease costs

For many businesses, this isn’t as important as it used to be. Low margin businesses are always hyperaware of costs. But, informational companies, many service companies, and those with higher profit margins tend to be less sensitive to changing prices. Every company should evaluate its costs of doing business. The end of the year is a great time to really review your company’s financials. Can significant cost reductions be made somewhere? Can modest cost reductions be made somewhere?

Unfortunately, some costs are not in the entrepreneur’s control. Rising oil prices today lower profits directly in trucking, for example. These companies charge more for their services. These costs can work their way into the products or services of many other businesses. Evaluate how sensitive your company is to various inputs and resources. What is on the horizon that could lower your profitability, and how can you deal with it?

Many entrepreneurs would argue you should be doing all of the above every single day. In reality, change often occurs in fits and starts. The beginning of the year is a natural time to re-evaluate your business and your entrepreneurial activities.

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