Five business goals for 2012

| February 21, 2012

Are you ready to take on the tough business challenges of 2012? Recovery from the global debt crisis isn’t expected to occur in the short term.

In the meantime, to ride out the current confidence dip, businesses need to plan and out-think the competition or risk being left behind as others steal market share. Setting goals can help you trim the financial fat and strengthen your organisation.

Goal catcher

Actioning the following goals in 2012 could help your bottom line:

Goal 1: Conduct a detailed cash flow forecast for the first quarter of 2012

Know what revenue you need to achieve to be profitable in 2012 and don’t take on too much debt – your business must be able to operate in tough financial times. Don’t leave budgeting to your accountant to manage either. Make it your responsibility to know your cash levels at any given time.

Revisit your business plan monthly, updating it according to market behaviour, and keep some cash in reserve to buffer against future global economic turmoil, political instability, foreign exchange volatility, seasonal fluctuations, natural disasters and unforeseen IT advancements that could impact your business.

Be vigilant in reviewing where you can make savings and where you can reduce inefficiencies in the supply chain and buying process. Build up a variety of both suppliers and customers to protect cash flow in case you lose a major client or supplier, and know the difference between core and non-core cash flow.

Pay your invoices on time and ensure your loans are at optimal interest rates and flexibility too. If in debt, seek help straight away. And don’t be afraid to learn from your investment mistakes.

Goal 2: Spend money on your business’s point of difference

Where does your business excel? Know your point of difference and know how you can translate that strength into profit. Out of a financial global crisis comes opportunity. Work out what makes your operation better than others, clarify how you can do business with larger organisations and discover how you can embed innovative thinking throughout your organisation.

Goal 3: Embrace digital

Make a dynamic, measurable digital strategy core to your business plan. Spend money on IT to do it correctly and, most importantly, ensure the digital strategy is tailored to meet your objectives. Take time to understand how IT tweaks could financially benefit your business – from cloud computing, to online promotions or sales, to launching your own app. Be ready to respond to customers’ needs online, as IT has made business a 24/7 global proposition.

Goal 4: Promote staff instead of recruiting externally

Invest in training existing staff rather than recruiting externally; upskilling current staff embeds goodwill in your organisation. It can also be a wise investment move as it’s often less expensive to retrain current staff than employ new staff and reduces the need to compete for external staff as the skills gap worsens.

Goal 5: Invest resources into researching new marketing opportunities

Take the time to tap into lucrative sales opportunities with new customers, products or services, or markets.

This story was first published at NAB Business View Connect and is republished here with kind permission of the author.