Six New Year’s resolutions for small business owners

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The dawning of a new year is a great opportunity to take stock of your health and your happiness — and also your business. Here’s a look at some top professional habits and practices many small business owners have shared with us at Huntington Bank that can make your revenues go up and your anxiety go down in 2016.
Have a plan, and stick to it
When you walk into the office every Monday morning, it’s crucial that you understand the goals that you need to accomplish that week and then map them out.
Unanticipated incidents, large and small, will arise to pull you off course, but you need
to come back to your original blueprint for the week, or next week is going to be
even worse.
Stay on top of your financials
Surprisingly, most businesses, in my experience, don’t go through their financial statements every week. A weekly dive into the financial statements and cash flow of your company is an extremely important practice that all business owners should do rigorously and consistently.
It’s also important to ensure your business infrastructure is equipped with appropriate checks and balances. This is particularly true in terms of determining who can authorize cash flow in and out of your organization and ensuring invoices are always sent out in a timely manner.
It can be tempting to follow the old adage that doing something right requires doing it yourself. A small business owner is forced to be a CFO one minute and a human resources director the next, but if you become consumed by these roles, you will lose the ability to see the big picture. Identifying those one or two trusted employees to whom you can delegate important tasks will make you a better leader and your business more successful.
Be strategic in your sales
Too often, companies have roller coaster experiences when not strategic in choosing their customers. It’s always difficult to turn away a sale, but sometimes that might be in the best interest of your business. A stable and diverse customer base is key to long-term success, and it’s important to remember that the bottom line is far more important than that top line.
Keep learning
Participating in professional organizations, networking groups and conferences, whether inside or outside your industry, will teach you best practices and spark new ideas. In addition, it provides an important opportunity to network with your peers, share successes and failures, and learn from the experiences of your fellow business owners. Keeping in touch with this network of peers is good for you and for your business.
Lead by example

A small business owner sets the tone for the entire workplace. The boss’s attitude, work ethic and professionalism are highly contagious. As you are setting expectations for high performance, it’s important that your employees understand that you expect at least as much from yourself. Your team will be inspired by your work more than your words. So develop good practices, lead by example, and have a happy and successful 2016.

Jeremy Gutierrez is senior vice president of Business Banking at Huntington Bank. The Huntington National Bank, Member FDIC.