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5 Ways Businesses Can Invest in Themselves During 2013

January 31st, 2013 by Ed Bannen

A new year means New Year’s resolutions. What’s on most businesses’ priority list this year?   Number one on the list and even more important in the coming months/years may be improving and growing your business to weather whatever fiscal storms Washington will create. Businesses are looking for stable, sustainable growth, but the risk of US credit default is higher than ever. Some analysts predict a weaker dollar and higher interest which could hinder growth. So what can individuals do to continue to grow their businesses with such risks and uncertainty? First, businesses have to focus on themselves.

  • Re-evaluate Your Processes – Just because it is how we’ve always done it, doesn’t mean it is right. Given the tighter budgets in recent years, businesses should be thinking, “Where are my efficiencies and how can I capitalize on them?”  Another question that businesses should be asking themselves is, “Where can we leverage existing resources to improve processes and business functions?”  Many times, businesses have all the tools/resources to fix issues, but lack the support of either management or employees to move forward with resolutions. In order to truly improve your processes and ultimately your business, you need to get your team to buy into the mindset of constant improvement, for better business is good for everyone.
  • Improve Employee Training – While sometimes expensive and time consuming, employee training can make all the difference in a business’s success. If employees feel that the business cares about their personal development, they will be more loyal and dedicated to their work. This investment could reduce employee turnover and save businesses the high cost of searching for a replacement and the inefficiencies of getting that replacement acclimated to their new role. In addition, this investment in personnel may highlight employees who demonstrate the knowledge and ability to assume higher roles and positions within the business; thus, possibly helping businesses expand and saving them from searching for personnel who may be more expensive.
  • Control Your Culture – Focus on developing a culture that demonstrates all the core values that your business holds in the highest regard. During this time of uncertainty, developing meaningful relationships with customers and vendors is even more crucial for continued success. Businesses that develop a brand and brand loyalty will be far better off in times of cuts and economic slow-downs.  Employees are walking billboards; businesses should consider employee satisfaction and maximizing the networking opportunities of each employee.
  • Create Transparency Between Goals and Results – Clearly state company goals and allow employees’ input in the outcome. Encourage a team mentality where employees strive to meet company goals. If each employee is striving to “win”, employees will be more inclined to help other employees in different areas in order to meet the overall goals of the business.
  • Encourage Cohesiveness Among Employees – “There is no ‘I’ in team” fits this section perfectly. While having quality individuals who are intelligent and driven is important, businesses need to have teams that believe in, and depend on, each other. Businesses could consider hosting little retreats or team building sessions where management focuses on improving employee communication and interaction with each other and management.

So while businesses continue to cautiously expand during this time of uncertainly, 2013 may also be a good year to consolidate and improve your core business. A business that is efficient, devoted and united will cope and adapt far easier during this time of economic changes and uncertainty. I think we can all agree “there is always plenty of room for improvement”!

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