5 Essential Small Business Resolutions For A Prosperous 2024

small business New Year's resolutions

My kids asked me what I wanted for Christmas, and I responded, "world peace." I guess world peace is hard to wrap and put under a tree because they gave me a table saw instead. Heading into 2024, what do you want for your small business? Are you making any New Year's business resolutions?

Small business owners are the lifeblood and backbone of the U.S., employing almost half of the private sector. We need small businesses to thrive and entrepreneurs to start new businesses, yet they face a challenging landscape and must be more savvy and strategic than ever. Adopting carefully chosen business resolutions is crucial to elevating your small business in 2024. This guide offers five key strategies to sharpen your operations, strengthen your team’s spirit, enrich your online engagement, invest in learning, and optimize your cash flow. 

Let's grow more in 2024 with strategic New Year's resolutions!

Key Takeaways

  • Refine your business focus by crafting a clear mission statement, setting measurable goals, and prioritizing objectives to keep your business on a success-oriented trajectory.

  • Cultivate a thriving company culture through team building, promoting work-life balance, and recognizing your employees’ contributions, which in turn drives engagement and productivity.

  • Stay competitive and ensure sustainable growth by optimizing cash flow management, boosting digital engagement, and focusing on continuous learning.

What We Will Cover

1 - Sharpen Your Business Focus

Business plan and important tasks

Kickstart a successful 2024 by honing your business focus. A clear business vision serves as the compass guiding your business towards its goals. It’s about refining your mission statement, setting clear goals, and prioritizing your objectives.

A clear vision will keep your small business on track and prevent it from getting lost among the 33 million small businesses in the U.S.

Refine Your Mission Statement

A captivating mission statement forms the core of your business plan, answering three basic questions:

  1. What does your business do? (Purpose)

  2. How do you do it? (Values)

  3. Why do you do it? (Goals)

Take IKEA's mission statement, for example:

"To offer a wide range of well-designed, functional home furnishing products at prices so low that as many people as possible will be able to afford them."

Let's break it down.

What does IKEA do? The company offers a wide range of well-designed, functional home furnishing products.

How do they do it? By offering very low prices.

Why do they do it? So as many people as possible can afford well-designed, functional furniture.

Refine your mission statement by gathering a wide range of ideas and distilling them into a clear and impactful declaration that serves as your business plan's foundation. But beware of what Keren Peters-Atkinson of Madison Commercial Real Estate Services, LLC calls a dangerous delusion: "that consensus equals marketing magic." She continued, "the 'collective wisdom' approach often leads to bland, diluted messaging that resonates with no one."

Peters-Atkinson suggests using data to determine what resonates with your target audience. Someone with expertise and a strong understanding of the company will filter the various inputs and make the final decision.

Chronotek's mission statement is: Chronotek exists to provide business leaders with the tools needed to control their costs and operations with simplicity and ease.

The mission statement should reflect your organization’s purpose, values, and goals. Consider it as a compass that guides your business toward its ultimate goal.

Set Clear, Measurable Goals (SMART Goals)

SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely

Formulating clear, measurable goals is an integral element of your business vision. Each goal signifies a milestone in your path to success. Goals provide structure, turning the lofty ambitions in your mission statement into achievable realities.

Your goals should be SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely. According to a study, 76% of individuals who documented their goals and provided weekly progress updates to a colleague successfully achieved their objectives. This percentage is 33% higher than those who did not record their goals. Here's a template to help you write your SMART goals.

Goals are the stepping stones that guide your progress and help you prioritize important tasks. With each goal achieved, you move closer to your ultimate vision. A well-organized to-do list is a valuable tool in this process.

Prioritize Your Objectives

After setting your goals, the next step is prioritizing your objectives. Prioritizing objectives helps you focus on the most important tasks that bring you closer to your goals. It’s about using your objectives as a GPS to guide you step by step towards success.

Prioritizing objectives ensures that your team is aligned and focused on the main goal, maintaining a clear view of the business’s goals.

2 - Cultivate a Thriving Company Culture

Fostering a positive work environment

Fostering a flourishing company culture should be a paramount goal for business owners. A company culture promotes employee engagement, fosters team spirit, and drives business success.

Investing in company culture means encouraging team building, promoting work-life balance, and recognizing your team member's contributions.

Invest in Team Building

Team building is a vital component of a thriving company culture. It strengthens relationships, improves collaboration among employees, and boosts productivity. Engaging in team-building activities can create a cohesive and productive work environment, fostering unity among your team.

The online shoe store Zappos has ten core values, and their Core Value #7 is: Build a Positive Team and Family Spirit. They "work together, but we also play together," and many of their best ideas emerged during playtimes. Zappos' commitment to team building paid off. Amazon bought Zappos for $1.2 billion by its tenth birthday - a nice birthday gift for staff and shareholders.

Why not begin 2024 on a strong note by investing in your team building?

Promote Work-Life Balance

Promoting work-life balance forms another critical aspect of a flourishing company culture. Employees who maintain a healthy balance between work and personal life are less likely to experience burnout, leading to increased productivity.

Many service-based industries, such as commercial cleaning companies, hire people with full-time employment and are seeking extra part-time work. These are committed individuals who have very little balance in their lives, and you can benefit them with flexible schedules.

Chronotek Pro's all-in-one operations management system allows you to create "anytime" daily schedules. Your employees enjoy flexible hours, and Pro will send you an alert if they don't clock in by a certain time. It's a win/win. You gain by having happy, engaged workers, and they find time to get more sleep for better health.

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Recognize and Reward Contributions

Recognizing and rewarding your employees’ contributions is a simple way to boost your company culture. When staff members feel their efforts are appreciated, they are more likely to perform better and stay motivated. This recognition could come in many forms – a simple ‘thank you’ for a job well done, a bonus for exceptional work, or an employee of the month award.

Harvard Business Review discussed a study that found six positive comments for every one critique produced the most successful team members.

The key is to make your employees feel valued and appreciated. Investing in team building, promoting work-life balance, and praising your staff is a statement that you care about them and that your primary concern isn't only about profits.

However, Gallup reports that highly engaged employees generate 23% more profit for their employers than non-engaged employees. You serve your own best interests by investing in your team's well-being. Win/win.

3 - Boost Digital Engagement

Enhancing online presence and digital engagement

Enhancing digital engagement should form a significant resolution for every business in the current digital era. It’s about improving your online presence, connecting with your target audience, and driving business growth through digital tools.

This includes improving your website’s user experience and utilizing analytics for gaining insights.

Improve Your Website's User Experience

One essential digital strategy is to focus on personalization to strengthen customer loyalty. Build an online presence and experience that resonates with your audience and makes them feel you're speaking to them personally. Companies that excel in personalization earn 40% more revenue than their competitors.

A survey revealed personalization efforts that consumers consider essential. Many of these ideas are relevant for field service companies, as well. Here are a few (the numbers are % of respondents):

customer personalization survey shows it's important to make clients needs a priority

With the right strategy, you can ensure your business stays relevant and competitive in the digital landscape.

Leverage Analytics for Insight

Data analytics can provide valuable insights into your audience’s behavior and preferences. Like how you created beautiful art with paint-by-numbers as children, the correct numbers can paint an accurate picture of your business's health. These insights can inform your marketing and sales strategies, helping you better cater to your customer’s needs and preferences.

A few of the key metrics you should focus on are customer retention rate (CRR), customer acquisition cost (CAC), and employee retention rate (ERR).

A field service business with remote workers can benefit from essential employee data. Chronotek Pro's automated time-tracking system collects information about employee clock-in events, such as the number of times employees:

  • punch in/out GPS-tracked away from the job site

  • miss clock-ins and are no-shows

  • miss clock-outs

  • leave the job site while on the clock (based on GPS tracking)

  • buddy punch for each other

essential employee data that matters to field service companies

Leveraging analytics can give you a competitive edge, allowing you to stay ahead in the market.

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4 - Stay Ahead with Continuous Learning

In the current dynamic business environment, maintaining a lead requires relentless learning. This involves keeping up with industry trends, encouraging professional development, reading essential business and marketing books, and attending workshops and conferences, all without putting too much pressure on oneself.

Einstein was a continuous learner

These activities can help you stay updated, improve your skills and knowledge, and maintain a competitive edge.

Keep Up with Industry Trends

Keeping abreast of your industry's latest trends and developments is vital for retaining a competitive edge. Industry trends can provide valuable insights into market dynamics, consumer behavior, new technology, and emerging opportunities. Stay updated by subscribing to relevant industry email newsletters, blog posts, and podcasts.

You can make informed decisions and adapt your business strategies by keeping up with these trends.

Encourage Professional Development

Professional development is a lifelong journey of learning and growth. Encouraging professional development among your staff can help them improve their skills and knowledge, enhance their job performance, and contribute more effectively to the business’s success.

Did you know that 75% of the reasons employees leave voluntarily are because of bad managers?

Investing in professional development for your management team carries many benefits.

Attend Industry Workshops and Conferences

Participating in industry workshops and conferences is another efficient method of staying ahead. These events provide opportunities to learn from industry experts, gain new insights, and network with professionals.

Participating in these events can help you stay updated on the latest developments, learn best practices and new technology, and gain fresh perspectives.

5- Optimize Cash Flow Management

Optimizing cash flow management

Another essential business resolution for a prosperous 2024 involves optimizing cash flow management. Cash flow problems are a primary reason businesses fail, with 20% of new start-up U.S. businesses failing in their first year, 50% within five years, and 65% within ten years.

Field service companies, such as janitorial firms, face disproportionately high labor costs, ranging from 55% to 90% of a job contract's total revenue. However, a survey found that HR admins spend only 15% of their time managing labor costs. How can this be?

Suppose your physician told you that weight contributes to 75% of your health problems. Wouldn't you invest significant time and energy to lose weight?

Chronotek Pro's time and attendance system is your solution. Pro revives field service companies that struggle with runaway labor costs and dwindling cash flow.

Let's discuss five ways Chronotek Pro can boost your cash flow, and we'll end by telling you about Bruce.

5 Ways Chronotek Pro Accelerates Your Cash Flow

1 - Reduces Payroll Admin Mistakes

Your payroll admin has a tough job, especially if they have to collect and decipher handwritten timesheets. A good payroll admin is worth their weight in gold, but even the best will make mistakes. Reading and typing mistakes can cost up to 8% of annual gross payroll, while an admin spends 5-6 minutes per timecard each payroll period to process payroll.

With Chronotek Pro, your employees clock in by phone call, mobile app, or TimeTiles™, and Pro creates automated, live time cards. No more timesheet collecting, deciphering, and manually entering hours. You should get the 8% in payroll mistakes back in your pocket.

2 - Tracks Your Job Costs

Everyone who has New Year's resolutions to lose weight knows they must track their eating. Likewise, small business owners can't reduce spending if they don't monitor their highest monthly expenditure, labor costs. They must be able to answer the following questions:

  • How much labor overhead goes to overtime and travel?

  • How much does each job/location cost?

  • Which jobs are losing money?

  • What’s the gross profit/loss for each job?

  • Which jobs have the most overtime and travel?

Chronotek Pro's job costing board

Chronotek Pro's job costing dashboard reports live labor dollars for every job by day, week, and pay period. You will see how much of your labor costs for each job went towards overtime, travel, and paid time off (PTO).

3 - Reports True Job Costs with Loaded Pay Rates and Revenue Overhead

Your total labor cost for an employee goes beyond their hourly wage, and with labor costs being your highest expenditure, you can't afford to miscalculate this number when budgeting. What other costs should you add to an employee's wages to determine a final hourly cost?

  • FICA and Medicare

  • Federal and State unemployment taxes (FUTA and SUTA)

  • Workers Compensation

  • Liability insurance

  • City and county income taxes (applicable in a few places)

Chronotek Pro allows you to add a percentage to employee pay rates that includes all the relevant cost factors in your business. This "loaded" rate gives you true labor costs. Additionally, you can create job budgets and include a percentage for revenue overhead, which are other costs besides labor (e.g., franchise fees and supplies).

Chronotek Pro job budgets includes loaded pay rates and revenue overhead

4 - Predicts Your Future Job Costs

Knowing live labor costs is nice, but wouldn't it be super if you knew what they would be months in advance? You can with Chronotek Pro. Pro's scheduling software integrates job budgets and employees' pay rates into its profit-tracking features. With this information, Chronotek Pro forecasts your future spending, showing whether you're on track to make a profit or heading toward a loss. You will also see future unplanned overtime and travel. If you see job budgets turning red, you can adjust your schedules to get back on the path to profitability.

Chronotek Pro's future labor cost-tracking software

Seeing the end from the beginning is a perfect way to start your new year.

5 - Prevents Employee Time Theft

Do you suspect your employees are buddy-punching? Or that they are fudging their handwritten timesheets? Your suspicions aren't unfounded. Time theft is a $400 billion problem for small business owners.

Chronotek Pro gives you five ways to prevent employee time theft, including GPS tracking, buddy punch deterrence, and clock-in TimeTiles™.

Speaking of TimeTiles™, let me tell you about Bruce.

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A Story About Commercial Cleaners Clocking In from Their Cars

Bruce, who owns a commercial cleaning business in Georgia, had suspicions that his staff clocked in from their cars when they arrived at the job site, not when they started working inside the buildings. It's only fair, Bruce thought, for the clock-in times to start when the work actually begins. He asked if we had a solution. We do.

TimeTiles™ are durable, tamper-resistant, location-coded square tiles you post at the job site. Employees tap them with their phones to clock in and out—it's like tapping your phone on the keypad at the store to pay for groceries. TimeTiles™ uses Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, meaning your employees must be "near" the tiles to clock in, not their cars.

Bruce tested TimeTiles™ with a few staff members. His discovery? Time cards made with TimeTiles™ were 8 minutes shorter than previous time cards.

Can 8 minutes kill your small business resolutions?

Let's do the math for Bruce's 50 cleaning staff members.

300 shifts a week x 8 minutes x 52 weeks/60 minutes x $16.46 per hour (loaded pay rate) =

$34,236.80 a year in waste.

By tracking every dollar spent and reducing labor costs without sacrificing quality control, you can ensure that your financial resources are used efficiently, contributing to your business's overall financial health.

Wrapping It Up

As you prepare for the exciting journey that 2024 promises to be, hit the ground running with transformative resolutions for small businesses. Imagine refining your business focus and crafting precise mission statements and SMART goals. Don't forget to cultivate an outstanding company culture—emphasizing team building and promoting work-life balance. Embrace the digital landscape, maintain a constant learning attitude, and master the skill of cash flow management, particularly if your business is labor-intensive. Here's to dominating 2024 like the astute entrepreneur you're destined to be!

Let Chronotek Pro help you reach your 2024 business goals!

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In conclusion, implementing these five essential resolutions can set the stage for small business success and prosperity in 2024. By prioritizing strategic planning, embracing technological advancements, nurturing customer relationships, fostering employee engagement, and maintaining financial discipline, small businesses can navigate challenges, seize opportunities, and achieve sustainable growth in the year ahead. While each resolution presents its unique challenges, the collective implementation of these strategies empowers small businesses to adapt to changing market dynamics, enhance operational efficiency, and position themselves for long-term success.

Through dedication, innovation, and a commitment to continuous improvement, small businesses can realize their full potential and thrive in the competitive landscape of 2024 and beyond.

By embracing these solutions, you can simplify payroll processes, reduce administrative burdens, eliminate time theft, and minimize costly mistakes. Invest in an automated time clock system to save time and money while ensuring accurate and efficient payroll calculations. With the right tools and processes, you can focus on more strategic aspects of your business and watch your profits grow.

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