Welcome to 2013. Hopefully you have had a great Xmas and New Year break and are back re-energised to kick those targets for the New Year. Before you launch back into the daily grind of business its time to step back and assess where your business is headed in 2013.

2013 is set to be a year of disruption. We are seeing the business world change....at nothing less than a rapid pace. The number of small business failing is still on the rise, the number of Industries vanishing is increasing, the number of brand new industries are increasing as are the number of new businesses popping up. And these businesses are popping up as YOUR competitors. They are starting from scratch, without the overheads and legacy systems, and they are gunning for your business.

Here are 5 steps to ensure your business is ready for 2013:

Review your results

Results tell us the unmasked truth. They tell us our story. They allow you to review what worked, what didn't work, where the bottlenecks in your organisation are and what your trends are. The power of knowledge is invaluable. Real time results allow us to make informed decisions about the business. Is Sales growth actually adding to the bottom line? What's happening with my cashflow? What are the trends in customer spending? What is happening with your overhead expenses? Are your margins increasing or decreasing? What are the important drivers in your business? Where are your new customers coming from? Knowing these results (plus many more) is the start of being able to take action. Do you need to work on your top line sales or is it more important to concentrate on the efficiency of your business 1st? What would happen if you could decrease your costs by 2% per sale?

Work out what you want to achieve in 2013

Results are great and certainly paint you the picture so you can work on improvements. But what is it exactly you want to achieve in 2013. Are you interested in growing your customer base? Do you want to increase your bottom line? Do you want to add another product or service line? Are you looking to build a business that is saleable? Do you want to be an Industry leader? Do you want to work on particular projects? Do you want to be the employer of choice? Having a target will give you something to work towards. Without one you will just be riding the roller coaster that is small business. And you will leave yourself open to the vultures. You need to ensure you have your KPI's set and ready to measure.


Focus, Focus, Focus. It's the only way to ensure you stay on track. You need to be reviewing your results on a weekly basis. Which means you need to know what results you should monitor weekly vs monthly. With the brilliant systems now available to small business this is the easy part. Review your results weekly will ensure you are thinking about improvements for the important things in your business weekly. It means you can then take action straight away to plug any leaks in your business. This focus needs to be of your entire team not just you as the owner. So start with the list of things you want to monitor on a weekly & monthly basis and ensure you build reports into your system that will produce these with the click of a button. (More on some of these systems to come in the next few weeks).

Spend time on improvements

In our L Platers sessions the 1st thing we teach is Eliminate, Automate, Delegate. We get set in our ways in business and often don't step outside to smell the roses so to speak. I challenge you for a week to keep a log of everything you do. The next step is to work on what you can completely Eliminate from your business, what you could Automate and lastly what you could delegate. There will be tasks you do everyday that you just don't need to do, things that you can automate (or at least partly automate) and also things you can delegate. We often think delegation means you need to have other employees to delegate this to but with the number of freelances increasing daily employees are not necessary anymore. Take Insider Jobs as an example, a local townsourcing site where services range from data entry to SEO with hundreds of things in between. You can even request services as a one off.

Think & Learn

The most important thing in business is to constantly think about what you are doing and learn from your results. What was the outcome of the improvements you made? What could you have done differently? What's happening in your Industry? What are the opportunities for your business in the future? What are your customers really after? This is also the fun part of business and it's what sets the best businesses apart. Start to ask your questions. Start to read (Here is a good start from Media Hunter - 5 ways your business MUST adapt in 2013 to survive and thrive). And start to take action.

So 2013.....are you ready?