It’s hard to believe, but the end of the year is coming up fast. Halloween pumpkins give way to Thanksgiving turkeys and snowflakes, holiday trees, carols, decorations, dreidels, yule logs, and countless other treasured traditions of the winter holidays—it sure does all blur together! With a new decade around the corner, it’s time to look at some effective banking New Year’s resolutions you and your Oregon business can adopt in 2020.
#1: Take Stock of Your Business’s Financial Health
Actually sitting down and looking at your finances—whether business or personal—can always feel like that first time you step on the scale after Thanksgiving. It’s ominous, you’re afraid of what you might learn, and it feels like what you don’t know can’t hurt you, right?
The reality is that for business finances and our Thanksgiving calorie count alike, what we don’t know can hurt us. And looking at it from another angle: what we do know can help us. Taking full stock of your business finances—assets, debts, monthly expenditures, liquidity—can help you identify areas where you need to improve, as well as the resources you have to improve them.
Like knowing that you need to put a few extra minutes in at the gym every day, an honest financial assessment is a necessary part of any plan you make in the new year.
#2: Assess Your Business Banking Account
This doesn’t mean assessing the cash in your account, which would fall under #1. This means assessing the account itself.
For many Oregon businesses, especially small ones, it can be all too easy to stick with the same business account you’ve had for five years, a decade, or more, without even considering if there might be other options—or other financial institutions—worth considering. Some business banking options may have higher interest rates for saving; others may offer better business services.
Change can be scary, but there’s no better time for it than the new year.
#3: Make Financial Plans for This Year’s Growth
Now that you’ve looked back at your business’s bank account and what’s in it, it’s time to plan for 2020. What business decisions should you plan to make this year? What are some of the ways your business can grow—are you opening a new location, hiring people to take work off your hands, or perhaps buying new equipment that you’ve had your eye on?
Whatever the plans you’re making for the coming year, you’ll need to be able to afford them. Perhaps your business is sufficiently liquid to be able to afford upgrades and new hires right away—in which case, well done! But for many businesses, opening a new store or buying new equipment may well require a loan, a new credit card, or other financial boosts. In that case, it’s wise to speak with a financial advisor or trusted banking partner to see how your financial institution might be able to help out.
#4: Identify Areas to Cut Back
This is something that works equally as well for an Oregon business as it does for any of us as individuals. The start of a new year is a perfect opportunity to look at the places where we’re spending to see where we can cut back. Perhaps you’ve underperformed expectations this past year, or perhaps you’re just looking to be more efficient so that you can increase your spend elsewhere.
Either way, a sober analysis of where your spending is reasonable and where you can pare it back is one of the best banking New Year’s resolutions you can undertake.
It’s common for many people to want to avoid doing this, much like assessing our financial health in the first place—negative news is never fun to learn. And while some ways to cut costs may be relatively simple to enact, like finding new suppliers that offer better prices, there will be some years where it may result in what every small business owner dreads: layoffs. Reducing headcount is always a rough process at any company, but at smaller- or medium-sized businesses where teams are close-knit and friendly, it’s especially taxing. But sometimes it may be necessary.
Always remember: putting off hard decisions now is setting you up for having to make even harder ones down the line.
#5: Consider New Business Banking Services
More than just looking at the state of your banking account, the new year is an excellent time to discuss broadening the services your bank, credit union, or other institution offers. Perhaps your business is in a state where you can start offering perks to your employees like retirement plans or comprehensive, varied insurance. On the other hand, perhaps you’ve identified a need for things like safe deposit boxes, online banking services, or wire transfers—things that you didn’t need before or didn’t know that you needed before.
As part of your banking New Year’s resolutions, consider the new services that could help your business expand and grow.
#6: Examine New Employee Benefits
We touched on this in the above point, but it bears repeating: good employees are the lifeblood of any business, and keeping them happy, loyal, and dedicated to your business is always a smart strategic move.
Consider what your business can offer—and has the financial strength to weather—in terms of offering your employees new reasons to remain your employees. Can you offer better insurance or take on more of the financial burden? Can you match a 401k or give them a raise? Is there room for a New Year’s bonus?
Happy employees are productive, loyal employees. It’s a win-win scenario.
#7: Don’t Forget to Treat Yourself
You are, in many ways, employee number one. Many business owners, especially owners of small businesses, are all too familiar with the fact that their take-home pay is whatever’s left in the till after all debts are paid. That’s simply one of the risks of being an entrepreneur. But everything about ensuring employee loyalty also applies to you. Burnout and exhaustion can hurt your business more than anything else.
Whether it’s finding some funds for a short vacation, hiring someone to lighten your workload, taking on charitable work, or anything else that will make the stressful job of being an entrepreneur a little easier, consider treating yourself when all is said and done.
If you’re looking for a great gift for any Oregon business, consider getting banking and business services from Central Willamette Credit Union. CWCU’s banking services are top-notch, and we’re ready to help your business succeed in 2020—and beyond.