3 Ways to Shape Your Business for 2017

With the New Year now firmly under our belt, most businesses are turning towards the next coming months to determine what changes, if any, need to be made to their operations. Now is the time to lay out your plans for 2017 on the table. Large and small businesses alike made mistakes in 2016. Some of those can be fixed in-house, others aren’t so simple. In order to provide your restaurant or vendor with an actionable new year’s resolution, you should:

  1. Reevaluate your tech
  2. Assess your market
  3. Monitor your finances

Reevaluate your Tech

You finished out the year with your current system, now it’s time to improve. The term “state of the art” often suffers a short lifespan, meaning it’s important to take a figurative walk around your business and make sure all of your tech solutions are up to speed. It is a very real possibility that an inexpensive solution to your biggest hurdle exists. As long as you do your homework, you’ll end up with an exemplary system that guarantees better numbers when it comes time to evaluate how you did in 2017.

For starters, try to line up your tech solutions with the following indicators of future business success:

  • Number of quality, active relationships: Not only are you growing your consumer network, but your B2B one as well. Establishing industry partners, driving leadership, and launching co-marketing efforts are all key indicators that your future's looking bright. Opening the door for partner discounts and deals allows you to tap into your partner's network, which is a tremendously valuable perk.

  • Profit increasing, cost of goods sold decreasing: Plain and simple. You’re bringing your costs down while building upon the value of your product. Is there a key tech solution missing from your operations that’s the missing piece to the puzzle? Whether it be decreasing time spent ordering or decreasing order errors, now’s the time to find out.

  • Employee turnover rate: What do your employees think of your business? Culture, work environment, and employment packages are all vital sources for this information. Schedule and labor management firms like 7shifts or When I Work do wonders for business owners looking to streamline their workforce and track important data.

Assess your market

Look over last year’s numbers on a granular level. Where did you succeed? More importantly, where did you fail? For all of these answers and more, look to your customers. Odds are your market has changed in one way or another over the last year. No market is immune to volatility, whether it be the hottest new trend (looking at you, kale) or a game-changing piece of technology entering the space. For all intents and purposes, the customer is indeed always right. Measure the following metrics to identify your role in the market and test for your business’ sustainability:

  • Customer lifetime value: What does your product/service mean to your customers? CLV helps you look at how your customers value your company, and measure the feasibility of a long-term relationship with potential and existing customers. Knowing your CLV will shed light on your most efficient channels.

  • Customer retention rate: How “sticky” is your business? Your customer retention rate will tell you. Customer management companies like Upserve provide users with analytic access to your customer's behavior.

New year financials

End of year accounting is usually accompanied by muffled groans and pinching the bridge of your nose. The term “necessary evil” is a little strong, but you get the idea. It’s important to close out the year with all of the usual tasks:

  • Record sales
  • Adjust for inventory
  • Check for missing credits or payments
  • Factor in accruals
  • Allow deferrals for future statements

Additionally, accounting firms such as the Mazars Group specialize in business accounting, and even have a dedicated food and beverage branch that’s specialized to work both buyers and vendors alike. Payroll pros, like Wagepoint, exist to automate every payroll problem that keeps you up at night. Implementing software to handle tasks that end up being frustrating time-sinks is a great way to reinvigorate your team and allot more energy to more pressing and less monotonous matters.

Ensuring that your budget is structured to hold up your operations for the coming year is understandably vital. Always stay ahead of your costs by keeping a clean inventory sheet and a clear spending record to reduce any unsavory surprises at the end of each month.