Business Initiatives: John Allen Featured

1:24am EDT December 23, 2013
John Allen, President and COO, G&A Partners John Allen, President and COO, G&A Partners

Re-evaluate and refocus: These five resolutions for the New Year can help you tone up your business

It’s 2014 and time to think about those New Year’s resolutions that can help you shape up. No, not your waistline — your bottom line. For many businesses, the past few years have been anything but kind. If you’re lucky, your company is still relatively fit — it may just need to tone up. Other companies, however, are far from peak condition.

As a smart business owner, you know what you need to do to keep your company in shape, but like most of us, you need occasional reminders. The following tips are just that, simple reminders of what you need to do to get your business in tip-top shape and ensure your company is strong enough to bear the weight of whatever lies ahead in 2014.

1. Refocus on fundamentals — To identify growth opportunities, business owners often focus their energies externally. Don’t lose sight of hopeful prospects, but refocus some of your time and attention internally. Examine the core functions of your business operations to be sure the fundamentals are sound and the infrastructure is strong.

2. Repair what’s broken — If some aspect of your business isn’t working, it’s time to fix it. Managers are often so busy they don’t focus on functions that aren’t operating as efficiently or effectively as they should be. Take time to examine your processes, procedures and even people, and make changes where necessary.

3. Re-evaluate and retrench — In the same way a few extra pounds can make you feel sluggish, having your company grow beyond a level it can comfortably sustain will cause it to be out of shape and ineffective.
Are you operating outside of your wheelhouse? Have you expanded beyond your core business — and beyond your comfort zone? Just as it is easier to lose five pounds than 10, it is better to recognize issues early than wait and let the burden of added weight take a toll on your business’ long-term health.

4. Reduce waste and reinvest in your business — Reducing your waistline is one way to shape up, but may I also suggest reducing your “waste line.” Look around your company. Where can you reduce costs?
And while you’re at it, look for ways to reinvest in your business, especially infrastructure. Sometimes you need to spend money to save money. Investing in advanced technology or more automated processes can help you save money over time.
5. Re-engage and reward employees — It’s been a challenging few years. At one time or another your employees have probably worried about their jobs and their financial futures.  

Such distractions can lead to reduced productivity. Keep your employees engaged and productive. Communicate openly, honestly and often. Offer opportunities for professional development, such as a training seminar, a mentoring program or a challenging project. Reward key employees with new responsibilities or a new job title to recognize their hard work and keep them motivated.

Just like getting your body in shape takes willpower and resolve, getting your company in shape also takes discipline and determination. The process, however, can be energizing and exciting, and the results can ensure your company’s strength and long-term health. Get moving and have a great year.

John Allen is president and COO of G&A Partners, a Texas-based HR and Administrative Services company that manages human resources, benefits, payroll, accounting and risk management for growing businesses. For more information, visit www.gnapartners.com.

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