New Year, New Support System

business suppliers
Your suppliers should work to further your mission
Between losing weight and shopping less, boosting profits is among the most common new year resolutions for business owners. But how do you make that a reality? For one, you want to make sure your business has the solid backbone for growth. Here are some areas to focus your evaluation efforts – follow these and 2012 might just be the year you hit your mark.

It’s so much more than minimizing your taxes! For growing businesses, the right accountant can actually add tremendous value. Ideally, your accountant and lawyer (see below) should work in harmony and possibly even reside in the same office. The reason? They can double as financial consultants, offering advice on everything from borrowing funds to managing cash flow, and even supply you with business contacts. If you only talk to your accountant once a year – and that time is always the week your corporate returns are due – it may be time to research firms that specialize in growing small businesses in your industry.

Together with accountants, this group of professionals can arguably be your most important business advisors. An experienced lawyer can seek to continually protect your business in light of new developments, particularly important if your business relies on intellectual property to succeed. Other areas that your lawyer can manage include employment agreements and compliance. Within the latter field, working in sync with your accountant is of utmost importance.

office space in new york
Office suites in New York often include many amenities

Office Space
Real estate should constitute a central part of any business’ growth plans. Yes, office space in New York City is in abundant supply, but moving to a different space and signing leases is no easy task. If you’re just starting out, traditional office space may be overwhelming. Consider alternative office space solutions, such as shared cubicles or even just virtual offices to give your business a distinct identity; for more established companies, executive office suites – which can accommodate 1-10 persons – may be appropriate. Whichever provider you choose, make sure that you can upsize or downsize as you see fit without penalties.

Another vital part of your business support system relates to your back-end partnerships. Contrary to popular perception, this category encompasses vendors beyond the ones that sell you raw materials or semi-finished products. This year, take note of the companies that provide your business services – everything from your phone and Internet to your PR firm. Does their strategy evolve with your business? Do they make an effort to understand your goals and work to support them? If cooperation is inadequate and little effort is made to change this, take action.

company employees
All employees should share your passion for the business

A final area you want to examine is your human resources. As the ambassadors of your company, your employees comprise its core. Are they passionate about your mission? Do they take the initiative to make growth happen? If not, several factors – from lack of autonomy or inadequate benefits to culture/character mismatch – could be to blame. So how do you determine which is relevant? Ask yourself if you’d accept the job conditions that you’re giving your employees, and compare it with other options they have. If you offer a competitive package, and your employees are still not performing up to par, 2012 may be the year to part your ways.

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