January 2018

A new year provides the opportunity for businesses to start with a clean slate. We recommend some practical goals that every business can set and follow through for the new year.

Plan Ahead

It’s easy to get caught up with the business of the new year, but it is important to set aside some time to plan ahead. Start by reviewing past goals and updating them to reflect current business needs. List key milestones to attain and be specific about them. In addition, identify current and future obstacles wherever possible, so that you can better predict and avoid potential risks.

Delegate More

Delegating can be hard when you are used to being in control of everything, but it is a necessity if you want to grow the business. Delegating allows you to see the bigger picture and identify key areas where your personal expertise is required.

To effectively delegate, train your employees well enough till they can take over some of your tasks. Make sure you clearly communicate your objectives too so that they can carry out your instructions correctly. Once you have done so, trust your employees to make the decisions pertaining to their area of responsibility – avoid micromanaging!

Prioritise Marketing

This is especially important for SME business owners who may a lot on their plate, and overlook the importance of marketing. The first step in a consumer journey is awareness – simply put, people can’t buy or use what they don’t’ know about in the first place.

Set aside time to establish a proper marketing strategy. Otherwise, engage a marketing expert or agency to provide advice and devise a solid plan to act upon.

Get Your Tech On

Upgrade your hardware if necessary. Don’t let slow internet speeds and faulty machines hold you back from achieving more out of your business. Change old devices if you need to, and make sure to update your existing software for enhanced security.

Do proper research as well and tap on the wide bank of applications and services online to simplify your business processes. This will save you much time, effort, and money in your work.

Manage Your Cash Flows

For businesses, it is one thing to make money, but it is another to know where the money is spent on. Is it time to change some vendors or suppliers? It is important to constantly review your past expenses and shed the excesses for your company to maintain good financial health.

One useful method is to create a financial plan for the year ahead with monthly cash-flow projections to avoid cash shortfalls. Doing monthly updates to compare your projections and spending will help you track your cash flows and keep to your budget too.

Give Back To Society

Paying back to the community is a good business practice that is often overlooked despite the slew of benefits that come with it: enhanced corporate image, more social connections, which translate to better business prospects.

Consider donating to a cause that aligns with the values of your company. If money is an issue, you can also be a mentor and share your professional knowledge freely with others. Every little action counts and it is simple to start being socially responsible.

Start off 2018 on the right foot by trying out some of these resolutions. Once you get into the habit and commit to them, your business is poised for success. Here’s to a fruitful year ahead for your business!

For more business insights, follow Canon Singapore on LinkedIn.

Given any high pressure work environment, business productivity apps might just help make your professional lives that much simpler. Aimed at improving the everyday tasks of running a business – from accounting to communication, project management and task management — here are some of the most effective tried-and-tested apps to assist with boosting productivity.

1. Evernote

Evernote is more than just a note taking app. When used right, it provides a workspace that allows storage of notes, information, documents, files, images and much more. Thoughts may sometimes be fleeting, but logging them in a seamless app helps you keep track of multiple trains of thought instantly.

Can’t find a note? Everything you log including handwritten notes are searchable. Evernote is available on both mobile and desktop for seamless integration for maximum productivity.

Get yours now: https://evernote.com/

2. Basecamp

Modern, dynamic and intuitive, Basecamp is a great project management and communication tool that handles both team and client liaison simultaneously through coherent organisation. With a bird’s eye view of all happenings across an entire business, you’ll feel back in the driver’s seat again with complete control on a single screen.

Basecamp’s discussion boards in particular keep specific conversation topics on single page; organising ideas better than multiple messy email loops. Other features include to-do lists, message boards for announcements, schedules for deadlines and milestones, as well as automatic check-ins to get insights from your team on a regular basis.

Learn more about Basecamp: https://basecamp.com/

3. Trello

For a more personal task management tool, Trello is the go-to kanban-style app. The app is designed to give you an overview of all your tasks from the get-go as you plan your day accordingly. Trello allows for the creation cards similar to sticky notes, which you can later arrange according to custom columns according to your whims and fancy.

Its simple interface and stickers all contributes to its charm; adding a certain lightness to the heaviest of work. If you’re working on a project with a team, collaborative boards are also available to keep track of key actionable deadlines viewable to everyone involved. For an added bonus, Trello is conveniently available offline on mobile.

Sign up for Trello: https://trello.com

4. Slack

Serving as one of the top go-to messaging apps in the market, Slack does exactly what its name suggests — it cuts you some slack. Created specifically for teams, the app facilitates discussions with key stakeholders regardless of geographical location. Slack’s search functionality keeps your abreast of the most current information; putting knowledge in everyone’s hands through transparency. It also allows integration with most other productivity apps and services allowing for a perfectly streamlined and inter-connected workflow.

Start effective communication: https://slack.com

5. FreshBooks

Spend less time on accounting, and more time doing the work you love. Smaller businesses that don’t need the most intuitive double-entry accounting system would appreciate the features offered by FreshBooks. Easy, fast and secure, the app manages and tracks invoices, time and expenses of your business. FreshBooks is not only simple and intuitive, it automates tasks through organisation, freeing up your time for more pressing tasks.

Monitor the financial performance of your business through reports presented to you in a straightforward and visually pleasing manner. The app is also cloud-enabled — allowing for easy access on multiple devices on-the-go.

Take control of your finances: https://www.freshbooks.com/

For more business insights, follow Canon Singapore on LinkedIn.