The business column with Kat Bond

Kat Bond, senior account manager at Xero.

Kat Bond, senior account manager at Xero.

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It’s safe to say that 2016 was an interesting year. From the comeback of Pokemon, to the Brexit vote, to the election of Donald Trump as US president.

While the outlook for 2017 is cautiously optimistic there are encouraging signs.

According to research from Xero and World Wide Worx, 58% of small business owners expect to grow in 2017 and half intend to grow sales. With that in mind here are a few tips to help you succeed in 2017:

Plan Ahead

The most successful and profitable businesses plan ahead.

They define their targets, they pursue them, they monitor their progress and they review their plans.

Importantly, they remain flexible in case they need to change direction at any point.

A great way to start 2017 of on the right foot is to create a clear growth plan for your business.

This plan should include measurable, achievable and realistic goals and also a little wriggle room should there be any bumps in the road.

Update budget and cashflow forecasts

Establishing a budget early in the new year is essential. It allows you to allocate and identify resources.

Without solid budget forecasts in place, it’s easy to get carried away with spending especially if problems arise, this can easily be avoided if you plan ahead.

If you already have forecasts in place, it’s simply a matter of updating them using insights and data compiled in the previous months.

Whatever you do, awareness is key and real time accounting will massively help with that.

A healthy cashflow can make all the difference if unforeseen events arise and in times of economic uncertainty.

Be Positive

Believe in your product, believe in your business it makes it much easier to sell and to provide a great experience for your customers which in turn encourages positive feedback.

These aren’t the only steps to success, but they’re a good start.

As you take your business into 2017, be positive, prepared, and forward-thinking and you won’t go far wrong.