New Year, Next Level for Small Businesses

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By: Christina Ragle—

As small business owners look ahead to 2016, many are ready to take their company to the next level. But what does that involve? Peggy Cenova, Regional Director of the East Central Indiana Small Business Development Center (ISBDC), works with small business owners to help them achieve goals.

“One effective way of looking forward is to look backwards and assess your results from 2015,” Cenova noted. She offers seven considerations for business owners as they reflect on the past year and prepare for 2016:

  1. Goals – Did you reach your goals for 2015? Dive deep into your company’s performance. Celebrate the wins. Analyze the losses, and learn from them. Adjust for greater success in the upcoming year.
  2. Spending – Are you investing in the tools, people, and processes to grow your bottom line? Did your profit margin increase, decrease, or stay the same? Where can you spend differently in 2016 to get optimal results?
  3. Marketing – What marketing campaigns paid off? How can you use those campaigns to achieve even greater impact and sales?
  4. Team – Do you have the “right people on the bus?” When evaluating your people, understand that how you are managing affects their performance. Should you perform a 360 degree performance evaluation? How can you help them contribute to the business? Do they need additional training? Where will you find that training?
  5. Benchmarking – How does your firm compare to others in your market? Find the winners and compare your results to theirs. What can you do to surpass the competitors in your market?
  6. Process – Is there a better way to do what you do? Ask questions, observe what’s going on, and improve where needed.
  7. Fun – Don’t forget that there should be lots of fun in your life – measure what brought fun into your life last year. Find a way to have some more fun in 2016.

Small business owners who are looking for a fresh perspective on this assignment are encouraged to reach out to an East Central ISBDC business advisor. This no-cost service offers tools and experience to help businesses reach 2016 goals. Learn more about the ISBDC at


Christina Ragle handles Public Relations for East Central ISBDC