Did you know that the tradition of New Year’s resolutions dates back to 153 B.C.?

Yes, this has been a thing for quite some time.

For businesses, what you want for the new year should be kept in mind as January arrives. After all, it’s a good time to make the necessary improvements for your business to reach optimal success. Everyone else is doing it!

Here are four ways you get your business back on track for the new year:

1. Set SMART goals

Science finds that 92% of people that set goals don’t achieve them. That also means 8% do reach their goals.

It’s worth pondering what the 8% are doing right as we approach the new year. Hint: The secret, according to researchers, is setting SMART goals, which are:

  • S – Specific: Goals should be simple, significant, and sensible.
  • M – Measurable: Being able to track and see progress makes the goal meaningful and motivating.
  • A – Achievable: Goals should be agreed upon by your team and actually attainable (while still challenging).
  • R – Relevant: By making goals results-based, realistic, and resourced, they become reasonable and the team takes ownership of them.
  • T – Time-bound: When goals are time-based, it creates motivation to reach deadlines.

2. Get cash flow under control

82% of businesses fail due to poor cash flow management, according to a US Bank study. Cash flow should be something you prioritize.

Cash squeezes can come for a number of reasons, whether it be the ebbs and flows of business, clients not paying on time, or unexpected expenses like repairs to your office or store. While some are unavoidable, you can set up better ways to get money flowing into your business.

For instance, you can increase your odds of getting paid by clients on time by following up after an invoice and offering small incentives for quick payment. Chances are with gentle reminders and the potential for a discount, the client will pay you faster.

What you can also do is create a cushion for yourself by having additional financing options, such as a line of credit, which is convenient because you can tap into the credit line when you need and you only pay interest on what you use.

3. Reassess needs for the new year

Of course, every business has different priorities. Yet one thing we all want is success.

Michael Glauser, Executive Director of the Clark Center for Entrepreneurship at Utah State University, writes that every business must have the following things to achieve success:

  • genuine need
  • credible experience
  • adequate resources
  • buying customers
  • sound business model

Step back and analyze each of those. Rank them according to which ones require the most improvement, and then plan and act accordingly.

For example, if adequate resources are your primary shortcoming (which is common for many), look for inexpensive funding. There are lots of preferred rate loans out there. Business credit cards often come with 0% intro APR deals. And merchant cash advances solve short-term business needs. See what you can qualify for, and get the money you need to jump-start the business in the new year.

4. Explore ways to boost revenue

Nothing solves business problems like more revenue entering through the doors. It’s always worth considering how you can increase sales and profits.

Some ideas you may not have considered include:

  • Diversifying revenue sources: Even seasonal businesses can try this (i.e. a landscaping company could sell Christmas trees and other holiday plants in the winter).
  • Making strategic partnerships: Consider partnering with local businesses operating in adjacent markets to drive more sales. Explore online cooperations as well.
  • Entering new markets: Worldwide connectivity and an array of marketing tools and vendors make it easier than ever to enter new markets, even lucrative overseas markets.

Winning in the new year and beyond

From enhancing your marketing strategy to bolstering your team with experienced employees, there are lots of ways you can get on the track in the new year. The key is being smart about how you set goals and honest about what your needs are. If you plan accordingly, as well as take advantage of all opportunities out there, you’ll set your company up for success for this year and beyond.