Shed baggage for great New Year

How to Start the New Year with a Clean Slate

Upon completing their education, college students fall into one of two groups. Some graduate from college with large student loans needing to be paid. Those loans in addition to rent, food, and any others add up. They’ll start life after school weighed down by debt.

The other group will get their diplomas and leave college feeling lighter than ever. This group is about to begin the next phase of their lives with zero college debt.

Most students fall in the indebted group.

According to The Wall Street Journal, college students who graduated in 2015 owe an average of $35k in student loans. This is more than twice what students paid 20 years ago, even when you adjust it for inflation. The class of 2015 surpassed the class of 2014 in debt. Word is that the class of 2016 will most likely out-debt the class of 2015.

The same happens to companies starting the New Year with unused equipment, inefficient inventory, and unpaid accounts receivables. Regardless the kind of year your business has had, you can get it in better shape for year ahead and be like the graduate who doesn’t owe anything.

How to achieve your non-resolutions

The best way to achieve New Year’s resolutions is don’t them.

Set a goal and start it as soon as you’re ready, not because the calendar shows Jan. 1 or the first Monday after the holiday.

Start now and start small.

People who resolve to exercise one hour a day for three times a week have less success than those who start with 15 to 30 minutes for at least two days a week. The ones who actually schedule exercise in their calendars see the most success.

7 tips to ensure a great year for your business

Shedding excess gives you and your employees extra energy to reach and surpass business goals. To help you, here are seven tips to help get rid of the baggage.

Do the easier activities first to feel a sense of accomplishment that will carry you the rest of the way. Whichever of the following tips you choose, make it a to-do item and add it to your calendar.

1. Lower your tax bill

If your fiscal year follows the calendar year, then spend fast and invoice slow. While most of the year you want to invoice as soon as you can, this is the one time of the year you want to delay invoicing. It lowers your income, which lowers taxes owed.

Wait until January to send your invoices for December. You’re exempt from this rule if you need the income to pay expenses or have clients who are slow to pay your accounts receivable.

Ask your vendors to submit invoices to you in December, prepay any rent, and pay January expenses where possible. Planning to attend a conference? Pay for your ticket before the year ends. Need supplies? Restock the supply coffers.

2. Look within your business for more cash

You can find more cash in your business without bringing new clients. For ideas on where to look, check out:

3. Recycle equipment

Do you have laptops, computers, phones, fax machines, or copiers collecting dust in the digital graveyard? Maybe they still work and you’re holding on to them to use as a backup. By the time you need them, they’ll either not work or be obsolete. Regain the space and use it for something you need.

For information on how to recycle electronics, search for “[item] reycling.” You could sell them, but it takes time to post ads and sell all of them. Better to get rid of it. If nothing else, set a selling deadline. As soon as the deadline passes, recycle leftovers.

4. Trim inventory

Carrying everything in inventory isn’t a profitable way to manage it despite your desire to have everything clients could need. Review your inventory and classify items based on how much profit they bring in: big, some, or none.

Dump the items in the none group and as much as possible of those in the some group. Keeping them on shelves probably eats away any profit they may bring. For inventory, think just-in-time rather than just-in-case.

5. Address unpaid accounts receivables

You leave the unpaid accounts receivables alone in hopes customers will eventually pay. Doing this means more baggage come January. Start fresh by clearing all uncollected A/R and put measures in place to stop late payments.

Cut accounts receivable by:

6. Fire clients

Yes, firing clients — both good and bad — sheds excess baggage. When your employees focus on what your company does best and avoid dealing with challenging clients, you’ll see better results and higher profits.

7. Do something about unproductive employees

This baggage, too, needs handling. Why start the year with unproductive employees slowing everyone? Consider 10 ways to motivate employees, counseling, or moving the employee to a different position. If all else fails, it may be time to let go of the employee.

Prepare your business for more success and growth by dumping useless, heavy baggage. When you put your business through this workout, it’ll be as fit as possible for the New Year.

How do you prepare to start fresh in the New Year? What advice do you have for losing baggage? (The good kind of losing!)

Image credit: Tusela

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