Seven weeks in and with the ‘new year, new you’ mantra firmly out the window for most, SME owners will be looking at the year ahead, contemplating the real issues that will shape 2019.
The start of the year is the perfect time to take stock and review ways of working for a more prosperous and productive 2019. For business owners, putting the right plans in place and sticking to them throughout the year can significantly impact the success of their business. But with Brexit, the Government’s Clean Air Strategy and new data regulations to keep on top of, where should you begin?
Here, LeasePlanUK sets out the three key promises SME owners should make and stick to in 2019.
Embrace the right technology
From AI to telematics in your company vehicles, adopting the latest technology needn’t be expensive nor laborious. Whilst it may seem overwhelming when considering which new technological development to prioritise, research has found that those SMEs who adopt the latest innovations find it key to increasing productivity.
If you’re struggling to keep abreast of emerging technologies, then you’re not alone; almost a third of business leaders in the UK admit their organisations lag behind when it comes to adopting new tech.
The key is to learn what really matters to your employees and your customers. Why not speak to your staff and find out what tech is missing from their roles, what would help to keep them motivated, on top of actions and most importantly, safe and happy at work.
Asking your customers what would streamline the sales or booking process, for example, is also imperative. But, make sure anything you adopt will support long term growth by identifying what you want to achieve in the next 12-18months. Only consider investing in technology that will help to realise these goals.
Learn to love admin
We know that paperwork and admin tasks often get left to the bottom of the to-do list. However, it’s important to keep on top of essential responsibilities, such as ensuring the correct licences and certificates are up to date, or the relevant health and safety checks have been conducted. Running a small business means that you have a responsibility to ensure the safety of your employees and that you are not in breach of any current legislation.
Take fleet management as an example. It’s more critical than ever that you run DVLA checks on your drivers at least once a year. With new driving offences such as middle lane hogging, driving licence points can add up quicker than ever. Running the relevant checks means you can ensure they are still eligible to drive, whilst helping you spot any driver safety or training issues.
Keeping on top of these tasks on a monthly basis, rather than letting them build up over the year may seem like an obvious solution, but it’s often easier said than done. Setting monthly reminders in advance will help you keep on top of the necessary requirements associated with running a business.
Go green (er)
With increasing awareness of the damage caused to our environment by unsustainable practices, consumers are becoming increasingly aware of their carbon footprint and so too are businesses.
The good news is there are small changes you can make. From going paperless and taking an active role in recycling to cutting down on energy usage; subtle changes such as these can make a huge difference. However, if you’re looking to make an even bigger impact, then why not consider investing in low energy lighting and energy efficient heating and air conditioning equipment.
But, with the rise of clean air zones, we can’t ignore the fact that road transport accounts for 20% of the EU’s emissions. If you manage a fleet of vehicles, whether that be two vans or a fleet of 30 cars, considering the switch to electric could not only support your efforts in going green, but it could also save you money in the long run and futureproof your fleet. Remember, by 2040 new traditionally fuelled vehicles will not be available to purchase.
Whilst changing your vehicles may seem like an impossible task, it doesn’t need to seem so daunting. Putting plans in place to change one or two vehicles over the course of a couple of years will go a long way in supporting the green agenda. With over half the cars on the road belonging to companies, making the transition to an electric fleet is one of the easiest ways for businesses to lower their emissions and to help tackle climate change.
Reap the rewards
Whilst the list is endless, starting with just three manageable goals for the year ahead is more than enough and is key if you want to stick to your promises.
Businesses who take a keen interest in how they support employees and customers by utilising the latest technology, along with those who take leading role in actively promoting sustainable practices, will be looked more favourably upon by all, which can only mean good things for your bottom line. After all, many will be looking to work with or buy from organisations that share the same values as them.
Furthermore, promising to keep on top of admin, paperwork and changing regulations will ensure you avoid unnecessary fines whilst safeguarding your employees.