The new year is coming up fast, and most businesses are thinking about what the next calendar year holds for them. As we move into 2019, the opportunity the change a few things in your business has probably already popped up in your mind. The question is, what do you prioritize? It comes down to investing in people, processes, and technology that will take your business into the future, as well as help you cut costs and inefficiencies.

Our team has identified 6 things you need to prioritize for your business in 2019, making this the the year when your business goes to the next level:

Upgrade to Energy Efficient Lighting with a Retrofit or New Install

We’ve said it many times, but it can’t be stressed enough. For any business looking to improve their bottom line and maximize profits, saving money on energy should be top on the list of priorities. LED technology has come a long way in the past decade, making it that much more feasible for small to medium-sized businesses and enterprises to upgrade their whole lighting system. Business owners can usually accomplish this in two different ways: retrofitting their existing fixtures or investing in brand-new lighting fixtures.

The reality is that the longer you postpone your retrofit or lighting upgrade, the more it’s going to cost you. LED, or light emitting diode, technologies and other new lighting methods pay for themselves quickly. For more information on this, you can learn more about the real cost of postponing your retrofit by checking out this article.

So this 2019, don’t be intimidated by the higher cost of LED lights. In the long run, they cost way less than traditional technologies such as incandescent. You can see the stats from a head-to-head comparison on the website The Simple Dollar. The point is that these considerable energy savings, coupled with the increased lighting quality and longer life span of efficient lighting, means you should switch out your business lighting as soon as you can. It’ll save you a bunch of money you can invest elsewhere in your business.

The incentive to invest in a LED retrofit or brand-new efficient lighting is even more true when you consider the rebates that are available to you. Depending on where you live, there can be an assortment of rebates that make upgrading to LEDs or other…

Use Technology to Your Advantage

Technology can be helpful or harmful, depending on the context. The internet, social media and smartphones are all impressive tools you can use to do business better and more efficiently. Using discipline to understand where to implement or cut out technology will be helpful in 2019, helping you to eliminate distractions and time-wasting habits and focus on efficiency.

New technologies like big data and cognitive computing will play a crucial role in business, allowing companies to run deeper analytics and understand how to operate better. Investing in data analytics, as well as in smart devices and software that help you cut costs and run your business better, will be a great move for your business.

Consider Your Needs and Goals Then Hire and Implement The Right People

What are the tools you need to really need to accomplish your goals and objectives in 2019? Once you know what your goals are, you can more easily define what you need to get you there. Make a list of milestones and then add bullets for what you’ll need to get there.

If you have a goal you want to achieve by a certain date in 2019, prepping your business now will start to close that gap and define a roadmap for you to get to where you want to be. That way, if you need to hire a few more people to fill key slots on your time, you can start the hiring process right now.

For key employees you currently have on your team, you can take this chance to make them a part of your 2019 plans. Getting them in on the planning and implementation process will give them a sense of purpose and a mission that’s integral to the business. You can also identify talents and skills employees have you may not have known about. Giving people clear, achievable goals often brings out the best in them.

Refine Your Brand Storytelling

Branding your company is as much about your product and service as it is about the story behind it. It makes sense. Stories unlock a key part of the human mind that identifies how people and events influence each other, granting meaning and purpose to our days.

If your company needs a brand refresh, then 2019 is the perfect time to unveil a whole new feel for your business. Brands are at the core of how companies around the world define themselves, and the most successful businesses are constantly rethinking and testing ways of connecting with their customers and getting them to identify with their product or service. One of the best ways to accomplish this is through effective storytelling.

Telling an engaging story about your company will establish a strong public relations base for your business. People are naturally drawn to a great story, and will share that story with friends if they find it fascinating. Interest in how your organization began as well as its mission in the business world and in the community will lead to word of mouth buzz for your business. The power of word of mouth is hard to quantify, though it can be a powerful force when it comes to increasing sales for your company.

Effective PR and marketing builds credibility for your business. Constantly remind yourself that good storytelling can have a magical effect, not only making the public want to use your product or service, but inspiring them to live their lives better with the help of your business. In its essence, answer questions that are important to people, such as: Why did I get into the business? Or How does our work connect to our deeper values?

Invest in Your Employees

Employees are an essential part of your company. If they don’t feel engaged or empowered in their jobs, they could grow listless and unmotivated by anything except for fear of losing their jobs. This leads to a tentative and ineffective workforce, which can cost you a lot of money over time.

Taking the time to invest energy and resources into your employees is never a bad bet. Not only will they have new skills they can apply to tasks at work, but you can funnel employees who show promise into areas of your company where you need them most. When you have a concrete plan outlining where you need skilled people and creative thinkers, then you’ll know exactly where to put people so that both them and the company flourish.

Draft a Clear Timeline

Goals are great, but if you don’t set specific milestones, you might put off key stepping points to that goal until it’s too late. Drafting up a calendar with clear dates for when you want your goals hit grants you discipline and clarity about what you want to achieve.

Part of a good timeline is also keeping track of your progress. What are you running behind on? How can you change things around to get back on schedule? When you have each one of your goals or milestones segmented into daily, weekly, or monthly parts, then it’s easier to know where to concentrate your efforts. You can also list what departments of your business in which you want to focus your efforts for even more effectiveness.

Equipped with a detailed plan for 2019, there’s no way your business can lose. Stick to these principles and focus on constant improvement and you can overcome any obstacle, coming out on the other end of this next calendar year as a toughened and improved company.