Four Proven Marketing Tips for Restaurants to Implement During the Holidays

The holidays are a joyous and busy time for many, but some restaurants owners see a decline in business during the winter months. One source found that as many as 61% of restaurants reported a decline of up to 20% in patrons and sales during this time.

There are a multitude of reasons that sales can be down, ranging from cold weather which discourages patrons from leaving their homes and times spent indoors with family rather than out and about. A holiday decline does not have to affect your restaurant, however, if you strategize with carefully crafted marketing holiday marketing tips to drive customers to your business!

Holiday-Themed Menu

People love to feel festive during the holidays, which is why adding a holiday-themed menu can draw people to your restaurant. Consider offering family-friendly meals that your patrons can eat in or take to enjoy at home. Offering family-sized meals makes it convenient for your customers to quickly order without having to deliberate on what items and amounts to get.

Add holiday-themed foods to your menu to appeal to your patrons’ palates! Holiday favorites, such as turkey, egg nog and stuffing are always a hit! Get creative with adding items and ingredients that your customers may not be familiar with to surprise them and keep them guessing!

Appeal to the smallest patrons by offering foods that can excite them, such as specialty-shaped foods (sandwiches shaped like Christmas trees!), holiday cookies and other treats shipped from the North Pole.

Holiday-Themed Activities

Help your patrons get in the spirit by adding a holiday feel to your restaurant. You can choose specific nights to throw special holiday parties which feature holiday music and a winter wonderland decor.

If you have a family-friendly restaurant, encourage your customers to bring their kids by planning a visit from Santa Claus, as well as arts and craft activities, such as making holiday cards. Advertising a free photo with Santa with every family meal can help your customers save on holiday photos and instead spend their money in your restaurant.

Holiday Specials

The holidays are an expensive time when most of us shop for gifts for family and friends. Help ease the financial burden your patrons may be facing by offering holiday specials and coupons that they will surely appreciate.

Consider tying in an exclusive discount with a charitable cause, which is always important to remember during the holidays. Ask your customers to stop by and leaved canned food for a local food bank or used clothes for a nearby shelter. In exchange for their donation, you can offer a discount on their food purchase or a free item (a drink or dessert) in addition to a paid meal.

Marketing

Once you figure out your holiday menu, decor, activities and specials, you need to share that information with your target audience so that they can be informed about what is going on at your restaurant. Consider the best ways to get their attention and how best to spend your marketing budget.

If your restaurant is located in an area with high traffic, putting up a large sign or poster may suffice. Otherwise, sending in-home mailers to your local patrons or sending out emails through your customer database can be effective.

To stand out from the competition, consider unique ways that you can grab your customers’ attention and encourage them to frequent your business. This can include funny holiday cards to make them laugh or bold online campaigns.

Should you need help to invest in marketing or making your restaurant holiday-friendly, IOU Financial is happy to help. We offer hassle-free small business loans of up to $300,000 in as little as 24-48 hours. Visit our website to get more details about how we can help your restaurant thrive during the holidays and all year round!

3 Things you can do NOW to Avoid Tax Headaches Next Year

As the days are winding down at the end of the year, it may be tempting to relax and start planning for time off during the holidays. However, business owners should know by now that there is rarely time to relax when running their business. The end of the year is actually the perfect time to get busy and plan now to avoid tax headaches next year. We recommend three things to consider doing now to ease the burden come next April.

Incorporate Ways to Boost Accounting Efficiency

For most business owners, the most difficult part of doing taxes is preparing for them. Gathering receipts, calculating the cost of doing business and counting your profits takes up a lot of time. Losing or forgetting important documents that represent spending or profits can lead to mistakes on taxes and a big headache for you.

How can you streamline the process of preparing for taxes? By reconsidering how you conduct your administrative services and incorporating new ways to boost efficiency. For example, instead of writing paper checks and balancing your checkbook, switch to sending electronic checks straight from your bank account. Not only will this save you the price of a stamp, but it will also help you track all of your spending via your bank account in one place.

Purchasing an accounting program, such as Quickbooks, is another advantageous strategy that allows you to regularly update all of your financial information, spending and earning, in order to generate reports when filing your taxes. 

Automate Your Payroll System

How do you pay your employees? If you do so manually, you are not only wasting valuable time, but you may make mistakes that can prove to be troublesome for you and your staff. To increase productivity and eliminate errors, invest in an automated payroll system which pays your employees through a computerized system.

A special payroll system will calculate wages based on employee agreements (hourly pay or salary) and generate paychecks as well arranging direct deposits.

The first tax benefit of an automated payroll system is that it is a safe place to store payroll records that doesn’t take up any space. Remember that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) dictates that employment tax records must be kept for at least four years!

The second benefit of this system is that it makes it easy to accurately withhold necessary deductions, such as state income, social security and Medicare taxes. Utilizing the system’s hard-coded tax rates, you eliminate payroll tax errors come tax time.

Finally, the payroll system syncs with your accounting system to provide accurate reports whenever you need them.

Save for Business Taxes

The end of the year is the right time to approximate how much small business taxes you may be liable for. Print or create a profit and loss statement to reflect your financial situation; once you have this information, you can count how much taxes you may be responsible for.

This will help avoid unpleasant surprises come tax time, and will help you save the required amount to pay off the taxes. Remember that the IRS also offers convenient payment plans if you cannot pay the full amount by the due date.

If you need help affording a payroll and/ or accounting system or require financial assistance to pay off your business taxes, turn to IOU Financial. Our hassle-free small business loans of up to $300,000 can be in your bank account in under 48 hours! Contact us today!

4 Proven Ways your Business can cut Costs this Holiday Season

It’s no secret that the holiday season can be a stressful one for business owners. Although it is a time to reflect, be grateful and celebrate, some businesses see a decline in sales, which, coupled with typical employee raises and bonuses during this time, can make it a financially burdensome time for owners. However, there are ways your business can cut costs this holiday season with these four proven strategies:

Adjust Employee Schedules

While some companies experience their busiest seasons during this time, others aren’t so lucky. Colder weather prevents many people from shopping and dining out, while holidays encourage others to spend time with family indoors.

It’s not uncommon to enter a store, restaurant or hair salon during November, December and January to find them empty. There is no reason to commit to paying salaries when there is no business, which is why you should plan to adjust your staff’s schedules during this time.

Analyze your past few years and determine your slowest times and how many employees you actually need working at a time. Just be sure to provide your staff with enough warning so that they are not surprised about their reduced hours.

Cut Down or Eliminate Your Holiday Party

Holiday parties are annual traditions for many businesses, but they can also get expensive. Although it is important to show your employees how much you appreciate them during this time, consider ways to do more cost effectively.

Instead of taking out your staff members to a restaurant or renting out a banquet hall, move the festivities to your office or business space. A meeting room or lunch area can be enough space to share a meal.

Instead of catering food, ask your employees to bring in their favorite dish, arranging a potluck. If you don’t feel comfortable doing that, you can still cut costs by hosting a breakfast instead of a dinner. Bringing in bagels and cream cheese is a lot more affordable than catering dinner!

Introduce Secret Santa

Business owners always want to make their employees feel special by showering them with gifts around the holiday time. Even if you try to be frugal, these expenses add up to be hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars.

Try something different this year to cut costs by introducing Secret Santa. Write down all of your employees’ names on pieces of paper and put them in a bucket or hat. Ask each staffer to pull out a name and purchase a present for that person. Set limits on the presents to be no more than $20 or $40 each. This way, every individual in your company goes home with a gift, but your company has saved a significant amount of money.

Focus on Free Marketing

One of the most expensive strategies during the holidays tends to be marketing. Businesses that offer specials during this time want to spread the word to their customers, and the way to do that is through marketing.

To be cost sensitive during this time, consider ways to market without breaking the bank. For example, you can email holiday cards and announcements to your customers absolutely free instead of spending funds on printing and mailing them!

If you have tried all of these strategies, but are still finding it difficult to sustain your business during the holiday time, turn to IOU Financial. We make it a priority to support small and medium-sized companies with easy loans up to $300,000. You can get funded in as little as 24-48 hours.

Getting Your Finances Organized Before the Holidays

It happens every year. The holiday season is suddenly upon you, and yet your business is not in optimal condition to take full advantage of this very special time of the year – shopping season!

Getting an Early Jump

The best way to extract maximum profits from holiday shopping is to have a large inventory of items that will be hot sellers in the last two months of the year. To some extent, this can be a test of your predictive powers, because normally you will have to decide what to order, and then order it, about six months in advance if you want to be sure of receiving what promises to be the season’s blockbusters.

Therefore, you must combine budgetary and marketing data to make reasonable forecasts of:

  1. How much sales volume I want to achieve during the holidays?
  2. What merchandize do I want to stock this holiday season?
  3. How aggressively can I set prices to fight for holiday sales?
  4. How should I spruce up the shop to get customers into the holiday buying mood?
  5. Will I need temporary workers, and if so, how many and what types?
  6. How will I store the early shipments of holiday merchandise I receive? Will I need to rent temporary warehouse space?

There are many other questions you can ask, but this is a good start.

The outcome of this brainstorming should be any changes to your 12-month budget, laid out month by month.

Strengthen Your Working Capital

Next, examine your current debt situation. Do you owe money from last year? What interest rate are you paying on existing debt? What’s happened to interest rates in the last 12 months? Check your working capital situation – you’ll need plenty of cash and credit to finance holiday inventory, but you don’t want to spend a lot of time managing accounts payable for a lot of different vendor accounts. With sufficient cash on hand, you can pay vendors right away and benefit from purchase discounts. The answer is to consolidate your debt through a low-cost commercial loan. It’s much easier to manage a single creditor rather than contend with demands from a gaggle of vendors and creditors. That way you don’t have to spend much time figuring payments, because we will debit small amounts every day from your bank account. This removes the pain and worry you might feel if you had to face a large monthly payment.

To order sufficient inventory in, say, June, when sales may be weaker due to the summer doldrums, may put quite a strain on your working capital at precisely the wrong time. The easiest solution is a business loan form a commercial lender such as IOU Financial. By consolidating your old loans and adding fresh borrowings to the mix, you have the opportunity to optimize your debt and your working capital for the upcoming holiday season.

Get Your Technology Up to Speed

If you are not happy with your current accounting and point-of-sale software, well before holiday season is the time to either fix it or replace it. If you find any part of your current system holding you back from tracking real-time sales, shipping and restocking activity, it might be time for new solutions. You will also want to ensure you have installed the new chip-card readers throughout your store, so that you bypass any liability for fraud caused by lost, stolen or counterfeit credit/debit cards. Estimates are of about $450 to install each new card-reading terminal, so make sure you figure this expenditure into your budget.

The bottom line – you want to have sufficient funds ahead of the holiday season in order to optimize your revenues once the end-of-year frenzy gets under way. If you need any additionally working capital, contact IOU Financial and learn how quick and easy it is to whip your finances in shape for the lucrative holiday season.

Four Proven Marketing Strategies for the Holidays

The holiday season is the perfect time for businesses to attract new clientele and connect with existing customers. With buyers scouring for Christmas presents, many stores experience a significant surge in sales. Service-oriented companies, such as gyms and beauty salons, report an influx of new customers around January, when people make New Year’s resolutions to get in shape or become better versions of themselves. All in all, the holidays are a great time to market your services to potential customers by utilizing the following four proven strategies:

Charitable Giving

Thanksgiving and Christmas are popular times for donations to local shelters, philanthropic organizations and community events. Companies can combine doing a good deed with a marketing advantage by making a donation to a charity or sponsoring a local soup kitchen event.

Allowing the community to associate your company’s name with giving creates a positive view of your brand, encouraging them to shop with you during the following year.

Holiday Cards

Everyone loves getting a holiday card from a friend or family member, but there is no rule that holiday cards can’t be sent from businesses. Realtors are already aware of this strategy, sending holiday cards to potential and past clients to increase loyalty and foster customer relationships.

Sending holiday cards to your existing roster of clients and surrounding residents creates an emotional connection between you and your customers, which has been proven to increase brand loyalty and increase sales.

Keep in mind that your customers may celebrate different religious holidays, so sending a generic holiday card rather than one specific for Christmas may be more advantageous to avoid offending anyone.

Utilize Holiday-Themed SEO

Search engine optimization (SEO) should always be a priority in your marketing campaign. The holidays are a great time to re-evaluate your target keywords and add holiday-themed alternatives to help potential clients find you.

Keywords such as “holiday gifts,” “unique Christmas presents,” “ugly sweaters” and “corporate holiday gifts” trend around the end of the year. Utilize these keywords in your pay-per-click (PPC) Google campaigns and in the content of your website and blogs to capitalize on seasonal searches.

Holiday Events

People love to attend holiday events where they feel jolly and get in the spirit of the holiday season. This is the perfect time for businesses to open their doors, encouraging new clients to learn more about them and regular clients to feel appreciated.

Consider hosting an annual holiday party for your top customers to wine and dine them and help them feel valued by your company. You can also host a holiday open house at a salon, store or restaurant attracting families with a visit and photos with Santa and his elves, free cookie decorating events and carolling.

Whatever event you plan for your business, focus on using that time to help visitors connect with your company, learn more about your products and services and create an emotional connection with your brand.

The holiday season can be a strenuous time for business owners as it calls for a lot of expenses. IOU Financial is committed to helping you during this and any other time with an affordable business loan. Get instant pre-approval and funding in as little as 24-48 hours!

Should My Business Participate in Cyber Monday?

Cyber Monday (CM), the Monday after Thanksgiving that promotes online shopping, has become almost as important as Thanksgiving and Black Friday in terms of holiday sales. In 2016, CM sales increased by 12.1 percent year over year, reaching a volume of $3.45 billion. That’s a higher sales volume than experienced on 2016 Black Friday. There is nothing to prohibit online sellers from participating throughout the Thanksgiving holiday, but CM is the day set aside for the biggest online promotions. The question of whether your small business should aggressively compete for CM business turns on several considerations:

What is your online presence?

If you don’t have a website, or if the website has problems, it’s getting late to make it work right. You certainly don’t want to be out there on CM with an untested or buggy site – it’s much better to perfect the website before using it. You’ll be better off by opening a page on Etsy or Amazon this year and then promote your website next yet.

What do you sell?

The extended Thanksgiving selling season favors products over services, with perhaps the exception of travel. Certain merchandise has historically seen strong sales on CM, such as laptops, cellphones, data storage, clothing, and beauty products. But that’s not to say you shouldn’t participate on CM with different types of merchandise – it’s ultimately your call.

Can you afford CM?

The purpose of CM is to achieve a sales spike. That means you might need extra merchandise and extra labor. Depending on your size, this might not be a major consideration. However, if you are a bigger business, you might have to prepare for CM by purchasing extra inventory and hiring additional part-time workers. If you anticipate significant costs in this regard, consider taking a loan from IOU Financial – the terms are fair, the money is available quickly, and you repay a small amount in daily or weekly increments instead of facing a largely monthly payment.

Can you absorb promotion costs?

Sure, on CM you can sell your most popular items for 90 percent off and make a big splash. Can you afford such an aggressive promotion? Is it overkill, or is it a reasonable response to your competitors? Do you sell a product mix that encourages repeat shopping? If so, getting folks to place their first online order with you might be worth an upfront loss. On the other hand, if you give away the store, you might not survive until next year’s CM. It comes down to sales projections, budgets, and cash. You can prepare for just about any promotion if you start early enough, but spontaneous last-minute promotions might leave you in a cash crunch.

Engage social media.

Activate your pages on Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, LinkedIn and so forth to promote your CM sales. Ads on these pages are cheap and can be very effective. If you maintain a customer email list, prepare to ramp up a few days before Thanksgiving and again on CM. Services like MailChimp can help you set up and execute an email strategy – it’s not expensive but requires some preparation, so don’t wait until the last minute.

Try to establish closer relationships with new customers:

Hopefully, your CM promotions will draw in first-time customers. Besides adding them to your mailing list, do something extra to help cement your relationship with them. You might send them special offers or coupons as a thank you for shopping with you.

If you fit the CM profile, go for it! After all, you do want to increase sales, don’t you? Need to get a handle on your budget before the big day? Check out our Business Budget Smart Sheet. 

How to Gear-up for a Successful Small Business Saturday

American Express started Small Business Saturday in 2010 to encourage American consumers to buy from mom-and-pop stores rather than the huge box-stores and the ubiquitous online sites. It falls on the Saturday following Thanksgiving (Nov. 25, 2017), and you should be preparing for it right now. Here are some great tips to maximize your sales on Small Business Saturday (SBS):

Beef up your inventory:

SBS is a great opportunity to attract new customers, and the last thing you want is to experience stockouts in the face of high demand. If your cash flow is tight, consider taking a loan to finance extra inventory purchases. You need to have the merchandise ready to go by Thanksgiving, because savvy shoppers often beat the SBS rush by a day or two. Thankfully, IOU Financial moves swiftly, and we can get money into your company bank account in as little as 48 hours. But don’t procrastinate – others will be stocking up too!

Check out competing promotions:

Don’t let your competitors out-hustle you on SBS. Be alert to print and broadcast ads, as well as word-of-mouth, store signs and mailers. Even though promotions will cut your net margins, the new customers you recruit are a long-term asset and well worth the short-term cost. Don’t forget to use social media to get the word out about the great deals you’ve cooked up for SBS.

Review your website:

You do have a website, don’t you? The big-box boys sure do, but yours can be more creative and locally relevant. List all your phone numbers and prominently display your store hours. Highlight SBS and how shoppers will benefit from the great deals you’ll be offering.

Feed the charitable impulse:

A great promotion is to contribute a percentage of all SBS sales to a popular local charity. The percentage is up to you, but even 1 percent can buy you a lot of good publicity. And that’s what you want – plenty of publicity in your local newspapers and broadcast media. Follow up with a photo showing the charity chairman receiving an oversized check from you. An enterprising local TV reporter might be interested in the human-interest angle, so shop the story around.

Bread and circuses:

Make SBS an event that will generate a rush of traffic. Offer free snacks, drinks, a raffle, maybe a clown to entertain shoppers’ children – you get the idea. Combine special events with special discounts and packages, and you may see traffic like never before.

Strategic partnerships:

Do you run a bakery next door to a coffee roaster? Maybe the two of you could get together and cross-market each other with joint SBS discounts. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination.

Involve your workers:

Get them excited by involving them as you brainstorm your SBS plans. Their enthusiasm will help make SBS a success, and you’ll also score points by showing your employees that you care about their ideas.

Say thank you:

Personalize your gratitude to SBS shoppers by mailing, or emailing, thank-you notes. Collect address information via door prizes, discount cards and loyalty clubs. Elicit feedback about how to make next year’s SBS even better. Enclose a discount coupon to encourage a repeat visit.

By growing your customer base, you set the foundation for growing your business. SBS might just be the springboard to a larger store, more employees, and higher sales. The opportunity is there – it’s up to you to grab it!

How to Get Your Finances Ready for Your Slow Season

Many small businesses experience one or more slow seasons each year. For a B2B business, the year-end holidays might be a slack time, while tourist-related businesses might have little to do during the coldest (or hottest) months. Although challenging, a slow season is at least predictable, which means you can make preparations to see your business through the lean months. Here are some suggestions:

Assess your cash needs:

Most businesses have a mixture of fixed and variable costs. You’ll need enough cash to cover your fixed costs and that portion of your variable costs that you can’t avoid. Your monthly and quarterly budgets should give you a good indication of an impending cash crunch and thus how much money you must have on hand.

Husband your cash:

In the months just prior to the slow season, accumulate excess cash, if any, in a bank account. If you have a lot of money tied up in unpaid invoices, consider factoring them for immediate cash. Cut your expenses and purchases during the slow season. If you hire contractors, it’s easy enough to reduce staffing. That’s a little harder to do with employees, but many places do furlough workers or give them unpaid extra vacation time. In the worst case, you can let go of some employees, but that may cause more problems in the long term. A better idea is to hire only the number of employees you need all year round, and then hire seasonal workers during the busy months.

Take a vacation:

If you run a mom and pop store, schedule your vacations for the slow season(s) and shut down the store during those times. For example, if you own a frozen yogurt store in Washington DC, the three coldest winter months might be an excellent time to take an extended holiday. This will cut your variable costs to the bone.

Make credit arrangements:

A short-term loan or line of credit can be just the ticket for smoothing out a choppy selling year. IOU Financial can lend you up to $150,000 on short notice and favorable terms, without all the hassles associated with a bank loan. Since the loan is short term – the length of the slow season – the total interest paid will be relatively modest.

Negotiate better terms with suppliers:

If your slow season is well defined, you should be able to work with your suppliers to loosen their terms during the slack period. It’s reasonable to ask for due dates to be extended from 10 to 90 days, especially if your payment record with the vendor is good. A good supplier will understand your business cycles and offer you flexible terms when you need them. It’s important to reach these agreements well in advance of the start of the slow season, so that you can adjust your budget accordingly.

Increase your social presence:

Use your extra time during the slow season to increase your social media footprint. It’s an excellent time to publish articles and send out newsletters or emails containing useful information. Update your entries in LinkedIn, Facebook and other outlets. You can even advertise over the web by buying ads from Google, LinkedIn and other social sites.

Plan sales events:

If you can’t close up shop during the slow season, why not schedule major markdown events for the period? Lower prices, suitably advertised, should draw in customers. You can also plan fun events, like raffles and free donut days, as well as instituting a buyer loyalty program.

IOU Financial is your source for affordable small business loans of up to $150,000, funded in as little as 24 hours. There are no upfront costs, and daily fixed repayments avoids large monthly payments. Let us see you get through your slow period and help you grow your business year-round.

Tax Season is Here: How to Properly Get Your Finances in Order Before You File

The new year is also the start of tax season, so it’s time for your small business to get organized, file business expenses correctly, and ensure you are getting the correct refund. The details of how to accomplish this depend, in part, on how your business is organized: sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC or corporation. Yet the ways you go about calculating your taxable business income are pretty much the same however you’re organized. Here are the basic steps you’ll need to file your taxes properly.

Collect your business records: Hopefully, you have a computer and/or file drawer that is carefully organized to maintain all your raw paperwork, such as invoices, receipts, tax documents, bank statements, business diaries, etc. But we know that some folks are in the habit of piling all their papers into a heap on a desk. Well, now is the time to attack those records, get them sorted and entered onto a spreadsheet or accounting package. If you use software like Quicken or QuickBooks, you can go through your transactions, flag tax-related items and associate them with the appropriate IRS tax forms and lines. Once complete, you can then import the data into tax preparation software and it will automatically prefill many of your forms and schedules. 

Resurrect missing information: If you are somewhat disorganized, you may not have done a 100 percent perfect job of preserving your receipts. For example, you know you went on a business trip last year, but can’t seem to locate any of the receipts for travel, lodging, meals, taxis and so forth. Unless you paid for everything in cash, you can resurrect the missing information by combing through your credit card and bank statements. In fact, it’s a good idea to scour the entire 12 months of these statements to make sure you haven’t missed any deductible expenses. If you operate on a cash basis, remember that tax-related events occur when money is collected or disbursed. Accrual-based businesses must instead use the dates on which income is earned and expenses are incurred.

Find the correct forms: The IRS is pretty picky on which forms you use to file your taxes – they want you to use the right If you are a sole proprietor or run a one-person LLC, this means you’ll be getting intimate with Schedule C of Form 1040. A corporation must instead file Form 1120 separately from your personal return. Partnerships have separate forms as well. Your tax software can quickly ascertain which forms it will use to collect and report your information.

Make 401(k) payment: Your tax software will keep a running total of your refund or taxes due as you fill in the required data. If it turns out you owe the IRS money and you file on Schedule C, remember that you can fund your personal 401(k) up until the tax filing deadline and deduct the contribution from last year’s income. For 2016, that contribution can be as much as $59,000, depending on your age and income.

File on time: If you need an extension, remember that only buys you time for filing, not for paying. You still must pay what you think you owe by the April 15 deadline. Note that if you file Form 1120S as a Subchapter S corporation, the deadline is March 15. If your fiscal year doesn’t coincide with the calendar year, adjust your dates accordingly.

Should you find yourself short of cash at tax filing time, it’s good to know that IOU Financial can lend you up to $150,000 in as little as 24 hours.

How Redefining Your Core Values Can Benefit Your Business

As the new year momentum continues, it can be beneficial to review the core values of your business to see what you can amend and improve upon. Redefining your business core values to make them significant and actually mean something to your staff, partners, and customers can play a monumental role in the way your company is seen and how others relate to your brand.

A source for Harvard Business Review, who has helped companies refine their corporate values for over one decade, states that bland or meaningless values can damage the credibility of the company and alienate employees. To prevent this, revisit your current core values, find room for improvement, and take the following steps to redefine them.

Review Your Current Core Values

To start, re-familiarize yourself with the current corporate values you have established. Are they still relevant, achievable, and actually being implemented? For example, if one of the values is transparency, do your firm’s daily operations reflect that goal? Does information freely flow from top to bottom and in reverse? Are you open and honest with your investors, business partners, and clients about any issues, roadblocks or failures?

Remove any core values that are no longer important to your brand, don’t say anything about your corporate identity, or are simply impossible to achieve.

Survey Your Team

An organization is made up of the team members employed there; therefore, it can be beneficial to survey your employees to find out what their personal values are. If you able to align the personal beliefs and values of your staff with your business values, you can create a better corporate culture and overall working experience for your team.

Send out an email or online survey and ask employees to write down three to five personal values that matter to them. Review these answers and narrow down the top five to 10 choices based on popularity, significance, and relevance to your brand.

For example, if the majority of your staff value sustainability and the green movement, you may consider adding an eco-friendly component to your company’s philanthropic efforts. This can increase employee loyalty by supporting a cause that is important to them, and also start to promote your brand image with a new and important initiative.

Implement the Newly Established Core Values

Once you remove outdated and irrelevant values, and have worked with your staff to come up with meaningful new principles, you must create a plan to implement them. Core values must be ingrained in every decision and practice of the organization because they are the foundation of the brand’s identity.

If you added honest communication as a core value, for example, consider investing in training that would improve the communication skills of your managers and other staff members. Teaching them to better read nonverbal cues, actively listen, and understand difference in multicultural communication can lead to a more productive work environment.

Redefining your core corporate values can unite you with your clientele, partners, and employees by exposing the main principles that define your company and creating common goals for all staff to follow. Revisit your business’ core values while you’re still riding the momentum of New Year’s Resolutions and betterment initiatives!