Hopefully, you haven’t abandoned your personal New Year’s resolutions just yet, although we’d totally understand, given the year-end stress. Once the dust has cleared, it’s a great time to set fresh goals for your business. Think of them as business resolutions for the new year.

Of course, you can’t accurately determine where you want to go without understanding where you are right now. The classic method of doing that is performing a SWOT analysis: determining the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of an organization.

And while it’s always helpful to analyze your business as a whole using the SWOT method, you can break it down even further, by departments:

Clients: How are you serving them well? How could you serve them better? What new services could you offer? Who’s competing for your clients? And what other competition is there: not hiring through staffing, not hiring at all, offshoring, etc.?

Candidates: How are you serving them well? How could you serve them better? Where do your best candidates come from, and how can you increase your activities in those channels? Where do your weakest candidates come from, and how can you decrease or cease your activities in those channels?

Employees: What are the greatest strengths of your workforce? In what areas could they use some additional training or education? Are there new ways you can energize your workforce? And are your incentives and culture strong enough to keep your employees loyal to you?

Operations: What areas are functioning efficiently, and how can you duplicate those results? What areas could use a tune-up? Are there new technological or operational developments that could further improve your efficiency? And are there also developments (price increases, legislation) that could compromise your efficiency?

Finance: Review your business’s balance sheet, cashflow and financial ratios. Which are healthy… and which aren’t? Are there ways of buying, selling, trading, leasing or refinancing that could improve your financial fitness? And are there also new or potential developments (interest rates, balloon payments due) that could harm your financial standing?

Marketing/Sales: This one might be trickier, because many businesses don’t have mechanisms in place to measure the success of marketing efforts. This article, among thousands available online, offers a good starting point for developing measurement tactics for marketing and sales. Evaluate the campaigns and tactics that have worked, and the ones that haven’t, and be sure you understand why in both cases. See if you and your team could use additional training to stay on top of the latest developments in marketing and sales, and be aware of what your competition is doing in these areas as well.

Once you know where you stand, you can chart a course for the new year. Set goals for the year and for individual quarters, and let your employees know what these goals are and why they’re important. Once employees know what the company is shooting for and why, they tend to be much more engaged in meeting those goals. (And tying employee bonuses to those goals doesn’t hurt, either.)

What might surprise you is how many of these areas COATS Staffing Software can help you with. Having the most comprehensive staffing software possible can measure your client and candidate efforts, keep your operations efficient and organized, track your marketing and sales efforts and keep your financials strong. Contact us today to learn how we can help make 2012 your best year yet.

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