So, here we are in a brand-new year! We have taken a well-deserved break to spend precious time with our family and friends, exchanged gifts – and probably gained so many extra pairs of socks that you will be good for the rest of the decade – and maybe also wished someone had gifted you a packet of pain-killers that would have nursed your new year hangover better than black coffee alone.

Now we are all returning to work, and no doubt starting to focus on our business goals for 2016. Our personal resolutions may have been made, and already a few may be broken, but what of your business resolutions? Did you make any as the clock struck 12?

Now is the perfect time to review your business resolutions that you made at midnight because you are now sober!! Or if you didn’t get the chance to make any, then you can set out your plans for the upcoming year.

I know how tricky it can be to find the time to think ahead and plan your goals for the year – some days you are so busy just keeping your workload ticking over that you don’t have any time to spare. But in these days of advancing technology, we can give ourselves a break by taking advantage of apps and programmes that can help manage some of your background busy business. There is fierce competition in the apps market these days, so you can find many low-cost of free apps that can take some of the drudgery out of your day. Take a look! You will be surprised.

With the ‘small business’ in mind, how about considering the following new year resolutions to see if any will fit well with your set-up?

[bctt tweet=”review your business resolutions that you made at midnight because you are now sober!!”]

Resolution #1: Improve your Social Media engagement

If you wish you could find the time to post more often, or actually respond to your customer chatter, then why not resolve to manage your social media contact better by using Hoot-suite or another similar system to make it easier for your to manage your activity without having to sit for hours Twitter gazing or Facebook staring while waiting for a post response.

By channeling multiple social media accounts through one portal, you can free up some precious time that would be otherwise spent posting individual updates to each of your social media accounts. Better still, if you find it a struggle to write engaging posts as well as schedule them, why not outsource your social media tasks to a professional outside agency. It can be more cost-effective than you think, and putting your social media into the hands of experts can pay you back three-fold in the time it saves you that can be spent elsewhere on your business.

Resolution #2: Sort out your bookkeeping and accounts

Cloud-based accounting programmes such as Xero, Freshbooks and Wave can save your sanity if you are not good at keeping up to date financial business records. Are you still relying on an Excel spreadsheet to keep your invoicing records, or use Google docs to keep track of your expense account? If you have been promising yourself each year to hire an accountant, or keep better records, then an affordable or free cloud-based accounting solution is your way forward this year!

Many of these new accounting systems are specifically set up to help the small business owner with too much on their plate, and include handy programmes such as automatic client invoices, expense logging, overdue payment reminders, online payments, and so much more.

Resolution #3: Coordinate your Collaborations better

If you rely on freelancers and telecommuters for a large portion of your work processes, then sometimes it only takes a small bit of miscommunication for your whole network to collapse.

To prevent any misunderstandings, resolve to get everyone involved working off the same page. You can do this by implementing a CRM system where your remote workers and freelancers have access, and you can allocate jobs to the calendar with clear instructions and clarification notes outlining the job in hand, who it is allocated to, and the expected delivery date.

You can also set up a simple project collaboration platform through Trello or Wrike to keep everyone onboard, and communication flowing between your team.

By using document sharing and real-time workspace for your collaborations, everyone will know what each other is doing, and no one will be left in the dark, or unable to get instant clarification of a job or project to enable them to continue working.

By utilising programmes such as these, you can get a birds-eye-view of the progress of your project, and identify any delays or issues before they snowball out of control. Keeping everyone informed and on target will make for a happier team, and a more productive work environment for you.

So, your task for today is to ‘resolve your resolutions’! Take steps towards relieving yourself of unnecessary stresses that can either be automated or outsourced by using free or cheap apps and cost-effective services. Make 2016 a year for positive change!