By Molly Benson

2016 is finally here, and although it’s important to monitor progress and set targets throughout the year, January is the perfect opportunity to set some goals for the year ahead.

Whether you’re looking to boost profits, make your team more productive or improve staff satisfaction, by outlining your ambitions now, you can set a plan of action in place to help you achieve your goals. If you’re struggling for ideas, here are five potential small business resolutions for 2016.

Be Charitable

If you’re looking to save money this year, donating to charity might not be the first thing on your to-do list. However, not only can your money help the charities that are important to you, it can also benefit your business. Whether you sponsor a charity event, allow employees to volunteer or make a significant donation, by helping a worthy cause you’re likely to benefit from publicity.

If you decide to give employees time off to volunteer with local charities, you may be able to unlock secret talents that aren’t usually utilised in a typical workplace environment. As a result, you may see an improvement in employee morale.

Go Green

A growing number of businesses are beginning to see the benefits of going green. Not only can a company’s eco-friendly efforts have a positive impact on the environment, it can save money and boost profits too.

Companies that introduce an energy-efficiency plan tend to see a reduction in their energy bills within the first few months of these positive new changes. Furthermore, according to Green Business Bureau, businesses that pledge to make the workplace more healthy and eco-friendly often see a surge in productivity thanks to a 20% drop in the number of sick days used by employees.

With environmental consciousness on the rise, more and more consumers are seeking green products and services in an attempt to lessen their impact. As a result, by catering to the demand, you may find yourself welcoming an abundance of new customers.

Embrace Flexible Working

As far as employee benefits go, it’s almost impossible to beat a flexible working policy. By allowing employees to work from home or tailor their working hours to their own personal schedules, you can improve staff satisfaction and boost productivity. You’re also likely to see an improvement in staff retention and a surge in applicants whenever it’s time to recruit. With so many more people applying for vacancies within your company, you’ll be able to take your pick of the best talent and help your company grow.

Secure Your Data

Make this the year you tighten your company’s security and protect your most important assets. This could involve moving your data to the cloud, introducing a security policy so employees know how to protect private information, and embracing virtual desktops.

Perhaps one of the simplest ways to improve data security involves creating strong passwords. Make sure your passwords are at least 8-12 characters long and include a selection of letters, numbers and special characters. It’s also important to avoid using the same password across multiple accounts. It’s better to use complicated passwords and log them somewhere safe rather than using simple passwords that are easy to remember and equally easy to hack.

Embrace Productivity-boosting Apps

There are so many cloud-based apps available to make it easier to boost productivity and work in a more efficient way.

Trello is a great place to start if you’re looking for an app that allows you to manage your to-do list and share tasks and targets between members of your team. Dropbox, meanwhile, is perfect if you’re looking for an affordable storage tool.