January 1, 2013 is almost here, and with the start of a new year comes the tradition of making New Year’s resolutions. All too often New Year’s resolutions are quickly made and quickly forgotten. However, if your resolutions are given considerable thought and periodically reviewed they can be a very positive tool to effect change. Typically New Year’s resolutions are directed toward our personal lives. This year give some serious consideration to making some New Year’s resolutions for your business.

Take time to write down your resolutions and quarterly set aside some time to review your progress toward them. Writing down your resolutions is an extremely important part of this activity. Somehow it prompts you to give more thought to the resolutions. Documenting your progress is also extremely important. It magically gives you greater resolve to achieve your resolutions.

Following are some ideas you might want to consider making a part of your 2013 business New Year’s resolutions.

If you do not have a written business plan, prepare one. If you do have a written business plan review it (chances are you may have a hard time finding it). Your business plan should contain both short term and long term goals. Make sure your goals reflect the current business climate in your area and the current needs of your customers.

Take the time to determine the true cost of your labor. Take into consideration breaks, vacation, sick leave and other benefits. Also take the time to determine the true cost of your products and the services you provide your customers. Chances are you will be surprised what you learn.

Review your list of products and services. Introduction of new products and services is the life blood of many companies. However, at the same time you may need to discontinue items that are no longer in strong demand. Make these decisions with your head not your heart. The fact that “we have always done it” is not a good enough reason to continue offering an item or service.

Develop a plant improvement plan. All too often I have seen companies that did not routinely put money back into the business; Ten or 20 years later they discover their facilities and equipment were in poor condition and outdated. If you are not continually reinvesting into your business you are moving backwards.

There are new regulations associated with HACCP Plan reassessment requiring better documentation of reassessment. This year when you reassess your HACCP Plan(s) take a close look — take a really close look at them. Don’t forget the golden rule of HACCP; say what you do and do what you say. HACCP is ongoing process control and the better you control a process the greater is your opportunity for profit potential.

If you don’t have a Food Defense Plan, develop one. In its 2012 Food Defense Plant Survey, FSIS reported that 13% of small establishments and 33% of very small establishments did not have a Food Defense Plan.

If you don’t have a Business Succession Plan, develop one. In most cases, at some point in time business owners will want to transfer ownership to someone else. This often takes detailed planning to minimize tax liability.

If you take the time to make some New Year’s resolutions for your business and periodically check your progress there is an excellent chance your business will be more prosperous and more profitable by the end of 2013.