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These five big-picture best practices are wise implementations for any small business.

* Update your technology and cyber-security.

It’s easy to overlook regular software updates for the technology your business uses every day, especially if they appear when you’re in the middle of working on something important. However, it’s wise to install software updates whenever the opportunity presents itself, because failing to do so can make your business vulnerable to a cyber-attack. Companies patch their software all the time to defend against new threats and mitigate previous shortcomings.

*Unify your branding and marketing efforts.

It’s important, now more than ever, for companies to create coherent brands that stay on message across a number of channels. Disjointed marketing efforts, or those that only focus heavily on one channel while neglecting others, no longer work in a hyper connected world.

*Increase your legal and regulatory awareness.

It’s never a bad idea to brush up on the legal aspects of your industry. Laws and regulations are often changing and, while many entrepreneurs retain attorneys to deal with the finer points, understanding the broad strokes could keep your small business from running afoul. Whether it’s existing laws on the books or pending legislation, understanding the current landscape is key to making smart decisions. And it’s not only of federal laws that entrepreneurs should remain apprised, it’s also those at the state level.

* Organize your record-keeping.

Whether for finances, compliance, employment or clientele, keeping an organized record system improves transparency into your business’s inner workings. Today, there are plenty of opportunities to digitize or even automate record-keeping using software, making it easier than ever to stay on top of your filing system. These records are especially important during tax season and when dealing with the government, but they also help illuminate your regular operations.

* Reaffirm your mission.

There’s no time like the start of the year to reaffirm your company’s overarching mission and examine your goals of how to continuously serve your target clientele. Make sure you and your staff both know why this company even exists in the first place; knowing the mission will give your team a clear objective, and then the rest just comes down to planning and execution.



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