Your business could do with some New Year’s resolutions too.

It’s that time of year when our thoughts once again turn to resolutions for the New Year and we consider changes that will improve or have a positive impact on our lives.

While you’re thinking about the old favourites such as an increased fitness regime or learning to play guitar, it’s also worth taking time to consider business strategies that can help set you up for success in 2016.

Here are some suggestions from the Food & Agribusiness team at Kain Lawyers.

Resolution 1: Embrace change.

Renowned business leader Jack Welch once said, “change before you have to”, and for some this has never been more true than in the new millennium. Since the introduction of the Food and Grocery Code of Conduct (FGCC) new opportunities now exist for suppliers to negotiate contracts on more favourable terms.

Despite obvious difficulties in dealing with major retailers, food suppliers are in a better position to at least open up a dialogue and begin discussions.

Our recent blog detailed a range of specific issues which suppliers should be wary of as a result of recent changes. However, handled correctly the revisions will allow you to improve your position, so our advice is to not let this opportunity pass you by.

The recent ACCC action against Woolworths demonstrates that the pressure and attention is currently on the majors. Use this to your advantage.

Resolution 2:Think big.

Both Federal and State governments are committed to investment growth in the sector and this in itself can create valuable opportunities for your business.

The BankSA Trends Report for December 2015 entitled, Premium Food for Thought, argues that South Australia in particular is in a prime position to take advantage of increased demand from Asia for clean, high quality produce.

As such the State government has identified the Food and Agribusiness sector as a key focus area in 2016 and beyond and has committed to investment growth.

Resolution 3: Share your excitement.

Success stories in the exciting food and agriculture business aren’t hard to find and there is genuine interest in sharing this good news.

If you are an advisor it might be time to see for yourself the great things your clients are achieving in their offices and on their manufacturing lines.

We recently conducted site visits with two clients, Spring Gully Foods and Ferguson Australia. It was wonderful to experience the positive, focussed atmosphere in these leading businesses, and get to see a colleague wear a beard net!

Resolution 4: Get your house in order.

Following on from Resolution #3, it may be time to conduct a health check on your regulatory compliance and standard contracts.

This is especially relevant considering the ACCC have allocated increased funding for agricultural and regional markets investigation.

This increased attention begs the question; what can you do to prevent being caught out? One solution is to seek input from your lawyer or advisor. This doesn’t have to require thousands in legal fees, it may simply be a few suggestions for you to work at with your advisor during 2016. Ask your advisors what they can do for you. After all, if you don’t ask, you don’t get.

Rebecca Halkett is the Head of Kain Lawyers’ Food & Agribusiness Group. She is a competition and consumer law specialist, has acted for and against the ACCC and is accredited as a practitioner of Competition and Consumer law.

The Food and Agriculture team and Kain Lawyers wish you all the best for 2016 and encourage everyone in the sector to revisit the opportunities upon us.