Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
As the end of the year approaches, small business owners across the country have already started planning for the months ahead, and you should do the same. Now is the perfect time to reflect on the previous twelve months and think of ways to help your business have the best year ever. If you do not do this, you might have another year of unfulfilled resolutions related to your business. Even worse, your competition could outpace you in growth, revenues, and customer acquisition.
The New Year will present your small business with new and exciting challenges and great opportunities, and preparing for success does not take much time or effort. This Balboa Capital blog article explains how to start the New Year right.
Take a step back and evaluate.
Take time to evaluate your business’s performance in the current year before making decisions for the New Year. Make notes of your successes and failures, look at the revenue generated from new clients or customers, and calculate your year-over-year (YOY) growth. If you can think of ways to improve your general operations, increase productivity, and reduce your expenses, write them down.
Lastly, an essential part of this process is analyzing your marketing strategy to see which efforts have proven successful and where you need to make adjustments. For example, you might find out that you are spending money on marketing and advertising efforts that are not directly translating to sales and are therefore a waste of time and money.
Update your website and social media profiles before the New Year.
Do not let your website become outdated. Instead, update it regularly by adding new content. In addition, if you have not done so already, make sure that your website renders perfectly on all smartphones and tablets, as mobile searches accounted for 76% of all search volume this year.
It is also good to give each social media profile a quick update. First, ensure your brand image or logo is consistent across all social networks. Also, each social network has guidelines for image sizes, so you will need to optimize yours accordingly. You can find this information in each social network’s “profile settings” section. Next, include the same bio, also known as the business description, on each social network profile.
You should also peruse your social media feeds, un-tag your small business from harmful or inappropriate posts, and unfollow or block people who have posted things on your feed that are offensive, insensitive, or controversial. The last thing you want is your business to be associated with a fan or follower who might hurt your online reputation.
Set realistic business goals for the New Year.
Determine your specific business goals for the New Year and create a strategy to achieve them. For example, increasing your sales is probably one of your primary goals. Setting specific sales and revenue goals, and coming up with a strategy to meet them, can help keep you and your employees on track. You can have both short-term goals and long-term goals for your business.
Next, do not be afraid to aim high. Setting aggressive but attainable goals will keep you motivated throughout the year, even when times become difficult. Let momentum drive you to be assertive with your strategy and approach. If you have a banner sales month or quarter and reach a goal early, stay focused and don’t let up. The reason is that you never know how the next sales period might play out. Finally, look for creative ways to keep your team motivated to work with the common goal of meeting or exceeding your business goals.
Review your systems and policies.
If you have not looked over your internal systems and policies this year, it is time to do so. It is an excellent way to determine if everything is functioning as it should and pinpoint any problems that might impact your day-to-day operations. Examine everything that helps your business run, such as equipment, computers, point-of-sale (POS) systems, software, and fulfillment and shipping technologies. Then, if anything needs to be updated, repaired, or replaced, get it done quickly so you can start the New Year off without any issues.
Next, let us discuss your policies and procedures. No small business can move forward without periodic updates or modifications to its policy manual. Employment laws change often, and updated policy manuals keep businesses legally compliant. Your policy manual is the blueprint for your internal operations, and your employees must read and understand it. It is good to ask your employees for a signed acknowledgment of receipt of your policy, too.
Suppose you have employees who developed bad habits at work this year, such as excessive absenteeism, inappropriate use of computer time, lack of productivity, or abuse of workplace privileges. In that case, they need to turn it around and start the New Year on a positive note. For this to happen, they need to be made aware that a change in attitude is required. Meet with your employees individually to address your concerns in a firm but respectful manner. This can help you mitigate bad habits before they detriment your employees’ morale and your business’s success.
Express your gratitude.
Despite the ever-so-present reminders to “have a wonderful holiday season,” many forget to thank those around us, particularly our loyal customers. While a simple “thank you” email or letter is easy to do, it is often forgotten in the business world. Your small business would not succeed without your clients and customers. Please make a point to reach out and tell them that you appreciate their business. Whether through a holiday card, an email, or a customer appreciation event, expressing a heartfelt “thank you” can go a long way.
Finally, do not forget the importance of showing gratitude to your employees with a signed card, gift certificate, small bonus, or perhaps a day off. Recognizing their hard work and contributions can positively impact their performance and attitude.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.