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’s worth of unfulfilled resolutions that relate to your business. Even worse, your competition could end up outpacing you in terms of growth, revenues, and customer acquisition.
The New Year will present your company with some new and exciting challenges, along with some great opportunities, and preparing for success does not take much time or effort on your part. This Balboa Capital blog article explains how to start the New Year right.
Take a step back and evaluate.
Take time to evaluate your company’s performance in the current year before making decisions for the New Year. Make notes of your successes and failures and your overall business expenses, and look at the amount of revenue generated from new clients and/or new customers. It you can think of ways to improve your overall operations, increase productivity and reduce your expenses, write them down, too.
Lastly, an important part of this process is analyzing your marketing strategy to see which efforts have proven to be successful, and where you need to make adjustments, if any. 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.
Do not let your company’s website become outdated. Update it regularly by adding new content, and check to make sure that all of your links and online forms are functioning properly. If you have not done so already, make sure that your website renders perfectly on all smartphones and tablets, as mobile searches accounted for 56% of all search volume this year.
It is also a good idea to give each of your company’s social media profiles a quick update. Make sure that your brand image or logo is consistent across all social networks. Also, each social network has its own guidelines for image sizes, so you will need to optimize yours accordingly. You can find this information in the “profile settings” section of each social network. Next, include the same company bio, also known as the company description, on each social network profile. This consistency increases your brand recognition.
You should also peruse your social media feeds and un-tag your company from negative 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 for your company to be associated with a fan or follower who might hurt your online reputation.
Set realistic business goals.
Determine what your specific business goals are for the New Year and create a strategy to achieve them. For example, increasing your company’s 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 throughout the year. 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 are having a banner sales month or quarter and you reach a goal early, stay focused and do not let up. Reason being, you never know how the next sales period might play out. Finally, look for creative ways to keep your team motivated so they can work with the common goal of meeting and/or exceeding your business goals.
Review your systems and policies.
If you have not looked over your company’s internal systems and policies this year, it is time to do so. It is a good way to determine if everything is functioning as it should, and to pinpoint any problems that might be impacting 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. 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 company’s policies and procedures. No small business can move forward without making periodic updates and/or modifications to its policy manual. That is because employment laws change often, and updated policy manuals keep businesses legally compliant. Your company’s policy manual is the blueprint for your internal operations, and it is imperative that your employees read it and understand it. It is a good idea to ask your employees for a signed acknowledgement of receipt of your company’s policy, too.
If you have any 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, they need to turn it around and start the New Year on a positive note. In order for this to happen, they need to be made aware that a change in attitude is needed. Meet with your employees individually to address your concerns in a firm but respectful manner. This can help you mitigate bad habits before they become a detriment to your employees’ morale and your company’s success.
Express your gratitude.
Despite the ever-so-present reminders to “have a wonderful holiday season,” many of us 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. Without your clients and/or customers, your small business would not succeed. Make a point to reach out and tell them that you appreciate their business. Whether this is 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.