Out with the old, in with the new. With 2018 here, it’s time to give your business a refresh. What does your new year’s checklist look like? Do you even have a new year’s checklist? If you want to be successful, you’ve got to be thinking ahead, especially when it comes to business. The beginning of the year is the time to really set the stage for growth.
If you haven’t already done so, take the time to plot a course for the rest of the year, using these five hints:
1. Get Organized
First and foremost, get the “nitty-gritty” organized or out of the way. For many business owners, staying on top of accounting is their biggest struggle. One thing you may want to consider doing is outsourcing some of your financial functions, like bookkeeping, payment collections and customer account reporting. That way you can automate small, routine work and focus more on the big responsibilities of growing your business.
2. Check-in With Your Team
A happy team is a highly productive team. Rather than performing one-on-one evaluations with your staff at the end of the year, scheduling employee check-ins throughout the year can provide you the valuable feedback and fresh perspective needed to keep your business thriving. Setup individual chats monthly, as well as quarterly group discussions to gather feedback and listen to your employees’ ideas for improvements. This will make for a stronger, happier team in the long run.
3. Update Your Technology
A new year often means new innovation that can benefit your business. Do an evaluation of all your tools and systems, identifying the ones that are truly lagging behind the times or slowing down business processes. Also, identify the new technology that could really give your business a quantum leap. Do you need a new reporting tool? Information management software? What about a better tool for scheduling and managing your time? Think about where your business is lacking and what tools could potentially contribute to the biggest return on investment in regard to efficiency, performance and customer satisfaction.
4. Recruit to Win
Are the right people on the right bus? As your business grows, the challenge will be attracting the right talent to sustain and further that growth. A tight labor market means business owners must get pretty savvy about what they offer new employees, from helping them plan for the future to helping with wellness and work-life balance. This also may be the time when you decide to let go of a few employees. It’s a hard move to make, but advancing your company forward means doing what’s necessary, not what’s easy.
5. Build Social Media Awareness
Identify social media ideas that will work with the specific audience you are going after. Determine relevant trends in your industry, identify the prominent issues, and spend time determining what topics your target audience responds to the most. When you do this correctly, you can expect higher viral engagement and increased awareness, resulting in more potential customers discovering your business and more revenue. Pay attention to what your customers care about, then figure out how to talk about it in a way that interests them and gently shift the conversation to your business.
The days of ad hoc planning and “fake it till you make it” are gone. The business owners who succeed will be the ones who are best prepared and ready to compete.
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