It’s 4th quarter, a time of the year when most business owners take stock of their year and plan for the coming one. Here are 11 practical tips to help you prepare your business for the New Year.
Practical Tips to Prepare Your Business For The New Year
Who says a good clean up is suitable only in the middle of the year? Clear out all old junk to welcome in the new year.
Do a meticulous sorting of your files, mail, and even contacts to filter out the junky bits. You would be pleasantly surprised by how much space you could save.
While sorting, be sure to arrange the files in the order of needs – keep the files you use most top of the pile, as this would save you lots of time and boost productivity searching for them while working.
Update Your Website
Review your website and make sure all your links work. Ensure your website is optimised for Google.
If your site is hosted on WordPress consider using SEO plugins such as Rank Math or YEOST to handle all on-page SEO. Also, check whether your analytics are firing – add Google Analytics to your site to collect vital data.
Next, review your About page. The About page is most likely the first page visitors will see when they visit your site.
Does your About page accurately convey what your business stands for, what you offer, and your ethics? Make sure the page is engaging, has accurate information about your business and conveys brand personality.
Consider also to add social proofs on your page, as it helps build trust in your brand while also positioning you as an authority. Customers’ testimonials and reviews from past clients are great ways to include social proof on your site.
Review Your LinkedIn Profile
LinkedIn is the Tinder of the business world. People signed up for LinkedIn have one thing in mind- growing their business.
And if you are not experiencing any growth in your business after signing up for LinkedIn, then you are using the platform wrong.
Make sure your profile is professional, with the proper details of your business/company. Don’t just have a personal profile, create a company page for your business on LinkedIn.
Audit Your Customer Support Process
Your customers are why you’re still in business. And, as you probably know already, a satisfied customer is repeat business.
So, while you take stock of your year, you may want to audit your customer support process to rejig it for the coming year.
A couple of questions to help you get started:
- Is your customer support omnichannel? Can customers conveniently reach you on any channel of their choosing? Email. Phone Call. Chatbot. Social media. A contact form on your website. Address for walk-ins- you want to be present on all these channels.
- How responsive are your customer support team? Does it take days to reply to an email? Do customers have to wait several hours when they call in? You will want to address this if it takes a longer time for your team to respond to queries. Perhaps, you need to hire additional hands or automate most of the responses?
- Is branding consistent across channels?
Answers to these questions will point you in the right direction on how to improve your customer service.
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Keep a Pulse on Your Competition
While you don’t want to conduct business in fear of competition, you also want to know what’s happening with your competitors.
It could be during the year, new companies have entered your market which further made the competition stiffer.
Consider posing as a customer to learn more about their processes – an insight that could help you see areas in your business you may need to improve.
Brainstorm Ideas with Your People
You may be surprised to learn about the number of small business owners that ignore brainstorming with their staff at the end of the year. Usually, these business owners are afraid to bring employees into what’s happening with the company, for whatever reason.
Unfortunately, they are unwittingly denying themselves the opportunity to take advantage of one of the resources available to them – their people.
Think of it, which other people apart from the owner themselves, knows more about the business? The staff of course!
They’ve been working in the business for the last 12 months, surely, they have some ideas that can move your company forward.
Schedule a brainstorming session with your staff, let them know in advance, you’re planning for the new year and you need their input. Be sure to let them understand every suggestion and idea will be welcomed – this way, they will feel more comfortable sharing their ideas.
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Do a Staff Shakeup
While planning for the new year, you may want to take a look at your staffing. Consider the past year:
- Were you understaffed?
- Were there moments you wished you had more employees to take some of the responsibilities off your plate?
- Will your business be able to handle additional costs associated with new staff?
- Can you outsource some of the tasks? If you answer yes, you may need to create a pool of go-to freelancers. A good place to start is on Fiverr.
Answers to these questions will help you determine staffing needs for the new year.
Also, you may want to appraise your existing staff too. How well did they perform in their roles?
- Were there things you hoped they could do better?
- Were they able to meet their key performance indicators?
- What were the challenges your staff faced in the previous year? What are you doing to eliminate those difficulties in the new year?
- Do your staff need to upgrade their skills? Are you 100% responsible for that or do you partly fund their education?
As you can see, these questions are part of the framework that would guide you as you plan staffing needs for the new year.
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You also have to plan for business growth in the new year. Maybe, you are set to open a new branch in another city or perhaps, you anticipate higher demands from customers.
Regardless of what your business expansion goals are, you need to have a plan in place.
So you may want to start by asking:
- Can your current business structure handle new growth?
- Do you have the capacity to fulfil increased customer demands?
- Do you have enough cash to fund the expansion?
- How long will it take for the new branch to break even?
- If you need external funding, are they readily available? Do you know where to go look for it?
If you’re entering into a foreign market, you may also want to consider the possibility of translating web content and marketing material into the local language.
Create a Schedule
Once you have planned out your year, the next step is to schedule everything into a calendar.
Download our One-year Business Plan below.
Review Your Social Media Strategy
I’m assuming here you already have a presence across several social media platforms. If you haven’t however, you may want to make the new year the year you get social.
You may like: The Best Social Media Platforms for Small Businesses
Take stock of the impact of social media on your business in the last year.
- What did you use the platforms for – customer support, lead generation, or for sales?
- Which of the social media platforms worked best for you in the past year?
- What percentage of site visits, inquiries, lead gen was from social media?
- How often did you publish content on those websites?
- Did your past social media efforts lead to improved brand recognition?
Download our strategic one-year social media plan.
Review Your Marketing Strategies
Your new year plan wouldn’t be complete without a review of all marketing strategies employed last year.
Of course, you already have your target market defined, but with the new data from last year’s campaigns, you may want to become even more granular and optimize the profile better.
- Also, go over the different marketing channels you used – did you run PPC and Facebook ads last year?
- Was Google ads a better marketing channel for building brand awareness and social media ads great for closing sales?
- How well did your content marketing campaigns go? Would you try out video marketing in the new year?
Aside from online marketing strategies, consider integrating offline campaigns too.
- Maybe it’s time to ramp up going to trade fairs and industry events?
- Test using discounts, flash sales, promos to drive leg traffic to your offline store.
- How about placing ads on prints, TV and or radio?
Holistically, go through your marketing efforts and also identify new opportunities to market your brand.
Download our strategic 12 months marketing plan for small businesses.
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