Every December, we make New Year’s resolutions to help us get fitter, healthier, stronger or smarter in the coming year. But how often do you make those resolutions for your business?
Having a healthy, strong and smart local business will help you achieve those bigger business goals of gaining more customers, more sales and more opportunities for your business. Here are four New Year’s resolutions you might want to consider for your company and how you can get them started.
1. “I’ll sort out my website”
Despite consumers embracing digital media, a report by hosting company GoDaddy found that 60% of businesses with fewer than five employees still don’t have a website (GoDaddy, 2015). Whether you sell online or not, having a website is essential to communicating a professional and trustworthy presence online.
Your business website doesn’t have to be all-singing and all-dancing but it should be clear, easy-to-use and contain all the essential information a visitor might need. With the popularity of smartphones growing and growing, it’s becoming increasingly likely that your customers are going to visit your site using their phone. It’s therefore essential to consider investing in a responsive website that looks as good on a mobile as it does on a desktop computer.
2. “I’ll get the right funding”
Dreams of opening a new branch, expanding your business or hiring a new team member are all brilliant ways to develop your business – but they’re still dreams. There are a host of funding opportunities available to local businesses to make those dreams happen and although they take time to apply for, the benefits are definitely worth it.
Local and national government have a variety of different schemes to help you – check out their websites or give your local Chamber of Commerce a call to get advice. If you’re keen to take on new team members, consider an apprenticeship (which can be subsidised by the government) or developing a graduate scheme with a local college or university.
If you’ve got an idea for a new product or service to add to your business, crowd-funding through platforms like IndieGoGo or Kickstarter might work for you. This is where people directly invest in your product, service or business and receive an early release of the product or a ‘gift’ in return.
3. “I’ll market my business properly”
From email newsletters to adverts in the local paper, there’s a great range of marketing channels available to local businesses. If you’ve put money into marketing and haven’t found you’re getting any return on your investment, take a step back and consider whether you’re doing it in the right way.
It’s essential your marketing links up to the objectives of your business for next year, whether you want to gain more customers, expand the business or focus on a specific service you offer. Think about which marketing methods would be most effective for your business and target the right customers – 1 in 3 local business owners think social media isn’t important to their business (FSB, 2015), yet more people than ever are using social media to research and talk to businesses they want to buy from.
4. “I’ll streamline my operations”
There are plenty of time-consuming activities that burden local businesses and take attention away from the running of your business. That includes administration, day-to-day customer service and even creating and sharing marketing materials.
Streamlining your operations is a good way to help you focus your attention on the big business goals you have for next year. That might mean using the right tools to help manage your social media and time, finding a good computer program for project management, or outsourcing some of your tasks so you can concentrate on running your business.
There are plenty of micro-businesses who specialise in administrative and project management services (search online for “virtual PA” or “virtual assistant”) and others who offer a full marketing service, on and offline. Invest in these services and you’ll have more time to focus on achieving your big dreams rather than worrying about day-to-day difficulties.
What will your New Year’s Resolution for your business be? While you’re feeling motivated for next year, you should start making plans with clear but realistic deadlines against them to help ensure they don’t fall by the wayside when the New Year is upon you.