Getting your business ready for the new year is something that is on all business owner’s minds here at the start of another year. We all have our personal resolutions we either mentally note or begin to actualize in our own way and a business requires the same or even more attention. As the holidays wind down and we’re still in party mode or just plain worn out it can be challenging to ponder what 2014 will have in store for us. We know the economy is still uncertain but we don’t want to let that damper our enthusiasm for things we have control over and items that need tending to regardless of outside influences.
The end of last year or beginning of the new year should, no matter what, be a time to take action and build an early momentum that will carry you further into the year. When you set out to tackle a lot of the little things you may have put off, you will gain a certain confidence and sense of accomplishment that is definitely needed now in these difficult times.
Instead of saying things like “This could be the year,” or “Maybe the economy will get better” or “I’m really going to give it my all this year;” go beyond this and take some specific steps toward making it a better year. I would almost certainly say to start with a list. Not just a wish list or some vague resolutions but really devote a few hours of quiet time and focus on what your business is and who you want to serve and how you can serve those clients better and get more clients for the future.
Depending on the size of your organization you may depend on employees, vendors, or outsourced professionals to stay afloat. It is important to know where you stand with them and if everything will continue to run as needed. Let them know how much you appreciate them and give them a “heads up” as to what you expect from them in the coming year. Share your enthusiasm to create a positive outlook everyone can use to fuel the fire of your business as a whole.
Also, how many online accounts are a part of your business? Things like your phone numbers, web host, domains, auto-responders, and social networks should all be checked and maintained so you’re ready to conduct business today, tomorrow, or next week. These kinds of things can sneak up on us or lapse, so year’s end is a good time to at least double check them all.
Of course, the end of the year and the coming new one brings to mind financial and tax matters, so this has to be a concern. Hopefully you or your accountant have kept good records and even if it’s not quite tax time, depending on how you’re set up in that regard, this is an important time to review things. Make sure you are doing things correctly both from a financial and legal point of view. Consult with the necessary professionals to make sure you’re in good shape and look for ways to improve.
It is a good idea to touch base with your current customers and let them know you’re there for them and want to continue to offer them the best service possible. This lets them know you appreciate their business and that you’re willing to go the extra mile. If you have the good fortune of having too large a customer base to contact personally in a short amount of time, then send them an email or letter, just let them know.
In my business I help others build a bigger presence on the web, through a variety of channels like online video, blogging, and social media; in addition to utilizing search engine optimization (SEO) techniques and search engine marketing (SEM), unpaid and paid respectively. With all of these different methods to build a business, I must admit, I’ve been my own worst client. I intend to expand on the foundation that I’ve built and start using social media as a primary tool for my own business, Rank High Media.
Now for the fun part, planning your marketing strategy and setting goals. If done correctly, by implementing an effective marketing strategy you may actually exceed your goals. Whether your goals are sales related or customer related, make them as specific and measurable as possible. That is not to say be too realistic, I’m a believer in being a little “unrealistic,” but in goal setting for marketing, keep in mind who you want to reach, how many people you want to reach, and pay particular attention to the response you expect or actually get. If you’re not doing this now consult with us or another marketing professional to help you.
Make 2014 the “Year of Quality Assessment.” Never stop asking yourself and those around you, “What can we do to improve?” Delivering or over delivering is crucial for a business, now more than ever. There is so much competition out there and if you don’t meet the demands of your customer base, they will seek out someone who can. I hope this post has provided you with a little nudge or reminder to help you along with welcoming in this new year. So with that I encourage your input and comments and extend a heartfelt Happy New Year to my readers and clients