Holidays are behind us and we are still daydreaming of the fun times we had and processing all the food we had. First working week is the hardest one and all of us are trying to find a way to motivate ourselves and get things going. Good way of starting it is reminiscing on the business year behind.
Beginning of a new year is traditionally time when we question our achievements, personally and professionally. What were our last year`s resolution, did we accomplished everything we planned and where are we now? What was left unfinished and what was done right? It`s good to have these thoughts because how else would we learn from our old mistakes and improve ourselves and our business.
Here are some ideas that will, hopefully, help you kick off your new business year the best way possible:
Analyze your old Business Actions and rethink of Your Vision
This is your starting point. Don`t rush into making a whole new list of decisions for this year if you haven`t considered what happened in the one that just ended. Begin with a serious analysis of the year behind you. Revisit your business plan. If you never made one, this is the time to make it. Consult your accountant and check your numbers. Compare income and outlay. Ask yourself is your business still going towards the vision you set up 12 months ago? After all, you had 365 days behind you filled with unpredictable events. You had set up many plans and goals, but you couldn’t predict which ones will give you your desired result. Now that you know how that turned out, you`ll know how to create new strategy that will be working towards your new vision.
Put new Ideas, Strategies and Goals on the Paper
Only after you finish analyzing everything you`ve done in the past year you can start putting a new list of plans and resolutions on the paper. Which goals were rationally made and which were out of your league? Erase the second ones and think of possible compromises you can make when recreating them. Which business moves gave you the best results? Keep doing those and loose the ones that wasted your time and effort without giving anything back. Use that extra time to research new modern strategies that are already out there. Don`t be the same, learn and become better.
NOTE: If you are a small business owner in Ontario, 2018 will be a year of struggle due to the changes Bill 148 is bringing along. Our Founder, Mallory Steel, prepared a short guide on How to Survive as a Small Business Owner and there are some good advice there, do check them out when creating a financial plan for this year.
Update your Digital Business Appearance
Beginning of the year is a perfect time to give your business a new look. When was the last time you made changes to your website design? Is your logo really reaching it`s potential? Web development and Web Design are one of the most popular occupations today and thanks to them we have so much successful brands out there.
There are so many young people with creative mind offering constant changes, competing among themselves and creating new web trends. Threat your website like your business outfit, you don`t want to wear something outdated, old and boring when you present yourself to a client. Well, your website is constantly on the stage, presenting your brand. Check out these great 8 Web Design Trends for 2018. Is your current website design keeping up with these? Consider using some of them in the year ahead, whether you do it yourself, or you hire a professional to do it.
Update your Digital Marketing Strategies
Is your social media marketing on the top of the game? Do you have a Facebook page for your business? How about LinkedIn or Instagram? How much effort do you make when actually posting something there? Are you always present? In the New Year work harder on these. Replace your old business profile picture s with new, professional ones. Make interesting and creative posts every day. Don`t just pile up your products and services there. Interact with your followers. Ask them for opinions and answer their questions regularly. Do you have a Newsletter? If not, this is the year to make one. Email marketing is as important as any other part of it. If you already have one, update the design and layout, make it worth opening.
Don`t forget the Content Marketing. Where are you on the Google rankings? What can you do to improve your Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Research why having a Blog can help you with this? Are you advertising smart, or are you advertising at all? Digital Marketing offers endless pull of possibilities that can improve your brand awareness and make your business grow. Years ahead of us are all about digitalising and you have to keep up. Researching this field can be one of your most valuable resolutions for the 2018.
Keep up with your Client`s Needs
When making a new list of business resolutions, don`t forget about your clients They too are questioning their actions, goals, needs and results. Ask them about it. Make a list of your most valuable clients or customers and send them a questionnaire about their New years resolution’s. Ask them to review your work, and your past collaboration. They can let you know what improvements can you make and what are the parts that were done right. You are here because of your clients and customers. Your job is to make them satisfied and to justify their trust. Their honest advices are your greatest gift. If you are running a retail business, share questionnaire cards to each customer when they make a purchase, or ask them to fill a short survey on a tablet. No matter what business are you in, the point is to have a feedback that will help you make smarter business decisions.
Gather Your Team and Ask about Their Resolutions and Needs
Your team of coworkers are the fuel that keeps the business going. Weather it`s a small team in a family business, or a bigger company, their opinion matters. The year behind was full of ups and downs for each one of them. Maybe they haven`t been satisfied with how they are treated? Maybe someone`s resolution will be to leave you and move to a different company? Gather your team around and just talk. Be open minded and find a way to include their opinions and ideas in your new year`s strategy. Often, they are the ones that have the close contact with clients and customers and they can tell you their insights. You can use each holiday to have this meeting. For example, make all of them write their resolutions and ideas ho to improve themselves professionally and use seasonal holidays to revisit them, or fun team building activities and don`t forget to reward the ones that were most successful.
BONUS TIP: Do important things TODAY, don’t leave them for tomorrow. You might find those in the unaccomplished list of goals you will revisit in the years that follow.