Small Business Advice: Kicking Off the New Year Right
As your business recovers from the end-of-year rush, it’s time to take stock of your small business’s performance. Here are a few tips to ensure you’re on track to hit your targets in the coming year.
Get in the growth mindset
Ideally, you’ve already been thinking about your 2018 business goals – if not, that’s ok it’s not too late! Your goals should reflect what you would like your business to accomplish in the New Year – increase new customers, more loyalty from current customers, expand your business footprint, launch new products, etc. Then think about what investments you’ll need to make for that to happen. For example, do you need to invest in new point-of-sale software, renovate your storefront, or purchase equipment and inventory? As a passionate business owner, you likely want to do all these things and more! You can have multiple goals but it’s important to prioritize them based on the projected impact to the business. Depending on available resources, you may only be able to invest in your top goals.
Map out your marketing calendar
During the post-holiday lull, dust off your marketing plan and give it a new year’s makeover. You should be looking at least six months ahead. In addition to your ongoing marketing, are there any times during the year when it would be advantageous to ramp up your promotions? For example, most businesses have some seasonality and will do a big push around holidays or major events such as the Super Bowl, President’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Spring Break, Memorial Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day … you get the picture. Every business is different but you know which dates are most important to your business. Plan accordingly and well in advance so you are ready to launch when the time comes.
Get a jump on the competition
Staying on top means being able to go toe-to-toe with your fiercest competitors. Do a little research to find out what’s trending in your industry and adopt the methods and technologies that make the most sense for your business.
No one knows your business better than you – find the areas where you think making a change would have the most impact. Do you need to improve your customer service or boost in-store traffic? Consider seasonal promotions and implementing a loyalty rewards program. Or maybe your operations need a makeover to keep up in today’s instant gratification economy – consider investing in some new shipping software. Would your customers love it if you had a mobile app? If you aren’t sure, develop a survey and email it out to your customer base to find out what they would like to see. Engaging customers in your process will pay dividends in loyalty.
Above all, don’t be complacent. You don’t want to be left behind.
Keeping pace with technology
In today’s digital world, it’s beneficial for every business to have a web presence, even if your business doesn’t sell online. The internet is now the first place consumers go to find a company, product, or service. Ideally, you have your own website but at the very least, if you’re a local business be sure to be listed on review sites and digital map services. Make it easy for customers to find you!
If your business does sell online take some time to delve into your web analytics – and there’s no excuse not to be tracking your website performance as there are several free solutions available. Typical questions to ask about your website performance include: Is your website loading fast enough? Are visitors to your site able to find what they are looking for? How often do visitors come back and make another purchase? Asking these types of questions will help you figure out where you can make improvements. Technology changes so quickly that you might find that you need to invest in a site facelift or even an entire revamp every couple years to stay competitive.
We’re wishing the best for your business in the new year and are proud to support you on your entrepreneurial endeavors.
If you need additional funds to meet your new year’s goals, call LendingClub today. We’d love to show you how can help.