Thanksgiving and Christmas have come and gone — before you know it, the holiday season will be nearing an end as you cap off December with a festive New Year’s Eve celebration. While many companies are rushing to meet fourth-quarter goals in the face of increased employee time off, now is the best time for small business owners to take time away from finishing this year to focus on the next. Setting your own small business New Year’s resolutions is one of the best ways to energize your team to finish 2016 strong while getting excited for all that 2017 has to offer.
Resolve to Make a Plan
Don’t just develop resolutions — put them in writing along with a formal, written business plan. If you’ve already got one in place, make reviewing your plan the first box you check off when completing your resolutions. An official business plan is one of the best ways small business owners can set measurable goals and hold themselves accountable to reaching them.
When writing your plan, look at each area of your small business and set achievable goals. This occurs with action steps that will lead you to goal completion and an analysis of the obstacles you might face that would keep you from success. Once you’ve got your plan, train your managers and team members on an overview to help them feel connected to the overall growth. Share your plan with potential lenders, as it may be a requirement for some business financing.
Revisit Your Accounting and Payment Procedures
If you’ve been using the same Excel worksheet to track your income and expenses, or you’ve spent time writing out invoices by hand, it’s time to take a look at your payment and accounts receivable options. Many different pieces of technology are available for small businesses that can help with everything from budgeting, recording and tracking inventory, accepting payments, and sending invoices. Most programs give you real-time updates, easily transferrable data, and programs that meet your company’s needs. After you’ve found the best piece of software, organize your records. Then, develop a schedule for sending invoices, filing receipts, and recording expenses.
Increase Your Cybersecurity
Network security is becoming a worrisome point for many small business owners, and for good reason. Symantec reported that more than half a billion personal records were lost or stolen in 2015, with nearly three-quarters of websites showing unpatched vulnerability. When you’re making resolutions to improve and grow your business, it’s important to research the best software and IT consultants to keep your customer and business confidential information private. Consider looking at WordPress plugins for your Web site that include security features.
Update Your Blog and Web Content
Building a web presence is an important part of doing business in today’s world. Small businesses generate and publish content on an ongoing basis, so keeping your blog and website updated is not just a wise move but a vital one.
When prospective customers search for information about your company, they first check out your website. Basic contact and business details should be checked and updated if they change. Making your website easy to navigate will improve the chances of a customer spending time looking at your content, while updating your blog on a regular basis attracts new customers and keeps current customers engaged. Updating your site is also an important part of search engine optimization.
Increase Your Twitter and Social Media Posts
Along the lines of updating your website is maintaining an up-to-date social media account. Whether you’re getting your toes wet with one platform or you have accounts on a variety of social media websites, you improve your brand awareness, customer attraction, engagement, retention and sales by keeping your social media accounts fresh. If you’re not sure where to begin, work with a social media specialist or company that can help you do everything, including develop campaigns, identify your target audience and posting content. The more links you create among social media posts and your website, the easier it is for customers to engage with your content.
Develop Your Own Personal Branding and Marketing plan
When you’re working to improve your content marketing and company’s brand awareness, you simultaneously build yourself as an authority and leader in your industry. To see greater business results, consider how your own social media account and personal blog can help to strengthen your expertise to your prospects. As you gain visibility in front of a wider audience, your business marketing also gains greater traction. Use your personal accounts and content to drive traffic to your company while showing readers why they can trust your company.
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