2019 is coming to a quick end. It’s time to start planning those new year’s resolutions, both personal and professional. Out with the old, in with the new! There are businesses and products all over the map that promise they can take your business to the next level with their tools. Before you spend any time or money on their programs, we’ve got something that won’t cost you a single cent but will yield great results.
If you’re ready to jumpstart your business in 2020, we’ve got 12 steps that you surely don’t want to skip! There’s one step for every month of the year, though we suggest applying them much sooner than once a month if you really want to see a change in your business this new year.
When you take time to sit down and think about the goals you want to set, the things that are most important to you are revealed. Goal setting is imperative because it helps motivate you to act towards a certain outcome. Maybe you have an idea of where you would like to be as a business by the end of the year, but you’re not quite sure how to get there. Try using the acronym S.M.A.R.T when setting goals. It stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. If your goals meet all of these parameters, they become truly possible, making your goal planning sessions that much more effective. For example: “Acquire three new clients per month by launching a social media marketing campaign.” This goal has a time restraint attached to it (per month), has specific and measurable parameters (three new clients), is relevant by helping to grow the business and is totally achievable (depending on your business). Now that you’ve seen an example, start thinking of some goals for your own business.
Understand your finances
Whether you’re a small business and are heavily involved in your finances, or a larger business that has an entire department committed to handling them, you as a leader should always know what’s going on. Unless you have a working knowledge of the numbers your company is working with, you won’t be able to effectively set goals or make plans for your business. If you can’t answer the basics about your company’s finances right now, this year is the time to change that! Start small; commit to knowing the daily, weekly and monthly numbers for your business. Once you’ve got that down, start looking outward. Figure out the upcoming trends for your business. Knowing this information will make all the difference as you make plans and work on growing your business this year.
Update the software you use
In this age of technology, there is always a newer, better and faster way for you to accomplish a certain task. This year may be the perfect time to try out new software for your business. Having issues with your work order running smoothly? Try a new work order management system to help your workflow run better. Email communication is important for reaching customers and clients but can get convoluted when it comes to communicating between employees. Try a messaging software that is saved specifically for communication within your business. If your remote employees are having a hard time keeping track of their hours, try an online time tracking sheet. If your supply chain activities are getting messy, try a 3PL software. This software will manage outsourced supply chain operations, like transportation and warehousing, and help ease your mind. You can also allow customers to view the system which adds transparency and builds their trust in your business. Here’s another option; check out this online business magazine article about compensation management software and why it may be beneficial for your business.
Focus on sales
This step may be the most obvious of all, and you may think “I’m already focusing everything on sales.” But there are a few steps within this that you may be overlooking. As a leader, you are generally aware of all the projects, tactics and strategies going on to increase the growth of your business and bring in sales. Growth and sales are number one in your mind. But that mindset may not be the case for every member of your company. Ensure that everyone knows that the top priority for the company is growth. Offer incentives for those that take this seriously. Set goals as a company to get everyone involved. Do everything you can to show by your own example of how important sales are for the business. Sales impacts not only the growth of your business but also the loyalty and retention you’ll see from your customers, which circles back around to more sales. Don’t let the importance of sales go under-estimated this year.
Give the exterior of your building a facelift
You’ve heard the phrase, “New Year, New You.” Well, what about, “New Year, New Building”? While you might be kidding yourself by saying the run-down look gives your building a “vintage charm”, you’re not fooling any potential customers or clients. Give the exterior of your business a facelift this year. You could consider replacing siding that is old and grungy, you could try a new paint color, maybe hire someone to change the landscaping and foliage. Even a simple change of a new banner or signage could get people to stop and notice your building. Getting a new look not only makes your building look cleaner and more modern, but it could also help increase the foot traffic that comes into your business as well. Besides cosmetic repairs, check out this online business magazine article for more ideas on how to increase your businesses’ foot traffic.
Establish a good work environment for your employees
After an exterior facelift, you may want to take a look inside. There are many elements that go into providing a good work environment, from making sure that the basics are met (water, sanitation, etc.) to providing comfort (lounge area, game room, etc). Working in an attractive environment can also boost employee’s moods which ultimately affects their productivity. Things like good lighting, comfortable seating and modern decoration can make a huge difference in your employee’s attitudes about being at work. If you’re looking to make a big change with your office layout, read this online business magazine article about the value of switching from cubicles to soundproof booths. With cosmetic needs met, make sure you have answers for the even more important elements of an office building. For example, find a good AC services company that you trust in case of an emergency. Having an AC unit go out creates an unworkable environment and significantly slows down the workforce if not all together shutting it down.
Make a habit of reading a reliable online business magazine
An online business magazine is a truly valuable tool, somewhere you can find recommendations, advice, and stay updated on industry trends. You’ll find everything from entrepreneurial tools, to new technologies and software that can be used to boost your business. Why not get started with this habit now? Check out this online business magazine article about the value of staying updated on industry trends.
Enhance your front office training
Your front office employees and customer service representatives are viewed as the face of your company. It’s important that they are always prepared for any question or request a customer will have for them. Enhancing and focusing on the training they receive this year will make a huge difference both in your productivity and in your relationship with your customers. Assure that your front office and customer service employees are ALWAYS up-to-date on projects, promotions and any issue that a customer may contact them about. If they don’t have all the information for a customer, it won’t only look bad for them, it will reflect poorly on the entire company. Enhancing their training is in the best interest of the entire company. This online business magazine article talks about the value that good customer service will have on your leads and sales.
Work with a consulting firm
Sometimes the best thing you can do for your business is have a fresh, non-biased pair of eyes take a look at some of your issues and processes. Consulting firms are chock-full of professionals who specialize in a variety of fields. Do some research on process improvement consulting firms this year to add some extra horsepower and clarity to your business. Their specialists can look at all elements of your business (the finances, systems, daily operations, etc.) and identify areas where improvements can be made. They’ll help you streamline your processes and expand your growth as a business. Most importantly, they’ll help resolve some of your most stressful problems and allow you to focus on other areas of work.
Step up your marketing game
It’s no secret that marketing is one of the most important things you’ll do for your business. The more potential customers come across your name, your ads, your product, etc., the more likely they are to recall and choose your business when making a purchase. Good marketing leads to sales, greater customer trust, and overall growth of your business. The first step to up your marketing game is to create a marketing plan. It’s your action plan for what you want to sell, who your audience is, and the tactics you’ll use to make those sales. A marketing plan will ensure that all your employees can see your vision for your business and will be able to help to enact it — just make sure that they’re familiar with it. Get some tips on essential marketing technology with this online business magazine article.
Work with reliable and sustainable distributors
If you do any sort of manufacturing, you know how important plastic is to the process. Ensuring that you have a trustworthy industrial plastic distributor can make a huge difference to the speed and productivity of your product production. While considering your plastic distributor, give this online business magazine article about the importance of product packaging a read. You’ll also want to consider the transportation of your products, especially when using pallets. Wood is an energy-efficient material, being both recyclable and eco-friendly; cement and steel require factories and materials like fossil fuel to produce them. Finding and using the best wood pallets Florida has to offer, will help you lower the carbon footprint your business leaves on this world. If you’re looking for something a little bigger than pallets for the transportation of your products, check out this online business magazine article about new vs. used cargo storage containers.
Make self-care a priority
In 2017, as many as 52% of Americans didn’t use their paid time off. That time to themselves is valuable time used to recuperate, relieve stress, and be prepared to return to the office at 100% percent. Encourage your employees to take advantage of their paid time off; it’s in both theirs and your own best interest. You’d also be wise to provide other self-care opportunities for your employees. One valuable option is to set up a medical massage for headaches for your employees. Headaches caused by stress or tension can wreak havoc on an employee’s ability to focus and work hard. Hiring a massage therapist to apply this special type of care will help employees be at their top performance level. You can also take advantage of this for yourself to relieve some of the stress and tension that comes from being in a leadership role. Another option is to help your employees plan for the future with the use of a life settlement calculator. This will be especially valuable to your more senior employees.
The bottom line
This new year won’t be just “another year” for your business. Applying these 12 steps to your business, though seemingly small and simple, will make a huge impact. It will take some time and a lot of work, but the changes and successes you see this year will be worth it. What are you waiting for?