So many people put energy into making an exhaustive list of New Year’s Resolutions for their businesses, but often these fall by the wayside after just a few weeks into a new year. This year, I’m here to shake things up. Rather than waiting until January to set your year up for success, I’m offering eight easy things you can do right now that will ensure that 2017 is a blowout year for your business.
How to Get Your Business Ready for 2017
1. Hire a Business Coach
I know that Type A entrepreneurs tend to think they can do it all themselves, but the fact of the matter is: you can’t. That’s why getting a business coach is such a smart idea for the coming year. Because they can see your business from the outside, they can provide a non-biased view of how you’re doing in your business. They can push you to try harder, and guide you in the right direction.
Choose a coach that excels in areas that you are weak in. I myself recently hired a coach to ensure my 2017 is even more of a success than 2016. They’re working with me on sales, marketing, and finance. Especially finance, as that’s a weak area for me.
2. Make Small (and Big) Tweaks to Your Processes and Procedures
You have a certain way of doing things in your business. Everything from invoicing to onboarding new clients has a process. These tend to get cemented into the fabric of your business, whether or not they’re actually effective.
I encourage you to spend some time looking at each process or procedure in your business and identifying the ones that bottleneck productivity or otherwise take far too long. Maybe you drag your feet to review business expenses in your accounting software until the end of the year, creating a massive amount of work for yourself then. How can you remedy this? By hiring a part-time accountant who can take that task off your plate. Even adding in software that automates processes (think: automatically sharing your business blog content on social media) can streamline your processes and save you time.
3. Review Your Marketing, Advertising and Sales Plans
The end of the year is an excellent time to look at how successful your marketing and sales efforts have been in the past 12 months. No doubt you will need to make changes, as some tactics dull in efficacy and new technologies come on board.
Make a comprehensive sweep of your website, social media profiles, lead magnets, email automation, CRM, branding, referral system, and blog to ensure that each channel is pulling its weight in your overall plan. Then look at the plan itself. Are you still aligned with the goals you’re trying to accomplish in it, or do you need to revamp it to better reflect where your business currently is?
4. Make Sure You’ve Got the Right Staff
Do you need to fire someone? Hire someone? Shift people around to maximize their skillsets? You want to start 2017 with the right team, one that tirelessly works to ensure that your business thrives. That might mean hiring an accountant, marketer, technology advisor, intern, or freelance designer, so start considering your personnel needs now.
5. Refresh Your Product Line
When is the last time you looked at your products to determine if you needed to continue selling each of them? It may have been a while ago (or never), so use this time as the year draws to a close to assess the value each product brings to the table. If you have products that haven’t done well, consider removing them from your lineup.
Likewise, it might be time to add new products (and breathe new life) into your product line. Look at your competitors and see what’s missing. Addressing a market need that isn’t being met elsewhere could provide you with the competitive advantage you need to get ahead.
6. Make Sure You’re Meeting Customers’ Expectations
When you’re busy, it’s more challenging to find time to check in with your customers to make sure you’re giving them what they want. Take time now to talk to all or some of them to gauge how happy they are and determine how you can continue to address their needs. If you have too many to have one-on-ones with, send a survey via email to address the key points you want to ensure you’re doing well on.
7. Check in With Your Team
If you have staff, now is an excellent time to ensure that they are happy working for you. A happy worker, after all, is a productive one. Really listen to their complaints and comments. You want them to know that not only do you hear them, but that you will also take action to make improvements.
And realize that your employees are a fantastic source for ideas that can boost your business! Encourage your team to submit ideas for how to make your company better.
8. Upgrade Your Technology
Technology is such a crucial component for the success of any business these days. Survey what you’re currently using, and then address what’s not working for you. You should have security tools like firewalls and antivirus software in place, as well as apps that make your work more efficient. And if old hardware is holding you back, now is the time to upgrade it.
None of these items is overwhelmingly difficult to address, and doing so now can pave the way for happy times in 2017.
New Year Photo via Shutterstock
As you look at staff needs, remember that sometimes you’re better off outsourcing. That way you get an expert and you avoid the overhead associated with a new hire.
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