6 Ways To Get Your Small Business Ramped Up For The New Year

Scaling / December 14, 2015 / Kristie

Writing out your goals for the New Year? December is a great time to take a step back and look at your overall business strategy. What worked out well last year? How you can you improve? What do you want to do to continue growing your business? Here’s a few things you can do to prepare yourself, your team, and your business for 2016 so you can make this coming year more successful than the last.


1. Review your budget

Looking over your finances for the year may not be your favourite thing to do, but it’s necessary to give you a clear understanding of what you can and should invest in your business, where you need to cut some costs, and give you an idea as to what realistic sales goals could and should be for the following year. Still not sure how to put together a proper budget for your small business? Read How To Start a Business Budget on Inc.

2. Set financial goals

After you’ve reviewed your budget and you have a solid understanding of your sales for the year, then start setting new sales goals for 2016. Be realistic about your goals and remember, that a goal without a plan is just a dream. If you want to increase sales by 20%, create a plan of how you’re going to achieve that goal. Do you want to increase business with your existing client base? How are you going to do this? Do you want to look for new business opportunities? How much are you willing to invest in this and what avenues are you going to explore? Experimenting is key but you need to have solid goals for how long you’re going to test new strategies, what return you want to see and by when. Map these out on your calendar so you’re reminded to review periodically throughout the new year. Try to dig into your sales numbers as much as you can while doing this so you can understand what type of projects and clients bring you the most money, take up the most resources, etc. For some businesses this may mean having to say no to multiple smaller projects so that you can focus on larger projects that bring in more revenue. For a small business to remain competitive and relevant, it needs to be able to adapt to changes in the market.

3. Update your website

Your website can be an excellent silent sales person if it’s equipped with the proper information and presentation. Keep it updated the same way you would update your sales team. Maybe you just need some fresh images to update your portfolio, or a bit more “meat” on your About Us page. Maybe it’s as simple as adding in a new batch of testimonials. It’s helpful to ask an outside set of eyes to review your website and get their feedback on initial impression. How easy is it to understand who you are and what you do? Is it easy to get in touch with you? Does it reflect the right image of your business? Whether it’s just a few pages that need some tweaking or your entire website that needs a facelift, updating your website only makes it easier for your customers and potential customers to learn about your company and services as well as prompt them to contact you about doing business.

4. Review customer feedback

Listening to customer feedback is how you can identify new potential business opportunities and areas of your business that need more focus and attention. Maybe it’s a new service you could be offering, an adjustment to your pricing, or even a new niche you haven’t explored yet. Identify your customer’s frustrating points and needs will help you serve them better, and after all, isn’t that the main reason you’re in business? Look at the good and bad feedback. If you don’t gather feedback regularly, you may want to call up or email a few customers to get their thoughts on any changes you’ve implemented, your pricing, quality of services, timeliness, customer services experience, etc.

Keep an open mind when you’re listening to or reading customer feedback. It can be hard to swallow at times, but understanding your customer’s pain points is how you’ll be able to adapt and improve your services and products. Consider putting together a few questions in the form of a survey so it’s easy to collect responses. We use SurveyMonkey to collect feedback from customers so we can improve our products and customer service processes. We even use it for collecting anonymous feedback within our own company so we can work on improving our internal processes and culture. Gathering this feedback has changed the way we work internally, our marketing campaigns, onboarding emails, as well as helped to gather information to pass along to our development team.

5. Review your processes

As you embark on your next year of business, take a step back and look at how your business is running so you can look for areas to improve operational efficiencies. Are there holes in your sales process, customer service process, internal task management, or invoicing process? Gather feedback from your own team to assess your internal processes. You can also use customer feedback to help with this. Where are your sticky points? Is there an easier way to do certain things? Maybe there are products or services out there that you can leverage whether it’s outsourcing specific tasks or investing in the proper software.

Review the current software and services you’re using. Are you paying monthly for a service you don’t even use anymore? Are there manual processes that are eating up a lot of time that you could leverage technology to handle more efficiently? Maybe it’s in managing your social media. There’s lots of apps out there (free and paid) that you can use to help automate some social media posts for you. Recently we’ve switched to using Buffer to schedule tweets and found it much more time efficient for managing social media. They also offer insights into what content people are engaging and what times of the day are best to share content. There’s lots of other services out there as well that can help you do this.

Reviewing your processes is more than just the tools you’re using, it’s also how you’re using the tools. There may be ways you could leverage the existing technology you’re using to get more out of it. Set aside time to look into training yourself and your team on what you use so you can get the most bang for your buck.

6. Analyze your competitors

Keeping tabs on your competitors should be something you do on the regular to make sure you’re in the know about trends and changes in your industry. It can also expose new niches for growth. While a corporate competitor may be tightening up and steering in one direction, you could be benefiting from the niches they leave behind. A market that a large company leaves behind could become a small business’s bread and butter.

These are just some of the things can help you get a strong start to the new year. If you’re super pumped about getting ready for the new year, you can also check out Small Biz Lady’s 10 Things To Do In Your Business Before 2016 and 6 Ways To Prepare Your Business For The New Year from the Emerging Designer.

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