The festive frivolities are over and it’s now time to grab 2015 by the hoo-haas. No matter how successful your previous year has been, in order to grow your business even further over the coming months, you’ll need to take a look at your processes and come up with a strategy to improve them.
Strategic planning is one of the most important contributors to business success. In fact, not planning ahead is in the top five reasons why so many startups fail within their first five years. Luckily, our community of self-starters is on hand to help.
We took to Twitter to get some top tips from small businesses on how to take a flying leap into the new year. Here’s what they suggested:
Don’t give up
Businesses fail for a whole plethora of reasons. Business owners fail for but one – they give up. Regardless of whether your first, second, third, even fourth idea flops harder than a dad joke at a funeral, keep on keeping on.
Not giving up doesn’t mean you should stay married to an idea though. Being successful in business is also about knowing when to bid adieu to ideas that clearly aren’t working and being open to fresh perspectives. Which brings us to…
Gather your best soldiers
Never underestimate the power of collaboration. Look around you, are there any like minded professionals with a different skillset or set of experiences to bring to the table? What have you got to offer them in return? Skill swaps are a great way to get more for your business without having to splash the cash. They also get you more involved in your local small business community and are ever so economical to boot.
Even if you’re not quite at the point of hiring an employee, working with other freelancers can give your business that new year’s makeover it needs and get you feeling creatively ready to take on 2015. Get involved in LinkedIn groups and jump on discussions around your industry and running your own business. Community is powerful and you may find yourself stumbling upon an idea you’d never otherwise have thought of.
Do a brand audit
This will help you to gauge how your business is performing in the eyes of your customers and identify any areas of weakness, which you can then improve throughout the year with a set of savvy corrective strategies. Start by brainstorming all of your business processes.
For example, evaluate your website’s purpose and use, your main competitors, target market, strengths and weaknesses and anticipated industry trends. You can then examine how you’ve been performing against each area – what is your current web traffic? How do your customers feel about your service? What are the key weaknesses you need to address? This evaluation should give you a list of areas that need to be monitored, which will then guide you when devising an action plan.
Get better at setting goals
Doing a thorough audit of your business should leave you with a better idea of what goals need to be set for the coming year. Make these goals attainable but don’t undersell yourself – it can be very tempting to set the bar lower for fear that you may not otherwise reach it.
Not reaching your goal is not the end of the world. In fact, if you do reach it, it’s very likely it wasn’t high enough. When setting goals, think about where you would ideally like to be by the end of the year. Perhaps you want to expand your customer base by 100%. Maybe you need more conversions through your website. Be brave and set your ideal goal – having that high expectation will give you the immediate kick you need.