After an indulgent winter season, now is the time to get reinvigorated, reorganised and refreshed for 2017 with a small business spring clean.
For those of you who just don't know where to start, here are our top tips to clear away the cobwebs and clutter...
Where are you now?
Take a look at where you stand. Approach your appraisal as you would a new year’s resolution: are you where you want to be? What can you change for the better in the new year?
Reassess your goals and marketing strategy. Just because your business has changed, it doesn’t mean that your original business plan is obsolete - blow the dust off your mission statement and evaluate your business' strategic goals.
Out with the old in with the new
Given the recent economic climate, many companies have chosen to delay replacing in-house technology in order to save the pennies.
Faulty and unreliable hardware has been proven to disrupt business productivity. If you’ve been thinking about updating your software and operating systems, now is the time to do it.
Get up to date
Do you have a website? An astounding 60% of small businesses do not have a website, as this study suggests.
In the digital age, people are no longer looking in classifieds for businesses. Jim Blasingame, online radio presenter on ‘The Small Business Advocate’ believes:
“Every small business needs a website” or “you might as well be a ghost … the customers and opportunity pass straight through you.”
Or does your website still have clipart from the dawn of the digital revolution? If so it’s time for a creative overhaul.
Give your website a facelift by employing a designer or utilising a template creator such as WordPress.
The latest trend is simple, clean and clear. Make sure it’s easy to navigate and you keep on top of it through publishing accurate and relevant content to reflect the changing market and target audience.
Many consumers are turning to their smartphones to browse businesses. To cater to the on-the-go population, you’ll have to embrace mobile technology to maximise sales.
It’s highly likely that if your small business is not mobile-friendly, you could be losing out on potential revenue. Avoid this by making your website mobile-optimised or consider an app.
Update your status
Are you on social media? If the answer is no, then you know what you need to do.
Social media is integral to many people’s lives and is a great way increase awareness and access different demographics.
‘An effective strategy starts with a clear understanding of which networks are most relevant for your customers’
If you’re social media savvy, do you update it regularly? An inactive social media presence can be just as damaging as having none at all. If your last status update is over a few months old, you and your business will look stale and un-dynamic.
Buist also recommends that small business owners look beyond the big business three (Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin), branch out to Instagram, Pinterest and tumblr – if it suits your target audience.
Banish the box files
Tackle the paper mountain. Move your files from the filing cabinet to the… virtual filing cabinet. Work out which hardcopies you actually need and digitize the rest.
With services available such as the Cloud it’s never been easier to access your files - all you need is an internet connection.
Proving a more cost/time/space effective option, going paperless could be the way forward. Many small businesses are ditching desktop documents and utilising CRM services with online storage options.
Empty the trash
On average 183 billion emails are sent globally per day, yet it often feels like they’re all in your inbox.
As something you always talk about but never get round to doing – cleaning up your inbox can be a daunting task, especially if you're well into the triple figures.
It may be mind-numbingly boring, but set your mind to it, and you’ll be surprised how much more organised and manageable your communication methods will be.
The majority of email providers also have tools to make it easier, with searches, filters and labels to assist with the inevitable mass clean-up.
Prospects to payments
SEO is one of the most popular marketing techniques in recent years. However, Buist states:
‘Great SEO won’t do your business any good if visitors don’t actually convert into customers’
The first step towards improving your Call-to-Action (CTA) is improving your Click-Through Rates (CTR), turning prospective customers into actual customers.
Through looking at the CTR you should be able to determine where on the site or payment process potential customers are leaving, enabling to you address any issues with the website and make it more accessible.
Reset, refresh, reboot
As a small business owner, you're often too busy looking after your business that you forget to look after yourself, after all you are the most important part of your business.
Make sure both your mind and your body are in good shape. Why not take a walk? or read a book instead of watching TV on your breaks?
As a small business owner, you'll be no stranger to long hours - so a healthy diet and a good sleep pattern are vital to keep your energy levels up.
Spring clean (literally)
Finally...we’ve all heard the saying ‘tidy house, tidy mind’. The same applies to your office. Rid your desk of the paper mountain, the cuddly toy collection (leave them at home) and the coffee shops worth of empty mugs.
Follow these simple steps and you'll soon be on track for a more efficient, productive and lucrative 2017!
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