December can be a hectic time for many businesses. Brick and mortar stores and ecommerce shops alike are in the middle of their busiest times, stock is flying out of the doors, sales are being navigated, and marketing campaigns are in full swing. Shop owners aren’t likely to get much of a break for a good while yet. But, other businesses, offices, consultancy firms, and agencies are all busy trying to complete jobs before taking a break for the holidays. It’s a time of year where very few of us get a chance to take a break.
It’s also a reflective time of year. As the New Year approaches, many of us think back over the year we’re leaving behind. For small business owners, this often means taking a look back at how they’ve improved, how much money they’ve made, how their online presence has grown, how successful their marketing campaigns have been and how well the year has gone in general. Reflection is great, but to get the most from it, to learn from your mistakes and take your achievements forward, you need to set some goals for the year to come.
Simplify Your Systems
Many small businesses are guilty of over-complicating things. When they started out and didn’t know enough, they muddled through with what they did know. Piecing things together, creating their own, hugely complicated systems and finding ways to save money on processes. Then, as time went on, they stuck to their ways because it was all that they knew.
Overly complicated systems lead to mistakes, they waste money, and they waste time. If you spend time trying to figure out your stock levels from your online sales and your in-store sales, start using an ETL for a much more straightforward and automatic process. If you are still printing everything out, get on the cloud. Look at your daily tasks and try to find ways to make them easier and more efficient.
Improve Your Marketing Tactics
No business grows without marketing. It’s an essential part of running a successful company. Take a look at what went well last year, for yourself and others, and explore ways to build on this success.
If you want to build a reputation as a great company, one fantastic way to do it is to become greener. Not printing is a significant first step, but you should also look at ways to save energy, water and to waste less. Think about your packaging, your usage, and your suppliers and make changes where possible.
Many small business owners are guilty of trying to do too much. They rarely take time off, they try to focus on everything, and they master nothing. Instead of spreading yourself so thin, get help. If you can’t yet afford to hire extra staff or to take on more permanent team members, look at outsourcing.
Finding freelancers to help you has many benefits, not least that you’ll get experts in each area, without having to worry about the permanent cost of staff.