We are fast approaching the end of the year, and looking forward to the new, but are you ready?
Coming up to the end of the year is a great time to evaluate where you are with your business and what progress you have made. Looking back over the last year helps keep you and your business fresh, proactive and ready for any highs and lows. Most importantly, it provides you the chance to see what you could do differently for the coming year, both personally and in your business.
Having a new year clean up in your business doesn’t have to involve changing everything or starting from scratch with new and exciting initiatives. It’s the small changes that will make the most significant difference to your results in the coming year.
One activity I suggest at the end of a year to many of the business owners I work with, is to take a moment to create a to-do list. It helps to focus the mind on specific aspects of their business which they want to look at with fresh eyes. It doesn’t have to be a long list; whatever you feel will make a difference to how you run your business and its success.
It is essential that the internal aspects of your business are working well, but also that you are still meeting your customers’ expectations. Without fulfilling your customers’ needs, you could struggle to grow and increase sales. Alongside this, you need to get the other core aspects of your business in order, such as the right people working with you, the IT, your finances and marketing.
Some questions you could ask yourself might be; Are you doing things as efficiently as possible within your capabilities? What are the tasks that are taking up your time? Where do you think you could make cost savings? Can your customers find you easily? Are you providing them with a unique service?
Running a business can be stressful, and you are likely to experience good and bad days.
But taking the time to reflect and be critical with what is and isn’t working allows you to make informed business decisions. In addition to this, it can be useful to check in with yourself and ask if the reasons you started your business are still at the core of what you are doing? If not or if it is having a detrimental effect on you physically or mentally, then what better time of year to have a fresh perspective on how your business is doing and whether you are achieving your original goals.
The right people, the right support
If you have staff or people supporting you, it is essential to know that they understand and support your vision for the business and its goals. The right people can have a hugely positive effect. Take time to consider if you still have the best knowledge and skills. Every business continuously evolves; therefore, the people are likely to need to change and adapt. The people in your business are just as important as the marketing strategy or the customers. If you don’t have the right expertise, you won’t be delivering what your customers need or expect.
Destress and de-clutter
One thing to remember as a business owner is that many elements can add to your stress levels. Whether that is managing staff, the finances, or targeting new customers.
One important factor I find many people are un-aware of is the adverse effects DISORGANISATION can have, both on their mind and productivity. The more mess, clutter, or things you need to juggle, the higher the chances of feeling overwhelmed or stressed. Take some time to de-clutter, have a tidy up, you’ll be surprised how it will take a load off your mind.
Many studies about the psychology of the workplace found that people who describe their workplace as “cluttered” were more likely to be fatigued and depressed. The evidence also suggests that messy spaces can make it difficult to focus on tasks and achieve goals throughout the day.
Take a bit of time, to de-clutter your physical workspace, whether that’s your desk, your car, or workshop.
But also look at your documents, files and your IT, is everything easy to find? Do you notice you muddle through and waste time searching? Then start today. If you are not sure how to do this, ask, there are many people out there within your business net-works that could help you or give you tips on how you could improve things.
Know your numbers
A vital aspect of any business is the numbers! However, this is also an area I hear time and again can be a struggle. So why not give yourself some time to look at how you have finished the year and whether you achieved your goals. Understanding your numbers can alleviate worry. Without knowing where your business is now, you can’t see how you could expand, grow or move forward. Make your numbers work for you and turn the information into a valuable resource for making decisions for the coming year. Finances and taxes are a well-known area that small or young businesses can find a strain and bring a feeling of “lack of control.”
Is your marketing still delivering results
It’s always good to take the time to look at your marketing activities. Are they still delivering the results you wanted? Are you on track with your business goals? Have you hit your sales targets?
Have you experienced an increase of traffic to your website? Is your social media reaching customers?
If not, then try and pinpoint where things aren’t working and adjust and change your approach.
Finally – is your product/service still relevant to your customer?
Spend some time thinking about your customers and what they have purchased or not during the last year. Without reflecting on this, you could be spending time and money on products or services that haven’t been bought. What has sold well? What hasn’t sold? What demographic or market is your primary customer? What are their habits? Can you target more of these customers?
All of the areas I have mentioned will support you as a business owner in making small changes to help you achieve better results in the coming year.
Heidi May. Business Support Manager. Oasis Business Support. www.oasis-support.co.uk