7 actionable resolutions to grow your small business in 2018
Tips to boost business growth
- Enhance your online presence.
- Motivate existing customers.
- Target expenses.
- Take a step toward reducing debt.
- Complement your offering.
- Learn a new skill.
- Participate in your industry community.
Planning for the New Year? Reflecting on your business strategy from the previous year and setting future goals are prudent exercises for growing your business. Consider these seven actionable resolutions you and your team can put in motion today to help boost your business in the coming year.
1. Enhance your online presence.
The first interaction clients and customers have with your brand is often online. It’s important that the experience is seamless and adds value. Schedule time for regular maintenance to ensure your content is current and any links still work. The website should be user-friendly, designed for mobile viewing and optimized so that search engines can easily find you. It also pays to establish a presence on social media platforms, and claim and update your Google My Business page.
For businesses with a more sophisticated online presence, brainstorm at least one fresh digital initiative for the new year. This could be as simple as pledging 30 minutes a day to engage with customers on social media; set up a contest or giveaway to create excitement and boost exposure; or launch a newsletter or blog with value-adding, sharable content.
If you lack the time and experience to maintain your site and social presence, consider the costs and benefits of hiring an experienced freelance contractor to help.
2. Motivate existing customers.
Companies must focus on acquiring new business, but retaining your current client base is just as important. Identify one action you can take to support your current customers this year, such as offering a referral program, loyalty discount, product giveaway, free service, or perhaps an exclusive focus group to review new products or services. Building personal relationships with your existing customers boosts loyalty, which increases the chances of getting referrals.
3. Target expenses.
No doubt you already keep a close eye on your business cash flow. Rather than drastically reconfiguring costs in the new year, strategically target specific areas where you can eliminate or greatly reduce expenses. For example, sit down with your accountant to review tax changes in 2018. You may be able to take advantage of other deductions or avoid penalties. Your insurance agent may help identify opportunities for cost reduction or ways to cut coverage for assets you no longer have. You might even explore a barter arrangement with a supplier or advertiser.
Credit is an essential part of sustaining business operations, but it is important to ensure you have a handle on your debt. Take stock of all of your business loans and credit accounts. Prioritize repayment of business-critical accounts — such as money owed to an essential supplier — and loans with the highest interest rates.
In addition to paying down debt, contact your lenders — particularly business credit card companies — to negotiate an interest rate reduction. Although they are by no means obligated to do so, if you have a history of consistent repayment you may be able to convince your lender, as it is in their best interests that you remain financially solvent and able to make your debt payments.
If you have several high-interest credit accounts, consider debt consolidation. This involves taking out a single, new loan that pays off all of your other accounts. While this merely rearranges and does not repay your debt, you can save money if the new loan carries a lower interest rate than your existing debt.
5. Complement your offering.
Regardless of your industry, there is sure to be a product or service that complements what you currently do, presenting an opportunity to expand your business with relatively low risk. This need not be a sophisticated new product line, but can be as simple as stocking a third-party product that accompanies your service or offering classes in your field of expertise. Consider new ventures with caution, however. Your customers should find the new offering a natural extension of their existing business with your company.
6. Learn a new skill.
The nature of doing business is consistently changing. There is certain to be one area in which you can improve, whether it’s directly related to your product or service such as achieving a new accreditation, or boosting your knowledge in supplementary skills like digital marketing or IT. Sign your team up for a workshop or arrange an in-house training if certain employees are skilled enough to teach others. Investing in employee education makes for a more skilled workforce, and demonstrates that you value your staff and their career advancement.
7. Participate in your industry community.
Participating in activities within your industry or local business community has a wealth of benefits. This provides opportunities to network with industry leaders and other business owners, meet potential partners and clients, promote your brand and expertise, and advance the interests of your trade. Consider joining an industry association or your local chamber of commerce, speaking at a conference or trade show, or writing an article for a newspaper or industry journal. Take one action within your industry community — you never know what opportunities may arise from it.