The new year is upon us and it is the perfect time to sit down and evaluate what has been working for your small business over the last year(s) and what needs to be improved during this coming year.
Of course, every business owner wants to see their business grow year after year, but that doesn’t just happen magically. True business growth happens with strategic plans and actionable steps.
Here are six strategies to consider implementing in 2023 to help your Boone County business grow.
Set Specific Goals and Implement an Action Plan
Having business goals in place creates a guiding light, not only for you to follow, but also to give your employees guidance as they complete their daily work.
Business goals generally revolve around increasing sales, profit margins, new product development, improving something that hasn’t been working, or increasing your customer reach.
The key here is to set specific goals that align with your small business and the size of your team. Once your goals are set, it is time to create actionable steps to ensure that you and your team are working towards your goals daily. Because goals without actions are just words on paper.
Break down each goal with monthly or quarterly benchmarkers. Then go even further by assessing your daily schedule and ensuring that the tasks you are doing every day/week align with the goals you are trying to achieve.
A great way to ensure that your action steps are working is to ask yourself while doing a task, “what goal is this task working towards?”
Set/Review Your Annual Budget & Account for Inflation
If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to get your 2023 budget in order. This year is going to be particularly tough for some small businesses as experts predict a recession as well as the cost of goods and interest rates rising.
Review your recent invoices and bank statements to see where prices are increasing. Then decide what areas can be improved on or cut completely.
Remember, budgets are not meant to be seen as a restrictive tool that holds you back. When implemented correctly, they give you permission to spend the money that you have for each category. And 2023 will be the year that your budget will come in extra handy.
Streamline Customer Relationships
We all know that your relationship with your customers is priceless. Without them, you’re out of business. So what are you doing to attract new customers and continue to entice existing customers to return? Essentially, how are you communicating with your customer and how are they responding?
If you’re not already utilizing customer relationship management (CRM) software, this is the year to look into it. Every business decision is primarily driven by data and CRM provides you with data on your actual and potential customers to help you manage your relationships and grow your business.
To learn more about what CRM software is on the market, PCMag put together a list of The Best CRM Software for 2023.
Increase Your Online Presence
There has never been a better time to reach millions of customers from the comfort of our small community. So how is your business represented online? Do you currently have a website and social media presence?
The key to performing well online is by having specific goals behind your website and/or social media account(s). Goals like generating leads, building awareness around your business, making sales, etc. Your goals will determine what content you put out to the world as well as what your call to action will look like.
If you don’t have an online presence:
It’s time to get connected! Starting a social media account is easy and free. Determine which platforms best suit your needs and dive in. You don’t have to have them all, but you do have to be active on the one(s) that you choose. Maintaining a consistent and engaged social media presence will help your business grow.
Then decide if the time is right for you to invest in a website. Your business deserves to be taken seriously and having the right website will do just that. Keep in mind that your website isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it platform. The more you keep your website up-to-date and user-friendly, the more customers it will attract.
If you do have an online presence:
It’s time to kick it up a notch. Are you posting consistently? Is your community engaged? What content is performing well? These are just a few questions to ask yourself when doing your evaluation. The key to success on social media is to let your customers get to know you and your business. They want to buy from a person, so don’t be afraid to show them the ins and outs of you and your business.
We know that websites and social media are not up everyone’s alley. Don’t be afraid to outsource this if needed. We can connect you with local website designers and social media freelancers.
Invest in Your Team
The past few years have seen a lot of challenges when it comes to hiring employees. But one of the best investments you can make in your business is investing in your team. This will look different for each business.
Obviously, your first thought goes to salary and benefits. These are very important, especially to your employees, but there are other ways to invest in your team that aren’t salary-focused.
Communicate your goals and expectations to your team. This sets them up for success because they’ll know exactly what is expected of them and what they are working towards daily. Let them celebrate the wins with you and truly make them feel like they’re a part of your business.
If possible, offer a flexible and/or hybrid work schedule. Allowing your employees to work partially from home shows them that you find them trustworthy and it gives them some freedom to work when they’re most productive.
Make sure you are fostering a healthy work environment. Nobody wants to dread going to work, so make sure you are doing what you can to ensure your employees are happy and fulfilled in their roles.
These are just a few examples, but the opportunities are endless to show your employees that they are valued.
Measure What Works and Tweak As You Go
Look back on the past year(s) and measure what has been working, and what hasn’t. Comb through the data that your business has generated, like sales reports, product sales, cash flow charts, etc., to determine this, don’t just guess.
When something in your business doesn’t feel right or something isn’t performing well, go back and look at the data.
What products sell the most and least? What months is your business busy and slow? What services do you perform the most and least? What products are taking up valuable retail space and need to be liquidated?
In business, cash is king so it’s important to understand your yearly cash flow. This will help get you through the slower months.
Another big thing to remember when operating your business in Boone County is that what works for bigger markets, isn’t the same thing that works for smaller markets.
As a small business owner, you more than likely don’t have the marketing budget that larger corporations have so it doesn’t make sense to try and market like them. Ask yourself how your marketing is performing. Are your customers finding you online, through traditional media like the newspaper, or through word of mouth?
Knowing how your customers are finding you is extremely useful information. If you don’t already have a system in place to gather this information, just ask your customers as they come in.
Gather Customer Reviews
Another important way to gather information on how your business is doing is by asking your customers directly by encouraging them to leave a review. You can ask them to leave an online review on your website, Google, or Facebook page, or have a short questionnaire for them to fill out on your counter.
This will help you gain insightful feedback straight from the people supporting your business. When the reviews are placed online, it helps new customers gain trust in your business if they have never been there before and it helps spread the word about your business to new customers.
2023 may be predicted to be a tough year for small businesses but don’t let that discourage you. BCDA is here to help when you need us. Contact our office to set up an appointment if you would like to discuss any of these points. Remember, the options are endless when it comes to growing your business, you just have to find what works for you.