With 2012 right around the corner, small business owners are no doubt looking to kick off the New Year with a bang.
The big question for many of them is likely what will the next 12 months bring them as far as producing a good return on investment (ROI) for their companies? Will it be a boom year or bust?
In order to make 2012 a profitable year, there are some things that small business owners can do to help assist their companies in starting off on the right foot.
Among the things to look at are:
- Review these last 12 months – Everyone can learn from their past, including business owners. Take the time now over the holiday season when things typically slow down for many companies to review this last year. What did your company do right and wrong? What were some decisions made that you might have done differently in hindsight? What kind of feedback did you receive from customers and potential clients regarding your product/s and services? Learning from this year can help propel you to a better next year;
- Review your staff – Who is making the grade at work and who isn’t? It is important to take the time to go over each and every employee on your team and cover their contributions to the company. If some workers are slipping a little behind, sit down with them and see where improvements can be made in order to better the situation. The team needs to click on all cylinders, so go into 2012 with a fresh outlook for each and every employee, allowing you to get things off on the right foot;
- Review your budget – Take a look at your company’s budget and see where things are working and not working. If you are losing money in one or more aspects of your business, stop and review with your accountant what needs to be cut and/or altered. Even losing a little money here and there can be daunting to your company’s success given the struggling economy, so review everything. It may be as simple as cutting back on a few things to revitalize the budget. On the flip side, a small business loan may be necessary to get you over the hump until the economy turns around. If that is the case, be sure to shop around and get a number of quotes so you have options;
- Review your collections process – All companies at one time or another run into problems with collecting money from clients. Take the time now to sit down with your finance department and see how many outstanding bills remain. If the collections process is not working, ratchet up the efforts to collect on the bills, even if it means hiring a collections agency;
- Review your customer efforts – How much time and effort did you put into servicing your customers this year? If the answer is not as much as we should have, then take the time to make that a priority in 2012. Your customers are your bread and butter when it comes to churning out profits for you, so don’t put them on the back burner. Provide your customers with an occasional survey to see what you’re doing well and what can be improved upon. The bottom line is listening to your customers;
- Review your social media efforts – While some companies have been hesitant to attach themselves to social media, it is important as a small business owner that your company utilize this tool. If your efforts with SM this year were average, then ramp them up over these next 12 months. Sites such as Facebook and Twitter are great outlets for business owners to promote their products and services, provide pertinent information to current and potential customers, and interact with consumers on a real-time basis. Although some say that social media is a fad that will come and go, most say quite the opposite, so make sure your company is properly engaged;
- Review your marketing techniques – Marketing is a key component of any successful company plain and simple. Look back at your team’s marketing efforts over the last 12 months and see where you can improve upon them. If your budget allows, provide current and potential customers with an array of items that promote your company. Name recognition can be a major source of income for your company, so make sure you are getting your name out there. Remember, you never get a second chance to make a first impression, so make sure the first one is the right one.
These are just a handful of the items you need to cross off your list and check twice this holiday season.
With a new year coming in just a few weeks, will your business to be ready for it?
“Image: Business Plan and pen/Shutterstock.”