The end of each year is an opportunity to assess how the year has gone and what you can improve on in the new year. We do this on a personal level – that gym membership sign up, stocking the fridge with new healthy foods, planning how to achieve more in business year on year, even taking up a new hobby. We should be doing the same with our business – everything from financials and budgets, planning marketing and campaigns, processes and efficiency, staffing and all the other areas that go into running your own business.
We spent some time looking at what the experts are saying you should focus on in the new year after all their experience is worth learning from. Here are the top tips for 2019 according to the veterans.
1. Technology is still a game changer
“Technology still plays an essential role in the way businesses operate. Tech has the ability to contribute significantly to the efficiency of running a business – regardless of size. The technology choices we have these days allows us to do more with less which bodes well for productivity across the business”. – Rory Moore, Innovation Lead at Accenture.
- Consider using free, or subscription-based apps and systems like Xero or Waveapps for your financials and easy invoicing.
- Email automation systems can make a part of your marketing much quicker and easier – you can even schedule customer emails in advance so that this isn’t something you have to keep reminding yourself about.
- Use communication tools like Slack or Zoom for internal conversations or when you need quick responses with employees.
- Use online calendars to stay on top of appointments, meetings, and task
2.Adapt to the modern customer
“Customers have more choices than ever and have shown that they will gravitate towards the things that deliver faster, more seamless and personalised services. This is true of a business delivering lunch, getting a car repaired, or making financial transactions. Companies start to fall behind when they don’t think through how they can offer a better experience”. – Bernardo Martinez, U.S Managing Director at Funding Circle.
3.Customer service and support should be a priority
“Building consistency between your company’s digital presence and your own personal communication style requires a clear mission. Think about how you want your customers to feel when interacting with your brand and deliver on that promise by treating each part of your marketing strategy as an extension of your core customer experience. Remember, before you can even think about marketing, you need to make sure that the customer experience you are offering is actually worth promoting.” – Dave Charest, Director of Content Marketing, Constant Contact
4.Develop good relationships with suppliers
If you work with wholesalers, courier services, technology services or any other suppliers don’t neglect these relationships. When you work with someone trustworthy and who meets delivery dates make sure to appreciate them and build good relationships. These are often avenues that lead to partnerships or allow for negotiations on costs or payment plans. This can go a long way in helping your cash flow and improving your business offerings. If you pay suppliers on time – you’re also showing them the same respect and offering a trustworthy relationship that they will appreciate too. You might even find they go above and beyond because of the positive experience.
“Your approach to suppliers needs to be part of your strategic plan since almost every company, whether product- or service-oriented, is dependent on suppliers. Many business owners seem to get this supplier issue backwards.” – Bob Reiss, author of Bootstrapping 101: Tips to Build Your Business with Limited Cash and Free Outside Help
5.Target a wider variety of customers
A ‘cornerstone’ growth tactic for entrepreneurs is offering your products or services in a new geographical area to new customers.
“If your current market position is saturated and you are meeting stiff competition or your growth is slow, you can expand to a new city, or country,”. “You can accomplish this through partnerships with distributors who have established networks and can offer your product in new markets. If you have a well-known brand, you can also offer franchise options to other entrepreneurs to enter the new market with lower risk on your end.” – Andrew Miller, former chief marketing officer, and brand strategist who founded the KindCoin platform
There are a million little things you can do to succeed in 2019, your most important asset will be to take audit the year you have had, identify your new goals, where you can improve and how you aim to reach that success. A solid plan and strategy can help you lead the way to significant growth.
If the only thing standing in your way is access to business finance, Lulalend can help you with funding of up to R1 Million so that the pitfalls of cash flow and working capital don’t stand in the way come the new year.