After the holiday rush, January can be a great time for SME owners to take stock of the last 12 months and make plans for the year ahead.
From organising the inventory to refreshing the website, the list of things can be endless and daunting, but here are some quick and easy tips to jump-start your business this January:
1. Clean your desk
This is such as easy one to do and, even better, free! Some might even discount this advice but there is something very cleansing about clearing out the clutter from your desk, deep cleaning the drawers and throwing away the old receipts and memos that have been stacking up left and right.
Block an hour in your calendar today and get to work. I am always more productive with a clear desk and mind!
2. Take back social media
To many SMEs, social media engagement can be a great way to reach new customers and promote products or services. However, social media platforms can also be daunting for many as they are always evolving and the rules of engagement keep changing.
New social platforms keep popping up and what was true six months ago, might be old news by now. Should my business be on Snapchat? How do I get the most out of Facebook advertising?
Taking some time in January to read up on the latest developments in social media marketing, or even signing up for a class to brush up on the new social technologies, can be a great way to get up to speed and help you use social media to its full potential.
Check out your local colleges for courses or explore the wealth of online tutorials and guidance out there.
3. Refresh your brand
When was the last time that you took a good look at your website? If it has been a few years, it is definitely time for a refresh.
But before you jump into a redesign, spend some time looking at competitors and other brands you admire for inspiration and the latest trends. Take a look at their websites, letterhead, marketing materials, social channels and more.
Once you have a better idea of your preferences, you can work with a designer to update your brand, or use one of the many tools available online, from business card and postcard templates that we offer at MOO, to the many website design options from companies like Squarespace or Weebly; there is something for all tastes and budgets.
Don’t forget to ensure your new branding will work for you not just today, but in the foreseeable future, as you don’t want to be back at square one in six months.
4. Review the bills
Speaking of your website, it might also be time to review your web hosting provider. What about your internet and phone bill? Every few years, SME owners should review their subscriptions and bills to see if they can find better deals or more suitable services out there.
While it’s a hassle to review all your options every time a contract runs out, taking a couple of hours once a year to review different offerings might save you time and money in the long run.
5. Re-engage your network
No one likes boring networking events, but this does not mean you should entirely forget about your network of professional contacts. January tends to be a slower time in many industries, so take the time to reach out to your mentors and contacts for a catch up over coffee or drinks.
Don’t see this as a pitch meeting, but take the time to share what you have been up to and hear the latest news from them, pick their brains about new ideas and see if they have recommendations or can connect you with other people.
Sometimes these meetings will simply be opportunities to reconnect and feel re-energised about your business, other times they might lead to exciting professional opportunities.
6. Make a list and stick to it
What’s most important about this process, however, is to follow through. Make sure to write down any new ideas and key learnings, so you can easily reference them in the future, then make a point to check in on your progress every once in awhile.
It’s not easy, I know! I like to put monthly reminders on my calendar to check in. I might forget, but my calendar will not let me get away with it.
What are you waiting for? Whether you’re a seasoned business owner, or new to being-your-own-boss, make it your ongoing New Year’s resolution to take a look at your business each January to jump start the year ahead.
Cathy Berman is the director of marketing (international) and global e-commerce at MOO.