Best Practices

Network Kansas: January Jumpstart - Priming your Business for a Successful 2014

Published Jan 06, 2014 by




January can be a slow time of month for many businesses, especially retailers who see sales slump after the frenzy of the holiday shopping season. Don’t let this time of year go to waste. By doing prep work and planning now, you can prepare your business for a successful 2014. Try these 7 tips to make January work hard for your business:

 

1.)  Offer unique promotions. Christmas sales and after-Christmas sales are done but if you want to entice customers to purchase during a time of year when many are especially cash-strapped, try something new. Instead of a clearance sale, plan a clearance event complete with refreshments and special activities. No merchandise to clear? Focus on helping customers with their needs now. Many focus on organizing, healthy lifestyle choices, or investing in new equipment for their home office or business. Make sure you showcase how your business can help customers with what matters to them now.

2.)  Review your business equipment and make upgrades. January is a great time to shop for new computers, printers, and other office equipment. Many technology companies offer discounts during this time of year, and often new models have been released before Christmas, making it a great time to either buy the latest and greatest or get a great deal on a closeout. Consider hiring a local pro to upgrade your business software. Bonus: upgrading your accounting software can give you an edge when it comes time to prepare your taxes!

3.)  Update your contact lists. Hopefully, you gathered lots of e-mail and mailing addresses during the holidays. Use downtime to enter information into your database and clean out inactive contacts. Bonus: Thank customers for supporting you during the previous year or offer a preview of exciting things to come in 2014. You’ll stay in the top of their mind and generate goodwill that will pay off all year.

4.)  Financial housekeeping. Chances are, you didn’t keep on top of your financial housekeeping the way you should have. Most business owners have so much going on that details often get postponed. Now is the time to dig out receipts from 2013, do inventory, and prepare for tax season. It’s also the perfect time to tweak your record-keeping system so 2014 goes smoothly.

5.)  Create an editorial calendar. If you’re active on social media, have a blog – or want to – now is the right time to plan ahead. Create a schedule of online content for the year and begin drafting blog posts, hunting down images for promotions, and doing other planning to make the year go smoothly. Consider hiring a part-time employee or contractor to assist with the work. By communicating your vision and schedule to them now, you can make sure you’ve got a teammate on board who can perform up to your expectations.

6.)  Get out the broom. This is especially true for brick and mortar establishments, but even if your business is virtual, it’s a perfect time to put the adage, “if you can lean, you can clean” into play. Give your business a thorough scrubbing and you’ll face 2014 looking fresh. What’s more appealing to customers and employees than a sparkling environment? Bonus: Research has shown that a clean and uncluttered workspace can lift your mood and make you more productive. What business owner wouldn't appreciate that?

7.)  Audit your website. Every business should have a website and chances are, you haven’t looked at yours much lately. Your business has probably evolved over the past year. Has your website? Give it a thorough review and evaluate how well it meets customers’ needs. Dig deep into statistics and make some goals for next year. Are visitors finding your site easily through keywords? Can you increase your traffic? Find a consultant to help you put plans in place to reach your website goals. If you’re clear on what you want your website to do for you, you’ll be able to get much better results from your tech help.

Content contributed by Anne Dewvall, Network Kansas
. Network Kansas is a proud affiliate of U.S. SourceLink, America’s largest resource network for entrepreneurs.