Taking Stock and Shaping Up For 2019
One of the most popular New Year’s resolutions is to get fit. We say your business should be as buff as your body — and making it happen will be a lot easier on the muscles! Here are 4 areas of your business that should get a fresh look every year, along with tips on how to get them into their best shape ever.
- Vision & Strategy
When you originally launched your business, you had a vision of what you wanted it to be one day. How does that vision relate to your current reality — is it your future, present or past? Your answer will guide your strategy for the year ahead.
Your future: You’re still on track towards your goal, you’re still satisfied that it’s the right goal for you, and you believe it is achievable in current conditions. If this is your situation, your main concern is to keep an eye on your market, including new competitors, emerging trends and the economic situation.
Your present: You’ve reached your goal and your business is now everything you envisioned back on day one. Congratulations! However, you now face the risk of becoming stagnant and falling behind instead of continuing to grow. It might be time for a revised goal, and an updated strategy for how to attain it.
Your past: For one reason or another, your original vision no longer applies so well to your business. Your industry, your customers or your own interests may have taken you in a different direction, maybe without much preparation. Wait no longer to do your groundwork, with a completely new vision statement and business strategy.
If you’re not sure which of these categories is — or should be — yours, it’s time for an outside view. Ask your best customers, expert consultants or industry colleagues. Research industry trends and insights. This fresh, objective perspective can open your eyes to unrecognized opportunities for success.
- Marketing & Sales
Once you’ve nailed down your vision and strategy, use them to create your brand identity. The more unique, accurate and specific your brand and selling points are, the more effective your marketing efforts will be at acquiring new customers and retaining (or upselling) current ones. For example, any fitness studio can say they help people get fit; but only you can say you’re the town’s best authority on HIIT workouts.
Next, analyze how well your marketing channels are driving sales. If a channel (such as direct mail) is performing poorly, figure out why. Is it the wrong channel for reaching your prospects (who are looking online, not reading snail mail)? Is it the wrong channel for your message (such as a postcard crammed with too many words and images)? Fix or eliminate the losers and put your marketing budget into the winners.
Your business and your industry have evolved since you first opened your doors. Have your workflow processes, equipment and employees evolved along with you? Or are they now struggling to meet demands they weren’t designed for?
This is the biggest opportunity for significantly improving efficiency and performance — and your bottom line. It also quite often requires an initial investment, whether in new tools, new software, new hires or additional staff training. A bit of cost-benefit analysis should show you whether it will be a smart move in the long run.
We know, it’s not your favorite thing to think or talk about. But it really is essential for business owners to know the state of their financial health, so they can make the right decisions at the right time. Questions to ask yourself include:
- How often do I receive financial reports, and how current are they?
- How long does it take my accountant to respond to my call?
- Does my accountant provide me with insights for planning and growth?
- Does my accountant spot ways that my business could run more cost-effectively?
- How much of a hassle is it for me to do payroll and file taxes?
At Xendoo, we understand small business and the need for lightning-fast responses to ever-changing environments. Your dedicated team of accounting experts can help get your business into shape for the new year — and keep it that way, day after day.