It’s Easter week. With the long weekend, many children off school, and people taking holiday, customers can often be a bit quieter. So it’s a good time to do some strategic planning, financial planning and marketing for your business. Here are some ideas to inspire you:
Measure how much time you spend working ‘on the business’ compared with the time you spend working ‘in the business’. As a small-business owner, it is tempting to get bogged down in the everyday detail, but it is wise to take time to step back and look at the bigger picture.
Are you spending roughly equal amounts of time on:
- Marketing activities to fill your pipeline and win new clients?
- Admin activities – all the jobs that need to be done to keep your business ticking over?
- Actually doing the work you need to do to make money?
Are you easily distracted by social media? Use an app to measure how much time you are spending – you may be surprised. Decide whether you can outsource some or all of this activity.
Things are changing fast ever, so we recommend you update your business plan at least every quarter. Are you on track to achieving your goals for the short-term and long-term? What, if anything, do you need to change? Do your goals need to be revisited in the first place?
Map out your workflow so you can spot the bottlenecks and resolve them. What can you automate or delegate to save valuable time? For example, if you hate dealing with bookkeeping, accounting, payroll and invoicing, these tasks are better done by a professional. Can you move your software into the cloud? Or introduce apps that will improve your systems and processes?
Customer retention is cheaper than customer acquisition, and engaging with your customers is the only way to know what’s working and what’s not. Ask for customer feedback, and make any changes that may be necessary to keep them delighted. Also investigate why customers leave your business – this can provide even more valuable insight.
Identify any non-profitable clients or time-wasters, and consider whether it is time to let them go so you are free to take on more worthwhile customers.
Check the customer journey (as if you are a mystery shopper) to make sure the experience they receive is seamless. Also check your competitors’ websites to see what they are doing.
Similarly, review your staff roles and responsibilities. Do you have the right people with the right skills doing the right things, or do you need to make some changes?
Spend time with your people. Nothing is better than a face-to-face interaction to build relationships, understand their motivations and issues, and unleash their potential and productivity.
It’s dangerous to stay still, so brainstorm new ideas with colleagues at all levels in the organisation. You never know where the next inspiring product or service concept will come from – it may well be from an employee who is closer to the customer than you are.
Read your own website and social media output to double-check that the content is up to date and conveying your core message clearly. Is the URL https? If yes, Google will boost your site up the rankings. Is it mobile-friendly? If not, it needs to be, because Google will no longer show the link in the results when searched on a mobile device.
Empty your email inbox, and resolve to check messages only once each day. Filter any junk mail to a spam folder, and unsubscribe from newsletters that you no longer read. This simple tip will make you far more productive.
It’s said that a tidy desk is a sign of a tidy mind, so file your paperwork, clean your workspace, and refresh your décor.
Money money money
Review your expenses. Talk to your regular suppliers to negotiate a better deal in return for your loyalty. Look at any ongoing subscription charges to see whether there are any you should cancel. Check that your business insurances are up to date.
Order your personalised cash report from Akoni, and move your cash into accounts that generate more interest.
Look after yourself
And finally, some suggestions to help keep you happy and healthy:
- Review whether your personal goals are still in line with your business goals
- Remember to take time off so you return to the business with a fresh mind
- Celebrate successes with your team