5 Ways to Run Your Business Better & More Effectively in the New Year
It’s the beginning of January, and what that means for most people is that some work was put off to enjoy time with family and friends during the holidays. While this is a wonderful (and necessary) idea, sometimes the quiet time alone with our closest friends and family (and with our thoughts) allows us to start contemplating what we’ve done right and wrong. Have we spent enough time with our loved ones? Did we eat too many calories over Christmas dinner? How are we going to get through the mountain of work on our desk that’s waiting for us?
This period of reflection is wonderful and without it, things wouldn’t ever change for the better. And while some New Year’s resolutions may get forgotten on the gym floor around March, planning for our business is a must — and something that we have to make sure to keep doing all the way through next December. Our planners and calendars should help us make sure of that. But as business owners and managers, our problem isn’t usually that we don’t get things done. Consistency and accountability typically aren’t our biggest problems — if we don’t work, we don’t get paid. Our problems are usually more conceptual. And sometimes, the problem is not knowing what the problem is in the first place.
How do we know what we should focus on in 2019? What are our biggest shortcomings and ways that we can target them? And once we figure all of that out, how should we begin to tackle the problems?
Well have no fear, we are here to help. Here are some of the most recurring issues facing small to mid-level businesses, and what you can do to run a better business in 2019:
- Problem: Revenue that’s Lower than Expected
Solution: Focus on the products that are doing well, and make your SEO game extremely strong.
You likely have some sort of good or service, and if you have lower than expected revenue it’s generally because your overhead is too high, or because your products or services aren’t doing as well as you wanted them to.
The first step to take is to review the products that have sold and eliminate the ones that aren’t performing. Start with the ones with the lowest profit and highest overhead, and work in a reverse direction to trim the fat. Once you know the items or services that are performing the best– you can really focus on making them the shining stars of your operation. Your website should feature those products, they should be visible on the main page, and have hyperlinks to them within all of your branded emails and most of your social media posts. You should have extremely good meta links, descriptions, and SEO strategy for these products as well.
- Problem: Customers are Not Engaging the Way They Used To
Solution: Revisit the way you log and track contacts, and set up a new targeted campaign.
If your customers aren’t engaging the way they used to, it could be for a variety of reasons. Perhaps your brand is failing to meet their needs. Maybe you have a competitor who is doing things better or cheaper. Regardless of the reason why you lost them, you definitely need to re-engage your core audience.
Take a look at your customers that are currently engaging. You should be able to pull up your interactions on all of your social media accounts as well as through your email management program. If you don’t have one of these, that’s definitely a huge mistake. Look at Buffer for social media management, and Mailchimp for email management. Other options are SocialReport, Sprout, and HootSuite for social media and MyEmma, and Constant Contact for email management, but we enjoy Buffer and Mailchimp the best, for a variety of reasons.
Once you’ve determined your core group of customers, you should make sure that your website is clear and targeted to them, and to their needs. You should also make sure that your social media campaign, your website, and all of your other marketing materials are clear, connected, and carry the same branding and message. This includes fonts, slogans, logos, and colors.
- Problem: Customers are calling and spending a lot of time with you on the phone, and you’re not able to get a lot of the work completed.
Solution: Your website, social media pages, and contracts and documents can all be made more clear and easier to navigate so that there is a clear understanding among all parties.
It isn’t uncommon for customers to be calling you, especially when you offer a service or are some type of consultant. But if you have a very straightforward product that can be automatically ordered and shipped, and customers continue to call you– this is a clear sign that your website is failing you.
Make sure that your website is easy to navigate, easy to follow and understand, and works across a variety of browsers and skill levels. Not all of your customers are technology savvy, but most will have a basic understanding — so you need to figure out who your target group is and cater to those people.
At Komaya, we offer a free website review — so we’ll be able to look at your current website, determine how navigable and user-friendly it is, and offer some concrete solutions to make it work better for you.
- Problem: You’re Unable to Get The Things on Your List Accomplished
Solution: Start a Time Blocked Schedule, and Stick To It
We all have really long to-do lists, but the difference between those who accomplish all of the items on their lists and those who don’t are the ways we go about completing them. Time blocking, or the act of actually scheduling the time in your day and blocking certain half-hours or hours out for specific purposes, seems elementary, and often not even necessary– but it’s absolutely quite the contrary.
By time-blocking, you’re ensuring that you’re giving the appropriate amount of devoted time to each task. The benefits of this are that, when you’re within a specific time block, you can limit the distractions by turning off your phone or putting it in another room, for example, or not checking social media during this time window. Additionally, you’ll know right away if you don’t have the appropriate amount of time to finish all of your daily tasks– so it will become immediately clear that you need to delegate, and not at the eleventh hour when you’re desperate to find a staff member who can help you.
For a good example of time-blocking, you can check out this WikiHow.
- Problem: You aren’t Getting the Types of Customers that You Want
Solution: Re-Evaluate your Business Plan and look at the type of customer who is your target. Is your website effectively speaking to that person?
Let’s say that the product that you’re currently promoting retails for $97, but your average customer is spending $12 on your site per visit. Clearly, something isn’t working. Likely, you’re not getting the type of customer who is your ideal customer. If you’re making sales, sometimes it seems like you have an audience and everything is going well, but if you aren’t making the amount of expected sales, you could have the wrong products — but you could also have the wrong group of people that you’re targeting.
For example, let’s say your business sells luxury high-end office products. The majority of your products are things that a top business person would love, like desk accessories made of gold and silver, leather briefcases, and portfolios. Your target customer should be spending, in your opinion, about $165 on average for their order. If your top-selling item is a $7 pen and your average customer spends $20 on their entire order– you’re probably getting college students who are buying sticky notes and school supplies. Perhaps your millennial pink website needs to be changed to a more mature color, like navy blue. Additionally, it’s likely that your targeted Instagram ad needs to be featured on LinkedIn instead.
By asking the right questions about your business plan, and how you’ve been implementing it — you’ll make sure to have a better and more productive 2019.
For any questions about your website, or other things that you can do to enhance your business in 2019, contact us at Komaya. You can also check out our blog for more ideas for bringing your business to the next level.