The start of the New Year is a time of renewal, a time to establish resolutions and fully commit to making positive changes in the months to come. As you make these investments in yourself, you certainly want to apply them to your small business as well. January is a critical time in business, as it sets the tone for the year ahead. Are you putting your business in the best position to succeed in 2016? With the help of Staples, I’ve compiled some of my most pivotal tips to help you navigate this year’s back-to-business season.
- Revisit Your Business Plan: Regardless of your business model, you must first determine what you hope to accomplish in 2016 and beyond. How will you define success? By taking a step back and reviewing your business plan at the start of the year, you can map out the strategies and objectives that will put you on the pathway to achieving your goals. Too many small business owners overlook the big picture and get tangled in the details that consume our day-to-day operations. In order to not drown in daily tasks, keep your topline goals in mind and build your tactical business plan around successfully reaching your overall goal.
- Get Your Finances In Order: Evaluate the current financial state of your small business. Do you need to make changes in order to survive? Is it time to apply for a line of credit? It’s important to consistently assess your existing budget and revenue goals and make any necessary adjustments in order to start your business’ year off on the right foot. Start with a holistic analysis of key financial indicators (e.g., net profit, current ratio). Successful business owners are always contemplating other ways to generate more revenue. In order to create financial stability, you need to have processes around your business finances.
- Shop around for the best deal: Retailers frequently cater to small businesses owners with special promotions, such as Staples’ 110% Price Match Guarantee and Business Less List, guaranteeing low prices on office necessities and other handy items. A little foresight also goes a long way, and getting out in front of tax season can also help alleviate stress in the long-run. By starting the process early on, you can avoid the headaches that plague small business owners come April.
- Fine-Tune Your Marketing Approach: Business success is all about niche marketing. At the beginning of every year, it’s important that you not only reevaluate your target consumer, but figure out the best ways to reach them, whether that’s via social media, traditional advertising or email marketing, to name a few. Even for those small businesses that already have a strong understanding of their niche customer and communicate their brand message successfully, it’s vital to constantly reassess and be nimble in this ever-changing consumer landscape. Make sure you observe relevant trends, and most importantly, listen to your customers – this will help build long-lasting relationships that will position you for sustainable success.
As a small business owner, turning the page to a new year can feel overwhelming at times. Having the ability to tap into a strong network for honest, insightful feedback can position your business for success early in the year, and sustain it throughout the remaining months. Beyond your own personal community, resources such as the Staples’ Quick Wins app can prove to be effective in connecting with other small business owners and gathering advice and ideas at the touch of a button. How do you get through back-to-business season as a small business owner? I encourage you to share some of your most helpful tips in the comments section below. Cheers to a successful 2016!
Staples makes it easy to make more happen with more products and more ways to shop. Through its world-class retail, online and delivery capabilities, Staples lets customers shop however and whenever they want, whether it’s in-store, online or on mobile devices. Staples offers more products than ever, such as technology, facilities and breakroom supplies, furniture, safety supplies, medical supplies, and Print and Marketing Services. Staples also offers free shipping for Staples Rewards Members, in most cases overnight. Headquartered outside of Boston, Staples operates throughout North and South America, Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. More information about Staples (SPLS) is available at www.staples.com.