It’s December, and the holidays are upon us. Before you start checking out early to get your shopping done and spend quality time with family, it’s time to get your business in order. Let’s set things up in your business for 2020. Start the new year organized with a plan that will set you up for success.
There are lots of things to consider. What do you need to get in place before January? New website? Podcast? Video series? Do you need to switch payroll services or request a line of credit? Now is the perfect time to start getting things together while the rest of the world is off for the holidays. Here are 20 things you should take action on in your business before 2020.
1.Review Your 2019 Results Put together a list of wins and what went wrong for the year. The process will help you to think about what you can do better next year. What were your revenues and profitability this year? How many proposals went out? What was your close ratio? What was your shopping cart abandonment rate? How many revenue streams does your business have? Is it time for a brand refresh? Do you need to add to your team? This will help you establish your small business goals for 2020.
2. Develop Your 2020 Budget Now is a great time to develop a budget for next year. You need up-to-date financials so that you can see what you spent this year. It’s always best to base a budget on the previous year. If you used accounting software, you could use that as a starting point for creating a budget for the next year.
3. Develop Your 2020 Sales Goals Review your revenue for this year and how many clients you served. Think about where you want your business to be this time next year. Develop your annual sales goal, which will give you your monthly and weekly sales goals.
4. Tweak Your Sales Strategy Develop a new sales strategy for your business in 2020. What is going to be your main offering? How will you generate leads? How will you qualify the leads? Will you hire a salesperson this year? Do you have any upsells for your existing customers? You need to start the year with a plan to fill your sales pipeline. Do you have an email campaign to roll out to generate interest? Will you do webinars? Or develop a new ebook to attract prospects? Put together a marketing budget that will help implement the new sales strategy and meet your sales goals.
5. Schedule a Retreat I hold a retreat with my key team members every January so that we can set up our sales game plan for the year. As a team, we also identify key targets we’ll pursue for business, and we make decisions about what our product offerings we’ll promote for the coming year. You need to decide on a retreat in the new year now, people need to make travel plans and you need to hire a facilitator or decide if you have someone in-house who can organize the agenda and activities. Your team needs to get together for leisure too.
6. Evaluate Your Social Selling Strategy There’s lots of competition on social media platforms, so it might be time to add something new. Think about creating a podcast. Instagram is the fastest growing social platform and people are spending more time there. Live video streaming is now on every platform YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Choose just one new thing to add to your social media mix.
7. Set Up an Alexa Flash Briefing Develop an Amazon Alexa flash briefing to regularly deliver product updates, event information, and expert tips to an engaged audience. Setting up your own flash briefing for the Echo allows you to deliver 10 minutes of prerecorded audio content to customers and prospects on a daily or a weekly basis.
8. Make a Promotional Calendar Map out what promotions you’ll be running next year. What month will you launch your new product or podcast? Do you have a promotional campaign that ties-in with a national event or holiday like “Valentine’s Day,” “St. Patrick’s Day,” or “Back to School” or “Thanksgiving”? Start planning your special promotions now, so your team won’t feel like they are running from fire to fire, getting ready for the latest marketing promotion.
9. Complete Your Tax Planning Reach out to your accountant to schedule a meeting to talk about how you are positioned for your taxes. He or she may advise you to make a major purchase to increase your expenses before the end of the year. Make sure your accounting records are up-to-date. Pull any extra paperwork together so tax time will go smoothly. Remember, business taxes are due March 15th, not on April 15th like personal taxes.
10. Set up Your Admin Files for 2020 I’ve been in business for a long time, and often I need to refer back to old projects and contracts. Every year I create files for the coming year to keep things organized. My filing system is by year, then a category, for example, 2020 Contracts. How do you file your contracts, blog posts, special projects, PPT slides, HR files, etc.? Develop a system, and you’ll save lots of time.
11. Update Vendor 1099’s and W2’s Reach out to all your contractors and consultants and get them to update the W9 forms. Any vendor who you’ve paid more than $600 during the year should receive a 1099-MISC. The IRS requires 1099’s be mailed before January 31st, 2020. Any employees must receive their W2’s by January 31st, 2020. Your payroll service should provide W2’s for you and your employees.
12. Sign and Scan Your 2020 W9 Form Some vendors or corporate clients will ask for a W9 form before paying any invoice. If your business is a sole proprietor, LLC or an S-Corporation, you will send over a W9 with your invoice to get paid.
13. Update Your Website Your website is your #1 sales tool, and most people are looking at it from a mobile device. You need to make sure your website is simple and engaging on mobile-first. Pay close attention to load time. Take a look at your site navigation. How many choices are there? Are your calls to action simple to see on mobile? You might not need to do a complete overhaul, but mobile is really important, so make sure your website speaks to mobile visitors. You also should add videos with subtitles.
14. Review Your Google Analytics You want to see if your marketing efforts have been working or need to be tweaked. Pay close attention to your sources of traffic, which is generating the most referral traffic, most popular content, and the time on site. This will help you determine where to invest your time in social media.
15. Touch Your Customers If you are a B2B service provider, how often do you call your customers? You need to keep track of anyone who advocates for your business. Sometimes people switch companies or retire this time of the year, so stay in touch. You might learn about potential opportunities coming up. Reach out to at least 10 current and former customers a day for the next two weeks.
16. Clear Your Desk & Email Do you have 10,000+ unopened emails? Make it a goal to get back to no new emails before the end of the year. And is your desk cluttered? A cluttered desk is a cluttered mind. Deal with those stacks of unopened mail, who knows there could be a check in one of them. If your workspace or computer is cluttered, spend a few hours and set up a system. Shred things you don’t need and organize your computer files. It will save you hours later.
17. Review Your Monthly Subscriptions There is nothing worse than paying for something you don’t use. With all the apps and subscription services out there, you could be paying for things you no longer need or paying for apps that do the same thing. Productivity apps, media subscriptions, and music are a great place to start. Do you need Spotify, Pandora, and Amazon music? What about your CRM software? Look at social media scheduling tools too. Save money where you can.
18. Develop a New Sales Funnel You need to have a way to capture an email address, nurture, and educate a prospect, then sell something to them. You might need to invest in a professional copywriter to help you develop the email series. Leverage email marketing tools like Infusionsoft, or MailChimp, to set up a sales funnel using an autoresponder series of emails that goes out on selected dates after someone downloads a free offer from your website. You should develop a new sales funnel for 2020 before the year is out.
19. Send Direct Mail Direct mail has made a comeback, especially with existing customers. All the online clutter makes it easier for you to stand out if your mailer shows up in their box. Try a double-sided postcard to keep the bulk postage price low. Coupons are great to offer this way. If you’re a pizza shop, for example, you could send your customers an offer for 20% off on Tuesdays, if that is your slowest day of the week. Direct mail can spark repeat business.
20. Invest in Online Ads Paid ads are now a necessary method of marketing. There are lots of options from Retargeting, Google AdWords, Facebook Ads, Mobile SEO, and Mobile ads are major things to consider in 2020. Always test your campaign first, then invest in a longer campaign. Some platforms, such as Facebook, allow you to target ads to your existing email list or website visitors which allows you to stay in front of them all over the internet.
This is a really big to-do list, but if you jump on it quick, you can get this stuff handled before year-end. You have a few weeks, so get it done. A sale is nothing more than preparation meeting opportunity. Get prepared so that you can hit the ground running in 2020.
Do you have any more key task suggestions for 2020? Share them below in the comments.