The holidays are officially over, and most of us are slowly returning to business as usual this week. But despite the fact that New Year’s Day is behind us, it’s not too late to make a few resolutions about building a more vibrant and resilient business this year. If you haven’t already come up with some of your own, here are a few of our suggestions for strengthening your business model in 2019.
Take Care of Your Financial Health
Many small businesses don’t thrive or fail completely because the business owners don’t have a strong enough knowledge of how their finances work. Too often, less experienced entrepreneurs concentrate too much on on sales volume and not enough on costs. It’s essential to know not just how much is coming in, but also how much is going out. A good understanding of both ends of the spectrum can help your business do more than just get by.
Start the year by analyzing your profit and loss statement from 2018, and determine where you may be able to cut costs. But remember, cost-cutting measures are rarely obvious. Your savings in one area may be minimal, but will still add up. For example, switching from fluorescent bulbs to LEDs can save you up to 80 percent on your lighting costs. And if you rack up a lot of miles on your business automobiles, a discount gas card and more affordable auto insurance may save you quite a bit. Switching suppliers or negotiating better rates with contract employees may help your business’ finances as well. Work with your accountant of financial planner to develop some ideas, and resolve to be more financially hands-on as the year goes on.
Tag Opportunities for Growth
Cost-cutting measures can help save you money, but they can’t generate revenue. So it’s important to think about ways to ramp up. What are your long-term goals for 2019 and beyond? Do you want to add a new new product or service to your current business model? Open a new location? Change your menu? Build your capacity and take on bigger jobs? Whatever your business goals, write them down; start thinking strategically about how to make them happen; and identify the milestones you need to achieve. Then create an action plan and amend your business and marketing plans to reflect your current goals.
Reach Out to Your Customers
One of the best ways to know where your business is succeeding (or not) is to reach out to your customers. And what better time to ask for their feedback than at the beginning of a new year? Craft a thoughtful email or direct mail message that asks your clients about their last customer experience. Where did you do well, and where did you fall short? You may get a better response rate if you include a brief, easy-to-answer survey that asks pointed questions about relevant contact points. For example, “How satisfied were you with our sales person’s knowledge of our products and services?” on a scale of 1 to 10. The answers you receive can give you very specific information about where you can tighten up operations over the coming year.
Update Your Website
When was the last time you paid attention to your online presence? If you’re a savvy entrepreneur, the answer to that question will be something like “I pay attention every day.” But looking at metrics and tracking your website traffic won’t help your much if you’re not adjusting your content to meet changing demands. A website that was up-to-date and modern in 2015 isn’t going to be quite as engaging in 2019. Even if your business model hasn’t changed, it’s important to update your messaging and put a new face on your site once in a while. This can be something as simple as adding some striking new images or updating your copy a bit. Or if your site is really lagging, you may want to overhaul the whole thing. Here’s a great article from HostGator about some current website design trends. It’s from 2018, but the ideas will still be fresh for a while.
Use Social Media to Engage Your Customers
Social media has taken a few hits lately, what with Facebook in hot water for spreading political disinformation and Twitter becoming a platform for Russian trolls. Still, social media channels remain a great tool for customer engagement, and every business should have a social media presence of some kind. Just remember to follow the cardinal rule of social marketing: avoid too many promotional posts! Keep your content customer-focused, relevant and engaging, with photos, videos, and stories that make people laugh (or cry). Give your customers a reason to come back to your Facebook page or Twitter feed, and they will.
About the Carmoon Group
The Carmoon Group Ltd. is a minority-owned insurance brokerage headquartered in Hicksville, New York. Through our large network of nationwide affiliates, we offer risk management solutions and comprehensive insurance programs for businesses in a wide range of industries. We have the expertise and experience to provide you optimal coverage at the best possible price. So why not give us a call today to set up an appointment for your insurance review? Or if you prefer, just reach out online and we’ll get back to you at a convenient time.