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How to Start the Year Off Right for Your Small Business

With the new year right around the corner, you’re probably getting ready to wind down, take some well-deserved time off, and celebrate your achievements. 

Most of us love the beginning of a new year because it gives us the chance to start fresh and make room for new skills, relationships, and opportunities. 

That’s why now it’s the best time to take a deep dive into the past year and identify the highs, the lows, and everything in between – All while setting some juicy new goals for the year ahead. 

Here are 5 steps to kickstart your new year coming right up and take your business to new heights.

Table of contents:

  1. Create a financial forecast
  2. Conduct a competitive analysis
  3. Improve customer experience (CX)
  4. Set your goals for the new year
  5. Look at overhead costs

1. Create a Financial Forecast

Creating a New Year Financial Forecast 

Uncertainty forms a significant part of any business. Many factors beyond your control can influence your business’s performance and future success. 

That’s why it pays to predict the financial health of your company and understand the numbers you need to hit to unlock growth – while also planning for the worst-case scenarios. 

To map out a financial forecast for the forthcoming year, you have to analyse past business performance, current trends, and other factors such as inflation, employment rates, consumer spending, etc. 

If done right, financial forecasting is a powerful tool that enables you to estimate future revenue based on predicted demand for goods and services. 

Sure, working on financial forecasts may not be your idea of fun. However, they are extremely important to help you attract new investors and develop a strategic annual plan. 

Plus, financial forecasts can alert you to build a rainy day fund when you see sales shortfalls or bring in new team members when you’re expecting an increase in demand.  

One caveat, though – There is a strong temptation to be overly optimistic when mapping out a financial forecast. 

This over-optimism can have serious consequences, especially if the company has spent more than necessary on the higher forecast and suddenly needs to deal with a cash shortfall. 

While it can be frustrating to use multiple forecasting scenarios (say, one optimistic and one more cautious), this can help you set realistic expectations and produce a more reliable forecast. 

2. Conduct a Competitive Analysis

Small Business Conducting a Competitive Analysis 

Do you know what your competitors are up to? Are they working on anything new?

Do you know anything about the strategies they’re using to achieve maximum growth?

Keeping an eye on your competitors is critical to stay ahead in business. 

That’s why you should be conducting a competitive analysis on a regular basis and understand where your competitors are headed in the future so you can stay on top of developments in your industry. 

As we head into the new year, you must remember that markets can be unpredictable and change rapidly as consumer demand changes over time. 

For this reason, gathering competitive intelligence can provide you with the opportunity to identify gaps in your offer and adapt a product line so you can take advantage of customer interest in new trends. 

This is especially true in a business landscape where technology is moving at a faster pace than ever and businesses continue to innovate new product offerings.

Competitive analysis helps you keep an eye on emerging trends and technological progress, so you can better set your business up for success in the new year.    

3. Improve Customer Experience (CX)

Improving CX With a Virtual Receptionist

In a cut-throat environment where competition is fierce, the demand for remarkable customer experience is increasing. 

If you want your business to stand out and start the new year off right, you have to create timely, relevant, personalised experiences for your customers. 

To help you along, below is a short list of steps you should be taking to upgrade your customer experience in the new year: 

  • Get to know your customers’ needs 

Go out and talk to your customers directly by having conversations with them or creating a customer survey. Do whatever you can to find out what they want in relation to your product and what motivates them to buy from you.

  • Leverage technology

According to an Accenture report, AI has the potential to increase profitability in 16 industries by an average of 38% by 2035. In a tech-soaked world, now is the time to leverage AI and machine learning tools to provide an enhanced customer experience at every touchpoint. 

For instance, AI can help you deliver personalised content such as product recommendations and content suggestions. Or, you can use chatbots that are there for customers 24/7. 

  • Infuse personalisation into every customer interaction

Personalisation can take on many forms, from customer follow-up surveys to post-purchase thank-you emails to real-time website personalisation. 

Remember that customers don’t just want personalisation, they demand it. In fact, a McKinsey report revealed that 71% of customers expect businesses to deliver personalised interactions. 

  • Improve customer service

Customer service is the backbone of every successful business. People don’t just buy from you because your product meets their needs – they buy because they expect to get the right support when they need it. 

While chatbots can provide relevant answers to FAQs, you must remember that most customers yearn for a connection with a live operator. 

There’s no better way to show how much you value your customers than providing good telephone customer service over the phone with the help of a virtual receptionist available 24/7.    

4. Set Your Goals for the New Year

Setting New Year Business Goals

If you haven’t finalised your business goals yet, now is the perfect time to gear up for the new year by reviewing and setting new business goals. 

No matter what your goals are – onboarding new clients, improving your market reach, giving your brand a makeover, etc. – it’s important to take the right approach so that your New Year’s resolutions won’t fizzle out after February ends. 

To help with this, we’ve come up with a simple 3-step action plan to increase your chances of hitting your goals:

  1. Set SMART goals

Before doing anything else, it’s important to create new expectations for your company and decide what your goals for the new year should be. 

It could be anything from launching a new project, using new technologies, or even scaling up your business

Whatever your goals are, make sure you make them SMART (an acronym attributed to Peter Drucker’s Management by Objectives):

  • Specific: What exactly do you want to accomplish?
  • Measurable: How will you know when your goal is accomplished?
  • Achievable: Do you have sufficient funds, abilities, skills, and time to accomplish your goal?
  • Relevant: Why is your goal significant?
  • Time-bound: When will you achieve your goal?
  1. Plan for success

You’ve set your SMART goals, now what? The next step is to find out how to go about reaching them. 

Let’s assume you want to grow your customer base in the coming year. This could be accomplished through a number of different ways, such as improving your social media presence, creating loyalty programs, or building brand partnerships.

Whatever methods you choose, be sure to rely on those that are most likely to help you reach your goals.

  1. Execute your plan

Now that you’ve developed a strategy to reach your goals, it’s time to move into the execution phase. 

This is the phase where the rubber hits the road, so you need to know exactly what needs to be done, when it needs to be done, and who’s going to do it. 

While you may encounter bottlenecks along the way, it’s important to follow through on your commitments by holding yourself and your staff accountable.

One easy way to do that is by using whiteboards and incentive sheets that let your track progress and make it easier to gauge how far you’ve come.   

5. Look at Overhead Costs

Cutting Overhead Costs With a Virtual Office

The beginning of the year is the best time to review your overhead costs to make sure you are not wasting money on unnecessary expenses. 

Even in a tech-driven world where remote work is on the rise, one of the expenses that many businesses take for granted as being an absolute must is physical office space. 

Have a look at all the expenses that go into having a brick-and-mortar office and see if the benefits are worth the price.  

Ask yourself – Does your business really need a physical office? Can you have more team members working remotely? Can you keep labour costs down by using overseas contractors?

The cost of having and maintaining physical office space is a major expense, and if you don’t really need it, you could be wasting your business’s money. 

Sure, this doesn’t mean that your business can successfully operate without an office. 

Going without an office altogether is a surefire way to make your business appear amateurish and unprofessional. 

However, there are a number of alternatives to physical office space you may want to consider to cut expenses and invest money in other areas of your business. 

For example, a virtual office significantly reduces overhead costs while providing you with the same benefits as a physical office (e.g., business address, permanent landline, meeting rooms, etc.) at a fraction of the cost. 

One of the best parts about renting a virtual office is that you don’t have to shoulder an expensive lease, the cost of purchasing furniture and equipment, or other costs such as insurance and utilities. 

If you absolutely do not need to rent physical office space, save yourself some money to grow profits in your business this year and switch to a virtual office. 

Preparing a Small Business for the New Year

Conclusion: B2B HQ is wishing you a happy and prosperous New Year! 

We hope you’re as excited about the year ahead as we are, and we’re excited to share these tips to help you kick off the new year on the right foot.  

Even if you’ve got a whole year ahead of you, you must remember that how you start your new year can hugely impact your business in the next 12 months.

If you want to boost your business to the maximum in the coming year with a minimum investment, a virtual office might be exactly what you’re looking for. 

We can help you establish a professional presence in Australia’s top city through customised plans that are adjusted to your unique needs. 

You’ll get a professional business address, your own mailbox, landline with call forwarding and private office space at a minimum cost, without having to waste money on expensive overhead. 

If you’re ready to give your business an extra push this year, contact us today.  

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