As 2016 approaches faster than a shotgun wedding, it’s time to get your business New Year’s resolutions in order.
What is a resolution? Basically, it’s a goal – and a promise to achieve that goal, but what is a goal without guidelines? A road map to failure.
We want your New Year to be your most successful yet, so make sure your business resolutions are SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-related.
Apply this checklist to the appropriate resolutions below and set your wedding business up for a booming 2016:
1. Be the boss
You are only one person, and as evolution would have it, you only grew two arms. This unfortunately means that you can only juggle so much and there will come a time when you need to delegate. It’s not easy letting go and handing over the reigns on some projects, but it may well be the answer to increased productivity. While there is an initial time investment in handover and staff training, it will eventually free you up to focus on the more pertinent managerial and marketing side of business.
If your existing staff lack the skills to handle administrative or financial tasks, look to outsourcing platforms like oDesk or Freelancer.com. These sites are ripe with highly skilled freelancers and home-based operators both offshore and local who can assist your business with everything from graphic and web design to social media management and customer service. Ratings and reviews provide insight into contractors’ previous jobs so you can make an informed decision about their skills, reliability and suitability to work with you and your business.
3. Build lists
Do you have a database of customer email addresses collected from previous purchases? How often do you communicate with these people, what are you offering them and how are you utilising this list to increase sales and foster ongoing client relations? If you’re listless, start by selecting an email marketing solution for small business. Add an email sign up feature to your website and follow the provider’s instructions on importing any existing customer contact details you have. Confused? Return to step 2.
4. Get mobile
More consumers than ever are using mobile devices to make purchases and surf the internet. If your site is non-responsive on mobile devices (meaning users have to endlessly scroll sideways to view the full screen and significantly zoom to push buttons), it’s unlikely they’ll stay on your site long enough to make a purchase, let alone scroll through any of the products. If your website is not responsive, invest in updating. In today’s retail market, you can’t afford to let your competitor’s have the mobile edge.
5. Introduce a touch point
Try connecting with your customers in a new way. Create and promote a new social media channel, include a time-limited discount voucher to every internet order delivery, or add a QR code to your front door so foot traffic are easily directed to your website after hours. Whatever you decide, make the touch point measurable using voucher codes or analytics to establish if it is worth pursuing, or if you should turn your attention to something else.
6. Hold meetings
Staff meetings are great for bolstering team spirit. If you work in a team, arrange and stick to a schedule for meetings. Take your team somewhere neutral like a coffee shop so staff feel relaxed and more open to sharing feedback and concerns. Keep meetings to around an hour in length, celebrate successes, don’t dwell on the negative and take notes with the person assigned to each action point. Ensure all staff receive ample notice of the meeting and find a sustainable way to reward those who attend.
You cannot create and innovate in isolation nearly as well as when you are surrounded by like-minded people with a shared passion for the wedding industry, entrepreneurship and business. Staying home on the couch is comfortable and easy, but Ben & Jerry will never be able to give you the support, inspiration and potential partnership opportunities that arise from joining networking groups like Business Chicks or Flying Solo, who run regular events to mingle with other small business movers and shakers.
8. Give back
The opportunity to help those who are less privileged, disenfranchised or down on their luck should be incentive enough to donate to charities close to your heart in 2016, but for those who need a little extra motivation, donating a percentage of sales from a limited edition product creates instant content for marketing – and builds good will with customers.
9. Professional development
Some of the world’s most successful people are perpetual learners. Undertaking a course in something directly relating to your business will expand your repertoire and give you a competitive edge, while signing up for the Ikebana flower arranging course you’ve always wanted to do may help you strike a more positive work-life balance. Up-skilling your staff can also be a worthwhile investment if you are confident the course fees will produce a return on investment and the team member is going to be with you in the long run.
10. Use accounting software
Automating your accounting can save an incredible amount of time and migraine medication when it comes to completing your tax return. If you don’t have an accountant overseeing your bookkeeping, consider investing in DIY accounting software like MYOB or QuickBooks, which are designed to ATO compliance requirements and take care of all the exciting stuff like GST, invoices, reporting, expenses and payroll.
We want to hear about your business New Year resolutions for 2016; the sensible, sensational and everything in between! Let us know what you’ve got planned for the year ahead in the comments below.