With 2014 now behind us, a little organization and preparation can give your small business an advantage at the start of 2015. Now is a good time to consider how you invest and how you promote your business to see if any changes could generate improved results in 2015.2015 looks to be a promising year for small business owners, with the NFIB’s Small Business Optimism Index rising 2 points to 98.1, a level just shy of its historical average from February 2007. The organization’s Chief Economist states, “Expectations for business conditions six months out rose a huge 16 percentage points while expectations for real sales volumes rose 5 percentage points. [. . .] it’s a good sign that comes at a good time for small business.” In addition, Kiplinger reports that in the fourth quarter leading into 2015 GDP growth should continue to increase at a 3% rate.
Consumer confidence is also on the rise, and if you want your small business to participate in this expected growth, you need to evaluate your presence on the street, on your website, and on social media. Chief Marketing Officer James Mendelsohn said to Small Business Trends, “38% [of business owners] said they plan to expand and/or try new forms of advertising/marketing activities… up from 31% last quarter.”
Now is the time to organize your finances, get your books in order, and evaluate your promotional strategies to set your business up for success this year.
Tips for Success in 2015
Business News Daily offers some New Year’s Resolutions for your small business:
- Fully use all of your technology solutions. You spend a lot of money on these solutions, and you should be able to get the most bang for your buck.
- If you have not already, adopt mobile payments. With mobile payment systems such as Apple Pay gaining popularity, traditional credit card use is on the decline.
- Get closer to your customers. Personalizing services keeps customers coming back.
- Make customer service a priority. This goes along with personalizing service. Happy customers are repeat customers.
- Focus on marketing efforts. Everything is measurable with digital marketing, so utilize big data analytics to decide which marketing strategies work, which ones don’t, and which ones show promise for success.
- Revamp your social media strategy. If you are already using Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn regularly to put your product or service out there, think about switching up your strategy. Look to websites such as Pinterest and Instagram to get your products and services noticed.
- Make search engine optimization your best friend. Your ability to find new customers suffers if they cannot find you on a Google search relating to your product or service.
- Perform a security audit. Network breaches have become commonplace today, so protect your network as well as you can.
- Prevent employee fraud. Create an ethical code for your employees with compliance standards that employees must agree to and sign.
Funding Your Resolutions
Of course, many of these strategies come with a price tag—even though they’re designed to help fuel your business’s growth in the new year. Depending on your business’s existing financial mix, it may be time to consider a capital advance. As a more flexible funding option, a capital advance can help you quickly achieve many growth goals without taking on long-term debt or investors.