7 steps to boost your business in 2013

“Many people look forward to the new year for a new start on old habits” – Anonymous

If there is ever a perfect time to reboot your business and clean up your bad habits, it would have to be now. Considering how lucky we are that the Earth is still rotating on its axis in 2013 (the ancient Mayans must be laughing in their graves now), it’s time to work on your business resolutions.

According to MYOB’s survey in December last year, the top priority for SMEs this year is to improve their systems and processes. The survey was conducted on 200 small to medium sized business.

  Priorities Percentage agreed
1 Improve my systems and processes 51%
2 Increase the time I spend working on my business rather than in it 35%
3 Increase my customer acquisition activities 32%
4 Increase my product/service range 25%
5 Increase my customer retention activities 25%
6 Increase my prices 21%
7 Start a succession plan 20%
8 Increase the geographical areas I service 18%
9 Increase my number of staff 18%
10 Increase my online marketing spend 17%

 

To help you out, here are 7 steps to boost your business this new year:

1.       It all starts with a plan

You may have a clear head, but you need a clear plan written out. Write a detailed, forward-looking plan that covers all key business facets. Review and update your plan this month and take into account any new developments or opportunities found last year and those you expect to work on this year. This could be investing in growing your market share, improving your market intelligence so the business is more competitive, or even as simple as setting sales targets.

 2.       Seek professional advice

If you’re overwhelmed with business commitments such as compliance, accounting, payroll or export rules, get professional help. Meet up with business advisors such as accountants and business coaches and get their advice. It’s also a good time to delve into your contacts list and see what opportunities they think are on the horizon.

3.       Review your supplier base

Another way to boost business performance is to review your current contracts and suppliers, to see if you’re getting your money’s worth. Research your suppliers’ competitors to find out their service offering, prices and the discounts they’re prepared to offer for placing regular bulk orders, referrals, or ongoing loyalty to their business. Look at whether you can carry out your outsourced services more cost effectively internally, or whether you can consolidate your suppliers.

4.       Diversify your range

Find the courage to trim away any non-profitable activities and back the winners. Then you can start innovating your products and services to stay well ahead of the competition. Talk to a professional who can help identify what strategies, products and services that can deliver the healthiest returns. Remember to re-evaluate your margins and benchmark your performance against similar businesses.

5.       Spruce up your systems and processes

New year, new budget… so get your systems and processes right first. Try MYOB’s range of business management solutions that help make business life easier. Build a comprehensive operation manual or fine tune the one you have, and then get your staff on board to discuss how to improve the way you work.

6.       Be where your customers are: online

With more than 80 percent of consumers researching online prior to making a purchase, being online offers a huge opportunity to connect with more customers. The latest MYOB Business Monitor survey revealed SMEs with a website were 53 percent more likely to experience a revenue rise over the last financial year.

7.       Re-engage your team

It can take some time to get back into work mode after a relaxing holiday, so consider ways you can reignite staff motivation. Perhaps organise a catered kick-off strategy meeting to run through plans for the year ahead. You could also have one-on-one meetings on how individual goals relate to these plans, so your staffs understand their roles. Getting your team fired up about projects is a great way to get them back on task and fend off the post-holiday blues.