With 2012 right around the corner, your small business is likely hoping the New Year allows you and your employees a fresh start, especially if the return on investment (ROI) for 2011 has been less than stellar.
For those small businesses that struggled this year, there are creative ways to move forward in 2012 and return your company to the black.
Among the things to keep in mind are:
“¢ Review this year – The first and foremost thing to do is to sit down and go over what did and did not work well in 2011. If you have been in business for a short time, did you meet your goals for this year or are you still in the growing process? If you have been around for some time now, how has 2011 compared to previous years? Better revenue? More turn over in employees? Additional issues with customers? Take the time to review the company’s efforts and what can be improved upon for 2012;
“¢ Review your employees, including those in management positions – While smaller businesses tend to not have a large number of departments and managers, take the time to review these areas. Are there any issues at work regarding employee morale? Are the individuals in a management position doing their jobs effectively to the point you can leave them with a lot of responsibility? If not, what solutions do you have in place to fix these problems? The ability for everyone to work as one big unit is essential to a company’s short and long-term success;
“¢ Review your budget for the New Year – As many small business owners can tell you, 2011 has been a difficult year. If you find that’s the case with your company, what are your budget aspirations and constraints going into 2012? For some newer companies, they’ve grown too quickly to the point now where they must cut back before they take a financial bath. Are you thinking about expanding your company in 2012? If so, is it by adding more employees, increasing your product line, increasing your office size or even considering a business proposal from prospective investors? Your budget needs to be as firm as possible going into 2012 to be able to deal with the unexpected that always hits companies from time to time;
“¢ Review your social media efforts – How much of a social media presence has your company had over the last year? If the answer is not much, you need to seriously reconsider why you have not tapped into this tool for providing your clients and potential clients with products and/or services. While some businesses have labeled SM as a fad, most will tell you that this social networking tool is not going anywhere anytime soon. Use social media to your company’s advantage to promote your products and/or services, post links to relevant industry news and networking with others while exposing your business to more possibilities;
“¢ Review the competition – While you must do what is best for your business, take the time to review what your competition has done over the last 12 months and may have planned for the coming year. You may find areas where you need to beef up your business as compared to what others are doing, while there may be areas you can scale back. If you learn the competition has a major marketing campaign planned for 2012, how will you counter this? Don’t be a follower, be a leader, but keep your eyes on the competition;
“¢ Review your Web site content and keywords – Assuming you are providing content on your site that should be of value to your clients and potential clients, make sure it is fresh. Nothing will kill traffic to a Web site from search engines quicker than if you have stale content on your site. Make sure it is also keyword concentrated so that the search engines are picking up your site when various pertinent keywords are used.
While some economic forecasts are not painting a rosy picture for 2012 for small businesses, keep focused on just what you and your employees need to do to make sure the coming year is a success and not a failure.
About The Guest Author: Dave Thomas, who covers among other subjects’ workers compensation, writes extensively for Business.com, an online resource destination for businesses of all sizes to research, find, and compare the products and services they need to run their businesses.