The New Year provides businesses with a fresh opportunity to succeed. To help you hit the ground running and kick start the year ahead, we’ve put together a handy checklist to help set your business up for success in the new year.
1. Undertake an End of Year Reflection
It’s often beneficial to spend a bit of time looking at what happened the previous year, to understand what worked and what didn’t. This could also be a great way to learn from your experiences and implement actions to develop, such as organising training plans. Reflecting on the previous year will help you identify and improve your successes so that you can continue with what works well.
Things you might want to reflect on include -
- Did you achieve the goals which you set at the start of the year?
- What did you do differently last year compared to previous years?
- Were there any stand out changes - if so what were they? (e.g. Did one social platform see more engagement than the previous year? Did one product sell significantly more?)
- Are you able to identify any new strengths and weaknesses?
Specific areas you might want to delve deeper into could include -
- Web traffic
- Social media performance
- Your marketing strategy
- Events you attended
- Promotional activity you conducted
2. Set New Goals and Plans
After diving into your previous year and analysing the performance, you might want to consider creating a structured document indicating what your goals are in a way which you can monitor throughout the year. A great way to action this is by using a SMART goals template, like this one provided by Hubspot. It’s often noted, including in this article by Forbes, that the best way to achieve your goals is by physically writing them down.
You’ll want to start looking at the specific goals which you’ve set and how you’re going to implement them into your daily tasks. As a solo business, this could help you organise your days, so you can focus on the right tasks to succeed. Alternatively, if you’re part of a team, you’ll be able to delegate tasks to help ensure that you reach your goals.
These plans could include objectives such as -
- How you’re planning to increase your brand visibility with printed marketing material
- How you’re going to increase your brand awareness
- What times of the year are best for you to attend events and exhibitions?
- When are the best times of the year to consider promotional sales?
A great way to structure your plans is by creating a marketing calendar, displaying the activities you’ll conduct throughout the year. Consider taking the time to plan ahead by researching relevant industry events which you could attend, along with their locations and previous attendees’ reviews.
3. Consider Strategic Planning
The end of the year is a fantastic time to review the results of the current year and evaluate your vision going forward. You may discover that the new year could present you with opportunities to grow your business through acquisitions or invest in new people and technology. By taking the time to strategically plan, you’ll be able to visualise your ambitions and get the wheels in motion to elevate your business to the next level.
Great plans to consider could include -
- Are there any businesses worth acquiring to strengthen your operations?
- Is it worth relocating? Do you need a bigger premises or to be closer to your audience?
- Are there any new innovative products or services which you should launch? When would be the best time to do so?
- What positions would be worth hiring to strengthen your team?
- Is there any upcoming or new technology that will support your business processes?
4. Discover Training and Development Opportunities
The new year is the perfect opportunity to look at upskilling yourself or your team. Depending on what works best for your personality and the type of training required, you can decide whether you’d be better undertaking your development online, or offline. Some training, especially if delivered to several members of staff may be best delivered offline, with local training providers. On the other hand, individual training may be suited to online courses through providers such as Udemy or New Skills Academy.
By committing to training and development opportunities, you’re able to learn skills which will help further elevate your business success, whilst motivating yourself and others to achieve your newly found goals.
- To find relevant training and development opportunities you could -
- Evaluate your existing skills, and those of your team if applicable, to see if there are any gaps which need to be filled
- Discover new and emerging technologies which could enhance your existing processes
- If your company has a training log, see if there are any certifications which may be expiring, such as first aid or fire warden training.
5. Refresh Your Brand and Workspace
A fresh year is the perfect time to take a look at your branding. From setting your updated goals and plans, you might feel that your brand needs refreshing, possibly with a new logo or colour scheme.
- Some great ways to get started looking at your brand and workspace include -
- Taking feedback from your top customers. How do they feel about your branding?
- Discussing with those closest to your business, such as employees, or family members to see what they think about your branding
- Liaising with a branding agency that could do a deep analysis of your market to help develop your new branding
A great way to get started with this is by taking feedback from your top customers to see how they feel about your branding. Alternatively, you could liaise with a branding agency, to help you create your new brand guidelines and designs. If you decide to update your branding, you might want to consider updating your assets, including digital, such as social media and website content and print.
6. Stock Up On Your Print
You’ll want to ensure that you’re ready to tackle everything the new year will bring to your business. Whether you’ve got upcoming events or promotions, taking the time to order your printed marketing materials will help you ensure that you’re ready and restocked. If you’re entering the new year after a busy festive season, you might find that your existing stocks are low, so by ordering early, you’re going to be able to continue promoting your business, so you don’t lose traction! The new year is a great opportunity to restock your everyday essentials, from stationery to promotional print, you can make sure that you’re prepared to start the year with everything you need to succeed.
Common printed material which businesses need to top up in the new year include -
- Business cards
- Flyers & leaflets
- Business stationery
- Stapled booklets
- Folded leaflets
- Roller banners
7. Tidy Up Your Workspace
Many people have heard the saying, “Clear space, clear mind”. From this perspective, one of the first things you should consider doing in the new year is cleaning your workspace, including your laptop or PC. It’s easy to find documents piling up, with months of paperwork in your drawers and files on your desktop, rather than being archived. Having a tidy workspace will help set you up for a more organised start to the year.
- Tidying up your workspace doesn’t have to take too much time, the following areas could be great to get started -
- Empty your drawers and organise the contents
- Clear your workspace including desktops, making sure you only have what you need
- Before opening any files or windows on your computer, check your desktop doesn’t have files which should be organised into folders.
- Throw away and delete any documentation which are no longer needed.
Taking the time to reflect and organise your plans helps you increase your chances of success. After diving into the previous year, you’ll be able to create actionable steps to improve and increase your brand recognition to propel your business forward, including organising improvements and managing levels of stock.