The start of the New Year is normally a good time to reflect on how the past has gone and whether any improvements are required. Running your own small business means that often you are so close to things that you don’t take the necessary time out to review the situation during the year and consider if you could be running things differently. Now is the time to take stock!
Question is what should you be focusing on?
Here are some ideas on common issues and quick wins to improve your business.
Capture once, use many times
I often get called in as a VA for a task where a product update, change of address or even Christmas cards are needed to be sent out but there is no central point where this information can be accessed. It hides in various devices and documents in different formats making it a major task. The longer you leave capturing this in one place the harder it will get to rectify it. I recommend that the data be captured in a CRM or spreadsheet. It doesn’t need to be fancy, complicated or costly. It just takes time initially to set it up but then should become a habit to add or amend it as you go along.
Don’t let expenses pile up
We’ve all done it – you get various receipts and even with the best of intentions they end up in pockets, bags, on the car floor or accidentally in the bin. Before you know it….you can’t be bothered to track them down as it has become too big a task. Most accountancy apps now let you capture these really easily on the go. So next time you grab a coffee while hot desking – make a point of taking 2 minutes to capture it all on your phone directly into the app.
Play to your strengths
Especially when you are a relatively new start-up you wear many hats: accountant, marketer, HR, researcher, salesperson, technical adviser, support, van driver, coach, etc. But stop for a moment…do you now need to be all these things? Are you playing to your strengths? Are you spending time on the tasks that you are best at or are you getting drawn into things that don’t interest you and are not really the best use of your talents? Sometimes by outsourcing certain tasks you will free up your time to spend on the things you love and probably will make you more money. Maybe you have just got into the habit of doing everything yourself?
When was the last time you invested in improving your own skills? If you could do just one thing better than in 2019 why not invest the time, effort and maybe the money to find a way to upskill. It might be attending a coaching workshop, taking a typing course to speed up your keyboard skills or even buying a session with an expert to pick their brains on how to carry out a certain task in a better way. Life and business doesn’t stand still – and neither should we!
Capitalise on your existing contacts
This is linked to point number 1 in many ways. It is 5 times more cost effective to work with the contacts you have than to keep going out and finding new ones. If you capture the right details (particularly in a CRM) you can create a communication plan that is relevant to certain segmented sectors of your contact base on an ongoing basis. Too often sales are made and then forgotten rather than a suitable follow up made to see if they need more/an upgrade/complementary product or service.
Hopefully this is food for thought! If you need help with admin, marketing, project management or business support, please do get in touch, don’t struggle!