The New Year brings with it a fresh beginning.
No matter how well your small business fared in 2015, odds are you hope for it to do even better next year.
Companies that struggled over the last 12 months will obviously try to reverse course in 2016. And even organizations that crushed it in 2015 can’t rest on their laurels; their competitors certainly aren’t.
It’s one thing to say you want to grow your business. It’s another thing to actually do it. Here are three ways to back up your words with actions:
1. Utilize new technologies.
Are you equipping your workers with the technologies they need to be most productive? When is the last time you invested in new tools, anyway?
If you’ve not yet begun leveraging a unified communications platform or any collaboration tools, for example, your staff won’t be able to communicate as effectively with their colleagues and business partners. You can use platforms like Slack, Asana, nCore and Trello to enable your staff to collaborate in real-time with their coworkers, thereby accelerating decision making and driving business efficiency.
Additionally, if you’ve not yet migrated to the cloud, what are you waiting for? Thanks to the rise of 4G networks and the proliferation of high quality mobile devices, today’s workers are able to be productive anywhere at any time. By leveraging cloud platforms and supporting mobility, you’re guaranteed to see a measurable uptick in output.
Finally, is your small business as a whole leveraging the right products and services it needs to make it to the next level?
For example, if you’re company is regularly struggling with cash flow problems because your clients aren’t paying their bills on time, thanks to new technologies, you no longer have to wait around twiddling your thumbs until checks come in. Instead, you can use an invoice-clearing service like Fundbox to advance payments on outstanding invoices. For a small fee, Fundbox provides quick access to the funds you’re owed. You then have 12 weeks to repay the advance and the fee.
The end result? Cash flow problems become a thing of the past, and your business can always access the funds it needs to grow.
2. Expand into new markets.
When’s the last time your small business tried to branch out into a new market?
If you’re hoping to grow your operations in 2016, it might be time to think about how you can build relationships with a whole new set of customers.
For some business, that means expanding into new markets. A small company that sells sauces, dressings and marinades to restaurants, for example, might decide it’s time to open a new location a few states away to attract a whole new set of clients.
For other businesses, it might mean opening an ecommerce store.
If your small business is one that could sell products to customers via the Internet and you don’t have an ecommerce store, make opening one a priority in 2016.
Need some more convincing? The U.S. ecommerce market hauled in an impressive $264 billion in 2013. And that number exploded to $305 billion in 2014. It remains to be seen how much the market will realize in 2015. But sluggish Black Friday sales at brick-and-mortar stores suggest we’ll see a similarly impressive increase.
It would be absolutely shocking if we didn’t see yet another uptick in 2016.
3. Develop new products.
Has it been awhile since you released any new products or services?
If you haven’t updated your product portfolio in some time, consider setting aside a good chunk of time during the beginning of 2016 to do precisely that. Keep in mind that you don’t even necessarily have to create anything new; you might be able to conceive of a new market for an existing product, or even a new use for it.
Drawing a blank as to what your customers might want? What better way to figure that out than to solicit their feedback directly.
Who knows? Your next idea might strike gold.
Good luck in 2016!