Still looking to make some resolutions for 2018? Don’t forget to make a few for your small business, too. Much like in your personal life, you can take a number of proactive steps this year to positively impact your business.
Plus, what business couldn’t benefit from generating more revenue or fostering better customer relationships? Here are four New Year’s resolutions every small-business owner should consider striving for this year.
1. Improve Your Customer Experience
As a business owner, it’s easy to focus your energies in looking for ways to improve upon your products and services. But, in reality, creating a solid brand experience is where you can really differentiate yourself from the competition — in a positive or negative way.
In fact, more than half of all U.S. consumers will shell out more money to a particular company if they know they’re guaranteed to receive a positive brand experience. Meantime, 78 percent of consumers have, at some point, decided against making a purchase with a company due to a poor customer service experience.
If you don’t already offer a number of different avenues for customers to reach your business in real time, then it’s high time you make that a top priority in 2018. Indeed, customers’ ability to reach company reps via phone, email, live chat and social media can help to better expedite and improve their overall support experience.
Cloud-based systems, like Aspect Via or Aspect CXP Pro, are especially worthwhile tools for businesses due to their scalability and ease of use. Moreover, investing in some form of cloud call center software can accommodate sudden spikes in customer support traffic, allowing your support agents to better prioritize and answer these requests.
2. Manage Your Cash Flow More Effectively
In business and in life, poor financial discipline ultimately spells failure. That’s why you’ll definitely want to institute some solid cash flow practices in 2018 to ensure your doors stay open for the long term.
In particular, 82 percent of small businesses fail due to owners having a poor understanding of economics. Ultimately, the first step toward managing better cash flow is to develop realistic projections.
Looking for ways to better calculate your business cash flow? Score.org and applications like Google Docs offer useful information, templates, tips and resources for small businesses. Experts also suggest building up your cash reserve and creating a backup plan should any unforeseen events arise.
3. Heighten Your Digital Footprint
While your small business should already have an online presence, there are numerous ways to expand your digital footprint. In particular, with users spending nearly 70 percent of their time on a smartphone, you’ll want to make sure your website offers a responsive design for mobile devices and tablets. More importantly, your business will appear higher in Google search results with this extra layer of functionality.
Additionally, if you don’t already have a social media presence, now is the time to develop one. Choose one or two platforms like Facebook, Twitter and/or LinkedIn that are appropriate for your industry and where your customers or clients spend a majority of their time. Moreover, consider improving upon your digital marketing efforts by using tools like Google Analytics and Traackr, which will help you understand the effectiveness of your current strategy.
4. Get Involved in Your Community
Resolving to become more community-conscious can pay dividends in more ways than one. Beyond uplifting local nonprofits and putting a smile on people’s faces, being involved in ongoing philanthropic ventures is something that’s top of mind for many of today’s job seekers
Moreover, 80 percent of all U.S. consumers consider social responsibility when deciding which businesses to patronize. Look for ways your business can benefit the community by partnering with one or several nonprofits. Indeed, community involvement has the added benefit of increasing employee fulfillment, resulting in higher productivity and retention rates.
Making Positive Changes
There’s more to business than merely generating higher revenue streams. This year, in addition to promising to hit the gym or staying in touch with your childhood friends, resolve to make some positive changes for your small business. Beyond lining your pocketbook, look for new and innovative ways to improve the customer experience, create a bigger digital footprint, and get more involved in your community. Ultimately, your employees and customers will thank you for it.