10 New Years Business Resolutions (aka 10 things a business owner REALLY needs to think about in 2015)

The end of the year is a good time to reflect. To think about what you’ve achieved, what you’ve done differently compared to other years, what you COULD have done differently and what you’d like to achieve in the following year.

To help you along with the process, the Elk team has come up with some New Year thinking pointers for your business! So let’s get started:

1)Customer Service. Your customers are your number one priority and you should be doing all you can to keep them happy, even when complications arise. Of course, the best policy is to avoid complications in the first place – this is why your business strategy and policies should be well thought out and ready for any situation (and if you don’t have any strategy, my goodness get to it!). Your customers make it possible for you to be in business in the first place, so please treat them with respect and make them a priority.

2)Number crunching. Don’t pay attention to what people say they want, pay attention to what they buy. Look back over the last year: what have you sold the most of? where have you made the most profits? the most loss? The proof is in the pudding as the old saying goes and you should analyise what people ACTUALLY want, not what they say they want.

3)Standing Out. Are you unique among your competitors? honestly? Sometimes you might need a little advice from a marketing or branding agency to help you with this, but ultimately you need to ask yourself how and why you are different. This is your unique selling point and the starting place that all your branding and advertising should flow from.

4)Make meaning. Stop thinking about making money for a few minutes and figure out how you can make meaning with your business. This involves seeing your business from your customers’ point of view: who is your customer and what do they want and who do they aspire to be? How can you create meaning in their lives?

5)Be organised. Grab a large 2014 calendar wall poster and mark in your deadlines. Plan any promotions. Mark off holidays and schedule time for rest and relaxation. If you have any accounts to put in order, invoices to send out, emails to reply to get them done NOW: Make sure when you start business again in January you do so with a clean slate and a fresh start.

6)Speaking of promotions…what are you going to promote month by month? A special offer? a particular part of your business? a new product or service? How are you going to make sure your customers know about it and (more importantly) want to buy it?

7)Get a niche. If you try to appeal to everyone you end up appealing to no one in the process. It is far better to be known for one amazing thing/product/service you provide than many average things. That way, you will be your customers first thought and go-to company when they need that one particular amazing thing. If you feel that you CAN offer more than one ‘thing’ don’t bundle them together: keep them as seperate parts to your business with their own unique branding, marketing and web presence.

8)Get social. We are approaching 2014 – if you have been neglecting the likes of facebook, twitter, linkedin and the rest you’re missing a trick. A whopping 57 percent of people now have more conversations online than in person, and this number is only set to grow. Make sure you are on top of your social media profiles by updating them regularly in an appropriate tone of voice with meaningful content, or set a budget and find a marketing comapany to look after them for you.

9)Get on the web. A website is a must for any business. It is your ‘shop window’ and will act as a first point of contact and source of information for your customers. Make sure it not only looks good but fits in with your overall brand guidelines and message. Also pay close attention to the tone of voice and language used for the text.

10)Gather materials. Do your business cards, mailing packs, letterheads and other stationery need replenishing? Could they do with a branding overhaul? Do they give a ‘wow’ factor to the recipient? Marketing materials should be thought about and ordered so you have them to pull from for the rest of the year.