Even if you run a retail business, the period immediately following Christmas tends to be a slower period of time. Now is a good time to take stock of your business and make plans to move ahead into 2014. (Have you read our 2014 small business technology resolutions yet?)
Look Back at 2013
Now is the time to take stock of your business’ successes and failures in 2013. What worked? What didn’t? Did you try anything new this year? How did it pan out? If you set a goal to learn something new in 2013, did you follow through? Are you making the effort to use that new knowledge? Assessing how 2013 went will help you decide where you want to go in 2014 and whether any of the new things you tried are worth keeping.
As you set goals for 2014, it might be a good idea to survey your customers about what they’re looking for from a business like yours. Include a survey in your next print or email communication. If you’re worried about participation, offer an incentive or prize for filling out your survey. Online websites like SurveyMonkey.com can allow you to send out a survey for free.
Evaluate Your Marketing
Now is the time to look at your marketing materials, from your website to print items like brochures, business cards, and display advertising. Make sure the information is up to date, from your contact information to the promotions and prices you’re offering. If your website could use a refresher, now is the time to take it on! Here are five things your website must have:
- The information your customers and potential customers are looking for
- Your contact information: email and telephone
- An appealing design
- Analytics so you can evaluate your website’s performance
- Links to your social media
Establish Your Social Media
If your business is not on social media – or it is but you have been neglecting it – now is the time to make it part of your routine. Choose one platform – Facebook is a good place for most businesses to start – and commit to posting to your page once a day. A scheduler like HootSuite (which PNSolutions uses!) can let you take care of several days’ posts all at once so you don’t have to sit on your social media page all day.
Once you’ve established a pattern of posting, be sure to continue interacting with your fans. When someone comments or asks a question, respond! Your fans need to know you’re listening.
Evaluate Your Technology
Take stock of your computer and your computer network. Are your machines up to date, or do they need to be replaced? Is your software and operating system up to date and secure?
Now is also the time to take stock of your security. Is antivirus software installed and kept current? Do you have a firewall? Are passwords secure and difficult to guess?
PNSolutions can help you assess your technology and make recommendations for updates and upgrades. Contact us today to get started!
Train Your Staff – and Yourself
Whether you want to use your existing software more efficiently or you’re introducing something new, take time during this slower period to train yourself and your staff. They’ll be able to focus on using what they’ve learned better when business is quieter than when business is booming and they are trying to work quickly and use new skills.
PNSolutions can help you train your staff, whether you attend one of our technology seminars or we come to your office for training. Contact us today!