As the year 2014 comes to an end, it is time to reflect on a lot of things. Such as the state of your business and how you can turn it around in 2015. Because, hey, there's always a better way to do some things and your business might just benefit from them.
So, without any further ado, here are exactly 12 ways that will help you makeover your business in the year that follows:
1. Never, even for one second, assume that you know everything about your business. There is always something new that you can learn or something that you hear that can help your business. Also, don't scoff at a friendly suggestion from a more experienced entrepreneur.
2. Think about opening another location. Is it a good idea to expand your business with a new office in 2015? It might just well be. Of course if you do decide to make this move, make sure that your company has enough staying power and that it is showing a steady growth. Also, a new office should be chosen based on what it can offer to your business and not for the nice view.
3. Get Social! Okay, I don't know of any self-respecting business owner who doesn't have at least a Facebook page, but there are all sorts out there. And today Facebook might not be enough anymore. You also want to be on Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Tumblr, just to name a few social networks. You don't have to be on all of them at the same time, in fact, a wrong social media funnel may even hurt your business. For example, a construction company has little reason to post pictures on Pinterest or Instagram, but can greatly benefit from LinkedIn.
4. Lower (or even raise) your prices. Don't be afraid to play with your prices a bit in 2015. A nice price drop will generate more sales for you, while an increase in prices will bring some short-term revenue benefits for your business. Just make sure that you don't overdo either. A little change is good to shake things up, but dropping your prices too low or raising them too high is not a good way to start the next year.
5. Find a source of expansion financing. Okay, so your friends and family help you start a business (I hope you still remember to pay them back their money), but where to go and who to talk to when you need to grow your business? Bank and other lending services are usually not an option, especially if you don't have anything to offer as a security or collateral. There are actually three choices:
- Friends and family again, although I wouldn't push it too far, especially if you haven't repaid the previous debt yet.
- Vendors. You can open a credit with them, so you buy the necessary materials without paying upfront.
- Government. You can get SBA-backed financing, including micro loans.
6. Target other markets. There are very few products and services out there that cater to just one single niche. You can always reach out to new markets. For instance, if you are selling something to working moms, you may want to try stay-at-home mothers as well.
7. Outsource some of your work. The bulk of your budget goes towards employees. In 2015, you can save a lot of money by hiring workers via a professional employment organization. Take content marketing, as a good example. There are a lot of good copy and content writers on oDesk or Elance that can help your business.
8. Upgrade your computers. Don't go into 2015 with slow computers that halt your production every now and then. This is an important tool for your business, so you should make sure that you and your employees are working on some good machines. Of course, don't forget about your servers and asking your ISP company to put you on a better server.
9. Renegotiate existing contracts. If you have a consulting or software support company that you work with, you can always try to negotiate a better deal with them. However, don't push it if they are not receptive to this idea.
10. Less paper, please! You know, there are computers today where you can keep most of your documents and business correspondence. Only backwater municipal services still ask you for printed documents, to “stamp the hell out of them”. Start sending emails to your vendors and partners instead of letters.
11. Backup on cloud. You know this cool new thing everyone is using. It's called the cloud and you can use it to back up your entire business on it. You should really think about using a good cloud platform. There are a lot of them from Microsoft's Azure, Google Drive, Box, Dropbox to Avere and Carbonite to choose from.
12. Do you want to keep doing this? Finally, ask yourself: “Is this something I want to do in 2015?” Don't be afraid to put your business to a stop or at least on a pause if the answer is no.
Hopefully you'll find at least some of these 12 ways helpful in boosting your business in 2015.