We’ve entered December and we’re now less than a month away from 2018. Most people will still be trying to get over 2017 with what happened with Brexit, but it’s time to prepare and run head on into the New Year.

We’ve put together a list of 5 things that you need to prepare in order to have a successful start to 2018. So let’s get started:

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Finances

This is probably the most important and first thing that you should analyse. Compare your business results from 2016 to 2017. Was there a dip? Did it improve? Pin point what helped your business to grow and what caused it to dip, and then build this into your 2018 plan, don’t make the same mistakes as the previous years.

Look at your expenditures, is there a ROI on the money that is leaving the business, if not then why’re you still paying for it? If it brings nothing to the business, then get rid of it!

Employees

Some businesses forget their staffs’ happiness, but unhappy staff members can lead to an unhappy office environment and a downturn in sales. So you need to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Measure your staff turnover in the last year, is it high?
  • Are your employees happy at work?
  • Are your employees rewarded for their hard work?
  • Is there a strong, positive and happy work environment?
  • Does your staff require training or are they looking to progress?
  • Highlight which employees are working hard and those who’re not

Honestly answer these questions, and then act on them. Your staff are what make you money, treat them as you’d expect to be treated and you will soon reap the benefits. Lose those who don’t pull their weight, you don’t want employees who’re not willing to put in 100% every day.

Customer Service

I’m sure you already know this, but good Customer Service is very important, a happy customer is always a good thing, especially in a day and age when it is so easy to leave negative feedback for a company online. Therefore, analysing any data from the previous year is imperative and can lead to positive changes for your business:

  • Did you have any major complaints through 2017?
  • Did you lose any clients? If so, why did you lose them?
  • Is there a service that a lot of your clients are requesting?
  • Have you had any positive feedback through 2017?

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Marketing

We all know how important marketing is to a company, but it’s so easy to get marketing wrong. You spend money and get no ROI from it. This part is all about analysing your marketing from the previous year and figuring out what worked and what didn’t.

  • Did any of your marketing provide a ROI or help you to acquire new business?
  • Did any of your marketing turn out to be a failure and only cost you money?
  • Did one style of marketing work better than another? (Video, Flyers, Online Ads etc.)
  • Is there an area of the business that really needs a boost, but you didn’t market it in the previous year?
  • Is there an area of the business that is now receiving a lot of organic traffic / business that you can now begin to spend less money on?

By answering the above questions it should help you to prioritise marketing for specific areas of the business leading into 2018 and to pin point what marketing campaigns have worked for you as a business and what campaigns have turned out to be a failure.

Technology

The final point that we will talk about is Technology. Most people will look at this and choose to ignore it, but I can’t stress enough the importance of this point. Having outdated, old, slow, ineffective and insecure technology can be the death of a business.

Not only will it affect your employees’ ability to complete their day to day jobs but it can affect your businesses ability to keep up with the latest technology and you could find yourselves falling behind with the times. At the end of every year you should be analysing the technology you have, how well does it run? Can it keep up with the latest technology and software, is it safe?

If you find that it is slowing down your employees’ ability to complete their jobs or if you find your business is falling behind with the current trends / software, then it should be replaced or updated.

There is no second option to this, it can be fixed, but leaving it just to save money will end up costing you more in the long run, especially if it were to fail. I’ve seen many businesses learn this the hard way when something fails, they lose weeks of data and are offline for a number of days. This can cost the business greatly and will result in a loss of profit.