As 2019 draws to a close, you have no doubt already got an eye on next year. You are likely to be making plans for your business, and hoping to grow over the course of the next 12 months. The challenge can be in spotting the best way to do this, as you are already working with a successful business model.
That is where we come in today as we share with you several suggestions around how to give your business a boost in 2020.
Work closely with your customers.
Your customers are in the best possible position to help you to improve your business, so how often do you work with them to do so?
Make 2020 the year that you work closely with your customers. You can gain so much from doing this as they will be able to show you things from their own perspective, come up with suggestions and ideas of things that you might like to do differently and they can point out all of those things that they really enjoy about your business, ensuring that you keep on focusing on those good things.
There are many ways that you can enlist the help of your customers. You might set up a suggestions box in store, you could send survey links out to them to complete, you could ask them directly when you see or speak to them or you could even get a focus group together.
You want to find out their opinions on every single aspect of your business. Ask questions around your branding, your social media and website, the service and products that you provide and your customer service. Make them aware that you absolutely want to hear the bad along with the good as some people are often too polite to flag up any issues. Pose questions in such a way that they are invited to come up with any problems or negatives and then encourage them to help you to find a solution for them.
If you then enact some of these changes, your business should improve and you will probably find that your customers are more engaged with you and loyal as they will appreciate you taking their views into account.
Develop your team.
Your business can be significantly boosted if you choose to spend time and money on developing your team.
You need to start by ensuring that you are hiring the best possible people for your business in the first place. Take your time with this process, as it can be difficult to rectify a recruitment mistake. Ensure that you have a very clear job description and along with looking at applicants’ skills and experience, think about how well they would fit within your business and current team.
You will then want to spend time ensuring that any new staff are trained so that they can carry out their roles effectively. Equip them with the skills and knowledge that they need and then regularly follow up with them through coaching and offering your support. It can also help to buddy them up with a member of your existing team so that they receive help from them too.
For other members of staff, ensure that you take the time to observe them in their roles and chat with them on an individual basis. Some of them might want to take on additional roles within your company or they might have a natural flair for something that you could help them to develop.
Delegation here is absolutely key as it can free up your time making you more productive and your staff member will enjoy the extra training and responsibility, if you have chosen them well. Moving your team through different roles and responsibilities and up the ranks will serve to strengthen your business and you should see an increase in productivity and output.
Invest in software and equipment.
Most businesses will benefit by investing in software and equipment, you just need to take a look around and think about what you really need and where you can make savings on time and effort by investing.
For example, you might be looking for a project management solution, a managed IT infrastructure or the latest in design printing. Whilst it is true that some of these require initial outlay or ongoing monthly costs, you need to weigh up the benefits that they will bring to your business against those fees.
You might be able to free up an hour of your team’s day by utilizing some software to complete tasks for them, and how could that time be better spent?
It will be useful to involve your team when you are looking into this area as they are likely to be the ones who are aware of any equipment that slows them down or they might spot areas where they could be doing something else but simply do not have the time and resources to do it.
Create an Effective Product Category Design Strategy.
Category design is a great strategy that you can build for your business, which involves creating a new product or business category. It aims a product or business to get monetized by dominating a new market. While this concept can be technical or new to you, understanding it will definitely help boost your business this year.
Category design is an excellent way to condition the market, providing the right solution to a new foreseeable need or problem through a new model. It creates or modifies the rules and influences the existing conditions that most consumers are already used to.
Here are some helpful tips to create an effective product category design strategy:
Brainstorm and Collaborate: Meet your employees and discuss the possibility or your plans for creating a new category design for your product or service. Get some insights and suggestions from your employees about new product categories they have in mind based on existing products and services.
Check Your Metrics: Your business metrics, like inventory and sales growth, will be your basin in creating a new product category design. It’s done by identifying your strengths and weaknesses, unleashing new product design ideas for new business opportunities and success.
Prioritize Consumers: Know what consumers are saying about your product or your business. Listen to your target audience by getting their pulse through email surveys, social media, or interviews. By knowing what your customers think and feel about your product, you’ll come up with fresh ideas to create a new category design.
Know the Latest Trends: If you’re running out of product category design ideas, it would help to know the latest trends based on your business niche or industry. Some examples include voice-based searches, artificial intelligence, and virtual or augmented reality. You can perceive new product category design ideas using these latest technologies.
Find fresh ways to market yourself.
Whether you have been in business for three months or three years, you are likely to have spent some time developing your marketing strategy. Some of those ideas you will probably have stumbled upon quite by accident, some would have been developed strategically and some you will have tried and then moved on from if they did not work out quite as you had hoped. However, there is always going to be value in spending some time finding fresh ways to market yourself.
Start at the beginning with this one, by looking at your current branding. Is it effective? Does it appeal to the people that you are hoping to attract as customers? Are you proud of it? Companies can and do rebrand from time to time, and you will be the best judge of whether this is a viable option for your business and if so, how dramatic a change you need to make.
When you are confident that the branding is as it needs to be, look at how you are then presenting yourself. We are assuming that you have a website in place, and if you don’t, we would urge you to get one as part of your plans for 2020. Does your website use your branding throughout? Is it representative of your company and does it showcase all that you do to your best advantage? It should also be regularly updated and include things such as customer testimonials, new services and products and links to your social media channels so that people can easily interact with you.
As with the website, if you are yet to use social media for your business, move this task to the top of your to-do list for the new year. Social media is a free way for you to promote your business so it makes sense to take advantage of it. Many of your customers are likely to be using it so you can build up your followings there and engage and interact with them regularly.
If you are using social media, and you are not seeing many benefits from it, then make some changes next year. You might need to share content more often, you might need to reach out for conversation and interaction or perhaps the type of content that you are sharing needs to be more informative or comical in order to get some engagement. You might need to work on a completely new platform, as perhaps your business would work better on Instagram that it does on Twitter?
You could then take a look at more traditional methods of marketing, such as launch parties, mentions in the local press and posters, flyers and cards around town helping you to build up your profile.
Offer something new.
There is nothing quite like offering something new to motivate you and your team and capture your customer’s interest.
A brand new product launch or the development of a new service will help to get the new year started with a bang as sometimes a change can really serve to lift everyone’s spirits and get everyone pulling in the same direction.
You might find that as a result of working more closely with your customers, you come up with a new idea. Or perhaps by developing your team, they have come up with something fresh for you as they start to think outside the box.
A new idea need not be completely out of left field, it might be building on a tried and tested product or improving an existing service, so do look into how these areas could be developed.
Before you throw yourself into something new, carry out some market research to ensure that it would be welcomed by your existing customers and potential customers. You also need to ensure that it will serve to grow your business rather than just replace something you already have in place.
Pull a development team together, work out your new offering and then launch it with plenty of noise to give people something to talk about.