Guest post by John Oechsle.
The year is coming to a close, which means it’s time to start looking at the exciting opportunities 2016 will have to offer your small business. You’re probably thinking, “If only I had more time today!,” but what you should really be doing is focusing on areas you can improve your business every day for the remainder of 2015.
Your growth in the coming year will depend on the strategic decisions you make now, so make sure the choices you make give your business’ bottom line the best chance for growth. Here are a few areas to look at in order to optimize your small business’ potential for growth in 2016.
Data is proving to be the driver of technology and marketing strategies as 86 percent of marketers plan to integrate big data in their digital game plan. The question then becomes how are you organizing all of the vital information that’s coming into your small business? Using sticky notes and mobile notepad applications are a start, but there is a much easier way to organize much, much more information.
Take notice of the variety of tools, services, and solutions available that can be developed specifically to meet the custom needs of your small business. These tools can help you organize your finances and growth metrics, catalogue your customer interactions, prioritize your calendar and so much more at a minimal cost to you. Start organizing your data so you can optimize your small business and be ready to tackle any obstacle in 2016.
Social media presence is another key to unlocking success in 2016. Nearly 60 percent of marketers indicated that social media improved lead generation, which is great news for your small business since you will be able to dedicate even more time and attention to your social audience than your larger competitors.
Ask yourself and your team how it is you communicate with your target audience through Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms—have you appointed anyone to dedicate their energy to this task? Also, what is the strategy behind the content that is being created and posted?
A great way to optimize social media efforts for a small business is to delegate the task to a single individual who will avoid redundancies, understand what content is valuable and in-line with your customer-facing strategy and branding efforts, and seal the cracks so content doesn’t fall through.
A single tweet, Facebook post or Instagram photo focusing on the right topic and posted at the right time could very well be worth a dozen haphazard posts that don’t have a clear purpose.
Your small business can’t afford to waste time on ineffective social media content, so make sure whoever is responsible for your social accounts is educated and empowered to positively impact the company’s success.
Focus on the Team
The final ingredient to optimizing your small business is to analyze how it runs. In order to enjoy a successful 2016, you need to invest in training, educating and guiding your employees. Your team is the life force of your small business, and it’s worth taking the time to make sure they have the tools they need to be efficient and effective in their roles. This training could come in the form of time spent walking employees through accounts and client relationships to make sure they know where things stand.
Work through issues with them and make sure they are receiving clear direction. You can help them further by looking into the right software to help them manage new customer leads. Taking a moment to make sure your team is positioned for success will give you a chance to optimize everything from your own time, to the way the company interacts with customers, to the development of your product or service.
As a small business owner, you have an inherent advantage in team development because you can directly interface with your employees and teach them the way you want things done. Large multi-national organizations or even mid-sized businesses with multiple regional locations, don’t have that luxury to truly develop the team directly from the top. Manage your growth in 2016 by dedicating yourself to your employees.
When you gear up to work on your goals for the new year, make sure you’re ready to organize your data, strategize how you’ll handle your social media platforms and focus on strengthening your team. These three areas are key for optimizing small business success. Remember to benchmark your progress, too, so you can keep track of your improvement for years to come.
About the author: H. John Oechsle joined Swiftpage in July 2012 and currently serves as president and chief executive officer. John came to Swiftpage with a 30 year track record of building highly profitable and sustainable revenue growth for emerging companies and established global leaders. John is an advocate for technology and education in Colorado and has been an active contributor to the Colorado Technology Association (CTA). He has been recognized several times for his involvement in the tech industry. In 2006 and in 2009, John was awarded the Technology Executive of the Year, and the Titan of Technology awards by the CTA. John was also awarded the Bob Newman Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Community by the CTA in 2011.