4 Things Every Business Owner Should Have on Their To-Do List for New Year
As small business owners look ahead to 2024, they’re checking their new-year goals and strategies as they prepare for the first quarter.
Here are 4 things you should consider adding to the new year checklist.
Assess and Adapt Your Technology
By this point, you may have a good idea of what current technologies are working for your business and where improvements might be in order. But you’ll want to be sure that a review of technology and any changes are on your to-do list for 2024.
The start of a new year is a good time to make investments in new technology or upgrades as you look to position your company for success and growth in the new year.
Whether you have an eye on smoother operations, more effective marketing, increased sales, or all of the above, examine what areas of your business could benefit from changes in your technology, i.e., point-of-sale platforms, payroll systems, internet service.
A report published by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in September says 95 percent of U.S. small businesses use at least one technology platform, with high-tech usage correlating with growth in sales, employment and profits.
Empower Your Customers, Boost Experience
It’s crucial that customers understand how to reach you and that they get a response in a timely manner, whether they’re seeking information about a product or service, making a transaction or return, or reporting some type of issue.
Ease of communication is a vital part of the customer experience, and we all know how a customer’s experience can impact sales and your brand’s reputation — it can translate into loyalty and repeat business or, conversely, the encouragement to shop elsewhere.
Assume your customers are diverse in their preferences and offer multiple ways of contacting your business. Make it clear on your website and other communications to customers how you can be reached, i.e., email, phone, and social media messaging. Further, be well prepared to respond and follow up promptly when they do.
"If you don't have the right infrastructure in place, whether that be servers, fulfillment, or customer service, then you're putting yourself at risk," notes retail and digital marketing expert Vic Drabicky in an article for Business Insider.
Check Budget Line Items
Another top-of-mind talk for small business owner right now is their budget for 2024.
As you plan finances for the new year, re-examine current year budget line items to see what will need adjusting or deleting.
Financial experts advise small business owners to review financial components, such as insurance, employees, vendors, and service providers, and revise where needed for the new year’s budget.
Quality Staff: Retain and Attract
Staying fully staffed is likely an ongoing goal for any business, particularly given the recent labor shortages. So just carry that objective and any action items supporting it over to your 2024 to-do list.
For example, continue to identify and implement policies, benefits, and workplace tools that will keep your employees happy, healthy, and productive. Find ways to show your appreciation for their contributions to your business.
Small businesses that offer benefits such as health coverage, parental leave, and flexible work options see improvements in several employee metrics, including productivity, motivation, satisfaction, and health, notes a report published in November by The Best Place for Working Parents.
Further, research indicates that small businesses are increasingly offering family-friendly benefits, a significant trend given that they account for the majority of firms in the U.S. and employ nearly half of the country’s workforce, says Sadie Funk, the group’s national director.
“We know that there is not a one-size-fits-all solution to family-friendly workplaces, but we’re hopeful this report will help small businesses see the possibilities of implementing family-friendly policies to support their employee’s needs and drive their business goals,” she said in a press release.
Your efforts to retain employees will play into another item that should be on your 2024 checklist: attracting new workers to your business. Even if you don’t currently have an opening, you’ll want to be well-prepared for a candidate search and able to present your business as an attractive employer.