Preparing for the New Year
By Rob Basso
Advantage Payroll Services
The year is drawing to a close, and many business owners and managers like me are thinking about dusting off their business plans and taking a closer look. Did all of your internal processes function efficiently? In what areas could money be cut or added from your budget? Are your marketing and branding efforts maximized? Should you put a customer loyalty program in place? Do you need to update your tech? These are questions every business owner should take the time to consider as we head into 2015.
Here are some basic steps you can take to support these changes:
- Marketing and Brand Awareness: Are your current efforts falling flat? Step outside of the box! Get your marketing team to work with all facets and departments within your company. They may be able to address pain points and target markets that the marketing team didn’t know existed. Also be sure that your brand has an engaged presence on social media (particularly if you are a restaurant or retail establishment) for maximum visibility.
- Step into the 21st Century: Are you still a cash-only business? Now is the time to offer credit as a payment option. This may not be the answer for all companies, but it can certainly help to expand your client base. Millennials in particular flock to companies who easily accept plastic. And speaking of Millennials, this is the perfect time to consider upgrading your eCommerce or regular website. Mobile optimization is also increasingly important in this Smartphone-centric world.
- Give Thanks: Even if your business is successful and your income is pretty stable, don’t forget who got you there: Your customers! Now is the time to think about how you can give back to your loyal patrons. Here at Advantage we run seasonal Client Appreciation contests where we give away a relevant prize. Recent prizes were a massage gift certificate and breakfast for a client’s office in honor of Thanksgiving. If you’re a retail outlet you can also consider creating a loyalty programs with a points system or built-in coupons.
- Expand your business: Enjoying success in your business and looking to see where it can grow? Evaluate your budget and target areas of your company that are successful but underfunded in terms of money, effort, and attention. Try to be as mindful as possible about what areas are ripe with potential. Be realistic about what will be the best fit for your market, industry, and your team. What you dream of might not align with what your business could do best.
- Streamline your expenses: Assess your operating expenses—do you use vendors to accomplish some tasks? Make sure you are getting the most for your dollar. Don’t be afraid to ask your your vendor about ways to save. You might be surprised at some of the opportunities they offer. Advantage offers a few cost-effective options including: Paperless Payroll which saves on delivery; our online Instant Payroll platform, that when used in conjunction with Paperless Payroll provides free online reporting; and Pay-As-You-Go Workers’ Compensation, offered through our partner Integrated Coverage Group, which helps you avoid that yearly audit often associated with costly fines.
Rob Basso, President