5 Steps for Businesses to Start the Year

By Heidi Green , last updated January 20, 2012

As the new year arrives and settles in, it brings with it time for personal contemplation and stock taking. Who hasn't used the new year to proclaim a host of new resolutions and self-improvement quests? If you own a business, it's important to use this time to take measures to improve your business as well as your personal goals. Whether your resolution is to increase sales or to provide a more customer-focused experience, you can take several steps to put your business improvement plans into quick action. Don't let January melt into February and March without seeing some sort of improvement. This article reveals several different ways that you can make this year the best your business has ever seen!

Get Your Team on the Same Page

One of the most valuable assets you have as a business owner is the people who make the wheels run. Use the new year as an opportunity to draw all of them together and make sure that everyone is on the same page. Use the previous year's performance as a topic of conversation: How well do you think everyone did? How well does your team think that you performed? Focus on your vision for the year; where do you want to be during this time next year? Once your team is on the same page, it becomes much easier to come up with and act on new initiatives for growth and increased revenue.

Devise a Plan for Each of Your Competitors

No matter what business you are in, chances are high that you have to deal with competition. Use this time, while the year is still young, to create a plan for dealing with each of your competitors. Instead of creating ways to deal with your competition's innovations, however, make it a point to beat them to new ideas and market strategies.

Get a Feel for the Economy in General

A great way to prepare for both lean years and banner years is keeping a tab on the economy as a whole. Even though you feel the economy in general may not affect your industry niche, it probably does. Study up on the big economy movers: housing rates, technology trends, and employment rates are indications of the macro environment that you would be well advised to familiarize yourself with.

Take Another Look at Your Services And Products

The new year is the perfect time to take a good look at your products or service offerings and evaluate how they are meeting your customer or client needs. Are there ways in which you can improve the products themselves, or create a better experience for your customers? Also evaluate the buying trends of each of your products or services, and consider expanding the amount of services that make more money.

Get Into Contact With Your Customers

What better way to begin the new year than by getting in touch with your customers and making them a part of the improvement process? It’s important that you have a grasp on the things that your customers find important. Any ways in which you can make their experiences better should be considered and implemented.

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