With the New Year in full swing, it's important for small businesses to get started on the right foot.
While they have 11 months left to accomplish all of their goals, small businesses still need to set the stage for the upcoming year during the first quarter, said Pete Lamson, senior vice president of sales and marketing for cloud backup services provider Carbonite.
"A successful Q1 for SMBs is vital, as this is when businesses lay the foundation for success throughout the year and build the confidence necessary to continue leveling the playing field with big companies," Lamson told BusinessNewsDaily. "On a broader lever, this contributes to innovation, economic stability and job growth — a win across the board for all."
To help small business succeed in 2014, Carbonite offers 10 things they should focus on during the first quarter of the year, including:
- Review the budget: Planned initiatives for the year stand a better chance of succeeding if they have a solid financial foundation.
- Make IT purchases early in the year: Businesses need to be prepared for the unexpected. Having solutions in place early in the year means unexpected financial impacts — such as cost overruns or downturns in sales — won't derail the purchase.
- Jumpstart productivity: Offer special employee bonuses in the first quarter to increase both yield and morale.
- Consider telecommuting: Offering one work-at-home day per week can save the company money and resources, while demonstrating a commitment to helping employees achieve a healthy work-life balance.
- Have a backup plan in place: Disaster can strike at any moment, so ensure business continuity by instituting pre-emptive protection against data loss.
- Use the cloud: Sharing and saving documents on the cloud is both inexpensive and much more efficient than emailing documents back and forth during collaborative sessions.
- Create content: Everyone knows that "content is king." Carve out the time to make content creation a priority, by ramping up social media activity, consistently updating the company blog or producing graphics and video. New content is a great way to freshen up a brand for the New Year.
- Manage online reviews: An increasingly central role in purchase decisions, online reviews can make or break a deal. Monitor sites for feedback, reply promptly and encourage current customers to leave positive reviews.
- Promote customer success stories: Case studies, which demonstrate a business's strengths and abilities, can show — not just tell — potential customers what the company is truly capable of doing. Small businesses should update the case studies they already have and create new ones that show off the company's latest work.
- Put your customers first: It might seem obvious, but sometimes everyone can use a good reminder. No business would be here without its customers, so consistently finding ways to remind them they are your number one priority is key to a lasting relationship.
Originally published on BusinessNewsDaily.