Get your business off to the right start in the new year

A new year is a great opportunity to set your focus and plan for growth. Here are our tips to make sure your business thrives in 2018. 
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New year, new me. Yes, we know it’s cliche. But the start of a new year is a great opportunity to look at your business from a fresh perspective, set your focus and plan for growth.

Here are our tips to set yourself up for success and make sure your business thrives in the new year.

Reflect

Looking back is important for learning. Ask yourself what worked last year, and what didn’t. Being brutally honest in your assessment will help you isolate what you should stop doing, what you should start doing and what you’re already doing that you should do more of.

Tap into different sources to ensure you get a well-rounded perspective of how your business performed.

  • Have one-on-one chats with your team to get on the ground feedback and ideas.
  • Log into your Yoco Business Portal to analyse your data – have a look at your busiest days, your best and worst selling products, your team members that performed the best and more.
  • Get an idea of what you’re up against by researching your competitors. Look at what they’re doing, the marketing strategies they use and the customer experience at their businesses.

Plan

Set clear goals for the year

Think about what you want to achieve this year. Is it to grow your revenue, open a new branch or increase your product range? Perhaps you want to focus on increasing customer loyalty or grow your online presence. Having a single focus and direction helps you figure out the actions you need to take to reach your desired outcome. After all, you can’t get to a destination if you don’t know where it is you’re going.

Reconnect with your customers

These are the people your product or service is created for. The beginning of the year is a good time to check in and make sure you’re still on track with giving your customers what they want (or kick off this research for the first time if you haven’t already done so).

Questions to think about are: why do they visit your business? What are you giving them that your competitor is not? If you’re a coffee shop, perhaps you serve the freshest muffins. If you are a hairdresser maybe your personal service keeps customers coming back. Understanding your key value propositions and points of differentiation is key for knowing where to focus.

You can gather this information through casually chatting to people who visit your store, or in-person or email surveys.

Get the right team

Your team are the lifeblood of your operation. Without them your business would not run. It’s important to make sure that your team is well equipped to do their jobs to the best of their abilities. Consider whether your staff will need any training or skills development throughout the year and budget accordingly.

Also think about whether there are any new roles that you need to recruit for. If your focus is to open a new branch, will you need to hire a manager? Or if you plan on increasing your online presence perhaps you will need a copywriter. Define exactly what skills you are looking for and how you will go about finding the right people.

Set yourself up for success with the right systems

Having smart systems in place will make your life much easier. Think about what phase your business is in, and what this means you will need to run it as smoothly as possible.

If your business is in the early phases of development

You don’t need overly complex systems. Yoco payments and free Point of Sale App will allow you to accept card payments from your customers (wherever you are), track your sales, get real time data on your business and more. Learn more here.

If you’re looking to grow your business this year

Or if you have multiple locations or many brands – integrated systems are incredibly beneficial. They ensure all your data is in one place you save time by automating routine tasks, increase efficiency and reduce human error.

Payments integrations are a great way to simplify the way your business runs. Payments integration takes place when data from the card machine is automatically transferred and synced with another system, for instance, your Point of Sale or accounting platform.

Apart from working with the free Yoco Point of Sale App, Yoco card readers integrate with a variety of POS Software. Yoco also integrates with Xero, a cloud accounting platform, to make keeping your books in order super simple. Read more on Yoco’s payment integrations here.

Take action

Once you know what your goals for the year are, you need to understand the steps that you need to take to reach those goals. Set out an action plan – and stick to it.

If you want to increase customer loyalty, perhaps you would implement a loyalty programme. If your goal is to increase your range of products, you might need to do research, gather materials and source a designer.

Putting this into an action plan format help you to set tasks and deadlines, and stay on track. You can find templates for action plans here.

What are your business goals for 2018, and what steps have you taken to reach them? Let us know on Twitter at @Yoco_ZA – we’d love to hear your thoughts.

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