The new year is an exciting time for small business owners.
Many business owners use this time to set goals and make plans for the upcoming year.
You get a chance to stop and look at your business and think, “What can I do better?”
Even if you hate making a resolution in the New Year, why not take the opportunity to make your business better?
Your goals for the new year don’t have to be big and grand.
Sometimes, the smallest of changes can make the biggest of differences.
Here are 9 small changes you can make that will both save you time and help your business grow in 2021.
1. Make your bookkeeping digital if you haven’t already
You don’t need to go out and buy an expensive accounting software.
However, upgrading from handwritten or Word invoices in the new year will speed up the billing process.
Why spend half an hour creating and sending an invoice when you can do it in less than five?
Know how complicated of a software you need and pick one from there.
You don’t need to dive into a complicated accounting software if you don’t need it.
However, just a simple invoice app will speed up how you do business.
It will also be easier for you at tax time as you’ll have a digital record of every invoice you sent as well as reports in your app.
2. Get a website
A website has many benefits.
It makes you discoverable on Google which helps potential customers find your business.
This is particularly good if you provide a specialised service or there are limited businesses in your area offering the same services as you.
Even if you don’t care about being found on Google, potential clients might look for your website to see if you’re an established business.
You can use your website to answer any questions they might have and promote what your business does well.
A website also makes you look more professional which helps build trust in potential clients.
3. Keep track of where your money is going
Use an expense tracker to see where you’re spending your money.
You don’t need to spend hours going through your bank statements or manually inputting every expense but you should have a good understanding of how much you’re spending and on what.
Once you know this, you’ll be able to cut down on any unnecessary spending.
You can also see what you spend your money on and assess whether this money would be better used for something else.
You don’t need a complicated program to do this.
There are also great expense trackers that sync with your bank feed and categorise your expenses for you.
You’ll spend a couple of minutes and potentially save thousands of dollars.
4. Use online directories
With the world becoming more digital, the way people hire businesses is also becoming digital.
Previously, you would search for a service provider in the phone directory.
Now, people search using online directors.
List your business on any relevant local online directories or directories for tradespeople.
There are countless platforms that you can sell your services on.
More people will be able to find your business than if you rely purely on word of mouth.
If you choose to use online directories, also think about how you can make your listing standout.
Fill it with as much information as you can and be sure to add good quality images.
5. Introduce yourself to potential clients
It’s easy for small business owners to wait for customers to find them.
However, if you really want to be someone’s first choice, people have to know who you are.
If your clients are other businesses, introduce yourself to them and let them know you’re available to work.
It doesn’t have to be a formal or big introduction but something as simple as an email or a phone call can go a long way.
This is especially important for local businesses as the best marketing you have is word of mouth.
Cold-calling or cold-emailing someone might feel uncomfortable at first but it’s worth it if it wins you work.
Having a pre-existing relationship with a client also helps when you submit a proposal for a project.
6. Get your customers to review you
Potential customers might not trust you when you tell them that you’re good at what you do.
However, they will trust it if it comes from someone else.
When you’ve finished a job, get your customers to give you a review, whether it be on an online directory or a consumer review website or even just on social media.
You can then show these reviews to potential clients when they ask for a testimonial.
Even if you don’t get a positive review, you can use the review to improve your services and demonstrate that your business is constantly getting better.
If you use online directories, getting good reviews can push your business to the top of the list, giving you better access to good clients.
7. Be on social media
Many small businesses swear by social media.
In some cases, social media is a really effective marketing tool.
However, it might not necessarily be the best marketing tool if you were for example a plumber.
Regardless, if you have a local business or visuals are important to your business, having basic social media accounts is a must.
Social media is all about socialising and for local businesses, being part of a community is important.
Share updates about the projects your business is working on, any changes to your usual services, customer testimonials and photos of your work.
You won’t necessarily need to be on every platform but start with something basic like Facebook or Instagram (if you’re particularly visual).
Your photos and posts don’t need to necessarily look beautiful or professional.
Just focus on the information you are sharing.
8. Build a portfolio
Whether you’re submitting a proposal or receiving enquiries from potential clients, having a portfolio of previous work you’ve done is necessary if you want to win the job.
Your portfolio doesn’t need to be anything fancy.
It can be as simple as a few photos of some of the projects you’ve worked on before.
You want to grow and collect this as you go.
Once you complete a job, take some photos of the work you’ve done or save a copy for you to use later.
Organise this into one easy place for you to access.
The next time someone asks you for your portfolio or if you’ve worked on a job similar to the one they are requesting, you’ll be able to send them examples of what you’ve done before.
9. See if there are any small business grants you can apply for
Governments and other non-government organisations quite often offer grants for small business owners or new businesses.
Have a look to see if you are eligible for any of them.
In some instances, you might need to speak to a small business advisor or your accountant or bookkeeper to see if there are any programs you may have missed.
Running a business can be tough as is so why not make it easier for yourself.
You should be able to find most of the grants either online or by calling up your local government.