Follow our step-by-step guide and set your business up for a successful 2018.
For many businesses, a strong start to 2018 is top of their new year resolutions. However, this can be easier said than done.
Luckily for small businesses, preparing for the future and going from strength to strength each month is no longer an unachievable task. New technologies are the key to getting ahead and surpassing your goals, year after year. Today, they’re more affordable and easier to integrate into businesses of all sizes – big businesses with large budgets no longer hold the advantage.
So, your challenge for 2018 is to implement these tech-innovations and prove to larger organisations you’re not to be underestimated. Here’s our guide on how to set your business up for a bright future.
Create a development plan
Business goals shouldn’t just be about targets and finance, they should include your employees too – and not as an afterthought. Ensure they too have development plans in place, because as they grow and master new skills, they’ll put them back into the business.
It’s not difficult to do this on smaller budgets either.
Firstly, match the skills your business needs to grow with the skillsets of your current employees. Then work out which areas of the business need educating in these skills. This could be as simple as creating an internal mentoring scheme or running informal training sessions. Finally, you can reach out to subject matter experts to discuss areas in which your knowledge is lacking. It can be as simple as providing a free lunch and getting everyone together to chat.
Reassess your hiring process
Are you ready for growth? Expanding your workforce could be your answer to a seamless working environment when you hit targets and grow. According to a Microsoft Store study, 90% of small business owners plan to hire up to two new employees in 2018 – just one of the ways in which they’re evolving to stay ahead of the changing business world.
One significant change to shake-up the workplace is the arrival of centennial employees. Growing up in a digital age, technology is a way of life for them, whether they’re at home or at work. Is your technology set-up ready to attract and retain this latest generation to your business? To understand the benefits of this workforce, including their digital knowledge, read our article on six reasons why you need to start hiring centennials.
Technology is making an impact on the way they’re hired as well as how they work. Just recently, Decisely unveiled the first centralised HR technology hub for small businesses that boosts productivity and streamlines hiring processes. The platform integrates and automates recruiting, applicant tracking, insurance benefits and payroll to simply manage an employee’s lifecycle with an employer. Recruitment tech is an exciting area of development atm. Check out our interview with disruptive recruitment app, Headstart.
Revisit your office space usage
Imagine a world where you didn’t lose tens of thousands of pounds a year maintaining an office. Well, thanks to new and innovative technology, the running cost of an office has been slashed. For some businesses, you may be able to do away with an office space altogether.
Online project-management platforms, cloud-based storage and real-time collaboration mean you can go mobile and work anywhere. Task-management software, like Producteev allow you to create to-do lists, run status reports and track deadlines, whereas virtual workspaces, like GoToMeeting allow team members to connect via video chat to provide updates and share ideas.
These technologies also open your talent pool, allowing you to hire people who need flexible working (parents for example) or those who have specific skills that you don’t have within commutable distance. When you need outside help to undertake new projects, you can be confident – office or no office – you have the tools to run an efficient, productive and successful business.
Automate your financial processes
The start of the year is exciting but the most important milestone is the end of the tax year. Are your payroll and accounting processes making preparation easy for you?
If you’re still processing payroll manually, now’s the time to join the 66% of small businesses using technology to generate payroll. Today, there’s a huge range of inexpensive accounting software, which has been designed specifically for small businesses and self-employed workers. With providers, like QuickBooks and Xero, you get improved invoicing solutions, simplified expense claims and automatic payments.
Fuel your brand for the mobile consumer
With shoppers predicted to spend £43bn on purchases via their smart phones by 2020, if you’re not providing a great mobile experience then you’re going to lose out. Many SMEs risk not making the most of this shopping boom as only 18% of the UK’s small businesses have mobile-friendly websites. It’s time to bridge this gap and optimise your ecommerce.
1. Assess the speed of your website using Google Test My Site and understand your performance with Google Analytics.
2. Investigate your customers’ journeys and determine where and why they’re dropping off the page with crazyegg and Google Flows.
3. Review industry best practices with Behave to provoke your own ecommerce ideas and innovations.
4. Optimise your website and transform your customer experience with Optimizely.
Success in the business world means looking ahead and not focusing on your business mishaps from the previous year. Starting and running a business can be overwhelming at times but, by creating a solid plan with technology at its core, you’ll thrive in 2018 and indefinitely.
The future for small businesses is exciting – to find out more, continue reading at Your Ready Business.