If you’re an entrepreneur who is struggling to cope with marketing your brand and staying ahead with the latest business trends, then 2018 is the perfect year for you to set some best-practice objectives.

In order to make 2018 your most successful and prosperous year to date, Northants Accounting thought it would be helpful to take a closer look at some of the best practices SME’s should employ.

Keep Up With Business Planning

Whether you’re running a small or large-scale business, you’ve got to keep up with business planning, as it is the key to any business’s success. Good planning will involve accounting for some essential factors, such as your finance, marketing, operations and IT strategies.

Instead of making a yearly plan, divide it into four quarterly operating plans and then ensure that you stick to them religiously.

Set S.M.A.R.T Goals

It’s important that every business owner knows how to set and achieve their business’s goals and one fantastic way to do that is by setting some smart goals.

S.M.A.R.T goals – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-related – will enable your business to set the right sorts of goals. Using S.M.A.R.T criteria when setting objectives for your business will pull together any loose ends in your business strategy.

Inspect Your Sales Process

Inspecting your sales process will provide you with all the information you need regarding your sales funnel.

Knowing what the average buyer journey is will provide you with huge amounts of insight because it will mean you know where your best customers come from and what interested them to do business with you in the first place.

Plus, you can pin down what needs to be done to close more deals in future and most importantly, you will understand exactly how to get the same customers to purchase from you again.

Your main goal should be retaining your existing customers, as the cost of retaining customers is far less than attracting new ones. Implement the right strategy to both retain and attract customers.

Learning from past mistakes will enable you to put better processes in place that work far more effectively than the ones you’ve utilised previously.

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Evaluate Extra Expenses

Review your business expenses from time to time as it will help you see where you should invest your money and when you should save instead.

Take a closer look at your expenses to see if you can identify opportunities to save. From on-premises costs to how you handle the purchasing process, there may be areas that can be refined and improved upon. For example, if your small business rents machinery regularly, find out whether purchasing it will save you money long term.

Ask your small business accountant about how you can save tax on business expenses and pick their brain to see if they can provide any ideas on how to save on unavoidable expenses.

Identify Any Skills Gaps and Fix Them

Recruit staff that have the skills, qualifications and knowledge required to run your small business effectively, even if that means paying salaries that are higher than you had initially planned.

Having the best workforce possible has a major impact on both the productivity and profitability of your business. If you have staff members that don’t currently hold the correct qualifications and skills but you see their value elsewhere, provide training opportunities wherever possible. Training existing staff is a more cost effective and ethical approach compared to firing and then hiring someone else.

Never Stop Promoting Your Business

If you want to attract new customers to your business, you’ve got to promote your business regularly and consistently. Remember, the hardest part about running any business is keeping many plates spinning at once.

To promote your business, you need a solid marketing plan which includes some simple objectives that are reviewed on a regular basis.

Many businesses often fail to truly run an ambitious marketing and advertising campaign because it is not monitored effectively.

Put an extra focus on your marketing campaigns and you will see its benefits. Getting to grips with social media is another best practice to own. Having the right online presence may be the difference between functioning well as a business and you closing your doors for the last time.

Invest In Technology

2018 is the perfect time to invest in new technology. With the help of numerous devices and software, you can run your business more smoothly and efficiently.

It’s also extremely important to ensure that your business is safely protected from any malware attacks, so invest in some decent cyber security to avoid any devastating outcomes.

It is common for SMEs to get stuck in their ways as often, people are resistant to change. This could result in business owners neglecting other important duties, such as business growth and keeping up to date with what is going on within a certain industry. Keeping your eye on the ball is essential if your business is to be as successful as it can be.

This year could be your best yet, if you are willing to make the necessary changes. Making an extra effort with skills acquisition, training and attending networking conferences will make all the difference.

At Northants Accounting, we hold both the knowledge and experience required to help SME’s achieve their growth targets. Get in touch with us today!