The end of the year is the perfect time to give your small business a checkup. To set yourself up for a successful take a look at these 10 areas of your small business, from revenue and expenses to your personal satisfaction as a business owner.
The first and obvious starting point is whether your small business made a profit. If you did, that’s excellent. Examine your revenue streams to find out what’s working, where you could diversify or expand your offerings and how your customers’ needs might change in the coming year.
If you recently started your business and your expenses are still outstripping your profits, that’s not uncommon. Many small businesses take a few years to become profitable. The key metric you’ll want to look at is the revenue trend: Is your revenue increasing or decreasing? Are you reaching customers who are willing to spend on what you offer? Are your sales inconsistent or declining?
If you aren’t making a profit and your revenue trends are negative or inconsistent, plan on making changes in the next year. Analyze what you are offering, what customers you want to target and how you are marketing in order to start making a profit from your small business.
You should be keeping records of your various marketing streams, including direct advertising, media appearances, email and search engine traffic. This is the time of year to sit down go through those records and discover where you were and were not successful.
Did you only send out a few emails this year but get a strong response from each one? Then it’s time to create a strategic email plan for next year. Did your blog bring reliable search engine traffic to your site? You’ll want to continue investing time and resources into it. Did you buy print ads but not see any increase in customer interest? Put your money somewhere else next year. Examine the return on investment for every form of marketing that you use to decide what you need to continue and what you need to change in the coming year.
And if you discover that your marketing efforts are inconsistent and unproductive, it may be time to return to basics by creating a marketing plan and a target customer profile.