6 ways to whip your business into shape before the year ends

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As the year winds down to a close, and with the silly season approaching, now’s a good time to sort your business out. Imagine going on a holiday knowing you’ve left your business in great shape for next year, giving you more time to focus on growing your business or more time with family and friends? It could also mean less stress because you know what position your business is in, how profitable it is and who owes you what.

Tip 1: Craft your elevator pitch

Your elevator pitch is the most powerful and concise description of what your business does, and what products or services you provide. It should last no longer than 30 seconds and be compelling enough to create an ‘ah-ha’ moment for your audience when you’re pitching.

This forms the basis of your business plan for next year. A great business plan gives you the blueprint for your business, sets the direction and establishes your performance metrics. Don’t have the time to write a detailed business plan? Don’t stress. A simple, short and effective business plan is at least better than none for those who are time poor.

Tip 2: Set a schedule and stick to it

You’re probably juggling many responsibilities, and keeping track of your schedule can be a chore. Gone are the days when it was enough to just use pen and paper and you may not want to be seen carrying a large organiser with bits of paper sticking out. It’s much easier to use an online tool to schedule appointments and meetings.

Pencil Me Down lets you schedule appointments online. You can set up automatic emails and text notifications to remind customers and staff members of scheduled appointments and meetings, or to alert them of cancellations.

Tip 3: Develop a great workplace culture

It’s essential to have a positive culture in a small business. Staff with the wrong cultural fit can be detrimental to the morale of your business. To develop a great culture, first evaluate what value you offer to your staff. For example, being honest, fostering a sense of community, providing education and maintaining your integrity are just some of the values that other small businesses stand for.

Your staff are your greatest business asset. It’s vital that you hire the right people for the job, as they will be a reflection of you and your business. Once you’ve found good people, look after them to create a vibrant business.

Tip 4: Create a powerful customer value proposition

A customer value proposition is similar to an elevator pitch – see tip 1. A strong value proposition speaks directly to your target audience and tells them exactly why they should purchase your products and services.

For example, an IT consultancy business could have the following customer value proposition:

“My clients grow their business by a minimum of 35% per annum while cutting costs by 25%.”

But a graphic design business could have the following customer value proposition:

“Our designs help our clients to triple their market reach and cut marketing costs in half when launching new products.”

Tip 5: Expand your market reach

Small businesses struggle with their marketing, particularly in the online world. By marketing your business online, you will be able to expand your reach and find new customers.

Expand your online reach by:

  1. Creating an engaging website, ensuring your phone number and contact details are prominent
  2. Creating social media accounts such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn
  3. Ensuring you have a presence on review sites relevant to your industry
  4. Having targeted ‘pay per click’ ads.

If you have a limited marketing budget, start with getting your business listed on free online directories such as Yelp, Hot Frog and True Local.

Tip 6: Include future cash flow in your budget

If you struggle to manage cash flow, you’re not alone. Understanding cash flow is an essential skill for successful small business owners. It can help you uncover red flags you may otherwise miss.

MYOB Essentials is an easy online accounting software that has everything you need to take care of business, including payroll. You can see how much cash you have, your outstanding invoices and your tax liabilities in real time, so you have a clear picture of what needs your attention.

If you’d like to learn how to make your business more successful, visit myob.com.au/businesstips.