As 2019 lurks around the corner, entrepreneurs everywhere are scrambling to address tasks that have been on the back burner for longer than we’d like to admit. From website updates and filing restructures to customer outreach and expense tracking, many tasks are often sidelined in the hustle of the daily grind.
To step into the New Year on the right foot, it’s time to focus on these unfinished tasks that have flown under the radar. Seize the opportunity for a reset come January and tackle these five areas of your business now.
Perform a social media audit
The use of social media is a no longer optional, as these platforms allow you to connect with millions of potential customers. In fact, 89 percent of marketers confirmed that social media has intensified their business exposure, and 75 percent added that it has increased their website traffic.
The key to making social media work for your business is regularly reporting on your data and always connecting your efforts back to overall business goals. To do so, focus on a number of metrics, including:
- Follower growth
- Clicks to your website
- Engagement rate
- Conversions (clients, customers, downloads, subscribers, etc.)
With this data, you can then set your social-related goals for 2019. As you look at the numbers, ask yourself: What worked? What didn’t work? How can I do more of X and less of Y?
For example, if you didn’t see a lot of conversions, you may want to consider why. One reason could be that you’re not reaching enough potential customers personally. How can you fix this? On Instagram, for example, you can use the Direct Message feature to reach potential customers individually.
“All consumers want to feel important and want to feel valued. One way to do this is to send out exclusive offers to select accounts using Instagram Direct—consumers may feel more inclined to take action. Even if a transaction doesn’t happen right away, it gives you the opportunity to nurture the relationship and provide one-on-one customer care.”
When you know your strengths and weaknesses, you can find solutions like this to optimize your efforts and earn more business.
Meet with your accountant
Once the holidays are over, the business world pivots its focus to another critical season—tax time. From January through April, businesses are in tax return mode, reviewing their expenses from the prior fiscal year, making sure all their books are in order, adjusting their budgets, and preparing to file before the deadline.
If you want a head start on this process, meet with an accountant before the New Year rolls around to assess your financial records. Nearly 89 percent of surveyed entrepreneurs in the United States expressed that collaborating with an accountant was a “critical element of their success,”according to Jennifer Warawa, VP of of Sage Accountant Solutions.
A certified accountant will comb through your business expenses and costs and determine what you can write off. For example, you may not know that you can write off your health insurance premiums, according to Health Markets. There are a number of qualifications for doing so, but Health Markets suggests always checking with your accountant before filing—just one more reason this end-of-year appointment is so necessary.
Talk with employees
The members of your team are on the frontlines of scaling revenue, expansion and productivity. This makes them a reliable source of insight on how your business model can improve in 2019. Host a year-end forum, inviting your employees to share candid feedback and ideas to brainstorm for the coming year.
When you actualize your team’s suggestions, everyone is empowered to work harder because they feel personally connected to your startup’s new initiatives. It makes sense that this approach of listen-and-learn can also boost employee retention.
According to Gallup, 59 percent of people engaged in their jobs are less prone to search for new employment at another organization, which means you may spend less time and money on acquiring new employees next year.
Reach out to your customers
Employees can provide feedback on the internal functions of your business, while customers can bring awareness to how you perform externally. Research from Monetate found that connecting with repeat customers is more sustainable than infiltrating new audiences.
Return customers yield a higher conversion rate and spend twice as much on e-commerce purchases than users who are visiting your website for the first time. Given their impact on your success as a business, this is an effective strategy to touch base with repeat customers and extend appreciation. Draft an email newsletter from your startup’s CEO thanking your customers for a successful 2018. Use this as an opportunity for them to send constructive feedback on how you can better serve their needs or preferences in 2019 through a survey.
That simple but intentional gesture communicates that you prioritize authentic customer relationships and care about the effort it takes to maintain that rapport. This matters because those with purchasing power want to know they’ve been heard.
In fact, 94 percent of company executives agree that “Listening to customer feedback is increasingly critical to the bottom line,” according to HundredX.
End your year on the right foot
The year-end rush is approaching, and now is the time to make sure these vital tasks are checked off of your to-do list. Enter the New Year with a blank canvas, renewed energy and fresh ideas, and watch your startup flourish in 2019.