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Planning for 2017: 5 Tips To Start Your Business Fresh

Your diary is bursting at the seams (...okay well it would be if it wasn’t online). What with Christmas parties, customer events, end of year accounts tidying-up and expense-claiming and of course the all-important holiday booking, you barely have time to write a thank you note to clients let alone worry about the upcoming year.

But being forward-looking as you head into the Christmas break is critical to your business success in the new year. Here are 5 tips on what you can do to start your business fresh in 2017!

1: Audit your brand

“Brands are like living entities with lifecycles. They start with much excitement and promise, grow and then eventually plateau. A brand audit health check helps you keep your brand fresh and relevant” – via Persona Design

You can’t have a fresh beginning if you don’t know what needs freshening up…and if you’ve been wondering what’s lurking on Google search results about your business (an outdated value proposition from five years ago? Really ancient pricing plans?) it’s time to investigate for yourself!

Here are some tips for conducting a top-level DIY brand audit:

  • Thoroughly examine your online presence. Google yourself and see what comes up. How far along the search results is your business? What keywords do you rank for? Is your website up-to-date with all links working and images displaying? Are you using contemporary vocabulary and not buzzwords from like, 2010?
  • Do the same for offline assets such as brochures, business cards or any marketing collateral. Is your messaging consistent across all your brand touchpoints? Try and use the same language throughout.
  • Understand people’s perceptions of your brand on your social channels – customers, fans, stakeholders. What kind of engagement is there with your content and what kind of content is performing better?

“The purpose behind a brand audit is plain and simple: to gain a fundamental understanding of where your brand stands in its current state.”

Think about what you want your brand to stand for and make sure you’re reflecting this across all your channels. Your brand is your most important asset so don’t let it stagnate!

2: Set targets for business activities

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If you made a quarterly plan before the Christmas break, now is the time to make it even more specific. Targets hold you accountable and help you see the big picture.

Here at WorkflowMax all our marketing and sales activities have a specific, measurable target. We then work backwards to determine what projects we should complete to achieve those targets – whether it’s the number of free trial accounts per month or the total number of blog subscribers we’re aiming for by the end of a certain period.

3: Action new initiatives

We’ve talked previously on the WorkflowMax blog about the importance of gathering open and honest feedback from your business stakeholders. The quieter January period is a great time to action some of the suggestions and ideas you’ve received (whether it’s launching a wellness week, a new employee rewards scheme or an intranet for the company) and will show your team that yes, management is listening to them and committed to continually progressing the workplace culture…!

4: Make sure your team is aligned

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Coming back from the holidays in a haze of happiness and getting back into the swing of things can take time. Try and establish a team kickoff meeting on Day 1 so everyone can reinforce exactly what they’re doing and get on with it. Besides, when the entire team is on the same page, as a manager your role becomes super easy: no need to micro-manage.

5: Plugs the gaps with education and training

Once business returns to normal squeezing in time for education and training will be near impossible. So make sure any specific skills you need to pick up can be taken care of in January itself.

If you’re using a project management software like WorkflowMax, the extensive library of training videos and self-paced online courses will make it easy to get started.

Investing this time and effort now will ensure you’re better placed to hit the ground running when you need to.

Bonus: Spruce up the office

bestawards_britomart2.jpgVertical Green Wall, Britomart Precinct Auckland

Feng Shui isn’t just for hippies. There are still plenty of great deals you can score in January on office equipment and supplies. And without blowing the budget you’ve allocated for Q4 you can ensure the office gets an awesome makeover.

For example, add some colour with potted plants! Or change the way you work by implementing low-cost standing desks for your staff with oristand.  

As 2017 gets into full swing, these 5 (+1 bonus!) tips will help stay inspired and reinvigorate your business for the new year.