Freshening Up Your Small Business for Fall
By Paul Lester
Summer is nearly over, signaling the start of school for students and teachers and the end of the fiscal year for the federal government and businesses throughout the country. This change of seasons is also a good opportunity to take a break from the frantic day-to-day grind and find new ways to reboot your small business. Let’s call it a bit of spring cleaning for fall.
Here are just a few ways you can tidy up your business and improve operations:
Refresh your website and social media channels
Analyze your website metrics to identify how pages are performing. If high priority areas such as online shops or product listing pages are not generating a lot of web traffic or repeat visitors, you may need to make a few changes. For instance, if few visits come from search engines, update your site content and HTML coding to include more frequently used and relevant terms. This will help improve your site’s search engine ranking, increasing the likelihood potential customers will find your products and services. Diagnose the landing pages to see how users are interacting with content. If the average time spent on important pages is low, consider doing some usability testing to find ways to improve the user experience such as changing the layout or design of your website.
Also, monitor social media metrics to see what your online audience is interested in and track what is being said about your products. Engage with existing and future customers on social media by answering any questions they may have. This is a great way to show off your customer service skills, build your brand, and grow your customer base. In addition, explore targeted advertising on social media channels to see if it makes strategic and economic sense for your business.
Boost up bookkeeping
The tail end of the fiscal year is also a good time to get your financial house in order. Review your transactions and make sure there are no outstanding incoming or outgoing payments. Make sure you have all the necessary paperwork and receipts for tax-filing season. Update your cash flow statements and see if there are any opportunities to increase profit margins such as working with wholesalers to get better deals on products, shopping around for more affordable services and vendors, and slashing prices to increase sales. Also, check with your lenders to see if you can negotiate lower interest rates on any business-related loans you have taken out. Explore mobile apps or software that can make accounting easier and lighten the paperwork load, saving you time—and maybe more important—money.
Glance back at your new year’s goals
Reevaluate the business goals you established at the beginning of the year to determine if those objectives are realistic given current economic and market conditions. Pick one or two new short-term goals that will have a long-term impact and align with your business plan and strategy. Also, take time out to celebrate the goals you have accomplished, which are making your dream of owning and successfully running a small business a reality.
Paul Lester has served as a contributing author for the the SBA.gov Community, writing about topics that matter to you as a small business owner.
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