- Assess How Your Home Business Contributed to Your Goals
- Review your Customer Acquisition and Retention Strategies
- Analyze the Financial Numbers of Your Business
- Think of a Backup Plan for Your Business
- Analyze Your Web Analytics
- Prepare Your Mind for New Challenges Ahead
- Assess Your Marketing Strategies
- Make a List of Strategies that Worked
- Check Your Competition
- Develop Your Goals and Strategies for Next Year
- How to Start a Successful Small Business
Make a list of what worked – and what did not work. As the business owner, you will find it exceedingly difficult to develop a future strategy for your business if you do not know how successful your current strategies are to date. Hence, it is essential that you look at how you perform this year, and what strategies actually worked best for your business.
Based on your assessment and review of your strategies this year and solid understanding of your customer acquisition and Web traffic, write down what worked best for you. Put your thinking cap on, and look at the year with an analytical eye.
- Analyze the revenue sources of your business, considering the economic environment that you are operating in today. Try to find opportunities that can allow you to expand your revenue sources, and ultimately increase the profits of your business. Think of any creative ways to generate income, including alternative non-traditional ways. Consider whether there may be new and unique lines of business that you can pursue in the long run.
- Look at the key strategic and operational tactics that helped your business this year. What bootstrapping strategies worked for you? Given the economic uncertainties, how did you keep your costs down while ensuring profitability? One strategy could include bartering for services in-kind. It may also be the use of the model of product development life cycle combined with continuous improvement to keep the initial costs down; after all, you don’t have to wait for perfection before releasing a product.
- For any business today, search engine optimization should be the cornerstone of any marketing plans. After all, search engines can drive huge amount of targeted traffic – and if we’re talking of organic search engine results, free. Learn the factors that draw traffic to your site – quality of content, topic, title and description tags, quality and quantity of links – and make sure you replicate these winning factors in web pages you will develop for next year.
- If your business received press mentions this year, review the coverage you received – what angles were used, what was said about your business, how do you think the reporter found about you or your business, and what pitches worked well. If you sent out press releases (both paid and free), make a list of the sites you think gave you the most coverage including links on the Web.
- Look at the social media sites you are using to promote your business. Which ones are bringing you the sales, traffic or strategic connections your business needs? If you are on Twitter, check out what types of tweets are giving you the most clicks, who are the users retweeting your posts, and what types of hashtags worked best for you. If you’ve got a Facebook page, determine what types of posts give you the most comments and feedback.