While many people have already written off 2011 in a haze of sunshine, relatives and a well-deserved Christmas drink, start-up entrepreneurs are afforded no such luxury.
With more than a week remaining of the current year, there’s still plenty to be done to prepare your business for 2012.
Even if you are taking a much-needed break, now is the perfect time to address a few key issues before the New Year.
Here are the five things you should be doing over the next week to ensure you are geared up and ready to go in 2012.
1. Focus on your targets
Christmas is a good time to line up your goals for the following year.
If you have 10 potential sales leads in mind, plan out when and how you will reach out to them. When is a good time to call them? How can you get in front of the decision-makers?
Think broadly about your strategy. What do you hope to achieve in 2012? What have you learnt from 2011 that will inform your plan for the year ahead?
Do your goals revolve around revenue targets? Or do you want proof of concept and market validation of your product or service?
By setting clear goals for the year, you will retain your focus and prevent you getting side-tracked by less important tasks. Draw up a list of priorities that will help you hit the goals you’ve set yourself and try to not deviate from them.
Suppliers should also be a target. Are you getting a good deal from your current supplier or should you be shopping around?
Similarly, are you able to cut your overheads by introducing efficiencies such as cloud computing, flexible working or partnership deals with other businesses?
2. Think about an online overhaul
The figures vary depending on who is taking the survey, but it is clear that most Australian small businesses aren’t fully utilising the internet as a sales, marketing and customer engagement tool.
For example, a recent Optus study found that 48% of SMEs do not have a website, with less than 10% fully understanding cloud solutions and a mere 21% using social media to interact with customers.
This reluctance to embrace technology is becoming increasingly archaic. Consumers are rapidly switching to the internet for their research and purchasing needs. By not having a web presence, your business is cutting off a vital supply line.
Similarly, many businesses are overlooking the potential of sales via mobile phones, which is set to have a significant impact this Christmas.
For the first steps you need to take to improve your online activity in 2012, check out our technology section.