MYOB has outlined seven steps start-ups should take to boost their business in 2013, after revealing more than half of small businesses hope to improve systems and processes this year.
According to MYOB, which surveyed almost 200 small and medium-sized businesses in December, SME operators are prioritising planning time in the new year.
Of the businesses surveyed, 51% plan to improve their systems and processes, while 35% plan to increase the time they spend working on their business rather than in it.
Almost a third plan to increase their customer acquisition activities, while a quarter plan to increase their customer retention strategies.
One quarter also intend to increase their product or service range.
A fifth of the businesses surveyed intend to start a succession plan, while 18% plan to increase the geographical areas they serve. 18% also intend to increase their number of staff.
Meanwhile, only 17% intend to increase their online marketing spend.
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MYOB chief executive Tim Reed is hopeful 2013 will be a better year for small business than 2012.
“Hopefully this year we’ll see a move away from the record-breaking small business insolvencies experienced in 2012,” he says.
“It’s encouraging to find SME operators prioritising activities that focus on increasing their productivity, their service offering and the stickiness of their clients.
“There are several strategies to help transform your business so it’s in top shape for the year ahead.”
Here are MYOB’s seven steps to boosting your business in 2013:
1. It all starts with a plan
A clear strategic plan is the foundation of any successful business.
Review and update your plan this month to ensure it takes into account any new developments or opportunities found last year, and those you expect to work on this year.
2. Seek professional advice
Take the opportunity now to catch up with business advisors such as accountants and business coaches for advice on the year ahead.
This is also a good time to tap into your wider networks to explore what opportunities they think are on the horizon for this year.
3. Review your supplier base
Research your suppliers’ competitors to find out their service offering, prices and the discounts they’re prepared to offer for placing regular bulk orders, referrals, ongoing loyalty to their business, etc.
Also consider whether a service you currently outsource can be carried out more cost-effectively internally, or whether you can consolidate your suppliers.
4. Diversify your range
Innovation in products and services can be a sure way to stay well ahead of the competition.
Offering a new or improved range to existing customers will help retain them and can also attract new customers. Trim away any non-profitable activities and back the winners.
5. Spruce up your systems and processes
Getting your systems and processes right is vital to business success.
Consider building a comprehensive operations manual or fine-tuning the one you have, then have staff contribute to discussions on how to improve the way you work as a team.
6. Be where your customers are
With more than 80% of consumers researching online prior to making a purchase, being online offers a huge opportunity to connect with more customers.
The latest MYOB Business Monitor survey revealed SMEs with a website were 53% more likely to experience a revenue rise over the last financial year.
7. Re-engage your team
It can take some time to get back into work mode after a relaxing holiday, so consider ways you can reignite staff motivation. Perhaps organise a kickoff strategy meeting to run through plans for the year.
You could also have one-on-one meetings on how individual goals relate to these plans, so your staff understand the role they play in the business.