Anyone who’s been in business for any length of time will tell you that the only constant in business is simply this; change. For small business owners that means that the ability to anticipate the future correctly is vital, as those who can’t probably won’t survive. To that end, a strategic plan to help meet and overcome these changes is extremely important and is the crux of today’s blog. It should help you to better prepare for the challenges and changes in 2014. Enjoy.
1. Health Insurance. It’s still too early to say exactly how the Affordable Care Act is going to affect most small businesses. One thing’s for certain; most small business owners will be spending either a lot of time dealing with it, a lot of money paying for it or both. Managing your healthcare program into your budget is going to be very important in 2014.
2. Employees. There’s still a huge unemployment crisis in the United States but, frankly, the most talented people usually have no trouble finding employment. While most small business owners will quickly agree that their success rides on the back of their staff, one of the biggest challenges for 2014 is going to be keeping employees happy, especially with all of the healthcare changes as mentioned above.
3. Marketing to the Mobile world. This one has been coming on like a train for the last few years and, in 2014, if you still refuse to go mobile with a mobile website, mobile app and mobile marketing, your business might not survive. Mobile apps are ubiquitous these days.
4. Embracing Print Marketing once again. Here’s a fact; print marketing, while it does require a larger upfront investment, is practically the same cost dollar for dollar as a full-fledged digital marketing campaign. Not only that but direct mail marketing still brings higher responses and generates more trust in the community than digital. In the rush to online marketing, many small businesses have given up print marketing altogether. If that’s the case in your market, a move back to print might be just the ticket to your success in 2014
5. Online Security. As was proven many times over in 2013, even the most secure of organizations can be hacked. One of the most important tasks for the small business owner in 2014 is to make sure that they keep their private data secure.
6. Staying on budget with your Marketing. Proven marketing strategies will need to be followed in 2014 and, as mentioned above, print marketing is one of them. The fact is however that social media, online marketing and other emerging marketing opportunities should still be taken into account in the new year. Doing that while not breaking your budget is the trick.
7. Going Specialized. In order to stand out as a small business these days it means being able to differentiate yourself from the competition. One of the best ways to do this is to specialize in a specific product or niche. In most cases this requires a smaller investment as well as a smaller market in order to acquire enough new customers to be successful. This also allows you to charge more for your specialized services.
8. Increasing your Productivity. The average small business owner is used to wearing many hats. They take care of accounting, troubleshooting, marketing, manning the phones and so forth. In many cases they tackle too much and their productivity falters. In 2014 one of your goals should be to outsource a lot of you are daily tasks and delegate others, something that should increase your profits and decrease your stress.
2014 is right around the corner and, if you’re a small business owner, hopefully you’ll be going into the new year riding the wave of an excellent 2013. If this year wasn’t all that you had hoped it would be, the 8 concerns above should be on your list of priorities. Handle them well and the coming year should be your best ever.