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3 areas your business should focus on in 2016

POSTED: 15th January 2016
IN: Guides
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With the New Year upon us, now is the time to pick out areas of your business that you want to improve in 2016.

The new year is the perfect time to reflect on your company’s performance over the past 12 months, looking at what you did well and picking out areas where you’d like to improve. If you want to make some changes in 2016 to help you better manage your business but don’t know where to begin, the following are three key areas that you may wish to consider in 2016.

1)   Marketing

Marketing should form a vital part of your business strategy regardless of how many people you employ, what product or service you offer, what industry you operate in or how many customers you have.

You probably already do some form of marketing for your business, but there is always room for improvement. The following are a few suggestions that could help you improve your marketing in 2016.

Update your website

As a business owner, you should treat your website in the same way you would treat a physical store. You wouldn’t be happy with potential customers walking around a shop with broken shelves, torn wallpaper and no stock, so why should your website be any different?

Take some time to look at your website and see what you can do to improve it. Ask yourself questions like:

  •          Is everything up to date?
  •          Is it mobile friendly?
  •          Can visitors easily find what they’re looking for?

By asking yourself these questions, and others, you can highlight which areas need the most attention and update your website accordingly.

Reassess how you’re using social media

Most businesses will now be using at least one social media channel as part of their marketing strategy, possibly LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter. However, there is still a great deal of confusion around which social media channels businesses should be using and how they should be using them.

Different channels will be better suited to different businesses, as well as different business aims. The channel or channels you use should be determined by the goals you’re hoping to achieve. Do you want to raise brand awareness, engage with your current customers, gather insight or drive traffic to your website?

Build a content marketing plan

Content marketing is a marketing approach focussed around creating and distributing interesting, relevant and engaging content in order to attract and retain customers. In recent years, marketers have been putting an increasing emphasis on the importance of content marketing, and this will only continue as we enter 2016.

For content marketing to be truly effective, you must be proactive and plan ahead. Having a solid content marketing plan in place, whether this is for one month, six months or an entire year, will help ensure your work is structured and your efforts are rewarded.

2)   HR

When deciding which areas to focus on and where to make changes, HR can often be forgotten about or pushed down your list of priorities. However, HR is not something you should overlook, so why not introduce some changes in 2016?

Improve your recruitment process

If you truly want your business to succeed, you need the right people working for you, so it’s important that you have the right recruitment processes in place. Take a step back and review every stage of your recruitment process, from the initial job description and advert, through to the interview questions you ask and the assessment system you have in place.

Encourage internal training

For any business hoping to achieve growth, having employees with the right skills couldn’t be more important. In fact, according to last year’s Scale-Up Report, difficulty finding employees with the necessary skills is one of the main areas holding businesses back.

One way to address this growing skills gap is to encourage internal training, rather than looking elsewhere. If you can introduce internal training programmes, or send current employees on third party training courses, this can help ensure your employees are equipped with the skills they need to help your business to grow.

Take a look at your employee benefit options

Offering various non-financial benefits to your employees not only helps keep existing employees happy, it also helps when recruiting. While smaller organisations may not be able to compete with big businesses when it comes to salary, or may not be able to offer expensive benefits, even something as simple as offering free breakfast on a Friday, or giving employees the day off on their birthday can make a big difference in overall morale and job satisfaction.

3)   Management

As a manager, what you do or don’t do has a direct impact on everything around you, whether you’re managing a team of two or three people, or leading a huge, multi-site operation. The following are some changes you can introduce to increase morale and improve efficiency and productivity in your business.

Create a good work-life balance

Over the Christmas period people are much more likely to think about their current work-life balance – running a successful business while still having enough time to spend with friends and family can be a difficult balancing act. However, maintaining a good work-life balance is important all year round, not just over Christmas.

Not only do you want to create a good work-life balance for yourself, you also want to make sure your employees can also maintain their own positive balance.

Adopt an open door policy

As a manager or business owner, you can’t underestimate the importance of the relationship you have with your employees. You want to maintain an open flow of communication and be seen as approachable by your staff, and an open door policy can help you achieve this.

Introduce flexible working arrangements

Flexible working offers a variety of different benefits, both to employees and employers. Offering flexible working arrangements as part of a benefits package can help when recruiting new employees, while also keeping current employees happy. Flexible working can not only lead to an increase in morale, but can also help improve overall productivity.

By choosing some key areas to focus on when it comes to improving your business, you can plan ahead and assign some of your current budget or start to save to help you implement these changes. Planning ahead and being aware of what steps you need to take is key in ensuring you reach your goals in 2016.

Keep checking back to our blog over the coming weeks and months, as we’ll be giving more in-depth advice on how to stick to some of these business resolutions.

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