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How small businesses can plan for 2023

Veronica Lind

MBF celebrated Small Business Month at the #LoveLocal Festival on 19 November 2022 with the theme, Rebuild, Recharge, Renew. As small business owners, we've worked hard so if you're not quite prepared for 2023, scroll down below for some thoughts to help you rebuild and renew. Meanwhile, take the holidays to recharge and celebrate your achievements.

Our 2023 events will focus on renewing skills and renewing sales. Take note of the dates of our events and start blocking time out to expand your networks, learn and support another business owner or find support.

You've worked hard. Now what? Here are 17 tips to rev into 2023.

Technology and the world in general is moving and changing very quickly so sometimes we feel stuck. Here are some thoughts to take you to 2023. If you're unsure of how to execute any of the suggestions below, reach out. We always have someone with the right skill sets to help you.

1. Evaluate your performance in 2022

It's always good to take stock of your achievements - big and small; your mistakes or failures. Look at your financials - sales, profits, expenses against budgets. Think how these will affect your business and financial goals for 2023 and have a clear image of what you want to accomplish for 2023.

Evaluate your 2022 performance and plan ahead for 2023 | Micrco Business Forum MBF
Looking ahead

2. 2023 budgets

Who sets budgets? This is the thing that bugs me most. So the easiest way is to look at 2022 as your base and work from there. I don't just look at expenses and what I hope to put aside for spending. I look at what I hope to make, in terms of sales and profits and how much I need to spend to achieve that.

Be thrifty. Focus on the wider picture when making decisions on an investment and check if expenses align with your goals.

Need help with budgeting? John Clarke, Success Tax Professionals is offering a free 90-minute consult.

3. Adjust your sales strategy

Evaluate your sales in 2022. How much more do you want to achieve in terms of sales and profit? Are you generating leads so you have enough in your pipeline to close sales? What was your best selling product? What can you do to sell even more or make even more profit? What is your worst selling product? Should you redesign, repackage, bring in a new product or forget about it? Is your sales process or sales techniques simple so customers can buy easier? This includes your online processes. If you make it so hard on your website for customers to find the right product or find you, then do something about it. Do you need an email campaign to update your customers about sales or new products?

Need some sales and marketing ideas? Veronica is here to help.

4. Recognise your customers

Customer behaviours may change over time due to technology or external factors. It's time to do some research about what they are most interested in and create services and products relevant to them. You may need to change the way you sell or market to them if their buying behaviours have changed. This is the time to rethink your sales pitch, if needed.

5. Find better ways to enhance the customer experience

To me, this is important. What your customers experience in your business becomes your BRAND. From prospecting to closing to the referral stages of a customer buying experience, how are you making them feel special? This is important online and offline and it's helpful for you and your employees, sub-contractors, sales channels and anyone who deliver work to your customers, to ask, "How should they feel dealing with us?" Are your brand messages clear and consistent online and offline at all stages of a customer's buying cycle? How's your response time? Are customers getting enough information?

Whatever you do here, improve by 1% each year. I like the story John Clarke wrote about 1% improvement each day can result in 3678% business improvement in one year.

6. Reward your consistent customers

At this stage, you might want to think of a compelling loyalty program so you can keep them and they can refer new customers to you.

7. Get input from customers

Ask current and potential customers for input and identify areas for improvements. Ask about what they think about your company, what they like or dislike and what they hope to get from it.

8. Get the most of social media

Social media can be a powerful way to widen your network and showcase your brand. Based on what you do in #4, you can decide which platforms you should spend more time on, whether it is Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter, Tin Tok ... Depending on your following, is it worth creating a Group? A group is especially good to engage with targeted customers.

9. Utilise effective text marketing

The other thing to consider is aligning your social media with a messaging tool e.g. Facebook with WhatApp or Messenger. There are mass text marketing tools out there to solicit feedback or advertise discounts. Like all mass marketing tools, take care not to spam.

10. Revisit your website

This is the digital property that you own, so how are you driving customers and prospects to your website? Is your website appealing, interesting, mobile friendly with simple and clear call-to-actions to drive visitors to leads? Is the information on your website consistent with your brand message, look and feel? Does it take too long to load? Is it mobile friendly? Can you be found easily on the World Wide Web?

We have two website developers in MBF, Veronica from Vermilion Pinstripes and Sarah from MakeWeb. Contact them for help.

11. Create a mailing list

HubSpot says that eMail marketing has an impressive RoI of $36 for every $1 spent, so it is definitely good to create a mailing list. Does your website and social media have sign up forms for people to subscribe to you? Again with email campaigns, do not spam but provide pertinent content that will motivate customers to take necessary action with you.

12. Attend MBF events

What better way to expand your network, gain support and learn from others than to attend an MBF event? Check out our 2023 events and sign up for upcoming events. I urge you to block your calendars now.

The more you show up, the more people remember you. Read my article, Out of Sight, Out of Mind.

13. Review your licenses and subscriptions

Never overlook updating or renewing all your licenses, subscriptions and apps. Unsubscribe those you no longer use or which are unnecessary to your business. You might be surprised how much money you would have saved.

14. Go international

Why not? The digital world is so well connected. You can ship your products overseas, appoint distribution partners, provide services online. Sure, there will be costs and some groundwork involved but the world is your limit. My Blue Tea has gone international with their products. Connect with Lee if you want some guidance.

Check out this course from Google on Expand Internationally.

Go international, Micro Business Forum, MBF
Go international

15. Increase automation

When you're a small business owner, it makes sense for you to automate your business procedures as much as you can. This will give you more time to focus on increasing sales.

Not sure how to use certain software or set up your computer system? Barbara Smith, Roving Trainer or David Peake, Lighthouse Beach IT can help.

16. Put your branding first

Investing in solidifying your brand can build trust with investors and customers. It has to centre around your customer experience. Develop a cost-effective plan to establish and maintain your brand by combining excellent relationship management, networking, strategic design and marketing.

17. Prepare for taxes

John Clarke says tax is boring but boring is good. As a small business owner, we need to get our accounting records right. We don't want to be scrambling at the end of each financial year.

Contact John Clarke, Success Tax Professionals for financial advice or Judith Jackson, Bean Guru for bookkeeping services.

If you have any further tips to share, we would love to hear from you. Please email Veronica Lind.

Veronica Lind

Micro Business Forum


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