As the year draws to a close, it’s a good time address your small-business needs, and to think about how to scale up operations for next year.
Although growth is a good thing, it can be tough to keep up with.
Keep reading for three valuable themes to help you effectively balance growth and your small-business needs for 2017 … without losing your mind or your profits.
Build a Solid Hiring Plan
According to a 2016 survey by PNC Financial Services, only 22% of companies plan to add more employees in 2017. On further inquiry, 28% of the surveyed business owners would rather add more work to the workload of their existing crew.
This might be a cost-efficient strategy in the short term, but it could negatively impact employee retention and overall operations in the long term. Overburdened employees are more likely to start looking for other jobs and quit working for you.
Keep in mind that your workforce—no matter your business size—will always be the lifeblood of your organization it’s how B Squared Media grew over 238% this year. If you are expecting significant growth for your business in the coming year, plan to add a few more people to your team.
To make sure your hiring plan is solid, ask yourself these questions:
1. What are my business goals for 2017? Your hiring plan for your various departments, including sales, operations, and marketing, must be aligned with the overall goals of your business. Make them as specific and measurable as possible with respect to your projected growth.
2. How many new employees will I need? Hiring new people to your team always requires additional resources. To figure out the number of new employees you’ll likely need, you need to take your budget and revenue per employee (RpE) into account.
3. Which areas of my business need more support? Investigate which areas of your business need more manpower to accomplish your company goals. For example, if your goal is to increase high-quality leads, you will need to hire more employees for your marketing and sales teams.
And don’t forget to put together a solid budget for the team to abide by.
Evaluate Your Growing Internet Needs
The internet connection undoubtedly plays a crucial role in keeping your small-business needs running like a well-oiled machine. Unstable connections could impede business operations and frustrate employees—even just a few hours offline could bring lost profits and irate customers who expect 24/7 support.
To help accommodate your thriving business in 2017, consider upgrading your business to a reliable internet connection, considering plans that align with your projected growth for next year.
You can evaluate these needs by asking the following questions:
1. How many employees need to be online simultaneously? One of the main factors that will affect internet speed is the number of users accessing the connection. Aside from the usual work computers, consider other gadgets that may be connected as well, like smartphones and laptops.
2. What will you use the internet for? Simple web browsing and email won’t require as much bandwidth as video conferences with clients. Apart from bandwidth needs, you may also have to assess your Cloud hosting and virtual private network (VPN) needs as well.
Get Your Website Ready for 2017
Your small-business needs should include a website that works like a storefront; it will either attract or drive away potential customers.
In 2017, the rising “experience economy” will continue to thrive, which is why you need to ensure your website provides the most optimal user experience possible. When you do this, your website engagement rates will likely soar, and prospects will be easier to convert to customers and then raving fans.
You can prepare your website for 2017 by doing the following:
1. Get rid of mobile pop-ups. If you have big, intrusive pop-ups installed on your mobile site, it’s high time you reevaluate this strategy because Google announced it will go after these sites.
Venngage’s digital marketing specialist Nadya Khoja recommends creating gated content through visuals to increase your email subscribers. An infographic is a good example of visual content.
Say you’re running a small flower shop in your locale—why not create an infographic on how to choose flowers for the right occasion that requires an email address to download?
2. Ensure fast loading times. Did you know that your website’s speed and loading times can impact your search engine ranking?
For small businesses like yours, load time is extremely important to consider if you’re trying to rank your website for local search engine optimization. You can improve your website’s page speed by upgrading your hosting plan and reducing file sizes that are larger than 150 bytes.
Unless you already have one on staff, hiring an expert to help you manage the site should be on your to-do list next year.
Address Your Small-Business Needs Soon!
While there is no one-size-fits-all strategy to successfully address business growth, implementing these tips will help your small business keep going strong and reduce speed bumps as it continues to expand and thrive through 2017.
What small-business needs are you finding it hard to address for 2017? Let us know in the comments section below — we’ll be happy to weigh in with some advice!Business & Finance Articles on Business 2 Community