Fresh ideas for 2017 – improving your business to be more competitive

February already – how did that happen? Now that the holiday period is well and truly over and everything is back to normal, you may find you’re in need of some fresh ideas for 2017. Every entrepreneur is interested in changing their business to be more competitive but how do you actually go about doing it?

Every business has its highs and lows but in my experience, you can give your business a competitive edge by doing some pretty simple things. Sometimes, as business owners, we’re so involved with our business and so busy always doing things, we never take a holistic view of our business.

Here are my top 5 incredibly manageable suggestions to help your business to be more competitive in 2017 and beyond.

Tip #1 – Get the help you need

As much as some of us like to push the boundaries, we all have 24 hours in a day. Look at your business and look for the areas you’re involved in. Do you need to be involved in every area? Look at the biggest companies – they can’t possibly succeed with one person doing everything. For a business to grow, you have to start involving others to ensure your time is spent doing the things that are actually going to help your business to thrive, not just survive.

Tip #2 – Learn to tell your story in an engaging and effective manner

There’s something special about a business that knows how to connect with its target market. We all have a business story to share – when you share a little about you and your story, you’re inviting people to connect with your business on another level. Learning how to tell your story in an engaging and effective manner via various mediums is invaluable. Whether you’re talking directly to clients, attending a networking event, updating your About story on your website or doing a Facebook Live video, tapping into the power of storytelling will serve you well in business. A good place to start is by looking at the companies whose stories you can actually remember and admire (think Apple).

Tip #3 – Guard your time carefully

Time is your most precious asset. You don’t have to say yes to everything. You don’t have to attend every meeting or answer every phone call. Be aware of where your time is going throughout the day and see how you can improve. Automate tasks wherever possible. Just because things have been done in a certain way in the past, it doesn’t mean you can’t consider changing this in order to achieve more effective and efficient outcomes. Most importantly, as the founder and owner of a business, don’t waste precious time and energy doing things, while ignoring the tools already available (for example, why waste hours putting together an Email Use Procedure when templates are handy and accessible online?).

Tip #4 – Focus on providing value

When you focus your energies on providing as much value as possible to your customers, you’re putting them first and standing out from the crowd. Look at what you’re communicating and ask yourself if you’re capturing your offering in its entirety. Would people completely new to your brand understand your messaging at a first glance? Provide value to others and people will keep coming back for more.

Tip #5 – Seek out feedback

Huge companies have the opportunity to undertake market research. With a small business, that’s probably not an option. What we often don’t realise is how much information we have on-hand… when we reach out to our customers and ask for feedback! Sure, some people won’t provide you with feedback but for those who do, this is priceless. Don’t be sensitive, take in what you need to and act accordingly.

Tip #6 – Look at your business with a critical eye

When we work on things day in, day out, we become accustomed to things that may not be right. Conduct an audit on your website – is it updated? Are links broken? Is it mobile and user-friendly? Often, the first place a potential customer will land is on your website or social channels. Make sure these vital methods of communication are working the way they should be for you.

A new year is an opportunity for a fresh start. If you’re keen to improve on your 2016, these small and very manageable changes are a good start. Of course, if you need help with sourcing any essential business templates, Docuhub is your one-stop shop.

Make sure your time is spent working on your business in 2017, not in it. If you’ve got any questions about our service, you can contact us here.

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