Friday 3rd Jan 2020
Businesses up and down the country close during Christmas and the New Year celebrations, giving a clean break between the old year and new. Beyond this and we’re into January, one of the most important months of the year for any business - particularly smaller ones. If you’re hoping to start as you mean to go on, then getting January right is critical. Let’s take a brief look at some of the things that make this an important month, and how a few tips can ensure a successful year ahead.
The January sales
Let’s start with the obvious. If you’re a retailer, whether online or bricks and mortar, you need to get involved in the January sales. They’ve been the norm for a very long time, and you’re very unlikely to be able to compete with competitors if you don’t. Consumers expect sale items, but they don’t necessarily expect to see everything reduced. See if you can choose a select few items and really go for it with these. Take a look at what larger businesses are doing, and see if there are any opportunities - if you’ve got old stock that you can price at the lowest in the market, you can clear out, and make a profit. And through smart use of social media advertising, you can potentially use your sales to capture a new audience and potential future customers.
Reviewing the year
Outside the sales, January is a time to take stock, reflect on what went well (and what didn’t), and plan for the year ahead.
A thorough review of the previous twelve months is always a good idea for any small business. Looking at finances is only part of this of course; it’s wise to take a deeper dive into the running of the company in the previous year. Break things down into where there were successes, and where there were failures, and learn from both. It’s your aim to continue the successes into the next year, and use what you’ve learned from failures to improve as the business moves forward.
Part of this will mean consulting with employees to see how they thought things went. As a small business, you’re unlikely to have a deep selection of metrics and KPIs to investigate, which means it’s really important to get narrative accounts where you can. Use this information to do better next year, taking the time to listen to everyone.
Driving motivation into the new year
Leading on from this is motivation. The end of year break is hugely beneficial for giving people a rest and helping them to feel invigorated and ready for the year ahead. However, it’s always a good idea to give some additional motivation in January when everyone returns. This is especially important for any employees that only had the standard bank holidays off. Make it clear how pleased you were with the successes of the last year, set goals and incentivise staff for the twelve months ahead.