7 Things Entrepreneurs Need to Do at the Start of 2020
Can you believe we’re already two weeks into the New Year?
Now that the holidays and decade have ended, you’ve got to get your business in a good place to start the year off right.
Here are 7 things you need to do to in January 2020 to set yourself up for a fantastic year:
Get Finances in Order
Tax season is just around the corner, and being prepared well in advance is better than rushing to get things done at the very last minute.
Not only that, but you need to have a clear idea of how much you made and how much you spent in 2019, so that you can set better projections and budgets for 2020.
If you’ve been keeping up with your financial paperwork, this task shouldn’t be too burdensome. It will mostly be a matter of pulling your monthly financials and comparing budgeted to actual. Depending on the size of your business, this task may take a few hours’ time.
For those entrepreneurs who haven’t really kept up with the books in all the busyness of running a business, this may take several hours over a few days.
You may have to pull check registers and other transactions, ensuring that everything lines up and balances out. Then you can begin comparing budgeted to actual and determining where you need to make changes.
While this can seem like a time-consuming task in an already overbooked season, you’ll thank yourself in February for having done this.
If you do work on your website or online presence without understanding how it’s helping your business, you’re just flushing time and money down the drain.
Instead of putting something up on the internet and just letting it sit there, take the end of the year to dig into your site’s analytics and look at how much traffic you’re getting, where it’s coming from, and how those visitors use your website.
If you saw an uptick in traffic, try to pinpoint the source. Was it because you started a solid SEO campaign that paid off? Did you get featured in an article that brought a lot of traffic? Did you publish a high-quality piece of content?
Once you’ve looked at how your site performed this year, take some time to look at ways you can try to replicate that success. Find the things that were successful this year and find how you can continue to do them. Also look for things your site doesn’t have that you think it should, and make a plan for putting those pieces in place.
Clean up Your Contact Lists
As a business owner, you inevitably collect lots of contacts. From customers to fellow business owners to vendors, your email contact list is bulging.
However, chances are pretty good that you can pare down that list quite a bit if you take the time to go through it.
Export your contacts into a spreadsheet and comb through it carefully, asking yourself whether that person is still a necessary part of your contact list. If you know you won’t contact them again, delete them from your list.
If you accidentally make a deletion, that person always can be added back onto your list when you need to.
Audit Your Online Tools
Like email contacts, many small business owners collect online tools. Over time, these tools end up being duplicative and expensive, and can even cause your computers to slow down if you have a lot of them downloaded.
At the end of the year, make a list of the tools you subscribe to or have downloaded, and note what each tool is used for. You may also want to note how much the tool costs you each month, and whether it’s downloaded onto your computer or cloud-based.
Look for the tools that do the same things as other tools, and ones that are more expensive than others. Get rid of any that you don’t like, that don’t do what you need them to, or that are more costly than other options.
You’ll be surprised how much time, money, and hard drive space you can save!
Set 2020 Goals
If you haven’t already set your 2020 goals, you might end up just be spinning your wheels, looking for a purpose.
Take some time to really think about what you want out of your business in the next year. Is that to increase revenue by a certain percentage? Break into a new market? Get a new website?
Whatever it is, write it down and, if you have multiple goals, prioritize them as to what’s most important for you. Narrow your list down to a couple of goals to focus on in the first quarter of 2020 and leave the rest for later.
Take those goals and then break them down into specific steps and tasks.
If you want to break into a new market, for example, your steps could include:
- Create list of possible markets
- Conduct research on top three markets
- Identify market to target
- Conduct thorough research on the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT analysis) in that market
- Identify how your product or service can fit into that market
These steps should get scheduled on your calendar with due dates and planned time to work on them on at least a weekly basis. If you don’t schedule time to do those important tasks, you’ll get yourself lost in the day-to-day of your business and never actually work toward your goals.
If you’re planning to need extra help for 2020, the sooner you start looking, the more your chances increase of finding the right fit for your company.
Begin by identifying exactly what sort of new employee you will need, and what their duties will be. Set your budget range for salary and benefits. If this is a new position, be sure to create a clear job description and list of duties, as well as figuring out what sort of training you’ll need to give your eventual hire.
Once you have all those things in place, start advertising the position on local job websites. You may get a flood of resumes, or just a trickle.
No matter what, try to set aside time each day to review those resumes and respond promptly to the people you wish to interview.
Don’t be in a rush to hire just anyone, though. Take your time and carefully interview and evaluate each person. You want to find the right person for the job, not just any person.
Even if your business is very small, chances are you’ve got so many individual tasks that you can’t handle them all on your own.
Can you maybe look to hire someone to handle your bookkeeping and taxes? What about your marketing? If you pack and ship products, perhaps you could use someone to take that task off your hands.
In many cases, outsourcing some of your smaller tasks isn’t going to cost you a whole lot of money, and the amount of your time you’ll free up will be well worth the cost.
Cloud-Based Software for Entrepreneurs
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