Don’t fall behind in 2018 – prepare your business now

2018 business preparations

With the year gradually drawing to a close, you can be forgiven for taking your foot off the gas when it comes to your business and looking forward to winding down during the holiday period. While we completely appreciate the need to relax and put your feet up, it’s also important that you and your business are ready to kick 2018 off on the front foot when January rolls around.

We’ve looked at why it’s important to start preparing now as opposed to waiting till after December.

An evolving environment

As the saying goes “time waits for no man”, and the same rule applies to business. Not only do you have to keep in mind that your competitors will forever be trying to improve themselves, but that the business environment you’re trading in is also likely to be ever evolving. That’s why you need to take a proactive approach in looking into potential factors that could impact your business, both positively and negatively, in 2018 and how you’ll negate/make the most of these.

For example:

  • Will Brexit impact demand for your product/service or affect the cost of your offering?
  • Do you need to better manage cyber security with the GDPR rulings coming into place?
  • Should you be looking to make the most of key events such as the World Cup to drive sales?

These are rather general topics which are barely scratching the surface, and we’re sure if you were to really drill down into your specific industry sector you’ll find there are things that are even more relevant to your business.

Beating the January blues

The start of the new year is often a time that’s met in one of 2 ways. Some will greet it with renewed hope and enthusiasm, ready to improve on the previous 12 months, while for others it’s more of a glum affair. Bank accounts have been rinsed dry, time with family and friends is scarce again and the responsibility of running your business is back on your shoulders. The unpredictability of how you’ll approach the new year means that it just makes sense to ensure your business is in the best possible position when January comes calling.

The added stress of trying to address matters in the new year that could be done now won’t benefit you or your business. So, while you might be looking forward to downing tools, ensure your business is where it should be beforehand, or at least identify a plan of action. Let’s face it, you’ll enjoy the festive period far more with the peace of mind knowing you’re all set for 2018.

New years resolutions shouldn’t start in January for business

On a personal level we can get away with starting our new year’s resolutions in January, as most often an extra month or 2 of divulging in our bad habits aren’t likely to have a hugely detrimental impact on us. However, the same rule doesn’t apply to your business. If there are things that you’ve identified that need changing don’t wait till the new year. Yes, you might be more motivated come January but putting it off is only an excuse to not address the matter now.

While a few extra chocolates might barely impact your waistline, failing to address things within your business could well have a far greater impact on your bottom line, so if you find there are things that need changing start implementing those changes now.

With marketing specifically, you also have to bear in mind you are unlikely to see an immediate impact.  Once you have crafted the right marketing strategy for your business (which takes time), you then often need to sort out/tidy up some fundamental elements before even starting to consider the creative communications which are going to stimulate interest.  Only then will you start to see results in terms of sales and return on investment, which could be 8-12 weeks after you started the whole project (and this will vary on how long your sales pipeline takes on average to convert).  So, please bear in mind, if you don’t start looking at this until early January, the first quarter is likely to have passed before you have seen any impact on the bottom line.

Final words

Preparation is everything in business and you should always take a proactive approach to it. Try to find the time to establish where your business currently is, where you want to be in 2018 and how you can achieve this. This will help you to hit the ground running when the new year starts as opposed to being left behind by other reinvigorated competitors who could be weeks ahead of you.

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Ian is the founder of Opportunity Marketing marketing, with over 18 years of experience in successfully setting up marketing departments, creating marketing strategies and implementing these strategies across a wide number of SME companies in both the B2B and B2C sectors through a variety of channels.