Welcome to 2017! This is the time of year where most people take the opportunity to give their life a little make-over. They set goals, have fresh starts and try to mix things up a little in their lives for the better; but have you ever thought about doing it for your business? People aren’t the only things that can take the opportunity to improve when a new year begins, why not make the effort to overhaul your business also?
Here at Creditsafe, we are all for fresh starts and new beginnings, and we have come up with 4 ideas on how you can revamp your business for a bright start to 2017!
Freshen up your marketing
You probably had strategy meetings back late last year, and hopefully you have a plan on where you are going with your marketing in 2017. Now is a good time to evaluate what has worked in the past and what hasn’t, and this can allow you to freshen up your marketing as much as you can if you aren’t planning any big new campaigns. You could also look at targeting different prospects from what you previously have. A sales management tool such as Sales Joe can give you over 12 million decision makers’ contact details in the UK, and can allow you to filter your audience down to size of company, industry, geographical location, plus much more. By targeting a different audience or making your current audience very niche, your ROI could improve drastically.
Also, don’t forget customer retention. Many businesses concentrate solely on bringing in new business in the New Year and forget that customer retention has a much higher success rate than new business and often, bigger average order values .
Motivate your staff
Motivating your staff after the Christmas break can prove to be challenging. After a break from work there is a chance they will return still in ‘holiday mode’, so what can you do to break the cycle? Easing them in gently with some mind tests could be a good start to the first week back, and also offering incentives is always a winner. If you don’t already, holding monthly recognition awards could be something you could incorporate into your business; even if it’s just offering a bottle of wine or chocolates for a staff member that has shone in the previous month. Your staff will feel appreciated and it will also get them into work mode for the rest of the year if they are working towards a prize.
Tie up loose ends
The beginning of the year is a perfect time to tie up loose ends if you didn’t have a chance to do so in December. Check your accounts, and ensure all your invoices have been paid. Also, chase up any late payments from your customers. Payments can fall behind at Christmas time, especially as offices close down; so January is a prime time to check in with customers and make sure they can pay you on time. If you are still chasing a customer for a payment and have been for a while, it may be time to take the debt collection process one step further and send out debt chasing letters. You can either write these yourself, or you can enlist an agency to do this for you. Creditsafe has a letter sending service called Debt Chaser. You can choose from various templates and how often to send the letters and we will send them on your behalf. If this still doesn’t work, you will have to look into a debt collection agency or going through legal proceedings.
Take control going forward
In previous years, December has been the month where most insolvencies happen throughout the year, so it won’t come as a big surprise to some businesses when they return after the Christmas holidays and some of their customers or suppliers could have become insolvent in the previous month. If a business isn’t expecting a customer insolvency, it could disrupt their cashflow massively if that company hasn’t paid their invoice with them. Similarly, if your supplier becomes insolvent over the Christmas period you will be left in the lurch come January and this could affect the running of your own business. Monitoring customers on a daily basis can make you aware of a company being in trouble before insolvency comes on the cards. Creditsafe offer this with our Risk Tracker tool. If a customer’s company credit score drops, you are alerted via email and you can find out why this has happened. Company credit alerts to a score dropping can act as warning signs that a company could be diminishing, so if you are aware of this in advance, you are able to change your invoice terms or speak to the company to ensure they are still able to pay you on time.
By monitoring you customer base and suppliers throughout 2017, you can always stay one step ahead!
We hope you have found these points useful, happy New Year from everyone here at Creditsafe!