The festivities of Christmas and New Year are now fading memories and its time to get back into the swing of things.
Typically, during the Christmas and early New Year period businesses can be on the quiet side and this provides the perfect opportunity to tackle all the important and not so important tasks that may have been overlooked at the end of last year or even put to the bottom of the pile during the year just gone. No one likes doing the boring tasks, but … they have to be done at some point, so best get them out the way sooner rather than later.
Included in our check-lists below are all the wide and varying tasks that you should be thinking about sorting (if they apply to you), so you can get organised for what’s to come over the months ahead.
If we are missing any tasks – no matter how big or small they may be – please let us know here!
The business checklist
- Define a year plan with your team, including marketing, financing and projects – having a team meeting gets everyone fired up and communication flowing with focus on the tasks in hand.
- Hold an annual corporate meeting – there is no better time to update company policies and log discussion that at the beginning of the year when everyone is at their most refreshed and organised.
- Update any stationery if needed and get it printed.
- Do a stock-take of all stationery cupboard items.
- Implement systems for managing tasks – if you don’t already have a system in place, the quieter January period is the perfect opportunity to implement new systems for task management.
- Get ahead with your accounting – the year-end (for most businesses) is around April time. If this is the case for you, start getting-ahead of tax and accounting deadlines by getting everything in order now so you don’t have to rush it and panic later.
- Scope out your yearly financial targets – having defined incentive, turnover and profit goals is important; so, break down yearly goals into monthly bite-size targets and this will help boost and incentivise you and your team.
- Review all of your products and prices – are you too cheap or too expensive? Are there products that no longer sell or services that are not popular? If so, consider upping/lowering prices and drop products or services that are no longer selling that well.
- Further your skills – January is a good time to book onto a course or two to learn new skills.
- Plan a Holiday! Sounds strange, but with the long, dark nights, cold days and general gloom that comes in the depths of winter, planning and booking a summer holiday is a great boost to morale, and gives you something nice to look forward to.
- Check all your IT equipment and services to ensure everything is working properly and in order. Have a “technical spring-clean” by removing programmes no longer in use, update Windows, anti-virus and any other programmes, ensure all Cloud / backup services are running correctly and tidy up your desktop and files.
- Spring-clean the office by clearing and shredding old paperwork, declutter desks and tidy up workspaces, shared spaces and store room.
- For smaller and even medium-sized businesses, it’s always worth reading over your business plan, any projections, cashflow and profit and loss forecast, as it’ll help you to keep your mind focused on the end goal, and if you are setting out financial targets for the next 12 months, using your cashflow and profit-and-loss as a point of reference will help you to set achievable goals.
- Spend some time assessing your competition – look closely at what they are doing well and see if there are ways in which you can implement similar strategies to theirs into your business. Equally as important is to look at what they don’t do so well in-comparison to you, so you can identify your key business strengths. It is a golden rule to always keep an eye on your nearest competitors, so you remain as competitive as possible in all areas.
- If you have a PSL (or Preferred Supplier List) that you use within your business, it is worth double-checking that you are still getting the very best prices from them. If not, or you have any doubts, now is the time to put it out to tender to see if you can get better deals.
The Social Media checklist
- Change seasonal social media cover photos and profile pictures.
- Update social media profiles if needed.
- Update the year on your website.
- Start planning Social Media content for the first quarter.
- Get offers / sale promotions posted to Social Media (early January).
- If you have a LinkedIn profile, update it to include any new skills, experience, description and general updates.
The Search Engine Optimisation checklist
- Review your website statistics from the previous year and collate the data – what were your best-selling products or services? When are your busiest times of the year? What didn’t work so well? Use this valuable data to adjust your online strategy for this year accordingly. Discuss this with the company managing your online marketing (if you are using one).
- Look at expanding your reach with good quality landing pages, targeting new areas. This is a task for the company managing your online marketing (if you are using one) or if you are managing the website yourself, add these landing pages in yourself.
- Make sure your website is still compliant to the latest Google Algorithm changes. Ask the company managing your online marketing (if you are using one) to check this if you are unsure.
The website checklist
- Update the year on your website.
- Remove any seasonal graphics.
- Have a read over all the content and make any updates where needed.
- Does the website, branding or print need an overhaul? If so start think about this now, and for any big changes, such as a change to colours or branding, your logo or printed materials, January is a good time to do this.
- Think about blogs for the coming month. Introducing a new product range or services in January? If so blog about it and share that blog on social media.