The holiday shopping season is the most profitable time of year for most small businesses—but it’s also the most stressful. As a small business owner, you might ready for a break, but you’re likely also wary of the January sales slump. The holiday season only comes once a year, but there’s a lot you can do to keep the momentum going all year long. Here are three ways you can leverage the energy from the holiday season to keep your business driving forward in the new year.
1. Increase Customer Service—and Customer Loyalty
You probably gained a few new customers during the holiday season. Now that you have those new customers, it’s important to transition them from being a one-time purchaser to a loyal, return customer. There’s no question that creating a customer base is imperative to the success of your business—the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60 to 70 percent while the probability of selling to a new prospect is just 5 to 20 percent. One of the easiest ways to retain your current customers is through customer service. As you kick off the new year, evaluate your support team strategy. A recent study found that businesses lose 71 percent of consumers due to poor customer service, so ensure that your staff is properly trained on your product or service and welcome customer feedback to improve your customer experience.
Aside from your customer experience, it’s a good idea to take some time to track or input any new customer data you collected during the holiday season. If you’re not collecting customer information, the new year is a great time to start. To increase employee engagement and gather new data, consider holding a competition between employees to see who can add the most new customers to your database. Just gathering your customers’ basic information, like phone numbers or email addresses, will help you promote new offers and promotions—helping to keep your customers coming back.
2. Reevaluate Your Small Business’s Social Media Strategy
Social media is one of the easiest ways to get your business’s message out there—and even better—it’s free. If you don’t have a Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for your business, kick off the new year by creating pages on these platforms. If you’ve been leveraging social media, take stock of what has worked and what hasn’t, and do some digging to find out who your audience is. 57.5 percent of people said they are more likely to buy from a brand they follow on social media, so it’s important for your business to have a digital footprint—even if you’re not selling online.
Be proactive in your social strategy and create a plan for the entire year. Studies say that just having a plan doubles your chances for success, so why not give it a try? Since January can be a slow month, consider testing out a social media campaign that encourages customers to shop by giving them a special promotion or offer limited to your social media followers. Not only will it help drive traffic to your business, but it also makes your customers feel like they are part of something exclusive.
3. Keep Your Business Organized with the Proper Business Management Technology Solution
The new year is one of the best times to consider implementing new tools and technologies for your business. As a small business owner, you likely use your mobile phone for most of your business operations—but how many of your business processes are easy to run on your mobile device? 92 percent of small businesses are using one or more cloud-based solutions—like online payroll or inventory management. Automating the tedious processes, like employee scheduling and labor forecasting, and integrating them into a mobile, cloud-based solution may seem like a big jump, but considering the time you could save, it may be worth it. Look for technology that won’t be extremely costly to your business in the long term, but still give your business the edge it deserves in the short term.
This time of the year is busy—but capturing the excitement of the busy season and using it to fuel your new year can be a game changer for your business. At Beyond, we’re always looking for ways to give business owners an edge. Follow the Beyond Blog to stay up to speed on the industry and get money saving tips.