Getting your business ready for 2018: what you need to know

Looking to get your business ready for 2018? Then here are a few tips on how to go about, so you can drive your business forward over the coming months: 

Go paperless

If you haven’t already, then it’s high time that your office went paperless, it will show that yours is a responsible business, doing what is best for the environment; and it’s likely to save you money too. Your outgoings for such things as stationery, printers, printer cartridges and postage will reduce, which has to be a good thing.

Review your IT

Also, conduct an audit of the IT in your office, some items may need replacing or conversely there could be licenses you’re paying for but not using. So think about what you find most useful, what’s proving problematic and what you’re not using. Explore the range of open software available and see what could be utilised by your business – just check it can be used for commercial purposes.

Update your security measures

Hand in hand with reviewing your IT comes reviewing your security measures. From the security on your computers to those measures you’ve installed on your business premises and vehicles.

Step up to your seasonal maintenance

When checking your security, also ensure your seasonal maintenance is up-to-date, as there’s no point putting a new lock on a door or installing a camera system if you have a hole in a fence, or your window frames need repair. So keep your premises in good condition, to save you money in the long term.

Do your research

You may know your customers well, but if your business has gone through a rapid period of change or growth, it might be worth updating the information you have regarding the demographics of your customers. This revised intelligence can then inform your planning, from customer improvements to where your advertising and marketing campaigns should be targeted.

Be open to bright ideas

Don’t get set in your ways, consider what improvements could be made to your business. Take time to gather bright ideas; you could simply begin by asking your customers which items they’d like you to stock in your shop or how you could improve your service for example.

Alternatively, invite ideas from your colleagues and reward those whose ideas you take up. Your team may well see improvements that could be made that are obvious from where they’re standing but are simply not apparent to you. So be open to those bright ideas around you – they could be the key to improving your business.

Step onboard the digital age

Change can be unsettling, but one development you should get onboard with is digital marketing, as it has the potential to bring your business to a new audience and it can prove cost effective too. In fact, when it comes to social media and websites, there’s a lot you can do at no cost whatsoever.

Firstly, ensure you keep your business name and contact details correct and consistent on all of your online entries, then look to create fresh content too. Think about the different ways you could describe the job you do, the services you provide and the areas you serve. Then add a regular blog entry to your website which addresses the issues your customers most commonly face, add photos of recent projects and ask satisfied customers to leave reviews.

Also, be sure to fill in all of the online directories you can; and complete your “google my business” page, as all of these will help you to come up in online searches and show up on maps. So there you have a few ideas on how you can make a start on your digital marketing, now it’s time to get started.

Renew the insurance for your business

When it comes to your annual paperwork, insurance plays a significant part. Speak to an experienced insurance broker to find the right insurance package for your business. They’ll have experience working with businesses similar to yours, and they’ll help you to find appropriate insurance, at the right price.

In all likelihood, an insurance broker will have access to policies and deals you won’t see on price comparison websites. They’ll also have the ability to tailor the insurance to your specific needs, so you’ll receive a much more personal service too. So, whether you want to ensure you’re fully compliant with your statutory obligations like Employer Liability Insurance, are looking to take out public liability insurance or explore other options, then contact an insurance broker today.

Your employee pension scheme

Remember, if you have eligible employees, you’ll need to provide an automatic enrolment pension scheme for them by 2018. There’s still time to do it, but the clock’s ticking so you’ll need to get one in place soon. You must enrol all staff in a pension scheme who are aged between 22 and the state pension age, earn a minimum of £10,000 a year and work in the UK. What’s more, you’ll need to contribute to that pension too.

Network – make more industry contacts

In addition, help your business develop by making more industry contacts, so attend conferences, trade shows and join trade associations too. As well as keeping up-to-date on industry best practice and the latest developments in your sector, they’re also a great way to keep abreast of how brexit could potentially affect your business.

Increase your business knowledge

Also, join your region’s Chambers of Commerce and look up your local enterprise agency.  They could provide valuable advice, enable you to increase your business knowledge, and make useful contacts too, so what are you waiting for?

Invest in you

Don’t forget to make investing in you a priority, whether it’s updating your skills or learning new ones; it’s one of the best investments you can make.

So there you have a few things to consider as you take your business into 2018, we hope your company will go from strength to strength over the coming year.

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