management tips

By Pete Lamson

As a small business owner, you’re pulled in a million different directions every day, so productivity can often be a challenge. Maintaining workflows and staying organized can be hard for small business owners even during the best of times. Nevertheless, the importance of early planning and execution on your key goals can’t be overstated.

For small businesses, a successful Q1 is vital, as this is when businesses lay the foundation for the year and build the confidence necessary to level the playing field against bigger companies. A successful first quarter also contributes to overall innovation, economic stability and job growth, which are wins across the board.  Here are seven tips to ensure a successful Q1 for your small business:

  1. Make IT Purchases Early in the Year – Businesses need to be prepared for the unexpected. Having solutions in place early in the year means unexpected financial impacts – such as cost overruns or downturns in sales – won’t derail the purchase.
  2. Jumpstart Productivity – Offer special employee bonuses in Q1 to increase both yield and morale.
  3. Create Content – Everyone knows that “content is king.” Carve out the time to make content creation a priority, whether by ramping up social media activity, consistently updating the company blog or producing graphics and video. New content is a great way to freshen up a brand for the New Year.
  4. Manage Online Reviews – Playing an increasingly central role in purchase decisions, online reviews can make or break a deal. Monitor sites for feedback, reply promptly and encourage current customers to leave positive reviews.
  5. Promote Customer Success Stories –Case studies that demonstrate your strengths and abilities will be key for showing – not just telling – potential customers what you are truly capable of. Update the case studies you already have and create new ones that show your latest work.
  6. Have a Backup Plan in Place – Disaster can strike at any moment, so ensure business continuity by instituting pre-emptive protection against data loss.
  7. Put Your Customers First – It might seem obvious, but sometimes everyone can use a good reminder. No business would be here without its customers, so consistently finding ways to remind them they are your number one priority is key to a lasting relationship.

Organizations that deliver on these objectives can expect returns that include customer loyalty, revenue growth and overall brand health. Staying focused, with your eyes on the prize is key.  Organizations that recognize this and plan accordingly will build both a solid foundation for future success and fare better than the competition.

Pete Lamson is senior vice president of sales and marketing at online computer data backup provider Carbonite.